Posts Tagged With: stairs

Friday Fitness week 4 – Carmel fluffa mocha Frapajazz

We’re heading into our 4th week! By now you should be feeling a difference, even if it’s in your head, a shift is always a boost of encouragement… and if you’re just now joining us, welcome!

I’ve been successful at the walking and stair climbs! Our little girl has been growing and becoming more aware of when moms not around so last week I thought, meh, why not take her with me? So at 5am I strapped her in and up we went! Below is the view from the top, that’s something to work for! The selfies are us before and after the climb, clearly she really wore herself out being my workout partner!

This week I challenge you to 3 separate workouts, none of these require a gym, tons of time or much of anything besides a little effort and some motivation. Click here to see your options on the workout page of Self.com. There’s an uncountable amount of choices that range in difficulty and the time needed to complete them. So pick 3 (and actually do them) within the next 6 days! I brought my phone to our little local gym and followed one of the workouts (that I could actually achieve with my kangaroo holding on). Although it’s adorable, I didn’t push myself to the max… next time I’ll leave her with daddy.

Last week I brought up the not-so-secret health risks of Aspartame with the promise to do more research on other competitive artificial sweeteners. After scanning dozens of websites ranging from claimed scientific facts to general public opinions, I fell upon a blogger that said it best. Wellnessmomma has hundreds of health related articles but this one was spot on.

One of her bullet points really struck home with me because I know I’m guilty of falling into the “trick”. She stated, “Studies found that ingesting artificial sweeteners can interfere with the signal loop and can cause over eating. One study found that (in rats) eating foods or drinks that are sweet but contain no calories tricks the brain into thinking that they should keep eating”. Even if you’re consciously aware of this, it doesn’t stop the chemical reaction in your brain. Over time, your natural ability to taste real sugar and know when enough is enough slowly diminishes. Scary but true.

I once did 30 days with no sugar and minimal salt. Limiting myself to only vegetables, beans, grains and nuts with small portions of fruit. By the end of that month, celery was salty to me and a mango was barely edible due to sweetness. I finally understood the people I’ve always been jealous of… those who could have one bite of chocolate and call it good for dessert…. you know the ones, “I don’t really have a sweet tooth” blah blah blah (eyes rolling here).

I’ve come to the conclusion that if you want something sweet, eat the real stuff in moderation. Why not enjoy the pure richness of a true treat rather the gut filling large quantity of a fake one. A scoop of authentic gelato verses a mixing bowl of sugar free ice cream or a piece of your favorite dark chocolate verses an entire sugar free candy-bar. You get it, so try it!

This week in the nutrition department, I’m going to wrap up the whole sugar/sweetener debate. Personally I’d rather take on the calories from a sweet bite of real food, than challenge my body to the chemically modified, questionable ingredients with the risk of long term illness and side effects. However if you must inch over into the world of sweetness, here’s a simple chart to help your decision.

As a whole, let’s challenge ourselves to simply avoid the sweets all together. Can we survive one week of what it was like before advertised junk even existed? My Grams told me of the days when honey on a biscuit was a rare treat, when you saved your only piece of bubble gum for a special occasion and lemonade was made with lemons, not sugar water!

Imagine what a Carmel fluffa mocha Frapajazz would taste like after drinking straight black coffee for a week!? So this week is fruit, that’s all folks. Are you up for the challenge? I am! I just lied to you. I’m not up for it. Honestly I could go for a homemade cookie and chocolate almond milk as I write this. But if I did everything I wanted to, who knows where my world would be! So, it’s on… let’s do it. Fruit will be my only sugar until we meet again.

This weeks homework:

1. Choose 3 workouts from the link here and dig in!

2. Give your taste buds and organs a break, avoid sugar for 7 days!

Wrapping up our lifestyle changes so far:

1. Use the stairs every chance you get!

2. Stick to the single serving amount or less.

3. Play with pop-cycle sticks and actually use them!

4. Consume products that are closest to their original state!

5. Avoid artificial sweeteners found in most sugar free products.

6. Walk as much as you can at every opportunity!

7. Clean out your system of sugar, stick with fruit!

8. Pick 3 workouts a week and give it all you got!

Categories: Fitness, Fitness Friday’s!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Friday fitness – week 2! Pickin’ up sticks

How’d the stairs treat ya… better yet, how did you treat the stairs? Hopefully it got your heart rate up and your legs a little wobbly. More than anything, I would love to know that it kick started the fitness wheel for you and now it’s rolling!

This week I’m introducing one of my favorite tricks to sneak in a few extra moments that burns calories and maintains strength. Like any other activity, it only works if you do it!

I used pop-cycle sticks, you can find these in the art section of any store that has an art section. Note: I don’t suggest going to the freezer aisle and buying a jumbo pack of fudge-cycles to eat and save the sticks, it made me sick.

Feel free to change the number amount of each movement to better suit your fitness level.

There’s 2 ways I find this little dandy works best for me.

1. On a day off around the house or while you’re getting ready for work, set a timer for every 30 (or 15 or 45) minutes. Every time it sounds, grab a stick or 3 and have at it! This dilutes the overwhelming task and doesn’t consume your entire morning or evening.

2. Set a timer for 30 minutes (or 15 or an hour) and plow through as many sticks as you can!

Another idea (that I rarely do but love it when I do) is to partner up! Find a friend and take turns pulling sticks. A bit more entertaining when you’re either wishing for an easy one or watching your partner endure a hard one!

Write this down and prop it up next to your stick jar!

-“everyone works out when they want to, determined people do it even when they don’t want to!

Last week we practiced portion control by being more aware of the nutrition facts and quantity suggested per serving. Continuing on that track, this week start by looking at the ingredients. If there are more than 6 ingredients or anything you can’t pronounce (properly) then don’t even waste your time with the serving size… just put it back and find something else.

Let’s try keeping our food intake as close to its natural state as possible. If you’re in a hurry and starving at a gas station, reach for the bag of nuts or fruit verses the yogurt covered pretzels, “baked” chips or trail mix. Sure those options sound healthier than a Butterfinger, but look at the ingredients, it can be so deceiving!

This weeks homework:

1. Create your collection of sticks with a variety of workouts and use them!

2. Read the ingredients before looking at the nutrition facts. Less is more!

Wrapping up our lifestyle changes so far:

1. Use the stairs every chance you get!

2. Stick to the single serving amount or less.

3. Play with pop-cycle sticks and actually use them!

4. Consume products that are closest to their original state!

Have you taken your original starting picture? I hope so because next week we take another one!

I’ll have to admit this past week has been a struggle for me with family in town and a thousand mile road trip to see more family! Here’s a sneak preview of the love Shanti has been surrounded with! Next post, family adventures!

Categories: Edibles!, Fitness, Fitness Friday’s!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fitness Friday – week 1!

I walked into the gym feeling the way maybe a 30 year old would feel on the first day back to school – collage, teacher, desk, notebook… got it. Gym, treadmill, weights, machines… got it, now what? I’ll have to admit I was ready to post this first workout like a champ from the fitness center, but something changed the moment I walked into the gym. For what it’s worth I laughed when I did an about face. I didn’t even fake like I left something in my car or got a sudden stomach bug, I just laughed like I had lost my mind and walked out.

Needless to say this lead me to the perfect beginning place, a quiet empty space in which I had nowhere to go but up, literally. The stairwell! We’re currently living in a 19 story high-rise building that has a small gym and also an inviting set of steps that has become my new best friend.

Reasons I love stairs

1. You’re going somewhere (no thanks to you treadmills).

2. It’s super for the legs without destroying your knees or lower back.

3. You can vary the workout! I’ll sprint up one flight for cardio, skip a step with slow movements for a butt burn or stay on my toes for a calf tightening.

4. Nobody is standing there waiting for you to finish so they can do it.

So this week my physical challenge to you is to find stairs. The local school stadium, a nearby hotel, the mall, the park, etc. they’re out there, just look! If you live in a cow town and the only steps you have are the 6 leading up to the library, use them! I’ve also taken every chance to use stairs even when there’s an escalator or elevator available. If you want an extra challenge, incorporate some movements at the bottom or top of the climb. I did this in an airport back in Da Nang, Vietnam (while waiting for my flight to Ho Chi Minh) .

Food, we gotta eat! This subject is tricky since it seems these day there are uncountable amounts of diets, ideas and theories. None of that, too much of this, avoid those, eat that but only if it’s prepared this way…. it’s endless! I’m going to keep it general this week and invite you into the world of portion control. No matter what your diet might be, let’s pay attention to the quantity.

Just because they’re organic, whole grain, sugar free and tasteless (not a typo) doesn’t mean you should eat them by the buckets. If it’s 100 calories per serving and 10 pieces is a serving and there’s 6 servings per container, guess what… if you sit and watch Netflix while finishing the box of your “healthy” snack, you’ve consumed a solid amount of your daily caloric intake. A trainer once told me, “just because it’s a gluten free donut doesn’t mean it’s not a donut”. (This was after I was trying to justify my dairy free frozen treat).

Here’s a prime example – I found an “all natural vanilla” because it appears innocent and sounds like a decent choice (I know ice cream shouldn’t really be in a “diet” but for those of you who like your desserts, this is for you). Let’s look at the label:

Without even analyzing the actual “nutrition facts”, start by looking at the serving size. It’s an itty bitty 1/2 cup. Not a bowl, not even a coffee cup size but a half of a measured cup. If you’re not a baker, go get a real measuring device and see what your serving of ice cream really looks like. Then look at the label again, 12 servings!! So if you finish this dandy container over the weekend, you’ve consumed 1,560 calories – 720 of those are from fat and 168 grams of sugar! Thats 6x the amount of sugar you’re generally supposed to max out at per day… total! (You should gasp in disbelief here).

Point is, be aware of what you’re eating. Put a proper portion (or less) on your plate, then enjoy. Don’t invite the temptation for just a few more. This especially includes eating out. Try ordering your meal with a to-go box. If you feel like a nerd doing this, just remind yourself that whoever is judging you is either A- jealous that they don’t have the willpower or B- impressed that you do. When the dish comes, keep a healthy portion on your plate and put the rest in the box for later. DO NOT go for the doggy bag while in the restaurant, you’re not starving nor will your leftovers dissolve before getting to finish them. You can do it!

This weeks HOMEWORK:

1. Snap a photo of your beautiful self. This will be the “starting” photo of our journey. In a swimsuit, your undies, a mini dress, a speedo, birthday suit, whatever… this is for you!

2. Take 3 minutes of your day (today) and record the following. We will use this as a simple guide to gage improvement. Every 2 weeks, we’ll do it again to see how amazing our endurance can increase with a little effort.

Set a timer for 1 minute and count how many pushups you can do. Then again for squats and burpees. Even if you do 4 and the rest for 30 seconds and do 4 more, just keep attempting for the entire 2 minutes. Write it down and store away with that glorious photo you just took.

3. Embrace full awareness of everything that goes into your mouth… No handfuls, quick bites or food straight from the container. Please measure, save leftovers and consume only what’s needed.

This week I’ll be repeating these two phrases when I feel tempted to either skip a workout or eat just a little more:

-everyone works out when they want to, determined people do it even when they don’t want to!

-a moment on the lips is a month on the hips 😬

Have a super week!

Please note, I am not a doctor, nutritionist, personal trainer, life coach or any other label that would give the idea that I’ve been properly trained in the world of food and fitness. I’m just a girl who loves both subjects that’s willing to share my ideas along the journey.

Categories: Edibles!, Fitness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Barbados behind the lense of Craigg Basham

So my buddy shows up with a tiny piece of luggage, an awesome attitude and a camera the size of my head. Instead of posting details of where each photo is taken, I simply invite you to appreciate the vision behind his lense. Craigg (seen before in This girls on fire and Cliffs, caves and fish cakes) was able to capture some amazing shots that should be on postcards in my opinion.

Every photo you’re about to view came from him and that grown up camera of his. Other work by this artist can be viewed on doublegphotography.smugmug.com or on Instagram @ craiggjb_

Enjoy! 


…but wait, there’s more! 


Recognize the beauty below? You’ve seen the interior and the luxury that comes with it if you read the post, We aren’t gauranteed someday.

Did someone say a lime by the pool?! Yep. Craigg is the only one looking at the camera. Well done sir… Well done!

He even caught me in a couple unexpected moments. Kind of forces a deep breath every time I look at them.


Craigg wrote: As my 10 day trip comes to a close. I can’t help but thank the amazing human being responsible for my being here. We met during my time in Japan and have been friends ever since. She’s been such a gracious host, tour guide, and most importantly; an incredible friend. She showed me the island, introduced me to her friends and I was able to see the island life in a way only locals can. I’m eternally grateful for the hospitality shown. Thank you, Erika. May you always have happiness in your pocket and you’ll forever be the girl on fire (inside jokes) lol. 

Dear Craigg, you were such a wonderful guest (turned roommate) and I want to thank for your easy going attitude and flexibility while learning what “island time” truly means. Your fancy camera exposed the beauty I’ve always seen here and the time you took to capture it, I am so grateful for. It was also a familiar vibe to have someone around that actually got my one liners and could dish em’ right back! Thank you for playing that song every morning for me and finally, because of you… I now giggle every time it rains and I have to reach down to turn on the winesheild wipers. “Sweet mercy, please no! Ugh raaaaashole!”

Categories: Art, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Work out and rest up in Asian airports

I haven’t been posting much on the specific topic of fitness from a backpack, so I thought I’d share a quick workout that not only gives the body some activity, but helps pass the time during long layovers.

Step one: Search the airport for an open area with minimal people (for their safety and yours) with different heights to work off of. Ex: chairs, stools, curbs, poles, planters, etc.

20131114-211428.jpg

Da Nang, Vietnam (waiting for my flight to Ho Chi Minh)

I scored on this one as I found a huge stair case, bonus! What’s this at the bottom? An empty gate with several seats, double bonus!

20131114-211933.jpg

Since the workouts themselves weren’t going to be the most intense, I used the staircase for an interval style of training. A set of chair reps followed by a sprint up the stairs followed by a “break” walking back down the steps.

20 lunges per leg…

20131114-221251.jpg

Then sprint up!

20131114-211925.jpg

20 push-ups… Sprint!

20131114-222656.jpg

40 dips… Sprint!

20131114-222419.jpg

100 Flutter kicks… Sprint!

20131114-223104.jpg

Repeat 3x’s (or until they announce “final call” for your flight, then you finish with a sprint to the gate while searching your carry-on bag for your boarding pass and trying not to loose your flips). I made it.

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam (waiting for my flight to Bangkok)

I didn’t find a wicked stair case or an empty terminal, but I did come across a bare wall standing next to a step. Success!

Calve raises

20131114-231440.jpg

Wall sit

20131114-231423.jpg

Silly pose for fun

20131114-231556.jpg

Leg raises

20131114-231621.jpg

Handstand, why not?

20131114-231647.jpg

I looked over at this bench for a cool down and also spotted a hip height bar… Score!

Tuck-ups (or crunches) and a side plank

20131114-233211.jpg

I always carry an elastic band with me (feel free to laugh here) and this bar made for a perfect base so I could due some bicep curls!

20131114-235444.jpg

Now stretch it all out…

20131115-000308.jpg

4 airports, 3 workouts, 2 flights down and one to go. Time for sleep before my final flight to Chiang Mai… this evenings bed is a window seal of the Bangkok airport. Good night!

20131115-001227.jpg

Categories: Accommodations, Fitness, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Salzburg, Austria – done in 24 hours

I’m not sure if it was the excitement of arriving to a new place or the unmarked streets, but this place was a bit tricky to maneuver around. I don’t think we came to an intersection that had any 90 degree angles, but that just added to the character of this city. Stores built into sides of mountains, caves sitting outside of castles and uneven stone work has an enchanting look to it.

Most of the following pictures were taken from the car as we entered the city and swerved in and out of traffic, pedestrians, one way streets and bike paths.

20121006-093204.jpg

20121006-093215.jpg

20121006-093221.jpg

20121006-093237.jpg

20121006-093249.jpg

20121006-093306.jpg

20121006-093446.jpg

20121006-093151.jpg

20121006-093144.jpg

20121006-093134.jpg

This photo was taken during an uproar of laughter as we had circled the same path over and over looking for a way out. We finally came to a stop light that would lead us in the correct direction and as we approached our ever so desired right turn, we saw this. All of those signs are shouting, “you will not turn here!”, Hilarious!

20121006-094143.jpg

After completing the maze of Salzburg, we spotted out a long strip of walkable streets and thought we’d give it a try.
The ambiance through here gave us both the feeling of “the holidays”. All of a sudden I had the craving for a hot beverage, a blanket and the sound of family and friends talking of old times by the fire.
The neatest part of the is quaint city is all of the hidden passage ways. If you blinked you may miss a minature doorway, or tiny alley leading to another road with more hidden paths. We decided to take a chance and see where it led…an open market, score!

20121006-094353.jpg

20121006-094400.jpg

20121006-094409.jpg

20121006-094422.jpg

20121006-094451.jpg

20121006-094505.jpg

20121006-094511.jpg

20121006-094519.jpg

20121006-094540.jpg

20121006-094548.jpg

20121006-094606.jpg

20121006-094624.jpg

20121006-094559.jpg

To the 100% success rate of finding an Irish pub in every country… Austria, check!

20121006-094812.jpg

20121006-094819.jpg

Inside this pub looked like a scene from a movie. Small little arches decorated with stone and wooden columns, tiny chairs surrounding rock blocks and tall tables coming out of the ancient walls.

20121006-095105.jpg

20121006-095057.jpg

20121006-095050.jpg

20121006-095125.jpg

20121006-095119.jpg

We stopped in to rest the feet and on our way out, Marshall says a simple hello to a girl sitting by herself. The smile that illuminated from this kind woman was felt instantly and then it began…

Meet Niki, she’s from Budapest, which happens to be one of our destinations on this road trip! What a great opportunity to get some suggestions from a local. Here are some snap shots from our evening that started with a hello and ended dancing till the sun was peaking over the castle on the hill.

20121006-100706.jpg

20121006-100735.jpg

Jay is the name of the gentleman next to me. He’s from Boston and added even more of a great vibe to the evening. I do believe he was the one that pointed out that we were in Austria, listening to American classic rock, watching euro futbol, in an Irish pub with a Hungarian and Belgium being served by a bartender from New Zealand. How much fun is that?!

20121006-100756.jpg

20121006-100820.jpg

20121006-100827.jpg

By the end of the night sweet Niki had invited us to stay at her place when we get to Budapest and she would show us the local side of Hungary… Priceless!

The morning brings us stretched out in our car-o-accomidation with the idea of a quick hike before we depart for our next stop.

Real quick story: we wanted to climb to the top of this hill that had almost 400 stair steps and a stretch of hills. Remember the tricky roads? Well, trying to find a parking spot near the bottom was not looking possible. Through Marshall’s “Bond” moves, we find an open lot that had no signs. Were we legally allowed to park here… Would they tow our car?

After 30 seconds of debating the consequences, we both smiled and said “Let’s do this!”. Forget the casual hike to the view point, we have a time limit now to prevent the car from being locked up on the back of a monster truck. I truly wish there would have been a film crew following this 8 minute trek that should of been a peaceful hour of panoramic views.

To give you the best idea of this event, I’ll post every attempt to capture a view while sprinting up hill weaving in-between tourist. When viewing these pics, try to imagine the sound of “happy” coming from us, you know, the kind of laughter that force your eyes to water while searching for your next breath.

20121006-102423.jpg

20121006-102431.jpg

20121006-102446.jpg

20121006-102553.jpg

20121006-102453.jpg

20121006-102544.jpg

20121006-102534.jpg

20121006-115801.jpg

A sprint back down the hill and off we go. Next stop… Vienna!

Categories: Fitness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.