Friday, March 30, 2012

Can you tell I'm trying to prepare myself mentally?

Race day is Sunday and today is the day where I'm doubting everything. Is that normal?

I'm doubting my ability. I'm completely doubting the condition I'm in - whatever that is now! Man, these shin splints completely threw me off mentally.

I have been drinking water all day. And drinking coffee. Counterproductive, I know. So I've been adding even MORE water. I'm cutting out dairy tomorrow too. I am not risking any messy business during my run if you catch my drift.

Dear self: relax. Each race will be a lesson and a preparation for the next one. 

Tomorrow I will post my pre-race rituals. Then Sunday is D-Day.

What are your pre-race rituals? What stretches do you "make sure" and incorporate before a run?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mental Fuel For My Next Race

A little less than a year ago I ran my first "race". Granted, it was literally a 2 mile run followed by a 1 mile single filed, mud filled obstacle course. Is that even still a race? I'll never forget how much fun I had at that event.
I literally was chin deep in muddy water at some points! I kept sinking into the mud so it was hard for me to walk.  I had to get pulled up a few times by people. Thank you, kind strangers.

And my first half marathon, the Tinkerbell Half Marathon
I know its bad quality, that's what I get for being a cheap-o
 and not wanting to spend $35 to download a picture of myeself.
I had so much fun that entire weekend.
The middle miles of 5-8 were such a struggle for me. 
Mentally I was frustrated "why did I sign up for this torture?" "I have nothing left in the tank" "I am only HALF WAY done"

My body was also angry at me.
I hadn't properly trained. I had to stop to use the bathroom at mile 6. I didn't know when the heck to eat my energy gels.

Miles 9-13 I told myself don't stop. I kept saying, "you'll be more mad at yourself for stopping than you will if you throw up at the finish line"

As cheeseball as this is going to sound, I almost cried at mile 12 because I was so insanely proud of myself for picking up the pace the last 4 miles.

I also look back on these pictures from about a year and a half ago.
They motivate me to keep my diet in line.
They remind me of how hard I worked. My lower body has always been the hardest for me to not only slim down and tone up, but to accept for what it is. I will always have hips. I was born with a butt.
I hope to look back at this in moments of weakness to remind myself that:
1. I can do anything I stick my mind to.
2. The more you practice something, the easier it gets
3. Run your heart out on Sunday. Do it for no one but yourself

Clean Eating Sample Menu

I've gotten a bunch of e-mails about people stuck in a rut with their clean diets or from those who still aren't sure what to eat. Here's a list of ideas to hopefully get you started or changing up your "daily usuals" a little bit!

Also remember to keep in mind: the best way to implement clean eating is to mess with recipes yourself in the kitchen. There are so many ways to tweak recipes to your preferences and ways to mix them up! You can also pick food items you like and think, "how can I make a clean version of this?" You usually can! Or at least make a clean-er version.

Breakfast Ideas
  • Scrambled egg whites
  • Overnight oats
  • Oatmeal
  • Clean Egg "McMuffin"
  • Non-fat Greek yogurt with berries
  • Steel-cut oats with berries
  • Grape fruit
  • Protein Pancakes (tons of varieties to make)
  • Veggie omelet (tons of options here! Mushrooms, bell pepper, spinach, etc.)
  • Protein Shake
Lunch and Dinner Ideas
  • Turkey burger patties with seasoning (love adding Mrs. Dash Original Blend!)
  • Brown rice with veggies
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Oat flour crusted veggie pizza
  • Steamed fresh spinach with seasoning
  • Steamed mixed veggies
  • Salsa Chicken Bowl
  • Fit Girl Salad (I don't take credit for creating this salad by any means, but it's a fav of mine and I eat it all the time: baby greens, organic broccoli shreds, carrot shreds, peperoncinis, bell pepper, olives, lentils, provolone cheese, shredded turkey and a lemon citrus dressing or sometimes I go sans dressing since there are so many flavors in the salad already!)
  • Turkey Chili
  • Protein Pancakes (have 'breakfast' for lunch or dinner!)
  • Almonds
  • Cottage Cheese (opt. add cinnamon/nutmeg for a little variety)
  • Greek yogurt
  • Homemade Protein Bars (I love Jaime Eason's protein bars)
  • Berries
  • Fruits
  • Salsa and Veggies
  • Hummus and Veggies

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cottage Cheese and Still No Running

Still no running. I'm super bumming it but I know that if I want to be in the least pain possible on Sunday I need to rest up. Fortunately, its only in one shin now.

I know what you're wondering. What is one snack food I should definitely add to my diet?
Non-fat cottage cheese is your answer!
After I snapped this pic and put away the cottage cheese I realized that the label is backwards. Fail on my part. So to save you from thinking too hard I'll make it easier for you:

Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Calories: 80
Fat: 0 g.
Carbs: 5 g.
Protein: 14 g.

This is exactly why I love non-fat cottage cheese so much (besides the fact that its cheese and who doesn't love cheese?). FOURTEEN grams of protein! WIN. It's Low cal (for you low-cal fans) Low carb (for you low carb fans) and High protein (for people like me who love fat losing and that full feeling without the bloat!)

Not exactly a cottage cheese fan.... yet? Try adding cinnamon to it! Some people like mashing berries in it. Whatever you do, you can always make it your own. Or do it like me and just eat it straight from the carton.

Keepin' it classy.

How do you feel about cottage cheese?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Target Victory and Mini Quick and Dirty About Belly Fat

Well the shin splints are still there. I chatted with a Road Runner worker about it and walked out of the store with this guy:

I had honestly never heard of KT Tape before but I was willing to give it a shot. There isn't much I wouldn't do right now to get rid of these stupid things.

Like all life changing decisions, I had to consult my cat about it. 
She and I will get back to you on KT Tape. She's very insightful.

In other news, I walked into Target today planning on buying ONE thing only and I walked out of there with only ONE thing. 
My ONE thing.

I consider this a huge victory! Target usually gets me with 3...4...8 trillion things but not this time, Target! Nice try! 
Danielle: 1 Target: every other time

I've been getting lots of questions lately about belly fat lately or "love handles". 

Belly fat is typically from excess sugar in your diet. What counts as sugar? Carbohydrates and alcohol (think beer belly for example.) Diet will have a much more profound impact on ridding belly fat than exercise. It's a bummer, but its the truth.

Here's Danielle's Mini 5 Quick and Dirty about getting rid of belly fat:
  1. Look for ways you can cut down on the sugar in your every day diet. 
  2. Drink water to get rid of bloat.
  3. Watch salt intake - it makes you retain water.
  4. Also watch sugar alcohols in food - they can also make you bloat and upset your stomach.
  5. READ labels. Don't just eat something because its "low-cal"Look at the ratio of carb vs. fat vs. protein. 
That should get you moving in the right direction. If you have any questions, as always, feel free to e-mail me at danielle[at] fitgirldaily [dot] com Now, for the real quick and dirty question....

Can you walk out of Target with just ONE thing?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Jalapeño Turkey BurgerTaco

I was planning on making a jalapeño burger. But I have yet to master the art of burger cooking just cooking in general.

Look how nice my jalapeño burger was going to be?

Then it turned out like this. 
I improvised like a real cook and made it into jalapeño turkey tacos with salsa.

In the land of Danielle, you can never go wrong with jalapeño anything. For real. I still am a little disappointed that every single time I want to make a burger, I end up making it into tacos. Maybe one day I'll man up.

My complicated recipe: 
  • Handful of lean ground turkey
  • 12-ish cut cup jalapeños
  • 2 Organic corn tortillas
  • Low-sodium salsa
Now I'm off to THE happiest place on earth aka my local running store to stock up on Gu's for my race and to ask employees about 1.6 billion questions about running. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Why I Hate The Mall

I had every intention of getting up at 6:30 this morning and going for my first run since this road block. To my dismay it was raining cats and dogs out here in southern cali.

As much fun as it would be to bring out my inner child and run in the rain, I didn't want to risk the injury. Plus, I don't think my body is fully recovered yet. Hurry up, please.

So...what's a girl to do? I went shopping instead.

The mall, typical girl move. 
This was by far the biggest mistake I made all day.

I think these shin splints got to my head because I must have forgotten that this was a Sunday at the only mall in the area. It was insanely crowded and I got attacked by nearly every salesman. In particular, a makeup saleswoman.

Salesmen must know I'm weak. I swear, they spot me from across the room. I can never walk passed without being stopped. What gives world? I listen to their worthwhile dumb sales gimmick and their fake flattery lies. I always listen. I don't know why. I guess I just feel bad, cause its like, their job... right? 

BUT, just cause I listen doesn't mean that I buy! 

The saleswoman today slyly stopped me with asking if I'd just take her flyer. I took it politely. I also saw a trash can up ahead. I walked away, thought I'd dodged the bullet. And then she called me back "oh wait I forgot to write my name on it!" I retract my statement from earlier: this was the biggest mistake I made all day. Before I knew it, I was sitting in her chair getting half my face gooped up with makeup. 

After I found out that I already wear all the wrong makeup (apparently every product I've ever used is horrible for my skin according to her) and am crazy for not having an eye shadow that can also be used as lip gloss (man, they know how to make a girl feel special don't they?) I walked away with all of my money, 10 minutes of my life wasted, and half my face covered in their products. *Note I said half: not like top to bottom, nope, left to right.

I bolted through the rest of the mall and found a mirror in my safe haven, Target. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. It was weird getting only half my face done though.

Can you tell which side the professional did and what side the amateur did? 

Note to self:
  1. Never talk to salesmen with chairs. You will end up sitting.
  2. Never go to the mall on the weekend. It's just plain stupid.
  3. You are only comfortable in Target or stores where you can buy athletic clothing.

Side note of worthwhile advice

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Setting Realistic Expectations

Before you jump into a lifestyle makeover for you (and possibly your family) its very important to make sure you have realistic expectations for yourself. You can't expect 6-pack abs over night. Lasting change takes time and persistence.
I challenge you to journal (or at least reflect on) your thoughts on the following questions:

  • What are you NOT willing to give up from your diet?
    • Let's just be honest: there might be some things you aren't ready to give up yet. You may not even know these things until you start thinking about it! Maybe its your morning cup of coffee with creamer or your weekly pizza and movie date with your boyfriend. You have to be real with yourself. Think about what those things mean to you and why you aren't ready to let go. Are you willing to find alternatives?
  • How much time are you willing to make for exercise? (Duration and number of workouts per week)
    • This is a biggie! I understand that your busy. I understand that you get tired. If this matters to you, you will make time. Set realistic time frames for your workouts. You do not need to be at the gym for hours on end to get great results. Quick workouts at home are possible and do work
  • What exercise do you hate or find boring?
    • Don't run just because you think you have to run to lose weight. You don't. Select workouts you know you will enjoy so that it's more likely you'll actually do them. Planning and doing are two different things. We want to give ourselves the best odds at completing both.
  • Do you prefer to workout at the gym or at home? In groups or alone?
    • Some people feed off of a gym atmosphere or group classes while others prefer to put on some headphones and workout in the zone. Either way, you must figure out what will make you enjoy working out. Maybe a mix of both?
  • What are your goals?
    • Setting goals for yourself are important but so is understanding how to achieve those goals. Different goals (fat loss, muscle gain, endurance training, flexibility improvement, strength training, etc.) all require different routes.
    • Once you've written your goals, read over 'what you're NOT willing to give up'. Is it realistic to get from point A to point B? Write HOW you plan on getting to your goals.

Lastly, you have to research and learn. That takes time and effort. If you don't understand something, ask someone who does know. Read books and articles for yourself. No one said this process was easy but I'll tell you that it can be done and no one has ever said it wasn't worth it.

Friday, March 23, 2012

My Dying Endurance

I am dying without working out or running. Dying. Shin splints you need to leave now because I can't take this - I'm stir crazy with only a little over a week before my race. I feel like I'm going to lose all of the endurance I've built up.
This is exactly how I feel.

Since I'm too paranoid to try anything right now while I still have these shin splints I thought I'd read up on endurance and think about how mine is quickly dying.

"Craig Beesley, a beginning runner, extended his longest run from 30 seconds to nearly 3 hours. " (source) That inspires me. The process of getting from virtually no endurance to running for 3+ hours amazes me. From reading an article about endurance on I finally see that there is no "one size fits all" method to improving endurance. We are all so different so it makes sense that each body may not respond the same. Runner's World recommends to try these 7 different methods for improving endurance:
  • Plan 1: Take one step at a time 
    • "What you should do: Whatever your present endurance conditioning, build it slow but steady. We like a program that adds 1 mile a week to your weekend long run, for example: 5 miles, 6 miles, 7 miles. Every 4th week, reduce mileage by skipping the long run. Rest and recover. The next week, start building again, 1 mile at a time: 8 miles, 9 miles, etc."
  • Plan 2: Run Yassos 800s
    • "With the Yasso system, you run 800-meter repeats on a track in the same minutes/seconds as your hours/minutes goal time for a marathon. (So if you're looking to run 4:30, do your 800s in 4 minutes and 30 seconds.) 
    • What you should do: Run Yasso 800s once a week. Start with just four or five of them at your appropriate pace, then add one a week until you
  • Plan 3: Run long and slow
    • "What you should do: Do most of your runs at 80 percent of the speed you could race the same distance. So, if you can race 10 miles at 7:30 pace, you should do your 10-mile training runs at 9:23. To convert a race pace to an 80-percent training pace, multiply the race pace by 1.25; for more details, visit Finke's Web site: To find a wide range of your equivalent race times, go to, and click on "race time calculator" under the calculators section. "
  • Plan 4: Make every workout count
    • "The 3-day training week. Pierce follows the usual advice to alternate hard days with easy days, but he takes it to the extreme. He runs only hard days--3 of them a week. On the other 4 days, he doesn't run at all, though he lifts weights several times a week, and also enjoys a fast game of tennis. In stripping his training program to its essence, Pierce runs each of his three workouts at a specific target pace and distance. One is a long run, one is a tempo run, and one is a speed workout. "I run at a higher intensity than some others recommend, but I have found that this program has worked well for me for many years," says Pierce. "It reduces the risk of injuries, improves long-term adherence, and still lets me enjoy the gratification that comes with intense efforts."
    • "What you should do: Pierce does interval training on Tuesdays, tempo training on Thursdays, and a long run on Sundays. For interval repeats, he runs 12 x 400 meters or 6 x 800 meters at slightly faster than his 5-K race pace. On tempo days, he runs 4 miles at a pace that's 10 to 20 seconds per mile slower than 10-K race pace. On Sundays, he runs 15 miles at a pace that's 30 seconds per mile slower than his marathon race pace. You can easily adapt these workouts to your own 5-K, 10-K, and marathon race paces."
  • Plan 5: Do Plyometrics
    • "What you should do: You could always train with your local high school football team while they work out with the rope ladder. But if that's too intimidating, here's a simple alternative: Instead of running strides at the end of several easy runs a week, do a "fast-feet" drill. Run just 15 to 20 yards with the shortest, quickest stride you can manage. You don't have to lift your knees high; just lift them fast, and move forward a few inches with each stride. Pump your arms vigorously as well. Rest, then repeat six to eight times. Once or twice a week, you can also do 5 minutes of single-leg hops, two-legged bounding, and high-knee skipping, all on a soft surface such as grass or packed dirt."
  • Plan 6: Run Longer Tempo Runs
    • "What you should do: Do a tempo run once a week for 8 weeks. Start with a 20-minute tempo run at 10 to 20 seconds per mile slower than 10-K race pace, and add 5 minutes to your tempo run every week. Be sure to take 1 or 2 easy days before and after tempo days."
  • Plan 7: Run Long and Fast
    • "What you should do: On your long runs, pick up the pace for the last 25 percent of the distance. Gradually accelerate to your marathon goal pace, or even your tempo-run pace. You don't have to attack your long run the way Khannouchi does, and you shouldn't collapse when you finish. But you should run hard enough at the end to accustom your body to the late-race fatigue of the marathon."

How do you work on and build your endurance?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fat Loss Tips For Women From Jill Coleman

This is exactly why I love Jill Coleman and the entire Metabolic Effect philosophy. Make sure you checkout her website! I am thinking about doing a giveaway for the Metabolic Effect book so get used to hearing lots of ME philosophies! Grab a fat loss friendly snack and take the time to watch this 20 minute video. You won't regret it!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Clean Treats

Alright so now that you're a clean eater you will never taste a morsel of a delicious, so-bad-you'd-want-to-cry desserts ever again right? Wrong! These recipes are so good you'd assume they were dirty!  These aren't my recipes, but instead, a collection I've gathered for you to try!

Recipe Credit: Jill Coleman at 
Yes, I said glaze. Bet you never thought you'd hear the words cake, glaze and clean all in the same sentence. Jill is seriously one of my idols. Look at that, I talk like we're on a first name basis. (She has no idea who I am)

Recipe credit: Little b at Little b's Healthy Habits
These taste amazing! I do mine sans the peanut butter though. She has tons of other great recipes too like an amazing Lemon Raspberry Protein Loaf so make sure you check out her blog!

These have to be one of my favorite things ever. An entire pint is only 150 calories! Don't believe me? Check out their nutrition information. I buy these at my local Ralphs. I've tried Mint Chocolate Cookie and Coffee. Both were amazing!

Recipe Credit: Natalie Hodson
I have yet to try this dessert but these sound really good and I've only heard great things! I love easy treats that I don't have to do much with. I'm not a huge kitchen girl, so the less prep the better! I always love finding guilt-less treats I can eat before bed too!

Recipe Credit: Jamie Eason at
Don't these just look so unclean you wouldn't even want to be in the same room as this dessert? Jamie is one of my huge inspirations! She has so many great recipes. I also adore the fact that she's only 5'2 and has made it as a fitness model. I'm 5'2. BFF? It could happen...

Alright, so there's 5 treats to get you started! Feel better now that you can still enjoy some treats?
PS. I just noticed that the majority of these are chocolate inspired. I think you can see where my taste buds wander to ;)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Workout - 5.03 mile run/walk/jog 50 minutes

Shin splints. I've never had them in my life and today, less than two weeks before my next race, they decide to enter my life. Great.

I was so mad because my lungs, breathing and rest of my body felt great! I felt strong and was actually enjoying it. (Yes, eventually running does get fun at some point after you get over the first few months of feeling like you have black lung.) My shins were aching and felt weak the whole time though, it was weird. Lately my calfs have just been feeling weak in general. I'm not quite sure why?

Anyway, I plan on icing, heating, stretching and resting. You can also bet your butt that I finally bit the bullet and bought shin compression sleeves from Pro Compression. They're selling them 50% off right now so that was pretty enticing too. I've heard they help a ton, so we'll see. You can expect a review on these guys soon.

I bought them in shade Marathon Baby Blue.

I also decided I need to just bite the bullet and buy some nice running socks. My pinky toes are getting major blisters.

All of this happening within 2 weeks of my race. Cool.

I think I'll go sulk over some Arctic Zero ice cream, coffee flavor.

Have you ever had any experiences with compression gear? 

Diet Proof Read

One of my readers sent me this summary of her diet for a day. (I have her permission to share this with you, of course!) I show this to you in hopes that you may find similar dietary habits and learn how to fix them. I am not a fan of giving someone a complete diet makeover without meeting them in the middle. I do this to give them a better chance at lasting change and to teach them how to clean up their diet no matter what circumstances they run into!

"Breakfast -1-2 bowls of cereal (usually Raisin Brand or Chex), Orange Juice, sometimes I'll eat fruit too. I'll usually have coffee 1-2 cups throughout the morning with whole milk and sugar."
The problem with this breakfast is the huge insulin bomb you're sending your body. Insulin bomb ---> fat storage. I see lots of carbs and very little protein. The protein in your whole milk probably isn't enough to negate the insulin spike. The reason we like protein paired with carbs is because it lessens the damage from the high carbs. As a rule of thumb, if you're ever going to eat high carb, pair it with protein. Also, although OJ is a great source of vitamin C (and tastes dang good) I'd rather see you eat an orange! Eating actual fruits are less calories with way more vitamins and minerals than the fruit juice. Win-win in my book.
Simple Suggestions - If you're going to eat cereal, choose one with the least amount of additives, lower carbs, low sugar and pair it with non-fat milk. If you need to sweeten it, use stevia, truvia or xylitol. 
Simple Alternatives - Scrambled eggs, Protein Pancakes, Oatmeal, Fruit and non-fat yogurt

"Lunch - I'm usually in my car running around during lunch time so unfortunately I end up doing the fast food run. I'll usually get a burger, fries, and a coke or something."
This is such a common problem and probably my favorite to talk about! Why? 1: Because I've been there, life is busy, I completely understand. And 2: I think it is not doing anyone any good to tell them there is no hope at fast food. We're living in a society where fast food is a part of many people's daily lives - we cannot expect them to ditch it altogether over night. That's a whole 'nother blog post, essay, novel I could write. YOU HAVE TO MEET PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE AT. When you're at fast food burger joint try and get your burger lettuce wrapped.  If they don't offer it, chuck that bread as soon as it gets in your car and make the wrap yourself. I know it ain't pretty, but it'll get you through! You're saving yourself a couple hundred calories and lots of carbs. If that doesn't fill you up, get 2 lettuce wraps! I've been there, I've done that.
Simple Suggestions - Try to get lettuce wraps of your favorite burgers. Hold the mayo. Ditch the fries and get 2 lettuce wraps instead. Have iced-tea or water to drink.
Simple Alternatives - Lettuce wraps, chicken tenders, grilled chicken sandwiches (sans the bun of course)

"Dinner - Dinner I try to cook at home. I'm not a huge fan of cooking, so I try to do what is simple and easy like pasta, hamburger helper, baked potatoes, 
I feel you girl, I am so not a cook. I spent as little time in the kitchen as I can. The problem with these dinners is again, high carbs with little to no protein. To improve this I'd suggest crock pot dinners, baking veggies with Mrs. Dash seasonings, and maybe try and make your carb a side dish instead of the main dish. I'm a huge fan of crock pot meals because I don't really have to do much! I just throw in some chicken with seasoning and when its done you could make your own chicken tacos, chicken salad or just plain eat the chicken alone!
Simple Suggestions - Instead of pasta, try Miracle Noodles or spaghetti squash. Crock pot dinners that you prep in the morning and don't look at it again until dinner such as salsa chicken, turkey chili, etc.
Simple Alternatives - Baked fish, crock pot chicken, spaghetti squash, turkey burgers

"Late night - While I'm watching tv with the kids at night we'll usually have ice cream or some cookies. Nothing too big"
Late night snacks are not necessarily horrible if you choose the right foods. People like having a snack with their weekly favorite shows. (The Voice, anyone?) Late at night I want to see protein or low carbs. Remember, we don't want that insulin spike especially late at night. Instead of eating fattening ice cream check out Arctic Zone ice cream. I think the main ingredient is water or something. It's super low in calories! A whole pint is 150 calories! Heaven sent, right? Alternatively for a warm treat cut up some apples and microwave them with cinnamon. Tastes like crust-less, guilt-free, apple pie!
Simple Suggestions - Make your late night snacks some sort of protein or make sure its low in carbs.
Simple Alternatives - Arctic Zone ice cream, Protein Pudding, Warmed fruit with cinnamon or alternative sweetener, Metabolic Effect cocoa drink

Do you see any similarities with your diet? I have another diet that I will proof read for your guys soon! The next diet is from someone further in their clean eating journey but isn't seeing the results she wants. Remember, if you're not seeing the results you want we most likely need to clean up your diet a little! Little adjustments can lead to big change! I'm not an advocate for a perfectly clean diet for everyone, because not everyone is trying to have a "perfect" body. I just always want to help people get a clean-er diet! If you would like your diet proof read please e-mail it to me at "attn: Proof Read My Diet!" Please include if you give me permission to anonymously post your review on FitGirlDaily.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Music Monday #1

How many of you run into the problem of getting in a "music rut" with your ipod? I know I do! Every Monday I plan on putting together a workout mix to give you some ideas to spruce up your workout playlists! I'll try and mix it up as much as I can, but I have to admit, I am biased towards the "pop-y" stuff! Feel free to share some of your workout songs too :)

  1. Stronger - Kelly Clarkson
  2. Young And Beautiful - Carrie Underwood
  3. Hung Up - Madonna
  4. Supermassive Black Hole - Muse
  5. Ride Wit Me - Nelly
  6. Hella Good - No Doubt
  7. This Town - O.A.R.
  8. Together Again - Janet Jackson
  9. Dangerous - Akon
  10. Better Off Alone - Alice Deejay
Be sure to check them out on Youtube or Itunes! :)

Image source

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Funday, Not So Much

Well at last I had today off from work. I've been working the past 10 days straight, yuck! Don't get me wrong, I love my job (I'm surrounded by coffee how could I not love it?) but its nice to have a day off to regroup and relax a little. So much for my spring break from school though! Oh well, I shouldn't complain because I do have a job, enjoy my job and gotta feed that workout clothes addiction somehow!

I had planned all week to get up early this morning (about 6:30AM) and do a "practice race day". I was going to set out my workout clothes the night before, eat a Clif Bar in the morning and off I'd go on a 12 mile run.

Yeah that didn't happen. Mainly because yesterday my boyfriend offered to take me out to breakfast to our favorite local breakfast house! We hadn't been in forever and their veggie omelet is to die for! Clearly the moment he asked my mind had been made up.

 I had a pesto veggie omelet and coffee. Both were amazing. I should have taken a pic but I was so stinkin' hungry I downed it.

So then I get home and 'decide to run'. I would love to  tell you how great my run was today, how I had a PR, but that'd be a straight out lie.
This is how I felt about running before I took off.
 And that is exactly how my run ended up. 
(Clearly I had no care about my appearance today. I'm so glad I take myself seriously.)

I don't know about you, but I cannot stand to run when its windy. It dries out my contacts and I feel as though at any moment I could just blow right over. I started running against the wind and finished mile one around 7:57 then it just went downhill from there. My nose was running faster than my feet were. So it turned out to be a 1 mile run and an 8 mile nature walk.

Although I'm bummed I didn't get any major miles in (running wise) I think my body needed a break and I had some divine intervention to kick up the wind speed to barrel me over! Or maybe it was God telling me next time I walk outside the house to take a little more care in my appearance. I walked, listened to music and enjoyed my coffee. Tomorrow I'm back on running though and back to school too. Bittersweet.

The Roadmap For Success: Part 1

So you're new to the "clean eating" lifestyle? So you have no idea where to start? So you're feeling overwhelmed and think clean eating just means boring salads and vegetables? It's not just about eating like a rabbit. In fact, its far from it! Here are my tips of mental steps you need to understand to be able to move to a more fat-loss friendly lifestyle! In part 2 I will discuss these in a more practical approach.

  1. Diet Dictates The Majority Of Your Progress. Your diet is going to dictate the majority of your success at body change. You could do very little to no exercise and still lose weight and improve your body shape and release toxins that are stuck in your fat cells (aka cellulite!). At the same time, you could workout like a champ and not lose any weight because of a dirty diet. This trap sound familiar? I know I'm guilty as charged.
  2. Don't Change Everything At Once! Its overwhelming enough to wrap your mind around changing just a few things in your life, don't make it any harder by trying to be perfect. Start by implementing positive behaviors to increase the likelihood of them developing into habit. For example, if you always stop at Coffee Bean in the morning before work (like this Fit Girl right here hah!) instead of getting a blended mocha, get a cup of coffee with half-n-half and no-cal sweetener! Or if you always have a late night snack, change it to something fat-loss friendly like some cinnamon cottage cheese or protein pudding instead of those darn girl scout cookies. Don't take away all of the habits you've already established in one fell swoop. Make sense?
  3. Start To Understand Fat Loss vs Weight Loss. They are NOT the same. It is SO MUCH MORE than counting calories. You need to understand what are fat-loss friendly foods are and what are not. "Low-cal" does not equal fat loss. If you're getting smaller but you're body shape is not changing you're probably not losing fat, just weight. I love Metabolic Effect's saying "a healthy diet is not always a fat loss diet, but a fat loss diet is always a healthy diet." They also continually talks about avoiding the weight loss game. You know exactly what I'm talking about: the yo-yo weight gain/loss! 
  4. Its Mostly Mental. Do not let food control you. Do not let that piece of chocolate cake sitting on the table defeat you. Realize that it is a piece of food, it can't talk, and its feelings will not get hurt if you decide to pass on it. At the same time, do not drive yourself nuts obsessing over food. You need food to live. It's about developing a healthy relationship with food and treats. It may start out with you having to take more 'extreme measures' like throwing away your bun right away, but over time it WILL get easier. You WILL gain the mental strength to have bread on the table without even touching it.
  5. You Don't Need To Justify Anything I think we fall into the trap of justifying our eating habits. "I deserve that cheesecake after my long day at work." "I'll start eating better tomorrow" " How much longer are you going to justify these things to yourself on a daily basis? You have to mentally take control. Nobody said this part was easy, but it does get easier over time which is why I stress point number 2: don't change everything at all once!
  6. Come Up With Go-To Tactics. Through some trial and error you will begin to find fat-loss friendly and clean foods you like and those that you don't. Don't force some kale down your throat just because its good for you. Start with veggies you know you like. Play with spices. Drink more water. Plan ahead healthier snacks. You'll also begin to learn ways to incorporate more fat-loss friendly foods to your growing list of clean foods you like. For example, you could start adding frozen spinach to a protein shake. It's a great way to add some greens without the "green" taste! Here are some of my go to tactics: click here!
  7. Understand How to Eat Fat-Loss Friendly Anywhere Life happens. You can't ALWAYS prepare your own food but you can learn the 'survival tactics' to keep the damage to a minimum.  You have to learn to navigate a menu. Don't be afraid to customize an order. "Hold the croutons" "Sauce on the side" etc. 
  8. Take heed, it gets easier. You may not believe me now, but its true. You will start to figure out fat-loss foods you like. Your taste buds will adapt and you will begin to like maybe even crave those healthier foods!  Once you see results, you will be even more mentally prepared and motivated to clean up your diet even more! It's a learning process and you can do it.
One you get your mental game face on its so much easier to understand what practical steps you can take. In part 2 I will discuss some specific examples and lots more ideas of how to incorporate better habits day to day.

Do you have any ideas for those new to the clean eating/fat loss lifestyle? What has worked for you? What hasn't?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Jumpin' Jumpin'

Anyone still have their holiday gift cards? No? Just me I guess. I'm that girl who pays with her Santa Claus gift cards in March. In all of my busyness the past few days I managed to make it over to my local sports store and purchase a few necessities toys.

Stretch Bands!
I've never tried this brand, but I'm hoping its no different from any other bands I've used before. I love love love stretching my hamstrings with these guys! I swear, I could sit and stretch with these for hours (which may or may not be why my biochemistry homework is not done yet....)

And a neon jumprope!
That's right guys, jumping rope is no longer "kids only!" Have you ever incorporated jumping rope into your workout? It's a darn good workout! I think its great to add to any workout since its something that most people don't already do plus its quick and reallllly gets your heart rate up. A typical jump rope workout doesn't take too much time either. I do 30 seconds jumping as fast as I can then 10 seconds rest. I'll do that 5-6 times. For the most advanced jumper, you can vary up how you're jumping (backwards, one-leg, high knees, etc.) to intensify and further mix up your workout.

Here's some info on the benefits of jumping rope from

"Calorie Goals

How much you jump will also depend on how many calories you want to burn. If you want to burn only 100 or 200 calories a day, then you should jump at a comfortably hard pace for 10 minutes. If you wish to burn up to 350 calories per day, then jump rope at a challenging pace for 20 minutes. If you want to burn a large amount of calories, more than 500, then jump at a fast pace for at least 40 minutes. Performing an hour of jumping at a challenging pace will burn up to 750 calories. However, jumping for that long is very difficult and should only be attempted by well-seasoned athletes.

Cardiovascular Goals

Jumping rope is an aerobic activity and will improve cardiovascular performance as well as endurance. Aerobic exercises have little or no rest alloted during the activity. To improve your cardiovascular performance and efficiency, you should perform short bursts of high-intensity jumping as well as long steady jumping. The short bursts will require more oxygen and therefore increase the amount of oxygen you can take in during a single breath, also called VO2 max. On the other hand, performing long steady jumping will improve how efficiently your body delivers oxygen to your muscles.

Endurance/Power Goals

Jumping rope can build both endurance and power. To focus on increasing endurance, you should jump for long periods of time at a steady pace. You should jump rope for at least 20 minutes a day, unless you are a beginner, in that case 10 minutes of jumping per day will suffice. For power, jump rope as fast as you can, in short bursts that last only 30 seconds to a minute. Rest for one to two minutes in between intervals. If you are a beginner, do this for only five minutes. If you are intermediate, do it for at most 15 minutes. Athletes or advanced persons should do this exercise for at most 30 minutes."
Want to find out more? Click here!

Today my workout plan is:
Jump rope as fast as I can for 30 seconds, a balls-to-the-walls 10 second sprint, then 20 second rest and repeat 10 times.
No intense running today, I'm saving my long run for tomorrow! Hopefully going 10-11 miles. Fingers crossed. 2 Weeks out from my half marathon, the count down is on and I'm determined to do well!!! :)

Anyone ever incorporate jump ropes into your workouts? Do you have any other less than ordinary methods for exercise that you use?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Why Get Fit?

When we make any big move in life its always important to consider our reasoning behind it. Why should I get married? Why should I go to college? Why should I be fit? The best part about these questions is that the answers for each of us are so unique. Some people might say their reason to "get fit" is to be healthier and thats great! But, I challenge you to dig a little deeper. Really reach into yourself and figure out why you want it. Why will it be worth it? What will you gain from it? Here are some of my reasons:
  1. I want to challenge myself. I want to push my mind and my body to toward higher expectations. It may be because I was a competitive athlete for most of my life, but for me there is nothing greater than seeing your hard work pay off. I played softball, soccer and volleyball for many years but I just started running about 8 months ago to push myself. Running is so individual and SO MENTAL. If I have a bad run, no one to blame but myself. To me, its the ultimate challenge!
  2. To teach myself discipline. In my opinion, discipline is not about being perfect, but about teaching yourself to be balanced. If there's a bowl of chips at a party, I want to take my little handful and move on. I do NOT want to let a piece of food control me. Nor do I want to beat myself up with "failure" if I have a few chips. 
  3. To work with "where I'm at" and keep moving forward, not back. To make lasting change we know that we have to take small steps in the right direction, not leaps. You have to give yourself a break and meet yourself where you're at depending on your already established habits, lifestyle, etc. For me one of those is with food. I've never been the type to "forget to eat" I'm the type who looks forward to her next meal! I am going to work with that mindset  and plan ahead healthy, fat-loss friendly meals. Sometimes I feel like I'm constantly eating but its OKAY because its with the right foods. Initially I wouldn't change too much on the timing of when I eat at first because like I said above, lasting change is from baby steps forward. You cannot change everything at once and expect it to last for most people. It's a transition in life style, not a diet.
  4. Rid my dependency on food. I want to eat to live, not live to eat. Food should NOT have control over me. "No Danielle, that chocolate cake will NOT make your lousy day better." We always seem to justify our behavior don't you think? "I deserve that chocolate cake" ....right? Wrong. There is nothing wrong with treats but to use them as "rewards" is not something I want to make a habit of.
  5. To be strong. I want to be a strong woman both mentally and physically. I like running long distance because its a way for me to let go of stress, listen to some great music, and mentally push myself to not give up. When we become mentally strong, we are unstoppable! I want to be physically strong to improve my physique, gain confidence in my body and to improve my overall health for the future!
Well, those are some of my reasons for "becoming fit"! I think our reasons may change as we get older, but the underlying principle is always the same: to change ourselves for the better! What are your reasons for getting fit?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Review: Coffee Bean Customer Service

This is not a coffee review, but a review of Coffee Bean's customer service. To me this is just as, if not more important than serving a quality cup of joe!

A few weeks ago I e-mailed Coffee Bean telling them that I've been having trouble with their cups. They would start leaking from the sides after only getting to my car with the cup! Here's the picture I sent them:
I go to Coffee Bean or local coffee shops almost daily, sometimes twice a day (as every addict does.... oh wait, just me?) and when I'm spending that kind of money on coffee I plan on being able to enjoy it! So needless to say I was getting really frustrated as my cups kept getting similar to the above picture after only having them maybe five minutes or so! Sometimes I didn't have time to get out of my car and go back inside all for a new cup. And to be quite honest, I don't think I should have to!

Anyway, I e-mailed them this picture just letting them know that this had been happening to me quite frequently with their small size cups. Truthfully, I didn't expect a response. I mean, they're a large chain so I figured they had bigger fish to fry than responding to a little e-mail like mine.

To my surprise I got a response the next day! A woman e-mailed me back, apologized for the inconvenience, said she'd like to treat me to a few cups of coffee and even offered to send me one of those cool Coffee Bean tumblers. You know, the kind that legit coffee drinkers use. She also ensured me that she would be showing my picture to the paper company they use.

Now, I know they have to "be nice" and helpful and "care" about my little "coffee cup" issues and its just an e-mail... Let's be real, who knows what she really thought of me but her e-mail truly made me feel appreciated as a customer and that's what matters most. I did not e-mail them expecting a gift, or even a response really, I was just voicing my concern about their cups. I loved their coffee, I just hated it leaking all over my car!

Fast forward to today... my insulated Coffee Bean tumbler arrived and a $10 gift card! 
Thank you Coffee Bean for appreciating my business and making me feel like my voice matters. I greatly appreciate your prompt response and your generous gift! I will continue to support your business and my addiction! ;)

Have you ever sent an e-mail to a larger company to voice a concern/complaint/compliment? Did they respond?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rest Day and Lots of Coffee

Workout - Rest Day

Today I gave my body a rest from working out after that 10 mile run yesterday but even though it was a "rest day" I was still running around all day long! Drove out to UCSB in the morning to talk to an academic advisor then had a hair appointment to get my hair done then drive to TO to return some over priced shoes! That basically summed up the entire boring part of my day.

After all that, Eric came over after he got off work. We planned on going for a walk to dinner and coffee but it was too cold so we ended up driving. hah! We got some chicken, rice and beans then headed over to the mother ship Coffee Bean.

I got a chai tea since I already had 2 cups of coffee today. So good.
Eric never gets anything because he's a baby and doesn't like tea or coffee. Poor guy is dating the caffeine queen. But anyway, we I love chatting over coffee or tea. We call these our "coffee chit-chats." We talked a lot about his day at work, my possibility of returning to UCSB.... you know, the typical stuff. Then we started talking about running. Fav topic of mine of course. Eric also signed up for a half marathon and I'm so proud of him for it! He's more a sprinter type, so I think this is a huge challenge for him. Which then made me wonder, do you prefer long 'easy' runs or short, hard I-might-possibly-blow-chunks sprints?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Goal: To always improve my time

I did it! 10.05 miles in 1:36:17. Definitely happy with where I'm at since I'm 3 weeks out from my race. I've been better about my running by getting out there 3x a week on average. I know I'm not the fastest runner, nor will I ever be, but my goal is to just improve my time every race. I'm learning first hand that there is NO replacement for consistent work. To improve, you have to work at it so I strive to pick away seconds, minutes, etc. off my time.

So after I pumped out those 10 miles I recovered with my favorite chocolate banana protein shake then hurried my way to work. More walking/standing on my feet for 6 hours. Needless to say, these puppies are aching right now!

Tomorrow I'm off to get my hair done and meet with a counselor about possibly going BACK to UCSB to finish out my degree out there. Definitely mixed feelings about this move, but I didn't want to rule anything out until after I met with a counselor.

Finishing off my night by cleaning and chowing down on some non-fat greek yogurt with strawberries!
What are you snacking on this evening?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Working Working Working

These last few days I've been nonstop working then coming home and crashing. To keep myself accountable and honest, my Friday morning run sucked. Legitimately sucked. I only ran like, 2.6 miles and called it quits. My music couldn't even save me! I was NOT feeling it.... clearly I realize I'm training for a half marathon, right? 

                                              NOT 2.6, not even close to 2.6 miles!
However, I have better hope for today's run. I will run, walk, crawl my way 10 miles even if it kills me.

IN BETTER NEWS... NIKE has all of their Nike Free Run + 2 on sale! So so tempting I'm in love with mine....
What shoes do you working/run in?

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Here's the cold, hard truth: NOBODY IS PERFECT! (Harsh reality, right?) You WILL have a weak moment. You WILL be caught in a craving frenzy. You WILL not feel like working out.

If you never have any of those, congratulations, you're super human!

But, if you're normal human like me, you'll have some troubling moments. What I like to do instead of throwing in the towel is to be prepared best as I can. My "go-to's" may not ALWAYS work (I may give in to the hot fudge sundae once in a while!) and that's okay, because as long as they help me stay on track most of the time, I consider them worthwhile.

This method is especially helpful for the newbies to clean eating! One of the best ways to keep yourself on track when implementing anything new in your life is to have your "go-to's"
Here are mine for staying on track:
  1. Tea
    • This is my almost nightly go-to. I drink tea almost every night. No calories (awesome) tastes great (even more awesome) and it keeps my mouth preoccupied instead of mindless eating. And there are a ton of flavors to choose from.
  2. Berries
    • If my mind is craving something sweet before I reach for the cookie jar, I try and go for a bowl of berries first. The great thing about berries is that they are totally low calorie, sweet, and are pretty versatile. Sometimes I'll add them to frozen non-fat greek yogurt (YUM!), blended up in a almond milk protein shake, or just scoop a bunch in a bowl and eat away
  3. Set out my gym clothes the night before
    • I won't even JUST set them out, I'll put them on the floor by my front door the night before. That way in the morning I can't miss them!
  4. Metabolic Effect Cocoa Drink
  5. Have Snacks READY AT ALL TIMES with 'clean' dipping sauces
    • Okay, so you're tired after your long day at work. I get it. Have veggies pre-cut along with some yummy red bell pepper hummus to snack on while you make dinner instead of crackers. Keep those hands busy on small low calorie, guilt-free, snacks that you like.
    • Keep a bag of almonds on the counter.
    • Home made protein bars
    • Berries!
  6. Have Snacks/Foods you LIKE
    • Don't buy something "just because its healthy". If you've never liked brussel sprouts or kale your whole life don't expect your taste buds to magically change over night. Sometimes these things take time for your taste buds! Add a few more mild things here and there. I use a variety of salt-free Mrs. Dash spices on most of my newly introduced veggies.
  7. Reward yourself for consistency 
    • No, not with food obviously! Sometimes I'll 'make a deal' with myself that if I stick to my clean eating for 4 weeks, I'll buy myself a cute workout shirt. 
Any tricks you use to keep yourself on track?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Quick Fix for that Late Night Sweet Tooth!

The Metabolic Effect (ME) inspired cocoa drink has saved me from my horrible late night sweet tooth! I'm usually not a huge sweets person, but at night oh my gosh, sometimes all I want to do relax with something sweet like a mocha (also hits my coffee-loving-tooth as well!) and watch FRIENDS.

The cocoa drink is so simple! Know that its more important that you stick with the main ingredients then you can figure out your own measurements to taste. Here's what to do!


  1. Heat 8-10oz of water. 
  2. Mix the following ingredients well:
    • 1-2 TBSP Unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder
    • No calorie sweetener (I use Xylitol) Keep adding until its the perfect sweetness for you
    • Almond milk (optional) Sometimes I'll add a splash of almond milk. You can add it warmed up or just cold from your fridge.

Just a heads up, if you're not used to dark chocolate or don't enjoy a little "bitter" taste, I'd definitely start out adding a little more almond milk. Also, I've added these ingredients to black coffee and its delicious! The key to this drink (in my opinion) is to really make it your own. Also, the best thing about the ME cocoa drink is that you can drink it over ice or hot and it hits the sweet tooth perfectly! There's no reason to feel guilty, unsweetened organic dark chocolate is actually very good for you!
Let me know what you think :)

Here's a link to the ME Blog. They're awesome! Click here!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My Choice of Sweetener

When I bite into a delicious looking high protein blueberry muffin I hate that dreaded "after taste" of artificial sweetener. YUCK! I cannot stand Stevia or Truva. If you can, bless you!

I headed over to Lassen's the other day and picked up some Xylitol. I swear, I could spent HOURS looking at all of the cool health products offered there. Much of it is too expensive for me (college kid budget here!) but luckily it doesn't cost me to look ;)

I am all about Xylitol now! I made some raspberry lemon protein bars the other day and all I tasted was "sweet"! No weird after taste and I felt great about using it. Here's why I choose Xylitol over all other sweeteners:
  1. No weird after taste (obviously my highest priority!)
  2. Our body actually produces xylitol itself so I'm not putting something in that my body has never been exposed to before.
  3. You may have heard of this word "xylitol" before because it's in sugar-free gum! It prevents bacteria from sticking to teeth therefore it indirectly helps fight cavities. Bye bye plaque!
  4. Research has shown that xylitol helps "build immunity, protect against chronic disease and has anti-aging benefits." 
  5. "While Xylitol is just as sweet as table sugar (sucrose), it has about 40% fewer calories and 75% fewer carbohydrates." Another one of my priorities!
Sounds pretty sweet to me! No pun intended ;) Have you ever used xylitol? Any recipes you'd like to try with xylitol? What sweetener do you use?

For even more benefits of Xylitol explained check out this website!
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