Total Fitness Wednesday #8: Can't Live Without Workout Gear

If you read two posts ago, you know that when I get fixated on a workout gear that works for me, I would go far and beyond to get it.  It is amazing how my "clothing shopping sprees" are mostly for workout clothes.  But then again, when I am not working I am at the gym.  So in the spirit of my love and addiction for all things "gym clothes", I am also joining these ladies to cure the case of #NOtivation!


We all have our favorite workout pieces that are a must.  Do you have any ?  These are mine.  

1. GEL TRI-NOOSA 6.  This is my FAVORITE running shoe even though I have to admit that how I came to acquire them was not the best way to pick a running shoe: because of their bold flashy colors.  Yeap, I did that and luckily for me, they fit awesomely and are my favorite shoe to run, especially when I loved in the South where it is so bloody hot!  These are the only shoes that I have worn until there is almost nothing left on the sole.  That's how you know you love a shoe!   I also have a pair of the Noosa 8, which I really like but not as much as the Noosa 6.  You can read the Noosa 8 review here.

2. SAUCONY KINVARA 3.  I was a little late getting into the whole "flex" trend mostly because I did not think I had the proper foot pronation for a show with less support.  But after many, many injuries, I decided to give it a try and love it much as the Noosa 6.  When it comes to this shoe one word comes to mind: EFFICIENT and that is something we all strive for, especially on long runs. It is comfortable and stable enough for my slight overpronation. 

3. NIKE VARSITY GYM BAG.  I have had this bag for years and will not change it.  It is the perfect size for the gym without being bulky.  Plus I love, love, love the hot pink color.  Its pretty funny when I go to the gym right after work wearing my Army ACUs and carrying this pink bag.  I always get the weird stares.

4. UNDER ARMOUR TWISTY TANK.  So, I actually wrote a post about this tank top and how far I went to get a replacement when I lost the one I bought.  Thank you Cyclones Nation at Iowa State for helping me find a replacement!  Go Cyclones! :-) This is THE most comfortable workout tank top ever!

5. ATHLETA BETTONA BOYFRIEND PANT.  Last year I went to an Athleta store with my niece and found these pants.  I had been looking for a comfortable pair of cargo style pants and while I was not sure of these in the hanger, I was sold when I tried them on.  These plants are super flattering and super comfortable.  Ad honestly, they make my butt look great! Haha!  Even the boyfriend complements me on these when I wear them.  I wear them so much that I got two more pairs.

6. NIKE RUNNING SHORTS.  Need I say more?  Cute comfortable and the perfect cut for females.

7. CHAMPION FOR TARGET SPORTS BRA.  Love these because they are not crazy expensive, they are cute but most importantly they are very supportive and so comfortable that I wear them all the time. 

8. GARMIN FORERUNNER GPS.  When I run I want to know three things- my pace, distance and time elapsed.  I'm a simple kind of girl, so too much info on a watch throws me off.  And this watch gives me exactly that: simplicity. Super easy to use and very good at tracking your runs, this one is a winner in my book.  Read my review here.

9. CROSSFIT GLOVES.  After this debacle doing Helen, I knew I needed to get me some gloves.


These are comfortable and with a good grip.  More importantly they help with that "my skin is ripping off my hands!" feeling.  

And there you have it, my favorite-- which often help me with my motivation, believe it or not. Now tell me, how are you working towards your Total Fitness?

Total Fitness Wednesday #7: Are You Made of Steel?

Last week I watched the new Superman movie Man of Steel, and really enjoyed it.  It was your typical action pack flick but what I really enjoyed was Superman.  Let me tell you, this man gives Christopher Reeves a run for his movie as Superman (and I never thought I'd say this).  He is RIPPED!  I kept paying attention to the plot (I promise I did!) but kept thinking "Wow, he is in great shape!".  And he was. 

How Far Will You Go for Your Favorite Workout Tank! Welcome to Cyclone Nation!

I know the subject line probably has you scratching your head but I promise there is a method to my madness.  This weekend I met with my boyfriend at his alma mater, Iowa State University, and honestly, I did not know what to expect.  Let me be honest, when I think of Iowa, the first thing I always thought was "corn fields" and I was not wrong.   But there is so much more to this beautiful state that it would take a few posts to describe it. 

Total Fitness Wednesday #6: Herb Waffles with Creamed Spinach & Poached Eggs

It has been a while since I posted a recipe that while it is nutritious, I posted it more because it was damn good!  And this one is!  I am not one to always eat pancakes or waffles-- even though I have a waffle machine-- but once in a while I get the craving for good warm waffles.  However, this weekend my craving was for savory waffles.  Never mind that I have never had savory waffles.  I just knew I wanted some.  Now, if you've been reading this blog for a little while, you know I am not one for much sauces.  I like my food clean and simple, and so I figured I am not the only person who has ever thought of a savory version of this comfort food. 


Actually, I lied above.  I know why I was craving these babies.  I watched Sarah Moulton's  food show on PBS and I just knew I had to have them.  Ok, so on to the recipe.  The building block of this recipe is the savory herb waffles.  No matter your herb preferences, the final taste is up to you. 


This is the recipe I used adapted from Sara's:

2 tablespoons ghee
¾ cup all-purpose unbleached flour
¼ cup whole flax meal
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
¼ teaspoon table salt
½ teaspoon sugar
1 cup 2% milk
1 large egg

Preheat the waffle iron.  In a small saucepan warm the ghee over moderate heat until it is melted.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, flax meal, baking powder, salt and sugar.  In another bowl, whisk together the milk and egg to blend thoroughly. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix with a whisk, whisking just until the ingredients are combined.  Stir in the browned butter.

Lightly oil or spray the grids of your iron. Spoon out ¾ cup batter (or the amount recommended by your waffler’s manufacturer) onto the hot iron. Using a rubber spatula, smooth the batter to within ¼-inch of the edge. Close the lid and bake until browned and crisp. Serves the waffles right away or keep them warm in a preheated 200F oven until you are ready to serve them.

Then comes step two: the creamed spinach.  For this I stayed clear from the heavy cream and used instead Greek yogurt to give the spinach the creaminess I was looking for (and I also added a few mozzarella curds I had sitting in my refrigerator) without the calories punch of the heavy cream. 


2 cups of spinach
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 garlic cloves
1-2 cups Greek yogurt
Piment d'espelete sea salt (if you cannot find this delicate pepper salt combo, use normal salt and pepper)


Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and sauté the garlic until slightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the spinach and continue to cook until spinach is wilted and heated through, about 4-5 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low, add the plain yogurt to the spinach mixture and combine until the yogurt is heated, about 3 minutes.  The season with piment d'espelete. 

To assemble, place waffles on a warm plate, ladle some of the spinach over it and top with a poached egg.

This is one combination of flavors that is delicious!  I personally love a runny yolk which combined with the creamed spinach creates a luxurious sauce that will make you roll your eyes in delight!  If you need comfort food, go with this!  Let's be honest, sometimes we all want some comfort food so why not make this healthier version reminiscent of eggs Benedict that is sure to cure that craving.  If you want to make I extra fancy for a brunch, add a glass of bubbly (or mimosa) on the side for a festive touch.  Yes, total fitness is more than exercising and working out.  It is also about resting and sometimes indulging a little bit if only on cheat days.  So, give this a try!  I promise you will love it!

To Run or Not To Run? That Is the Question.

Yesterday was a major bummed day for me.  It was the follow up appointment with my podiatrist reference to 1) my fallen arch which is now better thanks to a great insert, and 2) the Morton's neuroma in my left foot.  Not sure if you remember this post about being diagnosed with that 4-5 weeks ago.  I got an insert to help keep the tendons in an "open position" so the scar tissue does not pinch the nerve, which causes my last two toes to feel numb all the time.  Even worse, when I run the pinching becomes so bad that well... I have to stop running.  I have not put in any good mileage in about 6 weeks.  And it stinks!

But anyhow, we to see the doc and he does not want to do surgery yet.  Instead he started me on a 3-4 round injection treatment-- a nerve blocker-- which is injected directly into the site.  And let me tell you: that injection HURTS with capital letters.  I believe the expletive "mother******" came out of my mouth.  Hey!  He only said I would feel a little sting, not that my foot would feel like someone was pocking it with a bright red hot bayonet!  It was a thick syrupy consistency evil liquid that went into my foot. 

Oh yes, you can tell how thrilled I was to be there and having a stranger mess with my feet; that creeps me out! But this is the face when he told me the really sucky news.  Also, excuse the in your face pics of my foot but I wanted you to get the full effect! :-)

Still, after all this pain (yes, I'm whining massively here) and I asked the question I was dreading asking: "Will I be able to run the marathon in October?" and I knew before he told me that the answer was no.  I asked him to be very honest based on what is going on and all the feet problems I have had the past few years training for a marathon, and he was very honest as only a fellow runner would be.  According to him some people are built to run long distances and unfortunately I am not one of them.  I am 6'1" but I am not the skinny wiry type.  Hello!  I'm Puerto Rican!  And let's just say there is some junk in the trunk!   He did say if I want to run I should focus on shorter distances.  I think my eyes got watery (but I blame the injection for that... you know, making me emotional). 

So with my motivation bubble fully burst, which has taken some beating lately, I left.  By this point my whole foot was asleep and I was able walk on it for about two hours without feeling any pain.  So I'm thinking this day is really crappy.  No, it was about to get crappier.  Something kept telling me to go home and check on the pup.  The hospital is 3 minutes from where I work (I love living in an Army base!) so I went home and when I walked in the house was pretty toasty and the A/C was doing anything.

No noises.

No air coming out.

Not working AT ALL!  Did I mention yesterday was the hottest day we have had here?  It was 101 degrees.  

My poor pup was panting like she was about to have a heat stroke (inside the house was quickly approaching 81. Luckily maintenance came and made the diagnosis: the motor in the A/C unit blew up.  Rest in peace little one... you gave me plenty of cold air since I moved here.  But luckily they keep those in stock.  Even luckier, I have a full basement that was very cold, so I moved the pup there until the A/C was fixed which took about two hours. 

By then the "nerve blocker" was starting to wear off and the weird "neuroma associated numbness/pain when I walk" was back but on top of that now it hurt more because of soreness where the injection went.  But I refused to let the bad day get the best of me, so I went to the gym (which was more like limping at this point) and killed my shoulders and arms.  The next morning I woke up and the site of the injection was in full blown pain.  It took about an hour but finally the pain started subsiding and it felt  better to walk.  Now, I have this decision to make do I keep on training for the Twin Cities Marathon or do I thrown in the towel in this goal of mine to do a marathon and just concentrate on shorter distances.  I would like to know what you guys think, because I do love running and this is just a big ol' of a bummer.  

An Early Total Fitness Wednesdays: Have You Met Helen?

Or what I now call the "hand destroyer".  Holy molly!  This was interesting!  As I try to get back into my fitness groove, I am back at Crossfit and also my normal gym (sorry, I just love it too much!).  I really want to get into Crossfit more and on Friday my WOD was Helen.  This was my first WOD by myself.  I normally attend a Crossfit conditioning class but my coach is more into Olympic weighlifting, which is good but not my thing.  It was kind of nerve racking for me to be by myself but I knew I had the fundamental foundation to do the WOD.  I attended a on-ramp class in May and for four hours we went over and practiced all the basic exercises of Crossfit.  I think we did over 300 squats! But in all it was a great fundamentals class.  That us below; can you find me? Ha!  Just check out the 6'1" amazon!  Haha!

photo courtesy of Iron Mike Crossfit (Ft. Leavenworth)

But back to why did I chose Helen?  Because it is a great benchmark to see how much better you’ve gotten. Every chance you get to do Helen, you should jump at it.   The WOD contains three basic exercises that really should give you a tangible idea of where you are in your progress.  This triple of 400m run, kettlebell swings and pull-ups should be done as fast as possible performed in three rounds.  I cannot do a pullup to save my life, so I did mine assisted... of course.  Those darn bands sure help a lot! 

Sucky time (must get better), sucky hands afterwards (they felt like my skin was being ripped off), happy smile (because I did it... assisted but i did it!).

As you can tell I need to improve not only the individual exercises but most importantly, my time of completion.  Bottom line: these benchmarks measure how far you've come on your progress, and this is what we are all after right? Improvement!  I recommend actually keeping a journal with your WODs and looking back at how you've progressed.  Talk about getting you motivated!

Have you done Helen?  How did you do?  
Oh, and in case you are wondering like I was about "why in the heck are WODs named after girls?".  I did some research on Bing and found this from Coach Glassman, the founder and President of CrossFit:

“I thought that anything that left you flat on your back, looking up at the sky asking ‘what just happened to me?’ deserved a females name."   

Haha!  Love it!  Well said Coach Glassman; well said!  

Meatless Monday: Garlicky Beets Greens & Italian Chard

Even with the crazy economy I like to eat healthy and I am not stingy when it comes to paying a bit more if it going to be for fresh good quality produce.  But more than that, I like to make sure that I use every last bit of the produce I buy, to include stalks and leaves.  Take beets for example.  Most people use the actual beets but completely discard the green leafy parts which contain so many nutrients and mineral, not to mention how tasty they are!  Combine them with another leafy produce like chard or collard greens and you have one tasty and nutritious healthy side dish (or main dish if you are vegetarian). 


This particular recipe is all about simple and just cooking the greens enough to wilt and add a bit of flavoring, in this case: garlic.  And the recipe is supper simple.

3 tbsp olive oil
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups beets greens
3 cups Italian chard
salt & pepper to taste
Chives (optional)

In a cold large saute pan, add the olive oil and garlic.  Slowly warm the oil to infuse it with the garlic flavor until the garlic is brown (about 3 mins.).  To the pan add the greens a pinch of salt and pepper and cover with a lid until the leaves are wilted a bit (about 5 minutes).  Once finished, check for seasoning, add salt & pepper as necessary, and sprinkle with chopped chives (optional). 

This is a great way to include more greens into your diet while ensuring you do not waste any part of your veggies.  They are expensive, so you may as well use all you can!  Enjoy!

Motivation Comes from the Most Unexpected Places

For the past few weeks, I have laid low from this blog because I've been having an issue with motivation.  I am not motivated AT ALL to workout.  I feel like a whimp because I do not think I am overtrained... on the contrary.  I do not feel that fire in the belly to workout, when I go for a run-- if I even feel like running-- I can never finish my runs ending up walking.  It is frustrating and annoying.  And I thought I was the only one going through that.  Even my Crossfit buddies were worried and I found myself answering countless text messages with loving "threat" about kidnapping me in the middle of the night to go to the gym!  Ha!  You gotta love that!

But over the past few days I have been reading some of my favorite blogs, and to my surprise, a few of them are going through that funk too.  What the heck?  Is it something in the air?  Whatever it is, at least in my case, cannot be resolve with motivational quotes or words (they annoy me when I am in this funk).  Not even Ben & Jerry's Pistachio Pistachio ice cream is getting me off this funk.  And so, I've been mopping around the house.  For me part of it is that I am in pain.  Let me just say that up front.  I have a Morton's neuroma in my left foot that has become extremely painful and my second to last toe feels numb in the mornings (which is part of the condition).  But when I walk on that footit just straight up hurts.  And it sucks! So that has me bummed out!  Next week I find out if I will require surgery (which I think it will) in which case, it will drive me to re-assess the Twin Cities marathon depending on the recovery time.  And ladies, this may be the funk talking but if I cannot do the marathon this year, I am thinking it is time to re-assess the "doing my first marathon" goal.  I am tired of injuries and healthy derailing my efforts. 

I want to snap out of this lack of motivation because it is so uncharacteristic.  If I didn't know better I would think that it is the hypothyroidism but I know all my hormone levels are good at this point.  Yesterday I think was the lowest day for me, and then I received an email that was sent by what I now believe to be a "fitness motivation fairy".  Imagine my surprise when I received an email from one of the writers for FITNESS Magazine.  


 Imagine me doing the "what???" face followed by a jig :) because in a way I have come so far.  How do you like my before chunky face? ;-)

I was so in shock because well...this was a big surprise. This is not a for sure thing, but what an honor to even be contacted and considered for something like this!   I especially love it because I am a big advocate for hypothyroidism and the stigma that comes with it.  So needless to say, this made my day yesterday.  As I was sharing the news with the I am part of on Facebook, they were so excited for me and because it would mean more awareness for the condition.  And it was then that I realized that the support we give each other, and the support I get from you all (my readers and those whom I read) part of what fuels my motivation.  And after these news and the support of my girls guess what? I totally felt pumped to go work out!  And I did.  I went only for a 2-mile run (damn you Morton's neuroma!!!) and then went to the gym and killed it with arms and triceps. 

Yes, I may not be featured in the magazine (because I still have a LONG ways to go), but it sure helped me get motivated again because I realize that in my own little way, I can help others, especially motivating those who are hypothyroid like me and are having such a hard time with weight loss and fitness.  It is about making a difference.  And that is huge for me.  Can you say the fire is back in the belly?  Oh yes it is!

Total Fitness Wednesday #5: Keeping It Healthy on 4th of July!

Hello dearies, welcome to another Total Fitness Wednesday!  You are probably wondering what the heck is going on?  Well, last week after I mentioned that I was combining my blogs into one, a few of you emailed me and asked that I keep this one, mostly because you like the name I'm sure. ;-)  So, we are back to talk about fitness in this one, and the rest of my life in the other one!   And I am posting TFW post early because we are talking healthy 4th of July dishes and in case you are interested in any of these, I want to give you time to make your shopping list! (because that's how I

Now, on to TFW: this weekend across America many are preparing for 4th of July weekend.  This year we celebrate the 237th birthday of our freedom and I think America is really craving for a heavy dose of patriotism, don't you think?!  But that is for another post.  One of the things we tend to do during the 4th of July celebration is overindulge.  I am not saying you cannot celebrate the festivities but there are ways to keep it healthier.  Here are some great recipes for your festivities that are sure to keep your celebration spirits up while making sure you keep it on the healthy side!  

Honey Yogurt Berry Pops from Joylicious 
 Honey Yogurt Berry Pops from Joylicious
Talk about a great way to beat the heat!  These pops are not only beautiful but a healthy option to the pops you buy in the store.  And if you make them yourself you can get really fancy!

A take on the pops, using fruits is a sure way to make sure everyone gets their daily dose of fruits in a festive way! 

I am a huge fan of potato salad and this one is beautiful and I am sure delicious!  Will be making this one! 

Holiday Fruit Kabobs 
 Love this idea.  This is how you indulge in moderation.  

Blueberry Quinoa Salad 
 I am a quinoa person, and this festive quinoa is not only good for you but also you can make a lot, making it the perfect side dish.

  4th of July Toast | 
 I LOVE this idea for 4th of July morning!  Your kiddos are sure to love it too!

Do you have any favorite 4th of July recipes?  How do you plan to celebrate this festivity?

selfie from this morning because I am too darn proud to be in the Army! Hooah! (please disregard the glasses)

Before I leave I want to give a shout out to all of my brothers and sisters in arms, especially those deployed! May the 4th of July fill you with even more strength to defend this great nation founded in the conviction of freedom for all.  This is what we signed up for; this is what we do.  Rock on!  Praying for your safe return home!