I Know What’s Missing…

And I think I found the answer.  Thanks Groupon!


It’s no secret that a huge weakness in my workout schedule is strength training.  And since I quit the gym last spring, I have been doing very little lifting.  I still meet with my trainer 2-3 x month and try to go to Hot Yoga weekly, but I have noticed a difference in my strength and metabolism.  So, I have been looking for a new way to get strong without a gym.




I tried a CrossFit class a year ago.  I thought the people were friendly and the workouts challenging.  That specific ‘box’ was just too far from my house and the class times didn’t fit into my schedule.  Fast forward 1 year to a gym-less Jen NEEDING to get back to strength training.  Since I’m not paying a gym membership, my plan is to try out some new and different classes this winter to keep me strong and beat winter boredom.  I knew there was a CrossFit place in the town over, and when I went online to check out their schedule, I found a gym 10 minutes away.  And, Then…I found an awesome Groupon.  For the price of one of my typical training sessions, I got 10!  This was after a few glasses of wine so without even thinking about it, I pulled out my credit card and bought one.




I know enough about CrossFit to have a general idea, but I really wanted to find some nice people and a facility where I felt comfortable.  As expected, the gym was pretty basic.  I got some general information about CrossFit and the Paleo diet from the owner before people started to arrive, each one mentioning the cold.  Once the workout started, we didn’t even notice the cold.  Our warm up was simple but we had ‘Cindy’ waiting for us.




The Monday morning group was really friendly but when the clock started, they got down to business.  I worked hard, doing my pullups with the assistance of the green band, totally frying out my arms with pushups, and getting tips on form for my squats.   Although I finished with the least amount of reps in the group, I was proud for completing the full 20 minutes.  And I definitely felt the effects. I made one quick stop at the store on my way home and had trouble lifting my arm to reach the noodles on the top shelf.  Ah…I’m going to hurt tomorrow, I am sure!




To fuel up before CrossFit and stay warm on this chilly morning, I made baked oatmeal for breakfast (along with my hot water and lemon).




I am a huge fan of this cakey breakfast bar.  I dove right in straight from the oven and the bananas were warm and gooey.




Warning: There is no added sugar in this recipe (perfect for those of you trying to cut back). And I think the blend of spicy pumpkin and sweet banana is a wonderful way to start your day!




But you may want to drizzle on some maple syrup or honey (if desired) or if you plan on sharing with a sweet breakfast crowd.  I was amazed at how filling my baked oatmeal bars were after such a tough workout, and I am looking forward to having leftovers for breakfast throughout the week.  These bars travel well and can be frozen.  I’m hoping to be able to really put my Groupon to use and get to CrossFit 2xweek for the next few weeks.  I think that I can at least do 1xweek adding strength training to my weekly schedule because what can I say, I work harder with someone pushing me.


More classes, I want to try this winter…

Barre Method

Bikram Yoga

Spinning (I used to spin all the time and I miss it!)


Trapeze (this is a reach but I”d do it if I got the chance)



What new new classes have you tried this winter?

What else should I add to my list?



Pumpkin Banana Baked Oatmeal Bars

Based on Peanut Butter and Banana ‘Oats on the Run’

Makes 4 servings



2 cups old-fashioned oats

4 tbsp ground flax

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 1/2 over ripe bananas, mashed

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup almond milk



-Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.

-Combine dry ingredients (oats, baking powder, flax, and spices) in a small bowl.

-Using a mixer, beat the egg, pumpkin, almond milk, and vanilla until smooth. Add in the mashed banana and stir until combined.

-Stir in the oat mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes until edges begin to brown and the middle is set.

-Store in air tight container or freeze individually.


Vegan Option: replace egg with flax egg, omitting the flax from the dry ingredients

Add Ins/Toppings: nuts, dried fruit, coconut, chocolate chips, agave, or smother with peanut or almond butter!

Burpee, Squat, Push, and Sit

I stayed up a little later than usual last night trying to cheer the Bear’s (complete with their backup quarterback) onto a comeback victory against the 49ers.  No such luck for the Bear’s!  It’s a sad turn of events after an impressive start to the season.  Oh, to be a Chicago fan : )  Moving on from football and forward to Thanksgiving…Hooray!  I should warn you ahead of time that my posts may be a little spotty this week.  I am spending some time in the city and at the P’s and have no idea if there will be any time between bites of food to blog.




My schedule has changed a bit allowing me to go in later to work on Tuesday mornings.  Typically, I have been getting in my shorter runs, but I ran 5 miles yesterday and the only run left before Saturday’s half marathon is a Thanksgiving 3 miler.  I’m not so sure when that’s going to happen, but we shall see!  I wasn’t going to run this morning and it’s too chilly to bike and I don’t currently have a gym membership and there are no early Tuesday morning yoga classes, which left me in need of a home workout.  I am not a good home exerciser.  I never have been!  I have piles and piles of workouts pulled out of magazines in hopes of one day being that girl who will bust into lunges during a commercial, but they end up covered in dust before eventually being recycled.


I know that I REALLY need to do more strength training, so I had high hopes when I discovered this easy at home workout on Jess’s Blonde Ponytail blog last night.  It looked doable, challenging, and it wasn’t going to take up space on my counter for months at a time collecting dust.  Plus, there was no equipment needed, and I had the TV to keep me entertained.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had enough time in the morning before work to watch the Today show.




The workout goes as follows:






Starting with 10 reps and then counting down…



Jess has a great graphic on her site as well as the proper form for a burpee!


After 15 minutes, I was dripping in sweat.




But I still had my plank challenge left to do and this one was for 3:45.  Yikes!  I know I say it every time, but this one really was the absolute hardest.  With one minute 20 seconds to go, I really wanted to throw in the towel. But I held in there and I did it!  It was a quick and challenging morning workout that totally got me energized for my day ahead.




Breakfast was leftover Pumpkin Cream Pie Oat Bran heated up with a sliced banana and some almond milk.

Delish!  It was really filling, and I caught the Thanks & Giving portion of the Today show just as I was finishing my breakfast.


I’d love to sit and play all day (that’s what the BOY will doing although he is supposed to be studying), but I am off to work!  Just 1 1/2 days until my 5 day Turkey Day break!



Do you exercise at home without equipment?

Please, please, please, send me some ideas!

20 Minute At Home Workout

I owe you a workout post.  Remember last Monday when I was a lazy bum???  Even though I never left my house, I was still able to break a sweat.  I had cut this little blurb out of Fitness Magazine.  It was part of a reader story, and I thought the moves looked challenging but doable.  I had planned on using it at the gym, but this lazy Monday turned out to be the perfect day to give it a try.




Confession…I didn’t even change out of my PJ’s.  I turned on some trashy TV, found a stop watch and began the exercises.



Each exercise is done for 1 minute at a time so you don’t have to count reps.  I didn’t rest long in between sets, except to grab some water when I needed it.



20 minutes later, Kim K was still frustrated with her husband, but my heart rate was pumping, my arms were tired, and I was surprisingly sweaty!  Plus, I got in a workout without leaving my house.  Bonus!  



Take Home Message

TRY IT!  The moves are tough to do and after 45 seconds, you will be feeling them.

This workout is very arm heavy.  My recommendation would be to add some core.  Throw in a 1 minute plank at the end and then do 4 rounds to reach your 20 minutes.

Looking to increase your cardio, add in a minute of mountain climbers, jumping jacks, sprints, or jumping rope in between exercises.

This will make a great post workout breakfast!



What is your favorite way to exercise at home?