Oct 13, 2014

Zoodles, yes that's a thing.

Alright guys - I need to write to you about my love affair with a new healthy discovery: ZOODLES.
[Zucchini + Noodles = zoodles]


My friend recently introduced me to the phenomenon that is a vegetable spiralizer, which literally spins veggies in a spiral to create perfect noodles.  It even has different noodle thickness options based on your preference.  Pretty nifty no? Get your own on Amazon.
My review: It’s amazing.  Seriously though, if you know me, you know that I am terrible at anything domestic, especially cooking.  This is even Alyx-proof when it comes to making edible food.  Truly impressive.  It’s definitely not a complete replacement of spaghetti’s carby goodness, but it is pretty darn close.
GET ONE NOW.  Life changing.

Aug 8, 2013

Plan to Succeed

After a fattening delicious weekend, I knew that I had to get back on track with some fitness goals.... but before we do that, HOW GOOD does this sushi look?!  I will give you a hint: it was heavenly.

SugarFish in Santa Monica, CA

Back to my point, one of the hardest parts about being a real person with a job, errands, dogs, a house etc. is also generating the willpower to eat healthy and exercise.  Yes, you've likely heard this rant a thousand times not just on this blog, but from many people in your life.  Honestly, the answer comes down to something pretty simple:

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

It all comes down to making time time in your schedule to actually stick to your health goals.  No but really, write it down.  Put it in your calendar or whatever other tool you use to organize your life.  You need to make yourself accountable.

So instead of thinking about this piece of advice or talking about it like I love to do, I decided to actually take my own advice and literally schedule blocks into my calendar to do exercise.  It's more than just reserving the time, it's committing to something so you can mentally prepare for it or even look forward to it as a break from your day.

Today on my calendar was a spinning class.  In my year at Google I have yet to attend one, so I finally decided, "I'm putting it on my calendar, and sticking to it."  Low and behold, at 11:30 I was cycling away and feeling pretty good that I had actually stuck to my fitness goal.


So, what did I do next?  I decided to literally schedule a time to "sweat" every day.  I am trying TONS of different classes from spinning to body pump to core classes.  By mixing it up and keeping things interesting, I'm able to stay dedicated.  Also, by having it blocked off on my work calendar, people don't book meetings over it.   It becomes my time, and you really do need a little "me time" every day.

Take some time today to calendar out your workout goals and commit to classes, a run or whatever sounds exciting enough for you not to devise an excuse to not attend.

I prepare because I plan to succeed. :)

Noms,
Alyx


Jun 3, 2013

Health Metrics: Part Two

This is a very delayed post, but I finally had a brief moment to surface from the craziness that is life to take some time to write a post!  Last time, I wrote about my health metrics from a blood test.  Today I'm writing about my experience testing my body fat percentage test by getting dunked!

Literally, I got dunked.
The experience itself was a little intimidating since body fat percentage is a much better indicator of where you stand health-wise.  People who think they are really thin can actually have a high body fat percentage which means they aren't as healthy as they think they are.  Muscle weighs more than fat, so being low in numbers on a scale doesn't capture where you fall health-wise.

Another intimidating component was not knowing what a good body fat percentage was.  Growing up, you hear a lot about weighing yourself, but rarely is body fat percentage mentioned.  Therefore, I had no clue what I was supposed to stack up to... but this little whiteboard helped provide some clarity in terms of the desired ranges.

Recommended body fat percents based on age and gender

I was incredibly pleased with my results.  I ended up being 17.46% body fat which means that I am within the "Athlete" category of body fat percentage.  The cooler part about getting this test done, is that I also was given a bunch of great stats about how I burn calories and how my body processes things.  For example, if I wanted to lose 0.65 pounds/week, I would have to be on a 1200 calorie diet and to maintain my weight, I have to consume 1519 calories per day.  I was also given an extensive report on how different exercises actually impact my calorie burning, which is much more helpful than the guestimate given by a treadmill or the Nike+ gear on my ipod.

I've been fascinated by how personalized I can make my workouts to truly benefit what I am looking to achieve.  As some of you know, my half-marathon was cancelled, and with work and life getting in the way it has been tough getting back into the swing of exercising.  However, I recently read this amazing article that inspired me to try a different approach to exercise which talked about how girls are always so focused on being skinny when STRONG is the new skinny.

It got me thinking about how I would love to be stronger than I am today, so over the next couple of weeks I'm going to explore strength training through various pathways.  Get excited, it's going to be a gym-tastic time on The Nom dot Com. :)

Noms,
Alyx

Mar 20, 2013

13.1 Miles in 12 Weeks

As of this Monday, I officially started training for my half marathon!  I tend to get a lot of questions from people asking how I actually train.  The part that usually leaves people baffled is that it only takes 12 weeks to train for a half marathon.  

My training schedule push-pinned on my wall at work.  Onto Day 3!
Have I peaked your interest?  Thinking you want to try a longer run?  A half marathon is a great place to start.  It's more ambitious than a 10K but less terrifying sounding than a marathon.  Just make sure you are prepped beforehand:

  • Ease into it: You want to be able to run about 10 miles/week before training officially starts
  • Dont push it: Notice that in the training you increase mileage slowly, and you never run the full half marathon distance until the date of the race
  • Remember to rest: Rest is important for your muscles to recover
  • Do more than just run: Cross-training is critical to pushing your muscles outside of the running comfort zone and building your speed and strength 
I can't wait to post more updates as I continue forward with my training.  I'm still trying to figure out some specific goals since this is my second race, but I think I want to try out the race in my minimalist shoes to really test out the barefoot running experience. 

Noms,
Alyx

Mar 11, 2013

Ninja Tales

Many people ask me what my favorite food is, and I have to say, recently I've been digging Japanese food.  I know this is sort of a cop out, since Japanese food isn't anything specific, but if I had to pick a style of food to eat forever, I think I would be pretty happy with it.  I see a trip to Japan in my future...

Anyway, I wanted to write about some different Japanese dishes that I have tried and loved since moving over to the bay area.

Traditional Sushi
I'm talking raw fish and rice - nothing overly fancy or crazy going on here.  I've learned to love and appreciate the subtle flavors of sushi pieces.  It's always fun to try something new and crazy here since there are endless flavors and textures to try.  So far, my favorite place has been Sushi Tomi, since they hands down have the best fish in Northern California.

Photo Credit
A tip: The traditional way to serve sushi pieces uses wasabi between the fish and rice.  Most places mess this up so you feel like you are just munching on wasabi, but if the place is good it actually helps bring out flavors and really compliments the fish.  Therefore, if you aren't sure about the restaurant, you can ask them to leave the wasabi out of the picture.

Fusion Sushi
Most sushi places out there will probably fall into this category.  Some characteristics of fusion sushi are: deep fried rolls, use of cream cheese, and and hilarious/odd names for dishes.  You will probably walk into one of these restaurants and feel pretty comfortable if you aren't Japanese, but sometimes the food quality can suffer from this Americanization.  However, if you find the right place, you definitely can have a delicious meal.  Some of my favorites in California are Sushi Dan (Los Angeles) and TGI's Sushi (Campbell).  Both places have fun with their rolls, but they don't compromise the quality of their food or fish.

Photo Credit
A tip: Trying to choose from a long list of many rolls?  Stay away from rolls with eel and cream cheese.  These can mask the fish quality and they can be a bit overwhelming in flavor.

Ramen
I'm not talking about your college "just add water" ramen, I like the real stuff with ingredients that I cannot pronounce and broth made out of pure deliciousness.  Some fun facts about ramen are that the best broth is made out of pork bone marrow (a little gross sounding, but surprisingly delicious).  Also, soft boiled eggs in ramen are absolutely delicious.  When the yolk leaks out into the soup, it makes it amazingly creamy and delicious.  My favorite place so far is Orenchi ramen, even though the wait can take forever.  Perfect ramen takes time since it is made out of hopes and dreams.

Photo Credit

Happy nomming,
Alyx

Mar 9, 2013

Learning to Snowboard

It's fulfilling to learn something new, and last weekend I had the pleasure of learning how to snowboard.  Special shout out to Joe who courageously taught me how to snowboard.  I say courageously because after falling on my butt 1,000 times, I started getting a little grumpy... :)

I sat (well, fell) on my butt most of the day. 
Anyway, the reason I felt that it was noteworthy to mention my learning experience with snowboarding was because of the struggles I faced while trying to learn.  I feel like these struggles are pretty ubiquitous for any new skill you are trying to acquire that you aren't immediately awesome at.  For me, this happend to be snowboarding, which my butt can attest, I was definitely not awesome at.

An important thing to know about learning a skill is that you need to figure out what the critical components are and master those first.  For snowboarding, there are some clear base components: balancing, turning and stopping.  Obviously there are many more things that you can take the time to learn like doing jumps, playing around with speed, etc.. but without the base components, you aren't going to get anywhere.

Standing AND I made it down the mountain. 
You need a solid base, and even if you don't look like a pro coming down the mountain, you will actually make it down the mountain, which is a lot more than you could have done when you initially started (no, I'm not counting tumbling down a mountain or being evacuated by helicopters).

The reason a lot of people get frustrated when learning is that they take on too many of the non-critical details without building a base.  This leads to larger problems that you need to overcome in the learning process and a whole lot of backtracking.

The moral of the story is, when you start getting frustrated with something when you are trying to learn a new task, take a step back and dissect what you are doing into the absolute necessities.  This will help motivate you to master a new skill without feeling like you will never be awesome at it.

Noms,
Alyx


Mar 8, 2013

Health Metrics: Part One

I finally got my health metrics and I wanted to share!  Turns out that I am doing pretty well health-wise, so I am proud to report that I am on track with my fitness/health goals.

All in the green!  (that's good.)
There are definitely still some areas for improvement, so it's nice to have a baseline to compare from later on.  I'm interested to see what my body fat percentage test tells me, since it will give me a more useful metric than my BMI which is just based on my height and weight.

Some other interesting components of this test were:

  1. Learning to balance the right kinds of cholesterol 
  2. Getting a better idea of my blood pressure
  3. Learning about my blood sugar levels (especially after 10 hours of fasting!)
I'm also happy to have a baseline right before I start my formal training for the half-marathon.  This way I can see the true impact of a rigorous training program on my body, and I can make sure that I'm balancing being healthy with my fitness goals.  

Overall, I recommend doing a health check.  These are super basic metrics that your doctor can give you during your next check up and they can help inspire a change for the better.

Noms,
Alyx