Saturday, September 24, 2011

Starting Power Training on Monday

I'm really excited to be starting Men's Health Power Training by Robert dos Remedios on Monday.  The program comes highly recommended both by reviewers on Amazon and by members of JP Fitness forums.  Honestly, I like the plain and very clear writing and the philosophy behind the programs in the book is solid.  There are a dozen different exercises in this book that you plug into a prescribed framework which means that you can mix and match infinitely and never get bored.  Here's what I've chosen:

Full-Body Workout for Strength Training (Weeks 1-3)

Workout A
Explosive: Power Clean
Knee Dominant: Front Squat
Hip Dominant: SL Rom DL
Horizontal Push: Bench Press
Horizontal Pull: 1-arm standing cable row
Vertical Push: Push Jerk
Vertical Pull: Side to side pull up
Rotational: Seated Russian Twist
Bridging: 3-pt. Plank

Workout B
Explosive: Power Snatch
Knee Dominant: Drop Lunge
Hip Dominant: Good Morning
Horizontal Push: Standing Cable Chest Press
Horizontal Pull: Modified T-Bar Row
Vertical Push: DB alternating press
Vertical Pull: Single Arm Lat pulldown
Rotational: Corkscrew
Bridging: Plank Walk Up
Each workout is going to be pretty long since I am still trying to keep to my three times a week lifting schedule and each workout includes all these exercise plus a 5-minute warm-up, a mobility circuit and a lifting circuit.  I hope I can keep to three times a week but if the workouts drag on too long, I may have to switch to a four-time a week program.  

I had hoped to try a CrossFit class last Thursday but Z2 got a pretty bad respiratory virus and had difficulty breathing.  We ended up at the hospital for 2 nights and I missed the class.  I was kind of bummed about that but very happy that my baby felt so much better after his hospital stay.  I guess I will try a CrossFit class once I'm done with the 12 weeks of PT.  

So here's what the week looks like in terms of fitness:

Long-ish run in 2:2 work:rest intervals (for the duration of the Paleo challenge, I'm going to forego 1-2 hour runs in favor of shorter, interval runs
PT workout A--short cardio such as skipping rope (?)--we'll see how it goes
Interval workout and/or yoga and foam roll
PT Workout B--short cardio such as skipping rope (?)--we'll see how it goes
Sprints on the track (1:2 work:rest intervals) and yoga
PT Workout A--short cardio such as skipping rope (?)--we'll see how it goes
Yoga/foam roll

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thursday/Saturday Salad

For a while now, I've been making a salad for Thursday and Saturday lunch.  I just fell into the habit because 1) salad is easily transportable and eatable which is great for work on Saturday and 2) it's easy to double the recipe.  My salad is pretty simple with lots of delicious ingredients.  When I first started to make it, I would add whole wheat pasta to it.  When I went gluten-free, I replaced the whole wheat pasta with gluten free pasta.  And now that I'm eating paleo, I just skip the pasta altogether but I've added a couple of things to replace it, most notably, more greens.  I would argue that it's even better without the pasta.  This is a big salad--makes 2 servings--and it's very filling especially if you add 1/2 an avocado to it (but I hate to mix avocado into a salad)

Thursday/Saturday (Paleo) Salad
one bag of organic mixed greens, baby spinach, or arugula (I really love arugula)
one can of wild salmon* or tuna packed in olive oil
3 carrots, finely diced 
3 celery stalks
one cucumber diced
1/2 green pepper
1/2 red pepper
1/4 cup diced onion
2 tbsp. fermented relish
2 tbsp. sunflower seeds
1/4 cup finely diced sun-dried tomatoes
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
*if using salmon, add 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Toss all these ingredients together (I use my hands) and divide evenly between two bowls.  

The sun-dried tomatoes really add a nice color and a hint of sweetness to the salad.  I think this salad is wonderful and I love to play around with it.  Sometimes I add slivered almonds instead of sunflower seeds.  Sometimes I use basil or garlic-infused olive oil.  Sometimes I use apple cider vinegar instead of lemon juice.  

A salad is one great, quick, portable, no fuss way to get in lots of veggies (including fermented veggies which are great for the probiotics), good fats and protein.

Here's another salad I enjoy too.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Weekly Meal Planning

I realize that in order to cook paleo for me and my kids, I have to plan a little better than when I was cooking vegan meals for the whole family.  I have to plan so that I can stay within our weekly grocery budget and not be forced to do grains or beans just because I don't have enough vegetables and meat.  So now, at the beginning of the week, I come up with a rough sketch of what I'd like to make for our main meals.  

Here's what this week is looking like:  

spaghetti squash
tomato pasta sauce
turkey meatballs
steamed broccoli

Chicken stew
dirty cauliflower rice
steamed asparagus

Pizza (coconut crust for the kids)
salmon and salad for myself

I try to keep it pretty simple since I'm also cooking vegan meals for the hubby and preparing breakfast and lunch (paleo and vegan).  I'm exceedingly grateful for two things: refrigeration and the fact that my family doesn't require a brand new meal everyday.  It seems we all are fine eating the same thing for a couple of days in a row.  Switching it up every week provides enough variety. 

Breakfasts around here are pretty predictable:  
Chicken sausage stir fry (lots and lots of veggies: kale, eggplant, celery, tomatoes, red and green peppers)
boiled eggs, turkey bacon, millet (for the kids and sometimes I have some) and almond butter
Fried eggs (lots of veggies) or egg cupcakes
pancakes (whole wheat) and soy sausage (for the hubby)
oatmeal waffles (for the kids)
chicken breakfast sausage (for me and the kids)

Lunches generally consist of salads made with either salmon or tuna, baked fish (usually flounder, cod or salmon) alongside steamed veggies and sometimes sweet potato fries, or turkey deli slices wrapped around avocado and tomato with lots of carrots and other veggies on the side.  

Snacks are pretty easy: nuts, trail mix (I make this by combining coconut flakes, nuts, seeds, and raisins in a bag and shaking), Lara Bars (either homemade or purchased), organic beef jerky, fruit, guacamole and plantain chips (or baby carrots), and yogurt (although I'm trying to phase this out or at least do better and get back to making it at home).  

So I'm going to make an effort, especially during the duration of the 30-Day Challenge, to make a simple post about what my meal (dinner) plans are for the week.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

30 Day Paleo Challenge

For the most part, I have been eating paleo for the past few weeks and I have been feeling wonderful physically.  I notice that after eating grains, I definitely feel more sluggish and drowsy but about 20% of the time, though, I indulge in non-paleo foods such as popcorn (my weakness), sugar (in the form of dark chocolate and sometimes going overboard on fruits), and dairy (a treat for myself has been non-fat plain yogurt with blueberries and a tiny bit of gluten-free granola).  So I really wanted to challenge myself to go whole-hog for a month and see how I feel.  And I'm finally ready to start. 

There's will probably be a challenge thread going on Nappturality so if you're a member there, look for it.  One of my favorite members on Nappturality, swingbolder, suggested that the challenge start on Friday, September 23, 2011.  It's the fall equinox, the first day of autumn so it presents a great way for us to "really get in touch with our paleolithic ancestors  by aligning our actions and intent with the cycles of the sun, just as they did thousands of years ago."  That just made so much sense to me.  

I'm taking this 30 day challenge as an opportunity to make some other changes in my life. I've fallen into the habit of just vegging out in front of the computer after dinner.  The kids watch their show and I watch mine while having a cup of tea, dark chocolate and coconut flakes.  I've been telling myself it's just a way to unwind but really, it's just a way to disconnect which is sometimes all I want to do at the end of a long day with the kids.  My plan for this 30 days is to not use the computer at all after dinner (at least not to watch Netflix or check e-mail or Facebook or do anything internet related).  I want to get back into the habit of chanting or meditating after dinner and then doing something to connect with my children.  A walk around the neighborhood.  Board games.  Reading stories or listening to audiobooks.  Even practicing our French with Byki.  These are things that I've been claiming I don't have time for but really, I do.  All I have to do is choose to do those things and not other things.  

Also, as fate or luck or whatever would have it, I picked up the August issue of Yoga Journal at the library and in it was an article about how to use yoga with one's kids as a nighttime relaxation/de-stressing technique.  I have not found any convenient ways to consistently practice yoga with the kids and have it as a real part of their lives so this article was timely.  Because I'm nixing the television watching, we won't spill over into the 8 o'clock "start getting ready for bed" time trying to finish a show and we should have more time between 8 and 9 to read stories and practice just a bit of yoga.  It's just such a better way to get ready for bed: relaxed and happy not stressed, rushed and upset.

And lastly, for these 30 days, I am committed to not tracking what I eat or what I weigh on Weight Watchers.  As a matter of fact, I'm going to get the kids winter clothes down from the attic (since it's been so cold these past few days) and I am going to take the bathroom scale up there.  I could write a whole post about how tracking has become borderline neurotic for me but I'll spare you the gory details.  I'm going to work hard to eat when I'm hungry, stop when I'm full and take the time to figure out why I want to eat when I'm not even hungry and why the scale means so much to me (control issues).

I am looking forward to this wonderful opportunity to break some really addictive behaviors that have become part and parcel of my life and that really sap my energy and joy.   And I invite you to join me.   

Not sure how to eat paleo?  Over at Mark's Daily Apple, a 30 day challenge started a few days ago.  Mark provided some great guidance.  While I'm doing a paleo challenge (which is just slightly different from primal in that paleo eliminates the sugar and the dairy), it's a great place to get an overview of what to eat and what not to eat during these 30 days.  (I actually think that after the 30 days I will probably re-incorporate dark chocolate but not as an every day thing and I want to eat yogurt again, albeit yogurt that I make at home.)  

What are some changes you'd like to make?  Are you ready to make them?

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