7 Benefits of A.M. Workouts

morningSince the New Year, I got the crazy idea to start working out in the morning. I always avoided it before, because I need my precious sleep. But I’d always end up too tired or overwhelmed to exercise in the evenings. I thought I’d lead workouts after work, but those have been a flop this year. So I finally decided to stop making excuses and get my workouts done in the mornings. These are the reasons I’m loving it.

1. It gets me pumped!

Exercising in the morning has been so rejuvenating. Rather than tire me out for the rest of the day, it gives me energy. Exercise releases endorphins, those chemicals put me in a good mood and gets me ready to concur anything that comes my way.

2. I have to be organized

Because I am waking up an hour early to workout if forces me to organize the rest of my day so that everything doesn’t fall apart. I pick out my clothes, make lunches, clean, prepare lesson plans, and etc. I do all this to make up for waking up an extra hour. I usually make up more than that and I am more on point than ever before.

3. I actually get MORE sleep

Yes, you read that right, waking up an hour earlier actually allows me to get more sleep. Because I am preparing to wake up earlier I deliberately go to sleep in order to get my 8 hours in. Sometimes I still fall short, but its much better. Before, I would stay up on social media until 1, 2, or sometimes 3 in the morning. My sleeping schedule was HORRIBLE. Before I was working out I’d pass out shortly after I put my son to bed at 8, wake up again at about 11 and then be up until 4 in the morning, no wonder I had no energy to exercise, much less anything else. I was miserably just getting by during the day. Now I am well rested and energized through the day and fail asleep soundly somewhere in between 9-11, then wake up ready for my next workout.

4. I drink more water

Drinking water has always been a struggle of mine. Even if I was eating healthy I would not drink water. I could go an entire day without drinking anything but coffee. Before I workout I drink a big glass of water, I drink another during the workout, and another after. That’s half of the water I need for the day. It does make me have to rush to the bathroom right as I clock in. After that if I get just 1-2 bottles in at work and 1-2 at home with dinner, I’m good for the day.

5. I get creative

What exactly am I doing at 5 in the morning? Right now I’ve been alternating between doing Beachbody Cize workouts and Insanity. The Cize day is like the fun workout, and Insanity puts me in beastmode. I do the videos Monday-Friday, Saturday is a wild card day for a free community class or playing with my son, and Sunday is a rest day, I might do some yoga if I feeling up to it.  I also have a fitness room at my apartment that I could use. I have saved tons of circuits and workouts from Pinterest that will acutally be put to use now. The sky is the limit, but I have a chance to actually get creative and independently try new things without being worried about the other people around me are doing or thinking.

6. I have “me time”

I absolutely love my husband and son. I love my job. But these morning workouts I have all to myself. Its just me and the living room space. Sometimes I lose myself in the workout, I don’t even realize I’m exercising because I can hear all the thoughts that I don’t hear during the business of the day.

7. I eat healthier

Doing my workouts in the morning sets me up for healthier eating throughout the day. I’m already motivated and don’t want to undo my progress. So many times before, I’d put the workout I intended to do in MyFitnessPal and the never do it. Now I already have it covered, so I know not the overindulge. Plus, I still have the opportunity to do a little extra if I want at the end of the day. Although I still have issues with extra snacking, at least I’m motivated to plan better meals, because of my exercise routine.

I hope I keep this up and don’t fall off, because it has been really beneficial for me all around. My husband has even noticed. He says I seem happier and not so exhausted and defeated when I get home from work. He even claims he can tell a difference in my body, but I never believe him when he says that, because he says it even when I know I’ve put on 10 pounds. You can’t beat these results though. My ultimate goal is to lose weight, but all the other improvements are great as well. I waiting a month before I weigh myself. Even if I don’t like what the numbers says, sometimes there’s more to it that just losing weight. I’m just trying my best to be healthy, hoping that everything will fall into place. Making exercise a MANDATORY part of my schedule is my first step.

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Healthy Nappy Nerdy Mommy: Year 2016 in Review

All over social media there have been post and memes about how horrible 2016 has been. As I prepare for a new year of bettering myself, I thought it would be beneficial to focus on the positivity of 2016. New Year’s Eve is the perfect opportunity to fill in gaps and review some of the HEALTHY.NERDY.NAPPY.MOMMY awesomeness.

January

Being that this is pretty much National Diet Month,  I was busy trying different products and recipes to accumulate myself to my new lifestyle. I did a clean eating and yoga challenge, and we started officially trying to potty train my 18 month old son. Now I know it was too early, and we didn’t stick to it well. But it gave me a good chance to get some bare bottom photos as blackmail when he gets older.

yoga
Yoga Challenge

February

For Valentine’s Day my husband and I enjoyed a movie date to see “Deadpool”. It was a breath of fresh air to see this rated “R”, as a true “Deadpool” movie would have to be. We also enjoyed playing some “Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4”. My son transitioned from stay at home dad care, to daycare. It was hard on us all, some of this I later shared in “Peez, Ana” . But it was also for the best.

March

March opened with Spirit Week at my school, and as the Student Council adviser I had to go all out with a X-men’s Storm costume. It wasn’t the best (couldn’t find the right wig), but good enough for the crowd I was serving. My students were calling me “Thunder Girl”, they didn’t even know my character’s name. It was my son’s 2nd birthday on the 14th so we planned a “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” party, complete with meatball sub buffet. As he was a big boy now he also got a small “Jake the Pirate” party with cupcakes and juice at daycare. For the 3rd birthday we just might leave it at treats at daycare and family dinner.

storm
“Thundergirl” aka “Storm”

April

This month was the grand debut of HEALTHY.NAPPY.NERDY.MOMMY! During Spring Break we did indoor camping in our little apartment living room. Complete with a fort, s’mores, kababs, and baked beans.It was also my husband’s birthday which and our dating anniversary that marked 9 wonderful years being together. We celebrated with a family party at his cousin’s, complete with Baskin Robin ice cream cake, a game stop gift card, his favorite Snickers &  Bacon- Cheddar gourmet popcorn, and a gamer screen t-shirt. His celebrations tend to be more family inclusive while mine are typically dates with just the 2 of us giving me a mommy break.

May

We celebrated Mother’s Day with yet another movie date highlighted in (Marvel)ous Mother’s Day. I cannot express how much I enjoyed “Captain America: Civil War”. This month I officially became a “Flexi-Vegan” and I was experimenting with vegan and allergen free recipes.

June

This is one of my favorite months because it marks the end of the school year and time for a short break. I always teach summer school, but in June I get a couple weeks off before I have to crack back at it. We enjoyed a small beach trip with my parents. It was also the month a tried my first Cross Fit class, and started watching the original “Dragon Ball” series for the first time.

cross-fit

July

The biggest thing that happened in July was the introduction of Pokemon Go. I was so excited about this game, but that excitement quickly fizzled and I don’t even have the app downloaded on my phone anymore, but they were good times while they lasted. I’m interested to see what the craze will be this year. July was capped by seeing Kakashi’s face in the latest episode of “Naturo: Shippuden”

flareon
My first Eevee evolution

August

I don’t know which is a bigger deal my wedding anniversary or Otakon. I don’t think my husband would even be mad at it. I talked about our excitement for Otakon in 6 Anticipated Events for a Nerdy Mom and fully anticipated doing a full post on it, but that never happened. So this is your mini overview of it. It was bitter sweet, as this was the last year it would be in Baltimore, MD. But I am excited for the new location. Otakon 2017 WILL have a post, maybe even an entire page dedicated to its greatness. In preparation for this trip and the start of a new school year, I got crochets for the first time. Its a great protective style, and I’ll never set for 10 hours getting individual sengalese twist or box braids on this thick head of hair again. Oh, yeah my son came back from staying with my parents while we were at Otakon potty trained! He still needed the pull up for night and doesn’t poop until then.

otakon
My seneglese twist crochets and excited for Otakon grin!

September

I entertained the ideas of starting a garden. I starting some romaine, but I didn’t follow through. For this spring though, I plan on starting both an indoor and patio garden for herbs, fruits, and veggies. Look forward to pictures, how to’s, and testimonials in the near future. I also developed an addiction to the online make up line Colourpop. I’d never been a make up girl before, but I found myself needing something to step it up a notch. Lipstick for me is the easy answer (I love Matte). Just the lipstick, some eyeliner, mascara, and maybe BB cream and I’m good to go. From my first purchase in August to now, all of my profile pictures feature me in one of their shades.

romaine
Some romaine lettuce sprouting up.

October

In the last week of October I went on my first cruise! I had so much fun and relaxed with friends and family. I became known as “the girl that ate all the weird food” because at dinner I always tried the most exotic thing on the menu. Why would I pay all that money for something I can eat any day? We enjoyed the dinners and events on the ship as well as the beach and sights of Nassau, Bahamas. I might save big for a Disney cruise in the future, I’ve heard, while expensive, they are the best. Disney should do a line dedicated to Marvel or Star Wars since they are taking over everything. Universal Studios could take on a Harry Potter cruise as well.

duck
Smoked duck with oranges and Thai rice noodle salad

November

In November my son woke up early in the morning vomiting several times within two weeks of each other. I took him to the doctor the second time, and they said it was probably to different viruses. After leaving the doctor I started thinking he might have food allergies like me. Both times he never had a fever or acted sick, it was just vomit or diarrhea. It could be allergies or an intolerance at the least. I took him off dairy for a week, but didn’t really notice a change. After he returned to his normal diet he didn’t have anymore stomach issues, so maybe it was just the stomach bug like the doctor said. We of course enjoyed Thanksgiving with family. I took an allergy pill, ate what I wanted, and hoped I wouldn’t end up in the ER with anaphylaxis.

December

The holidays are busy for everyone. We began this month by putting up our Marvel Christmas tree. I’d seen some superhero, Harry Potter, and Star War variations. Ours was simple we just added some superhero masks we had from our wedding photo booth along with our normal red and gold decorations. My birthday was the 17th. We had a quiet, childless, evening at home watching some Luke Cage on Netflix, with carry out sushi, and wine. I found out two days after my birthday that I won “Teacher of the Year” at my school. I had a great Christmas as it was the first our son was really excited and understood what was going on.  We later celebrated my birthday  and the life of Carrie Fisher by finally watching “Star Wars: Rogue One” and I realized first hand that The Force is with Me. My husband and I’s catch phrase has become “the rebellion was built on Hope.”

christmas-tree
Our (Marvel)ous Christmas Tree

I hope you’ve enjoyed my year in a glimpse. I look forward to sharing more with you in 2017, Happy New Year’s to you and yours.

My Kind of Nerd

Many people hate8795626821_9c50fb2de2_o the kind of nerd I am. I did not grow up reading comics and don’t know all the details,and the issue, of every comic, that every character has appeared. I developed my love of superheros, anime, and other nerdy interest late in life. I guess you could say that I am a late bloomer. I’d love to go back a re-read all the major comics and manga, but my time is limited. I can honestly say that although I’d like to take up reading comic books and manga it’s just not realistic for my daily schedule. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like these things any less. I just have to accept the fact that I’ll never be as knowledgeable as some one who has grown up around these things. I know what I know based on the movies and anime that I watch now and constant research online. Some would argue that I’m not a real fan and that I am cheating. It is what it is. I still like what I like.

That’s not to say that there aren’t certain things that I am not a “expert” on. I’d say I’m VERY well versed in Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings because I read and saw the movies for these series many times. These are titles that I read as a child. Since Harry Potter was created during my childhood I read them as they were published. My mother stood in lines to get the books as birthday and Christmas presents. I ordered movie tickets online to ensure that they weren’t sold out. I read each book currently out in the series upon the release of a new title. Even as an adult I’ll read and watch the entire book and movie series within a week, just to find something I may have missed in the past decade and a half. As far as LOTRs, I of course did not read the books when they came out, my parents weren’t even born when they were originally published. I also did not watch the movies originally. Aside from Harry Potter I didn’t really enjoy the fantasy genre until I was an adult. I’m not sure what attracted me to Harry Potter as a child but it was not only “nerdy” interest I had growing up. Even still the original works for these series aren’t on going. Harry Potter has 7 books and 8 movies. Lord of The Rings has 4 books, and 6 movies if you included the Hobbit series. These are numbers I can work with and revisit. Although I am fully aware that there are other movies and books written about these series. Its more manageable than the literally millions of comics and manga I would have to read to be as well versed as I’d like to be. Even with Star Wars there are so many comics, books, and cartoons outside of the movie trilogies that I can’t even being to touch the surface of the details within this franchise.

My sort comings are one of the reasons I started the blog. Help me know all that I need to know. Comment, critique, and advice me of your ways. The more knowledge I have the stronger I can be. I love to engage in arguments and discussions, but find myself unable to because of my lack of knowledge in many areas. Sometimes I get off on the fact that I am black and female to people are amazed that I know the little I do know so I can get by mostly on that. Plus, within the general public I do know more than the average bear. But within the “nerdy community” I am a newbie and many hate the kind of nerd that I am.

Leading for Self-Improvement

I previously discussed how disappointed I am with my weight loss progress. I had lost 50 pounds of the weight I gained from pregnancy. This brought me back to the heavier end of my pre-baby weight. I was feeling good about myself and encouraged to keep the momentum going in order to lose an additional 20 pounds to reach my goal weight. But, then I hit a wall. I found myself unable to continue my gym membership, thus unable to workout 1.5-2 hours that was critical to achieve the initial weight loss success. I wasn’t working out and I was also over eating. I found out around Christmas that I was allergic to wheat, eggs, dairy, and peanuts. My diet consisted in a combination of over compensating with what I could eat and just ignoring my allergies all together, rebelling and eating any and everything in sight. 3 months later and I am looking at a 15 pound weight gain. I identified my decrease in exercise as a catalyst for everything, so I wanted to tackle that problem.

Not being able to go to a gym and exercise is just an excuse for me. I have too many resources and too much knowledge about fitness. I am a Physical and Health Education teacher for crying out loud! I have to walk the talk and be a good example for my students, peers, and family. This is my passion and my calling in life. So I have to put in the work necessary to lead the masses. So how can I get over my own personal issues for the greater good? I decided to use my passion to motivate me. I am a very competitive person, which is what made the group exercise classes such a great thing for me. I took pride in being at the front of the class trying to out do or stay up to par with the instructor. Now that I don’t have my membership the only way to bring that same spirit would be to lead my own workouts.

Some colleagues of mine expressed that they wanted to lose weight by running the stairs in our school. I had previously brushed it off because I had my own workout regimen that was working for me. I decided that I would not only join in on their activities, but I would also invite them to some activities of my own. Another reason I did not reason jump at the opportunity to workout with them was because I didn’t believe what they were planning to do was effective. Of course doing stairs is better than nothing, but it wasn’t a very comprehensive exercise. They would not being running up and down stairs long enough to build any considerable amount of cardiovascular endurance and it would be focusing on building lower body strength. I didn’t want to rain on their parade so I just avoided the topic. Now that I am planning workouts in addition to theirs, I can give some advice and ideas without being condescending.

Previously I occasionally led Zumba Fitness classes, but it didn’t really take off. I wasn’t able to be consistent with my demanding athletic schedule and everybody did not like Zumba and dancing. Now I am planning on alternating between circuit training, weight lifting, running, HIIT (high intensity interval training), Dance Fitness (I can’t call it Zumba anymore because I am no longer licensed), and Yoga. I will lead workouts Tuesday and Thursday and alternate between the different types of workouts each week. As the instructor this will push me to do my best and be consistent for my group. When I workout on my own its hard for me to push myself without any competition so the intensity of my home workouts tend to be very low. I hope to lead by example; spreading the importance of fitness, introducing others to some new exercise ideas and concepts, and intensifying my own weight loss efforts. Plus, I gots to have a really hot body to pull off a lot of female Cosplay ideas.

jogging

 

Quarter of a Century Blues

24904724663_313f1c5787_oThe Quarter of Century life crisis is something that I didn’t even know existed. Near my 25th birthday, I don’t remember if it was before or after, I was having this feeling of being both overwhelmed and dissatisfied with my life. I posted on Facebook that I must be experiencing an early mid life crisis. Then I friend of mine replied and said, “Its called a quarter life crisis.” I began googling this term and realized that I wasn’t alone, it is a real thing, and I wasn’t crazy for having these feelings.

In our society the way your “supposed” act or things our supposed to be doing at certain ages seems to have pretty much been erased. The ideas that 40 is the new 30, kinda means that 30 is the new 20. But those of us who did things the “traditional” way, meaning getting married and having kids in there early 20s seemed to have been left in the dust. We are not in the same place as our 20 something counter parts, but yet sometimes feel out of place with the 30 somethings that are married with kids, like us. I find myself wishing I could “hang” with my friends. I also find that when I do, I have to force myself to not talk about kids and marriage. When other friends pick up and go for the weekend, before I do that I have to make sure there’s somebody to babysit and/or if its not an outing that includes my other half, see that he has everything to “survive”. Then I finally get some fun out on the town and its mixed with wishing they were there, wondering if they’re ok, and trying to keep my friends from seeing my nodding off at 10.

Then there’s the other side of the big 2-5. Looking at what others have accomplished and comparing yourself to that. I have friends and acquaintances that have doctorates, own houses, businesses, are C.E.O. of companies and they are all still in there 20s. So on one side I’m thinking maybe I jumped into this adulthood too quickly, then on the other I’m wishing I’d buckled down and accomplished more. I mean, after all, I’m just a lowly “gym teacher”. (anybody that knows me, knows I hate that terminology) Sometimes I wonder should I just go find a job at some office, where I could possibly move up in my career and pay. I could stop teaching and go to grad school full time until I’ve reached my ultimate goal of having a doctorate. No, wait, I can’t do that. How will we pay rent, daycare, groceries, ect. with just the little I’d be able to bring in as a full time student?

Its not just the career advancements that bother me. Its every time I do get ready to visit or hand with some of my friends and I think about what they might be wearing, or doing to their hair. I look in my closet that included probably 2-3 outfits per season, that I really like the way I look in. I’m constantly plagued by trying to not look like a 30 year old “mom” all the time. I can wake up early and go on you tube and figure out some nice style to put the thick crown of natural hair I have in. But, I choose sleep and laying around every time. Its a sickness I can’t help thinking about and comparing myself to others. Its not that I wish bad for them, I just wish I had to the skill and organization to have it together myself.

Today is my husband’s 25th birthday. He has had some trials in his life, but threw it all he has managed to be the best husband and father anybody could ask for. Yesterday I told, him, to make a goal for himself, a realistic one. Something that in a year, if he had accomplished this he would be happy with himself. So I am going to follow my own advice. In 1 year, if I am pursuing my Master’s degree, 15 pounds lighter, and debt free, I will be happy with those accomplishments. I will let everything else fall into place. I am a mother of a wonderful beautiful son, a have a fulfilling job, and a husband that supports me in everything I do. I saw a meme on Facebook or Instagram, I don’t remember which, but it said something like, whenever you see someone and wish your life was like their’s, there’s someone else thinking the same about you. I try to keep that in mind. I may not be exactly where I want to be in life. But there is time to make it happen. I’m 2 years into the 2nd quarter century of my life. My plan is to spend this time making sure that when I hit 50, I can look back at my life and be happy, with no regrets.