That time we did the Tough Mudder…. (and a discount!)

Thanks to Tough Mudder, I recently had the opportunity to run the Central Florida event in exchange for social shares and love. All opinions are my own…


Kiss of Mud 2.0

Everest 2.0


Birth Canal


What are these, you ask? They are obstacles at Tough Mudder. And this past weekend, a group of 7 of us tackled it, at least a good portion of it. 

I’ve done a 5K mud run before with obstacles, but nothing like this. And when we signed up, we bypassed the Half option of 5 miles and went straight for the Full option, which was 11 miles. Hey, why not? If you’re going to step out of your comfort zone, you may as well REALLY step out of it.


[Tweet “If you’re going to step out of your comfort zone, you may as well REALLY step out of it. “]


Thanks to the folks at Tough Mudder, I was able to join three people of my choosing to do the Central Florida event last Saturday in Bartow. Out in the country, which I always seem to forget we have here in The Sunshine State, we drove miles and miles out to Clear Springs Ranch. Set up in the midst of a ranch with cows and all, we were ready to attempt 11 miles of obstacles.





My husband and our friends Heather and Erika joined me as well as a few of our brave gym friends Lan, Ralph, and Nikolai. Heather, Lan, and Nikolai have all done Tough Mudder before so they were the Legionnaires of the group.




Being a runner, I was not afraid of the 11 miles. The challenge for me was the obstacles. I had been studying them online and everytime I looked at one, I asked myself what the heck I was doing. Had I not been working out and doing bootcamp since January, I never would have attempted such a thing. But I’ve gained upper body strength that I have never had before and the nerve to attempt something different. 

We all started out together, running the first mile to the first obstacle, Kiss of Mud 2.0. Crawling through mud under barbed wire is pretty fun and I felt good about it.





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The second obstacle was Devil’s Beard, which is a very large net that you crawl under until you get out the other side. Of course it’s dirty and the ground is hard, but it’s still fun. 


Third was Berlin Walls, a 9′ 6″ wall to climb over. This is one of the obstacle types that had me worried. First, I’m afraid of heights. Second, while I know I’ve gotten stronger this year, climbing is still not my thing. Thankfully, hubby was right by my side and told me I could do it. I climbed over first with his assistance and then he climbed over, helping me down the other side. Had he not been there, I don’t think I would have attempted it but I trust him a million times over and know that he help me and not let me get hurt. I love our teamwork on this obstacle!



Next up, King of the Mountain. This involved climbing up hay bales stacked high. Really high. Again with the climbing… Being short makes this difficult. I don’t have long legs to help me up these obstacles. But, with hubby helped me up and over. 





Our next obstacle was Quagmire and that meant more mud. Basically one big giant mud puddle. The kind your shoe gets stuck in and your foot wants to come right out of your shoe. The ground is uneven, you don’t know where you’re walking. Oh, and the water was on the chilly side. 





Shawshanked came up quickly after we rounded a sharp corner. Walking up to this one, I saw barbed wire to crawl under in mud and tubes to climb up inside of at an angle. I never stopped to think about what was at the end of those tubes. I crawled under the barbed wire, watching other people ahead of me. Hubby had me go ahead of him, and I went up the tube face up, pulling myself up the rope inside. All I could think about was how proud I was that I was pulling myself up this tube on a rope despite my feet slipping and losing ground. I was mentally thanking Gold’s Gym and Greg for being able to do that. Then I got to the top and realized, I had to jump into water to get out.  I was stuck – literally. The tube was just not big enough to let me turn around and get my legs out first. I DID NOT want to fall out backwards. This girl can’t swim and falling backwards is not my thing. One of the Tough Mudder folks was on top of these tubes, talking people through it and came over to me. She told me how to pull myself up and use my upper body strength to hold on while I let my feet drop out. Or I could just fall out backwards. Nope, nope, NOPE was my response to that. You can tell that this one made me nervous and once I finally got out of the water and walked it off, I started to question what the heck I had gotten myself into. We weren’t at mile 3 yet and I was already tired from what I had just done.









I skipped the next obstacle, Ladder To Hell. My shirt legs made this wall feel impossible and since I was soaked from that nice splash I made at Shawshanked, my feet slipped on the boards when I attempted it. I had no shame in walking around that one. 


Next up was Hero Carry, where we partnered up and Mike carried me on his back. Honey’s shoulder took a turn for the worse on this one, thanks to my holding on for dear life.


I took a pass on the next one, Skidmarked, an angled wall (towards you not away) to climb over. Mike also took a pass because of his shoulder. 


Everest 2.0 was around the next turn and I immediately said NO. A slick 15′ wall, quarter pipe, to run up and get over. I could just imagine falling face first the second my feet hit the surface. I stood there for a good 10 minutes watching others do it. Some ran right up it like it was nothing and some ran for the assistance rope. I watched people fall and get back up and do it again. I finally decided to just go for it. I ran, held my breath when my feet hit the wall, reached the rope, and pulled myself up. A couple of guys at the top who made it there before me, helped pull me up and over. I climbed down the other side, so darn proud of myself for doing what I was so quick to say no to. This was my proudest obstacle on Saturday. 
We walked through more mud and came upon Birth Canal, low to the obstacle you have to crawl under. Big plastic bags filled with liquid are pushing down on you as you crawl. This one was tough, you had to push your way through it. We did it and went on to the next.  





I skipped Balls To The Wall because the wall was really tall and you had to use a rope. I was pretty beat at this point as we were coming up on the halfway point. Arctic Enema was next. Mike and Erika did this one without even thinking about it. I struggled with the ice cold water taking my breath away when I hit that water so I shamelessly passed it up. 


There was more mud and water to walk through, some deep and some shallow. We had to carry logs at the Hold Your Wood obstacle. The Reach Around was another climbing one that I passed up. Swamp Stomp brought more water and mud at what was our deepest water to walk through yet. It was up to my neck. All I could think about was a snake or something brushing against me and you would have seen me walk on water to get out of there. But I did it. Another proud moment. 


Obstacle wise, I was done at this point. My feet were so sore from walking through mud, on uneven ground, running through sand, and more. I didn’t have it in me to climb anymore walls, walk through cold deep water, or even attempt monkey bars. I also walked around the very last obstacle, Electroshock Therapy. It was raining at this point and something about being shocked with my feet in water while it was raining did not sound fun. I had lost the ability to move fast at that point. 




Do I wish I could have done more obstacles? OF COURSE. Am I proud of the ones I did? ABSOLUTELY! It’s like running a race and knowing you could have given it a little more and run faster or finished stronger. But all things considered, I am very proud of what I did.




That night and the day after I was SORE. I had bruises under my arms from climbing, my feet were sore, my muscles ached including the ones I didn’t realize I had. Five days later, I am still feeling it. 


And because I did the Tough Mudder, I think YOU SHOULD TOO! You can save 15% on any Tough Mudder Half or Full event with discount code ToughMudderBlogger15 through the end of 2017.



Have you done a Tough Mudder before? What was your proudest moment?




Water, water, water!

Just before Hurricane Irma arrived much too close to our front door, I was given a Berkey Water Filter to try. Little did I know, I would be using it to it’s full potential just about a week later when we went into full hurricane preparation.




We drink a lot of water in our house. We buy bottled spring water. It’s no cheap but it’s what we do. As we started to prep for Hurricane Irma and we realized the potential to be without power and/or water was becoming very real, it was almost impossible to find bottled water at local stores. I put our Berkey Water Filter to use and filtered just about 5 gallons of water  and put it into a cooler so it would be one less thing we had to worry about.

I have used water filters in the past and quite honestly, they never filtered well enough. When I drink water, I don’t want it to taste like anything. I had heard nothing but good things about the Berkey and I was excited to try it. 





The Big Berkey holds 2.25 gallons of water. It comes standard with 2 Black Berkey Purification Elements but will take 4 total.  It is ideal for small to medium families, and for use during travel, outdoor activities, or unexpected emergencies. It fits perfectly on my kitchen counter under the cabinets, standing 19.25″ tall. For normal everyday use, it serves 1-4 people. 

Setting it up, including priming the filter, took about 20 minutes. It was not complicated at all and the instructions that are included are very easy to follow. 

Most importantly – for me – out of all of this, the water tasted PERFECT. No flavor and no aftertaste. It was clean, filtered water. 

The Big Berkey was a lifesaver during Hurricane Irma. Post-hurricane, it has become a permanent fixture in our kitchen and we are no longer buying bottled water. Not only will we not have endless plastic water bottles to recycle, but we will also save money by not buying water.


You can learn more about Berkey Water Filters here….




Twitter:        @iBerkey



The One Where I Stopped Blogging…

Well, life certainly has been busy. Between work, working out, pesky adult responsibilities, a hurricane, three dogs, and life in general, blogging has taken a backseat.

I miss it, there are happenings that I want to share. But, by the time I’m done with my day (which starts at 4am), I am literally DONE.

I just can’t seem to let this little space of mine on the interwebs go away, though. It’s been a part of me for almost seven years now. I’ve shared so much and it’s like a good friend. So, I’m going to get back to it. It won’t be everyday, but it will be more often than the once a month I was doing.

A few highlights from the last couple of months….


My family came to visit us and we had a wonderful visit. I miss my brother Nick, sister-in-law Jenna, and Autumn so very much. Much fun was had over the few days they were here.





I am still doing bootcamp twice a week and working out a couple days a week on top of that. I love our time on the gym, taking care of us. I have goals and will continue to be a work in progress. One thing I do miss is running regularly, so I need to make that happen.





My eating took a hit with Hurricane Irma. There was stress eating in the anticipation of it and also after when we went without power for 6 days. It’s hard to get back to the healthy eating I was doing so well before, but I am trying my best.




I’ve been at my job for just about 7 months now and I am still loving it and the people I work with. Getting up at 4am is not always easy but loving my job helps that immensely. I get to be inspired and motivated daily at work and that is a wonderful thing.




Fall is here! I am excited for the weather to hopefully cool down soon. I am happy about fall TV shows. Season two of This Is Us is upon us and I have my Kleenex ready.




Our anniversary is next week. No mini-vacation this year BUT we are going to Halloween Horror Nights this Friday night. I’m ready to scream ridiculously at every little thing that scares me. And I cannot wait to go in The Shining haunted house. It is my most favorite horror movie ever so it has a lot to live up to.


Life is busy but having this guy by my side makes it all worth it….






I hope to see you all around here more!

The ABC’s of Best Damn Race!

We all know I love Best Damn Race, but I thought I would break it down for you…. I have created the ABC’s of Best Damn Race after having a great time at the Leftover 5K over the weekend. 

For your reading pleasure….. Enjoy! 




A – Ambassadors! Well, I am a little biased with this one, but BDR has some pretty fabulous Ambassadors who help promote the events and share discount codes.


B – Beer! Ice cold beer awaits you after you finish.
C – Charity! Each race city partners with a charity to race money for an important cause. 
D – Discounts! Use my discount code NANCIC and save $5 on all races, all cities! 
E – Expo! Packet pick-up is always fun at the BDR Expo with vendors and a chance to pick up last
minute race essentials.
F – Friends! Nothing more fun than running the Best Damn Race with great friends.
G – Goodie bag! Who doesn’t love a bag full of goodies from a race?
H – Host hotel in each city. Stay close to the start line so you can get a good night’s sleep before the race.
I – Intervals! BDR is runner AND walker friendly, so if you love to run intervals, then you’ll feel right at home.
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J – Jacksonville! Run along the Riverwalk and downtown.
K – Kegs! Not really, but there is ice cold beer as mentioned above.
L – Leftover 5k! How many races do you know that have an end of season fun race with leftover medals and shirts AND an inflatable water slide? 
M – Medals! Each year, a new and creative medal is designed for each event. And the challenge medals? Always awesome! 
N – New Orleans! The newest destination for BDR is New Orleans and after a fun first year in the Big Easy, they will be back for more in March 2018.
O – Orlando! 2018 will be the 5th year for Orlando, with the race staring downtown by Lake Eola.
P – Photos! Some of the most fun race photos I’ve ever been in have been from Best Damn Race. And there’s a good chance you’ll get them for FREE!** 
Q – Quick! As in, you’ll run BDR damn quick and get to the beer! 
R – Race results! Download a certificate complete with your finish time, place, and more! 
S – Safety Harbor is where it all started. Join in the fun on February 3, 2018 (and celebrate my birthday one day late!).
T – Treat yourself to a massage after you cross that finish line… You deserve it! 
U – Unique registration! You have a chance to register for as little as $1 when registration opens.
V – Volunteer! BDR has some of the best volunteers. As a volunteer you get a Volunteer t-short, a goodie bag, and the fun of cheering on and helping thousands of runners.
W – Women’s cut shirts! Each year the shirt design is different AND there are women’s cut just for us!
X -Xcitement! Okay, so I changed the spelling to make this work, but it really is an exciting event. 
Y – Yell your heart out! Support runners along the course with your very own cheer station and have a chance to win $1000 for the Best Damn Cheer station.
Z – Zzzzzzz….. As in you’ll sleep great after a fun morning of Best Damn Race, beer, bling, and a post-race massage! 
So, which city will you be registering for?!

How Weight Loss Is Like Marathon Training

I’ve been thinking about running Space Coast Marathon quite a bit lately, about all the hard work I put into it and what an accomplishment it was for me. From to deciding to do it, train for it, remain injury-free throughout, and cross that finish line on race day…. It was and still is such a huge deal for me. Almost three years later and I still am so proud of myself for running endless training miles and finishing those 26.2 miles. And then last night that I realized how similar training for a marathon and weight loss really are…


weight loss like marathon


You have to really want to do it. 

No one is going to sign up for marathon if they don’t want to really do it. You have to be in the right headspace and mindset to not only commit to running a marathon, but to train for it week after week. 
You have to train for it.
Running a marathon means weeks and weeks of training, following a plan, making changes along the way as needed, keeping track of your miles, and more. Weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle is very similar. To be successful, you have to plan ahead for your meals, make adjustments along the way, keep track of what you’re eating, and more. There are workouts to plan, rest days, cardio and strength training, and more. All just like a marathon.
You have to have the right gear.
When I trained for my marathon, I had two pairs of running shoes. One for long runs and one for short runs. I also had favorite running shorts, sports bras, and tank tops. I had my running watch for tracking my time and miles. Having the right gear was essential to keeping me comfortable and being successful. Weight loss is the same way. Without the proper tools, you are cutting yourself short. Meal prep containers, favorite healthy snacks on hand at all times, water, My Fitness Pal app to track my meals, lunch bag that lets me carry several meals and snacks if needed, a gym membership, a trainer who motivates me, and more. Now, not everyone needs all of these things. I know what I need to be successful, others may not need the same. But in committing to a healthy lifestyle, the better prepared you are and the more support you have, the more it pushes you to keep going. 
There will be bad days.
Not every run is fun or even good. Stellar runs that make you want to jump for joy at the end can be hit and miss. It feels like sometimes all the stars have to be aligned for that to happen. Just like in weight loss… You will have bad days. You will wake up one morning, ready to tackle the day, stick to your calories dead on, and knock your bootcamp out of the park. The next day you may wake up and want to eat the entire kitchen and not get off the couch. WE ARE ALL HUMAN. It’s okay to have a bad day. Just remember that the next day is your chance to start again and give it your best.
A partner makes it better.
While I am not opposed to running alone, I like it much better when I am running with someone. When I trained for my marathon, only about 10% of it was solo. The rest was spent with hubby running or riding his bike by my side, or running with Corinna as she would eventually decide to run the marathon with me. We had a common goal in mind and it made the miles fly by. Weight loss is the same way. It’s much easier to do it with someone. I am very lucky that hubby and I decided to make a lifestyle change together. While I calorie intake and weight loss goals are different, we still keep each other accountable and support each other every step of the way. Doing it alone would be hard and boring. 
You realize how strong you are.
When I started training for my marathon, I knew I had 18 weeks of running 4 days a week ahead of me. My friend Beth gave me great advice and I am so glad I listened. Just take it a week at a time. Don’t focus on that 20-mile run you will have in Week 16, just focus on each week. It helped so much to think of that. Week by week, mileage was added on, and I realized that I am stronger that I thought I was. I could put in more miles than I imagined I could. When it came time to run our 20-mile training run, we were ready for it. It was just 4 miles longer than the previous long run. Looking at it that way was a lifesaver for my non-stop brain that always finds something to stress over. Weight loss is the same way. No matter what your end goal is, just take it a week at a time. Celebrate each victory along the way and you’ll realize that you can do what you may have thought was impossible. 
It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Everyone wants quick results. But in weight loss, it’s just not possible. I want to lose weight and keep it off. I don’t want it to find me again. While I can’t wait to get to my goal weight, I am doing it smart, taking my time, and focusing on small goals. I will get to my end goal eventually, but it won’t happen quickly. I didn’t set out to run my marathon crazy fast, my goal was to get through it and finish. I set three time goals as training went on. First goal was to finish, second goal was to finish under six and half hours, and the third goal was to finish under six hours. My end time was 5:58:06 and I was ecstatic. With my weight loss, I another short-term goal set for summer and a big goal set for the end of the year. 
I am still excited about our weight loss journey, the strength we’ve found in the gym, and what is still out there to learn. We have goals we are working towards. Training and running a marathon was a life lesson, a very personal one. Weight loss is the same…. I know I’ll cross this finish line as well because I know how determined I am. 

I am more than a number…

In today’s world, every one is focused on weight, that number you see when you step on the scale. It’s the first thing you do at a doctor’s appointment. Maybe you step on the scale first thing in the morning when you get up, maybe again in the afternoon. 

You lose weight and you gain weight. It’s a cycle we all go through. My weight can easily fluctuate five pounds in a day depending on what I’m doing, what I’m eating, how much water I’m drinking (or not drinking), the time of the month, and more. It’s only natural to share how many pounds you’ve lost when you talk about your weight loss journey. But, that number is not the end all be all of you or your progress.
[Tweet “I am more than a number. My weight does not define me or my progress. “]
Body image is a huge part of human nature. We love to feel good about ourselves and the skin we’re in. The number on the scale should NOT be the deciding factor on how you feel about yourself. As I currently work towards goals at the gym, they are becoming less about my weight and more about the overall picture. Why does my weight determine how I feel about myself or how I’m viewed? I am so much more than that number. 
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Take a moment to think about how you view your body and your progress. If your weight is the first thing that comes to mind, here are some thoughts for you…
How do you feel in your skin? 
Who cares what my current weight is, I am feeling great about my body. When I treat my body right, is responds in kind. I spent the better part of the last two years being lazy, unmotivated, and eating and drinking things that I really didn’t need. And while I am all for enjoying things I love, it’s best in moderation. I have no business eating cookies every single day or drinking a bottle of wine just because I had a bad day. I do have my favorite foods but there is a balance between that and continuing to workout and eat healthy. 

January - May Transformation

January – May transformation….

Focus on what you CAN do, not what you can’t do.
Don’t ever compare yourself to others. Just because someone else at the gym who is close to my age can do regular push-ups doesn’t mean I need to do that. I can knock out push-ups from my knees like a rock star now and that makes me feel GREAT because just months ago, it was hard to do just a few. The only person you are up against is YOU. You know where you’ve started and where you’re headed. Celebrate the changes you see in your body and OWN IT. 
What makes up your weight?
The other day I weighed in after almost a month. My weight was up 2.5 pounds. Normally, I would freak out and think about all the things I could have done wrong to cause that weight gain, especially when I’m working so hard. But let’s think about what makes up that number. Thanks to the InBody scale we have at the gym, it does more than just weigh you. It tells you about your body composition. And since it remembers who you are, it gives you a history each time to show your changes. So yes, I gained 2.5 pounds. But that 2.5 pound gain included a 2.2 pound increase in muscle mass and my body fat dropped 1.1%. That 2.5 pound weight was a conversion from fat to muscle. I want more muscle than fat, so I’ll take these results all day long. 
A gym friend and I talk about our progress often and she has said that she is not watching her weight. She is watching her body fat percentage go down. She doesn’t have a weight goal, she has a body fat percentage goal. I have no doubt that she’ll reach that goal because she is working hard towards it.
How are your clothes fitting?
Is there a better feeling than when your clothes fit better than before? When getting dressed in the morning becomes fun instead of something you dread? Just prior to starting back at the gym in January, I was at my highest weight ever and I was wearing the largest size I’ve ever had to buy. Getting dressed in the morning was just awful and depressing. I wasn’t wearing clothes because they were cute or because I loved them. I was wearing whatever hid my stomach the best. No attention was drawn to arms or legs. The girl who used to wear shorts all the time, had not worn shorts in at least two years. But now, my clothes are fitting better. Nothing is tight on me. I’ve had to stop wearing certain clothes because they’re too big. If I’m not working, I automatically go for the tank tops because I absolutely love my shoulders and arms as they become more and more defined. My legs are more muscular than ever and I cannot wait to buy shorts. 
So that number on the scale? No, it doesn’t define me. My hard work and determination, my on-going progress, and feeling good about myself defines me. 
Take care of yourself. Be kind to your body. Work towards goals but know that your goals will change over time. And remember, you are not just that number on the scale. 

The couple that works out together….

It’s no secret that hubby and I love our time in the gym. Whether it’s bootcamp, weights, cardio, or circuit machines, we enjoy it. Even if we are not doing the same thing, we are there together. Working out together at the gym carries over into life outside the gym as well. Have you ever wondered why this is?


[Tweet “Reasons to work out together! The couple that works out together…”]


It’s all about having a support system. Knowing that after a long day at work, we get to spend time together at the gym taking care of ourselves is always nice to look forward to. We have the common goal of getting fit and we push each other to reach those goals. 




It’s about being proud of each other. I tell everyone how proud I am of hubby. He has lost 30+ pounds now, dropped his body fat by almost 10%, and is not even close to stopping. I cheer him on every day because he has made big changes in his diet and how he eats. He is losing body fat and building muscle. Sorry ladies, he’s all mine. Don’t even think about it….




It’s about teamwork. We push each other. From the moment we met 18 years ago, we’ve been competitive with each other. Our story started with a bet at the bowling alley, whoever won the game would go out with the other. Well, obviously it was a win-win, but being competitive with each other is fun and keeps us going. Hubby has been my biggest cheerleader at the gym, with our challenge, and working out. Just like he spent miles and miles with me while I trained for my marathon, he is right by my side for this journey.




It’s about our bond. We’ve been together almost 18 years, married almost 16 years. We’ve been through quite a bit but at the end of the day, we have each other. After a great workout and he tells me great job, it makes me want to keep going. When we’re at home and eating a healthy meal together, it’s a common interest we are sharing. When we plan a Sunday afternoon at the gym, it’s about living life together. 




I wouldn’t want to go through this life with anyone else. Being healthy and getting fit together is just one of the many reasons I love hubby to the moon and back. My rock, my biggest cheerleader…


Do you work out with your significant other? 


Bootcamp Round 2

Our 12 week challenge at Gold’s Gym has ended, including the three bootcamp sessions a week. I went from someone who had never done a bootcamp workout prior to this challenge to someone who looked forward to bootcamp days every week and whatever challenge Greg or Ila had in store for us.

With the end of bootcamp upon us, we knew we had to decide what to do next to keep up all the hard work we put into the 12 week challenge. Bootcamp meant accountability, support, hard work, pushing ourselves outside our comfort zones, and really just a fun time. Turns out, we didn’t want that to end. We are seeing major results and both have goals.


My rock…


Fortunately, we aren’t missing a beat and jumped right into the Tuesday / Thursday night bootcamp this week. This group is a little more advanced than the other one, but we love a challenge and the motivation to keep getting better. This also means our trainer Greg is stuck with us for who knows how long.
From kettle bells to the sled, bosu push-ups to Russian twists, plank climbers to weighted squats, I love every minute of it, no matter how much it hurts or how bad I feel it the next day. My body is capable of way more than I have ever given it credit for. Finally, I can focus on what it CAN do rather than what it CANNOT do.

I’m working hard to hit the 160’s and I’m just 4.5 pounds away from that. Stay tuned!


5 Reasons To Plank

There are many exercises that are important to do often. But I, personally, think that the plank should be at the top of the list. There are many benefits to planking and why you should do it.
Not only does it work your core, but it engages your entire body. We do them often in bootcamp, in different variations. Hubby and I also do them on our regular workout days. Here are 5 reasons you should plank.

1. Abs! All day long…

Doing a plank, just about any variation of it, engages all of the ab muscles. This means the rectus abdominus as well as the obliques. These work together to give you the appearance of a flatter stomach. They also help with other exercises.

2.  Easy on the back…

This is a huge one for me. Strengthening my core in a way that is easy on my back is a no-brained. With my history of sciatica, there are no sudden movements in my world and I have to be careful. Doing planks doesn’t hurt my back AND it strengthens my core which helps with back issues.

3.  Plank anywhere…

No equipment is needed. All you need is you and the floor. No matter which variation you do, it can be done anywhere. I’ve even done it on a sidewalk after a run. Drop and plank whenever and wherever!

4.  No injuries allowed!

A strong core does wonders for a strong body and is beneficial to so many exercises. Balance and more are affected by the strength of your core. Doing a plank daily can help prevent injuries.

5. Arms, baby!

The plank is mostly about the abs, but your arms will benefit too. Straight-arm or elbow planks will both give you results when done regularly.
And because I want to add in a bonus… Planks just make you feel better. Take 30 seconds, 60 seconds, whatever you can do. Do it daily and you will see results. Change it up often with one of many plank variations to challenge yourself.

What is your favorite plank variation?

Get Fit In The Gym – Lose Weight In The Kitchen

I’ve shared many pictures and updates about our time in the gym since January, but a huge part of our success with weight loss has not even taken place in the gym. It really starts in the kitchen. You can work out all day but if you aren’t eating right and fueling your body properly, you won’t get the results you are looking for.

This morning is a good example of how I prepare for our week. Salads, veggies, fruits, protein and more make up our days during the week. Both hubby and I eat several small meals a day and always have breakfast. We aim for a healthy mix of proteins, low carbs, and healthy fats. Tonight I will make a favorite dinner of hubby’s which will make for several lunches during the week.

This is not to say that we don’t splurge or enjoy our favorite foods from time to time. There are days where we don’t take our lunch and will get lunch out, but we always have snacks with us. I never want to get to a point where I’m starving. On the flip side, my meals are small so I eat until I’m satisfied, not overly full.

At this point in our journey to get fit this year, we are going to start fine tuning our meals and focus on macros. Basically, we will eat to reach our goals and our hard work in the gym.

Spending an hour or so in the kitchen getting ready for the week ahead makes a huge difference in sticking to our plan and reaching our goals.
Do you meal prep? What are your go-to snacks and meals?

Why Are Rest Days Important?

In the midst of working out regularly now at the gym, with bootcamp three days a week, and trying to run on the weekend, the importance of rest days has taken on a whole new meaning. 

Just like in training for a race, rest days are important for many reasons. Your body needs time to recover. Working out too often, especially the same muscle groups, can cause stress and could lead to injury. Working out, such as resistance training, breaks down muscles. This is where rest days are important because it gives those muscles and your body time to repair itself.

In fact, sleep is equally important because your body’s growth hormone production increases which helps repair and rebuild those muscles. 


I love the rope for a great upper body workout.

Working hard for the last six weeks has brought new meaning to rest days. While I love every single second we spend in the gym and at bootcamp, I am ready for a rest day. But! Then I have guilt on rest days that I should be working out so I can reach my goal and continue to get stronger. 


Yoga is the perfect active rest day activity.


That is where active rest days come in. You don’t have to be a blob on the couch on your rest day. Sometimes NOT moving is the worst thing you can do. Here are suggestions for an active rest day that will benefit and help the recovery process.


  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Yoga
  • Foam Rolling


So, lace up those shoes on your next rest day and take a walk. Or enjoy your favorite yoga class which will do wonders for those sore muscles. Your body will thank you for that rest day the next time you are back in the gym.


What is your go-to activity on a rest day?



Ten Reasons Why You Need A Nutritionist

The week before Thanksgiving, hubby gave me an early Christmas present… A six-week nutrition and personal training program with the Certified Nutritionist at Gold’s Gym. It was something he knew I was very interested in and I was so excited. It was the perfect gift as despite my progress in the Gold’s Gym Challenge last year, my weight had gone up some. I don’t have as much of a problem with the fitness side of things as I do the food side. This girl loves to eat, and eat I will. Have I mentioned that I am an emotional eater??

It started with an orientation with Liz. I am lucky to call her friend as well. I told her when we met for the orientation that if she wasn’t who she was, I would probably have not been interested in the nutrition end of things. But she loves helping people and it shows in the time she takes in getting to know clients and writing nutrition plans for them.

At my orientation, I weighed in higher than I did at the end of the Gold’s Gym Challenge last year but thankfully, not my highest ever. I knew going into it that joining the 2018 Gold’s Gym Challenge was a guarantee. While I cannot compete since I am an employee, I still love the atmosphere, the comaradarie, and the friendship of being a part of it.

[Tweet “Ten reasons why you should have a nutritionist…. #nutrition #health #fitness #healthyeating #healthyliving”]


My first week of my nutrition plan was the week of Thanksgiving. Many people asked what I was doing! But for me, it kept me from digging a deeper hole for myself. I had a plan and I stuck to it.

After seven weeks of meeting with a nutritionist, here are ten reasons why you should do the same…

1) You will learn that processed foods are not necessary. Seriously, I’m not lying. I love bread and chip so many other processed food but after seven plus weeks on the plan, I am here to tell you that you don’t need them. I haven;t had white bread, or chips, or pasta, or bad carbs since I started and I don’t miss them at all.

2) My stomach thanks me daily. If you eat the right foods, whole foods, you WILL feel better. I’ve probably spent half my life feeling bloated and just blah. Little did I realize how much of what I was eating played a part in that. In addition, I take a probiotic each day.

3) Nutrients are best in whole food form. When you eat healthy, you reap the benefits of healthy nutrients and your body thanks you. The morning smoothie that I have is a big part of this. I look forward to it every morning because it is so delicious.

4) Following the nutrition plan makes life EASY. Liz provides me with a day by day meal plan AND a shopping list. I never realized how stressful it was trying to figure out what I would eat each day, each meal. Tell me what to buy and what to eat each meal and I am a happy girl.

5) Eating healthy is not boring. Liz puts time and effort into each meal plan. She also provides original recipes to suit your needs. I have loved every one of the recipes he has given me. She also writes her recipes so that there are leftovers, which is a lifesaver for me. As early as I get up for work during the week, I need a time-saving plan and she does just that.

6) You are what you eat. Really, it’s true. Sugar feed so many bad diseases and health issues. If you can prevent that from happening, why wouldn’t you?

7) You will sleep better. Falling asleep has rarely been a problem for me. What is a problem is when I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep. Eating whole foods and skipping processed foods has had quite an impact on my sleeping habits. And since I get up at 4am during the week, I am very thankful for this.

8) You will save money. So many people complain that eating healthy is expensive. But think about what you save on eating out. Since I started with Liz on my nutrition plan, I have eaten out maybe 4 times. I realized throughout this that I really do enjoy cooking and it makes life so much easier not having to figure out every single day, what am I going to eat.

9) Eating healthy inspires you to work out. Think about it…. If you go to McDonald’s and eat a burger, fries, and soda are you ready to hit the gym after? Eat healthy every day and your body will crave more.

10) More than anything, eating healthy is an investment in yourself. It’s not a diet, people. It’s eating real, whole foods. It’s taking the time to fuel your body instead of feed your body. When you eat the right foods, you do not have cravings for junk food. You did not have the need to hit the drive-thru or buy sweets at the store. Your body will thank you every single day.

In the first six weeks of my nutrition plan, I lost almost 10 pounds and just shy of 3% body fat. I cannot credit my nutrition plan enough for this. As someone who has struggled with their weight almost their entire life, from high school on, it is a lifesaver to learn how to eat to be satisfied and not crave all the bad junk that I just don’t need.

My second round is starting Monday January 22nd and I cannot wait. Liz has changed it up a bit, based on my participation in the 2018 Gold’s Gym Challenge which means three bootcamps a week. In addition, I have three races coming up that I will be running. While I am not trying to set any records, I do want to feel good in my body as I run each one.

It’s a wonderful thing to feel good in your skin. Hubby is obviously very supportive of me in this and continues to cheer me on. And just today, I had two members comment on my weight loss. That makes me feel so good.




If you are local, I would love for stop by Gold’s Gym Largo and see what it has to offer not only a membership, but also for Nutrition. It will be worth your time – and your well-being – to check it out.



What I’m Reading… July 2017

Since I have been sick the last week, I have been reading quite a bit. Not being able to work out and being on the couch if I’m not at work has given me time to read more than I have in quite a while. While I am anxious to get back in the gym and back to it, I have loved getting lost in a few books. I need to try and find balance in all things in life so that I can keep up with my love of reading. 

I read these three books in a matter of days and LOVED all of them! They were a great find on Amazon.


Bright Side by Kim Holden

Kate Sedgwick’s life has been anything but typical. She’s endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there’s a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She’s also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks.



I loved this book. The characters, the story, the wanting there to be more every time I finished a chapter. I hated when it ended but I had the next book to look forward to….




Gus by Kim Holden

The journey that began in top-rated, best-selling Bright Side, continues …

This is the story of Gus.
Losing himself.
Finding himself.
And healing along the way.

“ … but the honest-to-God truth is I don’t even know how to function anymore. Bright Side wasn’t only my best friend; she was like my other half … the other half of my brain, the other half of my conscience, the other half of my sense of humor, the other half of my creativity, the other half of my heart. How do you go back to doing what you did before, when half of you is gone forever?”



I rarely enjoy a second book as much as the first, but this one was different. I had the first book in my mind while I read it and it gave Gus a much deeper feeling. Some stories, as they continue, seem forced but this one did not. I highly recommend both. 



180 Seconds by Jessica Park

Some people live their entire lives without changing their perspective. For Allison Dennis, all it takes is 180 seconds…

After a life spent bouncing from one foster home to the next, Allison is determined to keep others at arm’s length. Adopted at sixteen, she knows better than to believe in the permanence of anything. But as she begins her third year in college, she finds it increasingly difficult to disappear into the white noise pouring from her earbuds.

One unsuspecting afternoon, Allison is roped into a social experiment just off campus. Suddenly, she finds herself in front of a crowd, forced to interact with a complete stranger for 180 seconds. Neither she, nor Esben Baylor, the dreamy social media star seated opposite her, is prepared for the outcome.

When time is called, the intensity of the experience overwhelms Allison and Esben in a way that unnerves and electrifies them both. With a push from her oldest friend, Allison embarks on a journey to find out if what she and Esben shared is the real thing—and if she can finally trust in herself, in others, and in love.



What drew me to this book was the anxiety aspect of it. Social media today brings out such a different side in many people simply because we spend much of our time behind a computer and not one-on-one interaction. It was a wonderfully written book and I enjoyed it very much. 



Now it’s your turn… What are you reading right now?