Happy Easter!

Today starts my mini Easter break from school. Technically, we don’t get any days off for the holiday, but I decided to skip class tomorrow and give myself a 4 day weekend (if we include today).

This weekend I can’t wait to spend time with my family and friends and just relax a little bit. Between my traveling and school work these past few weeks I don’t think I’ve slowed down and stopped to enjoy the wonderful world around me…

So, this weekend I want to take time to truly enjoy what’s around me and give thanks for everything I have. (Kind of like Thanksgiving, only this is Easter style!)

What a better way to start my mini break than curling up on the couch to watch a movie… The Princess Bride πŸ™‚ I love this movie so much! We read the book and watched the movie in high school, and I always enjoy it whenever it’s on TV. I relaxed a bit and cleared my thoughts before heading out to work out.

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I had every intention of attending a Zumba class this evening, but I only stayed for the Absurdity 1/2 hour class prior to Zumba. The ab workout was definitely a tough one! I really felt the burn, which is always a nice change. I try not to focus on my abs too much because I know a full body workout yields better results. But tonight, my abs got to feel the burn!

Calories burned during Absurdity

Calories burned during Absurdity

After the Absurdity class I realized I really wasn’t in the mood to do Zumba. Why force myself into something I wouldn’t enjoy? So I listened to my body and left. I went home to try the 100 burpee challenge. ( I hadn’t forgotten about my failure yesterday!) I was determined to finish and I did πŸ™‚ I’m so proud of myself for pushing my body to my limits.

Calories burned during rest of my workout

Calories burned during rest of my workout

The challenge is broken into 25 reps of 4 types of burpees. I had trouble with the first 3 types (they involved full push-ups and touching your toe to fingertips when you came up, and also doing burpees to the side). After the first 3 types, the final burpees had plank jacks. I was proud of my finish, even if the challenge left me winded and exhausted!

My shadow during the workout... with my cat watching!

My shadow during the workout… with my cat watching!

The rest of my workout involved some jumping jacks, weight lifting, and kicking my punching bag. I’m satisfied with my at home workout- it started my weekend off on the right foot!

How are you going to spend Easter weekend? What workout challenge do you face?Β 

xoxo

Allison

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What I Ate Wednesday

I really like the idea of posting what I eat in a day… It might sound odd, but I feel like people are continually interested in what other people are eating. I mostly look at the foods other people consume to compare/contrast what I eat compared to them.

Overall, my diet is pretty healthy. I eat the amount I want of foods and I eat foods that work for me. I’m not on a “diet” by any means. I do use portion control and watch my consumption of foods that are high in fats and sugars. Honestly, I don’t even crave fried foods or anything similar anymore.

Chocolate, however, I crave endlessly. I satisfy my sweet tooth with gluten-free, whole grain options and portion controlled sizes of chocolate. I struggle, but I’m slowly waning myself off of the current amount of chocolate I eat.

I’m still taking classes at OSU, which means I’m forced to consume mainly dorm foods or dining hall foods. I do pretty well to choose my foods wisely, and I hope seeing my choices will help you choose better options in the future!

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For breakfast I enjoyed fresh strawberries and honey nut cheerios with skim milk. If I were at home I would have enjoyed my Kashi cereal and almond milk, but I had to make do with what the campus grocery store was selling this week! I love fresh fruit for breakfast. Strawberries are my favorite because they offer so much natural sweetness and keep me from craving unhealthier options. (Do you like my fancy plastic silverware and tupperware bowls?) πŸ˜‰

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My morning pick-me-up was my frozen vanilla latte. I order it light- so I get skim milk, sugar free syrup, light powder, and coffee. I like the taste of the light version much better than regular! I don’t get coffee every day, but today I definitely needed an energy boost. I drank it about an hour and a half before I worked out.

During class I enjoyed this delicious gluten-free cookie! It’s my latest healthier option on campus and I can’t say enough good things about it. The ingredients are all whole grain and all natural. They taste delicious! I had mine an hour before I went to workout.

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Here are the stats for my workout of the day (WOTD). Today I mainly focused my arms- lifting heavier than usual. That kept me in the fat burning zone. I also was on the elliptical doing interval training for about a half an hour. Afterwards I attempted the PurelyTwins challenge to do 100 burpees. (see purelytwins.com for the full workout.) I got through 50 burpees before calling it quits! I was already spent after the weight lifting and cardio, so I cut my workout off after 59 min.

I’m really satisfied with my progress. I like having visual, graphical feedback after my workout. Getting the Polar FT40 has been a blessing.

IMG_3916Post workout I refueled with a delicious mixed greens, veggie, and chicken salad. I had to order the chicken breast and salad separate, then combine them myself. The salad was delicious! It was very fresh and satisfied my hunger. I ended up putting a little fat-free italian and fat-free ranch dressing on the salad for flavor. yum!

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I worked on homework steadily today until my stomach was growling with hunger. My body needed refueled! I bought a turkey, provolone, and tomato panini. It was very delicious, but a little to salty and greasy for my taste. I wish I had a kitchen to make it myself….

For dessert I tried the skinny cow chocolate fudge brownie ice cream. I love that skinny cow ice cream is always in the perfect portion size. I did eat the whole carton, but it was so tiny and guilt-free.

Like I said, I don’t eat 100% clean, but I’m working my way to that point. Living on campus puts many restrictions on what types of healthy foods I can purchase. I have a meal plan that I have to use and buy items with. I can’t wait to move home for the summer and truly start to transform my diet.

Once last bit of inspiration for the day:

IMG_3922Here is my most current before and after picture. Before, when I wasn’t concerned about what I ate or living a fit lifestyle, and after, a picture of me today!

I am happy with how tone my body has become and I’m excited to push forward. I thank God every day for giving me the strength to exercise and eat right. Every day is a challenge, but it is worth it for the results!

What challenges do you face with eating healthy? What about exercise challenges?

xoxo

Allison

 

 

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POLAR FT40

Yesterday was a super exciting day. Why? Because my Polar FT40 heart rate monitor came in the mail! With my luck, the HRM was delivered right after I was done with my workout for yesterday, so I didn’t get to try it out until today.

I was so excited to open the box!

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Yesterday I was able to analyze everything it came with and read up on all the manuals and watch all of the videos related to it. It came in a small box, which surprised me because I knew it contained a strap that went around my waist. How did it all fit in the little box? Well, it did much to my shock!

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First things first, I had to set up all of the background information. Programming the date, time, height, weight, etc. took a total of 3 min. It wouldn’t take a genius to do the set up of the watch, and I loved its conveniency.

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Next, I needed to take the fitness test. You’re probably thinking, oh no how difficult is that?! Honestly, it’s as east as laying down for 5 min. No joke. You put the HRM on your waist (actually just below your sports bra) and hit the start button. I had to lie still for 5 min and it tested my heart rate. According to the fitness test, my number is 53, and anything above 51 is elite! I was happy to see that I made it into the “elite” category.

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A few interesting tid bits about the HRM and watch…

The HRM needs to be wetted down with water before being put around your torso very snug. They aren’t messing around when they say to have it fit tightly and make sure it is completely sealed against your chest. My first attempt at the fitness test was actually a failure because I didn’t have the HRM sealed against my chest (I didn’t use enough water, lesson learned!).

Bad picture, but the HRM strap is below the navy blue sports bra I'm wearing

Bad picture, but the HRM strap is below the navy blue sports bra I’m wearing

Today I worked out with the HRM and watch and found it easy to use and easy to read. Starting the work out means pressing the “ok” button twice. The watch detects your heart rate and you’re good to go! I like that there is a pause button, just in case your work out is interrupted you press pause.

During the workout you can change between different views. The regular view tells your heart rate and whether you’re in fat burning mode or fitness mode (I’ll explain those in a bit!). I kept my watch at the normal view, but I also changed it to the calories burned view, the heart rate view, and the % fat burned view. I thought it was easy to read and helpful!

Below are my first workout stats:

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Fat burned vs. Fitness is based on heart rate. When you’re in the fitness zone you have a much higher heart rate and are increasing endurance. Also, in that zone you burn up and use more carbohydrates. During fat burning zone, you are burning more fat and your heart rate is generally lower. I stayed in the fat burning zone for about 10 min, which was only while I was doing my ab exercises and lifting other weights. I was in fitness zone majority of the time, and during my workout today I spent 35 min on the elliptical for cardio.

Post-wokout happiness!

Post-wokout happiness!

Overall I highly recommend the Polar FT40 to anyone increasing their fitness level. I like that I can keep track of all my work with exact numbers, and see my progress much more easily. I like that the watch is easy to use and operate. The HRM around my torso was hardly noticeable (it just felt like my sports bra strap… perhaps men would notice it being there more than women?).

I can’t wait to continue to share my stats with each workout I complete! πŸ™‚

xoxo

Allison

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Let’s Talk Fitness

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or dietician, so you should see a professional before making any health related choices!

With that over with, let’s talk fitness.

It’s been on my heart lately to talk about fitness and my journey. If you don’t know where I came from, how can you understand how far I’ve come? Let’s name today Transformation Tuesday. For all you instagramers, this should sound familiar.

Let’s go back about 7 years ago. I used to play volleyball. My school was super competitive and took pride in how fit the volleyball team was. We ran miles every day and lifted like the wrestling team. Around my freshman year of high school I was probably in some of the greatest shape of my life. I had been working so hard! I was also eating unhealthy, and fueling my body a bit too much. Every day I would think- I worked out, I can eat what I want.

My heaviest weight, during my junior year

My heaviest weight, during my junior year

Volleyball ended my sophomore year. (I was tired of the politics of playing a high school sport.) Unfortunately my eating habits never changed. I continued to eat bad foods in abundance. I was my heaviest weight (around 135 lbs) my junior year of high school.

I joined the golf team that year, and I felt myself gaining back some muscle, but I wasn’t working out enough to lose weight because I wasn’t working hard enough to make up for my bad eating habits. Thankfully, my junior year I discovered Zumba.

My first year golfing (I played my junior and senior year)

My first year golfing (I played my junior and senior year)

I began teaching Zumba the end of my junior year

I began teaching Zumba the end of my junior year

 

I learned that fitness wasn’t just a hobby, it was a way of life. Zumba helped me lose 10 lbs pretty quickly. I felt my fitness level rising and I loved the way I felt. I started running 5ks and by my senior year I was asked to become a Zumba instructor!

Senior year, Prom (I had lost 5-7 lbs, but still had 10 to go!)

Senior year, Prom (I had lost 5-7 lbs, but still had 10 to go!)

My senior year I was teaching 5-7 Zumba classes a week. Normally, someone with that schedule would lose weight, become toned, and look fabulous. I was still eating badly though. I wasn’t re-fueling with healthy choices and my body was storing all of my food as fat.

The summer before my freshman year in college I started to look at being healthy as my lifestyle. Not just working out, but also eating right. That summer I started to look better, without a change on the scale. Finally I started at OSU with the largest/best fitness facility in the country!

The summer before I went to OSU (still overweight)

The summer before I went to OSU (still overweight)

Going to the RPAC or other fitness facility became part of my daily routine. I started spending at least an hour at the gym every day, 5-6 times a week. Finally I lost another 8 lbs. By winter break, I was a solid 117 lbs and proud of how far I’d come.

Homecoming 2012, after losing 10 lbs

Homecoming 2012, after losing 10 lbs

 

Since then I’ve stopped weighing myself as often. I see myself gaining leg and arm muscle, but I’m no longer concerned with a number on the scale. For me, I want to be fit and feel great. A number will never make me feel that way, but working harder and pushing myself every day does!

Finally at my current weight! After losing 15-18 lbs!

Finally at my current weight! After losing 15-18 lbs!

Working out every day and loving it :)

Working out every day and loving it πŸ™‚

So this Transformation Tuesday I wanted to share my fitness journey with everyone. Now you see where I was, to understand how far I’ve come πŸ™‚ I struggle with my weight, so those of you in similar situations, you’re not alone! Keep working hard because the changes are gradual (as you can see!).

I wish you all the best of luck in your fitness journeys! If you have any questions fitness related, comment below:)

xoxo

AllisonΒ 

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Weekend Wrap-Up (NYC Edition)

I can’t imagine a better weekend than the one I just had! I keep reminiscing about the very quick trip I had in NYC. We left Thursday at 6am and returned Sunday at 2am. The bus drive was about 10 hours (and it actually went by quickly!). The best way to show you how amazing the weekend was is through a small sample of the numerous pictures I took.

If you spent the weekend with me…

Riding in OSU style!

Riding in OSU style!

We would have left Thursday morning at 6am together if you had spent the weekend with me. I had every intention of being productive during the 10 hour bus drive, but in all reality I spent the bus ride watching movies and sleeping πŸ™‚

When we first arrived...

When we first arrived…

My first order of business was to book it to Times Square to buy tickets to see Mamma Mia. I was stopped by this character to grab a quick picture. Times Square was wonderful at night! It was only a mile walk away from the hotel, so we walked there every time we had the chance.

Shrimp Cocktail Bubba Gump's

Shrimp Cocktail Bubba Gump’s

For dinner, we feasted at Bubba Gump’s. My shrimp were absolutely gigantic! They were very delicious- and, of course, the healthiest choice on the menu.

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TOYS R US

TOYS R US

Candy Land in Toys R Us

Candy Land in Toys R Us

We visited Toys R Us at Times Square and had so much fun posing with different things in the store. The giant ferris wheel was a real treat. We didn’t get the chance to take a ride, but seeing other enjoy it was enough.

IMG_0514 The M&M store

I love the M&M store. It reminds me of the joy and wonder of childhood. (I think I ate a lot of M&M’s as a child!) I bought a small baggies of crazy color M&M’s, but I don’t plan to eat them anytime soon! They’re too pretty to eat!

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Friday Morning

Friday Morning

I went to Starbuck’s for coffee and a breakfast sandwich to start my day. Afterwards, the business honors learning community visited the North America headquarters of PriceWaterhouse Coopers. (This was the main purpose of going to NYC.) Overall, I loved the office and the company, but I don’t see myself working there in the future :/

Grand Central Station Visit

Grand Central Station Visit

Carlo's Bakery- best bakery foods of the whole trip!

Carlo’s Bakery- best bakery foods of the whole trip!

Kissing the Cake Boss

Kissing the Cake Boss

Dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe at Times Square

Dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe at Times Square

I enjoyed an amazing salad for dinner!

I enjoyed an amazing salad for dinner!

Where they store the ball that is dropped on New Year's

Where they store the ball that is dropped on New Year’s

Broadway time!

Broadway time!

We saw Mamma Mia on Broadway! It was one of the best experiences of my life. I loved the music and the actors/actresses were unbelievable. I’m sure you’ve seen the movie, right? It has nothing on the musical! I LOVED IT. I will be singing ABBA music for the next month just to reminisce about the show. We had seats in the center, 13th row back. πŸ™‚

Went to see Mamma Mia

Went to see Mamma Mia

Saturday morning staring out at the river!

Saturday morning staring out at the river!

We took a tour of Wall Street Saturday morning. We saw sights like the bull and the 9/11 Memorial.

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This was my pre-lunch dessert that I bought and then didn’t eat until the bus ride. WOW. These cupcakes were unbelievable and I’m still in shock that I was able to try some after all the years I’ve spent watching the DC Cupcakes show.

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I couldn’t leave NYC without trying some authentic pizza! The place we visited was John’s Pizzeria on 44th. This pizza place used to be a Greek Orthodox church. The place looks like a hole in the wall, but the food is fantastic. It is, without a doubt, the best pizza I’ve ever had… EVER.

One last O-H-I-O picture at Rockefeller ended the weekend of my life. I was running on no sleep for a few days, and I’m slowly recovering. I’ll try to share more about the trip as the week progresses. I had the time of my life visiting so many amazing sights and trying some of the best food I’ve ever tasted. Do I regret the 3 days of unhealthy eating? Heck no! I can work out at the gym all week and the rest of my life, but I don’t know when the next time is that I will be able to try the treats that I was able to in NYC. I wish you all happy eating and healthy living this week!

Happy Sunday πŸ™‚

xoxo

Allison

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NYC Here I Come!

As I previously mentioned, I leave bright and EARLY for New York City tomorrow! I’m very excited and nervous for the short trip. I’ve been hoping and praying that the trip goes smoothly and as planned. I want to fit in as many sight seeing adventures as possible in the short time I’m in the city!

With traveling brings the great question: HOW DO I STAY HEALTHY WHILE TRAVELING?

Let me first say, it’s not easy. In our daily routines we get used to the usual temptations and learn how to avoid them. In a new place, everything looks amazing and you think “one cookie won’t hurt, right?” I’ll admit, splurging a bit never hurt anyone- I always have cheat meals/days once a week to stay on track the other days of the week. While traveling though, one cheat snack can turn into binging on junk for the whole trip.

Words to live by

Words to live by

Eating unhealthy foods leaves you sluggish and tired, which will kill your fun-loving vacation attitude. SO, while on vacations or trips, one splurge a day is okay, but once a week or once during the trip is much more acceptable.

So, how to stay fit on a trip? I advise exercising. Make sure your hotel or wherever you’re staying has a gym or place to work out- even if that means running outside. While I’m in NYC, our hotel won’t have a gym and there isn’t time in the schedule for running outside. However, NYC is such a huge place and I plan to walk everywhere to get my daily fix of physical activity.

Going to be walking a lot in New York!

Going to be walking a lot in New York!

For trips it is super important to PLAN AHEAD. For the trip to NYC I have a 20 hour bus ride there and back. On the bus, snacks and candy will be provided. With that in mind, I have baggies full of pretzels, protein bars, and other healthier alternatives so I won’t be tempted to grab for the other stuff.

I love Luna Protein Bars! (Mint chocolate chip the most!) Also, Cliff Bars are great.

I love Luna Protein Bars! (Mint chocolate chip the most!) Also, Cliff Bars are great.

Not super healthy, but in moderation these are better than chips!

Not super healthy, but in moderation these are better than chips!

I'm a sucker for this flavor... I could eat a whole bag! But I package them into smaller baggies to stay on track.

I’m a sucker for this flavor… I could eat a whole bag! But I package them into smaller baggies to stay on track.

 

 

Stay hydrated while on your vacations and trips. DRINK WATER. It’s so obvious, but people still don’t get it. Drinking water is basically the best thing you can do for your body. At restaurants, it’s also free so you’ll save some money. For my trip, I’m bringing my filtered water bottle to keep me on track.

Look at the menus of restaurants and places you know you’ll be going ahead of time. You can research all the nutrition information beforehand, so you know exactly what to order. Personally, I’ll be visiting the Hard Rock CafΓ© and Bubba Gump’s. I already know that both places offer healthy salad options or light shrimp dishes. Taking the time to look things up beforehand will help so much in the long run I promise!

I'm looking forward to some seafood this trip!

I’m looking forward to some seafood this trip!

This place is an all time favorite of mine:)

This place is an all time favorite of mine:)

 

Going on vacations and trips is fun, but in order to make them enjoyable and guilt-free, remember to eat wisely and stay active!

What travel snacks do you always pack? What’s your favorite restaurant in NYC?

xoxo

Allison

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I’m excited for…

Lately I’ve been feeling so blessed for the amazing opportunities God is putting in my life. I want to share some upcoming awesome events/things that I’m excited for and looking forward to!

First, I can’t wait for my trip to New York City this week! I leave Thursday in the AM for a short trip to NYC through the business honors learning community that I’m a part of at OSU. I visited New York for the first time when I was 16, and I can’t wait to go back. The mini vacation is much needed. I’ll be returning Sunday morning- very early though (like 2 am!). Can’t wait to share pictures and memories with everyone.

Soon I will also be going to Italy and Ireland! I’m weeks away from that trip as well. It’s a study abroad trip through OSU. I leave May 10th for the trip and will be spending 10 days abroad- 5 in Italy and 5 in Ireland. It will be my first time flying alone and flying abroad! I’ll definitely be sharing more information about that trip when the time is closer…

Reading my travel books to prepare for the trip :)

Reading my travel books to prepare for the trip πŸ™‚

I just bought new running shoes if you noticed my last Weekend Wrap-Up. Why? Because I’m running my first half marathon! This fall I’ll be running in the Columbus half marathon. It’s not until October, but I’m currently trying to find a half marathon a bit sooner than that. I’ll also be running 5k’s throughout the summer- like the Color Run maybe? πŸ˜‰

Stretching after my run... Showing off my new kicks!

Stretching after my run… Showing off my new kicks!

I’ve been looking into different heart rate/fitness monitors lately. I’ve done research into all the options and I’ve finally made my decision to buy the Polar FT40 watch! I can’t wait to get it in the mail and try it out. Knowing me, I’ll never want to take it off! I considered the UP by Jawbone, but I realized that it wasn’t going to fit my needs. I wanted a monitor that tracked everything without me telling it what to do, and I wanted it to specifically count my calories and heart rate during fitness activities. I went for the FT40 because it is meant for people wanting to improve their fitness level. (i.e.: ME) I feel like I need to kick everything up a notch and that this watch will definitely help me!

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Do you own a Polar watch? How to you keep track of your activity level?

Have you studied abroad? Where to?

What’s your favorite place to visit in NYC?

 

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