Category: Health & Fitness

It’s only been a month and a half since New Years but I think a lot of people have ditched their resolutions. Overall, I feel like I’ve been doing pretty good at keeping on track with my plans to keep my resolutions going strong. Or at least I was until we went on vacation at the end of January, which derailed my clean eating and work out routine and I’ve been having a hard time getting back into it.

Well this week I’m getting back on track and finally starting to train for the 8K I’m running in mid-March. I thought what better way to help me get back into the workout mindset then talk about my favorite gym gear and workout must haves.

What will you find in my gym bag?

Gym bag
Well let’s start with my gym bag. I love my Nike gym bag, with seperate storage for shoes and clothes (so your clothes don’t smell like sweaty gym socks before you’ve hit the gym), plus several different pockets and compartments to stash all my stuff. It’s a little decieving as it doesn’t look that big but it actually can hold quite a bit. I also like that it looks more feminine than an ordinary duffel bag. This bag has been discontinued but it’s pretty similar to the Nike C72 Legend 2.0.

Water bottle
A water bottle is a must for workouts, whether you’re strength training, taking a spin class or relaxing with some yoga. I love this Rubbermaid water bottle because it’s easy to open and there is no straw to collect germs, which makes it easy to clean.

Headphones
I personally can’t work out without music (or watching Gossip Girls on Netflix), which means headphones are a must. I love these gold headphones by Happy Plugs my husband gave me (note these are not the 14K gold ones, but those are available on their website if that’s in your budget). There is no reason why you can’t be glam while working out right?!?

Running belt
I’ve already talked about my running belt but I also like to use it when lifting weights at the gym. It neatly holds my phone without restricting my movements, unlike those iPod/iPhone holders that you wear on your bicep that restrict your arm motion.

Face wipes
My skin is really acne prone (you’d think I would have grown out of that by now) so I like to wipe down my face as soon as I’m done working out (before I make the 10 minute drive home). I love these Neutrogena Oil-Free Pink Grapefruit cleansing wipes. They smell great and really get rid of the sweat, grime and makeup on my face, leaving me feel (somewhat) fresh faced.

Sweat bands
I sweat more than the average person (sorry TMI) so sweat bands come in handy when doing cardio. I really like these Nike sweat bands because they’re soft and not scratchy. I also usually keep a towel with me to make sure I’m not grossly dripping sweat all over the treadmill or elliptical.

Not a fan of the gym (or no time for the gym)? Give one of these quick at home workouts a shot. Or try running with these 10 tips to get started. Check out my Working It Out board on Pinterest for more workout inspiration.

Follow Macaroni & Mascara’s board working it out on Pinterest.

What are your must haves for the gym or working out?

If you told be 5 years ago that I would be a ‘runner’ I would have laughed in your face. I’ve been running for the past 2 years and it’s changed my life. It keeps me fit, sane and diminishes my urge to punch people in the face. Nothing washes away stress from work or issues with my kiddos or the hubs like a good run.

During my second pregnancy, I knew it was going to be hard to lose the baby weight. I mean breastfeeding can only do so much. Plus there was also the 20 pounds I put on pre-baby because, at the time, it seemed silly to workout and diet when we were trying to have a baby (I was just going to get fat and swollen anyways right).

I had always wanted to run a half marathon, though I don’t quite know why. I had never run more than 2 miles at a time and even that was torture. I guess I saw a lot of my friends posting about finishing all these races on Facebook and I wanted to be one of the cool kids?!? And the moms I saw running with their Bob strollers always looked so strong and cool.

Just before having my second baby, I decided that I was going to be proactive about getting fit and I set the goal to run a half marathon before my 30th birthday. That gave me approximately 5 months to train (after being cleared by the doctor post baby), which seemed totally reasonable (though those 5 months were January through May, the rainiest time of year here in Oregon).

I started off by doing intervals of running and walking (there was a lot more walking than running) on the treadmill but I wasn’t really loving it. I gave running outside a shot and discovered it was a little better (not easier, just less boring).

Being the mom of a 6 week old and a 2 1/2 year old, I didn’t exactly have a ton of time to ‘train’ outside so I bit the bullet and purchased a used double jogging stroller of Craigslist for $100.

My first run with the jogging stroller was rough (as we’re many after that as well). It didn’t occur to me that pushing an extra 50+ pounds would really slow me down (and I was slow already). But let me tell you, after training with a jogging stroller, solo runs were a breeze!

In the last two years, I’ve run a half marathon, a couple 8k races and a three leg relay (Hood to Coast). This year, as part of my New Year’s resolutions, I plan to run an 8k, 2 relays and hopefully another half marathon. I gotta admit, running definitely gets addicting.

Here are my 10 tips to getting started running (whether you’ve been a runner in the past or not):

  1. Start with intervals. There are a lot of plans on Pinterest that take you from a non runner to runner. I started out with intervals. Try jogging for 30 seconds, then walk for a minute, alternating for 20-30 minutes (this can be done on on treadmill or outside). Each week (or whenever you think you’re ready), increase the time of the jogging interval and decrease the time for walking. Eventually, remove the walking all together.
  2. Don’t worry about speed. Even if you’re in really good shape, you may still start out with super slow pace times. And that’s ok. When you’re starting out, worry about building up your endurance for distance. If you start out too fast, you may run out if energy before you reach the end of your run. Once you can run 3 miles without stopping, then you can start working on increasing your pace (I do this with intervals of my current pace and my desired pace).
  3. Get outside. For me, I have a way easier time running outside. I’m not really sure why but even when it’s cold or raining, is still rather run outside than be stuck on a hamster wheel at the gym (but if treadmills are your thing then you go girl).
  4. Get a jogging stroller. Think you don’t have time because you have kids? Get a jogging stroller. Seriously just do it! And you don’t have to spend a fortune on an expensive stroller. I found mine for $100 on Craigslist and it does the trick. Your kids will nap or munch on snacks while you run (get a rain cover for your stroller if you live in an area where you might need it, like Oregon). Plus, it will help increase your endurance, since you’re pushing around extra weight.
  5. Get an app. There are lots of apps out there. I personally use the Runkeeper app. It tracks my runs to show my progress and also offers training plans based on distance or pace. I like to set it to give me updates during my runs, like current mileage and pace. Find an app that offers features that are important to you.
  6. Make a killer playlist. Nothing motivates me more than good tunes to run to. I use Spotify to create playlists but you can use whatever music you like. Just make sure it’s upbeat and fun.
  7. Stretch after your runs. Don’t skip this part! Seriously!!! Nothing will derail you faster than a running related injury. Shin splints, IT band problems and a lot of other issues can be helped or prevented with proper stretching. I personally like these stretches for runners and these foam rolling exercises (foam rolling is a runner’s lifesaver).
  8. Register for a race. Pick a manageable distance (5k is a good place to start). Don’t pick a half marathon as your first race. By paying money to run, you’re setting a goal and forcing yourself to stick with training. Even better, find a buddy to register with you. It creates extra accountability.
  9. Buy cute running clothes. Nothing makes a gal feel better and more motivated than a new outfit. You don’t have to spend a ton (I really like the C9 by Champion line of women’s activewear at Target and Miss Kate Hudson’s new line of affordable athletic wear, Fabletics). I like to wear breathable layers, especially in cold weather. If you plan on running outside in the dark, make sure to wear light colored reflective clothing. And invest in a good sports bra. You should not be flopping around while you run, not only can it be painful but it’s just not cute. Mom boobs need all the support they can get.
  10. Eat properly before and after a run. This is super important. Nothing kills a run faster than lack of energy. Try something easily digestible, like a banana and almond butter or some Greek yogurt about 30 mins to an hour before your run to give your body time to digest and convert your food into energy (running on a full stomach is no bueno). After a run, you’ll want to hydrate (coconut water is a great option because it has electrolytes without all the sugar they put in Gatorade) and have a snack/meal with protein and carbs to help your body recover. Here is a great article about what to eat pre and post workout.

Getting started with running can be tough (especially if you’ve never really run before). Stick with it. It will get easier. It’s definitely a mental thing, your body can totally do it but only you can make your mind believe you can do it.

With all the family and social gatherings, holiday shopping and kids programs/parties, it’s not easy to carve out time to fit in a run or a trip to the gym. But with 10 days until Christmas, I feel like I’ve already overindulged on holiday cheer (ie sweets, carbs and wine). So, in an effort to not be completely terrified of stepping on the scale post-holidays (and just feeling generally crappy), I’m trying to squeeze in quick workouts when I can.

Here are some of the quick and uncomplicated workout videos I like to do at home (no crazy equipment required).

5 minutes

5 minutes to Slim HIIT Cardio (Fitness Blender) – try this right before you hop in the shower in the morning or while the kiddos are eating lunch/dinner. You’ll increase your heart rate and work your entire body.

10 minutes

Kitchen Cardio (Barre3) – this is one of my favorite quick workouts. Do it first thing in the morning or while you’re cooking in the kitchen. It’s low impact (and won’t leave you a sweaty mess) but gets your heart pumping.

15 minutes

Hump Day HIIT (Tone It Up) – this high intensity interval training workout really works your whole body with a combination of toning and cardio intervals. Got 30 minutes? Do this workout twice in a row! Or do it once in the morning and once in the evening for twice the calorie torching benefits.

The holidays come but once a year so I allow myself to enjoy a little treat here and there (and anything goes on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day). Trying to squeeze in quick workouts helps combat my eating guilt and some of the extra calories I consume. Also, I try to make sure to drink LOTS of water (like 8 glasses or more) to combat dehydration, which can lead to more munching. It also keeps my skin from going all oily/dry/flaky/gross.

For more quick workouts (and other good stuff), head on over to Macaroni and Mascara on Pinterest.

Brace yourselves – the average American Thanksgiving dinner adds up to between 4,000 and 5,000 calories (gasp). Unless you’re getting up and participating in a local turkey trot (overacheivers) or a rousing game of after dinner football with the family, you’re probably not planning to workout on Thanksgiving. I mean who has the time with all the parade/football watching cooking to be done.

In an effort to help all of us burn off some of those calories, I put together these Thanksgiving workout moves you can do throughout the day while you’re cooking, watching football (or the parade) and having dinner.

Follow the instructions below and do the recommended number of reps (until you pass out on the couch after dinner):

  • Every time you check the turkey (or the person cooking the turkey checks it) – 5 squats
  • Every time someone asks for you to pass a dish during dinner – 5 situps (you can save them all up until after dinner)
  • Every time someone sings during the Thanksgiving Day parade – 5 push-ups
  • Every time a Black Friday Sale commercial comes on – jog in place until the commercial is over
  • Every touchdown – 6 alternate lunges (3 on each side)

Here is a fun graphic you can pin or save to your phone as a reminder of the moves throughout the day.

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