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Christmas Memories in Monterey

10 Jan

This past Christmas was certainly unforgettable.  We spent 4 wonderful days in Monetery, CA.  We got our fair share of drizzly, dreary weather, but it was kind of cozy.  We stayed in this fantastic hotel which was only a couple of blocks from the ocean, and yummy gourmet breakfasts greeted us every morning (even Christmas morning :-)).  Hotel 1110 was this quaint little Europeanesque (not sure that’s a word) boutique hotel where no attention to detail was spared.  Our room was compact but cozy, and at  night we opened the windows, and fell asleep to the sound of rainfall.  Ahhh.  The bathroom had  a Jacuzzi tub, heated floors, and even a bidet!  Ha!!  The owners were welcoming, and we felt right at home.

Our first day we decided to take in the famed 17 mile drive.  We were not disappointed.  The views were beautiful, and even though the morning was overcast, it lent a certain charm to the trip.

17 mile drive

It was our first time seeing the ocean since we left Maui, and I was surprised to see how much I missed it.  There is nothing like the smell of the salty air, and the feel of cool sea breezes to make you feel alive and at peace.  We made several stops along the way, taking in the views of the ocean and the coastline.

17 mile drive

17 mile drive

17 mile drive

We stopped at Pebble Beach to have lunch, and as we sat gazing out the window at  beautiful Carmel Bay, we were greeted by the sun coming out from behind the clouds.  Perfect timing!!  We decided to head on towards Big Sur.  We found a short hike to Mcway falls where we admired water falling right onto a perfectly pristine beach, and later took in a beautiful sunset from a purple sand beach.  It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

Big Sur-Pfeiffer Beach

Big Sur-Pfeiffer Beach

Big Sur-Pfeiffer Beach

The next day we awoke to a 100% forecast of rain pretty much the whole day.  We decided it was the perfect time to take in the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  Apparently, so did everyone else.  Despite the crowd we still had a blast.  We were impressed with all the species of aquatic life the aquarium had to offer, and even took in a lecture on our favorite subject, SHARKS!!

Monterey AquariumOn Christmas Eve the sun was shining, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  We decided to take in old downtown Monterey, and found our inner kid on an ice skating rink.IMG_4905

We explored the Fisherman’s Wharf which was fun to see all trimmed with festive decorations.

Fishermans Wharf

Fishermans Wharf

Fishermans Wharf

That evening Tyler surprised me with a sunset sailboat cruise.  Ever since I worked an assignment in Gig Harbor, WA, I have had this fascination with sailing.  I think  it would be so much fun to learn to sail, but I have never been on an actual sailboat.  I was hooked.

We set out on a 30 ft sailboat with 4 other people, and the captain.  The weather was perfect, and the ride was truly exhilarating .  There is something special about sitting in a little boat on top of of the ocean, and being at the mercy of two of nature’s most powerful forces.

sailboatAnd of course, the sunset was perfect.

sunset sailIt was a wonderful Christmas spent in a picturesque seaside town, and I look forward to many a trip back to Monterey.

Sticking to my Resolutions

9 Jan

new years resolutions

Happy New Year.  2013 brought me a cold.  Yay.  I’ve mostly  recovered, but still sniffly.  Despite this minor set back, I am determined to make good on my New year’s resolutions.  I started my first biography last night.  I decided to go with Diana: Her True Story by Andrew Morton as my first book.  Princess Diana was one of England’s most iconic figures, and with the short time she had on this earth she influenced so many people’s lives all over the world.  I’ve only read the first few pages, but I think it’s gonna be really good.

I also signed up for a Spanish speaking course through Babbel.  It’s a subscription based program that makes it really affordable to learn a new language.  I like it because it teaches you words visually, has you type them, and incorporates speech recognition so you know if you are pronouncing the word correctly.  It seems promising so far.

I also thought I would “weigh” in on my cardio experiment.  I lost a total of 2 pounds of fat, 1/4 of an inch from my waist, and 1/2 an inch from my hips!  It just goes to show consistency is key.  I feel great and despite a week of the sniffles I have gotten back into the gym, and I’m ready to ramp it up!!  Hope everyone has a very happy 2013.

 

 

Nothing Ventured, Nothing “Lost”: Week 4

27 Dec

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!!  We spent a lovely long weekend in Monterey, and are just now getting back to reality.  Hence, the late post.  Plus, I have a confession.  I took a break from my experiment over the holiday.

When I formulated a plan to workout EVERYDAY for 30 days I didn’t figure the holidays into the equation.  I have been very successful in my endeavors so far, and then BOOM Christmas vacation came.  Spending 4 days in Monterey kind of put a damper on things, and I mean that quite literally.  It was cold and rainy  half the time we were there.  (But in that cozy, curl up by the fireplace with hot cocoa kind of way.  Perfect Christmas weather :-)) 

Now I know what you’re saying, “excuses, excuses”, and you may be right.  So I am just going to extend my experiment through Sunday, and tally the final results then.  See, my experiment is already keeping me motivated to get right back on track!!  Besides, the weekend wasn’t a complete waste.  We did some hiking, and walked A LOT despite the drizzly weather.  We even went ice skating, which let me tell you is a killer workout for your calves!!

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Ventured

So here is what my week looked like before Friday rolled around

Monday

* Cardio: 2 minute warm up on treadmill; 10 min. at 5.5 mph, alternating 2 minute intervals at an incline of 5 every 2 minutes

Tuesday

* 15 minute cardio yoga workout

Wednesday

* 15 minute cardio yoga workout

Thursday

* Cardio: 2 minute warm up on treadmill; 10 min. at 5.5 mph, alternating 2 minute intervals at an incline of 5 every 2 minutes

* Strength training: back & shoulders

  • Lat pull down; 3 sets at 50 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Seated Row; 3 sets at 50 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Lat Press; 3 sets at 30 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Delt Raises; 3 sets at 20 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Shoulder Press; 3 sets at 30 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Rear Delt Pull; 3 sets at 10 lbs. (dumbbells), 12 reps each

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Lost

To be determined…

Nothing Ventured, Nothing “Lost”: Week 3

16 Dec

motivation, fitness

21 days down,  9 days to  go!!

I am 3/4 of the way through, and I have to say this has been the most successful week yet.  I have started seeing changes in the way my body looks, and most importantly, I feel great!

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Ventured

Here’s how my week went:

Monday

* Cardio: 2 minute warm up on treadmill; 10 min. at 5.5 mph, alternating 2 minute intervals at an incline of 5 every 2 minutes

Tuesday

* Cardio: 10 minutes on elliptical, setting on fat burn

* Strength training: back & shoulders

  • Lat pull down; 3 sets at 50 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Seated Row; 3 sets at 50 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Lat Press; 3 sets at 30 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Delt Raises; 3 sets at 20 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Shoulder Press; 1 set at 20 lbs.,  12 reps each, 2 sets at 30 lbs., 10 reps ea
  • Rear Delt Pull; 3 sets at 20 lbs., 12 reps each

Wednesday

* 15 minute cardio yoga workout.  I have been reading a little about yoga lately, and how it can greatly improve overall strength.  I googled a cardio yoga workout on youtube, and it was quite effective in getting my heart rate up, and making my muscles really burn.  You can check out the video I found here.  I was a little skeptical when she started talking about an inner fire and my golden flame.  Yes, you read that correctly.  But if you can get past that, the workout is pretty good.

Friday

* Cardio: 10 minutes on elliptical, setting on fat burn

* Strength training: Legs

  • Leg extensions (quads); 1 set at 50 lbs., 2 sets at 55 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Seated hamstring curls; 1 set at 55 lbs., 2 sets at 60 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Leg press; 1 set at 90 lbs., 2 sets at 100 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Calf raises; 3 sets at 35 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Lunges; 3 sets holding 8 lb. weight in each hand, 12 reps each

Sunday

* Cardio: 2 minute warm up on treadmill; 10 min. at 5.5 mph, alternating 2 minute intervals at an incline of 5 every 2 minutes

* Strength training: arms & chest

  • Bicep curls; 1 set at 15 lbs., 10 reps; 2 sets at 20 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Tricep curls; 2 sets at 20 lbs., 12 reps each, 1 set at 25 lbs., 12 reps
  • Chest Press; 3 sets at 40 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Chest fly; 1 set at 30 lbs., 2 sets at 40 lbs, 12 reps each

I missed my workouts on Thursday and Saturday due to extenuating circumstances.  Hey, life happens, but the important thing is that I got right back in the game and kept going, and the results were very encouraging.

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Lost

Guess who lost 2 pounds this week.  This girl!!  To be more precise I gained 0.31  lbs. of muscle, and lost 1.5 lbs. of pure fat!!  That’s a total of 2 lbs. in 3 weeks!  I lost 1/2″ from my hips, 1/4″ from my waist, and 1″ from my bust.  My total weight went from 139.4 to 137.4.

I think it is important to note at this point that I am not dieting.  I try to eat healthy, and I incorporate lots of fruits and vegetables into my meals, but I don’t deprive myself.  I try to avoid foods that are bad for me, but I don’t try to restrict myself to a certain number of calories per day.

This week I indulged in fresh sushi with miso soup and a nutella and banana filled crepe for dessert.  My hubby cooked up a delicious panini recipe using eggplant, roasted red peppers in adobo sauce, and feta cheese on rosemary bread served with tossed fresh greens.  I also enjoyed a huge serving of a roasted veggie stuffed crepe with ricotta, and a yummy cream sauce. (Also courtesy of Tyler)  We also had chips and salsa with fish tacos, black beans, and grilled veggies for lunch yesterday!!

Obviously we are not deprived.  I try to have at least one or two servings of greens per day, and most times I get a lot in my morning smoothie.  I snack on trail mix and fruit throughout the day, and I never feel like I am starving.  If you make it a point to eat fresh and healthy it easily becomes second nature to reach for an apple instead of that Snicker’s bar.  Incorporate exercise and soon it becomes a lifestyle, and that’s when you keep the weight off, and put yourself in a position to live a long, healthy, and happy life.

The Ride, the Witch, & Santa’s Wardrobe

13 Dec

goldengatebikeride

Where else can you bike the Golden Gate Bridge, explore Sausalito, witness a sunset over San Francsco Bay from the deck of a ferry, and share public transportation with a witch, a reindeer, and about 30 Santas all in one day?  Well that is precisely the experience we enjoyed this past Saturday.

Biking the Golden Gate Bridge has been high on our list of things to do since we arrived to the Bay Area, and if you ever get the chance, I highly recommend this excursion.  It was incredible!

There are plenty of places to rent a bike in San Francisco, but we chose Blazing Saddles mainly because we got a GREAT deal on a Groupon.  We were not disappointed.  The staff were super friendly, the bikes were very comfortable and in great shape, and they hooked us up with ferry tickets from Sausalito back to the city.

We started our journey near Fisherman’s Wharf and followed the handy map given to us by the bike shop all the way down to the Golden Gate Promenade where we stopped to take a few pics.

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Promenade

Golden Gate Promenade

Golden Gate Promenade

We followed the Promenade all the way to Torpedo Wharf where we started the steep ascent up to the bridge.  Talk about a workout!!  It was, however, much easier than it would have been if I had tried to bike it before my cardio experiment.

Golden Gate Bridge

The path for bikers was on the west side of the bridge so we had amazing views of the Pacific, and looking Southeast revealed the beautiful San Francisco cityscape.  It was hard to capture very many pics from the bridge because pulling over to the side meant taking your life into your own hands.  There were the touristy riders like myself who hadn’t ridden a bike very often in the past few years.  Then there were the experienced riders on a mission, and it was best to stay out of their way.  As evidenced by my almost getting run over by one cyclist, and receiving a not so nice gesture from him.  Yeah I was that girl. You know, the one holding up traffic to get the perfect pic.  Anyway, I digress.

Golden Gate BridgeWe made it over the bridge, and coasted down to the foot where we came upon a fishing pier.  We decided to stop and rest, and made a friend.

San Francisco Pelican

SausalitoAfter catching our breath, we headed into Sausalito.  This is one of the most beautiful, quaint, little waterfront towns I have ever seen.  We rode along the water down to the Ferry dock where we secured our bikes, and then set out in search of a much needed carbolicious meal.  We ducked into Scoma’s, a cute waterfront seafood restaurant where we had some amazing ahi tuna sandwiches!  Once our bellies were full we explored the abundant shops and art galleries Sausalito had to offer.  We even found a couple of Christmas ornaments to add to our collection.

Sausalito

Sausalito

 

 

 

 

 

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We boarded the ferry back to San Francisco just in time to see the orange horizon of a beautiful sunset over the Pacific.  It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

Golden Gate Sunset

That is until we boarded the bus to the Caltrain with a lady from Massachusetts.  Me, being my clumsy self, inadvertently caused her to spill hot tea all over her chest as I was trying to offer my seat to an elderly gentleman.  I was so embarrassed and kept apologizing.  Tyler, trying to lighten the mood, strikes up a conversation.  He brought up the fact that she was from Massachusetts, and jokingly asked her if she’s a witch.  She says, in a very convincing voice, “I might be.”  Tyler profusely apologizes, and politely asks her not to put a spell on us.  Mortified does not even begin to describe what I was feeling at that moment.  It was short lived, however, by the fact that we shared our train car with a guy in a reindeer suit and about 30 Santa Claus impersonators  all from SantaCon.  All it took was a candy cane  and a few drunk Santas to lift my spirits again;-).  How was your weekend?

santacon

Nothing Ventured Nothing “Lost”: Week 2

9 Dec

alittleeffortgoesalongway

14 days down,  16 days to go!!

Well I have reached the halfway point in this little experiment, and I have to say it has proven to be quite beneficial.  Not only have I lost fat and gained muscle, I adequately prepared myself for our recent bike across the Golden Gate Bridge, which otherwise would have been much, MUCH more painful.

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Ventured

Here is what my week looked like:

Monday

* Cardio: 2 minute warm up on treadmill; 10 min. at 5.5 mph, alternating 60        second intervals at an incline of 5 every 2 minutes

Tuesday

* Cardio: 2 minute warm up on treadmill; 10 min. at 5.5 mph, alternating 60        second intervals at an incline of 5 every 2 minutes

* Strength training: arms & chest

  • Bicep curls; 3 sets at 10 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Tricep curls; 3 sets at 20 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Chest Press; 3 sets at 40 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Chest fly; 1 set at 20 lbs., 2 sets at 30 lbs, 12 reps each

* Abs: 25 crunches on swiss ball; weighted side bends 20 lbs., 2 sets of 20 reps on each side; 5 minute ab routine (I just used exercises from the 8 min. ab video)

Wednesday

* Cardio: 2 minute warm up on treadmill; 10 min. at 5.5 mph, alternating 60        second intervals at an incline of 5 every 2 minutes

Thursday

*Cardio: 10 minutes on elliptical, setting on fat burn

*Strength training:  shoulders & back

  • Lat pull down; 3 sets at 40 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Seated Row; 3 sets at 40 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Lat Press; 3 sets at 20 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Delt Raises; 3 sets at 15 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Shoulder Press; 3 sets at 20 lbs., 12 reps each

* Abs: 30 crunches on swiss ball; weighted side bends 20 lbs., 2 sets of 20 reps on each side; 5 minute ab routine (I just used exercises from the 8 min. ab video)

Friday

Ok….er….um…see what happened was…. well, I forgot to workout.  It’s the God’s honest truth!!  It was Friday, I had a marathon week at work (which I think could probably be considered a workout in and of itself), and when I got home it completely slipped my mind.  I didn’t realize until much later on that I had skipped my ten minutes.  Maybe my body was trying to tell me I needed to rest.  (That is what I am going to tell myself ;-))  Anyway, I didn’t feel quite as bad knowing what I had in store for me on Saturday.

Saturday

*Cardio:  Biking the Golden Gate Bridge.  We rented bikes near Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, and biked to the Golden Gate Bridge, across it, and down into Sausalito.  Then after taking a ferry ride back to the city we biked another 2 miles back to the bike rental shop.  All in all it was about 11 miles total, and there were a number of fairly steep hills to traverse.  I definitely think doing cardio everyday for the past two weeks helped make this trip a lot easier.  It was a wonderful experience, and there will be a post to come with lots of fun pics!!

Sunday

* Cardio: 10 minutes on elliptical, setting on fat burn

* Strength training: arms & chest

  • Bicep curls; 3 sets at 20 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Tricep curls; 3 sets at 20 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Chest Press; 3 sets at 30 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Chest fly; 3 sets at 30 lbs, 12 reps each

* Abs:  8 minute abs routine

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Lost

So last week was a little discouraging.  Despite the fact that I understand it is normal to gain some weight when starting a new routine, it still sucks to get on the scale and see those types of results.  This morning, however, I am proud to say those results were a little more positive.

In one week my overall weight went from 139.8 lbs to 139.4 lbs.  Not much I know, but hey baby steps right?  Besides the following results were a little more encouraging.  My overall body fat percentage went from 29.5% to 29.2% and my muscle mass went from 35.8% to 36.1%.  All of my body measurements remained the same.

I calculated it out and that means I lost a 1/2 lb of pure fat!  Hey, you’ve gotta start somewhere, and I’ll take it.  If you think about it, all things being equal, if I maintained this easy plan, I could lose half the amount of fat on my body in less than a year!

I have noticed other changes as well.  I feel a lot more energized, and I think more clearly.  I sleep a whole lot better than I did, and I feel my mood is lighter.  I’m also starting to look forward to working out instead of it feeling like a chore.  I’m motivated and that is exactly what I need to keep going.

Nothing Ventured Nothing “Lost”: Week 1

4 Dec

8 days down, 23 days to go!!

I set a resolution for next year to maintain at least 10 minutes of cardio 5 days a week in an effort to maintain consistency in activity.  A week ago I began an experiment to see what type of results I could achieve with no less, but no more than 10 minutes of cardio exercise everyday for 30 days.  I wanted to prove how much being consistent plays a role in weight loss, and to establish a routine that would make it easier for me to stick to my New Year’s resolution.  I promised to “weigh in” each week so here are my results from the first week.

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Ventured

Normally I prefer to workout first thing in the morning.  I like to get it out of the way, and I love how energized it makes me feel.  Besides, I’m usually so exhausted by the end of the day that the last thing I want to do is work out.  I started the week out like this with good intentions, but Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I just felt like sleeping in so I made up my own 10 minute cardio routine that I did as soon as I got home from work.

My week looked something like this:

Monday

* 2 minute warm up on treadmill, 10 minutes at 5 mph, no incline

Tuesday

* The same treadmill workout as Monday

* Light strength training: arms & chest

  •  Hammer curls; 3 sets of with 10 lbs. weights, 12 reps each
  • Chest press; 3 sets at 40 lbs., 12 reps each

Wednesday

* See previous cardio workouts

* Strength training: shoulders & back

  • Lat pull down; 3 sets at 40 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Seated Row; 3 sets at 40 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Delt Raises; 3 sets at 10 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Shoulder Press; 3 sets at 10 lbs., 12 reps each

Thursday

I made up my own 10 minute cardio routine that required no equipment.

  • Jumping jacks, high knee jog in place, side squats with hop sequence, scissor skier, and jump rope

I alternated between each exercise performing each for 30 second intervals until I had completed a full 10 minutes.  I then finished with a quick 5 minute ab routine.  I really like this 8 minute ab workout.  It’s robotic so I mute the sound, blast my Britney, and just watch the routine.

Friday and Saturday I repeated my Thursday routine, and after weigh in this morning I was motivated to push myself a bit harder when it comes to strength training.

Sunday

* Cardio: Elliptical level 8, 5 minutes forward, 5 minutes backward.

* Strength training: Legs

  • Leg extensions (quads); 3 sets at 50 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Seated hamstring curls; 2 sets at 50 lbs., 1 set at 55 lbs., 15 reps each
  • Leg press; 1 set at 70 lbs., 2 sets at 90 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Calf raises; 2 sets at 35 lbs., 12 reps each
  • Squats; 3 sets holding one 8 lb. weight in front of me, 12 reps each
  • Lunges; 2 sets holding 8 lb. weight in each hand, 12 reps each

* 8 minute ab routine incorporating weights and swiss ball

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Lost

When I stepped on the scale yesterday morning I was a little disappointed to see that I had actually gained a pound.  I am well aware that it is common to gain some weight when you initially start a new exercise program.  There are several reasons why this may happen ranging from caloric intake and types of food you are eating to water retention related to glycogen storage and even sleep patterns.  I even found some great articles that explain in simple terms why this happens.  You can read about them here, here, here, & here. But it’s still a little discouraging when you’re seeking instant gratification.

However, instead of letting it hold me back, I chose to let it motivate me.  I am going to keep going, and I have resigned myself to practicing a little patience.  I decided to incorporate a little more strength training and tweak my diet a little. I tend to eat fairly healthy.  We are pescatarian so we get a variety of tons of veggies and fruits, and for the most part we cook most meals at home.  But if I’m honest there was that piece of pecan pie and chocolate chip cookie at work. (Damn you holidays!!).  And the animal style grilled cheese with fries from     In-N-Out didn’t help either. 😉

In one week my overall weight went from 138.6 lbs to 139.8 lbs.  My overall body fat percentage went from 28.9% to 29.5% and my muscle mass went from 36.1% to 35.8%.  All of my body measurements remained the same.  I am proud that I stuck to working out every single day, and I feel great.  I have my workout routine for the next 7 days prepared, and I am going to try to make better food choices so here’s to hoping for more positive results next week!!