Valentine’s Day HIIT Workout

With all the snow out there lately, I’ve been less inclined to get outside to run or drive to the gym, and more apt to workout at home.  Especially now that we have space in our new digs to workout at home, I find that it’s easy to get a good workout in first thing in the morning before work.

I’ve always been a big fan of exercise DVD’s, T25, PiYo, Turbo Fire being a handful of my go-to’s. Sometimes I hit up You Tube for some workout inspiration as well; there’s so many great ideas on there!

I’m also a huge fan of HIIT workouts.

If you aren’t familiar with HIIT, it stands for High Intensity Interval Training, and it’s a great way to burn fat, in a short amount of time.  Different than steady cardio like running for thirty minutes straight or hopping on a machine at the gym that works your aerobic endurance, HIIT works both your aerobic and anaerobic endurance.

Both cardio and HIIT have their different benefits.  Cardio has it’s time and place- it’s easy to do, sometimes a little mindless (can be good or bad?!), can be low impact, and it’s something that can performed on a daily basis (though I wouldn’t recommend it).  Usually cardio is done at a moderate intensity, and is done for at least twenty minutes.

HIIT on the other hand, like it’s name, is an intense, shorter workout, typically no longer than twenty minutes, of all out intensity.  HIIT alternates short bursts of hard core exercise with periods of rest. Another sweet benefit of HIIT workouts is the that your body continues burning calories after your workout!  Sitting on the couch watching the Bachelor and still burning calories and fat?  How can you go wrong?  Your metabolism stays revved up for several hours post workout, and that’s pretty cool if you ask me.  HIIT workouts shouldn’t be done on back to back days; I usually do about three or four a week, combined with weight training and running (steady state cardio).

HIIT is not for the faint of heart.  These workouts are supposed to be pretty grueling, and the expectation is that you go all out, giving it 110% of effort and then recover in between exercises.

Here’s a recent HIIT workout I’ve been doing, just in time for Valentine’s Day!  I don’t know about you guys, but try as I might, I haven’t been able to totally avoid the chocolate and other treats hanging around lately, and frankly I don’t really want to!

Let me know if you try this one out and tell me what you think!  If you don’t have a jump rope, just wing it and fake it.  No stairs?  No toe taps on a box or something.  Just get moving and make it intense!

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The Anatomy of a Funk

I think January on the whole wasn’t my favorite.  Snow on top of more snow, not very much sunlight at all, gloomy days, bitter temperatures, the whole month just wasn’t really my jam. Feeling in a bit of a funk during the best conditions (for me that might look like a crisp fall day, a sunny, patio sitting kind of afternoon, or a breezy spring day), well feeling in a bit of a funk under those conditions is bad enough, but when you’re not feeling your usual sense of calm, kind of feeling off for no real pin-pointable reason, feeling that way in the dead of winter?  Well that just feels like a double whammy, you know what I’m saying?

Something has felt a little bit off.  I don’t have a big story or reason why I’m feeling funk-ish; I don’t have a reason to pin it all down to, it just feels like a general sense of… “blah,” that was hanging around last month.

Anyone else?

I also realize that some people have some serious things going on, serious reasons for a funk, or a case of the sads, or really do have a diagnosed SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).  Sometimes I think of this and I know my funk pales in comparison, but I guess we all are dealing with… something, right?  Big or small, we all have something on our plates, and we’re all just trying to do our best.

I think it’s important during these kind of funky times to be in the moment, remind ourselves that it’s okay to feel not awesome and not totally on point and on our game all of the time, because those are some high expectations to have and to put on ourselves!  I also try not to totally wallow in the throws of a funk for too long.  I tried to kind of wrap my mind around what I was feeling, and when I couldn’t really attribute my blank mood to anything in particular, I thought of what I could do to kind of get myself out of the funk.

  • Exercise- This one usually always helps me to feel in a good mood, gives me more energy, good endorphins and all that goodness.  Some days I just wasn’t feeling it, so I went a little easier with myself and did yoga instead of something more intense, or considered the shoveling as my workout. Holy hell, all the shoveling.
  • Reading- Getting drawn into a good book is something that helps to distract the mind, and I enjoy getting sucked into a good story.  Using our imaginations can help to get us out of our own heads for a while, and I like how reading a novel can take us to a whole new place.
  • TV- Probably not the best choice of distractions, but if I’m being real and honest I will tell you that I enjoy shutting my mind off and watching TV for a while.  My newest favorite- Love, Lust, or Run- Stacy London’s new show on TLC.  Kind of What Not to Wear-ish, but shorter and without Clinton which is a bummer for me.  I love Clinton!
  • Writing letters- Like real, handwritten notes and cards.  I’m getting back into corresponding with an old friend, snail mail style, and I just love writing and receiving notes in the mail.
  • Cleaning & organizing- For some, doing this one might not be what you’d go to when in a funk, but lately I’ve been really excited about keeping our new home clean and organized, decorating and thinking of new ways to make our home feel even more like “us.”
  • Pinterest- It helps with the decorating ideas!  And recipe planning.  And fashion inspiration.  And hair!  I could look at hairstyles for hours on end.
  • Getting a new hairdo- I’m making an appointment for next week for a little spruce up of my do’.  That always makes me feel in a good mood!
  • Helping others- This one is in the works.  I’m looking for some opportunities to do some more volunteering.  I’m part of a volunteering organization in Boston, but haven’t really delved into it all too much.  I’ve been wanting to find a local soup kitchen or food pantry to volunteer some time at, so I’m looking into that.  Back a few years ago, I used to visit with an elderly woman in my town, something setup through the Council on Aging I think, and it was something I enjoyed a lot.  I’d like to see if something similar exists in our new community, or even a local nursing home where I could go and visit with the residents there.  I have always enjoyed spending time with the elderly.

So, those are some of my get-out-the-funk go-to’s I’ve been working on lately.  I’m feeling a bit better, it being February and a shorter month, closer to some warmer weather, already seeing some more daylight. I’m looking forward to the weeks ahead as I have some plans with friends that I’m looking forward to, a long weekend getaway to see some friends and my God children, and a few other exciting things in the works.

How about you?  Have you had a case of the Januaries?  What do you do to get out of a funk?

Here’s a couple good articles I found that touch on the subject..

How to correct your mind to get out of a funk

10 tips to beat the blues in winter

Snow day!

My morning started off with a yummy bowl of oatmeal today…

IMG_1364I made this morning’s oats with a little coconut oil, added a half of banana, some chia seeds and hemp seeds for a topping, and mixed in a little maple syrup for a touch of sweetness.  I always top it off with a spec of almond milk to make it all a little creamier.  I LOVE oatmeal; it’s one of my favorite breakfasts and there are so many ways to crank it up a couple notches from straight up plain oatmeal!  Do you have some favorite toppings?

I guess most everyone has probably heard about the big ole blizzard of a storm that we’re getting slammed with here in Boston.  It’s been a bit of a whammy so far, but thankfully both my husband and I were able to work from home, and we’re cozy inside with lots of good eats and drinks on hand.

My office today looks like this:

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This scene is a far reach from the office/clinic environment I usually work in, but I’m definitely not complaining!  We cancelled all of our patients for today, other than the ones that were scheduled for surgeries.  Thankfully we were able to do this to save them from having to make the trek in, and us too! All that’s left to really do today is be available for phone calls.  So patients are still able to call in should they need anything, and all the nurses are working from home and checking our messages throughout the day.  So far it hasn’t been too bad at all, giving us the chance to make a few trips outside to shovel, and to watch the never ending news coverage on The! Blizzard! of 2015! #omg!

Speaking of shoveling, I read this article on Huffington Post today, about how to get “an actual workout” while shoveling snow.  Um, because just shoveling itself isn’t enough of an actual workout, right?  I actually did keep an eye on how long we’ve been out there today digging out. Did you know that on average, a 155 lb person burns about 230 calories per half hour shoveling?  Add in some squats and shovel lunges like this article suggests, and holy hell, your neighbors will think you’re a nut job, you’ll burn some serious calories!

Shoveling actually is a pretty killer workout, squats and lunges aside.  I was thinking last night when I knew I’d have a day off today that I’d have time to do a good workout at home, but turns out I opted out of that for a few rounds of shoveling instead.  Already, we’ve been out there an hour and a half, and it’s still coming down…

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Thankfully this stuff is pretty light and fluffy, but it’s so windy out that it’s blowing all around, and it’s hard to gauge how much we’ve really got going on out there!  Seems like close to eighteen inches maybe?, with snow piles up to about four feet!

I love/hate how whenever there’s a big storm like this, it’s ALL that anyone talks about, the only thing on TV, the news people having a field day with it all!  It makes you wonder what they’re doing when there isn’t any snow?  And not for nothing, but this news coverage cut into a little Farmer Chris Bachelor watching last night, and ain’t nobody got time for that!

Well, that’s about it going on here today.  A pretty quiet day all things considered.

Oh yeah!  One more thing!  I want to share about this really yummy soup I made for dinner last night that we’re enjoying leftovers of today.  I highly recommend this one, from one of my favorite sites, Skinnytaste.  This is one of my go-to sites for quick and easy and really healthy and damn yummy meals and appetizers, and even desserts!  I bought her cookbook right before Christmas and gave my mom a copy as well. There’s SO many great recipes both on her site and in her book; you should definitely check it out!

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Lasagna Soup

I hope that you’re enjoying your day today!  Are you snowed in?  Enjoying some calmer weather? What are some of your favorite thinks to do when it’s blizzarding outside?

I think I’ll go make some cookies… afterall… the shovel lunges, the calorie burn… it is all about balance here right?