Category Archives: Working Out

Easy Workouts and Peach Oatmeal Yogurt Parfait

Good morning!

I’ve been taking it pretty easy the past few days since my calves were still tight from Saturday’s race as well as pain in my quad and ankles. I’ve been sticking to upper body workouts at the gym and today my calves finally felt better so I did some cardio at the gym.

My quad is still sore so I did really light and easy cardio: 25 minutes on the arc trainer, 20 slow minutes on the treadmill, and 12 minutes on the stationary bike.


All while watching the Kardashians because you have to pass that cardio time somehow. :)

This past weekend, Danny got some new shoes for marathon training and of course I had to get myself a new pair. I found a pair of Nikes for pretty cheap and I decided to get them since I have been wearing my old Nikes for everything and they’re getting some wear on them.

I wore them to the gym today and the kids wanted me to take a picture of their shoes too.


Danny got Brooks Ravenna 6 for his Chicago Marathon training.


I’m debating whether or not I should go to CrossFit tonight. I missed Tuesday so I haven’t been all week but we’re running a 5k on Saturday so I don’t want to be too sore for the race.


I made a delicious breakfast the other day. I used to make this all the time but I haven’t made it in forever – peach oatmeal yogurt parfait.


You can check out the recipe here. It’s really easy and so good. I cut up a peach and mixed it with a little bit of brown sugar and cinnamon. Then I added oatmeal to the bottom of the jar, added the peaches, a few blueberries, and topped it with plain Greek yogurt mixed with one stevia packet.

The warm oatmeal and cold yogurt make such a delicious creamy combo!

Have a great day!

  • What’s your favorite brand of shoes?
  • Favorite breakfast?


Filed under Breakfast, Fitness, Working Out

Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago

The Humana Rock ’n’ Roll race event is coming up this weekend in Chicago and I am so excited to be running it! Danny and I will be running the 5k which takes place on Saturday. The 10k and half marathon take place on Sunday.

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Humana is the sponsor of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Race series and they really believe in making health and fitness fun and something that everyone can do. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series is a great way to inspire people to get up, get moving, and have fun while doing it! They offer three different race distances so you can run no matter what your fitness level is!

Humana is working towards its goal of a 20% improvement in health of the communities they serve by 2020 and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon is a great example of how they’re working towards that goal. Not only do they want to improve health and wellness but they also help charities a very unique way – with a Charity Miles app!

Charity Miles App:


You can download the free Charity Miles app on your Android or iPhone, select one of twenty-five charities, and for every mile during the race, Charity Miles will donate 25 cents to the selected cause. How cool is that?! You’re running anyway, so why not help a charity of your choice while doing it?!

All you do is pick your charity and then choose outdoor walk/run, indoor walk/run or outdoor bike.


Another great way Humana is helping people become active is to involve family and friends. Everyone can benefit from a good support system. Long distances races can be especially hard so Humana has a HumanaVitality Cheer Squad located at mile 12 which is known as “Humana’s Inspiration Mile”.  Displayed on a digital billboard are personalized cheers from family and friends for that extra boost at the finish line.

Runners, family, and friends can share words of encouragement by visiting or by checking out the Humana booth at the Health and Fitness expo. Along with the digital billboard, Humana’s own personal Cheer squad will line the last mile of the race to provide motivation for that last push towards the finish line. How awesome is that?! Sometimes all you need is that extra cheering and support to get you through a race.

I’m lucky that I have a very supportive family that runs together and supports each other:


Humana will be at the Health and Fitness expo in Chicago this weekend for the race. They will have lots of health and well-being activities including:

  • Participant’s stories – this gives people the opportunity to share their health & wellness stories and their motivation for participating in the Rock ‘n’ Roll race event.
  • Charity Miles app assistance – to make sure every mile is logged for charity.
  • Free biometric screenings to make sure body is running fit.
  • Humana Health and Well-Being quiz to test your knowledge and educate you about healthy living.

I am really looking forward to running the Rock ‘n’ Roll 5k this weekend! I think it will be a fun race that Danny and I can just enjoy running together. Danny and I have only ran a couple of races together – the last one being right before my hip surgery last year.

Last race we ran together:


Danny just has to slow his pace down quite a bit when he runs with me. I’m not quite as fast as him. :) Also, why do I always stand with my leg looking all crazy?!

I also look forward to using the Charity Miles app and seeing everything Humana has to offer.

  • Would having extra support at the end of a race help you get through it? I know whenever someone cheers for me, I always run a little faster! :)
  • What’s your favorite race?

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Humana.

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Filed under Running, Working Out

The Worst Race

Splash N Dash 5k: 3     Heather: 0


Yesterday I ran the Splash N Dash 5k and it was my worst run to date. Terrible. I have officially been defeated by the Splash N Dash three times. It wasn’t my worst time-wise but it was the most pain I’ve ever been in while running.

Before the race:


The course was through the forest preserve on limestone. There was small hills, bumpy terrain, and brides to run over. The first mile started out okay but by the second mile, I was in pain. Although my calves have been okay lately, I wore my calves sleeves in case. I have compartment syndrome so my calves are always tight.


By the second mile, my calves were rock hard, my ankle hurt, and my quad was very painful. However, I had a brand-new pain this time – my shins. Damn. Really?! I really wanted to give up and walk. My goal for this race was to run the whole thing without having to walk like I did the previous year I ran it. I was able to run the whole entire thing even if that meant an incredibly slow jog at times. At least there’s that.

I couldn’t believe how much pain I was in running. I was able to finish the race and the photographer was there to capture all the pain showing in my face.


It was a terrible race and I refused to let Danny take my picture after the race. I was frustrated with myself and with my body for not being able to run something as short as three miles.

The whole day after the race was terrible – my calves stayed tight, my quad was on fire, and my shins killed. I couldn’t walk up and down the stairs without a lot of pain. I finally came to the realization that I have shin splints. I have never had shin splints before and I can’t believe how uncomfortable and painful they are.

After researching a little bit about shin splints, I am actually surprised that I haven’t had them sooner. They often happen with compartment syndrome and hip issues. Yup, that’s me.

So, I spent the day icing and elevating my shins/ankles and taking ibuprofen. I think it was the uneven running terrain that left me in so much pain. My final time for the 5k was 32:55.

This morning, they still hurt a lot. And I can’t even talk about my quad pain without wanting to rip my leg off. I went to the gym this morning to foam roll and stretch. I worked on upper body – biceps and back. Then I foam rolled and stretched some more.

And of course, I have another 5k this weekend. I know, I know. You’re probably thinking I’m crazy. But I already committed to running the upcoming race as a FitFluential Ambassador. It’s the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series in Chicago. Luckily, I am only running the shortest distance, the 5k. Hopefully, the course is a little flatter, and Danny will be running it with me to make sure I’m okay and don’t overdo it. After that, I think I’ll take a nice break from running. :)

I plan on taking it easy this week, focusing on upper body workouts and the stationary bike, and foam rolling and stretching. We’ll see how Saturday goes!

Have a great day!

  • Have you ever had shin splints?




Filed under Fitness, Running, Working Out

My Legs Are Tired

Good morning! Happy Saturday!


On Wednesday, I worked on legs and glutes at the gym. Thursday  morning, I ran sprints on the treadmill and went to CrossFit that night. That probably wasn’t the best idea because that was the hardest CrossFit workout of the day yet. My legs were just so tired!

There was a lot of us in class so the instructor said we could row 1000 meters or run a mile. Only one person volunteered to run the mile so of course the instructor asked me if I want to run the mile. I had to politely decline because my legs were sore and I wanted them (and my hip/quad!!) to have time to recover for tomorrow’s 5k. So, I rowed the 1000 meters instead and let me tell you, that’s no picnic either.

On Friday morning, I went to the gym and worked on delts with a little bit of ab work. I only did upper body so my legs could take a little rest.

I also made sure to stretch and foam roll. Post workout, I had my favorite Premier Protein shake – 30 grams of protein!



After the gym yesterday, Jaden had a check-up for his ear tubes. And I actually wore real clothes for once. :)


The doctor said the tubes looks excellent. They gave him a hearing test and said his hearing is perfect. Yay!


He was really excited for the hearing test because they gave him a button to push. Kids love buttons.

After the doctor, we stopped and picked up my race packet for tomorrow.


As I mentioned, I have run this race twice before and wasn’t happy with my performance either time. Of course, tomorrow is supposed to be hot with 93% humidity and possible thunderstorms. Great.

My plan for today is just to take it easy, stretch, foam roll, and drink lots of water! Danny has a 12 mile run this morning for his marathon training and then we’re going to Dick’s Sporting Goods so he can look for some new running shoes!

  • What are your plans for today?
  • Marathon runners: any tips for hydrating on long runs? Do you carry water?




Filed under Fitness, Running, Working Out

Eating and Working Out

Good morning!


I recently bought these Better Oats and I love them!


They only have 100 calories per packet and I love to top them with about a half tablespoon of peanut butter. Peanut butter makes everything better.



This morning at the gym I did a glute/leg workout which included:

  • squats
  • barbell step-ups
  • barbell hip thrusts
  • deadlifts
  • split squats
  • weight hip bridges
  • single leg hip bridges

I just realized that I forgot to add donkey kicks to my workout this morning! I’ll have to add them next time.

I also foam rolled and stretched for 20 minutes.

I decided to sign up for another 5k this weekend. I wasn’t planning on doing it since I just ran a 5k last weekend but I really want to run this race. The race is the Dash ‘n Splash 5k and it’s literally three minutes from my house.

I have run this small race twice – in 2012 and 2013. (I didn’t run last year because of my hip surgery.) This is the race that always defeats me. The first year I ran it, my time was a lot longer than I wanted it to be. The next year I ran it, the weather was incredibly hot and humid. I had to take walk breaks the last mile and I just wasn’t happy with that.

So this will be my third year running it and I am determined to run the whole race and get a decent time. And of course it’s supposed to be 90 degrees and humid on Sunday. Great.

I’m making to stretch, foam roll, and drink lots of water this week so I can be okay for the 5k on Sunday. We’ll see how it goes!

Post workout selfie because why not?! :)



Lunch today was the same thing that I had for dinner a couple of nights ago.

I made a salad with a summer chopped salad mix, grilled chicken, and tortilla strips. I topped it with Bolthouse Farms salsa ranch dressing. I seriously love all of the Bolthouse Farms yogurt dressings!


This afternoon, I’m donating blood for a blood drive at the gym and then I’ll just be doing some stuff around the house.

Have a great day!

  • Did you workout today?
  • Favorite salad dressing?
  • Favorite breakfast?




Filed under Breakfast, Fitness, Lunch, Running, Working Out

Fourth of July Weekend!

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend!


We went to my grandparent’s house on Saturday for a cookout.



I made orzo spinach salad.


I haven’t made this in a long time and I’m so glad I did because it was delicious!

My grandma made a really cool patriotic cake.



We ate and visited with my family. The kids had fun playing and lounging on the hammock.



My grandma bought ribbon things for the kids to play with but I think the adults had more fun playing with them. :)



In the evening, we headed to a nearby town to watch the firework show.



On Sunday morning, Danny and I went to the gym together. We haven’t been to the gym together in awhile because our weekends have been so busy and Danny’s been marathon training.

We did some back exercises including inverted rows on the Smith machine.


These inverted rows are hard!

After the gym, we took the kids to a local pool to swim.



We finally had some nice and sunny weather! They rest of the day was spent getting some things done around the house and relaxing!

Have a great day!

  • What did you do this weekend?




Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Recipes, Working Out

Firecracker 5k

Happy Independence Day!!

A few days ago, I decided to sign up for a Fourth of July Firecracker 5k. I haven’t been running a lot lately but I thought it would be fun to run a holiday race. I’ve only run one other holiday race and that was a Turkey Trot a couple of years ago but it was pretty miserable since I hate the cold.

Since the gym was closed today and I thought it would be a good way to still get a workout in and holiday races always seem a lot more laid back and fun.

I ran the 5k and Jaden ran the 100 yard kid’s dash.


Danny and Jacob came for support and to take pictures. :) Danny is in the middle of training for the Chicago Marathon and he had 11 miles on his plan for today. So after the 5k, he came home and ran 11 miles.



The race was about 25 minutes away from our house and it was a really small race. They had a bounce house and bubbles for the kids which was a nice way to keep them occupied.


Packet pick-up was only on race day but since the race was so small, we only had to wait a minute or two to pick up our stuff.

There were indoor bathroom which is always nice and the race started right at 8:00 am. The weather was absolutely perfect and not too humid which is lucky for July.

I started out the race feeling great. My first two miles were awesome. I felt really good which is the complete opposite of how I felt during my last 5k in May.


I was feeling good but once I hit the two mile marker it was like a switch flipped in my body. Suddenly I felt terrible. My hip was like nope. My ankle was like nope. And my lungs were like nope.

Sometimes this is so frustrating because it’s only three miles. Three miles and I’m dying after two miles.

The final mile was a huge struggle for me. I really had to push through and keep going. It seemed like the world’s longest mile. But finally the finish line was in sight.

I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 30:54. For how much I struggled with that last mile, I’ll take it. Also, I am almost a year to the day post hip surgery so I am happy with where I’m at with running. Running will always be hard for me but I do what I can.


I walked around for a few minutes after the race to catch my breath. Then Jaden and I found a giant water fan to stand in. Hooking up a hose to a fan is genius.


The kid’s dash started after the 5k finished. I’m kind of surprised that they didn’t do them before the race because the kid’s dash takes less than three minutes. Instead, they had to wait until every single runner and walker finished the 5k. It was fine, I’m just surprised they did it that way.

Jaden ran the 100 yard dash and got a ribbon at the end.


Post race there was bagels, apples, bananas, Clif bars, water, and coffee. Too bad the coffee was freezing cold. Jimmy Johns was also there giving away free sandwiches.

Overall, it was a great race. It was small but well organized. It started right on time and the course was really nice. I would definitely run it again.

After the race, we stopped at Dunkin’ Donut for some iced coffee.


This afternoon, we’re going to my grandparent’s house for a cookout and fireworks!

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!




Filed under Race, Running, Working Out

Weekend Recap and Ear Tube Surgery

Good morning! I feel like I haven’t around in forever! It’s been a very busy past few days.

Let’s start with the weekend.


For the past 12 weeks, I have been training a group of ten wonderful people for a Biggest Loser competition at my gym. The program concluded Saturday morning with a final weigh-in, measurements, and a 5k. My team was the early morning 5:45 am team and I think getting their workout in and done so early helped keep them so motivated. They did amazing!

Out of three teams, my team came in first as the team with the most body fat percentage lost. Out of thirty people, I had the second and third place individuals with the most body fat lost on my team. I also had the first and second place 5k winners on my team. I was so proud of my team and how dedicated and hard-working they were.

They also met with a nutritionist once a week and that’s the part that’s really important. You can work out in the gym all day but if you’re eating like crap, you’re not going to lose any weight. My team had a great nutritionist to educate and help them.

My team’s nutritionist and I ran the 5k together to help keep everyone encouraged and motivated. I haven’t ran a 5k in awhile so it was quite difficult for me. I can lift weights all day at the gym but running will always be my weakness.

Afterwards, I picked up Jaden from my mom’s house and we went to Whole Foods for some sushi.


I also found this zero-calorie lemonade which was amazing. As much as I like water, sometimes I like to change it up!

On Saturday night, Danny and Jacob came home from Canada after being gone for eight days!  They were fishing with my dad, brother, and grandpa. Jaden and I were sooo happy to have them home!

Fishing in Canada:



Saturday night, we just hung out at home, listening to stories about their week in Canada.


Since Danny was in Canada for Father’s Day, we decided to have Father’s Day again on Sunday. Jaden and I made French toast, eggs, hash browns, and bacon for breakfast. Then we all went mini golfing.


The weather was finally beautiful for a change.

Danny also was so sweet and surprised me with a pair of Victoria’s Secret sweatpants that I have been in love with. And suckers. I have an intense love for suckers.


I’ll take workout clothes and sweatpants over flowers any day. :)


Yesterday, Jaden was scheduled for surgery to get tubes in his ears and to get his adenoids rechecked. He had his tonsils and adenoids out about four years ago but the doctor thought maybe his adenoids grew back. I didn’t even realize this was possible but I guess it is.

Jaden was the fourth surgery of the day and we got to the hospital around 9 am. Luckily, the doctor was running ahead of schedule and Jaden had his surgery earlier than planned.


The tube surgery is very routine and fast. But since they were also checking his adenoids, there was a possibility that he would need an IV and a longer surgery. We wouldn’t know until the doctor used a scope to check them.

Jaden did so amazing. He wasn’t really scared and I think it’s because he’s so sick of ear pain and was just ready to have the surgery done. They gave him some medicine to help him relax and then they took him back to surgery.

We were in the waiting room for literally 15 minutes when the doctor came out. I initially thought something was wrong but they doctor said the surgery was complete. I couldn’t believe how fast it was! They checked his adenoids and said there was a tiny bit a growth but not enough to make a difference if they were removed so he only needed the tube surgery.

We waited another few minutes and the nurse came out and said Jaden was in recovery and he was awake and eating a popsicle. She said they would wheel him into a room in about 10-15 minutes and then we could go back and see him.

After about ten minutes we were able to go see him and he was doing great! Luckily, Jaden has never had a problem with anesthesia.


He did tell the nurse that his ears hurt a little when he woke up so they gave him some Tylenol. I gave him a big hug and then all he wanted to do was eat. He ate pudding, cookies, and apple juice. He was a little out of it from being under anesthesia and it was kind of funny. He kept trying to take his own blood pressure and was saying funny things.

After about a half an hour, we were able to take him home. They said he should just take it easy and relax the rest of the day even if he felt fine. We got home and a couple of hours later, he was totally fine. He wanted to go jump on the trampoline and was mad that we told him he had to stay inside and relax.

At one point, he looked at me and said, “Mommy, I can hear you now.” It made me feel so sad that he went so long with ear problems. I brought him to the doctor every single time he had an ear infection and got him antibiotics. He had multiple hearing tests done which all came back fine. The doctor always told me that he was okay and they usually gave tubes to younger kids since ear infections could affect their speech.

I am so glad that we took him to an ENT and they were able to get him into surgery within a few weeks. Lesson is always trust your gut instinct, no matter what the doctor says.


I also managed to fit in some workouts over the past few days! I did a 50 minutes session on the Stairmaster that left me tired and sweaty!


I’m telling you, if you want to sweat, get on the Stairmaster!! I usually alternate between fast and slow for 20-45 minutes depending on how my hip feels. I also did a few planks and foam rolled.


Life is back to normal today. Jaden is doing great. Danny is back to work. And I am teaching Women on Weights later this afternoon and then going to CrossFit tonight.

Have a wonderful day!


Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Running, Working Out

Foam Rolling

Good morning!

Yesterday morning, I had my normal oats for breakfast but I put them in an almost empty peanut butter jar to eat. The jar had about half a tablespoon or so of peanut butter left in it so I just cooked the oats in the microwave and then added them to the peanut butter jar.


Oatmeal with peanut butter is amazing. Actually peanut butter makes most things better – french toast, apples, crackers, chocolate, pretzels. :)

Since I went to CrossFit on Tuesday night, I just decided to stick to cardio at the gym on Wednesday morning.

I ran/walked 3.5 miles on the treadmill. I haven’t gone that far in a long time! Unfortunately, my Achilles tendon still bothers me when I run so I’m glad that I cut back on running lately but I still like to run shorter distances sometimes.


I make sure to foam roll almost every time I go to the gym. My calves are always tight, my quads are usually sore, and my glutes get sore, so I really focus on foam rolling those three areas.


If you’ve never used a foam roller before it’s a great way to loosen muscle knots. Foam rolling is also called myofascial release and when you use a foam roller to apply force to a muscle knot, the muscle fibers go from a bundled position into a straighter alignment.

When you apply pressure to a muscle that is sore or tight, you stimulate the Golgi tendon organ and create autogenic inhibition. This decreases the excitment in the muscle spindle, releasing the tension in the muscle. Basically, foam rolling helps break up knots in the muscle.

I usually start rolling back on forth on my calves until I find a spot that is really sore or tight. Then I apply pressure to this spot for at least 30 seconds. It takes at least 30 seconds for autogenic inhibition to kick in. The same goes for stretching -hold stretches for at least 30 seconds.

I usually foam roll all the tight spots on my calves, quads, and sometimes glutes, then I stretch. I break up the knots first with the foam roller and then I make sure to stretch them out.


I also have a foam roller at home to use! You can find them for less than $20.

Foam rolling doesn’t always feel the greatest. It might hurt slightly depending on the muscle knots but it will really help later so stick with it! You can also use other object like a tennis ball to help break up knots.

When I was running and foam rolling at the gym, Jaden was taking a cooking class downstairs. My gym is also a park district so it worked out that his cooking classes were in the same building!

20150622_124651 (1)

Jaden loves to cook. He went to a breakfast and lunch cooking class and today he’ll be taking a dinner cooking class.

Last night, we went to my mom’s house and out to dinner with her to celebrate her birthday!


We’re off to Jaden’s last cooking class. Have a great day and don’t forget to foam roll! :)

  • Do you foam roll or stretch?
  • Favorite thing to put peanut butter on?



Filed under Breakfast, Fitness, Working Out

Birthdays, Shoulders, and CrossFit

Good morning!

Happy birthday to my wonderful mom today!


This picture is old but it’s great picture of my mom with her two kids. :)

Tonight, we’re going out to dinner to celebrate! Love you, Mom!

Monday, I did a great cardio workout followed by a shoulder workout at the gym. I did four sets of 20 reps of three shoulder exercises. Sometimes, I’ll use lighter weights but do more sets and reps. It’s good to change things up! The shoulder exercises I did included:

  • bent arm lateral raises
  • upright rows
  • alternating arm front raises

Then I stretched.

IMG_20150622_130027Crazy eyes or what?!

Speaking of changing things up, I’m usually boring with my breakfast choices. I either have egg whites and yogurt or oatmeal. Yesterday, I decided to do something different and I made an egg white omelet with sauteed spinach, red onions, and feta cheese. It was a nice change from my normal boring egg whites.


I also had a whole wheat English muffin with peanut butter. Yum!

Last night, I went to CrossFit and Jaden came with me.


CrossFit is like a giant playground to an eight year old.


He loves the rings.

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Yesterday’s CrossFit workout was great and hard, as usual. We practiced deadlifts and then did our workout of the day which included wall ball throws, push-ups, and ring rows. So many push-ups.

Today, we have a few errands to do and then Jaden has a cooking class later this morning.

Have a great day!!

  • What’s your favorite breakfast?
  • What exercise is hard for you?



Filed under Breakfast, CrossFit, Working Out