Ms. Marvel Project

Catching up

I’ve been slacking a little bit with blogging in the past week or two, and it’s time for that to stop! I’ve been working way too much, but luckily my fitness plans haven’t fallen by the wayside in all the chaos.

I’ve decided to get back into the 100 Pushup Challenge. I had to quit the first time around because I developed some pretty bad shoulder pain and it wasn’t going away. But now it’s been a considerable amount of time and my shoulder hasn’t given me any trouble for a while now so I think it’s safe to give it a go. I left off in the middle of week 3 and that’s exactly where I’m starting now. Yesterday I did the week 3 day 1 workout and it went well.

I haven’t been completely pushup-free in between then and now. I just wasn’t doing them consistently and certainly wasn’t pushing myself every time to do more and more like this plan will do. I’m really excited to see some arm muscles coming back!

In addition to that, I’ve started attempting to run again. Running has never ever ever come easily to me. In fact, it sort of just feels awful whenever I try to do it and like my body can’t handle it. I want to change that!

I’ve done 3 or so Couch to 5k workouts, 2 of which were completed successfully and the last one… well, it was kind of a disaster. Maybe my legs were too tired from the long cardio workout I had done the day before, or maybe it was just a bad day to try, but I only got through 3 one minute running segments and my shins felt like they were on fire, even when I was just walking slowly. I couldn’t continue. Definitely a disappointment.

But! I’m not letting that stop me. The failed workout occurred on Monday and now today on Friday, I’m hoping to head out in a few hours to the gym to try again. I’m ready for this!

Challenging myself like with the pushups and running is something that really motivates me to keep sticking to my workouts and goals. I like having a plan – something I can put in my calendar – and then watching myself progress. This is especially true when it comes to things that historically I’ve never been able to do. Definitely the case with pushups and running!

Happy Memorial Day to everyone in the U.S. and I hope the long weekend is put to good use!


Blog Hops Everyday and A Mommy's Blog Design Friday Blog Hop

May 25, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Life, Project | , , , , | 1 Comment

Roasted brussel sprouts: a new favorite

This barely qualifies as a “recipe” because it’s so super simple, but it’s something I never tried doing until about 1 month ago and now I’m totally addicted. I love brussel sprouts anyway, but when you roast them in the oven… OMG, they become the best thing ever.

Here’s how I do them:

Ingredients:
- 1 package of frozen brussel sprouts
- 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 425
2. Either use a large ziplock bag or the bag the brussel sprouts came in for this step: Add oil, salt and pepper to the bag and massage the brussel sprouts through the bag until they’re all coated
3. Spread out evenly on a baking sheet
4. Cook at 425 for 35 minutes

After 35 minutes at this temp, using my oven, the brussel sprouts get decently charred and crispy on the outside and extremely soft on the inside. You may need to make adjustments on the cook time if you like slightly less char or due to variations in ovens.

It doesn’t get much more simple than that! Sometimes when I get home from work and I want an “appetizer” before we’re even thinking about getting dinner started, I’ll just throw some of these in the oven. Being brussel sprouts, they’re very healthy so I don’t even feel guilty about it!


Back to Friday blog hopping!

young and restless

Getting to Know You

April 6, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Project, Recipes | , , | 3 Comments

Getting educated

For the past several years, I’ve used blog reading to educate myself on topics of health and fitness, and the amount of knowledge I’ve gained doing so has been incredible. There are so many of these kinds of blogs that I read that I almost couldn’t even list them all here, even if I wanted to. In my blog travels, I have also seen a few books mentioned over and over again as must-reads for anyone interested in the subject. Yesterday, on somewhat of a whim, I decided to finally get off my butt and order a few.

Thanks to Amazon Prime, they arrived today! Thanks to the amazing bloggers out there I already feel like I have a good amount of knowledge on the subject, so I’m curious to see how many of my preconceived notions are going to be challenged.

These are the books I purchased:
Thrive Fitness: The Vegan-Based Training Program for Maximum Strength, Health, and Fitness
The China Study
Eat to Live

I’m sure over the next few months as I work through these books, I’ll feel compelled to update here with tidbits I’ve learned and things that surprised me. I’m looking forward to it.

For me, the whole journey of fitness isn’t just about looking good or being “skinny”, it’s about being healthy and living the best life that I can possibly live. Coming from a family with so many health issues, I want to put myself in a position where I can try and combat my genes and avoid the same problems my parents and other relatives faced later in life.

This week’s workout update: I slowed down just a little after last week’s intense 5 workout sessions and have only logged 2 up to this point in the week. I’m hoping to get in at least 2 more before the weekend is over. I’m still working on the 100 pushup challenge, and I made it up to 50 (non-consecutive) pushups yesterday! I never in a million years thought I’d be capable of doing that.

Are there any health/fitness books out there that have inspired you?


young and restless

March 23, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Project | , , , | 2 Comments

Working on upper body strength

TGIF, right?? It’s been another long and hectic week over here. Last Saturday, D, my brother and I went to this show at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It was great, especially for us video game nerds. It was fun to get out for the night and do something cultural, even though D was pretty sick that day (he caught my cold).

I was pretty much done with that cold, however and got back into my usual workout routine this week:

Monday, Wednesday and today I made sure to do my pushups and this morning I got up to 34 pushups – my most ever! I’m very happy to be seeing and feeling some muscle in my arms now since I was sorely lacking in that area before.

Monday, I also did a ton of cardio:
- A quick 20 minute Zumba wii session during lunch
- 60 minutes on the stationery bike after work

Tuesday, I did some more Zumba (what can I say, I’m hooked!) for 45 minutes during lunch.

Wednesday and Thursday were off days and today I will either do Zumba or bike during my lunch break yet again.

Over the weekend, my goals include getting to the gym with D both days to do elliptical/treadmill work and some weights. The great thing about participating in the pushup challenge is that I’m getting in some strength work three times per week, even if I don’t actually make it to the gym to do weights. Tomorrow when I go, the big question will be: have I improved any on the chest press machine?? My performance 2 weeks ago was pretty dismal so I’m hoping for improvement!

What’s your favorite way to work on upper body strength?


young and restless

Blog Hops Everyday and A Mommy's Blog Design Friday Blog Hop

Getting to Know You

March 16, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Project | , , | 3 Comments

Looking forward

I’ve done some thinking about goals this week, and one of those things I’m hoping to accomplish during the next several months is taking the Ms. Marvel Project to the next level. I knew when I started this blog that eventually I’d want to move to my own server and have more control over everything that goes into the design and functionality of the blog — this is the type of thing I do for a living after all! (except I don’t do it for blogs, but for software)

So, this week I’ve been researching server hosts and everything that would need to go into the process and I have a good plan of what to do next. All I have to do now is make the jump!

I’ve also put together a facebook page for the Ms. Marvel Project. There’s not a whole lot going on there yet, but if you’d like, you can join now:
http://www.facebook.com/msmarvelproject

As far as my fitness status? This week I did excellent with my eating and I’m very happy to report that because up to now, I hadn’t been doing that great. I did overindulge a little in NY last weekend with some exceptionally rich meals, but once I got back, I got very much back on track.

Now, the challenge of staying on track for the weekend! Anyone out there have any tips to share for staying on track on weekends?


This week’s Friday Blog Hops… check them out!

young and restless

That Friday Blog Hop

Blog Hops Everyday and A Mommy's Blog Design Friday Blog Hop

March 2, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Project | , | Leave a comment

The Vitamin D Dilemma

Around 4 years ago, I got some bloodwork done at the doctor’s office for the first time in a few years and found out that I was seriously deficient in Vitamin D. They told me my levels were so low that I had to go on a Vitamin D prescription of 50,000 IUs (that’s a TON) and that I should sit outside without sunscreen for 10 minutes a day.

All my life I’ve avoided the sun whenever I could. I just don’t like the way it makes me feel to sit outside in the sunlight, not to mention intense sunlight makes my eyes hurt and enough of it will give me a headache. I’m an indoors person, there’s no question about it. At the time, I figured that was all there was to it.

Then, a year later, my brother found out he was also vitamin D deficient. Then, my friend K. After another year, I met D, and a few months into our time dating, his doctor also told him that he needed to take supplements because of low levels. And if that wasn’t enough, around a year ago, his SISTER also got the same news.

What the heck was going on? Some of these people (especially my friend K) were sun lovers and did lots of outdoor activities.

Well, all of these people have something in common: we all grew up in Massachusetts and have lived here pretty much all of our lives. It is a well known fact that in New England, winter weather lasts at least 6 months, and there is little chance of doing anything fun outdoors most of that time.

According to this article:

Vitamin D can be produced in the skin from ultraviolet light. In the northern latitudes (such as New England), the intensity of the UV rays is only strong enough to create vitamin D for us in the summer months. For much of the year (about October through April), then, we need to get vitamin D from other sources. Even in the summer, using sunscreen, covering up with clothing, and spending time indoors can reduce the chance of us getting adequate vitamin D.

Since, that day 4 years ago, I’ve taken vitamin D gummy vitamins every day. They’re tasty and easy to just chew and go every morning. I still don’t spend much time out in the sun because there is a delicate balance here: too much time in the sun can lead to skin cancer and other issues while too little leads to a vitamin D deficiency. My skin is pale as can be, so I’m at an even greater risk of skin cancers and will burn easily in the summer.

I think the thing that alarmed me the most about these revelations over the past few years is that there is almost no one I know who’s my own age that also grew up in Mass that doesn’t have this issue. I wonder how widespread it really is!

The bottom line is: I’d highly recommend anyone living in the northeast get their vitamin D levels checked out. It’s worth it!

For more information on Vitamin D and why we need it, check out this link: Vitamin D


Friday blog hops:

Getting to Know You

young and restless

February 17, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Life | , , , | 8 Comments

Challenging myself

After doing one of the toughest workouts I’ve done all year on Tuesday, I was pretty much out of commission for the next 2 days. My muscles were SORE like you wouldn’t believe – to the point where sitting down and standing back up again was almost impossible. Naturally, I took Wednesday off from working out to try to recover.

Thursday, I still wasn’t back to a good enough state to try to do anything involving weights to any degree, so instead, I went to the gym during lunch and did 50 minutes on the elliptical. It was kind of nice to just have a whole workout session focused on cardio for a day. I got to listen to music and just kind of zone out.

When I woke up this morning I was able to successfully sit/stand again without my thighs feeling like they were staging a rebellion, so I thought it would be a good day to try Tuesday’s workout again.

Well, once I got started, my legs decided to let me in on the fact that they were NOT READY to get back into the lunging and squatting required, so I stopped after the first 4 steps this time and decided to throw on Zumba instead. I did 45 minutes, and was totally dead by the end. I just finished right before sitting down to write this post, so I’m doing some stretching right now as I type.

It’s pretty clear that the advanced nature of these workouts is going to be something I need to take pretty slowly so my muscles can catch up to what I’m asking them to do. I’m pretty confident that if I stick to these weights-centric workouts that I’ll see some good results in the muscle department. My legs are already feeling a little bit more solid.


It’s here again: Friday blog hopping!

Getting to Know You

young and restless

February 10, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Project | , | 2 Comments

Ready to recharge

Hello everyone, and welcome to your Friday!

It’s been a long week, filled with working lots of hours on very mentally challenging code. I’m glad I get to give my brain a few days off to recharge itself, and we have lots of fun things planned: D’s sister is coming over tonight for her birthday and sleeping over. Then tomorrow, my family is coming over and having lunch with us. I haven’t seen them since New Year’s Eve, so it will be nice to catch up.

We spent last night doing some last minute cleaning around the apartment to prepare for all our guests, and I did our food shopping as well.

Despite all the craziness, I did manage to get in 2 workouts so far this week (Monday and Tuesday), and unless something ridiculous happens in the next hour, I’m going to go and do workout #3 during lunch today.

This week, I got very fed up with my eating habits. It seems like no matter how much I WANT to eat well and avoid temptation, I spend every day arguing with myself about it and rarely win. So on Wednesday, I decided to do an experiment. I told D that I would message him everything I ate that day, as a way to keep myself accountable, and he would do the same with me. Doing that actually did work. For instance, after lunch that day, I immediately wanted a snack, but I though to myself that if I had one, I’d have to report to D. It stopped me from eating one!

However, this was only a temporary experiment. I was looking for a way to kick start a streak of “eating right”. Did it work? Well, I did pretty good yesterday and today has only just begun, so I guess we’ll see what the weekend brings.

As for weight? I’ve seen 144.8 a few times over the last week/week and a half (starting weight: 146.8), but it still fluctuates up a lot. I’ll do an official weigh in tomorrow.


It’s blog hopping Friday!

young and restless

Getting to Know You

February 3, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Life, Project | , , | 6 Comments

Starting the week off right

Let’s face it: Mondays are tough. It’s a universal fact (unless you have a work schedule that begins on a different day of the week). I find it very important to kick Mondays off to a good start every week. I don’t always succeed, but there are a few things that mentally help me get into the groove of the week.

The number 1 thing that I’ve been doing for the past several weeks is making sure that I wake up at 6:30am to get in a pre-work workout. I set up all my workout gear the night before and pop in the Zumba Wii game. When I wake up, I’m usually not too happy or energized, but once I get into the workout, things start looking up. The most important thing that comes out of this is that the very first thing I’m doing on Monday morning is crossing a workout off my list. No matter what else happens that day, I’ll have that victory behind me, and I won’t be scrambling to fit in a workout somewhere else into my schedule.

I’ll be honest though: I can’t do this every day of the week. Most weeks, Monday is the only day I can manage the early wakeup, though sometimes if I’m really on a roll, I can do one other day as well. I’d like to do more of these morning workouts, but my sleep schedule suffers a lot if I do it too frequently.

Also, I do enjoy using the gym at the office, and that’s not something I can easily do in the mornings.

This morning I followed the plan, got everything set up last night and did zumba for 45 minutes this morning. I burned over 400 calories, and then I made myself a protein shake.

I tend to backslide a little on the weekends, so Monday it always feels really good to get a clean slate and do things a little bit healthier.

How has your Monday started off?


I joined the Mingle Monday blog hop this week:
Mingle 240

The question of the day is for Mingle Monday is: What are your Superbowl plans?

My answer: I don’t have any! Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I’m not really a football fan and don’t tend to watch the superbowl or even really know who’s playing. I will probably be hanging out with D and playing video games instead!

January 30, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Project | | 2 Comments

Soy chorizo tacos

It’s been a long, tough week – so much so that this was the post I wanted to publish on Friday, but I just didn’t have the time to finish writing. Even so, I did join up with some Friday blog hops this week and they’re listed at the end. Sorry it’s 2 days late!

The reason things have been so hectic and crazy can all be traced back to one thing: work. Work has been insane, and I even had to sign on yesterday and work for 5 hours on a Saturday! As a result, I’ve only gotten in 2 workouts this week, but I’m trying to psych myself up for a third right after I post this post.

Recently, I’ve discovered a new (to me) food at Trader Joe’s, and I’ve had some fun experimenting with it…


Picture courtesy of whatsgoodattraderjoes.com

It’s soy chorizo!

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but when I saw it in the store, I knew it was something I wanted to try. I love big flavors, and I love spice, so I picked it up and threw it in the freezer for a few weeks, trying to figure out what I could do with it. Having never even tasted “real” chorizo, I didn’t know what kind of flavors I was in for.

One night a few weeks ago, while D was out (he sometimes gets a little freaked out by some of my food experiments, so I tend to break out the new and crazy ingredients when I’m alone), I decided to go for it. I opened up the package and started heating it up in a skillet, the same way you would with a ground meat. I didn’t add any oil – just a little salt and pepper – and as it started to heat up, I thought it smelled remarkably like taco meat. After a small taste, it was confirmed: I would make tacos!

It was incredibly easy and quick to make these (just the kind of recipe I like). Once the soy chorizo was cooked, I spooned it into two taco shells, topped with some diced tomatoes, shredded cheese and ate it with a little bit of sour cream.


Sorry for the rough phone pic! I have since gotten a better camera.

The soy chorizo was very spicy and very tasty. Also, I wasn’t quite prepared for how filling it would be. I almost couldn’t finish two small tacos and the leftover chorizo that I had heated up lasted me through at least 3 or 4 additional meals.

This is one dinner that I’ve added to my regular rotation in the kitchen.


young and restless

January 29, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Project | , , | 1 Comment

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