Tall Tales Tuesday: The Crowds of Japan

Japan is probably one of my favorite countries. The ancientness, the modernness, the bullet train, the cherry blossoms, the food, the kindness of the people.

Mysterious Alleyways

Ah yes, the people.

Japan, for all it’s perks, is one crowded place.

Kyoto

Sure, the majority of the time I spent there was in the big cities of Hiroshima, Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo, but I’ve been to Times Square at Christmas and it has nothing on the everyday streets of Japan.

The off-hours subway tunnels also rival the rush hours of New York and London both.

The covered “high” streets, the neon lights, the window shoppers, evening revelers, and sushi devourers all mix together in a surprisingly peaceful flow.

One of the high streets

Unless of course, you plan to cross the street. In which case, keep your eyes on your path and stick to it. But even this is a kind of choreographed dance that only Japan can do without road rage or bumping into each other.

I’ll take the crowds just for the pure awe-inspiring vibes that Japan gives off.

RQ: Where is the most crowded spot you have spent time? New York on Christmas…yay or nay?

Fall Burn!

With the holidays fast approaching, and the cold weather coming in, it’s the time of year where our activity starts to dwindle and we start to hunker down in warm pajamas and hearty meals. Instead of becoming sedentary, let’s make it a point to stay active!

Introducing the Fall Burn! 

Fall Burn Logo

If already know you want to sign up, click here!

This workout plan is 4 weeks of full body conditioning to help you reach your fitness goals and feel your best in time for Thanksgiving.

Why is this Burn perfect for Fall?

  • To keep you motivated. With the weather cooling down, you might feel more motivated to start hunkering down and less time being active.
  • To improve/maintain your overall fitness through full body strength and conditioning.
  • If you have your sights set on completing a Turkey Trot or other 5k race this winter.
  • There is a max of 6 moves, more often less, in each workout, so you won’t feel overwhelmed by learning new moves.
  • Each workout takes about 30-45 minutes tops!
  • To have you feeling your best in time for Thanksgiving.
  • If you need a change in, or some fresh air put into, your workouts.

Here is what you will get during the 4 week Burn:

  • 6 days a week of full body workouts
  • 5k Run Plan Add On. This is optional and includes 3 days of running each week. ←-Perfect if you have  Turkey Trot coming up!
  • Nutrition suggestions that will help you make minor changes that can lead to bigger ones
  • A goal of moving at least one mile a day
  • Picture sheets of all workouts
  • Membership into a secret Facebook group for tips, motivation, encouragement, and accountability from me as well as other members of the Burn
  • Beginner modifications and advanced progressions for every workout to make it more manageable and more challenging depending on what you need
  • Tracking sheet to monitor your progress
  • Six days a week of motivation, encouragement, and accountability from me (via Facebook)
  • Daily Bonus Workout Challenges
  • A daily photo challenge for inspiration and accountability
  • Access to your very own personal trainer (me!)

Items you will need:

  • timer/stopwatch
  • free weights
  • space to move, jump, twist, and lay down
  • mat, or soft place for floor moves
  • cardio machine, or a place to walk/run

The Fall Burn runs from October 27-November 22, 2014. The price of this Burn is $35, but will go up to $40 on Wednesday! Click here, or on the image  below, to sign up!

Fall Burn Logo

Once you register, you will receive a confirmation email from me. The official welcome email, first week of workouts, and nutrition suggestions will be sent on Sunday, October 26.

Please email me with any questions or concerns you may have at wreckingroutine@gmail.com. If you are interested in online personal training, but this program doesn’t fit your needs, check my Training Services page for other options. I would love to work with you!

You can also read testimonials about training with Wrecking Routine here.

**I am a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Women’s Fitness Specialist, but am not a Registered Dietician. Please consult your physician before starting any new exercise routine or diet.**

RQ: Are you in?

Chicken, Feta, Spinach Puffs

With the weather taking a chilly turn, turning on the oven to warm up the apartment sounds more and more appealing. And with Rob and I trying to clean out the freezer and pantry in preparation for a possible move (we are currently house hunting), I got a little creative in the kitchen a few weeks ago.

Chicken, Feta, Spinach Puffs

From the freezer came a single sheet of puff pastry and some chicken I defrosted. Combined with a sprinkle of feta, a touch of onion, and a bit of spinach and these tasty puffs were created. Serve with a side salad (or eat them on their own) and you have a tasty, warming dinner.

Chicken, Feta, Spinach Puff

Since we only had one puff pastry sheet, I rolled it out so it was close to double in size. It ended up being plenty of food for both Rob and I!

Fill Er Up

Chicken, Feta, Spinach Puffs

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts (you may have leftovers)
  • 1 sheet Puff Pastry, rolled out thin
  • 1/4 cup Spinach, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Feta
  • 1 Egg, beaten

Instructions

  1. Poach chicken with seasonings of choice (pepper, garlic powder, basil, etc.)
  2. Chop chicken into small, bite-sized bites.
  3. Cut rolled puff pastry into 3"x3" squares.
  4. Layer chicken, spinach, onion, and fetta into center of one puff square.
  5. Fold over edges and dab a bit of egg to "seal" it shut.
  6. Repeat until all squares are filled.
  7. Brush tops of each puff with remaining egg.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
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RQ: What is your favorite thing to make when the weather changes? Do you ever get creative when cleaning out the freezer/pantry?

Arm Blaster Workout

I have to tell you, being on Fall Break has been exactly what I needed. With the past eight weeks being insanely busy, it has been so nice to just be on my own schedule. It’s hard to believe that it’s already Wednesday, but time just seems to fly no matter what.

My morning started with an interval 6 miles before sunrise. It was so peaceful out on the bike path with hardly anyone out yet.

Sunrise Run

Before I jump into an arm sculpting workout, I have to share this video that showed up on my Facebook feed this morning.

How can you not smile at this? Plus, that song is just built for wanting to sing at the top of your lungs.

Alright, time for an Arm Blaster Workout!

Arm Blaster

Start with two reps of each move and then two minutes of push pace on the cardio of your choice (run, walk, bike, jumping jacks, etc.). Then complete four reps and two minutes of push pace. Continue this pattern until you hit ten reps.

Not only does every single move work your back, shoulders, and triceps, but they also tackle your core, balance, and posture. Plus, you get some heart-pumping cardio in the mix as well!

Here are a few more arm workouts for you:

RQ: Are you a pre-sunrise workout type? What is your favorite arm move?

Tall Tales Tuesday: The Vague Creepiness of Old Town Sacramento

Over the summer, I took a professional development trip with a few coworkers to Sacramento, California. Our hotel was situated right next to Old Town Sacramento and after our days of discussing instructional strategies and best practices, we ventured over to explore.

As cute as Old Town is, it had a bit of a creepy vibe. Maybe it’s because it was a random weekday, or because it was a bit out of “real” town, but the place was pretty dead. An empty boardwalk combined with abandoned train tracks and you have the makings of a horror movie.

Train tracks and boardwalks

One of my coworkers and I took an after dinner walk and just about jumped out of our skins when we rounded a corned and saw this human sized chicken suit hanging from the ceiling of a novelty shop.

Full body chicken suit

Another turn brought us to the only noise being made in the entire town, a sidewalk shooting game that let you “shoot” anything in the tiny space, not just the items behind the barrier as you typically see.

Shooting Games on the sidewalk

Yet another turned brought us to a deserted stairway in a back alley. Definitely not the kind of place I would want to be walking alone, not because it wasn’t safe, but because my imagination can get the best of me in situations like that.

Abandoned Walkways

On our walk back to the hotel, the bridge we had to cross to get to Old Town was lit up. Since the bridge is painted a greenish yellow, adding light to it gave it a haunting tint.

Eerie light on the street

Old Town Sacramento might be the perfect place to have one of those haunted city walks that are popping up all over the place. That, or film a based on a true story horror movie.

Creepy corners

RQ: Have you ever been to Old Town Sacramento? Does your imagination get the best of you in creepy situations?

Catching Up: Running, Hiking, Movie Watching

Oh, hey. So, about those two weeks I fell off the face of the blog-world? Sorry about that. Things should be back to normal around here. Let me catch you up on what’s been occupying my time.

Cross Country – The team’s last meet is this Thursday! Woot! I get a kick out of coaching, and many times it’s the highlight of my work day, but dang, does it take up a lot of time. One of my athletes has a chance to qualify for the state meet, but he is going to have run his heart out. No pressure. No pressure at all.

Cross Country Running

Marathon Training – I officially registered for the Rock n Roll Denver Marathon last week and have a slight ache in stomach as a result. The race is THIS Sunday! My training has been decent, but I always mess up the tapering portion. I don’t know how to slow down and rest all that well. I’ll have a post up later this week (promise!) with my A-D marathon goals.

Race markings on my path

One Year Anniversary – This past Sunday was Rob’s and my one year wedding anniversary. I cannot believe how quickly this year went! We drove up to Grand Lake on Friday night and spent the weekend hiking and utilizing a hotel deal I found on Groupon.

Rob and I on our Hike

Hiking – While in Grand Lake, we hiked 11 miles through the yellow aspens to Lone Pine Lake. It was a beautiful walk and an even more beautiful spot to rest our legs. Fall in Colorado is fast, but absolutely breathtaking.

East Inlet Hike

Gone Girl – Last Friday, a couple of women in my book club and I went to see Gone Girl, which we had read over the summer. I thought they did a superb job on the movie and really stayed true to the book. If you’ve read it, definitely go see it, but be forewarned that there is a pretty graphic scene (sexual and gory) when Desi dies.

Gone Girl

Rant: One of the trailers for Gone Girl was 50 Shades of Grey. I have zero interest in reading the book and was extremely uncomfortable just watching the trailer. I am slightly outraged it is being turned into a mainstream movie since I know people who hid the book cover to read it, but here it is on display. What is this teaching my students? Rant Over – this might warrant a full post all its own. 

Fall Break – This week is my fall break and I am so thankful to have the time to breathe personal train, catch up on blogging, finish a few books, do some grading, and rest up for the marathon.

Blogging between conferences

There you have it! My life in the past two weeks in a nutshell.

RQ: Tell me something from your past two weeks! 50 Shades as a movie: yay or nay?

Tall Tales Tuesday: Storm All The Castles

The amount of castles and fortresses dotting the Irish landscape is immense. Drive down just about any road, whether highway or backroad, and you are bound to see a few.

Lake Side Fortress

They are literally everywhere. Sticking up on private farm land, tucked into tree-covered corners, and literally two steps from the side of the road.

Random road side castle

Rob and I stopped at just about every castle we could. Sure, by the end of our 9 days we were slightly castled-out, but it didn’t stop us from seeing as much as we could. After all, who knows when, or if, we will ever be back.

Top of Blarney Castle

Almost every single one is explorable. Whether it’s through a guided (free or paid) tour, walking through on your own, or trespassing slightly on the farms.

DSC01917

Some are extremely well taken care of with immaculate gardens and interiors. While others have been left to the elements.

Adare Manor

Our favorite? Muckruss House. Though technically an estate, we labeled it in our minds as a castle. We arrived just as the last tour was beginning and managed to get the last two tickets to join. Seeing the interior of such an extravagant, Irish-style castle was one of the highlights of our trip. I highly recommend it even if just to learn more about Irish family history and geography.

Muckruss House

However you decide to explore the castles and fortresses of Ireland, do your best not to get stuck in the spiral staircases! Rob is a little too broad shouldered  for some spaces, Irish castles included!

Don't get stuck in the spiral!

RQ: Have you ever explored a castle or fortress? Would you prefer to trespass a bit or pay to see one?

My Students and Their Sugar Problem

My students’ diets are atrocious. On any given day, I have students drinking Mountain Dew, Red Bull, Monster, and 23 oz Arizona Strawberry Kiwi teas. They eat things like Hot Cheetos, Hot Takis, king sized Skittles, and Cup O’ Noodles. The amount of sugar in the majority of these items is through the roof.

Being the cross country coach, and a personal trainer/healthy lifestyle blogger, I can’t help but give my students a hard time about the things they are putting into their bodies. Any time one of them brings in a drink, I make them read the sugar label and I ask what fruit or vegetable they had before they dig into their Skittles.

Cross Country Start Line

I just want them to think more about what they are eating, rather than mindlessly grabbing a chip bag from the 7-11.

And you know something? It’s working.

One student saw a can of something on my desk, marched over, picked it up, and started reprimanding me about drinking a soda, saying, “How much sugar is in this, huh?” He sheepishly put it down when he read the 0% label on my La Croix Lime Sparkling Water. (Now I do drink an occasional soda, but the point is not every day, or even every week.)

Other things my students have seen me eat (because there are always a few students in my room, not because I am eating in front of my classes) include a smoothie, a salad, a sandwich, an apple with peanut butter, trail mix, grapes, pretzel chips, tea, and water.

Green Smoothie Breakfast

Now that they’ve realized this is my norm, they have started asking a lot of questions. Here are my three favorites and my answers to them:

1. When was the last time you ate fast food? Subway and Panda Express not withstanding in their minds as fast food, it was McDonalds over a year ago. Rob and were driving across the country , just back from Vietnam, and stopped for some on-the-road lunch. We both felt sick for almost two full days.

McDonalds post Vietnam

2. What is the most unhealthy thing in your house? Chocolate and chips. A mega-sized bag of mega0-sized M&M’s caught Rob’s eye at Costco (he has a thing for M&M’s). After running 20 miles this weekend, anything salty and carb-y sounds delicious, hence the bag of chips. I don’t feel guilty about any of these things.

MEGA

3. What does your husband eat? Does he think you’re crazy? He eats the same as I do, and sometimes even better. While I give in to cheese cravings, Rob gives in to cottage cheese. While I’m happy to eat a handful of chips for dinner, Rob will actually make a sandwich.

My students are thinking and asking questions. Even though it’s not about satire and annotations, I will call it a win.

The point in this post is that our youth are eating way more sugar than they need and many are lacking positive models on what to eat. This makes these two videos even more eye-opening since the things they taste-test are things my students would devour without a second thought. (And I would too if I got my hands on those Twizzlers.)

There are so many good one-liners from this video!

  • Maybe it is repurposed washing soap.
  • Add one cup of sugar!?
  • Why didn’t you warn me?
  • I don’t think anything that blue could be nutritious.
  • Sugar…it’s the main ingredient!
  • It’s weird because you do want more of them. <—EXACTLY! We are a country addicted!
  • I can’t tell you what that is.
  • There’s no description of what it actually is.
  • It’s just a dark activity to just while away the hours to keep going until death. <–Hilarious!

My favorite quotes from this one:

  • It kind of tastes like everything and nothing.
  • But I want to have it again…I want to keep eating it.
  • That’s weird and not in a good way.
  • The sort of thing you’d give to a kid as punishment.
  • I can’t tell what fruit that was.

RQ: Do you feel there is a sugar problem among our youth? What about adults? 

The Best and Worst of Muckfest 2014

A couple weekends ago, Rob and I headed to Larkspur to do the Muckfest MS Mud Run. Muckfest is put on to support MS research and the event organizers encourage everyone to fund raise.

F in Fun

After arriving an hour early, watching a few people go through the obstacles, and then stretching out, we lined up for our 12:30 start time. The MC did a good job getting the crowd excited, and muddy, before we even started.

Start line for the 12:00 wave

Since Rob has a bum calf at the moment, and I had run 16 miles before we headed out, we were not in it to win it. We were happy to walk, talk, and get muddy at our own pace.

Tunnels of mud

Out of all 19 obstacles, I had 5 favorites. I’ve done a Warrior Dash before, but these 5 obstacles were a bit unique. (Rob and I both HATE jumping off of things, so the pictured obstacle below will not make the favorites list.)

Get in the water!

1. Spider Web. While trying to navigate our way through all these ropes, while other people were as well, we were being sprayed with a fire hose. Not only was it completely disorienting, and freezing!, it was easy to get tangled up if you decided to go over a set of ropes while someone else decided to go under.

spider web

source

2. Big Balls. So I may have been shamelessly giggling the whole way through this obstacle because of its sheer ridiculousness. Not only was shoe-sucking mud underfoot, but the giant swinging balls were heavy and almost knocked me off my feet. I’m sure it didn’t help that Rob pushed a few into me as revenge for me accidentally getting mud in his eye in the first 100 yards.

big balls

source

3. Tight Rope. This obstacle took some serious concentration to be able to balance and move forward. If your breathing quickened, or you bent slightly to one side or the other, you would be a gonner. Thankfully, Rob and I both got through with no mishaps. Though I was happy to be a muddy mess, that water was cold!

tight rope

source

4. The Spinner. I was probably most nervous for this obstacle as my upper body strength is not where it should be right now (marathon training). The volunteers were super encouraging and encouraged us to just jump right on. I was so happy it was a short loop because I wasn’t going to be able to hold on much longer! The hardest part was actually getting off the rope; you had to step on a large, slippery, muddy mound while the rope kept going. My balance skills were definitely put to the test!

Holding on for dear life

5. Swing Set. Jumping off things is not my thing, but this one was fun! With a swinging start, you had to take off into the water. The tough thing was timing it correctly so you didn’t jump when the swing was furthest from the water. It seemed like everyone was having a blast on this obstacle.

Jumping off the swing

Race Cons:

I had a ton of fun playing in the mud and mountains with Rob, but there were a few things that were vaguely annoying.

Sticking the Landing

1. The obstacles felt crowded together at the start and end of the race. There was a pretty long walk between obstacles on some really steep hills that was a bit dull. I realize there are restrictions to where mud pits and structures can be made, but maybe rerouting a bit would work better.

2. Many of the obstacles were drying out. It was a warm, sunny day and the mud just wouldn’t stay put on some of the obstacles. On the second to last obstacle, where you have to slide backwards through some tipped over scaffolding, it was like sliding over wet gravel. Lots of people ended up scraped.

A very dry obstacle

3. Since Rob and I were the second to last wave of the day to start, by the time we finished, the post-party was out of food and everyone was heading home. This has nothing to do with the race directors, but the party feel was definitely coming to a close by the time we got our post-race beer.

Finished!

Regardless of these things, I would highly recommend Muckfest to anyone who enjoys mud runs. Plus you can’t beat FREE race pictures. It was a great afternoon being active and silly!

RQ: Mud runs: yay or nay? If you’ve done a mud run, what has been your favorite obstacle?