The Fit Life, LLC

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Sleep, Sweet Sleep


After pretty much a lifetime of insomnia problems (that just keep getting worse and worse), I finally broke down and went to a sleep doctor today. I'm not sure what I was expecting. I thought they would sign me up for one of those overnight stays at a sleep clinic--maybe give me some drugs (I'm typically not a fan of prescription drugs, but I'm getting a little desperate). I've tried every natural sleep remedy (Valerian Root, Melatonin, 5HTP, chamomile, lavender, cardamon and warm milk, meditations, sound machine), but sleep alludes me.

I assumed I'd get advice like:  Don't read on your tablet before bed; shut off the t.v. an hour before bed; cut back on your caffeine (I've tried switching to decaf before).

I didn't hear any of these things. I kind of wish I had.

The doctor said that I need to re-program my brain for sleep. And then listed how to go about doing that.


So first, I'd like to apologize ahead of time for the royal b*tch I'm going to be for the next six weeks (well, six weeks starting after the 4th. I have some special plans over the holiday weekend).

The doctor says there are two rules:

1. The bed is for two things, and two things only--sleep and sex. If I'm not doing one of those two things, I shouldn't be in the bed.

2. For the next six weeks I must go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning.

Easy huh?

Well, except that I have to go with my earliest morning since I can't very well sleep through my career. And my earliest morning is 4:30am.  So instead of counting the days until I get to sleep in, I will be setting my alarm (Saturdays and Sundays too) for 4:30am every morning. Based on the fact that I'm sleeping 3 1/2 - 5 1/2 hours a night right now, bedtime will be at 10:30pm (I typically head upstairs between 9pm and 9:30pm when I have to be up at 4:30am).

The thought is that right now I'm spending 8 hours in bed, but I'm only sleeping half of that. So, no more than six hours in bed so my body can learn to sleep during that six hours. Once I start sleeping well for six hours, I can increase my sleep in 15 minute increments.

No reading in bed (currently, I read in bed every night). And if I'm in bed and find I can't sleep, I'm to get up and go to another room to read, watch tv, etc. If I wake up during the night (which I currently do all the time) and can't go back to sleep, I'm to get up and go to another room to read or something. In four to six weeks, my body/brain should be cooperating. And bed should = sleep.

If it means that I will eventually be able to get a good night's sleep, it will be well worth it. Because there are times I am so sleep deprived I feel like I'm losing my mind. Plus, my cortisol levels are so out of whack, the lack of sleep is making it impossible to take on weight. At 45, I really don't need any extra hormone imbalances.

So join me as I embark on this sleep program (I guess a bonus is that I have something new to blog about!) And with bedtime being only 6 hours out of a 24 hour day, that's 18 hours to accomplish other things! (When I'm not in a grumpy, comatose state).

So stay tuned for more on my sleep journey!

"O sleep! O gentle sleep!Nature’s soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids downAnd steep my senses in forgetfulness?"-Henry IV, Part 2 (Act 3, Sc. i), Shakespeare




Monday, November 3, 2014

Recipe Post: Spaghetti Squash "Chicken" Enchiladas--Veganized!





This recipe was definitely a winner in our little household--even the ferret was checking it out (she didn't get any). But first, let me give credit to the two sites that inspired the dish (check out some of the other spaghetti squash ideas): http://greatist.com/eat/spaghetti-squash-recipes and http://www.closetcooking.com/2013/12/chicken-enchilada-stuffed-spaghetti.html?m=1.

I tend to get into a spaghetti squash rut. I bake it, throw some marinara on it, and call it a meal. I've gone creative a few times, but I needed some new ideas. There are some great ones on the above sites! I took the chicken enchilada one and customized it for us (mainly making it vegan). We don't use the fake meats a lot, but I just had to try this recipe--and it turned out really well!

1 large organic spaghetti squash
1 can of organic black beans
package of meatless chicken of your choice
big handful of organic spinach
1 jar of enchilada sauce (I used Trader Joe's. The closet cooking site above has a homemade recipe. The jar was just a time-saver for me).
Daiya's Havarti with jalapenos

Other than the cooking time for the spaghetti sauce, this is quick and easy.

Slice the spaghetti sauce horizontally so you have to nice squash boats (once you remove the seeds). Bake the squash for an hour at 350 degrees.

Thaw the "chicken" strips. Drain and rinse the black beans. Cut up the big handful of spinach (removing the big stems). I also chopped up the "chicken" strips so they were a bit smaller. Put them in a mixing bowl. Pour in the enchilada sauce, and mix it all up.

Once the squash has finished cooking, fill the boats with the enchilada mixture.
(At this point, I had to head out for about 45 minutes. So, I turned the oven off, but left the stuffed squash in the oven while I was gone so that the mixture would get warm. Otherwise, I would simply stuff the squash, and put them back in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes until the mixture is heated).

Turn the oven to broil, and sprinkle pieces of Daiya cheese on the top. Broil until the cheese is nice and melted.

Enjoy! I have plenty left-over for another meal (Mark does not).



Sunday, October 12, 2014

Some big changes for The Fit Life, LLC

Some big changes are being unveiled at The Fit Life, LLC this week!

First, is a new website. I no longer have the website that looks like it was put together in the early 90's by someone who has had one web design class (ummm...like I have...back in the early 90s). It's simple, but clean. And I believe all the information you need is there. The payment page is still in progress, but will be up-to-date very soon. I may continue to expand on it, but for now, it covers what I need. Please, check it out. (Let me know if you see any spelling or grammatical boo boos. I've been staring at it for too long). 

If you've ever wondered why I do what I do...what got me there, read the "About" page.

Some other changes...

Dog Fit!

You'll notice that Dog Fit! is no longer on my site. While I do still have a handful of doggy clients, I will no longer be promoting Dog Fit! as part of my business. I love my little canine clients, but between the hours I'm putting in at the Rec. Center, my personal training clients, and a host of other things (cost of gas), I just can't take on anymore canine clients at this time. 

And to be quite honest, with this career, my entire day is physical. By Friday, I'm simply physically exhausted. And since my hobbies are also very physical, it's starting to lead to injuries. So I need to watch how much more physical stuff I take on (for awhile, I was putting in about 8 miles a day of running/walking with canine clients. It was just too much). 


As a fitness professional, I have been approached by pretty much every supplement company out there to sell supplements: Advocare, Body by Vi, Beachbody, Amway, etc. And I have held strong to my conviction that I do not want to sell supplements. I just think if you want a nutritious shake, you should throw some organic fruits and vegetables in the blender...maybe a pure hemp protein without additives. If it has ingredients I don't recognize, I don't want it in my body. Plus, many contain sucralose (Splenda) which makes me violently ill. I just don't trust it. Others contain dairy--which I try to keep to a minimum in my life. Otherwise, talk to your doctor/nutritionist/hormone specialist about what you might need. 

Essential oils, on the other hand, are something I use on a daily basis to live a more natural life--free from harmful chemicals. I use them in making beauty products, cleaning products, for health and wellness. So I believe being a DoTerra rep. is a good fit for me. 

You will see, if you go to my DoTerra page, they do sell some supplements/vitamins/etc. And while you are certainly more than welcome to purchase them from my site, I won't be specializing in those things. I will focus my education on the oils (and that's what I will most likely have samples of if you wish to try them). 

What I Will and Won't Do as a DoTerra Rep

I will openly admit, I'm not a good salesperson. I hate high pressure sales tactics being used on me. They cause me to walk away and never come back. And I'll admit, when a friends post are constantly about selling products, programs, etc., I tend to hide them. So here's what you can expect from me with the essential oils.

I will not:

  • Have parties where I ask you to come over and check out my products (and then you feel obligated to buy them).
  • Constantly post stuff on The Fit Life, LLC page about buying my products
  • Try to talk you into selling oils
I will:

  • Continue to post recipes and wellness tips using essential oils (I do this already)
  • Provide you with a sample of something (if I have it on hand) if you are interested in trying it.
  • Let you know if there is a sale or something (but just through one short post). 
  • Be happy to research oils if there's something you want to know about one of them. 
  • Make time to meet with you if you would like to discuss or try something.
There's a lot to learn with the oils (even a certification course if I decide to take it), so I may have to do some research before answering your questions.

Of course, I hope this brings in a little extra income (who doesn't want extra income?), but the income is not worth becoming an obnoxious salesperson. 

So that's it for now. Please check out the new site. Let me know what you think of it!




Sunday, September 21, 2014

Do you smell something???

Since both my hobbies and my career are very active, I often find myself sweaty several times a day. Too many times to actually grab a shower--I'd be averaging 6 or 7 showers a day! That's not good for the skin or the environment!

But, I don't want to be all gross and stinky around my clients and friends (although my canine clients don't seem to care). So, I've developed my own, natural body wipes. I can scent them myself--because sometimes you just don't want to smell like a baby's bottom! Plus, I know exactly what's in these (those who have read my previous blogs know I go all natural whenever possible).

I keep these in the car so that I have them whenever I need. They are also great for those outback camping trips that have no plumbing.

I use the gallon-sized freezer storage bags (If I could think of an alternative to plastic that wouldn't leak, I'd use it. I'm open to suggestions if anybody has one). You can fit quite a few paper towels in them.

I put about a 1/2 cup of water in the bag, and a table spoon of white vinegar (enough to kill germs and bacteria, but not enough to make you smell like sauerkraut all day). I add just a drop or two of tea tree oil (not only does it have a strong smell, but you don't want to put it directly on the skin undiluted--unless maybe right on a pimple!). Why tea tree oil? Like the vinegar it kills bacteria (which is what makes us stinky), it's also good to combat allergens, cuts, scrapes, bites, etc. Then I add a few drops of my favorite essential oil for scent. I usually go with lavender because it's also good for the skin and anti-bacterial. Sometimes I add a little eucalyptus because I love the smell and it perks me up a bit. There are some great essential oil blends out there. Be careful with citrus oils. They can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. And be careful with the minty oils if you'll be cleaning the girlie parts!

Once my bag is ready, I just add high quality paper towels (the cheap ones will fall apart). As many as you want to put in there. Before I use the paper-towel,  I will wring it out so it's not all drippy. If I'm just using it to quickly wipe off my face and neck, I'll put it back in the bag when I'm finished. With the antibacterials in there, it will be fine. If I'm using it on other parts (arm-pits and more personal areas) I will throw it out.

It's nice to be able to freshen up between classes and clients. Or, after a race when there are festivities to attend.







Wednesday, July 9, 2014

An Instructor's Roll: Why Aren't YOU Doing This?



I'm feeling the need to address a comment I received while teaching class this morning. I don't mean for this to be a rant (even though I am a little irritated), it's meant more as an explanation.

This morning I was subbing a TRX class for another instructor. It's always a little awkward when you sub for somebody else because people get accustomed to certain instructors and tend to not like change. And all instructors teach a little differently. Even in choreographed classes like Body Pump or Zumba, each instructor's personality is bound to come out.

Class was going fine, and then after one particular move a patron (in a very snippy way) says, "Could you show me that move again? I'm not use to an instructor who does a few reps then quits!" I smiled, and showed her the move again. I then explained that at 12 classes in a week, it is not really possible for me to do every class with the patrons.

What I didn't explain is that that is not my job. My job is to show you how to do the exercise properly and safely, and then watch your form to make sure you are getting a good, injury-free workout. It's emphasized over and over again when we take continuing education classes--you are not in the class to get your workout in--you are in the class to help the patrons get their workout in.

The fact that this career is a physical one rather than a sedentary desk job is a bonus (Usually. Over-exercise and cortisone levels are a topic for a completely different blog). But I'm not there to workout with you--anymore than an English teacher is there to write the paper he/she assigned to the student. I'm glad that I burn calories while I work, but I then schedule my own workouts--that are geared towards my goals (i.e. running speed, endurance adventure races, upper body strength, etc.).

Sometimes I do jump in, for instance, in a boot camp class when we're doing partner drills and there are an uneven number of people. I'm happy to do so. But if I did every class I teach, not only would I not be able to pay attention to your form, I would be far too tired to do my own workout and reach my own goals (sometimes it's still a slippery slope).


So when my patrons ask me, "Why aren't you doing this?" when I'm teaching a boot camp. Or, "What gear are you riding in?" when I'm teaching cycling, I try to just laugh it off and change the subject--because I'm probably not working as hard as you. I'm watching your form, timing intervals, and trying to keep you engaged in your workout. I'll do my workout later.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Recipe Post: Vegan Faux Fredo with Kale/Walnut Pesto

You know I typically stick to simple, but delicious recipes because I don't like taking a lot of time to cook. But sometimes, when I have some extra time, I really enjoy tackling a higher maintenance recipe. Tonight was one of those nights. This is decadent, but still healthy! You will need a food processor and a high speed blender (or at least one of these--washing it out between uses). It is vegan and gluten-free.

I stole the original recipe from Healthy Recipe Ecstasy. So give that blog a read when you have some time. I'm posting the original recipe below, along with the changes I made (in red) to please our diets/palettes. It's always fun to add your own twist to recipes!

INGREDIENTS
  • KALE PESTO:
  • 3 cups kale (fresh with tough stems removed or frozen)
  • ¼ cup raw walnuts (I could not find raw walnuts, so I used regular walnuts from the bakery section)
  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil (I had some infused olive oils on hand so I did 2 parts regular olive oil and one part hot red pepper infused olive oil to give it a little kick).
  • 1/4 cup of Nutritional Yeast
  • Coarse salt & black pepper to taste
  • PASTA ALFREDO:
  • ¼ cup vegan margarine (I used 1/4 cup unrefined, organic coconut oil). 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups canned white beans, rinsed and drained (Three cans of organic White Northern Beans)
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened soy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • Coarse salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound whole wheat penne pasta (I used my Mung Bean Pasta "go to" for this. See picture below). 
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving (I skipped using any extra oil).
INSTRUCTIONS
KALE PESTO:
  1. Transfer the kale, walnuts and garlic to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream and process to a coarse purée.
PASTA ALFREDO:


  1. Cook pasta according to package. Drain and keep warm, retaining one tablespoon pasta water.(I didn't bother with the tablespoon of water).
  2. In a large sauté pan over low heat, melt the margarine. Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Transfer the margarine mixture to a blender or food processor, and add the white beans, vegetable broth, soy milk and pasta water. Blend until completely smooth.
  4. Pour the sauce back into the pan over low heat, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the sauce is warm.
  5. Add the sauce to the pasta, and mix until all the noodles are covered in sauce. Divide pasta among 4 bowls. Top each bowl with 2-3 tablespoons kale pesto and some olive oil.
  6. NOTE: At first, it may seem like you have too much sauce for the pasta, but the noodles quickly soak up all that sauce. To reheat leftovers, I like to slowly warm the pasta on the stove and add ¼ cup broth to help loosen up the sauce.
Look how creamy the white bean sauce is. It looks like we splurged on heavy cream, but this recipe gets rid of all of that unhealthy dairy.
Here's my pasta "go to" these days. It's packed with protein and fiber--and it's gluten/wheat free!



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Recipe Post: Cauliflower and Cashew Fritters

I think this is my new favorite recipe! Healthy and delicious--and not too difficult. You do need a decent blender and a food processor.

This recipe came from Vegetarian Times. I will tell you the spots where I tweaked it to my liking.



Cauliflower-Cashew Fritters with Red Pepper Cashew Cream Sauce

Serves 6
30 minutes or fewer
Ground cashews help hold together these oven-baked cauliflower fritters.
Fritters
  • 2 cups 1-inch cauliflower florets
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup roasted and salted cashews (I used low-salt cashews from Trader Joe's)
  • ½ cup Italian parsley leaves
  • ¼ cup diced red bell pepper (I've done it with both red and green peppers--either work)
  • 2 Tbs. corn flour (I didn't have corn flour, so I used garbanzo/fava bean flour)
  • 1 Tbs. capers (I did not put capers in it, and they still tasted great)
  • 1½ tsp. seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay
Sauce
  • 1½ cups Cashew Cream. (I tend to just wing it on my cashew cream sauce. I soak my raw cashews (Trader Joe's) for at least a few hours. Drain them. Rinse them. Then I just toss them in the Vitamix with some unsweetened almond milk until I like the thickness). 
  • ½ cup jarred roasted red pepper, rinsed, drained, and diced ( I used more--close to a full jar)
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. capers, rinsed and drained (Again, I didn't use capers)
I also added some red pepper flakes to the sauce because I like it to have a little kick. The first time I made it I also added a garlic clove. This time I did not. I liked it both ways). 
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper, and spray with cooking spray.
2. To make Fritters: Combine all ingredients in food processor, and pulse until ingredients are well-combined and no large chunks remain.
3. Use 1-oz. scoop or 2-Tbs. coffee measurer to portion Fritters onto prepared baking sheet. Lightly press down on each Fritter to flatten. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, flip with spatula, and bake 3 to 5 minutes more, or until browned on both sides.
4. To make Sauce: blend all ingredients in blender until smooth.
If you just can't get into the fritters, you must at least try the sauce! It's so delicious! I used some leftover sauce over Mung Bean pasta. It was fantastic!




About Me

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I am the owner of The Fit Life, LLC. The Fit Life, LLC offers fitness instruction and nutrition counseling in a holistic way. I focus on personal training using mainly your own body strength--very little equipment. I also hold a certification in holistic nutrition. Because nutrition counseling regulations are very strict in Ohio, I'm still working on what nutrition services I can provide to my clients; however, I'm happy to provide general nutrition information. I enjoy teaching TRX, Indoor Cycling, and Boot Camps.

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