Summer Routine

I think I’ve had enough of a break. I’ve been sort of winging things on the exercise front since my vacation last month, but it’s time to get back on a regimented schedule of some kind.

To wit–I will be doing 4 weeks of hardcore, cutting-according-to-Swolecat Swolegenix (yes, the diet, too) starting next Monday, followed by 4 weeks of BFL lifting and HIIT workouts with extra cardio (300 minutes total cardio per week) while keeping my diet at approximately 1400-1600 calories per day and my macronutrient ratios between 40/40/20 and 50/30/20 carb/prot/fat. At the end of the eight weeks, I’ll assess my progress and decide if I want to extend the extra cardio (wah!) while changing out my lifting routine, or cut back down to three cardio sessions a week.

I’d like to pick up P90X again after eight weeks, but if I’m on a roll with what is essentially a fusion of Leanness Lifestyle, Body for Life, and Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle at that point, I will most likely just keep it up until I hit goal. I spent a good hour and a half re-working my daily schedule for meals and workouts for the next two months in Palm Desktop, and am now reasonably confident that I have things in order on the fitness and nutrition front. Best of all, my Handbase workout database module is ready to go, so I can track all of these workout types easily when I officially start next week. W00t.

Getting down and dirty with my fitness schedule had the side effect of switching my brain to planning mode, so I wound up re-doing my finances for the rest of the year in Microsoft Money as well. I am financially-projected and planned down to the bi-monthly purchase of Neville and Slinky’s kitty litter now, with automatic transfers to my IRA, 401(k), emergency savings, and house downpayment fund. The only bills I can’t deal with online are my rent check (which I drop off at the apartment complex office when I go to the fitness room for morning cardio) and my cell phone bill, which I have to deposit into my sister’s account manually down here in Florida since she pays the actual bill up in Boston. Her bank doesn’t have any branches up there, so if I sent her the money via Billpay, Wachovia would just mail her a check that she would have to mail right back down here for Wachovia to deposit into her account. Yes, it’s stupid. We both have accounts at the same bank, but I’m not allowed to do an electronic transfer into her account via Billpay. Paypal is always an option, but since we both have premium accounts, eBay gets a cut of every transaction.

The point of that entire last paragraph is that I am now looking at a meticulously-planned and generally rosy financial picture in the near future. There is something so incredibly satisfying about knowing exactly how much you have in the bank(s), when you will be completely free of debt (August, woohoo!), and how well you will be able to live when you retire.

I may have to rethink the sprouting of my theoretical Smart Offspring #1 in 2010 and Smart Offspring #2 in 2012 however, as my projections put my comfortable retirement at age 52 if I have them both on a single income, age 48 if I have just one brilliant, scholarship-bound kiddiepoo, and age 44 if I stick to feline children who do not require college educations. :were:

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Nutrition: 1300-1500 calorie low zig zag day

1: 1 c. Kashi Go Lean Crunch
2: 3 oz chicken breast, 2 oz. wheat noodles, 1 c. Romaine/tomatoes, beef noodle broth
3: 1/2 c. 1% cottage cheese, 1/2 c. blueberries
4: 3 oz chicken salad, peach
5: 3×1 omelette, peach, 1 c. cabbage/eggplant stir fry
6: Chocolate PB yogurt shake

Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D, 1 T. flaxseed oil or natural peanut butter
Water: 16 cups minimum

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Workout:
8:00 PM P90X Legs
9:00 PM P90X Abs
10:00 PM LISS Cardio – Bike (45 minutes)

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The Awful Truth:
1. Diverged from planned meals 5 and 6 by chomping on some Balance Go Mix instead.

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Brownie Points:
1. Bought eight dozen eggs at Albertsons for 50 cents a dozen.
2. Discovered that local Chamberlin’s sells TVP for only 99 cents a pound.
3. Returned library books.
4. Did HIIT again for the first time in weeks.
5. Located the much-ballyhooed Essensia brand peanut butter at Albertsons. YUMMY.

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Short-term Goals:
1. Defrost chicken.
2. Make some fresh salad dressing.
3. Prep some new chicken dishes.
4. Try BFL quiche recipe.
5. Clean out refrigerator and freezer.

Easy-Schmeasy Extra Cardio

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I bought a mini exercise bike unit sans seat and handlebars to use while playing computer and video games, studying, or reading in the evening. (Many thanks to Gravityhomer from the JSF forums for the suggestion!) These activities usually entail the planting of my sedentary ass on a couch or chair for a minimum of 2-3 hours with only the subtle twitching of my fingers showing the world that I am not actually a wax statue.

Oh yeah–I tend to snack, too, which is about as counterproductive as it gets when trying to cut or maintain.

No more inactive sitting for me, though!

I spent an hour and a half pedaling away while playing World of Warcraft last night, and not only was I not distracted while tearing up the Wailing Caverns with my group of four new level 20+ friends Jembah, Maryllyn, Wy, and Haemin (and his wolf Soulja), I wasn’t tempted to eat anything, either. Cardio and snacking are mutually exclusive activities in my brain, so the usual urge to nosh on crunchy foods while smacking down Deviate Vipers, Druids, Raptors, and other assorted mobs was completely squelched. It was kind of amusing to be pedaling while my on-screen character was running, but it suited my sense of justice. When I cast Ghost Wolf, a spell that changes my minotaur-like shaman character into a transparent lupine form and increases her speed by 40%, I did a sprint on the bike to simulate the speed increase.

:claplow:

If this keeps up, I may be at risk of doing too MUCH cardio instead of resenting the hell out of the time that cardio takes out of my day.

Perhaps I will go with a 5 day morning lifting split now that I can essentially do 60-120 minutes of LISS cardio every evening without sucking away my personal time. Time to ponder my new workout options…

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Nutrition: 1300-1500 calorie low zig zag day

1: SGX Meal
2: Beef noodles in broth
3: 1 c. FF yogurt, 1/2 scoop chocolate whey powder, 1 t. cocoa powder
4: Apple, 3 oz chicken salad
5: 3×1 omelette, 1 c. cabbage, 1 papaya
6: Chocolate PB yogurt shake

Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D, 1 T. flaxseed oil or natural peanut butter
Water: 16 cups minimum

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Workout:
12:00 PM HIIT Cardio – Run (20 min)
12:20 PM LISS Cardio – Incline Walk (20 min)
8:00 PM LISS Cardio – Bike (60 min)

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The Awful Truth:
1. Nothing!

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Brownie Points:
1. Biked for 90 minutes while playing WoW. :prop:
2. Stayed on plan for meals.

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Short-term Goals:
1. Clean bathroom.
2. Pick up eggs and fruit.
3. Print out new recipes from eDiets.
4. Take Foundations exam online.
5. Make up new weekly schedule of chores and activities.
6. Write up new fitness plan and email to sister.

Foodie Dreams

I’ve noticed a certain dissatisfaction in the past week with my diet. I think that last tube of Albertson’s oatmeal has spoiled me for any other store brand. The tube of Publix oatmeal is NOT THE SAME. I am going to reserve the Publix tube for pancakes, cakes, muffins, and other mixed foods while hieing over to the Dr. Phillips Albertson’s at the next opportunity to pick up some of the good stuff. I may even pick up 3 or 4 tubes of the good stuff.

My sister also mentioned some sort of peanut butter with the Albertson’s brand that she swears is absolute PB ambrosia with better stats than regular natty PB. That is also on my list.

The other day at the grocery store (pathetic pick up attempt notwithstanding), I had a eureka moment. I admitted to myself that I truly LOVED to go grocery shopping because it was a precursor to cooking, which I also loved, and thence to eating, which is, of course the best part of all.

:eat:

OMG, I think if I had cable TV, I’d probably be a Food Network junkie.

And, despite growing up in a restaurant family and knowing how hard it is to make it in that business, sometimes I dream about opening a chain of restaurants that caters to the health and fitness crowd–Yes, a menu loaded with nothing but BFL/Zone/BFFM-compliant appetizers, salads, soups, entrees, smoothies and desserts, oh yes. All nutrition stats would be printed right on the menu so there would be no guessing. Prices would be comparable to the stuff at Panera Bread or Chili’s.

I’m just so tired of being limited to chicken salad at EVERY normal restaurant I visit. Aren’t you?

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Nutrition: 1300-1500 calorie low zig zag day

1: Beef noodles in broth
2: 1 c. orange juice, 2/3 c. mixed veggies, 3 oz. chicken breast
3: 1 c. orange juice, 1 scoop whey
4: Peach, 2/3 c. mixed veggies, 3 oz. chicken breast
5: Dextrose/whey PWO shake
6:Papaya, 1 scoop whey

Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D, 1 T. flaxseed oil or natural peanut butter
Water: 16 cups minimum

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Workout:
7:30 PM P90X Chest/Back
8:30 PM LISS Stationary bike while playing WoW (min. 90 minutes)

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The Awful Truth:
1. Had a HUGE free dinner with Mom and Daddums last night.

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Brownie Points:
1. Was pretty good this weekend on food despite being out of the house for most of it.
2. Picked up a cheesy little portable exercise cycle from Sharper Image to put under my desk or in front of my couch when I am playing video games, reading, or studying for the NASM exam. What the heck…if I’m going to sit on my ass for 2-3 hours a night doing my favorite things (besides working out, cooking, and eating), I might as well get some LISS cardio done, too, right?

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Short-term Goals:
1. Clean bathroom.
2. Pick up eggs and fruit.
3. Print out new recipes from eDiets.
4. Finish Harry Potter.
5. Make up new weekly schedule of chores and activities.
6. Write up new fitness plan and email to sister.

Beef with Noodles in Broth

Beef Noodles!

By popular demand, here is the recipe from the Wei-Chuan cookbook that I use for beef noodles. 🙂 For those of you who want to reduce the carb ratio, cut out half the noodles and bulk up the meal with extra veggies like spaghetti squash or bean sprouts.

Bean Paste-Flavored Beef With Noodles In Broth
Servings: 6
Stats per serving: 332 calories, 37 g carb, 28 g protein, 5.8 g fat, 2.0 g sat fat, 2.6 g fiber

(This is okay for most males or for a larger main meal, but women may want to break this up into 8 servings at 226 calories, 27.75 g carb, 21 g protein, 4.35 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 2 g fiber each.)

Ingredients:
2 lb. (900 g) beef
1 lb. leafy green vegetable of your choice (I like spinach, bok choy, napa, or bean sprouts)
3/4 lb. (12 oz) dry noodles

(a)
3 green onions, cut in 1.25″ sections
3 slices ginger root
3 cloves garlic

(b)
3/4 c. soy sauce
1.5 T. bean paste
1.5 t. hot bean paste

(c)
8 c. water
2 T. cooking wine or sherry
1 T. sugar (or two packets Splenda)
2 flowerets star anise

(d) (per serving)
1/2 T. green onion, diced
1 t. soy sauce
1/4 t. sesame oil
pinch pepper
1 c. liquid from cooking beef
1 c. boiling water

Preparation:
1. Wash the beef and cut into 1.5″ cubes.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a preheated wok. (I usually just do this with cooking spray and a non-stick 12″ skillet to cut down on fat.) Add the ingredients of (a) and (b) one by one in order and stir-fry until fragrant. Add (c) and the beef and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat about one hour until the meat is cooked soft and the liquid is reduced to 6 cups. (Alternate quick method–cook on med-high for 15 minutes in a pressure cooker.) Retain the broth for use in step 4.

3. Fill a pot a little over half-full with water and bring to a boil. Blanch the vegetable in the boiling water until just cooked. Remove. Cook the noodles in this water until done, about 4 minutes. Remove.

4. Put (d) in each of 6 serving bowls. Put one portion of the noodles, vegetable, and beef in each bowl and serve.

Under Pressure

It’s been a while since my last post, but what can I say? I’m a lot busier at work now that I’m on the DS (Nintendo DS for those of you who aren’t into gaming) team instead of the main GameCube team at the company, and to put it plainly, I don’t have time to post during work hours now, LOL. Why don’t I post after work?

Erm, well…AFTER work hours are for apartment maintenance, studying, visiting friends, and World of Warcraft (Finally broke level 20 with my Tauren shaman, Pocowhontas!). :prop:

This is sort of an evolution in how I prioritize my life. The fitness and diet portions are now on auto-pilot–it’s actually difficult for me to come up with an unhealthy meal given the ingredients in my kitchen pantry–and I’m more or less in shape, so my need to post about every little aspect of my meals and training has faded quite a bit. As my goals and projects change, this blog may become more of a mix of current art work, commentary, book reviews, and recipes as well as the baseline fitness stuff.

One can’t spend one’s entire life flexing for photos and talking about reps, macronutrient ratios, and run times, right?

Okay, I guess one COULD, but not without boring everyone around them to tears. :biggrin:

The Optimum Performance Training (OPT) workshop held by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) was very informative this past weekend. The workshop was split about 50/50 between lecture and hands-on exercises, and the information was easy to grasp. Unfortunately, with Hurricane Dennis doing unexpected things last Saturday, my group had their workshop cut short by 3 hours. We missed out on the practical portion of program design and execution–or, as Kyra said in her post a few weeks ago when she attended the workshop in Boston, the bit where the instructors had the students do exercises to failure.

I came out of the workshop with a better understanding of the NASM PT course materials, an improved idea of what working as a trainer would entail, but absolutely no DOMS.

In cooking news, I finally took my Christmas 2004 present from my parents out of my car trunk this afternoon and gave it a go after reading the instructions while noshing an ear of corn during lunch.

People, pressure cookers are SCARY!

Mom and Dad bought me an Ultrex II pressure cooker with pasta insert, meat trivet, steamer, and alternate tempered glass lid (with steam valve), but my kitchen is so packed with cookware already that I didn’t get around to taking it out of my trunk until noon today.

Now beef noodle soup usually takes a good hour of simmering at low heat to prepare, and even then the 1 1/4″ cubed beef often doesn’t absorb enough flavor from the broth until day 2. If you use lean cuts of beef, you end up with somewhat tough meat as well.

Toss all of the ingredients in a pressure cooker, however, and you get super tender, absolutely divine-tasting beef chunks infused with yummy flavor in 15 minutes according to my mother.

Looking at the clock, I decided that I did have 20 minutes to spare for this inaugural pressure cooking journey. I grabbed the ingredients and chucked everything into the pressure cooker. After locking the lid on and turning the stove to high as instructed, I turned to do the dishes and pretty much forgot about the cooker until I suddenly heard a single, tentative metallic rattle behind me about 5 minutes later. The weighted pressure valve had started to move in a jolly fashion, so I set the timer for 15 minutes and went back to doing dishes.

Now my younger cat Neville HAD been hanging out on the breakfast bar counter in front of me while I worked, but suddenly he jumped off the counter top and hustled into the bedroom. I wondered why he was so freaked out, then looked behind me. The pressure cooker valve was REALLY jiggling now, and huge jets of steam were shooting up from it in a very, shall we say, distressing manner.

Maybe I should have gone with Med-High instead of High.

I am not ashamed to admit that I left the dishes with as much haste as Kitty Longbottom and went around the counter to put some space between me and the Death Pot of Explosive Pressure. In fact, I went to my bedroom for a few minutes to hang up my clothes while working up the courage to approach the stove and turn it down. The dreadful irony of being decapitated (and boiled) by a pot full of beef noodle soup was not lost upon me.

I eventually made it back to the stove and turned it down to Med-High and was much-relieved when my new pressure cooker no longer looked like a looped film clip of Old Faithful.

And now that you all know what a weenie I am with pressure cookers, I just want to say that the beef noodle soup that came out of that pot was just as mouth-wateringly yummy as my mother foretold.

I may be risking life and limb on a regular basis now for beefy noodles this good.

:eat:

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Nutrition: 1300-1500 calorie low zig zag day

1: 3/4 c. FF yogurt with cocoa, 3 oz. tuna
2: 1.5 scoops whey, 1 ear corn
3: 1/2 c. rice, 3 oz. beef with eggplant in five flavor sauce
4: Beef noodle soup with 1/2 cup vegetables
5: Thai chicken pasta salad
6: SGX meal

Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D, 1 T. flaxseed oil or natural peanut butter
Water: 16 cups minimum

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Workout:
REST

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The Awful Truth:
1. Slept in this morning due to WoW. :whistle:

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Brownie Points:
1. Have been lazy about posting, but stayed on plan.

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Short-term Goals:
1. Clean stove, sink, and counters in kitchen.
2. Pick up eggs and fruit.
3. Print out new recipes from eDiets.
4. Plan next week’s workouts.

Cheapskate Deals of the Day

There are a couple of decent deals today on stuff of interest to the homecookin’ fitness crowd that I thought I’d share.

If you are in the market for a blender (for those many protein shakes and smoothies you consume as a dutiful health-conscious fitness fanatic), or a toaster oven to broil your many servings of chicken breast, Linen N’ Things has some Black and Decker brand appliances available for, get this–$3.99 plus tax after rebate and 20% off single item coupon code. Besides the blender and toaster oven, they also offer a coffee maker and an iron for the same deal.

Each appliance is $29.99 – $6.00 (20% off coupon code 881000000005) – $20 mail-in rebate = $3.99 + tax

Make sure you choose in-store pick-up to avoid the shipping costs. Items must be purchased by July 17, 2005 to qualify. The 20% off code is only good on one item, so if you want more than one of the gadgets, place multiple orders to get the max discounts. :misch:

Go through www.ebates.com to get an additional 3% kickback or www.igive.com to donate 2% from the purchase to a charity of your choice.

Amazon.com also has two so-so deals. The Farberware Nonstick 6-Piece Bakeware Set I got a few months ago (and LOVE, BTW) is on sale for $13.98 today only, and there’s a wacky promotion on Kashi products through July 31, 2005, too. You get a $10 promotional code good for a future Amazon.com purchase if you spend $29 on Kashi products sold through Amazon.com. They are charging $2.89 a box for GoLean and GoLean Crunch, so if you pick up say, eleven boxes, your final price is around $1.98 a box. This is only mediocre in my opinion since Kashi periodically goes on sale at my regular grocery store for $2.00 a box, but some of you in more expensive areas might want to stock up.

Cipro Rocks My World

Antibiotics rule. One dose of Cipro, and I swear that the clouds of illness were swept away and rainbows started to arc across my mental landscape.

Okay, I exaggerate.

I do feel scads better, though, and will even brave the fitness room tonight for some long overdue sweat time. I hate missing workouts. I’m not going to go turbo today because I have to attend the two day NASM Optimum Performance Training workshop here in Orlando for the next two days. From Kyra’s description of the proceedings, I will get a decent amount of pain from the workshops without adding my own spoonful of self-inflicted DOMS to the menu. I do hope they make us do push-ups to failure. That could take me a while. :slappy:

The workshop is being held at a location less than 6.5 miles away from my home, so I’m feeling pretty lucky considering that Kyra had to drive several hours to reach her workshop site. My exam location is only 20 minutes or so away as well. Orlando, while lacking in certain cultural areas compared to larger cities, does have its perks.

I’ll report on the workshop tomorrow night. 😀

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Nutrition: 1300-1500 calorie low zig zag day

1: 3 slices French toast made with reduced carb/high protein WW bread and egg whites, 1/4 c. SF syrup
2: 3×1 spinach omelette, 1/6 cantaloupe
3: 1/2 c. low fat cottage cheese, 1 c. blueberries/blackberries, 2 T. Fiber One
4: 1/2 can tuna, 3/4 c. Fiber One, 1/2 bag lite Kettle Corn
5: Bennigan’s Asian Chicken Salad, dressing on side, no fried noodles
6: 1/2 c. low fat cottage cheese w/cocoa, 1/6 cantaloupe

Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D, 1 T. flaxseed oil or natural peanut butter
Water: 16 cups minimum

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Workout:
9:00 PM LISS Cardio (bike or treadmill / 45 min)

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The Awful Truth:
1. Was STILL too sick yesterday to work out. :eekb:

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Brownie Points:
1. Got another great night of sleep.
2. Made it to doc and got prescription for Cipro. Hurrah for antibiotics!
3. Pepper, eggplant, soy, tomato, and strawberry seedlings are still doing well. Have successfully foiled Neville the PlantKiller’s attempts to murder more of my future produce.
4. Used V-Slicer for the first time to make sweet potato fries AND chips.

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Short-term Goals:
1. Make appointments for eye exam.
2. Clean bathroom and bedroom.
3. File paperwork.
4. Read related chapters in NASM book for weekend workshop.
5. Cook some beef noodle soup (and post recipe for the masses.)
6. Prep and pack easy-travel meals for tomorrow’s workshop day.

The Secret to Dieting

…is apparently being so bloated and sick that you can’t stand the thought of eating anything beyond your allotted meals for the day.

The return of my regularly scheduled monthly visitor after a month AWOL brought with it some massive abdominal cramps and mega-alien-baby-implantation bloating that just killed any appetite I might have had for the past two days. Coupled with a low-grade UTI (look it up on WebMD or ask your wife/girlfriend/sister fellas if you don’t know what that means), I have NOT been a happy camper this week physically.

Unfortunately for me, I, like most perpetually healthy people, have never bothered to go in for a new patient exam with my chosen primary care provider, so I couldn’t get in for an appointment with said doctor this week. I had to hit the Aetna site and search for a new doc who DID have an opening before my kidneys reached critical mass and exploded. Fortunately, the first doctor on the list (with an office only 2 miles away from home) had a 9:30 am on Thursday. Whew.

Funny thing–I have no qualms at all about keeping up with my dental and GYN check ups, but I have never gotten into the habit of establishing a relationship with a regular doctor until something icky crops up. Well, live and learn. 🙄

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Nutrition: 1300-1500 calorie low zig zag day

1: 1/2 c. low fat cottage cheese, 1 c. blueberries, 2 T. dry oatmeal
2: 3×1 spinach omelette, 1 banana
3: 3 slices French toast made with reduced carb/high protein WW bread and egg whites, 1/4 c. SF syrup
4: 3×1 spinach omelette, 3/4 c. Fiber One
5: 1/2 c. low fat cottage cheese, 1/2 c. strawberries
6: 1/2 c. rice, 3 oz. pork cutlet, 1 c. stir-fried bean sprouts and spinach

Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D, 1 T. flaxseed oil or natural peanut butter
Water: 16 cups minimum

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Workout:
7:30 PM Arms/Shoulders/Abs
8:30 PM LISS Cardio – Treadmill (3.5-4 mph/ incline 10%/ 45 minutes)

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The Awful Truth:
1. Felt too generally icky, crampy, bloated and nauseous yesterday from possible UTI to work out. :yuck:

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Brownie Points:
1. Transplanted strawberry plants to pots since growing bags weren’t working out.
2. Pepper, eggplant, and soybean seedlings are doing well.
3. Leveled gnome rogue up to 11 from 8.
4. Got to bed WAY early and managed to get enough rest for a change.
5. Made appointments for annual GYN and physical exams. Ah, what fun I shall have. 😛

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Short-term Goals:
1. Make appointments for eye exam.
2. Clean bathroom and bedroom.
3. File paperwork.
4. Read related chapters in NASM book for weekend workshop.
5. Cook some beef noodle soup (and post recipe for the masses.)
6. Defrost and cook chicken breast for salads.
7. Use V-Slicer to make evenly-cut sweet potato chips :drool2: