Gym Ambiance: Does it really matter?

I’ve always been the person to advocate for cardio versus strength training. I mean, I burn more calories doing cardio, right?


So now that I have an awesome Polar Heart Rate Monitor, I was able to see how many calories I burned while I was doing my strength training on Thursday evening. My strength training does end up being kind of cardio-esque with doing push ups and other fun things. But, after 30 minutes of strength training I had burned:

Pretty awesome, huh?!

I had really surprised myself with that and it makes me happy because now I know days that I just DON’T WANT TO DO CARDIO, I can push myself even MORE with strength training. I really enjoy the strength training, actually. I think because I have a very short attention span, so I can pick four things to do and do three sets of the 4 and then move to a new round of “stuff.”

So, I wrote a post earlier this week about switching my actual gym location. And I have and you know what? I am absolutely loving it! Want to know why? Do ya?

So this is my view walking up to my gym. You can’t really tell, but there are really big windows. The gym is on ground level.

This is what I got to look at while I worked out.

I think there is a lot to be said about the ambiance in a gym. I know that sounds crazy.  I actually like that I don’t know a single person in my gym now and can just go in and get down to business. At the previous locale, I knew everyone so it ended up dragging my workout out or worse, being a distraction. I love that whether I am on a cardio machine or lifting weights, I can look outside and enjoy the view of downtown St. Paul. It is wonderful.

What do you think? Am I crazy to be concerned about the ambiance at my gym? Does that matter to you?


Oh persnickety knee.

I will say it has been a good week. However, I’m kind of bummed about something. See, the last time I ran a 5K, it didn’t go so well. I bawled after I crossed the finish line and it was all very dramatic or traumatic as the case may be. The result of said 5K? A broken knee (again, dramatic) and physical therapy. While I know the physical therapy would have helped me, I didn’t understand why I was paying a co-pay for them to watch me stand on one foot or do squats. I wasn’t seeing the ROI on this. So, I quit. I did the exercises at my gym or at home.

Fast forward. I had decided I wanted to do the Turkey Trot here in Minneapolis. Started running by doing 3 and 1 intervals. Knee survived the first week and now, it’s just painful in a way I can’t describe. I was thirty minutes into my cardio on the elliptical on Tuesday evening and it felt like my leg needed to be cut off (not dramatic.)

In any case, I’m sad to say I won’t be doing the Turkey Trot. I’m thinking of going back to the doctor and demanding they do an x-ray to simply rule out anything crazy. The whole knee thing is really becoming more of a nuisance if anything.  If you would like to trade, please leave me a comment below. I’m willing to negotiate.

But I will say this, I am two for two for workouts this week! I am on a roll! Today is going to be a strength training day and I am quite stoked! Bring on the squats and the lunges, baby.

it’s chili season!

It’s fall. Fall means soup season. Fall means chili season. Fall means “Mmmmmm” season. In celebration of the Vikings/Packers game, my dad whipped up his always amazing chili!

Please don’t judge my use of sour cream. I just really love it!

And what is chili without corn muffin?

I have become increasingly obsessed with Vitatops. They have all kinds of delicious flavors – chocolate, banana, apple crumb and the list goes on! I was really excited that I was able to find them at a local retailer versus having to order them online. However, since they are all-natural, the price in the grocery store has deterred me from ever buying in the grocery store again. PLUS, if you sign up for the e-mail list, they are always sending awesome coupons. So if you are a muffin lover, be sure to sign up on their e-mail list!

Now back to my love of chili. I could probably eat it once a week. In college, I actually did. The cafeteria on campus made the most amazing chili. Every Tuesday was Chili Day and boy oh boy did I let myself indulge. More than anything, I am a huge fan of beans – the more beans the merrier, I say! But maybe for some people it isn’t really… merrier? 🙂

The Work-out Dilemma

There are parts to all of us that hate working out, right? Whether it is the wanting to be home laying on the couch and watching television, hanging out with friends, or maybe just plain ol’ sleeping if you are an early riser.

My problem tends to be the following:

  • Work ends, I’m crabby. I’m tired. I want to take a nap.
  • The idea of going to workout just isn’t appealing at 5pm.
  • I would much rather not miss out on happy hours and other social events because I know I should be at the gym.

I know that eating is half the battle with trying to lose weight. But the other half? Getting over this terrible hump of not wanting to work out. I might try going to a new location of my gym and see if it helps. A change of scenery is always good.

How have you gotten over your workout humps? Do you have a workout buddy? What keeps you going to the gym or running outside?

One Bite, One Decision Get Together

On Saturday I woke up ridiculously early (for a Saturday) and on my own mind you. I had set an alarm and somehow my internal clock was all I needed. I was both relieved and bummed for said internal clock.

In any case, my friend Jen over at Prior Fat Girl was putting on an event: One Bite, One Decision. This was an interesting event to attend because it clicked for me how incredibly logical all of this is. Don’t eat that which is over-processed, and bad for you. Also, don’t hate on yourself. But even more interesting? Holy crap, there were 39 other people in the room with me who have felt practically everything I have felt at one point or another so it was a comforting place to spend my Saturday morning.

Stacy from Kitchenwerks talked to us about grocery shopping. Really more than that, we talked about reading labels. How to read them and what ingredients to look for and on the flip side, what to avoid.

The wonderful Stacy.

So what did I learn from Stacy? The importance of planning meals. But not planning meals around the food I buy but rather plan my grocery list around the meal planning for the week. I think this is so important! I think I might actually save money doing this. Woo hoo!

All kinds of boxes of different foods – we were checking out the nutrition facts.

My dear Alexa was definitely perplexed by all of this.

Mary Langfield

Do you read Mary Langfield’s blog? It is jam packed with great blog posts and articles around being healthy and just beyond the eating – about how our emotions also play a part. Mary spent time with us talking about emotions we feel about ourselves as it relates to how we look or even how what we felt growing up has played a part in the unhealthy relationship we have with ourselves and food now.

And even our very own Jen welcomed everyone and did a great job introducing the guest speakers! It was great to see her whole family at the event – even Carlos!

So all attendees were very lucky to receive such a nice gift bag at the end!

Whoa, yummy stuff. I won’t lie, some of the stuff is missing because well, I got hungry. Whatcha’ gunna do?

I was both floored and excited by one particular item in the bag:

A Polar FT40. I’m really excited to put it to use this week! It may change the way I work out. I’ll be glad to rely on this versus relying on the machine that may or may not be tracking my calories burned accurately. I’m excited to see what I burn in Boot Camp!

Overall? Fun morning! Lots of great information, conversation and seeing friends!


Did you attend the event? Be sure to add your link below!

Click here to add your recap of the event!

Emotion Eating Wins This Round

It’s funny how easy it is to let emotions control the way a person eats, or even just the circumstance of life. Being on the go or waking up late and not having time to make lunch and the night before you got home late and wanted nothing but sleep. This has been my life for the past two weeks. It’s not bad, but it certainly is not good for someone who needs to planning her eats.

I went about three days and barely ate much but a banana or something similar because of stress. Stress tends to control my life. And then my stomach decided to release its knots and it was as if my body said, “yo, girlfriend, you haven’t eaten in DAYS, I would like to scarf anything in sight.” And you know what? I did. I can’t sit here and say I didn’t because the fact of the matter is, I failed.

Maybe fail is too strong of a word, but I fell of the path. I came home from work tonight and I took a deep breath before heading back out the door to get a much needed relaxing pedicure. And what did I do when I was making dinner after said pedicure? Yeah, I ate three Oreos. I realize it would be worse, but I was not happy with myself.

Deep breath.

I’m not perfect and I know this. It is just hard.

I got some news this week about some things I was pursuing professionally that was not GREAT, but I am ready to get my emotions back in control.

How’s that for vague?

my individual me.

Tonight, I was on the phone with my pal Kate and we were talking about the jerks (a term I use loosely) in our lives and I said something about how we can’t control the way we feel about things. What makes us laugh, cry, want to rip our hair out. We can’t control deeper emotions: who we love, who we don’t love, who makes the list of being a friend versus a lover and I am sure there is much more beyond that.

So, this morning I found myself standing in the mirror in my underwear after stepping off the scale (another 3 pound loss, by the way) and scrutinizing my entire body.

“These sure aren’t perky anymore.”

“My legs are too stumpy.”

“My arm flab is less, but it is still there.”

The list went on. I always find myself comparing my physical appearance against those around me and it kinda’ kills me. We are called indiviuals for a reasons and if I always find myself not allowing myself to be my individual self, I will never be happy. The emotions I feel when I stand in front of the mirror? Not entirely controlled. Hard as I try, I can’t get out of my own emotional head, unfortunately.

And to that I say: