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Hello 2017

Hello 2017

It’s  a new year. Finally. There’s something so refreshing about feeling like you get a do-over. Like, 2016 while it had a lot of rough moments, a lot of pivotal things happened that were life-changing. I landed a new job that I absolutely love. That in itself is so rewarding. I remember that while we rung in 2016, I told myself that I need to focus on getting a new job. The old gig was getting to be so toxic in every aspect of my life and that is no bueno. If you think about it, you spend most of your time wherever you work. Accepting that new job in March was the best thing I did for not only my mental health, but for my relationship and well-being. But really, did anyone else feel like Ronda Rousey at the end of this match by the end of 2016?

RIP Ronda Rousey

What a great lead-in to recapping my NYE. I started off the day with an amazing boxing class. It’s one of the many reasons why I look forward to my Saturday mornings. While I didn’t pull a Rousey and actually kept my fists up, I went to pivot and as I did, I rolled the shit out of my ankle. I didn’t think it was that bad at first since the pain eventually subsided, but as the day went on and we were out to dinner and listening to some great live music…my foot was THROBBING. I was near tears. So the the night went from this…

to this…

I felt like my whole foot was being squeezed in a vice. It sucked. Way to get one last “fuck you” in 2016. Well-played. Now I can’t even run in this unseasonably warm weather to top it all off. Luckily I did take advantage of it while I could. I just can’t wait until the bruising wears off. Hopefully faster than Mariah Carey’s career after her NYE performance.

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But SO 2017, how about it? Does anyone make New Year resolutions anymore? I read a great article about why this columnist didn’t like resolutions and I can’t help but totally agree. Sure, starting a new year marks a new beginning, and maybe a new you…but does it really have to be the only time when change can happen? If you want to lose weight, be more financially responsible, purge all of this clothes that you’re not wearing in your closet, or improve your life in any way, why wait until December 31st to make that happen? So while we’re all inundated with the Weight Watchers and Match.com commercials, just know that if you recognize that a change needs to be made in your life, there’s no other time than the present to make that happen! Think of it as giving yourself a headstart on everyone else. 😉

Others are against resolutions because they think it’s just setting themselves up to fail. Well that just sounds a little too negative. Make realistic goals for yourself that you know you can achieve if you put some effort in. I.e. cut out eating pizza for breakfast to cut out some cals, save some more money by cutting out some Starbucks visits and making your own coffee at home, donate one bag of clothes each week to Good Will. See? Small changes. They’re easier to digest and less overwhelming. The key is to stay focused. Here is a list of things/goals I have for myself in 2017:

  • Tone up and add more muscle to the bod.
  • Prioritize what I need versus what I want. (I tend to confuse the two a lot.) Do I NEED that $100 sweater? Probably not.
  • Chop my credit card debt in half. This is totally doable as long as I keep myself in check with list item #2.
  • Remove toxic people from my life. (This is always on my list and will remain that way.) I mean, why continue to have them in your life if they’re doing nothing but causing you or others pain/stress? No thank you. Bye, Felicia.
  • Care less about what others think, and focus on YOU.
  • Stress less. Last year was very stressful due to family health concerns. I need to make it a priority to stress less and find ways to lower it. Stress can do some awful things to you and impact your relationships if you allow it. Identifying those things that make you de-stress is key.
  • Renovate. I’d love to make some renovations to the house this year and make this place a little more “us.” Since there was so much we HAD to do before we moved in, it didn’t leave a lot of room for us to make any cosmetic changes.
  • Travel somewhere new. Usually we go on vacation with the hubs’ family to the same place every summer. I would love to go somewhere new in addition to that. There’s plenty of the world I still need to see!!
  • Always keep in mind how blessed I am. This is important. I think a lot of us take what we have for granted. Whenever I’m having a bad day, I remind myself that someone is always there for me, I have a wonderful roof on my head, I have food in the fridge, I love my job, and my family and friends are a great support system when I need them.
  • Reach my reading challenge goal on GoodReads. I unfortunately didn’t even come close to my goal last year, when I usually do. I feel like reading allows me to be a better writer and gets the creative juices flowing. All good things!
  • And finally, START my first book. This is huge. This is the one big thing that is really intimidating to me, but I’ve pushed it aside for so long…I need to start.

Sure I can go on forever about the goals I have set for myself, but this is a good list that will sum up my 2017. Do you have a list you’ve set for yourself? Whatever it may be, go for it. It’s never too late!

Cheers!

Christmas Party Marathoning!

Christmas Party Marathoning!

Christmas went as fast as it arrived! It’s my favorite time of year by far, even with all of the stress that it brings. Every single year I realize how truly blessed I am for the family and friends that are in my life. The hubs’ family celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve and my family celebrates on Christmas Day so it allows us to spend time with both sides. Let the holiday party marathon begin! We were ready.

 

We didn’t have to prepare much on Christmas Eve, but for my family gathering, I was in charge of the mac and cheese this year…for over 20 people. This is obviously a staple for kids so I could NOT mess this up. When food assignments went out this year, I was shocked to find out that we were assigned an actual food dish (a sign you’re moving up) and really I have no idea how this happened but it did. I mean it’s only mac and cheese, but I’ve never prepared anything for that many people in my life. Suddenly I felt like I was preparing a five-course meal for an army and the whole day relied on the success of my mac and cheese. (Ludacris, I know.)

So I found a crock pot mac and cheese recipe so it would stay warm enough until we got to our destination. Let me tell you, I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown with how this homemade mac and cheese recipe was going. It looked like a milky mess, it was overflowing since my dumbass didn’t consider the capacity of my crockpot in relation to how many servings I was making, and the NSYNC Christmas album blaring through the speakers wasn’t even enough to lower my anxiety. Once I mixed all of the ingredients together, all I could do was cross my fingers and wait for the 3 hours it required to cook. Luckily it actually turned into something that looked like a delicious dish of mac and cheese. Yes, that was a long explanation, but it was completely necessary…I couldn’t be held responsible for being the reason why mac and cheese wasn’t on the menu. It turned out to be a big hit (I’m sure the calorie count topped a million per serving, so how could it not?) Holla.

Now that we mention calories, can we NOT talk about how many calories I drank within the past two days? Okay thanks. My cousin has a mean wine cellar in her basement too so how the hell could I not indulge? Wine cals aside, I did minimize the damage done by the countless Christmas cookies strewn about each house we went to for the Christmas festivities. TRAPS EVERYWHERE. I thanked my lucky stars that my boxing gym was open on Christmas Eve to get one kick ass workout in before all of this started.

They’re easier to avoid though while you’re busy talking with your favorite people, like this guy. #daddysgirlforlife.

One of the family traditions is to have a white elephant type gift exchange where the gift could either be awesome or a dud. My inner coffee-a-holic was screaming when I was lucky enough to score some amazing, specialty coffee complete with an insulated travel mug. #winning.

After the gift exchange we had to party hop on over to my mom’s side of the family to not only celebrate Christmas, but to celebrate my cousin’s birthday who was in from LA. Lucky for her, she didn’t have to experience the -12-degree weather!

More laughs were shared, caught up with family, more food was consumed (including my mom’s homemade Swedish meatballs…YUM) gift exchange #2. By this time, I think Josh and I were both going into a food/wine coma. It’s always so hard to leave family, especially since leaving means that Christmas is over! NOOOO!!! Why can’t this holiday just last forever? Everything is sparkly, and I for one could listen to Christmas music all day everyday.

One of my favorite gifts aside from my handy new laptop from the hubs, (it’s so shiny and pretty), are my new rose gold Nike kicks. My sis hit it BIG with this gift. Give me rose gold everything. I was obsessing over these ever since I saw them and now I have them! EEE! I have the best fam ever.

My other fav gift came from my mom. I’ve been eyeing the Marc Jacobs petal to the medal handbag forEVER. And now, thanks to my WAY too generous mom, this baby is in my closet!

The day after Christmas was spent in max recovery mode, meaning getting a normal amount of sleep and running off those wine cals. Did I mention how I couldn’t put on my running shoes fast enough? It was 50 degrees and sunny in Chicago! Whattt?! It was the best ever.

But now, everyone in the house is all “boo Christmas is over” and Luigi is having some serious post-Christmas blues.

Don’t worry Luigi, one of the perks of having a fake Christmas tree is that we can keep it up until March. Baha! I hope everyone got the chance to enjoy the holidays and spent them with loved ones! Let the holiday detox continue!

Cheers!

 

Spreading Holiday Cheer

Spreading Holiday Cheer

It’s almost Christmas. Presents and gift wrapping paraphernalia is everywhere, Christmas movies are on rotation, the NSYNC Christmas album is on queue, and holiday parties have begun. My first Christmas party at my current job was great. I mean, wow. Even with the freezing cold weather, it was worth it. The food and open bar was great, the hubs got to meet all of my coworkers (we played a game where he had to guess who was who based on what I’ve told him), we won $100 for participating in the dance competition (yes that happened), and the view was phenomenal. I love my city.

And victory, I managed to fit into my dress that I scored on Black Friday. (I’ve been avoiding holiday treats like the plague). As much as I’ve hated to admit it, focusing more on my eating habits than counting how many miles I get in each day has paid off a lot more. Shhh…don’t let my Sauconys hear you.

I celebrated by drinking my weight in wine….I mean…I totally monitored my wine consumption. Yes, MyFitnessPal, I only had 2 6-oz glasses of wine…*cough. The hubs and I had a blast.

We got back home at around 3 a.m. and passed the hell out. We were supposed to go to the Bears/Packers game…but I have a rough time wanting to watch a whole game in the comfort of my warm home, so knowing that it was going to be the coldest game in NFL history. Both of us came to a consensus, “fuck that shit” and slept in. With how the Bears have been playing, I would have been tempted to charge the field and punch every player in the face with my frozen fists had I endured that weather only to see them lose. Again.

Instead, this.

 

The hubs and I exchanged gifts already since we’re always so busy to have time to ourselves around Christmas Eve/Day. The guy totally outdid himself this year. He got me a new laptop so I can entertain the idea of my 2017 goal. Write a book. It’s happening guys. I’ve been thinking about it for so long, but I’ll be making it a reality in 2017.  I’m determined to make 2017 the best year yet. I have the foundation already built, I just need to continue that path. From my boss telling me that I’m the best 2016 hire at the company to also hitting quite a few fitness goals I set for myself, focusing on the positive things will only leave more room for good things to happen.

There are many goals and aspirations I have for 2017, I’m determined. What are your goals for 2017? I’m all for several smaller, obtainable changes that still make a big impact. Sometimes celebrating the smaller victories are more satisfying and keep you on track. Thoughts? How are you going to make a splash in 2017?

 

Cheers!

 

Running tips to avoid injury – don’t be stupid

Running tips to avoid injury – don’t be stupid

So today was pretty significant. Why? Well, I officially hit my goal of running 1,000 miles for 2016. I’m excited. Stoked. Proud. Teary-eyed. Although something even more important to note, I am still INJURY-FREE. I didn’t start off the year too well. I fucked up my hamstring tendon in ways that will make you scream in pain even when I sat down for an extended period of time. After months of physical therapy and finally listening to my body so I could heal properly, I did. I got back on that saddle (slowly) and got back to my normal running pace. It took more patience than I thought I had in me, but I did it and I have sworn that I would never let myself be in that position again. Now I can say that I’ve hit my 2016 fitness goal.

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Here are some tips that I’ve followed to help keep my body healthy and injury-free. Keep in mind, I’m not a doctor and these tips are just things that have helped me.

  1. Don’t run every single day. I’ve found that if I pack on the miles every single day without rest or a cross training day, that’s a fast recipe to getting fucked up (queue IT band issues, tightness in my hamstring tendon). As a fellow runner, yes I can see you rolling your eyes from here. Just promise to fit in some non-running days here and there. Your legs will thank you.
  2. Add strength training to your routine. Doing this will not only help prevent injuries, but it will really amp up your speed. It certainly helped me shave off minutes per mile, especially when I was recovering from my injury and was working my way up to my normal speed again. Also, workout your muscles evenly. Don’t just focus on one muscle group.
  3. Rest. No, I don’t mean resting bitch face like the one you’re giving right now reading this. I mean really letting yourself recover, especially if you feel like something is off. Believe it or not, rest days are just as important as the days you kick your ass at the gym.
  4. Stretch. I’ve known some runners to not stretch at all and they swear that they’re fine…yeah well I said the same thing until I fucked up my hamstring. Just give it some time. Now that I’m more prone to injuring that tendon again, that does require me to do more stretching than others. Slacking off in this area is absolutely nonnegotiable whether you’re still healing or fully recovered from an injury. My physical therapist gave me a set of dynamic stretches to do before I run. Check them out here.
  5. Listen to your body. When your stuck seeing your physical therapist for at least an hour, you tend to engage in a lot of conversation. One thing she mentioned was that if more runners just listened to their bodies more, she’d probably be out of a job. Why? Because runners tend to literally run themselves into the ground until they really injure themselves and get stuck going to PT. The key is to fix what might be wrong before a major problem occurs. Feel some tightness during a run? Stomach upset? Slow down a little! Or really, just stop running altogether. Pay attention to your form, breathing, and make sure you’re hydrated.

Sure as a runner, you just want to get up and go for a run, but if you want to stay healthy and keep up with training then you need to run smart. By learning to run smart, I was able to still log 1,000 miles for this year. Had I ignored my doctor, skipped PT sessions, and didn’t take their advice to heart, my running shoes would be collecting dust in the closet right now. Instead, I get to wake up, STRETCH, run, STRETCH AGAIN, and then enjoy taking post-run selfies. 😀

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(This is my it’s really cold out, and my face is still thawing out face.)

And really these tips can benefit a runner at any age. I’m a 20-something and no, stretching doesn’t make you weak, it actually makes you stronger. Again, don’t be dumb. Listen to your body, and run happy!

Cheers!

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Training Days

Training Days

Training days….story of my life right? Well I’m the idiot who decided to sign up for 3 half marathons within weeks of each other. No big deal right? Yeesh! Okay well technically my race coming up this Sunday (Fort 2 Base race) is a 10NM which equates to 11.5 miles. The start line is at Fort Sheridan which is pretty awesome and there’s NO roundabout. If you’re a runner, you’ll appreciate this. For me personally, there’s nothing worse than knowing you’re on mile 4 and you look over to the left and you see a mile marker for mile 8. It’s a mindfuck and it just makes me want to throw up my hands and throw my hydration belt into Lake Michigan. My mileage has been kind of low during the week which worries me a bit but I’ve been on my A game with my long runs on the weekends and training like a damn beast when it comes to my crosstraining days. Why? Because this girl doesn’t have time for another injury. Also, a friend of mine said that I now have Madonna arms. Madonna may be old, but she is JACKED. Holla!

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I’ve got the workouts down and my nutrition has been pretty good too. Staying properly hydrated too is so difficult…mainly because the bathroom at work is down a VERY long hallway and well you know….the struggle is real. #Ihavetopee24/7.  One of the other ways I’m staying on top of my fitness game those is with Beachbody’s Cize DVDs with Shaun T. Man….I have to say…those dance routines kick your ass AND you feel like Britney Spears in your own home. I highly recommend it. You don’t need any crazy equipment, just some floor space and your dancing shoes! Sometimes I’ll do a routine before my run…with this humidity…some may think I jumped in the lake.

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One of the tiresome parts of training is showering. I feel like I shower twice a day at least because of my workouts and sometimes I just ask myself if it’s worth all the trouble? I’m sure my coworkers would appreciate the smell of a post 8 mile run in this weather.

In other – and not really – fitness-related news, I stopped in at Victoria’s Secret after work today since their new tote is adorable and like any shopping addict, I had to check it out. I walked in, looked to my left, and what did I see?! THIS. Victoria’s Secret stole my blog name! WHAT?!

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RUDE. Just kidding. I kind of love it and well umm…thanks for the free advertising, VS! There was one left so I obviously had to get it. Then I got sucked into another long sleeve workout top, etc…etc…in all, I totally scored some awesome stuff AND got the new fringe tote AND workout bag fo free. FO FREE. I’m all for free, high-quality bags. I highly suggest you snag these deals up ladies! I love how you can stack deals at VS. They also have a sport bra and workout pant deal for $50. Because one can never have too much workout apparel right? TGIF! It’s Friday!!!

Cheers!

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Gym & Tonic is Back!!!!

Gym & Tonic is Back!!!!

Holy crap has it really been four months since my last post? Well it has. My bad. A lot has happened between now and then including my web hosting not renewing properly so Gym & Tonic was offline for a little while, but some pretty amazing people were able to recover it. It was like I never left! There were many tears, heart palpitations etc. thinking that all of my hard work and logged memories were gone but NOPE. Everything is all good and we’re back in business! Now time to play catch-up. What have I been up to for the past four months? Well, a lot of self-reflection happened, mourning the loss of family members, drowning my sorrows in wine and hummus, shamelessly watching the trashiest TV, putting up with endless family drama…. but also doing everything I can to kick ass at my relatively still new job and of course health and fitness status. You know I had to fit that in there since this blog IS called GYM and tonic. See? Not all bad…but enough to really slack off with blogging. That’s going to end…along with my filter. Confession Wednesdays I’m looking straight at you!

Since the Olympics have started and this is supposed to be a fitness/lifestyle blog…okay fine I’ll pretend like I watch them religiously and not just for the male swimsuits and cool gymnastics routines and have flashbacks of gym class in elementary school and how scared to hell I was of the balance beam.

I’m sure everyone has seen this happen to the French gymnast, yes?

No? Well you’re welcome for that horrific scene. Can you imagine? My own leg hurts after watching that.

Aside from the actual programming, I feel like the ads have really been motivating and really tugs at those heartstrings. Check some of my favs out…

I’m always in awe of what these athletes can do. The training and dedication they have toward their sport always motivates me to get my ass up and running in the morning. I mean because…what’s my excuse? What gets you up and moving in the  morning? My motto is always go the extra mile…it’s never crowded and you’ll be one step closer to becoming Beyonce status.

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Cheers!

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