Ripped in 30

Today I started the Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 DVD workout! I have to say I was always sort of intimidated by her workout routines because I never thought I was “ripped” enough for them. I always figured I could just stick with my 10 Minute Solutions Pilates DVD and running 2-3 times per week. Boy was I wrong! I’ll admit I was feeling a change there for a few weeks, but as soon as I started getting comfortable, I noticed that little bit of pudge around my waistline creeping back in. I knew I needed to make a change. So, after I heard a few of my girlfriends talking about Jillian’s 30 Day Shred DVD, I knew I had to check this lady out.

Ripped in 30 uses the 3-2-1 interval system, which stands for 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio and 1 minute of abs. Believe me when I say thank goodness the cardio is only for 2 minutes at a time, because I was sweating harder than a 30 minute run! It didn’t feel like I was pushing too hard or anything like that, but I definitely was shocked to find myself drenched in sweat. (Sorry if that was TMI.) Anyway, this DVD splits up the workouts into four weeks. Each week has a very unique set of moves with varying levels. Obviously there is a beginner, moderate and advanced level for each move. I found that I was actually a mix between the beginner and the moderate levels. Some things, like pushups, I can’t do to the fullest, but I’m hoping that things may change by the end of this 30 day challenge! Oh and did I mention each workout is only 24 minutes long? That means that I can continue my 10K trainer!

You’re probably wondering why I’m still bothering with the 10K trainer since I didn’t actually get to complete my race. Well, I still plan to do a race sometime in the future, but I don’t see a point in quitting my training altogether. I plan to continue working towards my goal of running 6.2 miles and then see where I’m at from there.

So, in summary, I highly recommend this DVD. Jillian Michaels is a wonderful motivator and even offers a 30 day meal plan to accompany this DVD. Here’s a five day preview.


Day 1
2 Eggs and Toast
Turkey and Avocado Wrap
Apple Berry Banana
Smoothie Turkey Kebabs


Day 2
Yogurt, Berries and Almonds
Grilled Sirloin Salad
Almonds and an Orange
Chicken Satay


Day 3
Waffles and Bananas
Mexican Pizza
Protein Bar
Black Bean Chili


Day 4
Ezekiel English Muffin or Toast with Almond Butter
Hummus and Vegetable Pita
Turkey Jerky
Roasted Salmon


Day 5
Oatmeal with Apples and Pecans
Seared Tuna Salad
Hard-Boiled Egg With an Apple
BBQ Chicken and Black Bean Burrito

I‘m not sure if I’ll try the meal plan, but I’ll definitely be pulling a few meal ideas from it.

Finally, I’d like to offer my before pictures. Now, normally I cringe at the thought of people seeing me in workout gear from various angles, but what the hey. A lot of people do this, so I’ll give it a try.



We’ll see if we can lose some inches around my hips and tighten up those triceps!

My Healthy Tip of the Day: If you are interested in taking the Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 challenge, pick up the DVD and start with me today!


Guest Post: The Best Foods for Your Skin

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in the Los Angeles area. She has written on everything from marketing, real estate, technology, and manufacturing, as well as a variety of health & wellness topics. She currently writes for the health & beauty blog at Skintrium.

You’ve heard the term “you are what you eat” before, just like you know that the foods you put into your body on a daily basis play a major role in how healthy or unhealthy you are. However, if you’re like most people, you may not realize that certain foods can play a dramatic role in the way your skin looks and feels.

Eating right for healthy skin isn’t that difficult. In fact, the best way to eat right for your skin health is to follow the same diet most doctors recommend: a balanced diet rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and protein sources that are lean and low fat.

But studies have shown that particular foods that fall within these categories can have a direct impact on your skin, and researchers have managed to pinpoint the best foods to include in your diet for the best skin.


The beta-carotene in carrots is good for your eyesight, but the vitamin A in carrots is actually what’s beneficial for your skin. The high vitamin A content in carrots may be able to help you clear up or prevent breakouts and pimples by regulating your skin’s production of skin cells, reducing the likelihood of dead ones clogging your pores. Vitamin A may also be able to reduce the risk of skin cancer by blocking the development of cancer-causing cells.

Raw carrots are your best bet for vitamin A, but if you don’t like snacking on baby carrots, cooked carrots can still be beneficial.

Safflower Oil

Safflower oil is sometimes recommended to people with dry skin conditions like eczema as a topical moisturizer because of its moisturizing properties. However, you don’t have to slather your skin with safflower oil to enjoy its skin benefits.

Safflower oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids which help to keep the skin supple. You can use it as a moisturizer if you want, but it also works well for things like salad dressing or light stir-fry’s or sautéed vegetables.

(Hint: if you’re going to cook those carrots, try lightly sautéing them in safflower oil!)


Loaded with vitamin E, almonds are one of the best foods you can eat for optimal skin health. The vitamin E in almonds helps to protect your skin against dangerous UVA and UVB rays from the sun, and believe it or not, eating almonds can actually keep you from getting as sunburned when you spend time outside. Still, that doesn’t mean you should leave the sunscreen at home and pack a bag of almonds instead.

Along with protecting your skin from the sun, the vitamin E content in almonds can help prevent free radicals that can cause wrinkles and fine lines from damaging your skin.

Sweet Potatoes

The vitamin C in sweet potatoes may slow down wrinkles.

Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin C, which can help boost the amount of collage your body produces. More collagen production equals fewer wrinkles and fine lines. The best part is that even a small amount of sweet potato is beneficial for your skin, so you don’t have to feel bad the next time you sneak a few sweet potato fries. Of course, you’re better off baking that sweet potato since you’ll get more vitamins and nutrients out of it that way.

(Hint: sprinkle your sweet potato with cinnamon, a healthy spice, for a delicious and nutritious combination!)

Foods to Avoid

People used to think that certain foods were bad for their skin – mostly unhealthy foods like potato chips, French fries and refined chocolate. While we’ve found out that some of those foods may not be great for your waistline but not so hard on your skin, there are still some foods you should avoid, especially if you have problem skin.

People that suffer from conditions like eczema should avoid eggs, milk, peanuts, soy and products that contain refined sugar, as these may make the condition worse.

Acne, proving stubborn to treat as ever, isn’t caused by fried foods, though some people notice a reduction in severity when they stop eating them. There is some evidence that foods high in carbohydrates, particularly refined carbohydrates like pasta and white bread, may cause acne. More research needs to be done here, but people with acne should consider avoiding them and noting any changes in their skin.

What Happened to Spring?

So a few weeks ago, I was expressing my longing for warmer weather. I just wanted to be able to pack a bag and run after work. Not a big request. I kept dreaming of that perfect 65-70 degree weather that spring brings and how I would achieve nirvana by way of the rail trail. Boy was I wrong. Instead of transitioning to a moderately warm temperature, we’ve gone into a full-blown heat wave. Couple that with a ridiculously high humidity level and you’ve just created the weather I absolutely despise: mid-summer.

Running on Tuesday felt just like I was fast forwarded to the end of June. Honestly, you could have flipped the calendar ahead two pages and had me fooled. Now all of you boat folks were probably having a smashingly good time, but us pale folk were not amused by this cruel spring joke. I swear being out there for 30 minutes started to freckle me. I guess I really can’t complain that much (she says after a two paragraph rant). I did ask for trail-appropriate weather and I do anticipate the heat backing off a bit over the next few days, but still I can’t help but wonder if this is what the rest of my life will be like. I’ll hold my global warming spiel for another day. 🙂

Other than the humidity, I can’t really complain about much. My car still amazes me every day. In fact, I went to the store on Sunday for some groceries and managed to fill my entire trunk without even putting the backseats down. It’s a deceptively deep little trunk!

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I also filled up my car for the first time in seven days this week and only paid $26 for a full tank. That’s $22 less than I normally paid to fill my Beetle up for around four and a half days. Wow! Right now I’m averaging around 40.3 mpg, but as I become more aware of tips and tricks to save, the numbers keep climbing. I’m hoping to be up to 41 by the end of the weekend.

Ok, that’s enough Prius smut. On to the Healthy Tip.

My Healthy Tip of the Day brought to you by Dr. Oz: Eat most of your carbs early in the day and reduce them as the day goes on. Try to end your day with more protein. This will better your chance of burning off carbs during your day so they don’t transform into fat.

New Car!

I made the leap and bought my first car yesterday! It’s something I’ve thought about doing for a very, very long time, but never had the guts to do it. Well, that and I couldn’t make up my mind. After I narrowed down my search, I knew I wanted a hybrid. There was no question that it was the best way to go for someone who lives in Morgantown and will probably be commuting 60 minutes, round trip, for the next few years. So anyway, here’s what I got!

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(Alex, please don’t hate me for posting this pic. I think it’s cute!)

This is the Prius C three – the cutest, smallest member of the Toyota Prius family. The “c” stands for city and gets up to 53/46 city/hwy! That’s pretty amazing compared to my 2004 Beetle that only got a combined 24. The interior is great. I have a touch screen audio display, a little screen that shows me my MPG, the luxury of a bigger car, tons of little nooks and crannies to put stuff and much, much more. Did I mention the 30/60 seat split? So neat.

–Before I give Toyota all the credit, I must give a shout out to University Town Motors in Morgantown. They treated me very well, didn’t push, gave me a great price for my trade in and also gave me an awesome goody bag that now sits permanently the floorboard of my backseat. I highly recommend them.–

OK, now on to something funny. After I got my car, I felt like I was part of this new little Earth-loving community. I already recycle and try to be pretty conscience about water, electricity, etc., but owning a Prius has already made me start to feel part of something bigger. What I didn’t realize was that this “community” was actually pretty hated at one point.

After Googling stuff about my new little “Prius Community” I was shocked to find tons of forums and articles dedicated to bashing Prius owners. Some of the more humorous topics I found were:

  • “If You Already Thought Prius Owners Were Annoying…”
  • “[Prius Cars] Force You to Drive Like a Jerk”

There’s even a Facebook group against the car! I can’t help but laugh about it, because, really, what’s to hate? If it’s the speed, get used to it. I have only been driving for two days and already find myself going 15 mph slower. Yes, I just admitted to previously driving ~90. It is part of the game I’m already becoming addicted to. As I said before, the dash features a screen that allows the driver to see exactly what MPG they are getting and believe me when I say it does become a game. As soon as you shut off your car, you get a trip summary. This tells you the distance, average speed, how much that trip cost and a few other gems that make you feel like you’ve just finished kicking butt (or not if you were ignoring all of the gas-saving tips the manual provides) on a video game. Hey, we stay in the right lane for that stuff. Just know that when we set our cruise and have to pass you three different times, it’s your problem, not ours! If it’s the fact that you think we think we are better, again, your problem. I chose this car because it was right for me. It was small, affordable, economical in the long run and just happens to have hybrid technology. Don’t be hatin’!

Bottom line: I love my new car. If you are thinking about getting a Prius, go for it. You will not be sorry. Oh and did I mention the tax credit? 🙂

My Healthy Tip of the Day: Falling behind with your workout plan like I am? Well, try to make a routine and have a plan B. “If I can’t run after work today, I will do a ten minute Pilates sessions and add 5 minutes on to my run the next day.”



Registered for Race! Oh Wait…

Well, I finally got my registration in for the upcoming Burgh’s 10K/5K Run & 2 Mile Fun Walk on Sunday April 21, 2013. So exciting! Oh wait, except that I can’t do it now. Ok, here’s the story. I registered on Monday last week, only to find out that my friend’s bachelorette party is going to be in Roanoke the night before, which is a little under 3 hours away from the race. Normally I’d just say “Oh I’ll squeeze that in!” However, I just can’t imagine trying to get up and leave that early AND be in high spirits. Cat Hair in my Coffee moment, much?

So, if you know anyone who would like to take my spot, please shoot me an email at Much appreciated!

I fell way behind in my 10K plan, leaving me at around the 2.75 mile mark right now. It’s probably for the best that I push back my 10K. With all of these bridal showers, weddings and bachelorette parties, my schedule is left with just a few days a week to train. However, despite falling behind in my training, I’m feeling better than ever about my strength and endurance. Slow and steady is definitely the way to go for me. Here’s what the next few weeks look like.

Week 7 Day 1-3 

  • Brisk five minute warmup walk
  • Jog 2.5 miles
  • Five minute cool down

Week 8 Days 1 & 2

  • Brisk five minute warmup walk
  • Jog 2.75 miles
  • Five minute cool down

Week 8 Day 3

  • Brisk five minute warmup walk
  • Jog 3 miles
  • Five minute cool down

So you see that I’m pretty far behind and very far behind from where I was about a year ago. No big, though. I plan on hitting the trail as much as possible over the next few weeks so that I complete this plan at least within a week or two of the upcoming wedding I’m in.

Never Going to Finish

My cheerleaders.