La Cle Refocus Motivation & Muesli Yogurt Parfait Recipe

Hey fitness pals!

I wanted to share a new recipe with you and what has been giving me some motivation lately.

Staying on track with exercising and eating right has been tough. After a long day at work it is hard to get in the workout mindset especially when it’s dark outside.  So when Deanna of La Cle reached out to me about her Refocus bands I thought – how clever! And just the little reminder that what I’m doing isn’t for not.

La Cle Refocus Bands
La Cle – “Keep Trying” band

I loved the “Keep Trying” band and the “If You Want It, Go Get It” band.  Honestly, isn’t what you think of daily where you are going to end up?  Whether that end result be today, tomorrow or a few years from now.  With that thought, it’s important for me to surround myself with things that inspire my personal development and sometimes a few words on your wrist can do just that.

If you need a motivational boost check out the shop here.

Muesli Yogurt Parfait

As for my new recipe, it’s a yogurt parfait snack to help curb those sugar cravings!

I’m sure every so often or every day you are craving a tasty snack and as much as you want those Jalapeno Kettle Chips or that bag of Sour Patch Kids you know you’ve got to make better choices.  We all indulge a bit (so hard not to right?!) but on the days when I am more mentally strong I go for a healthier snack and I got to say I never regret the choice.

Here’s what you need:

¼ cup of plain Greek yogurt

Sprinkle of berries – blueberries, cut strawberries, raspberries, blackberries

2 tablespoons of muesli – can use granola

Drizzle of agave nectar

First, add the yogurt to the bowl then add the toppings and drizzle on the agave. 🙂

~Pin Away~

Muesli Yogurt Parfait

 

 

 

2 Rounds of BBG in 2017 and SWEAT APP for 2018 Goals

Photo above – Me at my peak fitness in 2017 and one of the BEST days ever – swimming in the Mediterranean sea on the coast of Monterosso, Italy with my husband (forgive the pale legs – that was amended as the trip progressed lol)

Yes, we are over halfway through the first month of the new year and I’ve just gotten to my 2017 fitness review lol.  Better late than never! 🙂

2017 was a great year for fitness:

  • 2 rounds of Bikini Body Guide – total 32 weeks
  • 1 round of Tammy Hembrow’s Booty Guide – total 8 weeks
  • 2 weeks off while on vacation in Europe (although we walked an insane amount!)
  • 2 post BBG rest weeks
  • Then 8 consecutive weeks off for my laparoscopic myomectomy surgery/recovery

40 weeks total of exercise – 4 weeks of rest – 8 weeks of recovery

I also used the My Fitness Pal App to track my calorie intact as I was trying to gain weight during my Tammy Hembrow workouts/BBG workouts.  I successfully gained 5 pounds of muscle.  Not that impressive but it’s hard to eat a ton.

I also incorporated kettle bell training/yoga as the third day of BBG for my HIIT/LISS exercise.

Eventually, I moved onto running for my HIIT training in the 12 weeks prior to my surgery where I ran two speeds for 20-30 minutes twice a week.  This was in preparation to shed fat from my stomach as I wanted the layer of fat the surgeon had to cut through to be minimal.  I lost 5 pounds but didn’t lose any muscle.

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Me about a month before surgery – Please forgive the background clutter LOL! Especially those cat litter containers… 🙂

Post- surgery I lost another 5 pounds unfortunately and haven’t taken a photo of myself without them.  So that means my….

2018 Goal is:

Gain 10 pounds of muscle! 🙂 YAY!

I started my workout regime for 2018 on January 3.  I decided to start with BBG pre-training which is meant for people who haven’t exercised in a while.  It helps your body ease into a more strenuous routine. I told myself I would only do half which is about 15 minutes of working out and 5 minutes of stretching.  I needed to test my limits in particular with my core strength as I have 5 incisions on my stomach and one large internal incision.  After the first workout, I did feel some pulling across my abdomen.  It wasn’t terrible but it certainly was noticeable.  I also was incredibly sore throughout my body for the next 4 days. I pushed forward and worked out again on January 5.  I have kept consistent at the two day a week/half workouts since then.

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Recently, my sister found that the Sweat app by Kayla Itsines (BBG founder) is $1 for 3 months total.  It is usually $19.99/month.  It includes not only there traditional BBG workout but their BBG gym format, yoga, post-pregnancy and a power program.  It also includes meal ideas and recipes, activity schedules and all sorts of goodies.  I promptly signed up for this to help me reach my 2018 goals.

Since I have signed up I made the decision to follow their yoga program.  I haven’t focused on yoga for so long but I think it would be a nice change of pace so stay tuned for those results! 🙂

I’m very excited to get back into my routine as exercising just motivates me to accomplish so much in all avenues of my life.  I love all those endorphins flying around my brain!

How about you sewing friends?  Did you do anything fitness related in 2017 or have plans to kick butt in 2018?

BBG Round 2

I’ve had a lot of ups and downs with my fitness in the past two months.  After I came back from my vacation I struggled to get on a good routine.  I had little motivation because I found my old workouts kind of boring.

I tried to do a second round of BBG but it wasn’t sticking so I moved onto Kettlebell training.  I was using the FitnessBlender videos which are super helpful and a great at home workout.  Then about 4 weeks ago my sister asked about doing the BBG program so I told her I would be happy to do it with her. This will be her first time completing the program and my second time.  Now that I have a BBG partner I have the motivation I need to not get bored and stick to the program.  That feels pretty good.

I don’t think I’ve ever explained the BBG program but it stands for Bikini Body Guide.  It was created by Kayla Itsines.  She is a young, Australian personal trainer who created this program to help women get the body they desire.

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This is a 12-week program that gets progressively more challenging each week as you build strength.  If you haven’t exercised in a while you can begin with 4 weeks of pre-training to get your body warmed up and ready.  I highly recommend doing this so you won’t burn yourself out going straight into the 12 weeks.

BBG is a combination of strength training and cardio.  It is a 28-minute workout completed 2-3 times a week.  There are two circuits.  Each circuit should be completed in 7 minutes then repeated.  You should also incorporate stretching before and after your workout.  The workouts are designed to be completed on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Tuesday and Thursday should be dedicated to Low Intensity Steady State cardio (LISS) and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  When you begin the program you should stick to LISS which is a 35-45 walk minute for this program.  HIIT is a combination of low and high intensity interval such as walking then running then walking again.  This is something you will move up to as you progress through the program.

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There is also a meal component to this program.  It focuses on clean eating and if you are looking to lose a lot of weight it is highly recommended.  Your diet plays a big role in your fitness.  Working out hard can only get you so far with the wrong type of fuel.

I’m excited to be in my second round and I highly recommend this for anyone wanting a great at-home workout.

Ultimate Sports Bra from So Sew Easy

Ultimate Sports Bra from So Sew Easy

Being that I’m very into my workout routine I was ready to dive into sewing up whatever sports bra I could find!  I stumbled across two patterns and both were for free.  I decided to go with the Ultimate Sports Bra from So Sew Easy because it seemed to have a good amount of support and I really liked the style lines.

Ultimate Sports Bra

The Low Down:

The So Sew Easy Ultimate Sports Bra is a free pattern with a comprehensive video tutorial.  You can download the pattern here.  This is ONLY the pattern.  This link will direct you to Craftsy.com where you will need to sign up for an account if you do not already have one to access this pattern.  Directions are not included so you have to either go read the directions here or watch the tutorial here.  I highly recommend watching the tutorial and keeping that in the background as you sew. I also recommend watching the tutorial before you head to the fabric store which was something I really wish I had done.

Ultimate Sports Bra

Materials:

  • 1/2 yard of Spandex/nylon 4-way stretch or lycra milliskin nylon Spandex
  • 2 yards of foldover elastic to match the main fabric. Either 5/8” or 3/4” width.
  • Thread to match
  • #10 ball point needle
  • Optional: Bra cups

Purchased from:

I purchased all of my supplies from the Los Angeles Fabric District.  If any of you have been there you know you can get some great fabric for an outstanding deal.  The So Sew Easy blog provides links in the materials section of their tutorial for you to easily purchase these items on Amazon.com.  Otherwise, your local fabric store or favorite online shop.

The Process:

I usually prep my pattern, fabric and instructions in steps.  It takes me a few days to get everything together as I don’t have big blocks of time to spend on them each day.

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Day 1:  Cut out paper pattern and fabric

Tip from Mayra of So Sew Easy:  When pattern pieces are drafted on a fold and you are using slippery fabric always trace that pattern piece and draw the matching side so your new pattern piece is one unfolded pattern piece.  This will prevent slippage issues and inadvertently cutting incorrectly.  She also suggests using a rotary cutter. 

To be completely honest, I didn’t do this.  Not because I didn’t want to but because I cut the pattern and fabric out before I watched the video/read the tutorial.  My pieces turned out just fine though.

Day 2: Watch video on my bus ride home.

Day 3:

This happened to be a Saturday and my husband was out kayak fishing so guess what I got to do?!  Work on this pattern until my sewing machine and I got into an altercation… haha

Ultimate Sports Bra  Ultimate Sports Bra

I carefully watched each step of the tutorial in sequence with my sewing.  I sewed the back pieces together with ease once my machine cooperated (more on that to come).  Next was the front and the sides.  Then you apply the facing which was my favorite step because the facing is applied to the front interior and you sew the sides to the bra but not on a seam. The outcome is the zigzag stitch appears on the right side of the sports bra giving it a RTW princess seam look.

You can see that here:

Ultimate Sports Bra

You will also see that the facing is left unsewn where it lies on the straps.  This is left open so you can add bra cups if you so choose.

Ultimate Sports Bra

Sew the shoulder seams together then measure the sleeve opening and the neckline opening with your measuring tape.  Subtract 1” then measure your foldover elastic and cut.  Be sure to double check this as for some reason I messed my measuring up and I’m not sure how.  You will need to fold each in half lengthwise and sew the ends together at 1/4” to create a circle.  Measure as directed and sew them on the openings while stretching the elastic being sure that they enclose the fabric and reach around the whole perimeter of the opening.

Day 4:

Finally, you will create a band for the bottom of the sports bra where you will be directed to measure around the opening of the bra and subtract 1”-2”.  You will then draw this on a piece of large paper and create your own band pattern.  Attach to the bottom of the bra and you are complete! 🙂

Hiccups:

My machine!  Sometimes it really seems like it is plotting against me… Here is my frustration: I spent so much time and thread trying to get the tension just right.  I am using a regular sewing machine by the way so I use a zigzag stitch for my knit projects.  My machine doesn’t seem to care for a narrow zigzag stitch unless it really really feels like it.  For the most part it will sew in a wavy line then skip a few stitches then just maybe do what it’s supposed to.

Unhappy stitches below:

Ultimate Sports Bra

My machine seems to favor a wider zigzag but doesn’t like it if I switch between zigzag and straight stitch.  It gets confused… Let’s just say my seam ripper should just be medically attached as a 6th finger.

I cleaned up the mess and this is how it turned out.  Not bad when my machine is happy!

Ultimate Sports Bra

Recommendations:

  • Watch the tutorial before you get your supplies and before you start sewing this project.
  • Test your machine’s zigzag capacity on thread that you don’t mind wasting if using a regular sewing machine.
  • Double check your foldover elastic and band measurements before you cut.
  • If you’re anything like me you’ll need to keep that seam ripper handy. 😉

Ultimate Sports Bra

Fitness Progression & Strawberry Almond Smoothie Recipe

The last 6 weeks I have been using the Tammie Hembrow Program and let me tell you it is tough.  I was so unbelievably sore the first week.  I stuck to it and slowly started adding more weight each week as I got stronger.

Tammie’s program is a 3 day a week for 8-weeks program focusing on your bum.  This may sound silly but this area is very important to me and I feel it is often neglected in most workout programs.  The reason why I am pursuing it is for several reasons.  First, I want to work out every part of my body equally.  I don’t just want a strong back and then weak legs, that doesn’t make sense to me.  Second, as you age your glute muscles get weaker and your bum flattens out so naturally I want to avoid that.  Third, I have sciatica and it stems from my piriformis muscle which is basically in your glute.  For whatever, reason whether it be stress, improperly lifting something or lack of exercise my piriformis will squeeze my sciatic nerve and cause pain and weakness in my right glute and leg.  The best way I have found to deal with this is consistently working out and de-stressing which I combat through daily meditation and of course my sewing hobby.  Fourth, workout programs have an ending, a goal, something to work towards.  I like that, I thrive on that.

In this program, you do need to use a gym.  I don’t have all the exact equipment in my gym but I make due.  This program focuses on the smith machine, leg press, arm pull down machine, barbell and free weights.

I also decided to use her arms and abs YouTube video 2 days a week.  That exercise probably lasts about 30 minutes.  It’s pretty simple but it burns. I do find myself plateauing a bit so I will be upping my weights pretty soon.

I’m just about done with week 7 and after this program I will be taking a vacation so when I get back I will start up a new program or repeat this one.  We shall see.

In the meantime, I’ve been pushing clean eating although it can be tough.  The days where I don’t follow it well I find that I am sorry not too shortly after eating as the bloating, nausea and headaches kick.  I’m still associating the “bad” foods with pleasure but soon enough I’ll have to condition myself to make more and more better choices.  I’m not aiming to do this perfectly but I am aiming to do it in the best way possible to fit my lifestyle.  It will always be a work in progress. 🙂 I am loving my morning routine of making a Strawberry Almond Smoothie.  I’ve changed this up to cater to my tastes.  It is very filling at about 200 calories and slightly sweet. (My recipe below.)

Finally, I’m also trying to eat more because the more you lift the more calories you need to turn into muscle.  In order to do this, cardio is no longer a part of my work out because it burns off too many calories.  However, I do take enough steps in the day to keep my cardiovascular system healthy.  Right now, the best way for me to do this is to add a protein shake to my daily calorie intake.  I’m only doing half a serving at the moment but soon enough I will need a full 310 calorie serving.  In time… 😉

Strawberry Almond Smoothie Recipe

1 cup almond milk

1 frozen banana

5 frozen strawberries

2 tablespoons flax seed

Blend!

12 weeks of BBG – Goal Completed!!

I made it through 12 weeks of BBG!  I started with 4 weeks of pre-training which brings me to a total of 16 weeks.  It has been a wonderful journey.  I made progress towards reaching my fitness goals and truly created a habit which was the largest goal of all.

I’m feeling a lot stronger and looking a little bit more toned but most importantly I’ve taking large strides in how I approach eating.  I aim to eat clean Monday through Friday and give myself a break on the weekend when I’m not on my routine.  It’s easier to not be so hard on myself by just giving myself that pass on Saturday and Sunday.  Of course I don’t over-indulge!

A part of my new fitness routine as I move out of these 12 weeks is to gain muscle which means I need to lift weights but I also have to eat more.  I’m currently using the MyFitnessPal app to count calories and make sure I’m eating enough calories to sustain my workout.  In doing so I have added a pre-workout/post work-out protein shake to get those extra calories and heal my muscles.

My workout for the next 7 weeks (I’ve already completed week 1) is Tammy Hembrow’s fitness program which focuses on the glutes.  I chose this one because I felt like this was the one area that was missing on BBG and I want an overall toned appearance so this will hit that goal.  I will be doing this 3 days a week and the other 2 days will be dedicated to BBG 2.0 arms and abs.

I’m super excited to see some progress!

BBG Fitness and Diet – Week 5

 

I am now in Week 5 of the BBG program and I’m feeling pretty good.  I’ve had to make a few adjustments to the schedule every so often due to vacation and birthdays and work but nonetheless I have gotten through 4 exercises every week.  I can feel myself getting stronger already and being able to endure my full workout.  Things are going well.

In the last week, I have been focusing more on my diet.  I know food plays an important role in how our body feels and I wasn’t feeling my best.  I indulged a little too much in Mexico and ate really poorly over my husband’s birthday weekend.  My body just isn’t able to handle those things as well as it used to unfortunately.  As I mentioned in my first BBG post, I try to eat healthy and for the most part I do but I needed an extra push to get me to make the right decision in every situation.  That extra push was the crummy feeling of over-indulgence.

That being said, I’m experimenting with cutting down on dairy, processed food and red meat. This entails half of my dinner plate as vegetables, one quarter chicken or fish and one quarter starch.  Also, drinking more water and caffeine free herbal tea with raw honey.

Although this has all been working well, something was still off and after a little research I came to the conclusion that I should do a juice cleanse.  I have never done one before so I bought the one-day juice cleanse from Pressed Juicery.  I was a little apprehensive at first but I am so glad I did it.  I feel like it helped reset my system and got me back on track.  I want to do it again next month – maybe even 3 days??

Check out what I had:

9am – Greens 2: apple, celery, cucumber, kale, lemon, parsley, romaine, spinach *Yum

11am – Citrus 2: apple, lemon, mint, pineapple *Sweet

1pm – Greens 3: apple, celery, cucumber, ginger, kale, lemon, parsley, romaine, spinach *Yum

3pm – Roots 3: apple, beet, ginger, lemon *Ginger spice

5pm – Citrus 1: aloe vera, coconut water, cucumber, lemon, pineapple *Subtle

7pm – Vanilla Almond: almond, dates, sea salt, vanilla bean *Yum

Chlorophyll Water – throughout the day

9pm – Aloe Vera Water – before bed

I drank all of this in one day!  I can’t believe it!


*This is NOT a Pressed Juicery promotion.  I have NO affiliation with them.

BBG – Take 2

 

What do you think about this workout outfit?  I love exercise clothes… maybe it’s the compression that holds everything in nicely or maybe it’s the everyday ease or maybe I like that they push me to workout.  Who knows?!  This is my exercise sewing dream outfit not necessarily in the cat print although I love the kitties – now just for getting it done. 🙂

Top left: Colette Patterns – Astoria pullover, Right: Colette Patterns – Aries Fitted Athletic Tights, Bottom left: Asics Gel Fit Tempo 2 MT – Love love love these shoes!

Anyway, it has taken me a couple years to really workout regularly.  I started with P90X and did that for about a month and a half then I did 10 minute daily workouts using YouTube videos then back to P90X but the 30 minute version then back to 10 minute videos.  As time went by I hired a personal trainer for 3 months.  That was great!  I loved it and thought I could learn how to work out properly then workout on my own.  Once those three months ended I found BBG – Bikini Body Guide.  I skipped the 4 week pre-training because I had been working out regularly and was in the best shape of my life.  I was about three weeks in when I pulled an intercostal muscle.  I had no choice but to take a break for a few weeks and let it heal.  As much as I wanted and sometimes even tried to start working out again I couldn’t without aggravating it so I stopped working out but I didn’t stop eating right.

Instead, I started to pay more attention to what I eat and dabble into different diets like paleo, vegan, vegetarian or no sugar.  I never dove in completely to any but I would try them for about a week.  It was always tough especially since so many of the foods I love involve meat or seafood or sugar.  I realized that I didn’t want to give everything up and I didn’t want it to be noticeable that I have a certain diet so the best route for me was moderation.  Cut down on sugar, cut down on meat, cut down on fast food and drink more water but don’t deny a good meal when it is offered.

Back to BBG, my muscle finally healed up.  It took longer than expected but then the holidays came and my schedule was a bit crazy.  I wasn’t able to work out and a part of me was discouraged.  My husband who is also my workout partner (even though we don’t follow the same workouts) fell off the wagon with me when I pulled my muscle.  We do almost everything together so even though I encouraged him to work out it just didn’t feel the same.  Soon enough my husband started to realize I was in a funk and kept asking me about working out.  I wasn’t into it but finally he was very direct with me and told me I was not being myself and that I am usually so on top of everything and I need to snap out of it.  He was right.  I wasn’t myself.  I’m a list-maker, I read every day whether it be books or articles, I work out at least 3 times a week, I’m always running errands on my lunch break and making dinner at home and preparing lunch the night before, I even have time for my sewing and working on my business.  I wasn’t doing all of those things and I really needed to be doing those things to get out of my rut.  The next day, I went to work and I wrote my very first list in some time.  I was going to work out.  I was going to start the BBG – this time from pre-training.  So I did it.

I’m on week 1 of BBG after 4 weeks of pre-training and it is kicking my butt.  I am doing the Monday/Wednesday circuit training and the Tuesday/Thursday LISS.  I have a long way to go but I wanted to keep track of that here.  I’m looking forward to it.  I’m also looking forward to more lists, good books, great meals at home, and running my sewing business all the while working full-time.  🙂