Five Minute Friday: Park

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Park. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

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I’ve been lucky enough to have the second half of this work week off due to my town’s annual festival, The Pumpkin Show. Every year it seems to come at just the right time. I’ve gotten into a good routine with school and I’m starting to get a bit tired of all the energy that goes into being a teacher and mom all while trying to keep on top of the housework, cooking, and the never ending mound of laundry. The temperatures have been changing on top of all of my demands, and for about two weeks I’ve felt the tickling of germs in my throat just waiting for the right opportunity to spread into a full blown cold. I’ve diffused Essential Oils nightly to stave off any symptoms, but the true remedy for the way I have been feeling is a short break. Thank you, Pumpkin Show!

On Wednesday I kicked my break off with a run at a local park. I’ve been going to a cardio and strength class that my aunt teaches and that group decided to avoid the town’s festivities and run at a park just outside of the city. I woke up reluctantly on my first day of break, but I was so glad that I did.

For class that morning, we ran over two miles. Every quarter of a mile we stopped and did a variation of jump jacks, lunges, push ups, and crunches.

It had been so long since I ran. Over the summer I battled a bit with allergies which kept me from running. Instead, I turned to another way of getting myself in shape. I started attending classes once a week at my aunt’s place and found myself getting stronger and stronger. I was still taking time to focus on me and my fitness, but in a way totally foreign to me. I think that’s why I loved it.

I’m so glad that even though I was tired and feeling a little run down that I decided to start my break with an early morning at the park. The cool air and slight humidity felt good. The scene was beautiful as the trees around me were changing colors. The vibrancy of the colors added a little pep to my step. It was a day that reminded me of my love for running and the great outdoors.

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The Ameri Brit Mom

 

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Five Minute Friday: Lift

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Lift. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

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Over the course of the summer I have struggled with some serious allergy complications. I’ve seen several doctors, been prescribed countless medications, and even limited my exposure to the outdoors. I’m not 100% yet, but I’m much better than I was in May. It was during this season of my life, however, that I took the opportunity to try something new.

I’ve always been a runner. My exercise of choice has always involved lacing up a pair of running shoes and taking to the streets. This spring I even ran a Quarter Marathon (my first race since giving birth in 2012.) The trouble with running and allergies is that they don’t go well together. As my allergies were worsening this summer I went on a few runs where I had to stop because I couldn’t breath. It had become difficult to take deep breaths which is something imperative for distance running.

With the coercing of one of my doctors I decided to step away from running for a bit. I wasn’t banned from all exercise, but running was one of the worst things to participate in while nursing a chest infection and being prescribed daily albuterol.

At the time, I was in pretty decent shape. I could have just said, “Forget exercise,” and slipped back into one of my funks where I stop taking care of myself physically, but instead I decided to try a new method of exercise. My friend and I started using the app, SworkIt. This app helped me to build some strength in my arms, legs, and core without using any type of equipment. I highly recommend it because I saw results very quickly after using this daily.

In the beginning of the summer I was in England. While there I took part in a weekly Hoola Hoop Fitness class with my mother-in-law. Being a part of a fitness class for the first time inspired me to find a class when I returned to the states. I loved the positivity of working out with other people. As a runner I was a lone wolf. Something about being able to look across the room and share a look of agony with someone else helped to get me through each workout. There were other people in the room keeping me accountable and feeling the same pain as me.

My Aunt Andrea is an exercise enthusiast. She has been that way as long as I can remember. When I was growing up I used to go to her Jazzercise classes and babysit the children whose mothers were working out. She has since quit the Jazzercise scene, but has opened her own fitness group in my hometown. She is the co-owner of the group. They rent an old church basement and each day one of the three teachers hosts an evening class.

About a month ago I decided to give her class a try. My first class was a cardio class. It was so much fun. Andrea pushed me in new ways that I’ve never been pushed before. Sure, I can go out an run ten miles, but some of her cardio routines seemed harder than a long distance run.

Next, I tried a strength class. And I lifted handheld weights for the FIRST TIME! Someone should have told me that lifting is addicting. I never understood the Crossfit Movement until I felt the ache of having lifted. Now I want that every day!

I’m excited that I’ve found a new way to exercise and tone my body. Each day my allergies are getting better and I’m able to do more and more. I do plan to reintroduce running into my routine, however, I am excited to be able to switch between multiple workouts.

For those of you who are local readers and may want some information on Andrea’s class send me a comment or email and I will gladly pass it on!

 

Hoola Fit

One of my favorite parts of this summer’s stay in England has been my weekly Hoola Fit class with my Mother-in-Law. She has been taking the class since January so she has been kicking my butt. My first week was a bit rough, but each week I’ve progressed. I was bound and determined after a sixty year old woman out-hula’d me that I would work on my skills.

It may not seem that difficult, but one hour of continuous hula and cardio is one heck of a workout. At the end of each class I’m winded, sore, and ready for the five minute yoga cool down.

Once I thought I was doing well and catching on the instructor started having me throw in moves with the arms and legs, then pivots, and finally gallops all while keeping the hula hoop revolving around my core. My first week I spent much of the class just chasing my hoop, but with each week I’ve grown stronger.

I love the simplicity of this aerobic workout. All you need is a hoop and some good workout music!

The Ameri Brit Mom


 

The New Fitbit Alta

I’ve been an avid Fitbit user for two years. In 2014 I received a Fitbit Flex for my 24th birthday. For the past 730 days I’ve sported that thing almost every day. Challenging myself to hit daily and weekly goals has made using a Fitbit an enjoyable experience. Just the simple act of tracking fitness has given me the extra motivation it takes to maintain a healthy lifestyle. For example, where before I may have parked my car closest to the door to a shop I’ve now gotten into the habit of adding a bit of a walk whenever I can. Seeing my steps add up has given me a competitive spirit about working out and getting healthy. All of the tracking is made easy through Bluetooth syncing with the Fitbit App for my phone. The interface is easy to use and can be customized based on your personal fitness goals. Additionally I enjoy competing with friends and fellow Fitbit wearers through the App.

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For two years the Flex has served me well. I never had any trouble with charging, synching, or troubleshooting. It has been a faithful little device. However, this year Fitbit released a new model the Alta. And for my 26th birthday I decided to upgrade my workout device and I am now the proud owner of an Alta.

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Some major differences between the Flex and the Alta:

  1. The display screen-the old Flex model I had did not possess a display screen. Progress toward goals was displayed via dots which appeared when the device was tapped. The Alta screen displays a clock, step progress, battery life, and many other selected statistics. This is really nice because I can have a quick look at exactly how much physical activity I’ve completed each day.
  2. Auto detection– the new Alta recognizes the movements of your wrist and knows when you are looking at it. Each time you turn your wrist the clock or statistics automatically appear. The only tapping you must do with the device is the scroll between different stats (i.e. steps, calories, active minutes, etc.)
  3. Accessories– The Fitbit bands are all designed to be worn as an attractive accessory, however, the Alta has a little more flair to it. Not only do the bands come in multiple colors, but they come in multiple materials as well. Currently there are plastic, leather, and stainless steel bands for the Alta. They are all so cute!

If you have any questions about the Fitbit products I’ve reviewed please comment below and I will do my best to reply accordingly.

What product(s) do you use to stay motivated?

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Race Day Snapshots

This weekend I finished the Patron Quarter Marathon in Columbus. My official time was 1:08:57. I ran the race with my friend, Leah. We ran eleven minute miles fairly consistently until mile 5 and then we left all we had on that course and finished strong.

In the last mile I passed 97 people!!!!

This was a comeback run for me. I ran competitively in high school but haven’t done much running since and barely any at all since the birth of my daughter in 2012. Here is a look at some snapshots from the event.

I’m excited to journey back into running. I’m setting goals for better overall health and wellness and running is a big part of those goals.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Five Minute Friday: Pass

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Pass. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

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About a month and a half ago I got a random message from a friend I had lost connection with a few years ago. We hadn’t lost contact because of a falling out or a fight; life just got in the way for both of us. It was a Sunday night and my phone went off. In the message my friend asked me to run a quarter marathon (10k) with her on April 30.

My initial reaction: laughter.

I even read the message aloud to my husband in my most obnoxious scoffing voice.

I was not in shape and definitely had no business committing to a longer distance run at that point. Exercise was not on my radar at all. However, something inside me told me that this request was not one to pass up. Attached to the run came an opportunity to reconnect with someone I used to adore. Attached to the run came the chance to say that I was able to accomplish something I wasn’t sure I would ever do again. Attached to the run came all the emotions and anxiety that had held me back for so long. I gave my heart a moment to process the consequences of getting back into running competitively.

And even though every part of my brain wanted to send back an emoji of crying laughter I decided to type three simple letters in my response. I said “yes.”

Tomorrow is race day and I feel confident that I will make it to the finish line. All I needed was the accountability of a race and a race day companion to remind myself that this was once a passion of mine. I’m not out to break any records tomorrow, in fact I plan to take it nice and slow and soak up every moment. This is an experience I’m so thankful I didn’t pass up on.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Work IT

Work IT

 

As many of you know I’ve taken the plunge and am in the midst of a couch to 10k training regimen. In less than two weeks I will be competing with thousands of other runners in the Columbus Cap City Half Marathon/Patron Quarter Marathon. Now while I’m not looking to break any records I have enjoyed the journey to getting back into shape. There have been some ups and downs, but I’m glad that I’ve gotten back into the habit of running on a regular basis.
Running has always been an outlet for me. It’s a chance for me to take a time out from whatever is going on to focus on myself. Some days those running breaks last longer than others, but each run requires a few essentials to make it happen.
First and foremost I have a supportive family who has committed to giving me the opportunities to run daily. They challenge me to be my best and pick up the slack when I’m too tired or sore to do anything post-run.
Besides the amazing support coming from my husband and daughter I’ve relied heavily on a few devices to get me through my workouts. As you can see above, I’m kind of in a pink mood. My current fitbit cover is pink, my iPhone armband is pink, my hairbands are pink, and in a perfect world I would also have a pink flipbelt. (I don’t currently own one, but boy do I wish I did!)
What are your workout essentials?
The Ameri Brit Mom

Five Minute Friday: Easy

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Easy. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

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As an adult very few things come easy.

I can remember in high school taking months off from working out and being able to pick up where I left off. Running came easily. Working out wasn’t a struggle. Finding time to invest in my physical health was simple. School and friends were my only distractions.

Now, is quite the opposite. I’ve been trying to get in shape for a race (6.5 miles) I may end up doing with a friend. I’ve had to plan in advance and re-arrange my days in order to complete short runs. Plotting physical activity requires so much more than getting dressed for the exercise. Now that I’m a mother it requires childcare and making sure I still have time in my day to cook, clean, work, and fulfill all of my duties as a wife and mother.

Once I do find myself in a pocket of time set aside for running there is a brand new problem that comes with being an adult. Running is hard! As a petite high school student I was able to run long distances with mild levels of exhaustion and discomfort. Now, it’s an accomplishment to run two miles without contracting knee pain or shin splints. I don’t pay attention to the clock. It’s embarrassing. As long as I’m trying my best and getting good cardio through a heightened heart rate I’ll take whatever time I can.

Easy is not a word I would use to describe my road to getting in shape. But valuable is. Getting back into a regular routine of working out is valuable to my health and well-being and for that reason I will continue.

I’m back at it again. This isn’t easy. But I have resolved to not be too hard on myself and to enjoy getting back in shape.

 

Workout Routine

Recently, I have been contacted by a company called ETB Fit. They had a couple of questions for me so I will share some of those responses in this post.

  • What foods do you eat pre workout?

  • I think it is really important to eat healthy. Not only for the sake of getting the most out of your workout, but for your overall health. I’ve experienced the side effects of eating a diet high in fat and oils and it is not worth it. It caused a lot of illness and pain in my life that was unnecessary. For me personally I like to eat bananas before a workout because they help prevent cramping as well as other natural energy producing fruits and grains (Cliff Bars, peanuts, Cheerios…etc)
  • What do you listen to during your workout?

  • I am a book nerd. I read or write during every spare moment I get and even during the times I should be doing something else. When it comes to working out I like to find an audio book on my iPhone and listen as I exercise. I put in my earbuds and push play. Most recently I listened to the book, We Were Liars while using the elliptical. It was fantastic and it kept me feeling balanced. I didn’t have the feeling like I was missing out on one thing I loved because I chose to do another that day. I’m a busy mom and I hate feeling like I have to choose between reading, writing, or working out each day. That;s why I enjoy pairing audio books with working out.

  • How do you switch up certain routines daily/weekly to stay motivated?

  • In my planner I set up a system of alternation. Some days I set aside for running and others I work out on the elliptical. Occassionally I throw in days where I do work out videos and build strength. It all depends on what I am focusing on at the time which all comes back to the goals I set for myself. When it comes to working out it is crucial to constantly write goals for yourself. For me, if I don’t have short and long term goals to focus on I’m less likely to be motivated to do the working out.
  • What do you eat or do after your workout to make sure you got the most out of your workout?

  • I tend to wrap up a workout with a cold bottle of Gatorade. I have hypoglycemia and tend to lose a lot of blood sugar during a good workout so replenishing with water alone can leave me a little light headed for a couple of hours and can lead to head aches as well.

As a working mother it is so easy to lose focus on myself and take care of my own body. For a very long time I put myself on the back burner and worried more about giving my child healthy foods and exercise and less about my own dietary and fitness needs. It’s been a journey of ups and downs, but I am finally at a place where I feel okay with what I look like. I would still love to get into better shape, and my new goals should help me do that. If you have any of your own fitness rituals or routines that  you would like to share please do so below in the comment box.

The Non-Existent Workout

When I began blogging I set some personal goals. I was even bold enough to publish many of those goals and I am here to tell you that I have been very successful in progressing toward some of the ambitions I set out to accomplish. Well, in most areas. I’ve found in reality that when you make something a priority that it usually comes with a trade-off be that time or costs. Recently, as I’m sure you can gather I have tried to intentionally stay focused on reading and writing. Literature is a love and passion of mine and so I have fervently been working to write and read more regularly. It’s been great and I’ve really enjoyed some of the doors that have opened for me because of my pursuit of these things in my life.

However, the trade-off in my circumstance has been my fitness. I’ve been lucky to complete two workouts a week over the past month or so. I’ve shifted my gaze and spent time elsewhere and I can definitely feel that decision wearing on my body. I feel the bloating reality that I need to get in better shape and pay more attention to the foods that I eat and the exercise regimens I complete. I am bothered with the aches and pains associated with not stretching properly and becoming weak. If only I could have a personal trainer show up at my house everyday and take me through a series of workouts while also cleaning my house, feeding my daughter, and doing the laundry…one day. (Hey, a girl can dream!)

The decision to make my fitness an obsolete idea was not a conscious one. I really do desire to be the healthiest me that I can be, but as a mother with a full-time job beyond motherhood I am learning that you always overestimate the time in a day. I always tell myself I’ll workout after… and then never get around to it.

“I’ll run a couple miles after my daughter falls asleep.”

“I’ll do a thirty minute workout on the treadmill once I do the laundry.”

“I’ll complete a Jillian Michaels routine after I read a couple of chapters.”

I am the queen of excuses these days. Even right now I’m thinking, “I’ll do a quick workout once I blog about how I haven’t been working out.” The irony!

That being said, I think it is high time to lace up my abandoned trainers and motivate myself with a color coordinated workout outfit. I’m all about being the best me I can be and neglecting my fitness is never going to help me attain that goal.

Who’s with me?

And…how do you motivate yourself?!?