ASHLEEFV   8,980
8,500-9,999 SparkPoints
ASHLEEFV's Recent Blog Entries

Indoor Workouts to Beat Cabin Fever

Saturday, February 09, 2013

If you're looking to get some exercise while snowed in to your dorm/apartment/house, youtube has a wealth of videos with great workouts. Search for your favorite exercise format, and there's probably a video with workouts or tips. Here are links to just a few of my personal favorites.

One of my favorite channels is blogilates . It's a bit girly but has a friendly peppy host who leads 10-15 minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts and pilates-inspired workouts. All are designed for small spaces. You definitely get a big workout crammed into these short videos. Here is a recent HIIT/pilates combo video

If you're looking to dance off some energy, check out my personal playlist of zumba/dance routines
including several Pitbull songs and Beyonce's Move Your Body .
For an excellent strength training workout requiring little equipment and space, see

If youtube videos just don't do it for you, you can always go play in the winter wonderland outside, if you live in one of the areas hit by the recent blizzard like I do.


2013 Fitness Goals

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I love setting SMART goals for fitness. I get such a mental rush when I make progress. emoticon

For the past two years, I've set the goal to run 365 miles in the year (checking progress monthly). I hit 373 miles in 2011 and 381 in 2012. This year, I want to surpass 400.

emoticon emoticon Goal #1: Average 1.1 miles per day running
Towards this goal, I have run 12.89 miles by Jan. 10 and am on pace. I've even done two outdoor runs with snow on the ground.

I like fitness challenges and races. In 2012, I ran 7 races including two obstacle course mud runs and explored several new running areas. This year I'd like to continue the adventures.

emoticon Goal #2: Try 1 new sport, fitness class, race, or hiking/running path per month.
Towards this goal, I will be trying cross country skiing emoticon this weekend, plan to go to SkyZone trampoline center in February emoticon , and have signed up for two 5Ks in March. emoticon

Having regular cardio sessions and strength training scheduled or targets for distances or minutes is very motivating for me. Different opportunities will present themselves in different seasons, so I want to be flexible with this goal but provide enough structure to see results.

emoticon emoticon emoticon Goal #3: Schedule cardio and strength training one month at a time.
Towards this goal, I am scheduled for weeks 5-8 of the the TurboFire plan (strength and cardio) and 9 runs for January.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MENNOLY 1/10/2013 4:14PM

    Sounds like you are planning a sparktacular year! Good luck on achieving all your goals!

Report Inappropriate Comment
ANDREAG89 1/10/2013 9:03AM

    Wow! These are fantastic goals!!

I've signed up for a mud run on June 1 so that is my main goal. Sounds like they are fun, and for you, fun enough to do them again!

A trampoline center sounds wonderful!!! I'll have to see if there are any near me.

Thanks for sharing and providing such good ideas!

Report Inappropriate Comment

2012 Fitness Accomplishments

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Instead of vague New Year's resolutions to be healthier and get in shape, I set SMART goals for fitness for the year. I started this in 2011 and continued in 2012. Based on my success with the monthly indoor ironman triathlon for 2011 and my blossoming interest in running, I was motivated to continue the goal of running an average of 1 mile per day per month. I knew that I would move and might not have access to the same cycling and swimming facilities and wanted to prioritize group fitness over solitary swimming/cycling while I still had access to the amazing classes through U of I campus recreation, so I dropped the triathlon training. I also wanted to make unrealistic fitness goals that were incompatible with my goals of finishing my PhD and being a productive postdoctoral researcher. I think my fitness goals and accomplishments for the year have complemented my research work nicely.

Running: 1 mile per day averaged over the month
Group Fitness: 1 fitness class or fitness video workout per week
Strength Training: 1 strength workout per week

Running--Goal Surpassed!
Over the past two years, I've become a runner! In 2011, I ran 381.06 mi in 93 hours 43 minutes, and in 2011, I ran 373 mi in 94 hours and 38 minutes. I went farther at a faster pace!

I ran the Illinois 5K with Joel, Emily, and Chipo (Joel's first race) and the 10K the following day with Chipo in Champaign (the mini I-Challenge was awesome!), the Spectacle Island 5K (in a chilly deluge of rain) my first weekend in Boston, the 10K run for Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House in Concord, the Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women (PR) in Boston, MIT Beaver Dash 5K (PR), and the Santa Sightings 5K with Joel (dressed as Santa Clauses) in New Bedford. I also enjoyed running in two 5K obstacle course races: LoziLu women's mud run in Hampton Falls, NH and the SHAPE Diva Dash near Plymouth. Both were amazingly fun!

Besides racing, I did my first 7 mile run, and I had the opportunity to run in 6 states (IL, MA, OK, IN, CA, NH) and Washington, D.C. through the beautiful parks of Urbana, IL, Cambridge and greater Boston, MA, and San Diego, CA; the National Mall; the campuses of MIT, U of I, and OU; and my hometown of Snyder, OK; and along the Atlantic Ocean in Boston and on Spectacle Island and the Naponset, Charles, and Mississippi Rivers. See my SparkPage gallery for photos of my running adventures.

Group Fitness--Goal Surpassed
I love group fitness classes! While in IL Jan-May, I tried to take advantage of all the classes I could fit around my research schedule. I did took Turbo Kick with Lesa and Barb, Zumba with Lynn, Sarah, Maddie, and Paula, Yoga with Jenn, and PiYo and Illini Iron with Barb. I really loved several of these classes and was a regular and made friends with the instructors. I also tried a couple of classes of Deep Water Exercise and Cycle Strong. I went to 75 cardio classes and 27 strength classes in just 5 months! I blew this goal out of the water!

With a nice gym (cardio machines and weights) at my apartment in Boston, it doesn't make sense to get another gym membership just for classes. Over the summer, I found several free outdoor classes for Zumba, yoga, and boot camp across the city. I loved the Charles River yoga class and will try to make it to that one again next summer. I co-taught a yoga class in the Boston Common when the instructor didn't show. I bought the Turbo Fire DVD series with Chalene Johnson to have my own fitness classes at home (Joel joins me sometimes). For June-December, I did 30 videos or classes.

Strength Training--Goal Met
I did 53 strength training sessions for a total of 30 hours and 30 minutes. Though it was heavily concentrated in the first part of the year (only once per month for the last four months), I did manage to average once per week! My time spent toning this year was more than 3 times more than last year. I also sort of forgot about it this fall, hence the lack of multiple sessions in Sept-Dec.

Totals for the year
Logged 297 hours (12+ days) of fitness activities! My 2011 total was 314.8 hours, and my 2010 total was 143 hours.
Running 381.06 mi 93:43
Cycling 88.94 mi 5:34
Strength 28:20
Other (walking, softball, and group fitness) 198.80 mi 167:15. I didn't log all the miles I walked. For comparison, my walking total in 2011 was 48.21 mi. Living in a city involves a lot more walking than living in a town where you can drive everywhere.
132 fitness classes including group cardio and strength classes and videos. In 2011 my total was 69.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAYOTIC 12/31/2012 11:07AM

    That's great that you can look at the year from the rear view and see your success! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
SRBSRB26 12/30/2012 9:10PM


Report Inappropriate Comment

My trouble goal: Strive for progress, not perfection

Friday, September 07, 2012

Some days I'm a rock star! I eat healthy foods, diligently work for 12 hours with amazing progress, run 5 miles or do TurboFire with high intensity intervals, hang out with my husband, and win dominantly in my favorite strategy board games.

Other days I'm a hot melty emotional mess. One poor decision begets another and it snowballs. I have trouble visualizing how to get back on track to work towards my goals in health, fitness, or my research.

I've realized lately that my perfectionism stresses me out sometimes. I ran across the mantra "strive for progress, not perfection" during one of the SparkPeople Lifestyle Change Strategies on motivation. Now I'm applying that mantra to the strategy of overcoming setbacks.

Every day is a new day with new opportunities for progress, not making up for previous imperfections. I know that sometimes I need the emotional venting and the comfort of my sweet husband giving me pep talks, drying my tears, and reminding me that it's ok to take a break sometimes and go back to goal progress later. I also get reinvigorated and reduce my stress levels when I take time to do yoga or go for a trail run. I need to prioritize these balancing activities to keep myself moving forward. I need to deal with the occasional setbacks and focus proactively on keeping the net progress positive.

Do you struggle with perfectionism? Any strategies you find particularly effective for dealing with it?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CJJANISS 9/7/2012 2:10PM


Report Inappropriate Comment
TELFERS01 9/7/2012 1:32PM

  You go!

Report Inappropriate Comment

Just a 10k Hike in the Park

Monday, August 20, 2012

I had an appointment 30 miles from my house. While mapping how to get there, I noticed a huge green space around the interstate in the middle of my route. Turned out that is a state park with many hiking and mountain biking trails through hills and around reservoirs. I decided to run there after my appointment.

Middlesex Fells Reservation--Reservoir Trail
What a great trail run! The weather was in the low 70s and beautiful. The trail was in the shade for the entire 5.5 miles. I got turned around a couple of times so ended up doing 10k in the woods and rocky trails. 10K is my longest running distance, so this was no insignificant workout to me. The trail was less smooth than other woods trails I've experienced, so I wasn't able to run as much as I'd planned and took 45 minutes longer than planned. I did enjoy the hiking. I grew up near mountains in Oklahoma and often hiked with my family or with Girl Scouts. This reminded me a lot of those pleasant memories. I loved finding the trail blazes on the trees to find my way (there were not strictly defined trails on the ground in all areas). With the nice weather, I didn't desire a water fountain, but if the weather was warmer, I would advise bringing a water bottle as there were no drinking fountains along the trails. Thankfully I had packed two very cold bottles in the car for drinking after my run/hike. Overall, it was a great experience!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SEBASTIANALADY 8/20/2012 10:16AM

  Sounds like a wonderful run.

Report Inappropriate Comment

1 2 3 Last Page