Recipes and Dumbbells

Last week when I reviewed my New Year’s Resolutions I was surprised to see a few of the little items that I hadn’t gotten to yet.  And so this week I have begun to tackle them!


My Vegan Recipe Book —

I am forever saving vegan recipes that I come across on line, and then printing them out to try.  (I have 2014-03-10 14.48.24even made quite a few of them).  The recipe sheets had just got thrown into the front of an old recipe book which made it difficult to find them again!  I had wanted to put them into an organized binder for quite sometime so I made it one of my goals for this year.  I am happy to report that I finished the binder and2014-03-10 14.48.11 now all the vegan recipes I have collected are easy to find.  I also have them in a folder on my computer arranged by type of food — appetizers, soups, main dishes, etc.  And so, if you are looking for something, let me know, I can send you a copy!

Some great resources for vegan recipes are No Meat Athlete, Forks Over Knives, Mind Body Green and I’m sure there are tons more.  Let me know if you want me to add some of your favorites!


Weights —

2014-03-10 14.35.44And, I finally managed to move my dumbbells upstairs from the basement to where I will actually use them!  This wasn’t a particularly difficult project, I only have a set of 3 lb., 5 lb., 8 lb. and 10 lb. dumbbells, a few body bars, some weighted balls and a small rack to hold them.  It just was a matter of doing it.  This afternoon I had some free time and so I went down to the basement, dusted off the rack and the weights and brought them up a few at a time.  Even better I then did some rows, arm raises, squats and lunges with them!  One of my resolutions this year is to do something every day, even if it is a couple of sets of biceps curls, so having the weights where I can easily access them should be helpful!

Cramming for Fitness

Once again, I find myself cramming for my upcoming fitness events!

After laying low and not doing too much in the line of running or yoga for the past month or so I have signed up for a bunch of events in March.  On Sunday, March 2 I am participating in my 3rd annual Yoga Mala — 3 hours, 108 sun salutations, basically a yoga marathon!  Thn on Friday, Mar 5 I signed up for my yoga studio’s Rock of Ages Groove class.  An hour an a half class to the music of Def Leopard, AC/DC — you name it!  Also in March, I have two 5K races one on March 8 and the other on March 29 as part of the Smuttynose, Will Run for Beer series.  These should be doable on my minimal training as they are only 3.1 miles.  And lastly on March 16 is the annual St. Paddy’s Day 5 miler.  Last year this was a tough race for me as once again I hadn’t been training through the winter!  (You would think I’d learn).

So what have I done to train?  Besides shoveling?  Well I have been eating well and I do get enough sleep, but as far as fitness…

Thus far in February, I’ve been skiing, I’ve run 3-4 miles once each week (4x so far this month), and I’ve been to 2 yoga classes this week and I plan to make 2-3 more before the yoga mala.

I ran a very messy 4 miles on Thursday and hope to run tomorrow and at least once or twice during the upcoming week, and then again once or twice the week prior to the first 5K

As you can see, I’m not too hard on myself!  I should really write a post on how NOT to train.  Wish me luck!

A Spring-Like Run

It was 45 degrees this afternoon so I laced up my running shoes and headed out before the next polar vortex comes.

It was glorious after the cold and snow that we have been experiencing (and will experience again as soon as tomorrow!)…well the weather was glorious, the run was tough and very messy!  It was tough because I haven’t been running much at all this winter (due to the aforementioned weather).  It was messy because the sidewalks were snow and slush covered and the streets were full of puddles!  I figure that while I didn’t do anything for my speed, I did work on agility and balance and I tried to get traction in the snow and leaped (or is it leapt?) over puddles!

But I did manage to achieve on of my goals, I got my ugly, too bright and shinny running shoes nice and dirty.

They look (a little) less gaudy now!

Happy Birthday!

This week my blog is 4 years old! 


 I started the blog in February, 2010 with this post:

I went to the gym today, as a matter of fact I exercised today, for the first time in 38 days.  Will this be the day I restart my fitness-centered life?  Let me back up.  I had been exercising regularly and rigorously for 20 years (minus the last 3 years).  I used to run 20 miles a week, I lifted weights, ran three half marathons, three 10 mile races, and countless 10K and 5K races.  I skied, snowboarded, ice skated, hiked, roller-bladed.  I had a house full of fitness equipment.  I easily exceeded the recommended 10,000 steps a day.

But then I stopped.  A combination of personal issues led me to alter every aspect of my life, including my fitness routine.  I’ve been trying to get back into it ever since.  In the past 3 years I joined 3 different gyms.  In total I’ve gone a total of 7 times  I even started running.  I was up to 4 miles three times a week, but then I stopped.

But, I went to the gym today…

I am happy to report that over the past 4 years I have indeed gotten back into fitness and into healthy eating.  I’ve lost weight, lowered my cholesterol and other health risk factors through exercise and healthy eating.  I’ve run some road races including two half marathons, got back into weight training and started practicing yoga.

This blog is called, Let’s Get in Shape Together, and as the name implies, the blog is meant to encourage you, my readers to also start, or continue, on your own health and wellness journey.  I like to share news and information that I find on healthy living, I try not to get too preachy…. And, I try to adopt the healthy habits that I write about.

If you are a regular reader, you know that I have adopted a near vegan diet, and I have never felt healthier or stronger!  I have several posts on the health advantages of a plant based diet, the health risks of milk and dairy, and the dangers of genetically modified foods.

Lately I’ve begun to change other aspects of my daily life.  I have been using less and less plastic in favor of glass for food storage.  I now use a non-toxic alternative to dryer sheets.  I am even attempting to change my make up and skin care products and make-up to those without toxic chemicals.

I’d love to hear from you on healthy changes you’ve made in your life, or health/wellness goals you have for yourself.




Easy Exercises to Improve Posture

A fellow blogger, Heather Valentine, posted this on her site, One Fit Mother and I thought it was great!  We can do this not only when driving, but also while sitting at our desks — I’m going to give it a try!


Improve Your Posture While Driving


I’ve been thinking a lot about my posture lately. Yours too…and guess what?  We’ve got problems.  I know this without even looking at you because the majority of us spend our time doing things that put our bodies out of optimal alignment.  We sit. Then we plant our weight on our tailbones instead of our sits bones.  We drive.  And we simply don’t walk enough.  As women, we wreak even more havoc on our posture by doing crazy things like having babies and slouching our tired bodies over newborns.  Then we graduate to the forward pull of the blessed Bjorn while chasing around other kidlets a third of our size. And then, eventually, we start wearing heels again.

That’s just life, right?  Yes and no… being aware of how we stand and move can prevent problems that poor posture causes in our bodies.  The obvious being joint pain. Over time the compression from our lack of alignment can cause chronic pain in the back, hips, shoulders, knees and ankles.  Slouching in front of a computer or the wheel of a car will eventually lead to reduced flexibility and compromised muscles.  And this, dear reader, absolutely limits your ability to burn fat and build strength.  Have no fear!  Proper alignment can be corrected and trained.  And a bonus for moms with abdominal separation (Diastasis Recti)  – proper posture greatly improves this condition by reducing the high pressure in your abdomen!

“Okay, Okay, I get it Heather. So how do I stand?” I’m so glad you asked!!  Proper alignment involves stacking the three main cavities of the body – thoracic (upper back), abdominal and pelvic – neatly on top of each other with spaces between these

How to improve your posture while driving with 3 simple and easy steps that will train your abs and strengthen your back.

masses so to speak.  A vertical line should link all axes of the body. Your shoulders should be back and drawn down without your ribs thrusting out.  No Superhero chest.  Your lower abdominals should be drawn in without your butt being tucked under or clenched which pushes your pelvis forward.  And I’m just gonna throw this out there, your knees should not be bent.  Check yourself out in a mirror and then try the corrections.  Chances are you will find it is harder to maintain this alignment than expected.  If you are really intrigued and want to further your self study, this article explains how to analyze your alignment through photographs.  It’s taking selfies to a whole new level…

Anyway, the start of a new week in SoCal equals an abundance of driving and it got me thinking.  What better place to work on posture improvements than waiting at traffic lights, marveling at others’ driving skill sets and listening to “mom, mom, mom, mom…” over and over?  Try these 3 quick and easy steps each time you sit in the car for a week to see and feel the difference in your posture by date night Saturday.

1.  Sit in the driver’s seat of your car.  Sit up straight and tall and create space between your masses by lifting your rib cage out of your pelvis.  Now extend through the crown of your head. Think of a string pulling the top of your head to the roof of your car. Pull your shoulder blades down towards your hips and back towards your spine. Make sure your head is centered over your body and not out in front.  These actions should get you sitting on the fleshy part of your butt (sits bones) thus relieving unnecessary pressure from your tailbone.

2. Take a deep breath and pull your bellybutton in tight towards your spine as you exhale and hold it.  Lock those lower abs in and don’t let them go. From here just breathe normally.  You should feel your abdominals working as you breathe from this position!  This might feel strange at first.  So, if your breath feels shallow, go deep.  As you draw in air imagine filling your lungs while expanding your ribs sideways. And slow down your breath!  Ahhh.  Side effects of this type of breathing can be more oxygen flow to your brain and feeling calmer while you are out in the thick of your day.

3.  This is your new strong and beautiful core….your literal pillar. Your vertical structure of steel used to support your frame.  From here adjust your seat and mirrors. Your shoulders should stay in their sockets and your arms should move around your pillar instead of using your upper back doing the work.  Check your posture as you drive.  If you can see out of the mirrors, you have great alignment and your core muscles are activated and working.  If you can’t see out of the mirrors, you know you’ve let go and you are back to slouching in your seat.

Congratulations! You are now training your abs using isometrics as well as getting pressure off of joints and organs that don’t need to be bothered.

Like the way this feels? Test it out every time you sit at your desk or the dinner table. Start thinking about being drawn in with your shoulders back and down when you are walking and running errands.   Now, go tackle your week ahead with your beautiful posture and let me know how it goes.