Real Life Fitness

Earlier this week I posted some “Tips for Success” and I totally stand by those!

But y’all.

Life happens.

I did great Monday and Tuesday. By Tuesday night, though, I was so tired (thanks to some kiddos who decided to tag-team and not let me sleep) I was almost in tears. Wednesday morning, my alarm went off. My clothes were laid out with my workout on a card next to my socks and I just couldn’t do it. I tried to go back to sleep. I couldn’t sleep. I got up and got dressed and found dirty dishes in the sink. I washed the dishes and picked up the living room and by that time it was too late to go to the gym.


The morning was super rough, but before I taught cycle I decided I could squeeze in some time on the elliptical along with BodyPump practice. So I did. And I felt great after!

I’ve spent most of the rest of my day – other than taking care of my normal mom duties – watching (with amazement!) as my second post for the Chattanooga Moms Blog spreads like wildfire. I’ve got a stuffy nose and a belly full of candy (it IS two days after Halloween, after all), so I’ll be getting up a little later in the morning and only doing my weights workout.

I planned.

But I’m being flexible as life happens.

Because, friends, although being fit and healthy is super important, my workouts will never come before my job as wife and mama. If I’m too worn down to take care of my people, then those workouts need to take a back seat. What good is being fit if I’m not using my fit body to serve those I love?

When Injuries Come

Well shoot.

Here I am, kicking booty and taking names, staying focused, eating well, planning my workouts, and not being crazy…injury. I wasn’t even doing anything cool when it happened, either!

I was walking down the stairs on Thursday – ok. I was running down the stairs Thursday because I have four boys and I’m hyperactive and I don’t do anything slowly.

I was running down the stairs Thursday after changing the youngest lego boy’s diaper, getting ready to go teach and I lost my footing. My main concern was, of course, the 30lbs of baby I was carrying. I twisted my knee as I landed and it looks like I’ve done something to the meniscus.


Cute, huh?

Rest, ice, compression, elevation, and ibuprofen…and of course a workout plan for next week that doesn’t hurt the knee. I was able to cycle this morning, which was great, but I’ll have to take it easy on the lower body until I am pain-free.

What I will NOT do is use this as an excuse to sit on the couch with ice cream and a bottle of wine. I’ll use it as an excuse to work on my killer arms!

Check back and I’ll let you know what next week’s plan looks like.

On a completely unrelated note, have y’all worn LuLaRoe yet? Becuase I just got a couple pairs of their leggings and never want to wear anything else ever again. Consider this my enthusiastic endorsement of all things LuLaRoe!

Workout Plan 9/4-9/10

I’m not afraid to admit that I workout harder when someone is watching. So, I’m sharing my workout plan here in the hopes your eyeballs will keep me on track. Check the Facebook page for daily updates and to make sure I’m doing what I say I will!

  • Sunday, 9/4 – run
  • Monday, 9/5 – legs, arms, 30 min. cardio
  • Tuesday, 9/6 – arms, abs, 30 min. cardio
  • Wednesday, 9/7 – legs, abs, 30 min. cardio
  • Thursday, 9/8 – arms, abs, 30 min. cardio
  • Friday, 9/9 – BodyPump
  • Saturday, 9/10 – run

Legs x 2

  • 20-second wall sit
  • 30 weighted calf raises (40lb)
  • 40 weighted lunges (40lb; 20 each side)
  • 50 weighted squats (40lbs)
  • 100 jumping jacks (or squat jacks or plank jacks)

Arms x 2

  • 20 pushups (or bench press)
  • 20 triceps kickbacks (10lb; each side)
  • 20 biceps rows (40lbs)
  • 20 shoulder press (30lbs)

Abs x 3

  • 20 full situps
  • 20 right side crunches
  • 20 left side crunches
  • 20 oblique twists
  • 1 min. plank hold

Cardio (choose 1)

  • run
  • elliptical
  • row

*disclaimer: This is a workout routine I’ve pieced together from reading. I am in the process of getting my personal trainer certification (I am already group exercise certified), and things will get a bit more detailed and organized as I design my own programs. If you wanna do what I’m doing, great! Just make sure you’re in good health, you don’t do too much too soon, and that you’ve got a trainer making sure you stay safe.


Why I Exercise (other than because I like it)

There are so many many reasons to stay fit.

May I quote the great Elle Woods? “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.”

It’s true. After years of battling anxiety and depression, nothing gets me off on the right foot in the morning like a big ol’ dose of endorphins. I am much less likely to yell at my children if I’ve worked out.

I’m competitive, I like to eat, I don’t like being fat, I’m kind of hyper active and if I ever want to talk to people I have to keep moving while we converse or I lose interest and…what were we talking about?

The number one, all time reason I exercise, though, was expressed perfectly in my group fitness instructor certification class: life is easier when you’re fit.

I have four boys. FOUR. BOYS. To say they are energetic would be an understatement of epic proportions. My four-year-old gets out of bed by 7am every day and immediately starts talking, usually asking for food with his first breath. He then goes nonstop all day until he passes out mid-sentence. I am not exaggerating. Y’all. If I wasn’t fit, I would be dead or in a mental hospital.

So, in addition to the daily life of being a mama to four boys and homeschooling and writing for various blogs and businesses and keeping house and cooking and OH MY GOSH THE LAUNDRY, I want to do fun things with my guys. I want to make memories. I want to explore and enjoy creation and this new, cool city where we live.

My gym time, people, gives me sanity and strength and the ability to live a good life.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m tired today (mostly because the two littles still haven’t figured out how to sleep an entire night), but look at the fun we had!

A day at the pool with these guys keeps me motivated at the gym!
A day at the pool with these guys keeps me motivated at the gym!


Our best attempt at an "usie"
Our best attempt at an “usie”


They're planning how they're going to keep mom up tonight
They’re planning how they’re going to keep mom up tonight


Too cool for school. And apparently his mom.
Too cool for school. And apparently his mom.


The biggest boy who swims and is somehow a 9-year-old teenager
The biggest boy who swims and is somehow a 9-year-old teenager


Now this one sleeps. He also plays hard and snuggles.
Now this one sleeps. He also plays hard and snuggles.


The other one who doesn't sleep when he's supposed to and takes a nap on the concrete AT THE POOL
The other one who doesn’t sleep when he’s supposed to and takes a nap on the concrete AT THE POOL


Mama and the chubby one. And I've worked hard on those shoulders.
Mama and the chubby one.


Oh yes. That's my chubby baby ready to swim.
Oh yes. That’s my chubby baby ready to swim.

We checked out the Warner Park Pool with friends a couple of weeks ago and had a great time. I’d told the boys we probably wouldn’t get to go swimming much this summer because I couldn’t imagine wrangling the four of them by myself at a crowded pool. Or even a not-crowded pool. Going with friends, though, broke the ice, so to speak, and I realized a few things: 1. my big boy can swim! When did that happen? 2. My second biggest boy can strap on a life jacket and be self-sufficient. 3. The two big boys can watch out for each other and yell for help if they need it. 4. I can totally rock out the pool with these four on my own.

So, after a morning at the Y where the boys played and I got a solid workout in, we ate some lunch and headed downtown for an amazing afternoon. I was a little miffed that I wasn’t allowed to use Eli’s float (meaning I had to hold him the whole time), but with the big boys playing on their own and Owen in his puddle jumper, we did just fine. I even managed to nurse Eli without any stares or comments. Bam.

I still get tired. I have to rest. I’m not as young as I used to be.

But I refuse to go down without a fight. There is so much I want to do with this life and these people I’ve been given and exercise gives me the stamina to do it. Need some motivation to work out? Look at the people around you.

Mom Fitness Fail

I shared with you all a while back about some big changes coming to the Lego house. It’s not been easy. During the week I am a single, stay-at-home, homeschool mom of four boys. There is no time for going to the gym and no energy to eat healthy. The last two months have been nothing more than survival. I don’t handle change well – especially change I didn’t ask for! – and this has been a massive change.

My sleep patterns are different, I don’t have my gym membership anymore, there’s no one to watch the kids so I can get up early and run, and I’m no longer cooking for grown-ups. My diet is absolute crap. Without the motivation to cook for my hubs, the kids and I eat junk – mostly because it’s easy. My mental energy is being used just acting as the sole caretaker of four little people, so I don’t have the brain power to meal plan like I used to. I have workout equipment that I’m not using because any spare moment I have is spent trying to rest or clean or lesson plan or shower.

Life changes.

Priorities change.

I don’t get to be an athlete right now. (I say “right now” because I do love being an athlete, but this stage of my life doesn’t allow it)

This isn’t the end, but it’s a point where I have to decide what fit and healthy looks like when things get hard. I have been amazingly spoiled with financial means, time, and help from others. I’ve been able to afford good food, I’ve had time to spend working out, and I’ve had people to help me with my kiddos so I can focus on my hobby. I see now how very lucky I’ve been.

What do you do when you don’t have childcare? How do you work out when you’re absolutely exhausted from being “on” 24 hours a day and never getting a full night’s sleep? How do you eat healthy on a budget, with with minimal time and effort?

I don’t know, but I’m going to figure it out.

While I’m frustrated by my current situation, I am prayerfully taking it as a learning opportunity. So far, being the runner girl has been easy…what happens when it gets hard? Who am I when life gets significantly more difficult than it’s ever been?

I hope that I can be a help to you, as someone who now doesn’t have it as easy as I did. I hope I can be someone who can figure all this out and hold your hand along the way…not someone who you look to and say “well, she’s had it all handed to her.”

So, with my wine, PopTarts, Doritos, turkey sandwiches on white bread, and more wine…my goal is to not only make myself healthier and happier, but to help you see that we are all in this together.

Go-To Chocolate Cupcakes (for my mama’s birthday)

A girl’s gotta eat.

And a girl that loves to bake just HAS to fix some yummy cupcakes for her mama’s birthday. It’s the rule of the South.

I found a recipe on the Food Network site that looked pretty good, so I decided to try it out. Paula Deen is my usual go-to gal for baked goods, but a certain three-year-old tossed a bunch of sour cream in my cart at the grocery store and this recipe calls for sour cream, so…

Anywho, here’s a link to the original recipe:

Here it is with my tweaks (the original recipe was a little unclear and it led me to do a second batch…I figure I’ll help you eliminate a step)

Go To Chocolate Cupcakes (for my mama’s birthday)


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup baker’s cocoa
  • 1/3 cup freshly brewed coffee (I used Starbucks Veranda Blonde, pour-over. Because I’m fancy)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350.

Go ahead and grab three bowls. You’re gonna need them. I used my Kitchenaid metal mixing bowl, my large Pampered Chef mixing/measuring bowl, and my medium Pampered Chef mixing/measuring bowl. In your largest bowl, add your flour, sugar, powder, soda, and salt. Whisk and set aside. In your medium bowl (make sure it’s microwave safe), add butter, cocoa, and coffee. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for one minute. In your smallest bowl, while the microwave is running, add vanilla, eggs, and sour cream. Whisk until well combined. When the microwave dings, uncover your dish and whisk the chocolate mixture until combined, and add to your flour mixture. Whisk. It’ll be thick and funky, but do your best and trust me. Add the sour cream mixture with your whisk and stir until just combined and smooth.

I’m not a fan of cupcake liners. My kids end up eating them, they make a big mess, and your cupcake sticks to them anyway. Take your muffin tin and a couple of tablespoons of butter. Don’t be shy. Grab that butter and use your fingers to smear it around the inside of each cup. Make sure each is well-coated. Fill each cup about 2/3 full and bake for 16-18 minutes on the middle rack, or until toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Let cupcakes cool for 10 minutes in the pan. DO NOT try to get them out early. You’ll regret it. Take a butter knife and carefully slide it around the edge of each cupcake and they should pop right out. Continue to cool on a wire rack until they’re at room temperature.


Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4oz butter (room temperature)
  • 4oz cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Mix on high speed until good and fluffy (if you have a Kitchenaid mixer, start on low until the sugar isn’t going to powder all over your face, then slowly increase up to level 8 and let her go!)\

It’s possible that the kids and I ate a dozen of these today, sans frosting.

Prier Pour Paris

As we at the Lunges and Legos house sit around in relative peace and comfort on this Saturday morning, I am reminded to be thankful that we have the luxury of focusing on health and fitness. While we remember those who were killed, and pray with those who wake up this morning without loved ones, I will be thankful to prepare healthy meals, to recover from a 5-day workout week, and to enjoy my little Lego boys.

Rather than feeling guilty for the relative ease of my day, I will embrace the mundane and relish taking care of my body, remembering that we are the temple of the Living God. Treat yourself and those around you with care today, and pray for Paris.


Health and Fitness Recap

I mentioned in my last post that I’d gained 37 pounds when pregnant this time and had lost 18 pounds so far. I want to be completely open and transparent about my journey so you know exactly what I do, what my challenges are, and how things have changed after each of my four children. So let’s go back to the beginning.

I was NEVER an athlete. I would diet because that’s what girls do, and I would go through phases when I would do some sort of exercise because I thought I should, but I was never anything even close to healthy and active. I was naturally thin and, apart from a few years here and there when I weighed more than my “normal,” I stayed around 130 pounds. For a 5’5″ woman, I was fine as far as those BMI charts go, but I certainly wasn’t fit or strong nutritionally.

I got pregnant with my oldest when I was 25. I was in my last semester of college and weighed 133 pounds. Thanks to tv and movies, I thought that I could eat for two full-grown adults and did. No joke – one ice cream cone for me, one ice cream cone for the baby. On the day I went into labor in January of 2007, I weighed a whopping 195 pounds. I honestly believed that the weight would just fall off, as everyone said “oh, breastfeeding will make that weight come right off!” Lies.

By March of 2007 I still weighed in at 175 pounds, was wearing a size 12, and miserable. I hadn’t a clue how to lose weight as I’d never done it before, and turned to a good friend (who’d just had her second baby) for advice. With her help, I learned about nutrition and being active and lost 50 pounds without counting a single calorie. I focused on eating lean protein, whole grains, fruits and veggies, and low-fat dairy and moving more days than not. By the end of 2007, I weighed 125 pounds…and was pregnant again!

I learned a valuable lesson the first time around and managed to only gain 28 pounds with baby number 2. I walked and ran and did some sort of strength training throughout the pregnancy and made sure my diet was reasonable (i.e., no double doses of ice cream cones). Even through vicious first-trimester nausea and insane carb cravings, I kept myself in check and remembered well how hard it is on your body to gain so much weight in such a short amount of time. Lego Boy 2 arrived in August of 2008 and I regained my shape fairly quickly. I started working out again around October of that year – walking/running on the treadmill and using a dvd to work out with a kettlebell. By January I was doing more running than walking, and that same healthy friend talked me in to signing up for my first 5k.

In March of 2009, my two friends and I ran a 5k together. Our goal was to finish without walking and we did. It was the first time I’d ever really competed in any sort of athletic event and it was wonderful. Empowering. Exhilarating. I wanted more.

My friends and I continued to run together over the next couple of years, tackling countless 5k’s, 10k’s, and half-marathons. It was our time to hang out and chit chat and take a break from the day-to-day journey of being moms. Running was something we did for ourselves – often the only thing – and we cherished the time together and how great the physical challenge made us feel. I have no doubt that I wouldn’t be the athlete I am today without those women. I look back on those runs with a fondness I can’t describe.

By late 2010, health and fitness was as big a part of who I was as being a mom or a Christian. I pushed my boys in the jogging stroller when I ran, went on bike rides with my other mom friends and pulled the boys in a trailer; we ate healthy together and we were active together. I was a fit mom. 🙂

I found out I was pregnant again in late October of 2010. I lost that baby in January of 2011 at 12 weeks along. I was devastated. My attitude at that point was “Fine. If my body won’t grow a baby, it’s going to run FAST.” I made it my goal not to be “just” a runner, but to win. I wanted to run fast and win races. That competitive drive got me out the door and focused on something other than the emotional pain. My training became more serious – more than hanging out with my mommy friends, running became something bigger. I cherish that time, as well, because I learned that I am a lot tougher than I ever thought.

I became pregnant again in August of 2011 and I was in the best shape of my life. I completed a half marathon when I was 14 weeks and continued to run until the day before I went into labor in April 2012. When Lego Boy 3 was born, I was in a super duper rush to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight and fitness level. I’d gained 32 pounds and slowed down significantly with my running. I made a huge mistake and started dieting and exercising way to hard, way too soon. My milk supply plummeted and I had to supplement him with formula, which was tough for me to accept. Again, I felt like my body had failed.

Despite our nursing troubles, I maintained my fitness routine and continued making healthy living a priority. I ran my first marathon in January of 2014 and quite honestly, that burned me out on running for a while! I signed up for an Insanity program at the gym and decided to focus on getting strong all over. During that time I went from 123 pounds and 17% body fat to 122 pounds and 13% body fat. Then, guess what?

I got pregnant again! This time around was incredibly different. I was 34 years old with three boys already, homeschooling the older two, maintaining my home and fitness…y’all, I was tired. I got up early and worked out, homeschooled my older boys in the morning, and napped with the toddler in the afternoon. My eating habits were far from the organic, whole foods of pregnancies past, but life has a way of changing things.

Lego Boy 4 was born in June of 2015…and that’s where my next chapter will begin. Getting back into shape this time has been drastically different than times before, but I am determined that the lessons I’ve learned in the past will make for a fitter future – for me and all the Lego Boys!

Wednesday Workout and Meal Plan

Morning y’all! I’m posting this courtesy of MyFitnessPal. If you don’t have the MyFitnessPal app, I highly recommend it! I use MyFitnessPal to keep track of food, exercise, and progress with weight goals. It’s easy to use and I like being able to look back and see what I was doing/eating when I am at my most fit. This is how I can tell you my calories and macros at the end of these posts. Love. It.

So. Wednesday. And before I start, remember that I told you I’d be completely honest. My diet isn’t perfect. I really enjoy GOOD food (quality food, healthy or not). McDonald’s makes me gag, but a good burger just can’t be beat. 🙂
4:35am – Slam (I decided to try drinking a Slam before my workouts and saving my Spark for after…love it!); Biocharge
5:15am – 4ish mile run (we got a bit of a late start, so we were just shy of 4 miles)
6am – Power Pump
7am – Watermelon Spark; MNS Color Pack
7:30am – Pumpkin Spice Meal Replacement Shake
9am – turkey sausage and scrambled eggs; grapes; Omega Plex
11:30am – Watermelon Spark; MNS Color Pack
12pm – bacon, mushroom, swiss burger and fries (there it was!); MNS White Packs
6pm – (I haven’t given this meal a name yet…I’ll name it and post the recipe later!) chicken breast, Rotel, and black beans over rice; blue corn tortilla chips; Omega Plex
10pm – Nighttime Recovery

1,790 calories; 37% carb, 24% protein, 39% fat

<3 Jama

Monday Workout and Meal Plan

When starting a healthy lifestyle, it can be overwhelming to try and figure out what to eat when! This week I’ll be posting my daily workouts and meal plan as a way for y’all to see what a typical day looks like for me. This also holds me accountable if I decide it might be a good idea to eat a doughnut or 10. 😉

4:45am – Watermelon Spark
5:15am – run (4.5 miles)
6am – Power Pump (50 minute lifting class)
7am – MNS Color Pack
7:20am – Chocolate Mocha Meal Replacement Shake
7:30am – run (1 mile with Abby Dog)
9am – banana and 1/4cup almonds; Omega Plex
11am – MNS Color Pack and Watermelon Spark
11:30am – Chicken Noodle Soup, sliced apple, and MNS White Packs
3pm – Iced Coffee and Dark Chocolate Bar No Sugar Added frozen yogurt from Menchies, with slivered almonds, strawberries, and cherries
4pm – Watermelon Spark
5pm – 4oz Boars Head Blazing Buffalo sliced chicken breast
7pm – 3/4cup brown rice and 1/2cup black beans, topped with shredded cheddar, low fat sour cream, onions, salsa, and black pepper; Omega Plex
9pm – bedtime! Nighttime Recovery

So, for the day, I ate 1,782 calories; 54% carbs, 24% protein, and 22% fat. My goal is 40/30/30, so I was a little carb heavy today, but that will serve me well in cycle tomorrow morning!

<3 Jama