Fitness Friday

For my 2nd Fitness Friday ever I bring you all categories! Ooooooh Ahhhhh! 
Weight Lifting 
From Women’s Health – Weight Training Tips 
Pumps & Iron’s Upper Body Interval Workout
Mileage – Yoga, foam roll
QOD – Just do it. 


Spaghetti Squash and Shrimp Recipe…and eighth blackbird!!!!

So tonight I tried spaghetti squash for the second time. The first time was many years ago at a friend’s house and it was made with a traditional spaghetti sauce, which is totally not my thing. It was probably really delicious because that friend’s mom is a great cook, but since I don’t like normal spaghetti I just kinda disregarded spaghetti squash until a few days ago. 

I was reading posts on PopSugar Fitness and I stumbled across this article with a recipe for spaghetti squash with shrimp and white sauce. “HOLD UP” I thought to myself and instantly saved the page because I knew it was something I needed to try. So this week I decided to try this whole squash thing again. I’m a serious pasta addict lover fan and think it is the perfect vehicle for veggies, sauce, meat, seafood, basically anything. I mean…look at all these options!!!

But I digress, I’ve recently tried to stop eating a lot of carbs for dinner, even some of my favorite complex carbs, because it tends to keep me up and give me crazy dreams…or nightmares. I also hate going to bed feeling bloated, so I’ve been sticking to small portions of brown rice, quinoa, or no carbs at all. Spaghetti squash seemed like a great option and I think I’ve found a new veggie based favorite! 

I didn’t follow the recipe in the link very thoroughly, but since I didn’t know how to cook spaghetti squash I followed those directions and think it came out great. I did roast the shrimp however I didn’t think they infused much flavor so I’d probably sauté them my usual way next time. I made a sauce: 
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice 
3-4 tbsp white wine 
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt, to taste  
This is easily my favorite sauce for shrimp and pasta so I figured if anything could make me like spaghetti squash it would be that sauce and it worked!!! I made two servings, one is for my lunch tomorrow, and have another squash for dinner on my solo dinner nights next week. Ben isn’t a fan of spaghetti squash – which is totally fine because I’ve converted him to eating whole grain and complex carbs on the nights we eat together so I have a new dish that can be my thing. 

Tonight I’m headed to the gym for an elliptical workout and speed training on the treadmill. I was up later than usual last night (so I switched my CrossFit to tomorrow afternoon) because I was hanging with friends and the AWESOME members of eighth blackbird after their performance on campus. The concert was unreal, truly phenomenal music, and the musicians are super cool people. If you don’t know eighth blackbird, they are a chamber group that performs new music – and they’ve won 3 Grammys. If you want to check out some of their music they have partial recordings on their website or many of the recordings are on iTunes. My introduction to the group was through hearing Steve Reich’s Double Sextet which won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2009 and I’ve been a fan ever since. I encourage everyone to check them out and open their musical world a little bit! 

Mileage – 45 min elliptical intervals, 15 min speed training, abs, yoga 

QOD – After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music. 

How much does running REALLY cost? And how to save money running!

Last weekend was a crazy weekend so I didn’t really get to do what I wanted so I would have Sunday Grubday ready, so I’m just throwing my recipes at you guys throughout the week. This week’s meals include homemade chicken noodle soup, crockpot bourbon chicken, and spaghetti squash with shrimp. I have never tried spaghetti squash before so this will be an exciting experience. I’ll post that recipe tomorrow when I make it! 

I’ve been hanging onto this article for quite awhile and never got the chance to post it, but it’s an incredibly interesting article and opened my eyes to the costs of running – HERE. Most people start running because it’s cheap – when you start all you need is a pair of tennis shoes, shorts, and an old t-shirt. But for those of us who fall in love with running and consider it a serious hobby, the expenses start to add up.

As a relatively poor graduate student I’m always trying to keep my costs low, so far I probably come in even below these estimations because my running shoes, clothes, and gear are birthday or Christmas gifts from my parents, family, and friends. Running is something I love and my parents know that and support it. I don’t drink sports drinks – I drink Nuun after particularly hot or intense runs so that and a majority of tap water keeps my fluid costs low. I also don’t use running gels unless I’m training for a specific race and running longer than 7 or so miles. I’ve even limited the number of races I’ve entered because right now I’m just too poor. However, I try to save money by looking for the cheapest race with the lowest travel cost or I register super duper early when the race is cheapest. I would LOVE to use music and races as ways of seeing the world, so when the opportunities arise later in life I will definitely spend that money. Right now, I have to concentrate on paying my bills and feeding myself so I scoot in as an “under budget” runner, but I know I will join the ranks later on in life. 

I mean who doesn’t want to run in places like this:

How else do I save money running? I’ve learned the most expensive running gear isn’t always the best. While I absolutely love my Lululemon tops, I’ve never been able to get into their bottoms. I am addicted to Champion running skirts – from Target! Champion sports bras, running capris, and running skirts are some of my favorite articles of running clothing and they are inexpensive and high quality. I personally have found I only need 1 or 2 REALLY good pairs of socks. For anything less than 10 miles, as long as the length at the heel is appropriate, any sport sock will do. I buy them for dirt cheap in bulk packs. I joined the e-mail list and bought my ProCompression socks at 40% off and free shipping! A serious deal. Website lists, like this one on PopSugar Fitness, can also help you find great deals. I bought my gym bag on clearance at Target (go in mid February when all the “new year, new you” merchandise goes on clearance)! 

If you want to go all out and get fancyschmancy that totally awesome if you can afford it. But this cheap frugal grad student is all about saving money even when it comes to fitness – yes I splurge on CrossFit, but even then I signed the cheapest contract possible. I play a ridiculously expensive instrument and attend an expensive university – thank goodness the cost of living is pretty low here, even so I’ve started trying to master clean eating on a bare minimum budget. (Possible future blog post?!) Someday I will get to use the world as my treadmill and I cannot wait – but not yet, for now I have the local park. 

Mileage – Yoga, foam roller 

QOD – The world is your treadmill. 

Fitness Fridays!

Since I have Sunday Grubday with all of my recipes and foodie tips, I’ve decided to do fitness Fridays with fitness tips, photos, and links that I’ve been reading/collecting throughout the week to share with y’all! I’m excited about this because it gives me opportunities to post about things besides running, my usual topic. I’ve managed to get in a workout everyday this week, even with the surprise of snow yesterday afternoon (I didn’t pack clothes to run in the snow!) I went to the gym instead and knocked out a few miles of intervals on the treadmill dreadmill. Hopefully after we get back from our quick orchestra tour to Fort Worth tonight/tomorrow morning I can squeeze in a longer run before another concert tomorrow night! 

1) This hilarious and true article should be read by every runner! 27 Things Only Runners Know 

2) This workout – similar to a boot camp or 50 rep workout – is an awesome at home workout for the cold or in the park on a gorgeous day. Love it!  


3) An awesome shoulder opening and stretching sequence that I use in the practice room when I start to get too tight while practicing bass. I carry a lot of tension in my shoulders in my musical and everyday life so this sequence has been awesome! 
Shoulder Sequence 

4) And I definitely couldn’t resist sharing this – it is so true.  Image


Mileage – Rest day, yoga 

QOD – “Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning.” Thomas Jefferson

Sunday Grubday…on Monday (Whoops!) with a Recipe!

On Saturday, Ben and I had a little treat and I bought salmon fillets for dinner and cooked them in my absolute favorite way – FOIL PACKETS. These savory fillets are so good and I had to share! 

Salmon and Asparagus Packets!
2 salmon fillets 
1 lb asparagus 
1 lemon 
1 tbsp butter 
1 tsp Herbs de Provence 
2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil + extra for coating foil
2 tsp white wine 
2 tsp capers 
salt and black pepper to taste 
Aluminum Foil 

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and set out 3 foil sheets (approximately 1 sq foot each)
  2. Rub a little olive oil (or non-stick spray) on each of the sheets. 
  3. Place the salmon fillets on 2 of the sheets and the asparagus on the 3rd. 
  4. Drizzle the asparagus with 1 tsp of Olive Oil and season with salt and black pepper to taste. 
  5. Cut the lemon in half and two thin slices from the middle, squeeze the outer lemon parts over the salmon fillets. 
  6. Put 1/2 tbsp of butter on the center of each of the fillets and top with a slice of lemon.
  7. Top each of the salmon fillets with half each of the remaining ingredients (1 tsp white wine, 1/2 tsp Herbs de Provence, 1 tsp of capers) and then salt to taste. 
  8. Fold the 3 foil sheets up into packets. Make sure the sides are folded up and wrapped in so nothing drips in the oven. 
  9. Place all 3 packets on the center rack of the oven and cook the salmon for 15 minutes and the asparagus for 15 – 20 depending on the texture you prefer.  
If you’d like serve with bread, pasta, rice or some other starch, the sauce tastes amazing on anything! And I’d definitely recommend a glass of wine 😉 This is one of my favorite meals to make for a weekend night especially because it doesn’t dirty any dishes!!!
Two meals I made today were a delicious Tex-Mex ground turkey salad and an amazing soup from my Giada cookbook with ground turkey, kale, carrots, and brown rice. I CANNOT WAIT to try this tomorrow! It is my lunch everyday this week! 
Today was BRUTAL in CrossFit mostly because it was hot outside today… in January… and we ran. I don’t mind the running at all. We did a lot of shoulder to overhead or ground to overhead which always bothers my wrists. And in general it kicks my ass. My arms are the weakest part of my body and these days always crush me. I am doing some serious upper body stretching tonight because I have A LOT of bass playing to do tomorrow. 
Mileage – CrossFit, yoga 
QOD – You are what you eat. 

Yoga Recovery and Soup Sensations!

Yesterday at CrossFit we did a fair amount of heavy back squats, squat cleans, and rowing but there was one move that KILLED my legs, front rack lunges. We did 3 rounds of 14-20 front rack lunges, I only had 55lbs and it was a brutal welcome back to CrossFit. I knew it was going to be rough this morning so I stretched out and foam rolled a bit last night before bed, but that did not help as much as I hoped. It was brutal today, my quads, glutes, and hamstrings are seriously sore today. I guess I need to spend more time on lunges on my own, I’m a big fan of squats but I don’t always balance it out so this workout may have been a little bit of karma. I was going to run today, but figured I’d recover and I’ll run on my usual off day of Friday instead. This is how I felt after yesterday’s WOD coinciding with the first day of classes:

Last night I finally went grocery shopping and started my cooking for the week and let me tell you, this new tomato basil recipe that I decided to try is AMAZING. It is on GimmeSomeOven and it is…wow. I did not use the onions since I’m allergic and I STILL think it is fabulous. I definitely recommend seasoning with salt – but the flavors are just perfect. I would most definitely make a double or triple batch of this next time just to have some soup on hand. I can’t rave about it enough! Tonight is Ben’s first time trying the Spicy Korean Beef/Turkey which has already been taste tested by my family so it should go over well. I “splurged” a little bit and we’re having salmon on Saturday; being from the east coast Ben and I are both huge fans of seafood but good quality fish and shellfish can be hard to find/expensive in central Texas. Luckily the salmon fillets were on sale and it costs virtually nothing to give them amazing flavor – lemon, butter, capers, dash of white wine all bundled up in foil and BOOM! delicious salmon. 

This is the yoga video I use sometimes when recovering – HERE. The reason I like their page is because the videos are usually less than 30 minutes in length and they have yoga for all sorts of people and needs (even hangovers?). It’s great to do in addition too some of my other favorite yoga poses like pigeon or double pigeon which I will add on at the end. BUT SOON hopefully I could be taking yoga at the new yoga bar that is going in next to the CrossFit gym where I work out! 

Mileage – Yoga, foam roll 

QOD – No pain, no gain. 



Sunday Grubday! Clean Eating Recipe Links Galore!

Today I am meal planning for the next TWO weeks. Yes… two weeks. This semester is going to be insane and so to get myself ahead of the game and back into good habits I am meal planning way in advance and doing one large shopping trip. I’ll probably only have to run to the store to grab bananas and some lettuce. I am using 3 main sources to meal plan this time around and the goal is for everything to be CLEAN. 

Many of the recipes I post on here are clean; some are not, because I am also a huge lover of 3 ingredient/crockpot meals since I am indeed a poor grad student. So here is a quick overview of what clean eating is: 

I try to keep to this most of the time, however I am notorious for hoarding frozen vegetables which save me at the end of the semester when I have nothing but brown rice and frozen veggies in my freezer. My main source for clean eating recipes has always been The Gracious Pantry. I also have a Pintrest board full of clean eating recipes and for Christmas I received Giada de Laurentiis’s new book “Giada’s Feel Good Food” which has AMAZING recipes I cannot wait to try. Thankfully my boyfriend Ben is an amazing guinea pig and will try anything I cook for him which is great since we usually eat together 4 nights out of the week – most recipes don’t go up on the blog unless they are “Ben approved.”

This week I’ll be pulling out some old favorite because I already have most of the ingredients in my kitchen and they are quick or have limited hands on time. Some of the meals are:
– Breakfast Bread
Korean Beef (for this recipe I use lean ground turkey, I prefer less sweet so less than 1/4 cup brown sugar OR honey, and I serve it over brown rice and broccoli) 
Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas (to clean this up I mix up my own fajita seasoning and make corn tortillas myself!) 

Mileage – Rest, Foam Roll 

QOD – Food is the most abused anxiety drug, exercise is the most unused antidepressant. 




At Home Workouts!

So it’s been chilly freezing cold the past few days – in case you didn’t notice – and that seriously decreases most people’s workout motivation. I love running in the cold, but not 2 degrees cold. In all honesty I didn’t pack enough of my cold gear to withstand these temperatures. So I’ve been going to the gym with my mom when I can OR I’ve been cramming in my workouts at home.

On Saturday my family drove up to Philly to go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art so I didn’t have the time to go to the gym before we left. Instead I walked the dog early, did jumping jacks, and this quick but brutal CrossFit inspired workout:

Today, I don’t have a car and it is still less than 10 degrees outside, so I decided to try another CrossFit at home workout. This one I LOVE and it is a little more intense then the one above.

I love these kinds of workouts because I can do them in my apartment if it is too cold or too hot, or if I just don’t have the time for a full-blown workout or run but still want to get my heart rate going/work my muscles. I have a board of these workouts as well as some cool “One Song” workouts on my FITNESS pintrest board if you want to check them out! Workouts like the Feisty 50 and other body weight exercises are a great way to track progress too. Just time yourself doing the Feisty 50, keep up the hard work for a month, then do the Feisty 50 again in a month and see if your time has improved! 

Mileage – CrossFit Circuit, foam roller 

QOD – Nothing burns like the cold. 


2014 Goals! (Resolutions are so dramatic!)

I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions…for those of you that do them – GREAT! But since my world still revolves around school, I tend to look at the start of each new semester as an opportunity to revamp my habits. This semester I feel like I’m already going in strong, so I’m not changing too much – although I am considering getting a juicer (thoughts anyone?)! I’m actually probably going to meal plan my first 3 or 4 weeks of school before I even get on the plane back to Texas because I have a gig, mini tour, group recital, and 2 major concerts all within the first 2.5 weeks of classes and another extended tour in February. Oh, and I’m taking 2 more credits than last semester while preparing my thesis prospectus and 2nd recital. I just keep telling myself I’ll make it out alive. 

Despite all the craziness I do like to set goals to accomplish each year. Goals don’t necessitate immediate change, or even require changing really. They are just new things to reach for. I set both musical goals and fitness goals along with a few some financial goals too.  

My running goal for 2014 is to run: 

775 miles!

According to my Nike+ I ran 374 miles at an average distance of 3.5 miles and average pace of 10:18 in 2012. In 2013 I ran 563 miles at an average distance of 3.9 miles and average pace of 9:47. So I’m just aiming to continue the pattern and up my mileage to 775 miles with an average distance of 4.5 miles. My average pace goal is going to be probably 9:20, because my other goal is to run 3 half marathons and 2 full marathons (plus other races of course). I think my marathon pace will sit closer to a 9:40 (to sneak below 4:15:00) while I’d love to get my half marathon pace between 9:00 and 9:15 to get a sub 2:00:00 half time eventually! 

My non-running fitness goals mostly pertain to CrossFit. I’d like to be able to do 5 handstand push-ups. I have to re-evaluate some of the others, but that’s for certain. Currently I can only hold handstands (about 45 seconds – 1 minute) so I’d really like to be able to move towards the push-up part. Right now when I try I can barely bend my elbows, and when I do bend them, I usually lose my balance. 

My musical goals for this year are to perform 3 recitals; while two recitals are required for my Master’s, I’d like to give another recital in Maryland where more of my family and friends can see me perform since I haven’t performed on the east coast in almost 2 years. I also have a goal to be accepted to a minimum of 3 music festivals/camps for this summer and be able to finance attending them on my own (this is more difficult than it may seem because several I am auditioning for require flying to Europe).

I have a few other musical goals but sharing details of my bass playing/practicing is very difficult for me sometimes as I see it as a very sacred and personal relationship. I know that sounds weird but music is where I store, release, and experience many of my emotions and it can be hard to share those things with others – I’ve gotten better, but it is still very intimate for me. 

Do you have any goals?!
Of course I’ll recommend running a half or full marathon to anyone because those experiences changed my life – and I even have a few friends who are registered for their first half marathons this year already (you go girls!). And if you so choose to do that (everyone should HERE’S WHY) here are 2 great training resources: 

1) Hal Higdon Training Programs – HERE 
2) 16 week Marathon Training Program – HERE 

Everything in the article about 26.2 reasons to run a marathon is true. That experience changed my outlook on life and despite injuring myself in the race I wouldn’t have traded it for anything (plus it means my 2nd marathon and probably even my 3rd will most definitely be PRs haha!) 

Mileage – Treadmill interval workout, squat cycle, pull-up work, foam roller 

QOD – What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.