Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Brother Bear

Best Friends 
 I don't come from a large family. Growing up, it was just me and my brother, Tyler. It took a little while for us to become close, but I blame that mainly on our 7 year age difference. Over the years, we have grown together, laughed a lot, shared in great accomplishments and also great tragedy. Recently, Tyler started running. Not surprisingly, he has already made considerable gains. ( he is a Smith after all) Aside from losing 20 pounds in the past month, he is now able to run 2 consecutive miles without stopping. On the day of the Broad Street 10 miler sign ups, Ty had texted me about his recent weight loss. I was so proud of him and I remembered he wanted to start running. What better way then to throw yourself into a 10 miler in the city of brotherly love?  I asked him if he wanted to run with me and my cousin Amanda this year. He said yes, and without hesitation I signed him up. Since the sign up, he's gotten to experience the thrill of the pavement, and also the joy of our local running store. He is now the proud owner of Brooks sneakers and I can tell he already craves the thrill of adding on mileage to his weekly running totals. When I look back on my short running career I get overwhelmed with how far I've come. Its incredible what you can accomplish when you are determined to achieve a goal. I am so excited to watch my brother achieve his goal and run his first 10 miler. I cant wait to cross the finish line with him and take part in this awesome milestone. Today while I was at the gym, I started a new 8 week work out plan. During a few points, I thought seriously about giving up, and throwing up, but I didn't. I thought about my brother a lot today and how determined he is to reach his goal.  I couldn't help but smile, mainly because I am so proud of him. I know he will kill this race, and I will be right by his side the entire time. During my marathon, he ran along side me slamming a cowbell and screaming my name in a blaze of glory. His face was overwhelmingly excited and I knew he was proud to see me race. I cant wait to give back to him, what he has already given me. Endless love and support and above all faith. Faith, that you will succeed, faith that you can achieve your goal and faith that you are indeed strong enough to do this.  Running is such a great way to bond and grow as a person. If you asked me 10 years ago if I was going to be a runner, I would have laughed in your face. I never really thought of the Smith's as runners, but look at us know. We are. You can call my brother Tyler, but to me, he's my Brother Bear- a runner and bad ass extraordinaire. Team Smith. See you at the starting line.

Team Smith


Paws Up! Lady Gaga pre-gaming
Gary Papa 5k with our cousins

Disney World 

Easter antics

Disney Marathon Expo

Gary Papa 5k

Monday, February 27, 2012


Life as an amateur blogger can be hard sometimes, so when I get the chance, I love to share other blogs that may be helpful with fitness tips and workouts. While stacking pins on my fitness board on Pinterest, I came across a great blog/website posted from my friend Jackie. Michelle Freeman is the creator of Extreme fitness. From what I've read she is a female body builder/ fitness enthusiast. She gives great exercise tips as well as vast exercise programs for all ability levels. She also answers comments from readers and is very motivating to her readers. I discovered an 8 week bikini body challenge yesterday, and I plan on starting it tomorrow. Its a lot of circuit training, which we all know burns calories and really boosts your heart rate. I am excited to let you know how it goes and to track my progress. Check out her website. If you end up trying one of her fitness plans, I would love to hear about it :) 


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mardi Gras 5Kish

Yesterday, we pulled together a Motley Crew to run the annual Mardi Gras 5k in Allentown. It was a bar crawl with about 6 stops along the way and raffle prizes at the end. Our group theme was 80's. My friend Joe, wore a shirt that his uncle made in prison and a key to the city without limits! He should have taken 1st place, but he still came in 2nd. So fun! Check out pictures from the event! 

Getting ready to go.

Joe and Hans ready to go

Our trusty map

Joe at the starting bar

Jackie 2

Becky and I 

the key to the city without limits

Joe and I 

Dan myself and Hans

me with our stolen poster

group shot at the finish

Joey bear scheming on the women of the red hat society.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Does the early bird really get the worm?

Lately, my workout partner and I have been trying to mix up our workouts by taking classes. A few weeks ago, we stumbled upon a real gem— Boot camp with Wayne. Boot camp is circuit training class lead by our fearless leader, Wayne. The music is good the people are nice and its a killer workout. Did I mention that its at 5am? When people hear the time of day that the class starts, they always question my sanity. What they don't know is that I change in the dark, don't brush my hair and show up half asleep at LA Fitness. When I finally get there, I start to wake up. What keeps me coming back for more? Its a refreshing change of pace to hit the gym before work once a week to mix up the doldrums that sometimes occur during after work gym sessions. I've noticed that I seem to have more fun in the mornings and I am willing to work a little harder and sweat a little more than in the afternoon. So, I got to thinking, are morning workouts better then afternoon or evening workouts? Is there really a better time of day to hit the gym? I did some research to give you some information regarding this burning question because I figure some of you might have been wondering the same thing. There are a lot of different views on this topic but some things keep repeating in the literature and are worth noting. 

  • Our bodies follow sleep and wake cycles that are called circadian rhythms. This cycle is responsible for regulating things like metabolism, blood pressure, and body temperature. Although we are born with these innate rhythms we can train our bodies to follow a new rhythm. By this I mean by using an alarm clock, or eating at specific times daily your body will adjust. Likewise, if you exercise regularly in the morning, your body will learn to perform its best or be "Ready" for exercise during that specific time of day. 
  • Reports suggest that injuries are less likely in the afternoon because you body is warmed up. In the morning, your body temperature is at its lowest and warming up muscles takes longer. 
  • Researchers state that morning exercisers are more likely to stick to it that late-day athletes. There is less time for distractions or emotions to take over or get in the way of exercise if its done first thing in the morning. 
  • Most research supports the idea that exercise can improve sleep quality. But does exercising too late in the evening keep you up? Studies have shown improvements in sleep from both morning and afternoon exercise, so it's not yet clear if evening exercise keeps you up. One study even showed that vigorous exercise half an hour before bedtime did not affect sleep.
  • Studies suggest that strength training is best done in the afternoon when the body has sufficient energy and fuel from food. If you train the morning you may not have enough food nutrients to sustain a vigorous workout. 
  • People who work out in the morning claim they have a more positive attitude throughout the day because they have already done something productive and used time wisely. This can in turn improve self esteem and overall mood. 
The good news here is that each individual person is able to decide which time of day is best for them. There is no right or wrong time, its just a matter of personal preference. There seems to be benefits as well as draw backs to both morning workouts as well as evening. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mardi Gras Madness

Today is Fat Tuesday and thats a reason to celebrate! Many people celebrated today in the form of donuts or beer. I personally didn't have a donut, but I will admit that I put my entire head in the bag and was breathing deep to trick myself into thinking I ate one. Sick, I know. With Mardi Gras comes the beginning of Lent and we all know what that means. Every year, I think hard about what I will be giving up for Lent and last year, it was meat. 40 days and nights without meat. I eventually caved and had a burger, but I blame my uncle Dave for that. He refused to grill my veggie hockey puck and the sweet smell of grilled burgers stole my heart. Flash forward to today, and my new focus is.....wait for it......SUGAR. Now, I know what you are thinking. Who the hell gives up sugar for lent? Jackie does. Let me go into detail about how I plan to do this. I am going to cut back on sugar. No soda, no candy, no crap in a nutshell. Fridays will be no sugar days. NONE. I think that is doable. Natural sugars like those found in fruit don't count. No processed crap will enter my body on Fridays. Raw food only. I feel like this is reasonable and also a difficult thing to forgo for 40 days. On Easter, I will binge on Cadbury Creme Eggs and Peeps like a real woman should! Starting tomorrow, sugarless Jackie is in full swing. Sadly, I must confess that this past week, I lost 1/2 a pound. I realize that I need to be more accountable for the food entering my body and so today I made a custom food/gym journal so I can see where I am lacking in the nutrition department. Hopefully this helps shed some light on my minimal weight loss thus far. Try not to be jealous of my awesome notebook :) 

my custom nutrition and workout book

Monday, February 20, 2012


This weekend has been a great one! Four days off without a day of work in sight! Its easy to lose track of the days when you know you have a mini vacation on your hands. Tonight, I became mildly disappointed when I realized my guilty pleasure wasnt on TV. I have a lot of favorite shows, but since I downgraded to basic cable, my new favorite shows have changed. Currently, Biggest Loser is one of my favorite tuesday night pleasures! Let's face it, the show is addicting. I love it. I love watching the struggle and getting new workout tips and exercise ideas from Bob and Dulvet. I get really into it until the people on the show start looking better then I do. Then I just get motivated to work even harder at the gym! Everyone loves a good success story, so in honor of all of those people out there working to shed winter weight I give you, without further adieu Biggest Loser before and afters!

Watch Biggest Loser tomorrow night for more inspiration! :) 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Going nowhere fast

I have to say that lately, my favorite class at the gym is spin. My workout partner Tim, likes to say its an obsession. Today we took our 4th spin class of the week, so unfortunately he might be right. If you have never taken a class, I know what you are thinking. How fun could riding a bike that doesn't move be? Its not even that its fun, but more a great workout and one of the few classes that you can see results fast. In my experiences, spin allows you to sculpt your legs and build muscle relatively quickly. Since there is a great deal of resistance involved there are cardiovascular benefits as well. My gym partner Tim and I have been going to spin for the past 3 weeks at least once a week and I am not exaggerating when I say I can already see more definition in my legs. Plus, they are getting stronger. Enough about my meager opinion, here's what the experts have to say about spin.

1. During spin you fluctuate between high and low resistance as well as intensity this makes spin a calorie torch er. A 60 minute class can burn anywhere from 300 to 800 calories! wowza!

2. Muscle Endurance during spin targets lots of different muscle groups including glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves and even abs! 

3. Spin is a low impact exercise. This means people with joint and knee problems can benefit without worrying about injury :) 

4. Spin helps increase cardiovascular endurance. 

5. Spin is a great stress reliever and allows you to visualize situations such as biking hills and harder climbs while riding. 

Don't take my word for it! Give Spin a whirl. You wont be sorry! 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rome wasnt built in a day, and neither was a killer ass

I woke up this morning, and felt like garbage. I guess that's why its 12:30 and I am still in bed. I thought since I am just laying around, I would fill my time with Pinterest. So, for the past hour I was looking up fitness pins and stalking the boards of friends to occupy my time. Then, I got to thinking... Why don't I look like these women? The truth is, I know why. You can call it what you want, but genetics is a part of our body make up. It sets a disposition of your body and bones and can help make or break you. Since Ive been big on goal setting lately, I thought I would share my newest goal with you and how I plan to make it there. I want to be skinny by summer, I want to wear my new James Bond Bikini ( white with gold trim) and rock the shit out of it. Now, in Ocean City New Jersey, I don't expect too much competition, but you know what I mean. I want to feel good. I go to the gym regularly, I work hard while I am there so why cant I parade around in it now while watching Captain Ron and drinking margaritas in my apartment? Because, these things like all good things take time. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to look thin and be skinny but every now and then, its best to come back to reality. Here's what I've learned over the years. 

1. Everyone is different. 
When I eat an entire box of girl scout cookies I can actually hear myself getting fatter. My skinny friends are able to do the same, and not gain a pound. Fair? No way, but everyone is different and you need to come to terms with that.

2. Depriving yourself of food or things you love makes you miserable.
I love food. I don't think I would be satisfied if i couldn't have an occasional ice cream or drink a coke a cola classic from time to time. Diets don't work if you aren't eating things that you love. You can have a cookie, its OK. Just don't eat 10. I read once that your body is like a bank account. You don't want to withdrawal too many calories at once, but a certain amount each day. If you are living off of apples and popcorn, you will be miserable and most likely not have enough energy to workout. You might even try to murder someone for a burger. Not good. If you know you are going out to dinner, plan ahead or do a little extra at the gym to compensate. I read once that if you eat poorly, its best to try to burn an extra 500 calories the next day. Seems reasonable enough. 

3. Workout but don't become obsessed
Ive had my fair share of skinny days over the years and when I was the skinniest is was because I wasn't eating, and I was going to the gym for hours on end trying to make moves. The gym works, but you need to give yourself a break. Going 7 days a week is unrealistic and you cant expect your body to be at max performance if you aren't giving it time to recuperate. I went to spin 3 times this week and I thought my legs were going to fall off. I knew it was time to take a break. Listen to your body. Its speaking. Its easy to get obsessed but you need to keep your head on straight and listen to your body. Otherwise, you will burn out and the gym will start to become a chore.

4. All good things come in time
Nobody who ever gave 100% regretted it. You aren't on the Biggest Loser. You cant work out 12 hours a day and lose 15 pounds a week. Do what you can each day and hopefully you will lose about 2-3 pounds a week. That's normal. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was a killer ass. It takes about 6 weeks to start to see muscle definition from working out. Good things come in due time.

5. Eat Clean
Its no secret the healthier you eat the better you feel. I think its easiest to write down what you eat so you can stay accountable. Some people like to write down how they felt as well. This can also help you see patterns in your eating choices and maybe pin point why you are or aren't losing weight. Abs aren't made in the gym they are made in the kitchen. 70% is diet 30% is exercise. Some of my close work friends swear by weight watchers but for me, I just like to monitor my intake because I don't like to count. Whatever works for you, is what you should do.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wherever you go, there you are.

Here we are, mid February and I have yet to jump back into running. I signed up for both a 1/2 marathon and a 10 miler this spring. With only 2 months to train, time is up and the pavement is calling my name. In an effort to rekindle my old love affair with running, I've decided to compile a list of celeb runners. Perhaps it will offer some inspiration. At this point,  some tequila and a base tan are looking more promising then running 13.1 miles. But as always, I am up for the challenge. After a marathon, how bad could this be? 
 Here we go...

Audrina from The Hills rocking a running skirt. Not a fan of the skirt but love the show.

Anna Paquin working it. Love her

Juliana Ransic running the chicago half.

Fergie with her fanny pack water bottle. 

Gordon Ramsey. Really? This one was a shock.

Jake from the Bachelor

Jessica Simpson before baby.

Katie Holmes marathoner

Miley bird in something unsuited for running.

Mario Lopez

My first true love Ryan Reynolds <3


Terri Hatcher tri