Weekly Planning

I am the type of person that needs to write things down on to-do lists to  remember that I have appointments and things planned.  I’ve never gotten into using the calendar app on my phone and every time I’ve tried I just hate it.  For 2015, I decided I wanted to be even more organized than I have been in the past.  This includes meal planning dinner for the week for two people and make all my lunches in advance.  I also plan my workouts for the week so I know what days I’ll rest and when to make plans outside of work.

I invested in a planner for the year, which I haven’t used since I was in college.  When I was in college I used this as a way to plan my homework for the weekend using color coordinated pens.  I’m not quite that far yet, but I’m not opposed to using multiple colors just for the heck of it.  I make to-do lists in my planner while I’m at work as opposed to sending reminder emails to my personal email or making lists in my phone.  Being able to cross items off the list make me feel more accomplished.

In addition to the planner, I purchased a weekly whiteboard that I mounted next to the door of my apartment along with a pen holder with whiteboard markers so that I always know what the plan is for the day.  I’ve been putting the workout for the day on the bottom of the whiteboard, including rest days, and the meal for dinner on the top, while all other appointments and activities go in between. Sunday is generally reserved for meal planning and errands since I work my part time job on Saturday mornings.  I’ve made sure to write down when to blog, whether the blog post gets published or not that day, to ensure I’m always working on my New Year’s Resolution.

I work full time, sometimes more depending on my part time job schedule, and go to the gym around five times per week.  A couple of months ago, I found that preparing lunches and making meals in advance is the way to go. Cooking meals in the slow cooker or Crock Pot will save your life.  I have a smaller sized one since it’s just me and it rations about five to six servings, depending on the recipe.  The goal right now is start planning meals for two people and make sure that the meal accommodates both Jake and I.  I eat a mostly vegetarian diet with a few fish dishes here and there.  Years ago, I would have hated to read that, but then I decided that if I wanted to eat something, I was going to.  I always enjoyed salmon when I was growing up and it reminds me of my mom since she always made it so well.  I also enjoyed shrimp, mostly on salads or in a pasta dish early in high school.  These are the only two non-vegetarian foods that I incorporate into my diet.  Jake on the other hand is not a vegetarian at all so making dinner for two can be a challenge.  When I move in to Jake’s house in a few months, I’m planning on using our two slow cookers to prepare similar dishes, except mine won’t have meat.

The past few months I’ve really turned to Pinterest to find easy-to-prepare, healthy lunches and dinners.  Having a good amount of containers at home to pack lunches is important.  A few years ago I purchased EasyLunches containers* which are my favorite at the moment.  I’d really like to invest is some glass containers because I know heating up food in plastic isn’t the best decision, but I really enjoy the sections in these containers for keeping food fresh and portion control.  Having healthy snacks prepared to go with lunch makes mornings go even faster.  I peel and chop carrots in advance, but only by a day or two; this applies to broccoli as well.  Too many days in the fridge will cause the flavor of the vegetables to change or even go bad before getting to eat them.  Other snacks I enjoy are almonds and pretzels mixed together, yogurt, cottage cheese, and hard boiled eggs.  I also keep a lot of tea at my work desk to keep hydrated and to get away from plan water all the time.

Working full time, going to the gym regularly, eating healthy, and having a social life is possible.  It’s taken me a while to figure out how to make it all work, but I know that anyone can do it.  Planning meals and activities in advance may seem like a killer, but it’s taken a lot of stress off of my shoulders on weeknights when I want to relax or go out with friends.  Having lunches made in advance also allows me to sleep in a bit longer, which I know everyone enjoys!

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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.