Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bad habits...

Over the past few weeks-almost two months (if I'm being honest)- I've taken back on two terrible habits that I REALLY need to break:

1. Eating SUGAR!!
2. Skipping morning workouts.

For me, number one is harder to break than number two. It is the second day of the week and I've found myself indulging (almost gorging) on sugary things. I've said it before...Yes, I eat CLEAN. BUT, just because it's a CLEAN candybar or cookies- it's still JUNK for you! 

Morning workouts are a whole other story! From October-January, I went to the studio nearly EVERY morning without batting an eye. I started my fitness journey by going to morning classes and it was just the norm to go. Now, however, it's BEYOND PAINFUL to get up and go. I don't know why. I can't put my finger on it. I LOVE working out. I LOVE Fit Girl Studio. I LOVE my classes and fellow FGS members. But, I haven't been able to get myself to the studio. 
...This week... this week is different. It might only be Tuesday but I've gotten my butt up and worked out at 6 a.m. EVERY day this week (errr...I mean, two days this week). I'm making a change. Even if my body is totally fighting it. I am building a healthy habit again.

As far as the sugar- my mom put it quite accurately when she texted me (in response to my venting about being disappointed in myself) these words, "You have to get your head together!"

It's MIND over MATTER. I KNOW I can do it. I don't have to eat that sugar or go on a hunt to find a gluten-free sweet treat... I need to break the habit. Personally, I can't just indulge every once in a while. It throws me off completely. 


I'm a work in progress; that's for sure!

What are your bad habits that you just can't seem to break?! Or, what healthy habits are you trying so deperately to make stick? 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

I love running and FGS! Finding Balance

...and FGS

THE weekend of the the year has finally arrive-Beautiful weather is upon us!

It's the first weekend of the year that we can finally sigh, "YES! Warmer weather is finally here!"

I was SO excited to run outside this weekend and then I had to sit down and remind myself of something. While I will always be a runner. I love running and it is part of who I am. I do NOT want to fall back into the runner's-rut that I was in prior to starting at Fit Girl Studio.

Before starting at FG, I had just finished my first marathon. I was able to run for hours and feel pretty good. I had endurance and my cardio health was obviously great. However, I was still really overweight and had zero upper body strength. I wasn't toned and needed to find my way. I realized how much barre could transform my body and I was BEYOND thankful to FG for helping me learn what I could do WITH running AND total body toning. I realized that just like exercise and eating right have to go together...so do cardio and strength training/toning.

So, as I remember back to this...and warm weather finds us... I need to have a game plan. I LOVE spin, but I know that I am going to be running at least 3-5 times a week. I should probably scale back on my  spin classes and really focus on a huge part of what Fit Girl offers- barre and sculpt fusion yoga. I am excited to see how far I can go once I put these two together -my passion for running and my love for barre. I'll keep you posted on how I am at balancing my workouts!

Have a WONDERFUL weekend Fit Girls!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I LOVE MY READERS! We're all in progress...


Living a healthy/fit/clean life in an unhealthy/unfit/messy world is not easy. Sure, in theory it's easy- workout, make clean foods and stick to a plan. But, it's not the reality. We are all living, breathing, science experiments and every person is different.

I have great days and HORRIBLE days. Some days I feel "good" and some I feel out of shape. I get hard on myself and I sabotage my own fitness/health journey (sub-consciously of course). I try to learn and research everything I can. I plan out my meals and workouts. But,sometimes it just doesn't go as planned. I hate feeling like I've let myself down but (truthfully-I know it's totally bad to think this way...) I also hate feeling like I've let my dietician and the instructors at my studio (my friends and mentors) down. Sometimes I try my BEST, sometimes I tell myself that I'm trying my best and sometimes I'm just trying.... I'm a work in progress. I make a lot of mistakes and I am the only one who can figure out how to get myself out of them. Even if I ask for help, there's no one else who can DO my LIFE for me. I'm a work in progress... a FIT GIRL IN PROGRESS!

These messages came to me today from readers- one about my recipes and one about my weightloss journey and both MADE my day. Thank you SO much for sharing my journey with me. It might be a crazy one- but it's mine...and I hope that I can help some of you along the way ;)


In regards to a recipe that I posted on FGiP:

Dear Fit Girl in Progress,
I wanted to make sloppy joes, you know easy - it's baseball season. I am grain and dairy free and wanted a paleo friendly version. I had tried another recipe about a month ago. It was bland and flat. After a quick google search, your recipe for Sloppy Jills came up. I made them tonight. Amazing. Your taste buds speak to me. I ate this over spaghetti squash - so good. I will make this again, and again, and again! Keep the fantastic recipes coming!
Lynn J.

In regards to this blog post about my journey:
Hey Fitgirl,
I'm Julia and I live in Australia and I found your blog and love it. I've been working my way through all your missives from the Fit Girl progress journey and this one struck a chord. the description of photos, being the fat one, and cardis in different colours is me too. But not any more. I lost a significant amount of weight over the last 4 years and now I've hit a plateau because of migraines, and the last 5 kilos of stubborn tummy fat. I do 4 dance classes a week and personal training with a gym trainer once a week. I also mostly, eat clean and lean, but sweets and coffee are my fallbacks. The lack of motivation or belief that I can be just fit, athletic and absolutely cute seems still just a little beyond me and its really bugging me as its preventing me from going to the gym and smashing out a workout (there are boys at that gym and they check my arse out every time). Hmm. If nothing else, its nice to find one other person on the planet who's tackling the problem with a positive attitude towards fitness! 

Monday, April 22, 2013

One workout away from a good mood

OK, let's get the complainer/annoying/whiney stuff out of the way: I had a pretty craptastic day. It started out bad, I was tired and annoyed all day and dealing with random drama. So, after work I did something that I haven't done in a while (although I have been eating a lot of sugar...): emotionally ate. I went to the produce market to get some fruits/veggies and then to Whole Foods. In my car, on the way home, I totally full-out binged. NOOOO!!!! I ate a Carol's gluten free cookie and a Swirlz (gluten free/vegan...but soy containing) cupcake-- then some maple covered almonds. Generally clean food? Yes. Absolutely horrible choice? Yes. I don't typically feel "bad" about what I eat anymore. If i want something, I eat it. But when you do something like binge or eat a bunch of junk just because...it's a pretty crappy feeling. I came home and wanted to cry. I told my husband how miserable I was and that I thought I'd just stay in on this beautiful afternoon/evening and lay in bed (and cry).  I was annoyed because I spent too long grocery shopping that I missed sculpt yoga and barre- AND spin was full!

Then...my day turned around!!

I checked the Fit Girl Studio app one more time and saw that there was an opening in spin for 6:30. The clock read 6:22. I have 8 minutes to change, RUN to the studio and get on the cycle. And THAT my friends is EXACTLY what I did. I pushed myself harder than I knew I had energy for and left feeling proud and accomplished.

I forgot to mention that I got an email today about spin instructor certification training. I immediately signed up and although it wasn't exactly a top priority in my budget- I'm STOKED to be getting instructor training and taking a step towards accomplishing one of my goals for 2013! WoopWoop!

Let me tell you ALL...don't EVER forget that...

You're only one WORKOUT away from a good mood :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Day of Rest

Let's start this off with by saying that my goal this week was only one thing:
I had a goal to wake up 5 days a week this week and go to morning workouts.

On Wednesday, I was off of work so I didn't go to my 6a.m. class. Instead, I went to a spin class in the evening. I didn't feel bad about it though because I still worked out. But, last night I was up most of the night because of our horrible thunderstorms. I woke up at 4:45 a.m. again and I realized that the park was flooded and the lightening was downright scary. So, I canceled my 6 a.m. barre class. I felt bad about it all day and intended on working out this evening. However, I was too tired that I just wanted to sleep. Naturally, for me, I felt guilty for not working out and sticking to my plan. 

I decided to stop feeling guilty and remind myself that I've worked out the past 5 days consistently and I'm climbing back to the top. I took a nice nap, relaxed and made a healthy home-cooked dinner for my husband and myself. And... I didn't feel bad for my day of rest!

...with that said, I will be getting my butt to spin at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning.

Do you have a specific rest-day?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Avocado, mushroom & onion burgers

I don't have the best pictures of these but I had some grassfed beef and I realized that I've never really made burgers before. I either get them pre-formed and my husband grills them (only in the summer in Chicago) or I make frozen turkey burgers. So, I decided to give it a whirl-making burgers on the stove, that is. I made 4 mini-burgers (1 lb would've made 6 but I made a bigger burger with the remaining for my husband) and they were delish! If I could've, I most certainly would've grilled them.

One more note: I "stuffed" my burgers but could you easily use the add-ons for topping your burger instead.


  • 1 lb of grassfed organic ground beef
  • hamburger seasoning
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1/2 cup of onions

I mixed all of the ingredients into my ground beef and then cooked them over medium/high heat for about 5 minutes on each side (they were thick so they took longer). I'm the amateur at burgers, so cook 'em up the way you like the best! haha
I served my burgers over a bed of lettuce, added more mushrooms, onions and even topped with a fried egg (the former-vegetarian in me is dyingggggg).

Paleo Chocolate Crunchies

I simply can't think of a title good enough to describe the deliciousness of these sweet treats. They are SO good that I made a tiny batch this time (it's the second time that I've made them and I made 1/4 of the recipe) in order to help with portion control- haha.

(this yields a large portion of about 15-20 "crunchies")

  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of almond butter
  • 1/3 cup of raw honey
  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil (I use a bit less to make them less messy and hold up a bit better)
  • 1 cup of Coconut Flakes (I crumble them to make them a bit smaller)
  • 1 cup of pecan pieces
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon (eyeball it)
  • Salt (a sprinkle on top of each finished "crunchie" before you let it cool


  1. melt chocolate, almond butter and honey on the stove top over medium heat
  2. Add coconut flakes, pecan pieces and cinnamon to the mixture
  3. Turn down the heat and mix a final few times
  4. spoon mixture onto a baking tray or even into molds (I used my infamous heart shaped mold the second time that I made it. They popped out very easily)
  5. sprinkle just a bit of salt over each crunchie
  6. Set in the freezer for 20-30 minutes or until solid
  7. ENJOY!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Paleo microwave chocolate cake!

...no but seriously. I made chocolate cake...in a mug..in the microwave. AND it was:
-Gluten/Wheat free
-Dairy free
-Nut free



  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1tbsp+2 tsp of cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt (I would omit next time)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 3 tbsp. coconut milk (if you drink dairy, regular milk would be fine)
  • 1 tbsp apple sauce
  • 1 egg
  • chocolate chips (optional)


  • Mix all dry ingredients
  • Mix in all wet ingredients
  • Cook in the microwave for 1-2 minutes 
  • Top with additional chocolate chips or nut butter (optional)


 ...for newbies and avid spinners alike!

Head up, eyes forward (or closed) and chin up
-as soon as you look downward on the cycle your entire body starts to lose correct posture. Start with holding your head high and proud!

Shoulders down and back
-physically do exactly what you read , "shoulders down and back.." It will help keep tension away from your beck and shoulders.

Feet flat (toes should not be pointed forward)
Pointing your toes can cause serious damage to your ankles. It also works the front park of your legs- which from my experience- most people don't care to work out the front of their calves ;). Keep those keep flat and work those calf muscles, baby!

Back straight
- it bugs me so much (mostly because it looks painful) when people crunch up, curve their backs and hunch over their cycle! Ouch! You're holding tension in your shoulders and back. You WILL be sore after if you do this. Keep yourself long and lean!

Watch your resistance!
-too much and you're straining your knees. I've done it. It kills later. Resistance should feel challenging but never HURT, if you don't put on enough resistance, your heart rate will slow and you're not getting your best workout in!

Use your abs!
-use your abs to help hold you up. Never rely on your arms to carry you. Weight should always be in your legs and supported by your lovely abs!

- this should be a given BUT... Each time you take a recovery break make sure to drink water and keep yourself going strong.

Sprint with resistance
-I KNOW that it's more enticing to sprint with low resistance but you shouldn't...for a few reasons. Sprinting without resistance puts a lot of work on your knees and you can find yourself spinning out of control-quite literally. Additionally, you're not getting the benefits of the cardio workout if you're just spinning away on air (without a resistance).

and most importantly:
Spinning should be a FUN workout and never painful! Take it to YOUR limit and get a great workout in!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Perfect song for JUMPS!

Thanks Liz for showing me the most amazing song during spin which was PERFECT for jumps!

Great workout this morning!

Barre with Mindy!

I took my first barre class with our new Fit Girl, Mindy! My cousin has taken classes with Mindy at another studio and have me a heads up on how amazingly killer has workouts are.

As my readers know, I've been slacking hardcore in the #barre department ! I was in for a treat!

Mindy used my most loved and hated "prop" for the entire class.. The little green ball! She Also reminded us that the ball is there to add challenge and never make it easier . I had to laugh, because although that was a totally new concept to some... My body knew the truth of this quite well!

I'd have to say that the abs section was the most challenging. The reason? We worked our legs SO hard during class that it was difficult to even hold my legs in tabletop or straight up during c curve sit-ups. But, I did it.

If you're up for a challenging workout with the feeling of immediate results (shaking legs, sore arms and abs on fire) then hit up Mindy's class in Lincoln Park or Evanston!

Ps: welcome to Fit Girl Studio, Mindy!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Important meetings!

(Preface: I'm not one to talk, because I DID cancel my workouts today after coming home with a migraine and crashing. BUT, this is my intention and what I also STRIVE to do... sigh... Man! I sure hope my readers appreciate my honestly and clearness ;)

I saw this quote and it reminded me of the very first time i heard it, back in the fall. Working out isn't the easiest thing for us all. Even when you LOVE your workouts, sometimes life gets busy or you hit a bump in the road (achem- me!! at the moment!!!) where you just can't seem to stay on track. If you look at your workouts as IMPORTANT MEETINGS then you're a lot less likely to cancel. Knowing that my Fit Girl Family expects to see my shining face at classes (usually) makes me get up and head to class despite how tired I might be feeling.

If you have trouble sticking to a plan- grab a friends, schedule a firm "date" and DON'T CANCEL! Remind each other that it's an IMPORTANT MEETING to get your fitness on and that neither of you can cancel...hold each-other accountable!

I know that I can do it if I just get back at it and stick to my plan. It's a daily struggle at the moment, for me, but I'm working through it and I know I can get back on top! And as for you, you rock! I know you can do it too, fit girl!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"I would've been tired in an hour anyway..."

These words came out of my mouth, right after the owner of Fit Girl Studio said "Hello!" this morning. Well, I mean...I did say, "Hey! Good morning!" FIRST. Then, I said, "I figured I would still be tired in an hour anyway, so I really should just get up and come workout." And THAT my fellow Fit Girls...THAT...is what I did this morning at 6:00 a.m. I got up and got my pretty little butt to the studio for cardio barre.

It might not seem like that big of a deal. It might not seem post-worthy. But, I assure you- it was huge for me. I set goals for myself this week of:
1. PLAN my meals out
3. Go to MORNING (6am) workouts.

Today, I accomplished goal 3 already and just need to stick to plan for the remainder of the day! Woop Woop!

What are YOUR goals for the week? How are you going to accomplish them? Stick with it, fit girls, you can do it!

Have a happy, healthy and fit day!


Monday, April 8, 2013

Easy Baked in the oven: hard "boiled" eggs

This recipe is as simple and easy as the post! Perfect for a pre or post workout, breakfast or snack!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Life gives you lemons...

I've had a MILLION reasons why I haven't had success in my fitness and nutrition goals lately. Am I far from my goals? No. Am I far from sticking to my plan? No. But, there are a few things that I've realized today as I went yet another day without working out...

Yes, we all need rest days. I couldn't do my cardio with stitches in my foot and leg. But, I could've done abs or arms. Yes, I need to take time off when I get the flu. But, it's not an excuse to start eating anything I want. Don't use things in your life as a crutch. If you need, jot down a quick note of what you CAN DO even with your excuse (injury, time, money, work, etc). We can do MUCH more than we think we can- you just need to REALLY want to get it done.

It's ALL of those LITTLE things that pile up together and create who you are, where you're going and if you're going to reach your goals or not. That one piece of candy (even if it's "clean"), that extra ginger ale (after you're already feeling better), that one extra day off (after doing nothing and continuing to do nothing...), circling around to find a close parking spot (instead of just taking the one at the end of the parking lot which would add a bit of extra exercise) and so on and so forth. All of these little (daily) choices make a huge difference in making YOU the BEST YOU possible. DON'T EVER DOUBT THAT!

3. FAILURE TO PREPARE is PREPARING TO FAIL (and so is not sticking to the plan)
My biggest problem lately (aside from using medical excuses that drag on) is NOT planning. I was SUCH a great planner for MONTHS and I saw HUGE improvements. However, when I had my stitches, I got laxed. I started running out for breakfast or lunch. I started relying on snack bars. And while I was still eating "clean", I wasn't eating balanced and my body knew the difference. I got used to regular workouts and just putting in workouts sporadically certainly aren't helping me get to my goals. With that said...don't forget to keep up both ends of this bargain: PLAN and STICK TO THE PLAN!

These tips can be used in ALL arenas of your life (I know that I could use these concepts with more than just the fitness and nutrition aspects of my life)

And on a final note...
When life gives you lemons- make apple juice and leave people wondering how you did it!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spin junkie

Tonight I had the pleasure of taking my first spin class with Ms. Lindsey! I've taken sculpt fusion with her many times but never spin. Linds was high energy in spin which is a total change from the zen like environment in yoga!

I had a moment during spin tonight when I was on a total adrenaline high! I was breathing deep, moanin' and groanin' (sorry to those next to me) , completely soaked and singing along to Beyonce (sorry again) when I thought to myself, "I'm killing it! I came here tonight to work hard and I'm killing it!"

I promise that I will try to take something other than spin tomorrow ;) you know how much I'm a spin junkie! But, I've got to remember to keep it balanced!

Thanks for a great class- see you tomorrow, fit girls!