January Fitness Update

January is a popular time of year for people to get back into their fitness goals as well as for people to make New Year’s Resolutions to get involved with fitness or lose weight.  January is also the time when I re-evaluate my fitness goals and start preparing for the spring cutting season.  I know spring seams far away, but by the time it arrives the hope is that I have built up enough muscle to be able to cut and still maintain my strength levels.

A few weeks before Christmas, Jake and I started a new lifting routine which includes a basic three-day split.  I decided to invest in a pair of lifting straps at the advice of a coworker to improve my grip strength and overall improve my dead lifts.  For the past two years, I’ve used gloves for lifting but it’s not my hands that need the help anymore as I’ve built up some pretty good calluses.  Ladies, do not be afraid of getting calluses from weight lifting.  Mine aren’t even noticeable to the eye and most days no one is holding my hands to feel them.  In addition to our three-day split, my goal is run or do some form of cardio twice a week.  I don’t put a lot of emphasis on cardio during fall or winter, but moving into spring I like to keep it consistent.  I’ve never been one for doing ab exercises (I hate them), but this year I’d like to make it one of my goals.  Jake and I will probably add ab exercises onto leg day because generally that is our fastest moving day.  This weekend I’d like to find a basic everyday ab exercise that I can do in the mornings or evenings on a yoga mat, nothing intense likes those ad challenges I see rolling around on Pinterest.  Remember abs are made in the kitchen, not at the gym.

During the fall and winter months, I spoil myself with Pumpkin Spice Lattes, pumpkin cookies, holiday parties, and all weight lifting at the gym.  Right now at the turn of the year, I have decided to start tracking what I eat and count my calorie intake.  I have used the app My Fitness Pal in the past and I really enjoy it.  Not only does it allow my to track my calories, but I can also see the breakdown of the nutrition in the food.  The app can keep track of your exercises and how many calories you burn which are then negated from your daily caloric intake.  The one downside to the app is that it doesn’t know how many calories are burned during strength exercises.  One of my best tips to eating healthy is to meal plan.  I like to prepare my lunch and dinners every week, cooking on Sunday’s and packing everything in containers for busy weekdays.  I just ordered a weekly whiteboard so that I can better organize meals for myself and for when Jake comes over.  I love lists and organizing my thoughts and I have been wanting a whiteboard for over a year now.

I’d like to do these fitness updates every three to four months, during the change of the seasons and fitness routines.  Moving into spring, my diet will become more strict with less carbs and high amounts of vegetables and protein.  The most important part of my fitness routine is making sure I’m keeping hydrated: drink all the water.  Start with a glass right after to step out of bed and add an additional glass or two if you exercise that day.

Tea Time

As soon as the weather started cooling down I brought my Keurig back out so I could start drinking hot coffee again, but sometimes I really enjoy a cup of tea.  I love coffee, but even after drinking it for the past six years or so, I find that coffee can be too strong and bitter after more than two cups (sometimes even one cup).  I’m not breaking ground here by talking about my favorite teas because I have only ever purchased bagged tea.  I know that loose leaf tea is really the way to go, but I haven’t ventured into buying a coffee press or tea pot for that yet.

Now whether I prefer my tea hot versus cold is a toss up.  I always like iced tea whether it’s black, green, or herbal.  However, I usually don’t like black or herbal tea hot with a few exceptions.  Mint tea is very good hot and that’s the only way I’ll drink it, but I almost never drink black tea hot unless it’s a chai.  So many exceptions! Now on to my favorites.

Tazo Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea
Yeah, we’re back on that pumpkin kick.  I got this at Target, which is the only place I’ve seen it.  It’s pretty amazing; I almost like it more than a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks.  I add just a bit of soy milk into it and it’s perfect for a nice breezy morning.

Lipton Mixed Berry Green Tea
This is my current favorite for a late morning cup of tea.  It love the berry taste, as berries are still in season.  I haven’t tried it over ice yet, and I doubt I will this season, but I’m sure it would be lovely iced.

Lipton Decaffeinated Honey Lemon Green Tea
This my favorite tea to drink if I’m feeling at all under the weather.  It feels nice on the throat when it’s a bit scratchy or clears your sinuses when they seem to be stuffy.  Sometimes I even add a little extra honey to cup if my throat is really sore.  Of course, I drink this often in the afternoon since it’s decaffeinated.

Lipton Green Mangosteen Peach Green Tea
This green tea is amazing over ice, so maybe it’s not the best option for the upcoming fall season, but it’s still very good.  I don’t mind it though either.  Mango and peach are my favorite flavors ever! I love getting mango black iced tea from a local tea shop, so being able to get it in green and just make it myself is affordable and more convenient.