Tag Archives: lifestyle

Gettin’ Sweaty at the Dog Park

27 Jul
Doggie wonderland.

Doggie wonderland.

I’m back! I know it’s been awhile, but I’m still here ─ and still living the California dream! In fact, my husband and I adopted the sweetest, most adorable little dog. LA is probably the best city on the planet to live with an 8lb dog, as these precious little creatures are actually treated better than children. Chloe, our little chi-spaniel, goes everywhere with us ─ brunch by the beach, shopping in Target, wine tasting, grocery shopping, movies in the park, dinners out ─ while you get my drift.

Anyways, besides all the everyday (human) places we take her, we’ve discovered another magical little place we now have access to ─ the dog park. Ironically, we have one a few blocks from our house, so it’s very easy for us to take her down the street to play. However, we recently discovered trips to the dog park can also be a fun way for us to get some cardio in.

This past Saturday morning, we took her jogging and ended up at the dog park. Then we jogged some more around the dog park. Back and forth ─ sprint interval style. And when we were done, we jogged back home. In total, we were gone about an hour and were all feeling tired and sweaty when we got home.

Chloe is fascinated by everything at the dog park.

Chloe is fascinated by everything at the dog park.

So there you have it ─ exercising at the dog park isn’t just for pooches. Not only do you burn calories, it’s also a great excuse to spend quality time with a bunch of cute little doggies!

Five Reasons Not to Break Your Workout Plans

6 Aug
Let Donnie Wahlberg's abs serve as your workout motivation.

Let Donnie Wahlberg’s abs serve as your workout motivation.

Maintaining a regular workout schedule can be a challenge. You probably have at least a million things to do each day, so it’s not always easy to keep your workout plans. In fact, you may be wondering how you’re going to accomplish everything on your to-do list today and still make time for exercise.

If you’re thinking of skipping the gym, stop right there, and JUST DON”T DO IT! Here’s five reasons why you should do whatever it takes to keep your workout plans today:

  • Health Benefits: There really isn’t any part of your body that doesn’t benefit from regular exercise. Keep up with that workout schedule and your entire body will thank you.
  • Bragging Rights: Everyone hates listening to “that friend” boast about their rigorous exercise routine, but that’s only because they’re jealous. Be “that friend” and wear your unbreakable workout schedule as a badge of honor. As you should!
  • Justifying “Cheat Days”: Everyone has a meal, or perhaps an entire day, now and then where they just unfasten the top button on their jeans and stuff their faces silly. When you exercise regularly, you won’t need to feel nearly as guilty about eating that cupcake, and taco, and wellll maybe a churro too…
  • De-Stressing: When you have PMS, whether or not your period is actually looming, or really even if you’re a man or woman, nothing will improve your mood and make you feel better about yourself than a good workout. Trust me, it works.
  • Skill Maintenance: It’s a lot easier to keep your workout plans when you’re already in good shape, than if you let yourself slide a bit, and your normal routines become a difficult torturefest. While it’s always good to challenge yourself with your workouts, it’s much harder to get back on the pony than just staying on for the ride.

 

 

For a Good Time, Take Your Workout Plans Outdoors

22 Jul

When the weather is nice, you want to be outdoors, right? If your response is not a big, loud YES!!, you have issues. There’s nothing like enjoying fantastic cardio workouts under the bright sun and clear skies of the great outdoors. Not only are you getting a great physical workout, it’s also fantastic for the mind.

I don’t know about you, but but my normal workout plans involve hopping up on the cardio equipment and quickly turning on the television. While I’m deeply grateful and a large fan of the built-in televisions on the cardio equipment in our gym, sometimes it’s nice to have a change of scenery when working out. And no, I don’t just mean channel flipping until I find a new show to watch. I mean giving the gym a break for the day and partaking in some outdoor cardio workouts.

The great outdoors of the Hollywood Hills.

My kind of nature, “the great outdoors”, a.k.a. the Hollywood Hills.

Now that we live in LA, my husband and I have no excuse not to fit some outdoor exercise into our workout plans. We both work from home, so there’s really no reason not to bust out of the office (okay, fine, our one-bedroom apartment) and get some fresh air. Running, biking, or even going out for a leisurely stroll, are all great ways to enjoy the great outdoors of sunny LA and burn some calories at the same time.

Last weekend we took a trip to Runyon Canyon, in the beautiful Hollywood Hills. Now that is my kind of park! Sweeping views of the entire city, under the watchful eye of the famous Hollywood sign, is the true definition of the “great” outdoors. At least in LA.

We had such a great time exploring Runyon Canyon! We went during the afternoon, when the sun was beating down at its hardest, so we just took our time walking around and exploring the area. Not the most challenging of our cardio workouts, but definitely one of the most fun! We’ll  be back again for sure, probably for a morning run next time.

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The Hollywood Sign — so fun to go for a walk and see this!

Finding ways go about achieving your workout plans in a fun, scenic area makes exercising much more enjoyable! When you’re exploring somewhere new, or visiting an old favorite spot, you’re much more focused on where you are and how much you’re loving it, than your sore legs and massive desire to finish your workout as quickly as possible.

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View of LA from Runyon Canyon

A Few of My Favorite Tone It Up Fitness Videos

15 Jul

Greetings from sunny Los Angeles! I’ve been living here for nearly two weeks now. Such a fun city! My husband and I have been having the best time exploring and getting to know the area.

I’m currently working as a freelance writer, so I can pretty much do what I want all day. No complaints about that! One thing I’ve been doing a lot more of is exercising. Our new apartment building has a gym that’s about 25 steps away from our little one-bedroom abode, which is a-m-a-z-i-n-g! Instead of just doing cardio and a few fitness videos here and there I’ve been adding these toning exercises to my regular workouts.

I love Tone It Up. They have the best fitness videos! They’re challenging, but not so much that you get discouraged and give up mid-workout, because you can’t keep up. These exercises are fun and you really feel them the next day, so they’re obvious doing some great work!

Here are three of my current favorite Tone It Up workout routines. Try them to get tightened up for those bikinis, strapless dresses, and short shorts!

Tone It Up Holiday Hottie Video

If you’re looking for full-body workout routines that you’ll feel the next day (and probably even the day after) this is it! Not only is this video fun, it’s also nice to literally feel the burn and know  you’ve really gotten a great workout in a short period of time.

Love Your Arms Routine with Karena!

I’ve been neglecting my arms for awhile and it totally shows. I hated going to the weight area at my old gym in Pittsburgh, due to the hoards of sweaty Yinzers causing major overcrowding issues. Thankfully our new apartment gym has a beautifully undercrowded weight room, in addition to the cardio area, so I’ve decided to get back to work on my less-than-sexy limbs. I love this Tone It Up video! I started out using 5lb weights on all exercises and quickly graduated to 8lb-ers on everything but the “Swaying Angel.” I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I am a beast!

itty bitty BIKINI! Tone up the love handles workout

Short and sweet workout routines that get the job done in a timely manner are my favorites, and this totally fits the bill! This workout is fantastic for many reasons. Best of all because it’s a five-minute workout that you actually feel the next day! I do it in hotel rooms, on days I don’t have time to work out, after pigging out when I’m feeling like a big cow, and when none of the former reasons apply, I do it just because I love it.

Karena and Katrina of Tone It Up make sure each of their workouts come with a downloadable printable that you can take to the gym with you, which is fantastic! I have these on my phone, because I always forget a move or two, so this way there’s no excuse not to do the full video in its entirety!

Moving? Tips for Eating Healthy in a New Town

9 Jul
Our moving caravan traveling through the Palm Desert.

Our moving caravan traveling through the Palm Desert.

My husband and I moved from Pittsburgh, PA to Los Angeles, CA last week! Little bit of a big change there, right? The entire process took a TON of work. From packing all of our belongings in moving boxes, to driving across the country in a Penske truck (one that I must add was pulling my sweet Mazda3), to moving ourselves into a shiny little third floor apartment, we had a pretty exhausting couple of weeks.

Thankfully now we’re all unpacked and settled into our new home in sunny LA, but it took nearly a week for us to get there. Between unpacking moving boxes and making frequent trips to Target, the last thing we wanted to do was stop everything and make dinner. Truthfully, our refrigerator had barely more than milk, a few containers of Greek yogurt, and some cottage cheese in it until yesterday.

Not only was cooking inconvenient, it was also the boring option. My husband and I are in full agreement that one of the most fun ways to explore our sunny new town is through our stomachs, like the little piggies that we are. As one can imagine, LA has ten of every type of restaurant you can imagine, and so many of them are actually healthy AND cheap! Too amazing for words. Finally though, yesterday, after five days of eating everywhere in LA, I made dinner in our new kitchen for the first time. And for the record, I did so again today. Oink on that!

Eating Healthy and Exploring Your New Town

If you’re also planning a move to a new town in the near future, or have already arrived at your destination, here’s a few tips for exploring the cuisine without expanding your waistline:

  • Walk to Your Destination: If you live in a pedestrian-friendly area, walk to dinner instead of driving. You’ll burn a few extra calories and get to see a little more of your new neighborhood.
  • Designate Dining Out Nights: At the beginning of the week decide how many times you’ll eat out that week. Then stick to it. If it helps, plan out where you’ll go in advance so you can look forward to it with hungry anticipation.
  • Incorporate Local Specialties: Eating in doesn’t need to mean you’re doomed to feast on Hamburger Helper and Spaghetti O’s. Learn what types of fresh food your town is known for producing and incorporate that into your menu. For example, if you’ve moved to a beach town, start cooking fresh fish. You’ll get a taste of your new town without having to leave your own kitchen.

Moving to a new town is exciting! Exploring new restaurants is personally one of my favorite things, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s encouraged! Just remember, moderation is the key to just about everything in life.

I’ll Be Loving NKOTB Abs Forever (and Everything Else About Them…)

17 Jun
Welcome back to Pittsburgh, Donnie Wahlberg's abs!

Welcome back to Pittsburgh, Donnie Wahlberg’s abs!

They’re baackk!! That’s right people, Donnie Wahlberg’s abs will be on display this summer in various cities across the country on The Package Tour! Woo hoo!

The beautiful men of NKOTB.

Danny’s biceps are seriously about to bust through his suit coat!

Earlier this week the “The Package Tour,” made it’s Pittsburgh stop, and dare I say, I think this was the best New Kids on the Block show yet! Seriously though, I should know as I went to my first one nearly 23 years ago.

NKOTB gettin' down!

NKOTB gettin’ down!

Typically when you go to a show, you have to sit through an opening act you’ve never heard of, who probably isn’t even that great. Well well, not on The Package Tour! Opening acts for NKOTB this time around were Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees. Can we say boy band bliss?!

Boyz II Men = classic.

Boyz II Men = classic.

Nick Lachey was looking fit as ever!

Nick Lachey was looking fit as ever!

Everyone was completely awesome. Seriously, they all worked it. I’d go to every show on the tour if I could convince my husband going to NKOTB shows is a legit career.

NKOTB Looks Like Fitness Models

Not only do the amazingly talented men of New Kids on the Block still sound as fantastic as they did at my first concert 23 years ago, they’re in just as good shape. Actually, I think they look even better than they did in their 20’s! These studly men are seriously fit.

The lovely men of NKOTB.

The beautiful men of NKOTB.

Donnie Wahlberg’s abs totally stole the show while he belted out “Cover Girl,” and glided around the stage with all the swagger in the world. Sigh. Words cannot describe how beautiful those three minutes were for all of us “Donnie girls.”

And a side view of Donnie Wahlberg's abs. Wow, just wow!

And a side view of Donnie Wahlberg’s abs. Wow, just wow!

Jordan also gave us a little sneak peek of his beautiful toned stomach (see below).

What a tease!

What a tease!

While Danny, Joe, and Jon are a bit more modest, their clothes can’t disguise how crazy fit they are. Joe just ran a marathon, Danny’s biceps are the size of a moderately sized child, and Jon has never looked better!

Lookin' good boys, lookin' good.

Lookin’ good boys, lookin’ good.

These five guys, who are all in their 40’s, danced their finely toned arses off for two straight hours. No stopping. I’d be willing to bet that most guys half their age couldn’t do that! Especially while belting out perfect versions of their hits from the past 25 years.

Love how they always wear Boston jerseys during Hangin' Tough. Especially adorable this year with the "Boston Strong" shoutout.

Love how they always wear Boston jerseys during Hangin’ Tough. Especially adorable this year with the “Boston Strong” shoutout.

This goes to show that age really is just a number people. You can be in the best shape of your life at 45, 50, whatever. If you have the desire to get fit, there’s no stopping you! Let Donnie Wahlberg’s abs and Danny Wood’s bulging biceps be your inspiration!

Eating Healthy and Exercising On-the-Go

10 Jun

It’s not always convenient to fit eating healthy and exercising into your day. Especially when you’re traveling or just really busy. When you’re short on time (and exhausted) it can be tempting to skip the gym and head to one of the closest fast food restaurants in the area for a quick and easy meal. Admittedly, sometimes this is the best option in a bind, but make a habit of it and your waistline is going to expand. And fast.

Personally, I’ve been pretty busy lately. We’ve been out-of-town the past three weekends, in addition to preparing for a cross-country move. A bit overwhelming at times! I can more than relate to just how difficult it can be to find the time to fit exercising into an already packed schedule. And to work up the energy to make a healthy lunch and dinner.

Here’s a few tips to keep eating healthy and exercising, even when it’s a whole lot easier not to:

  • Schedule Your Workouts: At the beginning of the week take note of the days you’re free to workout at your normal time. If your availability doesn’t equal an adequate amount of exercising time for the week, get creative! If you normally workout in the evenings, wake up early and go for a morning run. It’ll be rough rousing yourself out of bed early, but trust me, you won’t regret it.

  • Work Exercise Into Your Day: If crafty scheduling still isn’t cutting it to get your normal workouts in, you can always find fun little alternative ways to fit exercise into your day. Last weekend my husband and I were in NYC and instead of working out in the gym, we went for a bike ride around the perimeter of Central Park. So fun! I also love to go outside for lunchtime walks. Sure, it’s not the greatest calorie burner ever, but it’s something. And it pulls me away from the glare of my computer screen for awhile. Total bonus!

I hadn't been on a bike since I was about 11 or 12. The first few minutes of the ride were interesting, the rest were fun!

Biking in Central Park was  a great way to get our daily exercise in.

  • Prepare Healthy Food in Advance: Sometimes you really won’t have time to cook dinner or pack a healthy lunch for work. Combat this problem with a little advance planning. If you know you have a crazy week ahead of you, spend an hour on Sunday making dinner for the week, putting individual portions in freezable containers. Quick, easy, and healthy!

It can be tempting to opt for fast food restaurants and declare an exercising ban when you’re really super busy, but well, just don’t. Healthy food doesn’t typically come from restaurants where employees wear funny little hats. Eating healthy and working out shouldn’t be an option, it should be your way of life!