Hiking: New Found Love

I’ve never been a girly girl. I’ve also never been super outdoorsy, but as I’ve been mt pic2stepping up my fitness game, I found myself looking for new interesting ways to workout. One day I did an #askfb to find a good place to jog and a coworker suggested Pilot Mountain, a nearby mountain and national park. My request for a jogging trail turned into a hiking adventure. I did another #askfb to see who’d be willing to accompany me and a couple of my workout group members at work volunteered. We planned out first hike after one of our teacher workdays, before we left for the summer.

Over the weekend before our hike a looked online to get an idea of what trail to do. They were labeled as easy, moderate, and strenuous. I’d never been hiking before so I didn’t know how difficult their scale was, it didn’t even know if I could handle the easy trail, would I be scaling the side of a mountain? I ask a few other teachers that had been before and they were confident that I’d totally be able to handle the moderate trail and more than likely the strenuous. The group I was with decided we would play it safe with a moderate path.

We drove to the mountain and parked. When we first started we were all thinking “hey this isn’t so bad” after about the first mile that changed. We started to be walking continuously uphill. After about 2 miles it was only steep steps upward for the last mile. We took a few breaks and could see the gorgeous view, it gave us some relief and motivation to get to the top. Once we arrived the feeling was indescribable. We were on top of the world. I felt so accomplished, I’d never done anything like that before. We took another, shorter route back to our cars. To be honest the walk down was worse, because we were tired, hungry, and sore, but there was no other option but the press on.  Once we reached the bottom we discovered we had accidentally taken a strenuous trail. We had already done it so it was just another achievement for us. We planned on taking 2 more hikes over the summer. This hike empowered us to continue our workout group over the summer via Facebook and planned more hikes.

For our second hike we actually did a moderate path, as we had a newcomer that wasn’t comfortable with the strenuous trail, which was fine. It was still a decent distance and had some hills. I didn’t like that the path was narrower and therefore closer to the wooded area, it made me very nervous. The moderate path also didn’t have any picturesque views, it was almost just like taking a normal walk with the fear of spiders and snakes.

I plan on taking a hike (no pun intended) at another mountain, Hanging Rock, which is further away, but I’ve been told the trails and views their are beautiful. Hopefully I can get a babysitter to make this happen on the regular, because I truly enjoy hiking. It is so therapeutic. All exercise is, but hiking is on a different level. Its like your one with nature and the earth itself. So here’s to the next adventure and many more to come.

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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.

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.

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