The bottom line: sweat

The bottom line: sweat.

As in — I love to sweat. Love, love, love it. 

And this week I’ve been LOVING on some fitdates of the ‘me workout’ variety.

On Tuesday — I proudly crushed a 7-miler before 7am (just love the sound of that, hehe…dweeb alert) and took this picture as proof of the sweat that was dripping from my hair and onto my chest. I ❤ sweat. 

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And this morning? I got up bright and early to meet one of my besties at barre n9ne for a fitdate. And not just ANY fitdate, either. For one, I wasn’t the one at the center mat (not that I don’t LOVE being there, I doooo).  My bestie was the one teaching the class. It was my FIRST class with her, a rare treat indeed. I’ve been wanting to take her class for eons but schedules just weren’t jiving. I saw the opportunity to nab a spot in class for Fusion at 6am and went for it.

…and I’m SO glad that I did. ❤

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(we look far too excited to be in pretzel, especially after she had us doing the killer side leg series right before this…hehe)

And because I have the rare opportunity to be at home today for work (I usually only work from home on Friday’s now), I took the opportunity to log a few miles on the treadmill. A sweaty 30-min rundate-for-one — perfection. And sure, the reason I’m home today is kind of crapstastic — we’re one car down at the Sutera Manor today (praying it’s nothing major, we’ll find out later today) — I’m looking for that silver lining, obviously. That silver lining? The ability to embrace the sweat. Plain and simple.

The other silver lining? The killer bowl of oatmeal with chopped apples and blueberries I’m about to devour (sorry, no pic — too hungry, hehe). 

Happy WINESDAY friends!!
I’ll be sending ya’ll a virtual cheers around 6pm tonight. Join me, please. 🙂


What size are your jeans?
(how do you feel in those jeans?)

What does the scale say?
(why does it matter?)

How many miles did you run – today? this week? this month? this year? Ever?
(or, how alive did you feel on that run?)

How much site traffic does your blog get?
(how much did that insightful and perceptive blog comment from a friend mean to you?)

How fast did you run/bike/swim that race?
(how proud were you to simply cross that finish line?)


They make the world go ’round.
…or do they? should they? why do they?

We are surrounded by numbers. Blog stats. Workouts completed. Miles run. Comments given. Comments received. Blogs in your RSS reader or on your blogroll. Sizes of your jeans, number on that scale.
…you get my point.

Numbers can be all-consuming. I’ve made it no secret that I can get a little crazy by numbers. Which is why I stopped keeping a workout log. And why I stopped food logging (yes, I log now, but more on that in a minute). And why I don’t closely track my run mileage week-to-week right down to the last decimal point (hence no “junk miles” up in here).


Numbers can also be an excellent tool – a progress report of sorts when working towards a specific goal. And that’s when I think numbers can be invaluable. When they’re used to track progress – but not to gauge success/failure. It’s a fine line, but an important one. Tracking progress means you’re working towards a goal and seeing positive changes that are pushing you closer and closer towards that magical finish line. Using numbers as the one, the only, indicator of success? I think that can quickly become a negative mind game.

Let’s take that food log thing as an example. For me – I started using the food log as a way to help me stay accountable as I worked towards the goal of completing the barre n9ne 60-day challenge. It was my measuring stick to help me figure out how to (successfully) eat for my (caloric) number and it helped me reach very important qualitative and quantitative goals.
…yes – I’ve lost two pants sizes and many inches since starting that challenge last May.
…but the more important goal for me – way beyond the size of those jeans?
…that I am confident and strong and sure of myself. Things you can’t measure with a scale or a measuring stick. Priceless in my book.

So what am I getting at with all of this numbers talk? I urge you all to take a really close look at how you track progress. Does everything *have* to be tied to numbers? Are there any progress reports you can gauge that take a more qualitative approach than quantitative? Hey – I’m not saying everyone needs to be just like me in their approach to numbers, I just think that we could all benefit from stepping back and re-evaluating now and then, yeah? Trust me, I know I’m not perfect and definitely no expert — I’m just sharing what’s been working really well for me…y’know, in case you’re looking for ideas. 😉

…and if you dig this topic as much as I do (based on the length of this blog post, clearly I do!), I’d love it if you’d join me for next Tuesday’s (Feb 7) FitBlog chat at 9pm ET. I’m moderating the discussion and am super excited to hear what you all have to say!

Community: defined.

Until recently, I never really thought of myself as “community” kinda gal.

I sort of equated anything “community” related as something you feel like you “have” to get involved in, like community service, and stuff like that.

I realize now how silly I was to equate “community” to something so very unappealing (to me).

Last night right before barre n9ne class started, I suddenly recognized that the wonderful, happy, excited, energized women around me is my community: defined.

In the relatively few months that I’ve been part of this community with my sister, I’ve seen it absolutely flourish into an amazing phenomenon. One that I’m not quite sure what I’d do without…it’s become such a passion of mine, not just my own personal growth since starting the barre n9ne challenge in May, but to see other women get involved in the challenge has been nothing short of amazing.

That is community to me. Encouraging eachother to work hard, play hard, and celebrate every single success along the way. Just last night, I was talking to one of the newer challengers who was absolutely bubbling over with pride at the inches she’s already lost just one month into her personal challenge journey. To see her eyes sparkle with pride and confidence and with a huge smile on her face? Awesome.

And then to get a text from my fit friend Steph with her most recent challenge results (which are amazing, she is HOT !!), and my heart soared for her. She finished her text with “happy!” And that made me ridiculously happy for her
…and for all of the women in this beautiful community of ours, who are putting their health and fitness first.
…who are making time for themselves and not feeling guilty for doing so.
…and are becoming confident and happy and in love with who they are today.  Amazing.

So now when I think about “community” — my definition is quite different.  It’s about finding common ground. Above all else. Kind of like this amazing fitness and healthy living community that I am damn proud to be a part of. A beautiful phenomenon…another community where I’ve made friendships that I cherish, with awesome women (and even a few guys!) who I’d never ever have met if not for this blogging thang.

((Community))…it’s a beautiful thing, and something I value so much more than I ever thought I would. 

The fit truth

I’m all about the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth these days.

I routinely own up, confession-style on this blog. If you don’t believe me, check out some previous confessions here, here and here.

So when I saw Ms. Tina’s takeoff on Fit Bottomed Girls “Fitness Truths,” I just knew I had to steal borrow the idea for my own list of Fit Truths…

…if I could live in my coveted Lululemon groove pants and bliss top 24/7, I’d be one happy (fit) camper. I feel beautiful in my workout gear. Sweatastically so.

…lifting teeny tiny 2 and 3 lb hand weights are my favorite form of strength training torture fun. I’ve done my fair share of strength training routines, but those teeny little weights are what makes me feel fierce and strong. Tiny. Sure. Fierce. Definitely. Don’t hate until you’ve tried it.

…I tweet. I blog. Because I love to share my love of all things sweaty. But I also blog and tweet for accountability. Sure. I love to sweat like nobody’s business. But even I need a little accountability now and then. I’ve been known to tweet my intentions the night before a workout just to make sure I don’t re-neg on it when the alarm blares at 4:55am (like it did yesterday morning…*yawn*).

…running still scares me. Or should I say – racing does. At least the first few minutes before the race starts and even into the first couple of miles. The runners around me throw shadows of doubt into my mind. But I think that’s why I continue to do it (hello third half marathon on Oct 23…I’m coming for you!). Because it (sometimes) scares me. Because it keeps me uncomfortable. Because I can. And I do. And I will. 

…I eat for fuel. (hello giant bowl of irish oats mixed with sauteed apples and peanut butter – I HEART you so!!). But not always. I wouldn’t classify m&ms or a bite or three of a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie that I made for my husband “fuel.” But I love chocolate. It makes me happy. Ditto (x1000) goes for wine. So I eat(or drink) it. I don’t fuel by it (though, the thought of a handful of m&ms mid-half marathon is just as good as a gu, right??). But I heart it so. It still has a place in my healthy and fit lifestyle. And it mostly certainly fits into my fit truths. Wine + chocolate = happy Jess. Happy Jess = balanced and healthy and fit Jess. 

26.2 intrigues me. Fit. Truth.

…staying fit, active and healthy is effing hard work. As I sit here typing this post, my eyes are drooping ever so slightly. It’s been a long week of hard work. My body feels worked. I dig it. But don’t ever for a second believe that if you saw me walking down the street, that maintaining a healthy fit and active lifestyle is easy for me. It’s work. Every. Single. Day. But it’s worth it. Because I’m worth it.


Defining “healthy”

A couple of weeks ago, Fitblog chats held a twitter chat session that involved the question: How do you define ‘healthy’? Of course, I always end up missing out on the fitblog chat fun each week (I blame it on my barre n9ne addiction, ha!), but this question in particular got me thinking.

How do I define ‘healthy’?

Especially in light of my recent post on imperfection, I thought it was time to really sit back and think about what my definition of healthy is and how I try to live that philosophy every day.

So here goes.

Healthy is…

…excitedly opening up this week’s farm share goodies. Seeing purple carrots, (more) beets (I know what I’m putting on my salad today!), swiss chard and fresh, still-on-the-stock garlic waiting for me. Joy. 

…happy. Happily enjoying my favorite breakfast lately – a sandwich thin toasted with all natural peanut butter and sliced banana on top. With a side of iced coffee. Perfection.

…knowing when a splurge is worth it. For a special treat now and then, to fulfill a craving, etc., and how to work it into my eats for the day without overdoing it. (a lobster roll at our favorite seafood shack in Maine comes to mind…) And not feeling guilty over the treat, but enjoying and savoring every single bite. That’s healthy in my book.

…a community. Each of you have taught me so much about being healthy, have opened my eyes up to new ways of thinking, and have been a gigantic support system for me. That is the beauty of healthy living for me – the community of support, from bloggers to friends, to family, to my husband. Healthy is unifying.

…exercising and truly loving it. Not dreading every single step from the parking lot to the gym, or the living room to the front door for an outdoor run. Working out is so tightly woven into who I am, it makes me feel alive and energized and strong. It makes me, “me.”  It’s about finding sweatastic workouts that YOU love, not relying on someone else’s definition of what a “good” workout looks like. If you love to run, run. If you don’t love to run, don’t. Find what works for you. You’ll naturally stick with it if you love it.

…balanced. Balance means so many things to me, but it mostly means learning to weigh the hard work I put into my workouts and healthy eating, with enjoying the things that I love that might not quite fit the typical definition of healthy – but it fits my definition. Like wine. ❤ Or a dove chocolate. ❤ Or a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie right out of the oven. ❤ Or our famous Sutera pizza (that we will be thoroughly enjoying next Saturday the night before the half marathon!). ❤

…a lifestyle. Like I’ve said before, living healthfully doesn’t have a start and end date, it’s a lifestyle. But that lifestyle doesn’t equate to deprivation. Nope. That was the “me” I tried to be years ago – the one that would try Atkins diets or Weight Watchers points counting, or any other fad diet I could find that I thought would magically make me “healthy” (and by healthy, I mean skinny, something I thought I wanted to be back then). But guess what? There is no magic potion to being healthy. There isn’t just one “thing” that makes for a healthy lifestyle – it’s a combination of things: balanced, nutritious, wholesome foods; a workout schedule you love and can’t help but coming back to everyday; and a healthy body image, where embracing your (perceived) flaws (hello, crooked nose!) is most certainly part of the equation.

All told, healthy isn’t always easy, it takes dedication, but it’s so worth it. Healthy is who I am. 

So now the burning question(s) — does my definition of ‘healthy’ jive with yours? Did I miss anything (I’m sure that I did)? And ps if anyone knows a good way to use kohlrabi, I’m all ears…we now have three of them sitting in our fridge from our farm share, no idea how to use it, but dying to try it! 😉


It’s not over.

60 days.
40+ barre n9ne studio classes.
30+ training runs for the YuKanRun Half marathon.
11 inches lost.

That was part of my facebook status update on Friday. One would assume that the 60 day challenge, then, is over. That it’s “back to the norm” for me here at EatDrinkBreatheSweat.

Not so fast. It’s not over. Because guess what? This is my new normal. My gym membership has been canceled. My schedule (which I’ll share in a minute) for this week includes plenty of barre n9nc classes and of course, plenty of running given the half is in less than a month. Looks a lot like I’m still in “challenge” mode, right?

Well here’s the thing…this challenge,  the “official” part of it may be over. The 60 days may have come and gone. But it’s not over. This is me focusing on the journey and not the destination. This new normal of mine has no definitive end date. Because a healthy lifestyle (much like healthy eating) doesn’t stop and start. It’s a lifestyle. It’s MY lifestyle.

This may sound like a “no duh” to some of you fitbloggers out there, but it was an epiphany of sorts for me. One that came to me as I drafted my ‘challenge’ testimonial blog for Tanya over at the barre n9ne studio blog (going live later this week, don’t worry – I’ll give you a heads-up!). I am in it to win it. I honestly can’t wait to see what the next 30, 60, 90 days at barre n9ne have in store for me (and my sis). There are lots of exciting things brewing, that I promise to share (I know, I keep saying that) in future posts.

For now? I’m still walking on clouds over here thanks to my new favorite number 11 and am so excited to dive into another week of killer workouts.

…as promised:

Sunday – rest
Monday – 6.5 miles;  barre n9ne method
Tuesday – 4.5 miles; barre n9ne lean & tone
Wednesday – 5-6 miles; barre n9ne arms & abs express (new class, woohoo!)
Thursday – barre n9ne long & lean legs; barre n9ne fusion
Friday – 10 miles
Saturday – rest

Let’s recap, shall we?

Let’s recap the week, shall we?

…I kicked the sickies to the curb.

…I started a new weight rotation, created by the one and only me. And I’m loving it. So much more than I thought.

…I finally got to run after three weeks sidelined.

…I stuck to my Core Fusion committment, including yoga.

…and I have major, major DOMS going on today, which I love. Feeling wicked alive today. 🙂

But guess what? I realized, sort of by accident, that I took two rest days today. Wednesday was my original rest day – mostly because my husband surprised me with an invite to an impromptu date night. Much needed. And I happily accepted. But also – today I awoke at 5:20 ready to hit up Ride for the first time in weeks, but as soon as I moved, I knew it wasn’t happening. Holy DOMS. My legs, particularly the front of my quads and calves are super-duper sore. Thank you leg workout from last night! And my upper body, biceps particularly, are STILL sore from workouts I completed days ago.

And I felt zero guilt upon resetting my alarm clock and snuggling back down next to my now-sick husband (woops, I guess I shared my germs with him. Boo).

Zero guilt after skipping a workout? That is so not me. At least it’s not the “me” from before. Like I said recently, I’ve suddenly turned a corner and have learned to let go and enjoy my workouts for me. No schedules. No numbers. Nada. In fact, because I’ve learned not to be tied to a workout schedule so much (goodbye workout manager!), I nearly forgot that Wednesday was my rest day when I got up the second time this morning to get ready for work. Score one for me? I’ll take it. 🙂

Also, in other news – wanted to give you an update on last night’s weight workout. It was awesome, but I did make some modifications. In the spirit of full disclosure, this is how it turned out (hehe):

Legs set #1: Lunges, body-weight only. 3 sets @25 reps per leg. 30-45 sec rest between sets <—this turned into 20 reps per leg

Legs set #2: Squats with a barbell. 3 sets @ 20-25 reps per set, 25lbs. 30-45 sec rest between sets <—this turned into 25-30 reps per leg, I probably could have gone heavier. Note to self for next week.

Legs set #3: Plie squats with one weight. 3 sets @ 25 reps per set, 30 lbs. 30-45 sec rest between sets

Legs set #4: Calf raises with two weights. 3 sets @25 reps per set, 15 lbs in each hand. 30-45 sec rest between sets.

Shoulders superset #1: Front raises (12.5 lbs) followed by overhead press with the barbell (20 lbs); 3 sets @15-20 reps, 30 sec rest between sets. <—front raises were done at 10 lbs each, was I on crack when I jotted that number down? Those are hard when you go high reps!

Shoulders superset #2: Overhead presses with dumbells (12.5 lbs), arms rotated forward followed by rear delt flyes (10 lbs); 3 sets @15-20 reps, 30 sec rest between sets.

Shoulders superset #3: Side lateral raises (10 lbs) followed by upright row with the barbell (20 lbs); 3 sets @15-20 reps, 30 sec rest between sets. <—by this point I was pooped, I skipped the third set of these

See? I’m nothing if not an honest fitblogger, huh?? Happy Friday, ya’ll!

Workin’ it out with passion

I heart the fitblog community.

SO  much.

I am floored by the response to my last post. I guess I really DID lay it all out there in that post, huh? I sort of feel like it was a diary entry that somehow became a public blog entry for all to see. As if I were baring my soul, showing my truest of colors.

And not gonna lie, it felt really good to write with such passion in my words. My fingers flew across that keyboard last night. Probably the fastest post I’ve ever written.

And better yet? It felt incredible to feel so inspired again. Like I’ve said a million times on this blog, I’m always itching for a new challenge, some goal to work towards, whatever. It fuels me. It drives me.

And somehow, if I look back at previous “challenges” – they always started with a definitive beginning/middle/end but somehow, these challenges never really end for me. Once they’re “in” me, there ain’t no pulling them back out.

I’m a runner. A half marathoner at that. One with a real race schedule like you other “real” runners out there. I even like to do intervals now. Like fast ones. Who, me??

I’m kickboxing obsessed. Sure, I’m Group Kick certified, but just because I’m not currently teaching (though trust me, I’d LOVE to), doesn’t mean that kickboxing is ever far from my mind. It’s my regular Thursday night retreat. I love that sweaty hour of fire!

And now, I’m a Core Fusion Addict. This one I never saw coming. Not for a second. But here I am, digging through Exhale Spa class schedules to see if I can figure out a good CF schedule to commit to when I get back from work travels next week and Jamaica in 18 days (but whose counting).  And for the record, I’d kill to go to the Core Fusion Boot Camp retreat in Boston this spring. Anyone care to sponsor me?? 😉

This, my friends, is my passion. It fills me with glee. It’s who I am. I don’t know why, but it took last night’s Core Fusion class to remember that. Workouts are not about numbers anymore for me. I don’t even regularly update my workout manager stats over at anymore. I was RELIGIOUS about that before. I hated to see rest days on there or too few “calories burned’ for the week. But somehow, I’ve slowly moved away from all of that and truly without even realizing it or trying to do so.

And that, for real, is SUCH a freeing feeling, I can’t even begin to describe.

<editor’s note-to-self: please refer to this next time you beat yourself up over taking a rest day or skipping a “planned” workout in favor of something else. Mmk?>

On “learned behaviors”

Well. I’m glad you all got a kick out of me and my sister’s “progress report” on Core Fusion last night. I can tell you – we had FAR more fun writing that post than you probably did reading it. So thank you for indulging our goofy humor on that one. 😉

Anyway, a recent comment from my super-duper inspiring runner blog friend Naomi got me thinking about learned behaviors.

I had the same reaction when Rulon said those words, probably because up until 7 years ago, I didn’t know *how* to be responsible for my health. Now, in her 60′s, my mom is only just now learning how to be responsible her self. Its been eye opening and made me realize that its something that people need to learn, not something that’s just a given.

Her comment was in reference to my post about the Biggest Loser and one of the contestants who mentioned that they were so grateful for getting something back they didn’t know they lost. Their confidence. Their ability to live a fuller, happier life. To learn how live a fit and healthy life.

Learning how to live a fit and healthy life. That’s the clincher.

It’s not an innate behavior. It’s a learned behavior.

This caused me to stop and think. For me – living fit and healthy comes naturally…it’s practically innate. That simple fact is so easy to take for granted. That my lifestyle is just part of who I am and it’s been that way for so long, I can’t even put a finger on exactly when this became so ingrained in my life. I mean, I have a general idea, but you get the idea.

Fitness, healthy living, balance. These are not learned behaviors. Yet it’s so easy to take that simple fact for granted. That and being ABLE to live this way.

This is a sobering reminder to me – especially on days (like today) when I battle my internal demons who “yell” at me when I end up with two rest days in one week vs. one…or miss / change up a “planned” workout for another. As if there is something so terribly wrong with that. There certainly is not. I admit that I still battle things like that – rest days, the numbers game, etc. So when I sit back and realize that I’m lucky to have this love of fitness so ingrained in who I am? Well, I feel downright silly for those mind games I sometimes still get caught up in.

So I guess what this all boils down for me is this: appreciate that you have learned how to live the life you lead and to love the life you live. Not everyone has learned this behavior yet…and some, well they never will. I find that very sad. It sure makes me rethink my college education…if I could rewind? Sure, I’d love to be a nutritionist or a personal trainer or something related to helping people live healthier, fit lives. To discover that learned behavior and embrace it.

I guess that’s why this blog is still so important to me…even though I battle that thing called presence sometimes, I’m finding that balance. Because I need this outlet to share my passion, to hopefully inspire just one person to move a little more everyday. Anything at all. Just move.