Spring Break Projects and Recap!

I’ll be real with you…. I’ve been working one this ONE post for a week.

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I’ve been struggling to find “inspiration” to write a blog post. I’ve been on Spring Break for two weeks now, with only a few more blissful days to look forward to, and I haven’t written nearly as often as I would like.

Last quarter wasn’t that fun. My attention was averted to studies, and when I wasn’t studying I was working out, and when I wasn’t working out I was working, and when I wasn’t doing any of those things I was either sleeping or stressin’ myself SICK. On a positive note, I earned scores I’m proud of! I have high hopes for Spring Quarter, and I look forward to writing more often!

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This past week I’ve been asking myself, “What should I write about? More workouts? Recipes? Progress photos or challenges?”

Let’s be honest. Recipes are NOT my forte, and I haven’t really been working out as hard as I would like to be showing off ‘results’ or ‘progress’. The past few months have been all about ‘maintaining’ and fitting in my pants. After all, I wouldn’t even have the time to visit the store in search of another pair!

So I thought to myself, “Why not challenge yourself?”

Winter Quarter my fitness focus was to workout at least 4 times a week and stay within a certain caloric range, not really paying attention to macros. I’ve been suffering knee problems and tight IT bands so running has been out of the question. As much as I love my home workouts with my kettle bell, I’ve been going a little insane cooped up in the house.

SO….. Spring Quarter my goals is to workout 5 times a week, get myself back on a macro plan during the week with more freedom on weekends, and to rehabilitate myself back into running. To get a head start on these goals I bought a scale on Amazon.com to keep my macros on point, I completed 5 workouts last week, and my husband took me for a low key trail run last Friday to assess where my body’s at. Good news! No pain! He taught me a few warm up exercises and how to pace my stride, I just have to take it SLOOOOW and restrain myself from powering through any pain.scale

Buying a scale has been extremely helpful! Even if I’m not 100% on point down to the milligram, it’s a GREAT awareness tool! I’ve seen a HUGE difference! Instead of grabbing the entire bag of Skinny Pop and dragging it to the couch with me, I measure out the appropriate serving amount by ounces and voila! I still get my treats and I look and feel better at the same time. Thanks to one of the fitness gals I met at Emerald Cup last year and follow on Facebook & IG, I scored a great deal on a scale! Amazon was running a coupon so I only paid about $16 for it!

I have also been working on becoming an Ambassador for Lenny & Larry’s! I am absolutely OBSESSED with their cookies! They are sinfully delicious, packed with protein, made with wholesome ingredients, and great for an active and busy lifestyle. I am in Phase 2 of the application process. I just uploaded my Lenny & Larry’s instavid to Instagram…. everyone should go check it out, follow me, and LIKE it! You should also consider trying their new Snickerdoodle cookie….. to die for.

On top of my fitness goals I set a volunteer and “experience of a life time” goal to travel to Bali this August with Habitat for Humanity to help build homes for less families. The idea was sort of a spur of the moment decision, but I couldn’t be more happy with my decision! I want to do something with my life that isn’t for me, but also isn’t for people who are will be ungrateful or unappreciative. I have always wanted to do volunteer work and travel, I always imagined I might join the Peace Corps, but after much research I really like what I’ve read about Habitat for Humanity. Not to mention, my ultimate career dream is to engineer sustainable homes in the future, so working with my hands will give me great experience.

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I created a GoFundMe account and have the goal to raise approximately $6,500! The Program Costs of $2,100 are due June 24th which is really soon, so even if I don’t reach my fundraising goal by the deadline, I plan on going next year for sure, either way the money WILL go to Habitat for Humanity. The remaining costs are a buffer estimate of airfare which I will have to cover myself, vaccinations, visa fees, living expenses and bills while I am away etc. I’m pretty nervous, excited, and thrilled! I would love and appreciate any help.

I guess I have a full plate this quarter! When I sit still for too long, I take on more projects 😉 Stay tuned for workouts, updates, and more, have a great weekend!

~Jess

Full Body Tabata Circuit

If you haven’t downloaded the Tabata Pro Timer app I wrote about a few days ago, do so NOW for the best high intensity cardio workouts of your life!

Kid you not.

Today I did two short Tabata workouts that I wrote myself, on top of a Body Crush workout from none other than Zuzka Light, and I burned way more calories than I typically burn doing compound or isolation moves.

I was sweating, working hard, breathing hard, and I WILL be sore tomorrow. I wanted to share one of the two Tabata workouts I completed today:

fullbodytabataFor your reference, the information you will plug into the Tabata Pro Timer will look like the following:

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By all means! Make any adjustments as you see fit!

I promise you will become addicted to Tabata training.

Try it out and let me know how you like it!

~Jess

Tabata Pro Timer

Happy Sunday morning!

I wanted to share a recent app discovery with all my fit friends, family, and followers to start your week off right with some fresh fitness tools.

Has everyone heard of Tabata?

Tabata is a 4 minute fat-burning high intensity interval training circuit, a great way to incorporate cardio into your daily workout routine. I’ve been looking for a great Tabata timer, and I finally found one! This weekend I downloaded the Tabata Pro Timer and I’m in love with it!

It took me a second to figure out how to use it, but after fiddling with it for a few minutes, I figured it out!

You can choose your preparation time, work time to perform reps, and rest time in between cycles.

The typical Tabata workouts I perform follow the structure below:

Round #1 (Repeat 4 times)
-Switch Jump Lunges
-Jump Squats

Round #2 (Repeat 4 times)
-Burpees
-Curtsey Lunge to Jump Squat

Round #3 (Repeat 4 times)
-KB Swings
-KB Reverse Lunge Pass Under

You would input the following information in the Tabata Pro timer:

Tabata #1 (8 Cycles)
-20 seconds work
-5 seconds rest

Tabata #2 (8 Cycles)
-20 seconds work
-5 seconds rest

Tabata #3 (8 Cycles)
-20 seconds work
-5 seconds rest

I typically don’t choose a preparation time, so I automatically change it to 00:00.

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Stars: 5/5

Cost: $2.99

Pros: Easy to use, excellent tool to keep your Tabata workouts accurate! Great flashing features and alarm features! Easy, fun, effective way to get your cardio in.

Cons: No cons here, just a great app that every fitness guru who wants a great workout should have.

~Jess

Lenny & Larry’s NEW Snickerdoodle!

If you guys have been reading my blog for a while now, you might recall my Pretty Fit November review. I made the most amazing discovery that month! I became totally addicted and fell in love with Lenny & Larry’s Complete Protein Cookies. I will proudly admit I have bought about 4 boxes since then, and I can’t wait to try the rest of their flavors. So far my favorite has been the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie, but I just found out yesterday they have created a NEW cookie! SNICKERDOODLE! Hell yes.

Vitamin Shoppe just so happens to have a 20% off coupon that expires tonight at midnight, so stock up on your favorite supplements and goodies using the code: MAR20OFF. Make sure you pick up some Lenny & Larry’s Complete Cookies, you know I already did 🙂

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Enjoy your treats! XOXO….

~Jess

Taking a Break from the Textbooks….

I know, I know. I’m a terrible blogger. It’s only the 3rd week of the New Year and I’ve already fudged up my New Year Goals for my blog! I haven’t posted a recipe or a workout in over a week, I’ve been naughty 😦

I’ve been doing well in all other areas of my New Year Goals! Hitting my workouts, writing in my journal, becoming better at logging my meals in myfitnesspal… ALL my meals 😉

To be honest, this quarter has been insane. I can’t seem to keep up with the amount of notes, flashcards, studying, labs, and key terms for Biology. Derek introduced me to the Study Blue app though, which has proven to be a wonderful and helpful tool! I can easily take flash card notes on my key terms while I read, saves time, AND the app has a quiz feature using True or False, Multiple Choice, or Fill in the Blank. I’ve already done much better on my quizzes, and I feel like I can absorb more information since my note taking time has been cut in half.

English 201 has been quite a bit to wrap my mind around as well. I think I’m thinking too hard about my Quarter Research Project, developing a thesis on Thailand Environmental issues has been exceedingly difficult. I kind of want to just write the entire 8 -10 page paper NOW and just keep editing it every day until it’s due, refining it, instead of investing so much time into chunks of it. Hey, that’s actually not a bad idea, I might consider that!

Math ….. well I hate Math period, but I feel like this quarter it might be my “relief” course. Math is reliable.

Classes have been crazy and school has hit our pocketbook, but thankfully I qualify for unsubsidized loans for school. Each quarter we’ve been paying for my books and remaining tuition out of pocket, estimating $800, not including Derek’s school costs. I qualify for a gracious amount and will be receiving a check for last quarter as well. Hallelujah!

Aside from the school commotion, I’ve been doing well! I’ve been eating better, working out consistently, improving my time management skills, and waking up early on the weekends to increase my productivity. I’ve actually made some progress with my body over the last 3 weeks through eating better and kettlebell training. I feel lean, mean, and clean 🙂 I also stocked up on the new S’mores and Cookies n’ Cream Quest bars, as well as White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Protein Cookies by Lenny & Larry’s for loooong school days. Delicious!

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Yesterday I had my Annual Review at the EBC. 2 years with Microsoft, I can do anything now 😉 I received plenty of great feedback from my manager, enough praise to make me blush, and good raise. Kudos me! My manager says it’s time to take the next step in my career. Honestly, I’m very happy with my current role, the schedule, and pay, it gives me so much freedom and flexibility with school. We will see what’s in the cards. I am open to opportunity.

The next few months will be jam packed! Derek is starting his half sleeve tattoo next, we are going to Kurios Cirque Sol Leil at the end of the month, our 3 year anniversary is Valentine’s Day weekend, Derek will be competing in a 50K with a 5,000 foot elevation gain in March, and we should know where Derek is going to Law School in April! Wheww!

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I hope everyone else has been sticking with their New Year Goals, have a great weekend!

~Jess

Week 1 School Recap & Femme Peach Contest Winner!

Welp, first week of school was intense to say the least. So much reading, extensive Power Point lectures, key terms, notes, quizzes, papers….. holy crap.

Despite the blizzard of college, I was able to hit my fitness goals last week. I completed my Daily Burn kettlebell workouts, ran outdoors, did my HIIT and plyos, and even ate salad… I know right?! I can’t say “no” to Steak Caesar salad, that shit is my weakness.

This week I’ll be lucky if I can hit 5 workouts, Human Biology has been suffocating me with heavy reading, labs, note taking, and a first exam this Thursday. Damn, crossing my fingers I can pull off another 4.0 this quarter. Next quarter I’ll throw in a fun class. English 201, Biology 108, and Math…. this quarter. You got this Jess, you got this.

In other news, yesterday I announced the winner of the Femme Peach Contest! Sherisa Rorberg is the lucky lady to receive one tube of Femme Peach Skin Tightening Cream, retailing at $79.95. She’s about to feel the burn!

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I’m very excited to be receiving my January Femme package next week. We should also be getting apparel very soon, so stay tuned! Big things to come!

I hope everyone has a stellar week, check back for workouts and recipes.

~Jess

KB Booty Builder

My goal this year is to be more consistent with the amount of food related and workout posts I share. This will be A LOT easier now that I have my precious 25lb kettlebell I’ve been wishing for. I created another glute focused KB workout because training glutes is my FAVORITE! I’ve noticed a huge difference in overall muscle tone while training at home with my KB.

This week Aunt Flo is visiting, so I’m not as tight and toned as I would like to be, but hey, that’s life. I feel great and that’s all that matters. I will keep training hard this week regardless, and next week my results will really show.

I hope you enjoy this simple but tough workout. Comment below if you would like to any specific workouts in the future: HIIT, bodyweight, Tabata, etc.

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Enjoy!

~Jess

60 Healthier Toaster Oven Recipes

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If you can deny that this looks delicious, you are not human. Or hungry.

I thought I would share a link to 60 Healthier Toaster Oven Recipes for everyone to begin their week. I knew it would be a bad idea to look at Food Porn on a Monday morning after a measly bowl of Life cereal, but I did it anyways. Currently living with the consequences. Excuse me while I shop for ramekins on Amazon.com…

Enjoy!

~Jess

Discoveries and Lessons Learned in 2014

2014 was a roller coaster of good, bad, ugly, great memories, sweat, and tears for me. I made a lot of progress but I also took a few steps back from time to time. I reached my goals and learned from the process it took to achieve them. I’m so excited to see what 2015 has in store, but I want to reflect on how great and not so great 2014 was, the discoveries and lessons learned:

 

1) I competed in Emerald Cup 2014 – This was probably one of the highlights of my year. Competing in ECUP opened opportunities for me, introduced me to new people, pushed me past my physical and mental threshold, caused me pain and tears, drove away friends and family, taught me the science of nutrition and training, made me completely broke, and taught me that bodybuilding ain’t my sport. I placed 7th out of 24 gals in my category, and had the support from friends and family that I didn’t deserve. It was an experience I will never forget, but will also never partake in again.

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2) Lost a few friends – Losing friends can be a part of growing up. Some times it doesn’t phase you, but some times you think about them every day. Some times friendships can’t be mended, some times they are lost by things you did or didn’t do. Although it’s a shame, I learned to cherish the good and bad memories and just keep moving forward.

4) Did my first fitness photoshoot – In fact, I did two photoshoots this years! My first fitness shoot was so much fun! I’m not saying the second one wasn’t, but the first photoshoot was capturing me in my element and natural surroundings. My second photoshoot was a month before competition date and I was feeling carb depleted, kinda exposed in my bikini, and overall bashing myself mentally for how much farther I thought I had to go to be ‘stage ready.’ Either way, huge thanks to Amir Zahed, friend and co-worker for the great opportunity and excellent photos.

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5) Became a sponsored athlete with Femme – This was extremely exciting! Femme is a brand new company in Australia with Australian and U.S Athletes. I was signed on when they first started in March, so the beginning was quite rocky, but under new management our relationship has been strong. They provide me with amazing supplements such as Femme Peach Skin Tightening Cream (my personal favorite, check out my blog post for giveaway details!), BCAA’s, Pre Workout, and Carnitine. I can’t wait to begin events with them once they grow into a larger company.

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6) Made it to the morning shift at the EBC – This might not sound like a big deal, but believe me, it was for me. I was about to begin an interview process with Regus while I was on night shift (11:00am to 7:30pm) until they moved me to the opening shift (6:30am to 3:00pm). As much as I enjoyed morning workouts and my morning routine, working the night shift meant getting off way past 7:30pm once everyone has left the building. It really hurt my mental health. I was completely over working a year of night shift. Moving to the morning shift opened so many doors for me, the biggest opportunity being school.

7) Paid off my debt – 2013 hit our pockets financially in a big way: buying a new dog, being forced to move out, paying more for rent, surgery for our dog, having to move AGAIN after 5 short months, marathon in Leavenworth, Iron Man in Vancouver, etc. After the miraculous reunion with my biological family and a savings bond being passed down from my great great grandma, we were able to move and pay off our debt with our tax return as well.

8) Went to my first volunteer event – My Christian high school used to do quarterly volunteer events with Union Gospel Mission and it felt really good doing those, so I decided to do another volunteer event with my work with the Special Olympics over the Summer. We weren’t working as closely with the athletes as I thought we would be, but it felt good to be donating our time to help out with the vendor booths at the event. I want to make it a goal to do a few more volunteer events this year as well.

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9) Began my own eBay store – Talk about extra side cash! I sold basically my entire closet of unused clothing on top of other odds and ends and have probably made well over $1,000 so far! Keep it coming! I started buying half price tag items at Goodwill to resell. It’s been pretty successful, I’m excited to see how much I can rake in for 2015.

10) Took a vacation to San Diego with the hubby – We went to San Diego in July after racking up enough air miles to help out with a huge percentage of the ticket cost. We went for 5 days and literally lounged on the beach every day and drank every night. I got the worse sun burn I’ve ever experienced, but also the sexiest darkest tan. I still have swim suit tan lines on my booty.

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11) Discovered what Influenster was – Pretty much the best online discovery I’ve made this year. Influenster is platform where you can connect all your social media to increase your social impact score, write reviews to maintain eligibility for prizes, receive FREE prizes, write reviews and fulfill tasks and challenges, and earn MORE free stuff! I’ve earned Sally Hansen Nail Polish, beauty boxes, over $100 in eBay gift cards, and my FAVORITE….. the Victoria’s Secret Sport voxbox with a free Incredible Sports bra, and workout crops. On top of THAT…. I was the lucky winner of the $500 VS gift card for my YouTube review. In love with Influenster.

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12) Got a Twitter account – Not proud of this one. Let’s just say I did it for Influenster 😉

13) Two of my closest gal pals got married – This was a big deal! I was a Bridesmaid for my friend Brittany and was in charge of throwing her a Bachelorette party, so much fun. My other friend Danielle had her Bachelorette party in Vancouver while Derek went to her husband’s Bachelor party in Lake Tahoe. Tons of fun, drinking, and money spent of course. Hopefully no one gets married for a while so we can recover… JK!

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14) I made the decision to go to school – Biggest and most important decision of the year! I started in Fall Quarter and made a 4.0! I have no idea what I want to do, but I’m playing around with the ideas of environmental science, conservation, and/or sustainability. That’s what the first few years of college is for though, figuring out what interests you. I hope I continue to do well for the rest of the year.

15) Extended our current lease for another year – This is a huge deal for us! IN FACT…. we extended our lease for another year, so 3 years total. That will be the longest we have lived anywhere. We really love the security, the location, and how perfect our condo is. We would LOVE to own one like it some day, maybe after Derek graduates Law School.

16) Derek passed the LSAT! – We share our successes, so I feel a huge connection with him passing his LSAT. He was so nervous, but he studied his ass off EVERY DAY of Summer. I’m so happy he passed with a great score placing him in the top tier. He put so much hard work into everything he did to prepare, I had total faith in him 🙂 Now onto Law School and Scholarship applications this year!

 

It was a blessed year, I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store 🙂

~Jess

 

 

Daily Burn Challenge

I’ve decided to take on a personal challenge for myself. My fitness goals have been up in the air lately, I’ve kept them pretty vague until I had the recent idea to try out Daily Burn on Hulu. I have been completely against the idea of Daily Burn, for the bold statement on their ad, “Why spend ‘X’ amount of dollars on a trainer when you could spend less with Daily Burn than you would for a few hours with a trainer?!”

1) My husband is trainer, and a damn good one at that! Not everyone can benefit from the same type of training.

2) A 1:1 trainer provides you with so much more! Accountability, expertise customized to your physical needs, body, injuries etc., and of course someone who will physically push you and won’t let you hit ‘pause’.

3) A trainer will see your progress and keep you challenged based on your level. ‘Easy’, ‘Intermediate’, and ‘Advanced’ are NOT the only levels of fitness, there are so many more because everybody is completely different.

However, I believe the concept of Daily Burn is great for those who have the fundamental structure of training, have busy schedules and prefer working out at home vs. the gym, and are really just looking for variety and new material instead of having to create a workout themselves every day. I know that’s why I’m looking forward to this month challenge!

So I signed up for a 30 day free trail to see how I like it.

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I just recently received a new 25lb kettle bell for Christmas but only know a few exercises. Daily Burn has a kettle bell program that looked interesting, so I’m enrolled in a 3 month program with workouts ranging from 15-50 minutes with active recovery days, meal plans, and even recipes. I feel like I have a decent handle on my diet, I’m not looking to lose major weight so I won’t be using the nutrition suggestions as often. However, the nutrition section can be extremely helpful to those who need a little extra help in that area.

Not only do I have access to the DBK program, I have access to the entire library of programs. These programs range from Hip-Hop Dance, Pilates, Yoga, HIIT, Bootcamps, etc. I also really enjoy the filter feature to find specific workouts. You can use the filter to find a workout based on how long you would like to workout, fitness level – Easy, Intermediate, Advanced, by a specific trainer you might enjoy, and by equipment available. I’m mostly excited about the equipment and time length filters! As much as I LOVE Zuzka Light, her website isn’t as organized as Daily Burn. My equipment is limited due to the size of my house. I only really have my body, yoga mat, 25lb KB, and resistance bands.

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My goal is to complete 30 days of the DBK challenge and see if I would like to pay $12.95 a month for all the workouts! The only way I would do that is if I cancel my gym membership. I have a very heavy decision to make in 30 days. Ever since my work schedule changed to 6:30am to 3:00pm I’ve been less inclined to visit the gym for the following reasons:

1) The gym gets crowded at 3:30pm 

2) Even if I have a workout planned (which takes time and energy) the likelihood of the equipment I need being available is slim

3) People want to talk, fuck head phones basically

4) Guys shamelessly look at your ass, doesn’t matter how hard you mean mug

5) Weights are never racked, what else is new?

6) Locker rooms are disgusting

7) It’s so freakin’ time consuming commuting to and fro the gym

I have also decided to reward myself at the end of those 30 days!

I’ve had my eye on a pair of Freddy Jeans that I can’t bring myself to frivolously buy. So I’ll use those sexy ass jeans as a reward for sticking with the training plan!

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Wish me luck! I will still be doing my Zuzka Light workouts on top of Daily Burn for an extra challenge. I will keep you posted with my feedback!

~Jess