Tag Archives: fitness

10K Turkey Trot = SUCCESS!

Training for a race kinda sucks… until you show up on D-Day with 17,000 other people and realize you’re ready to go. Even though I’ve run many organized races, I often wonder why people, including myself, keep spending money to run when they could just do it for free.  THIS IS WHY: TURKEY TROT 2 There’s just something about the crowds, the anticipation, the collective anxiety, and the thought that no matter how slow I go or how fast you go… or how fat or skinny or old or young we are… we’re all in this together.  On this day, we’re all runners.  We’re all athletes.  We prepared for this, and now it’s time make ourselves proud.  Well worth the $35 fee, right?  That, and the free snack buffet at the finish line.

On Thanksgiving morning, it was about 20 degrees, and I’ll be honest with you.  I didn’t give a shit.  My boyfriend Eddy and I bundled up and promised to stay together on the course.  Although there are ZERO pictures of us actually running, we finished!  We didn’t break any records, but our time was respectable: 1:11:20.

And I’m so proud of Eddy.  As I mentioned before, he’s more of a sprinter… so long distance running, for him, was a challenge.  And guess what.  He didn’t stop once!  Well, he did stop ONCE, but it was for maybe 10 seconds as we were going up a massive hill.  I’m not counting it.

Here’s my final tally for training.  I stuck to the chart (and even did some extra) during the last half, and it showed! 10 Novice I’ve done two races with Hal Higdon’s programs at this point, one for the marathon and the other for this 10K.  I can’t say enough good things about them.  No matter your fitness level, he has something that fits.  Check out his site!

Now on to a new physical challenge.  Any suggestions?


The Runner In Me Returns

This time last year, I was just a few days away from completing my very first (and probably only) marathon.  That’s 26.2 miles.  I still can’t believe it really happened, but there is proof.  Thank God someone had a camera.  The terminator shades hide it well, but I was sobbing uncontrollably as this picture was being taken.  Tears of joy.  Tears of relief.  Tears of pain, because oh my God… my hips feel like they’re dislocating, my muscles are seizing, and my knees are on fire.


I wouldn’t say I’ve been lazy since then.  I guess I’ve just been less intense.  I told myself that this year, I was just going to enjoy myself and enjoy being active.  I didn’t want the pressure of a big race, and I didn’t want the constant dread of another 10, 15, or 20 mile run hanging over my head.  The marathon made life complicated and made my frequent out-of-town trips difficult to plan.  I guess that’s why it’s so rewarding… because it’s really just effing hard to run a marathon.  So, instead of committing to another insane challenge, I’ve been walking, biking, and leisurely trotting around my neighborhood often and whenever the hell I please.  It’s exercise I enjoy, and it’s been magnificent.

The only problem is that now, I’m starting to feel like I need a little kick in the pants.

One year ago, I was able to run 26.2 miles straight.  Just once, but still… it happened.  Now, I’d be lucky to finish 3 without stopping.

So, when my boyfriend (who is an aspiring professional eater, NOT a long-distance runner) suggested we run a 10K Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, I had some reactions:

A) Who are you?

B) Does this mean I can have more stuffing?

C) No negotiating.  My favorite turkey drumstick hat will be worn.


D) What the hell.  Sure.

I’m telling you, because I’m excited to get started.  I really do enjoy running.  It gives me confidence and time to think.  I’m planning to momentarily update you on my progress, and I hope you’ll keep me accountable.  I’m also hoping you’ll share how you keep in shape.  What’s your favorite way to burn calories?  Kayaking?  Zumba?  Prancercising?  Seriously, I want to know.

Training with the Hal Higdon 8 week 10K program starts MONDAY!  Check it out.  Totally doable, right?  Stay tuned!

10 Novice

Workout Wednesday: Cash Money Motivation

Need help finding motivation to hit the gym?  Follow these simple steps:

  1. Find a jar.
  2. Set a goal.
  3. Put a predetermined increment of money into the jar each time you reach your goal.

My goal last week was to simply burn 300 calories every single day by doing some type of exercise.  I set the reward amount for weekdays at $1.  On weekends, I doubled it.  And look!  I already have $7 to spend on whatever I want!


Use this little trick for ANY goal, health-related or otherwise.  It’ll give you a reason to spoil yourself every now and then without feeling guilty, because hey… you earned it, right?

Recipe: Bob Harper’s Skinny Green Cauliflower Soup

I have a confession to make.  I’m on what probably qualifies as a crash diet.

Usually, this is totally NOT what I do.  I’ve done things like this before with disastrous results, but desperate times call for desperate measures.  My other job… you know the one that actually pays me money… just decided to send 13 of us to Hawaii!  It’s not a vacation.  We will be working really long hours.  It’s only about 4 days.  But guys… it’s HAWAII.  It’s PAID FOR.  I WILL find my way to a beach if it kills me.  And we’re leaving in 3 weeks!  Eeks!

Just as I’m freaking out about being in a bathing suit in front of all my co-workers, celeb trainer Bob Harper from “The Biggest Loser” comes out with a new diet book.  It’s called “Jumpstart To Skinny“, and what a coincidence!  It takes exactly 3 weeks to complete.  Have I been saved?!


“Jumpstart” has gotten some bad buzz, because it only allows 800 calories a day for women, and 1200 a day for men.  Extreme?  Definitely.  Torture?  Kinda.  But will it hurt you to only eat 800 calories a day for 3 weeks?  Probably not.  Especially because Bob has you eating lots of really nutritious stuff.  The idea is to get you to a better body fast before a big event, or to “jumpstart” a longer weight loss journey.  Shopping lists and daily recipes are included.  He does all the work for you.

So here’s the basic jist:

  • 800 calories per day for women, 1200 calories per day for men with unlimited veggies from an approved list
  • Proper 40/40/20 proportions.  40% protein, 40% carbs, 20% fat.
  • No complex carbs (grains & starches) after breakfast
  • No fruit in week 3
  • One 15-20 minute strength circuit 5 days a week, with a 45 minute walk each and every day
  • NO alcohol (GASP!)

Today, I’m at the end of week one… day 7.  The first 2 days were brutal.  I was starving.  My stomach actually woke me up in the middle of the night a few times, because it was growling so loud.  But it’s getting easier.   I’m keeping a diary of my thoughts day by day to share with you later.  I “accidentally” had some red wine on Saturday, but here’s the headline – I’ve already lost a significant amount of weight, anywhere from 3 to almost 5 pounds, depending on the day.  Losing weight has never been easy for me, so this is big news.  But then again, I am only eating 800 calories a day.

Speaking of eating, I wanted to share with you what I had for dinner last night.  You’ll find it in the book.  Because I’m a vegetarian, I swapped the chicken for tofu.  If you’re into tofu, the substitution works well enough.  This isn’t something I would necessarily choose to eat again.  It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t vomit-worthy.  The only good part is that the portion is huge.  I counted 3 whole cups.  And yes, it looks like baby food.

Bob Harper’s Skinny Green Cauliflower Soup

Serves 1

Calories: 257

Protein: 27 g

Carbs: 22 g

Fat: 5 g

Fiber: 7 g



  • 2 c. of cauliflower, roasted*
  • 1 c. low-sodium veggie broth*
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 c. fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 4 oz. roasted chicken breast, shredded
  • 1 c. bell pepper, chopped
  • cracked black pepper (optional)


  1. Combine cauliflower, broth, dill, and spinach in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Add black pepper if desired and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Let cool slightly, then pour into a blender and puree until smooth.
  3. Pour back into the pot, add the chicken/tofu and bell pepper, and simmer for 10 minutes.

*NOTE ONE: To roast cauliflower, boil large florets in a pot until al dente.  Spray with olive oil spray, and roast in 450 degree oven until the tops start to brown.

*NOTE TWO:  I actually added a lot more broth, because my “soup” turned out way too thick.  Bob would likely not approve because of the extra sodium, but you do what you’ve gotta do.

NOTE THREE:  I also added some diced onion and minced garlic to the pot before anything else.  That’s just how I get down.

NOTE FOUR:  The thing about Bob’s recipes is that there’s like, zero salt.  And I love salt, so I’m struggling with that.  But he’s right.  It leads to bloat and water retention, and ain’t nobody got time for that, especially when they (ME) are trying to look good on the beach in a couple short weeks.  I’ve been trying to add more spices like chili powder and cumin to add flavor.  I accidentally put cinnamon on my egg whites yesterday morning (yes, I ate them anyway).  But I say, raid the spice cabinet and get creative!

Have you ever done a crash diet?  Did you gain the weight back?  If not, how did you keep it off?  I can almost guarantee I’ll pack the pounds back on as soon as I get off the plane, so I need back up!  Get at me in the comments section below, or e-mail me at thehungrytortoise@gmail.com.

Workout Wednesday: Is Less More When It Comes To Exercise?

Do you always feel guilty skipping a workout?  An interesting article in the New York Times suggest that maybe you shouldn’t.  In fact, it might be better for your overall health and fitness to take a couple of days off each week.  Can this really be true?!  IS THIS REAL LIFE?!

The article cites a study conducted by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  It included older, sedentary test subjects, all women, between the ages of 60 and 74.  They were each randomly assigned to one of three exercise groups.  Group #1 exercised twice a week.  Group #2 exercised four times a week.  Group #3 exercised six times a week.  And guess what.  At the end of the four-month-long experiment, the ladies in the middle won the prize!  Take a look:

“The women exercising four times per week were now expending far more energy, over all, than the women in either of the other two groups. They were burning about 225 additional calories each day, beyond what they expended while exercising, compared to their calorie burning at the start of the experiment.”

The idea is that four workouts a week were enough to help the women feel more energized and willing to be active outside their time at the gym.  They were walking more for pleasure.  They were taking the stairs instead of the elevator.  Maybe they were breakdancing, too.  Isn’t that a lovely idea.

The women who worked out only twice a week saw benefits, too… but the women in the six-workout-a-week group, surprisingly, had the most trouble.  They were burning far fewer calories during non-exercise hours than the other two groups.  They felt burned out, tired, and pressed for time, so they’d make choices out of convenience, like driving instead of walking.

I, for one, can totally relate.  I go on streaks where I’ll workout 6 times a week for a couple of weeks.  Then, during the third week, I can’t get off my ass.  Then I feel guilty.  Then I get depressed.  It’s stupid really.  It helps to remember that fitness is a life-long journey.  We have to make healthy changes we’re able to maintain for the long-term.

So, what do you think?  Is four days a week the magic number?  How often do you exercise?  VOTE NOW and like The Hungry Tortoise on Facebook!

Workout Wednesday: 10 Ways To Burn 100 Calories

Most of you probably already know this, but you need to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound of fat.  Every little bit counts!  Scorch 100 calories without even trying by picking your favorite activities from this list.  All estimates are based on a 150 lb. person.  If you weigh more, you’ll burn more!


  1. Run or walk one mile
  2. Go bowling for 30 minutes
  3. Mow the grass for 20 minutes
  4. Shop for 38 minutes
  5. Take a casual bike ride for 23 minutes
  6. Swim at a moderate intensity for 15 minutes
  7. Play frisbee for 30 minutes
  8. Do the dishes by hand for 40 minutes
  9. Take a 2 hour nap
  10. Give the dog a bath for 27 minutes


(look at baby Dexter after his first bath!)

What’s your favorite way to burn a few calories?  Let me know in the comments below, or e-mail me at thehungrytortoise@gmail.com.

Friday Favorite: Planet Fitness

Each Friday, I gush about things that I’m obsessed with.  I’m not paid to do this.  I don’t get free stuff for the mention.  I just love finding awesome treasures and sharing the news!  Today, we’re breaking a sweat with Planet Fitness!


If you haven’t heard of Planet Fitness, you’ve been living under a rock.  The health club has EXPLODED in the last year, adding hundreds of locations.  There are now around 600 from coast to coast.  They even have their own TV commercials that are admittedly kinda funny.

Planet Fitness wants to be known for a few things:  a “come as you are” attitude (they call it the “Judgement Free Zone”), a no-frills approach, and absurdly low prices that seem almost too good to be true… only they’re not.

My curiosity with Planet Fitness began when I noticed a new location being built less than a mile away from my apartment.  I thought about switching lots of times before I actually did.   After all, I was already paying what I thought was a rock-bottom rate at LA Fitness.  I was decently satisfied with the facilities, but getting to all the clubs required a car and motivation.  Having a new gym in my backyard sounded pretty nice.

I finally made the leap after visiting the Planet Fitness website.  You can sign up easily online without talking even once to a salesperson.  As a customer, you have two pricing options – $10 a month or $19.99 a month.  If you pay $10, you’re allowed to use one club and one club only.  Pay $20, and you get what they call the “PF Black Card”, which grants you access to all 600+ Planet Fitness locations across the country.  You also get unlimited use of the “extras”, like massage chairs, hydrotherapy beds, and tanning (seriously… people are still tanning?!).  The best perk, in my opinion, is the unlimited guest privileges.  I travel a lot and my boyfriend is always visiting from out-of-state.  Being able to work out with him was worth it to me.  I went with the $20 a month PF Black Card membership.  Several months later, I’m still so happy I did.  There may be small sign-up fees and annual fees involved.  Just make sure you read everything before you sign so you’re not surprised later on.  With the PF Black Card membership, I paid something like $1 up front, then $19.99 a month, then a $39 annual fee each June.  All things considered, it was still cheaper for me than LA Fitness, and obviously more convenient.

So far, Planet Fitness has absolutely lived up the image it’s trying to portray.  I can’t say enough good things.  I even convinced my mom to join.  GO MOM!  My facility is always spotless.  The staff is super friendly.  There are more than a dozen flat-screen TV’s that you can listen to with headphones through the cardio machines.  The treadmills and ellipticals charge your iPod or iPhone.  There are special areas for 12 minutes abs or a 30 minute express workout.  Each come equipped with a traffic light, as seen here:


The idea is you pick a machine and pump some iron until the light turns red.  When it does, you switch machines and wait for the light to change to green again.  Such a cool concept!  Oh, and did I mention some facilities have a pizza party each month?  Seems counterintuitive, but whatever.  Pizza is awesome.

The best thing about Planet Fitness, aside from the affordability, is that it really seems like most people are there, not to get a date, not to parade their muscles, but to just get a good workout in and go home.  So refreshing!

Are you a Planet Fitness member? Maybe you have your own Friday Favorite.  If so, I want to hear from you!  Let’s chat in the comments section below.  You can also email me at thehungrytortoise@gmail.com.

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