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6 Jun

Summer is basically here and the Goldleaf Weight Loss Challenge is entering into it’s final week. Though I haven’t been an active participant, running the challenge for co-workers and friends has kept my work out routine and willingness to try to recipes/cooking in general more creative and fun that normal. I plan to continue to blog after the challenge ends with a lot of the same material – work outs, more recipes, music, and food reviews. I realize the past few weeks have found posts here to be a little neglected, due to exams, holiday weekends, and travel. As summer settles into a routine of working and summer school, I hope to get a schedule set down that will let me post here a little more like I used to.

But without further ado, here is the last week of challenges!


Keep a detailed food journal each day – 10 points

Run or walk 3 miles with 6 sprints interspersed between slower paced jogging or walking – 10 points

No work candy/desserts – 10 points

Extra Mile

Make a list of habits you’ve gained over the past three months that have helped you lose or maintain your weight (you will submit this to me with your weigh in) – 1 point per habit

Do 3 strength circuit work outs (see below) – 15 points

No soda and drink 64 oz of water per day – 15 points

Strength Circuit Work Out

– 25 jumping jacks

– 25 squats (hold dumbbells in each hand if you are able to. I usually do 10-15 pounds)

– 15 push ups

– 30 bicycles

– Jump rope (or in place) for 30 seconds

– 20 lunges on each leg (hold dumbbells in each hand if you are able to. I usually do 10-15 pounds)

– 15 rows

– 1 minute plank

– 15 squat jumps

– 15 bicep curls

– 15 leg lifts (lie on your back and pick your heels up about two inches off the ground. Raise them until they form a 90 degree angle with the rest of your body and then lower back to the 2 inch mark)

– Repeat all moves once for a total of two rounds.

I know this work out seems a bit longer, but you’re only going through it twice. Circuit work outs are great because they combine strength with bursts of cardio that keep your heart rate up and burning calories. Personally, I’d round this circuit out with 15-20 minutes of cardio before getting into the strength moves.

Keep up the good work – only 1 week left to go!


Goldleaf Challenges

30 May


*Run/walk 3 miles with 5 sprint intervals 3 times this week – 10 points

Get 7-8 hours of sleep t least 5 nights this week – 10 points

Replace 5 heavier calorie sides (french fries, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, etc.) with 5 servings of vegetables into your daily diet – 10 points

Extra Mile

*Do 4 cardio sessions: 2 interval, 1 long and steady, and one whatever you want – 15 points

Replace dessert with fruit – 10 points

Walk 20-30 minutes on your lunch break 3 times this week – 10 points

* – Points are only counted for one exercise or the other

Goldleaf Fitness Challenges

23 May

The Goldleaf Fitness Challenge – Spring Edition is closing in on it’s final leg, and timing must be everything because the weather has been perfect for days spent poolside lately in Madison.

During my early college years, I was not a big fan of the nice weather that required shorts and tank tops. I hadn’t discovered strength training yet and wasn’t eating a high protein diet. Instead, I favored low intensity, long cardio sweat sessions and carbs in all their glorious forms. The result was that I had no results. My body stayed pretty much the same, unless I started REALLY enjoying carbs, usually late at night, in a Perkins.  Fast forward to today, and I cannot wait to spend as much time as possible outside this weekend in a bikini. This is thanks to interval cardio, regular strength training sessions, and limiting (but definitely not eliminating) carbs in favor of higher protein fare. Since I’ve been reflecting on this, it definitely influenced this week’s challenges!


3 cardio interval works outs on the elliptical or treadmill (or outside!) for 30 minutes – 15 points

Limit your daily carbohydrate intake to 150 grams * – 20 points

No candy – 10 points

The Extra Mile

3 strength training work outs – 15 points

Limit your daily carbohydrate intake to 100 grams * – 25 points

No soda ( diet or regular – carbonation = bloated) – 10 points

An interval work out I’ve been loving on lately:

Minutes 1-5: 8.0

Minutes 5-6: 4.0

Minutes 6-7: 10.0

Minutes 7-8: 4.0

Minutes 8-9: 10.0

Minutes 9-10: 4.0

Repeat 4 more times for a total of 50 minutes. You will be drenched, I promise.

Goldleaf Challenges

15 May

We are heading into the home stretch of the Goldleaf Weight Loss Challenge and I thought I’d switch this week up a little with a different format. Instead of some broad challenges, each day there are a set of mini-challenges that you can score points for. Some people work better with specific directions than general ones while others need plenty of discretion in order to make things work with their day-to-day schedules. I’ve tried to combine the best of both worlds here. Enjoy!


– Stop eating at least 2 hours before you go to bed – 5 points

– Perform a 40 minute high intensity weight or cardio work out – 5 points


– Get 8 hours sleep tonight – 5 points

– Go for a 15 minute walk after 2 of your 3 meals – 5 points


– Perform a 40 minute high intensity weight or cardio work out – 5 points

– Drink a large glass of water before each meal – 5 points


– Keep a detailed food journal for the day – 10 points

– Walk for 30 minutes on your lunch break – 5 points


– Perform a 1 hour steady cardio session, with 5-8 bursts of sprinting – 10 points

– Eat breakfast within an hour of waking up and stop eating at least 2 hours before going to bed – 7 points


– Plan your meals and work outs for the next week – 10 points

– Exercise during commercials while watching TV – crunches, push ups, lunges, squats, bicep curls, planks, etc – 5 points


– Perform 20 minutes high intensity cardio, followed by 30 minutes of strength training – 5 points

– Keep a detailed food journal for the day – 10 points

Avoiding Gluten & Guilt

13 May

Lately, I haven’t felt my usual healthy self. I chalked part of it up to being in the middle of exams (the worst of it is now over, but my Tax law exam may have taken a few months off my life), but I’ve been feeling puffy and sluggish for a few weeks now. Yesterday morning, I did my usual coffee-gym-breakfast ritual before getting ready for work when I got hit with a backache and my stomach started talking *loudly.* It wasn’t happy.

This had been happening pretty regularly last fall, to the point where I could count on having to stay in and do nothing but watch TV on my couch at least one night a week. When I discussed it with my doctor, he suggested I avoid gluten. Viola! The back and stomach problems cleared up pretty quickly. But avoiding gluten takes work – I’m not to the extreme of someone with Celiac’s disease. For example, I will not break out in hives if I eat oatmeal (gluten free or not), but I don’t feel very good after eating whole wheat anything, and forget pasta. Like most things I do to stay healthy and feeling well, it doesn’t come without some effort. Sometimes efforts slide during exams.

Lindsay (not in exams) – I’m going to make a salad with chicken and a baked sweet potato for dinner.

Lindsay (in exams) – I have some tortillas and pudding snacks. Good to go.

Lindsay (not in exams) – I’m kind of hungry and need something to tide me over until dinner. I’m going to have a greek yogurt.

Lindsay (in exams) – I’m totally starving because I didn’t have anything except coffee and another tortilla for lunch. McDonald’s ice cream has calcium in it right? And it’s only a dollar?! SOLD!

I don’t beat myself up about not sticking to strict regimens. For a lot of people, strict regimens won’t work. Instead, I went to do my grocery shopping this morning and stocked up on fresh foods (see previous post on “whole food” eating), and planned out an afternoon of going to the gym, studying, and yoga.

Do you avoid gluten? For health reasons or because it’s what’s in right now?

As a little preview on Musical Monday tomorrow, I downloaded the Beatles’ “1” album yesterday. It’s perfect for spring, the great weather we’ve been having in Madison, and Sunday afternoons. 🙂

Goldleaf Challenges & Whole Foods

8 May


Eat “whole foods” 90% of your day (See below for more information on eating “whole”) – 20 points

Run/walk 3 miles 4 times this week – 10 points

Do 10 squats and walk 15 minutes on your lunch break – 5 points

Extra Mile

Choose an exercise class you love (CrossFit, yoga, boot camp just to name a few) and go 3 times this week – 10 points

Drink 1 glass of water before each meal  – 5 points

No eating out for the week  – 15 points

Believe it or not, “whole foods” is not just the name of a certain delicious but pricey grocery store. The concept of eating whole foods is based on the idea that we should eat more fresh produce, less meat, and overall less processed food with additives and preservatives. Some people only shop the perimeter of the grocery store, since that’s where you’ll find unadulterated products like fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, and dairy. The center of the grocery store tends to have your sugary cereals (Honeycomb is my personal favorite), bleached and refined staples like white bread and rice, and your plain old bad for you foods – Fruit snacks (Hello sugar and dye), potato chips, candy, etc. While any “center” food can be enjoyed in moderation, we tend to enjoy them pretty regularly, even daily.

One big excuse that keeps me from eating “whole” is “I don’t have enough time.” Chopping those vegetables takes too long, the chicken isn’t defrosted, I don’t have a grill, eating oatmeal is easier, etc. With a little planning, this doesn’t have to be the case. Chopping vegetables on a Sunday or making food ahead for the week is a great way to eat both “whole” and quickly.

Another excuse is that after a long day at work/school/etc. I “deserve” something naughty that I think tastes good. E.g. McDonald’s ice cream (a.k.a. “chemical cream”). I recently saw a something on Pinterest that makes me rethink rewarding my long day with high fructose corn syrup:

You’re not a dog. Stop rewarding yourself with food.

While you can still reward your body for a really hard work out, you should reward it with lean protein and whole grains, not a milk shake.

So what are some eating “whole” tips and tricks? Well I’m glad you asked.

1. Try subbing a piece of fruit or veggies with hummus for your granola bar/chips/packaged snack.

2. Plan your meals ahead for the week so you don’t resort to a deli sandwich in a fit of noon-time hunger.

3. Check out blogs like Clean Eating Chelsey or Oh She Glows! for some additional recipes that use lots of vegetables and fresh, unrefined ingredients.

I’m getting my wholeness on today by bringing some freshly cut strawberries and Brussell sprouts to nosh on at work.

A thank you to Marie for helping me come up with the challenges this week 🙂

Musical Monday and Yoga

7 May

I’ve been discovering some fun music lately, which I’m excited to share today:

In the Grace of Your Love – The Rapture

Mouthful of Diamonds – Phantogram

Paranoid – Jonas Brothers (ok, this is not so much discovered as just fun)

Trouble for Me – Britney Spears

Spotlight – Mutemath

Animal – Mike Snow

One Arm Scissor – At the Drive In

Lately I’ve been trying yoga as a way to balance out my work outs, which tend to be pretty high intensity, and calm my mind as I go through finals and try to sort out my living arrangements for the next few months/year. I’ve done kundalini yoga in the past, which was interesting, but didn’t really grab me in a “Wow, I can’t wait to do this again!” kind of way. I also tried hot yoga last year because a friend had gotten hooked on it. I already have problems drinking enough water, and that 90 minute class just about did me in.

A few months ago, a livingsocial coupon came up for 20 classes for $20 at Bliss Flow Yoga. It seemed like such a good deal that I bought two, gifting the other to a friend for his birthday. Like most of my groupons/livingsocials, I promptly forgot about it until I started to feel myself getting into a rut with my fitness routine. I went to my first class last Wednesday, choosing a “medium-intensity” vinyasa flow class. While it wasn’t geared towards beginners, I was able to follow allow pretty well, and tried a more basic class on Saturday to get myself up to speed with the terms of more specific instructions on transitioning between different moves.

This is the first yoga I’ve done where I’m not counting the minutes or really worried about “Am I doing this right? Am I really inflexible?” or “Is this class over yet? How much longer? I’m hungry.” I’m looking forward to seeing how this progresses. While flow yoga isn’t as intense of a cardio work out as I normally do, there is some strength involved with holding some of the poses, and I left with my arms feeling a bit of a burn on Saturday.

Have you tried a kind of yoga you really loved? Or maybe you didn’t like it at all?

I thought I’d give a little run down of yesterday’s work out as well, since it kicked my butt – literally. This was an intense cardio/leg work out.

I started with 30 minutes of cardio:

1-15: 8.0 mph

15-16: 4.0 mph

16-20: 8.0 mph

20-21: 4.0 mph

21-24: 8.0 mph

24-25: 4.0 mph

25-27: 8.0 mph

27-28: 4.0 mpg

28-29: 8.0 mph

29-30: 4.0

I usually run/cardio before doing weights otherwise I feel like an overboiled noodle and like I’m not working as hard as I normally would to push myself on a sprint. I followed my run with this quick ‘n dirty leg work out

1:30 plank, 1:00 side plank on each side

60 leg presses (I did 30:20:10 at 132 pounds)

50 squats w/squat machine (I did 10 forward, 10 backward twice, finishing with 5 of each. The machine was set at 125 pounds)

40 lunges holding 10 pound dumbbells in each hand (10 forward and 10 backward lunges on each leg)

30 sumo squats holding 25 pound kettlebell

20 split squats holding 10 pound dumbbells (10 on each leg)

1 minute wall sit

I will definitely come back to this work out – I didn’t get bored, and I felt like I pushed myself.