Glycemic Index

Greetings from Connecticut! I made it to my parents’ house yesterday evening after a surprisingly easy drive from Alexandria. I thought I would hit major traffic but there were no delays and I made the drive in under 7 hours. Not bad!

While I’m here I will be starting a diet and exercise program with my CrossFit gym back in Virginia Beach. I attended an info session on Saturday and after learning about the plan, I was in.

The program is 7 weeks long and includes both diet and exercise. Since we are all CrossFitters, we are obviously doing CrossFit several times a week, but the program includes supplemental WOD’s which all of the participants are doing in addition to our regular workouts. There are two supplemental WOD’s per day, an a.m. one and a p.m. one. Each workout is about 10 minutes long and focused on core strengthening exercises such as planks, burpees, mountain climbers, grasshoppers, v-sits and tons of other fun stuff.

While the WOD’s sounded great, the nutrition part of the program is what really intrigued me. If you read my post about my goals for the month of May, you already know that I have been working to reduce my sugar intake. Unfortunately, it turns out that I have very little self control when it comes to cookies and fro-yo.

The diet plan that goes along with the weight loss challenge focuses on low-sugar, low glycemic index foods. Why is that important? Let me share the science behind this, which I learned from my awesome coach who put this program together.

When we eat sugar, it is quickly converted in glucose, which dissolves into our bloodstreams and spikes our blood sugar levels. When our blood sugar levels spike, our bodies release insulin, which is not great for weight loss. There are two reasons for this:

1. Insulin reduces the amount of glucose in our bloodstream, diverting it to various body tissue for immediate short-term use OR storing it as fat. So, unless you’re going to hop on the treadmill immediately after eating a package of M&M’s, and I mean immediately, because that glucose needs to be used up FAST, then your body will store those calories as fat. That is why endurance athletes basically consume pure sugar during their events- it is quick energy- but it is gone just as fast.

2. Insulin inhibits the conversion of body fat back into glucose for the body to burn, making it even harder to shed body fat.

So, by consuming foods that are low on the glycemic index, you will get longer lasting energy from your food, therefore feeling fuller for longer. Low-glycemic index foods include steel cut oats, quinoa, apples, berries, almonds, lean meats and most vegetables. These foods are low in sugar and high in fiber and protein, making them great for energy and satiety.

The plan also includes calorie counting, because ultimately you must expend more calories than you consume to lose weight. It stinks, but it’s the truth. The plan suggests that everyone hover around 2,000 calories, but since I am so small (I am only 5 feet tall, people) I know that I won’t lose weight at that number, so I am sticking with 1600.

I am hoping this plan will give me the structure I need to reign in my sugar cravings and lose a few stubborn pounds. Yesterday was day one and it went really well. The workouts were killer, the meals were tasty and I felt full and energized throughout the day.

I’ll be sharing some of the meals and workouts in the next few weeks and keep you posted on how it goes. Wish me luck!

Have you ever tried or heard of the low-glycemic index diet??? What do you think of it?

A Cure for Treadmill Boredom

Hello, hello! If your holiday weekend has begun already like mine, happy weekend! If not, hang in there, you’re almost there!

Brian and I have some exciting plans for this weekend. We’re heading up to our old stomping grounds in Alexandria, Va. tomorrow after a special CrossFit class (more on that another time) for the weekend. Then on Memorial Day I will be braving the traffic to drive up to Connecticut to stay with my family for three weeks while Brian is in a training school in Quantico, Va. I am so lucky to have a job that allows me to travel whenever I want to – as long as I can bring my computer.

I’ve got some big plans for while I’m in Connecticut:

  • Buying a new car! (hence the 9-hour drive rather than a quick flight)
  • Trying a new CrossFit gym
  • Spending time with family and friends
  • Cuddling with my family’s adorable pooches, a Bichon named Porkchop and a teeny-tiny poodle named Lily
  • Baking!!!! I have I so missed having an oven. I will be baking inappropriate amounts of delicious treats and bringing them back to Virginia Beach.
  • Downloading $100 million worth of books onto my mom’s IPad and holding it hostage for the duration of my stay

I’m going to miss my hubby, but I am really excited to get to spend some time with my family and friends. My schedule has been so crazy that I’ve only spent a total of about seven days in my hometown in the last two years!

Anywayssss, after all of that blabbering, it’s finally time to get to the title of the post, treadmill boredom. I often suffer from treadmill ADD when I go to the gym. Even if I’ve got a good book on the IPad or something good on t.v., I really can’t handle more than 45 minutes on the treadmill without going nuts. After that point, I start counting down the 0.01 miles on the treadmill which just makes the workout feel a billion times longer and more difficult.

Whenever I’m feeling especially ADD, like I was yesterday, I come up with a fun treadmill workout to keep things interesting. Yesterday’s workout was a good mix of jogging, sprinting and walking on some serious hills.

Because I am a huge dork, I like having some sort of “scheme” to my treadmill workouts. The idea behind this one was matching the sprint speed to the hill incline, which gave me something to mix up on the treadmill settings every minute or two and kept my boredom at bay. The walking portions of the workout did feel a little tedious compared to the sprints, which just flew by. This workout covered 3.5 miles including warm up and cool down in about 40 minutes and got me nice and sweaty.

If you want to try it out, please feel free to adjust the settings to your fitness level.

I’m off to do a fun partner WOD at CrossFit and then spend the rest of the day being a beach bum.

Enjoy your weekend!

How do you battle treadmill boredom???
Pandora, books and music on the IPad, and switching up the speeds and inclines

Dog Day

Happy Saturday! Don’t you just love Saturdays? They are my favorite day of the week. To me, Saturday is the only day that is 100 percent weekend.

Brian and I woke up bright and early this morning to participate in the EQUI-KIDS 5k Cross Country Run here in Virginia Beach. EQUI-KIDS is a local organization that provides therapeutic riding programs for the special needs community. The run was held at EQUI-KIDS’ 92-acre facility, which meant we were running on trails and around the riding facilities and benefitting a great cause. Double-score!

The run was definitely more of a “fun run” than a competitive race, which was perfectly fine with me. I just realized as I was writing this that this was my first race of any sort in almost a year and a half! I was just itching to do some sort of race and this was the perfect way to ease back into that.

The race was fairly small, with only 272 finishers, but the narrow trails were jam-packed as we were starting out. I wasn’t too frustrated by the crowds since I knew I wasn’t going to PR on the soft trails anyways, so I just focused on enjoying myself and the scenery.

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I ended up finishing in 29:18 with a 9:27 pace, which was little slower than I’d expected, but not surprising with all of the congestion throughout the race. I placed 6th in my age group, which sounds pretty impressive until I tell you there were only 37 runners in that category. Whatever, I’ll take it!

After the race came the real action – and my true motive for singing up for this particular race – the Hound Run! Runners could also sign up to run with their dogs on a 1-mile course. Of course I was there to watch all of the sweet pups come bounding toward the finish line.

There were big dogs:

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Small dogs:

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And everything in-between:

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Have I mentioned how badly I want a dog? I am obsessed with dogs, but we can’t get one until we move into a bigger place in the fall, so for now I just have to stalk other people’s pooches. I am especially obsessed with pugs, French bulldogs and Pekingese, but I love all breeds, so if any of you have adorable dogs that you would like to send me pictures of, I will be happy to tell you how cute your dogs are and maybe even post their pictures on the blog!

After the Hound Run, Brian and I headed over to the stables to meet some of the horses. Brian loves horses and used to go riding a lot. I, on the other hand, am terrified of anything bigger than a Great Dane and almost had a panic attack the one time I rode a horse (in Costa Rica during a thunder storm). I did manage to muster up the courage to pet this sweet pony though.

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All that Bananas was concerned with, however, was trying to drink Brian’s complimentary Yuengling. No joke, that horse (pony?) wanted some of that delicious brew. P.S., my husband is not an alcohol who normally drinks at 9 a.m., but we got free drink tickets with our race registration and didn’t want them to go to waste 🙂

This was a really fun event and a great way to start a Saturday. Next on our list is CrossFit, beach time and dinner at a new restaurant. See ya!

Copperhead Snakes and a Japanese Garden

It’s a weird post title, I know, but it will all make sense in a minute.

I decided to do some exploring today and headed to a nearby park to go for a run outside in this beautiful weather. The Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation Department website claimed that Redwing Park was 97 acres in size and had a mile-long trail. A 3-mile run sounded perfect for today so I figured I would jog the trail a few times.

I arrived at the park and my first thought was that it seemed a lot smaller than 97 acres, but oh well. I also realized that the trail was not so much a trail as a poorly maintained path through the woods. I was jumping over logs and sort of foraging my own path the entire way, which would’ve been fine for a walk but it made running a little difficult. I basically just wandered around the woods for half an hour, sometimes following a path, sometimes not. The thought occurred to me that this may not have been the best idea since I was alone and get lost really easily, but I pushed that thought out of my head and kept trucking on.

After I was done playing Pocahontas, I emerged from the woods and nearly ran into a park ranger who stopped me and asked exactly where I had come from. I pointed to the wooded area behind me and was then informed to be careful since he had just spotted a huge copperhead snake where I had just been running. Scary!

I was a little freaked out by that, especially since I was by myself and there were hardly any people around to hear my cries if I did get bitten by a snake. Luckily, I found a nice little place to recover from my mini panic attack when I discovered that the park had a cute Japanese rock garden.

According to one of the plaques, Virginia Beach is the sister city of Miyazaki, Japan. Who knew?

The garden was so pretty with lots of different foliage and a little pond with a waterfall. The space was quiet and relaxing and I wished I could hang out there all day.

Please know that I do not have a disgusting rash on my chest, I just get splotchy there when i run.

Anyone know how to read Chinese?

Unfortunately, there was this little thing called work that required me to head back home.

All in all, I would say my trip to the park was a success. I spent some time outside, broke a sweat and discovered a cool new place. I probably won’t go back for a run, but I will definitely be dragging Brian there for a stroll through the garden and perhaps a little meditation. He’s gonna LOVE that bahaha.

Enjoy your the rest of your Tuesday!

May Goals

Spring has officially arrived and the weather is definitely heating up here in Va. Beach. The temperature reached 85 today according to my car, where it feels like about a thousand degrees because my AC is terrible.

It was even nice and steamy during my cardio workout this morning because some genius at the Dam Neck fitness center thought it would be a good idea to keep the doors open and let all of the nice cool AC air out of the gym. I was sweating like a beast on the treadmill and was extra grateful that I had remembered to bring a towel.

The start of a new month also means some new goals around here. Here are my goals for the month of May:

1. Drink 80 ounces of water per day 

I’m thirsty basically all of the time so usually this is an easy one for me, but ever since I lost my beloved Camelback sippy water bottle and switched to this guy:

It has a has a water filter built in, which is pretty cool, but difficult to gulp from.

I haven’t been consuming nearly as much water. I’m going to make a trip to Target tomorrow and get another sippy. It’s more fun to drink out of a straw, and that’s a fact.

I want to get this model in either pink or orange.

2. Reduce my sugar intake

I recently started tracking my food with the MyFitnessPal app on my iPad and was shocked to see that I take in a whopping 100 grams of sugar per day on average. That is THREE times the recommended amount for a 1500-calorie diet (diet meaning the food you consume, I am NOT on a “diet” diet).  Most of that sugar is from fruit, which isn’t as bad as processed sugar, but it’s still a little too much for my liking. I’m going to aim to cut that in half and keep it down to 50 grams per day.

3. Run a 5k with Brian

Brian and I have never run a race together, and for good reason. He is a little speed demon and my lil legs just can’t keep up. We tried to go on a few runs together back in the day and our drastically mismatched paces meant an extremely unpleasant running experience for me and for him as a lot of crankiness and verbal abuse were aimed in poor Brian’s direction.

Bri-Bri after his first triathlon. Who wouldn’t want to run a race with this lil stud muffin?

Ever since we started CrossFitting together though I’ve realized I really do like working out with him, so I want to do a 5k together, but just not run together the whole time. Scratch that, I won’t be able to keep up with him past the starting line, but it will be nice to know he’ll be waiting for me at the finish line.

Filthy Fifty

completed my first CrossFit benchmark WOD on Friday and can honestly say it was one of the hardest workouts of my life. The Filthy Fifty kicked my butt.

The workout consisted of the following exercises completed as quickly as possible:

50 box jumps, 20-inch box

50 jumping pullups

50 kettlebell swings, 26-pound kettlebell

50 walking lunges

50 knees to elbows

50 push press, 35-pound barbell

50 back extensions

50 wall balls, 8-pound ball

50 burpees

50 double unders (or 100 singles)

The weights listed are the weights that I did for the workout, some of which were way below the prescribed weight, but I modified for my skill/strength level so that I could do everything with good form. I also haven’t mastered double unders yet so I did 100 single jump ropes instead.

I felt pretty strong during the first few exercises, but by the time I got to the burpees I was completely exhausted. The thought of doing 50 burpees seemed impossible at that point and I really wanted to quit. I was in burpee hell and hating everyone and everything. Brian and my coach tried to cheer me on, but I just glared at them and made my way to the other side of the gym to suffer in peace. I can be a very cranky CrossFitter.

I finally finished in 35:43 and proceeded to collapse in a heap on the floor of the gym. I always thought that when I saw people doing this they were being dramatic, (do your three-to-five minute cool-down, people!) but now I understand. All I wanted to do was lie down, cry tears of joy and drink a coconut water. In that order.

Two days later, I am still walking like an old lady because my calves are so sore. My chest, shoulders, lats and abs also took a beating, so a rest day was definitely in order for today. I’m starting to accept constant soreness as a part of life now, but I guess five days of CrossFit a week will do that to ya, huh?

Lookin’ Good

After three days of rainy, chilly weather, the sun is finally out again. Hallelujah! Nice weather always makes me feel happier and more productive.

I spent this morning working away at the computer, so a mid-day trip to the beach sounded like a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the beautiful weather. I thought about going to for a run, but I’m really looking forward to the workout that we’re doing tonight at Crossfit and wanted to save my energy for that, so I opted for a walk on the beach instead.

It’s 63 degrees and breezy out (according to weather.com) so I put on leggings and hoodie and headed across the street to the beach. I thought it would feel chilly, but with the sunshine I actually started getting pretty hot and was sweating a good bit only halfway through my walk.

I didn’t want to get too sweaty and have to shower since I knew I would need to shower after Crossfit tonight, so I decided to bite the bullet and do something I normally avoid doing at all costs. I rocked the coolest look known to man: the hoodie tied around the waist.

You better believe I felt like the coolest girl in the world as I power-walked along the beach looking like this. To top it all off, I was listening to the “Twilight” soundtrack.  Yes, I am this awesome person.

Luckily, the beach was completely empty except for me and one crazy surfer (the water in Virginia is FREEZING), so there was no one to witness this stylish ensemble. After a brisk 40 minute-walk, I headed back home (aka the hotel.)

Now it’s time for me to grab some lunch and get back to work. Enjoy the rest of your day!