Monthly Archives: November 2011

Streaking Pt. 1


Gosh, I feel dirty just posting that.

My challenge is going swimingly so far. Here was my workout schedule for the past 4 days:

Thursday- 5K and ST
Friday- Core video
Saturday- Spin
Sunday- Lower body video

Nothing too hard or special. I wish I had gotten more strength training this past week, so that’s my focus this time around. Here’s the schedule

Monday- Body Pump
Tuesday- 5K or Hour Swim (fingers cross… I need to get back in the pool)
Wednesday- Core video
Thursday- 5K run and ST
Friday- Pilates or yoga video
Saturday- Spin class
Sunday- 5K run and ST

So, there you go… my quick little update. I’ll write more when I have something good to share.




You may have guessed that I survived the pasta throw down. I have spent the last three days making up for my loss with fettuccine.

But, that’s neither here or there.

It’s time for a new challenge! And this time, it’s going to be BIG. Like that damn commercial…

15 Minute Physical Challenge!

Starting tomorrow, I am challenging myself to work out for at least 15 minutes a day from Thanksgiving till Christmas Eve (11:59pm). That’s 30 days straight of working out. Impossible? No. 15 minutes is a moderate amount of time that anyone, including me, can fit in to their routines.

First, here are my rules:

  • The exercise must be deliberate and intentional. This means that my walk to and from work do not count as that minor effort is already required of me. Also, I am not counting are stairs unless I am doing them intentionally. So, say I got to Woodfield and decide to take the stairs to avoid bulldozing the annoying teenagers in front of me… that’s great, but it’s still not exercise. Climbing the 10 flights of stairs in my apartment building to get my heart rate up… that’s intentional.
  • The exercise does NOT have to be continuous. I could do 5 minutes of planks in the morning and then 10 minutes of squats and lunges at night. It still counts. I could even do 1 minute of shadow boxing in my work’s bathroom 15 times and it would count.
  • The exercise does not have to be strenuous, but it has to be more than stretching. Yoga and pilates, unless intense, are fabulous ways to work out and tone without getting your heart rate up. They count. Touching my toes or doing quad stretches on the other hand… nope.
  • I must track my “streak” on sparkpeople or dailymile. My dailymile name is my facebook login and my sparkpeople name is Chelles_Bells. I’ll be logging fitness minutes on both sites if you’d like to follow along or make your own account to join in. But on Spark, I’ll be tracking a “streak” as well. It’ll look like this:
  • There is one exception to these rules… my vacation. I go on vacation to Disney World starting December 17th-21st. I full anticipate getting in a workout on the day I leave and come back. That leaves 3 days in which I must find time to work out. Considering I will be on my feet for over 10 hours a day at an amusement park, I will count that as intentional exercise. But, I plan on wearing a step counter and I’ll pick a large amount of steps I must get in order to count the day as a workout. I’ll also make a nutrition goal to go with vacation.

So that’s my challenge. If I complete it, I am going to give myself bi-monthly private swim lessons for 3 months.

Are you up for it? If you’d like to join in, please let me know. I love acountabiliabuddies!

No pasta… No pasta… No pasta…


Rottttinnnnniiii...... Roootttttiiiinnnnniiiiiiii


I’m almost there… I’m almost one week pasta free. I have til Sunday at 3pm to put it in the win category. I CAN DO THIS.

To be honest, I haven’t been eating low carb in the absence. While I haven’t touched bread, I have had rice or potatoes every day to replace pasta. But, I’m ok with that. This is more about proving to myself that I can live without these sometimes unhealthy staples in my diet and less about fixing a bad habit.

I think that next up on the chopping block will be popcorn. I obviously dont eat this every day, but I do have a HUGE bowl (ok, pan) of homemade popcorn once a week on Sundays.


How are my other challenges going? So-So. I’m doing great on strength training. I got in a half hour last night and went to Body Pump on Monday. Body Pump, btw, was HORRIBLE/AWESOME. I went a couple times when it first started, but dear God… I really dont remember it being that painful. My quads are still not fully recovered yet from all the squats and lunges. But, of course, I am going back again on Monday and possibly tomorrow morning for more punishment.

Running has not been great. I’ve basically lost all motivation to get out there or get on a treadmill and just run. I did sign up for a Turkey Trot 8K (5 miles) on Thanksgiving. I know I can do it after this long hiatus, but just for kicks, I ran 2.5 miles yesterday and felt just fine. I will run on Sunday (4 miles) and again on Tuesday (3 miles) just to be sure.

My BLC group challenge for this week is pirate themed, so this is what I’ll be working on this weekend:

P= Personal Time- find 10min for yourself daily (10pts per day) (think bubble bath, read a book, take a walk etc)
L= Liquid- 8cps water daily (10pts per day)
A= A-hoy there- Shout out to a Spark friend with a goodie or message (10pts per day)
N= Nutrition- Keep calories in range (10pts daily)
K= Kick Butt- Any LEG ST. (1rep=1pt, 100max daily) 1 REP= BOTH legs

Corny, but cute. It’ll keep my strength and nutrition in mind. Since B and I are both saving up money for Disney and potential dog adoptions, we are both thinking a relaxing weekend in would be fine for us!

Tell me how your pre-Turkey weekend is going! Any goals in mind as you fight off the pre-fat pants?

My Week as a Vegetarian


Well, here I am. I was sick with a bitchy cold bug that would NOT give up.

And since I didn’t want to basically cough and sneeze over a public treadmill, I avoided working out every day of this week. Seriously. All that was done was a dance class last Sunday and another one (where I moved much slower) yesterday. I was the DJ for the last Sunday session, and because I’m a nerd, here’s my playlist:

My "theme" was "Best of Playlist." Basically, it was all my favorite songs I've ever played at DDPP. I thought it went over really well and the calorie burn was INTENSE.

So, there’s that.

I didn’t work out and I felt somewhat ok with it. I did have some guilt, but then I would cough something up and everything would be justified in my head.

Another thing I didn’t do? Yeah, I didn’t track my eating. BUT, I did do something awesome…

I was a vegetarian for a week!

For some of you, this is isn’t amazing at all. This would be torture of the cruelest kind. And it was once the Taco Bell cravings hit, but I pushed through.

While I dreamed of cheesy gordita crunches, I did do some research. Being a vegetarian helps conservation efforts of the ecosystem. Even if you eat locally, being a meat eater increases your carbon foot print by a TON. As for the numerous health reasons, I would say helping avoid heart disease is a HUGE motivator for me. I also found that my acne and redness in my skin decreased this week by eating vegetarian. And finally, being a vegetarian saved me about $20 in groceries, even after buying meat replacers. Being a scrooge, this is HUGE.

For all these reasons and countless others, I’ve decided to eat vegetarian every other week. I cant go full on vegetarian. I would miss holiday goodies like Thanksgiving turkey or a steak from my dad’s grill. By at least attempting to eat vegetarian two weeks out of a month, I’m still getting lots of those health, economic, and environmental benefits while still getting to indulge my hamburger cravings.

However, I really need to work on increasing my meal creativity. My food this week, as predicted, was super carb heavy. To make up for it, I am going to try to have a past a free week! This may be my hardest challenge yet. Us Italians are ADDICTED to our carb loading pasta dishes. And if I need something to eat quick, I turn to a bag of frozen raviolis. Now, I need to muster all creativity to combat my daemons head on.

No, Cheesesaurus! I will NOT give in to you!

I should probably also practice eating in calorie range. Under 1800 calories is not hard to do. Let’s add that to the list.

So, those are goals #1 and 2 for the week.

Goal #3 is increasing my strength training… again. I failed at this two weeks in a ROW. (Albeit because I was sick this week.) This will be my week of muscle. Here’s my schedule:

Monday- Body Pump or Yoga… The online schedule for my Y is outdated, so I am not sure if Body Pump is actually offered tonight or not.
Tuesday- Run a 5K
Wednesday- Off
Thursday- Run a 5K and ST
Friday- Off… maybe swimming if I dont have any other plans
Saturday- Spin class and ST
Sunday- 10K run and possibly DDPP class

That’s three days of strength and four (possibly five) of cardio.

To recap… my goals of this week are simple: NO pasta of any kind and 3 days of strength training. Pretty easy. I’ll be sure to come back with an update on how my pasta withdrawal is going. I’m assuming it’s going to be messy.

Me on day 3 without my rotini.

Getting Started…


I’ve had a couple people (hey y’all!) ask me how I started running when I was out of shape and overweight. So much so, that I am going to write this out. Please note that I am not a doctor. People’s individual conditions (asthma, injuries, heart conditions, etc.) should be taken in to consideration before you start any program. I hate to say it, but I firmly believe that many people have bodies that are not meant to run because of these conditions. However, I’ve been proven wrong before. So what do I know… again, not a doctor.

Why yes... I've been watching Doctor Who non-stop for the last week.

First of all, you CANNOT run if you cannot walk. I am dead serious on this. You cant just go out there and run unless you are in great shape or completely healthy. I recommend building up slowly by walking 30 minutes a day for four to six days a week. When that becomes too comfortable, find some high tempo music and walk faster. Then add some hills. Treadmills are great ways to amp up your workout. Most modern brands have different types of workouts. Even now, when I’m too tired to run or it’s an off day, I’ll set it on a random hill workout and let the treadmill dictate my workout.

When you are able to walk 3 miles outside or on a 1-2% treadmill incline without stopping AND with it feeling like a medium level effort, then you are ready to run.

Running will not happen automatically for the majority of us. It will frustrate the hell out of you. You WILL want to give up. You will burn out. There will be plenty of bad days that can certainly outnumber the good ones. Avoid burnout by:

  • Limiting how many days you run. DO NOT run every day. Your body is essentially building up new muscles. You need time to rest and recover. When I started, and even today, I only run 3-4 times a day.
  • Start SLOOOOOOWWWWWW. Speed comes with time. I promise. My first run was a 14 minute mile. A year later, I can run 10:30s. If you insist on running at a certain pace for whatever reason, then give yourself:
  • Time to get better. Just as speed will come, so will endurance. Your first run may only last 10 seconds (or less). Be proud of that. Write it down. Tell your super supportive and understanding friends. Send me an email! Try to run at that same level for a 2 or 3 more runs until you try to run for longer. Add on another 5 seconds and repeat. Celebrate, record it, run at that level a couple more times, and then add on. In a month, you may go from running 10 seconds at a time to running for 4 or 5 minutes.
  • Sign up for a race. Be realistic. For most people starting at my level (which was obese and overweight), give yourself 3-4 months to train. Or, if you are ready to go, try interval running (which I will go in to) or walking a race. 5Ks are the best way to start. They are 3.1 miles long and are a great distance to play with.

And with that, comes my next recommendation. Typically, I would tell everyone to try Couch to 5K. It’s a pretty popular program that has gotten great results. I did it… twice. But here’s what they dont tell you: Couch to 5K doesn’t build you up to a 5K unless you can run a 10 minute mile. Instead, it builds you up to running 30 minutes straight. That’s great if that is your goal (and can be a great one)…

But what if you cant run 30 minute straight? What if your body needs that walk break? Are you still a runner? Can you still become one?

YES. Yes, you can. And dont let anyone ever tell you that you cant.

How do I run 10:30s? I do it with intervals. I run 3:1… in other words, I run for 3 minutes at a 9 min/mile pace and then I walk for 1 minute at a 17 min/mile pace. And then I repeat… over and over again.

I can run a straight mile. In fact, I can run a 5K straight. I’m pretty sure I could run 5, if I really wanted to. But I dont. Running intervals has kept me injury free, helped me avoid burn out, and has made me fall more in tune with my body. And it’s all thanks to this guy:

I bought this book about two weeks before my first 5K in March. A week before that same 5K, I tried it out. I ran a 5K at my normal pace (a 14 minute mile) and finished in 43 minutes. Respectable, but I pretty much wanted to die afterwards. Two days later, I tried to do the 5K with intervals (I started with :45/1:00… run for 45 seconds and then walk for a minute). My time on that run? 41:40. With the race a week away, I turned to Jeff Galloway’s many message boards on Spark and, with their support, ran the race with those same intervals. I did it in 40 minutes.

I was blown away! How could walking while running longer distances help so much? ¬†And even better… I was in no pain. I finished my race feeling like I could go another mile. And with a few exceptions, I’ve felt that way after every single one of my runs ever since. I’ve ran the Galloway method for over 8 months now and I will not be going back to straight running any time soon.

But ultimately, it comes down to what works for you. There are a MILLION plans out there that will get you going. Some will have you run almost every day. Others will have you running only once a week…. your level of commitment should be reflected in the plan you chose. And when you hit a milestone (say, run your first mile or minute), reward yourself. Make it a fun game.

And with that game, make sure you’ve got ample support. People who laugh at you, tell you that your slow, or try to squash your plan are not support. If you end up with no one, send me an email. I’m not joking. I’m here almost 24/7 to help you, rant with you, and jump with joy when you cross the finish line.

And, while I’m thinking about it, I’ve got one more major tips: BUY RUNNING SHOES. Dont just go to payless and pick out the prettiest pair of Nikes you can find or the cheapest pair in the store. Invest in your fitness. Get yourself to a running store and ask to be fitted. Running shoes fit differently than your regular shoes (I wear an 8 in regular shoes, but an 8.5 Wide since I need more room in my toe box and my feet and ankles tend to swell). They will watch you stand, walk, and run to determine your shoe support needs. Shoes can be expensive, but be honest with them. If you cannot afford $150 pair of shoes, then let them know at the start. They will give you options.

So, that’s it. Start slow, avoid burn out, and try different plans till you find the one that works for you. When you do poorly, let it go and move on. When you do great, celebrate.

I hope this helps!

Day 4, 5, and 6 of The Weekly Challenge (Weekend Wrap Up)


Whew. Been a couple days, right? Sorry for the delay. I had a recap written about Thursday, but wordpress stole it. Then both Friday and Saturday were pretty hectic. Last thing I wanted to do was sit down and write a blog.

But, all in all, I’ve done well. And I’ve done it by making little changes.

For example, on Thursday, I searched my fridge for something healthy to eat with my PB&J lunch. Apparently, we at some point last weekend acquired a veggie tray. For two days I’ve been munching on homemade hummus, cherry tomatoes (a new favorite of mine), celery, and carrots. For a girl who HATES veggies (this is a big leap). My nutrition for both Thursday and Friday were pretty decent:

Thursday- a bit low on calories, but never exceeding any of my limits.

Friday- Still low, but I didn't workout at all and I was carbo-loading for the race the next day.

And in case you are curious of what carbo loading entails… I basically ordered a 10 inch cheese pizza and some bosco breadsticks and ate half of it. Yummmmmy. And so worth it.

As for the race, I’ll be honest when I say that I was dreading it. My running lately hasn’t been up to my normal standard. I’ve been feeling sore and beaten up on almost every run, even when I take it easy. And even though I built myself up to 8 miles, I felt like the distance (15K, or 9.3 miles) might do me in. I vowed to myself that I would take it easy. I would run slower than my usual 12 minute mile pace (in fact, I wrote down 13 minute mile markers on a piece of paper that I occasionally referenced during the run).

Also, let me take a moment to express extreme frustration with RAM Racing. This will most likely be one of my last RAM races. I found it extremely expensive. The expo they advertised was nothing but four booths and a whole bunch of (much more) expensive merchandise. But my main complaint was the lack of trained (and friendly) volunteers. Rant done.

So, Saturday comes and I reluctantly put on my outfit, gathered my gear, and got myself on the 6:30 bus downtown. Here are some pics:

Black Racer

I was really digging the black look...

Grant Park

The weather, at least was beautiful... about 35 degrees and not a cloud in the sky.

The 5K portion of the race took off around 20 minutes late and I began to warm up. Feeling some stiffness in my legs and still unsure of my new shoes (that I only had run on once), I ran about a half mile up and down the start line as the runners began to line up. Knowing that I wanted to go slow, I put myself in the 12-15 min/mile start group. We slowly marched to the start line and I put on my ipod to some slower tempo music.

The first 3 miles went by so quickly. This race followed the same path as my half marathon for the first part. Then it wrapped westward towards the United Center where the Blackhawks played. It was certainly fun to run around that area, but miles 4-6 were a complete bore. To be honest, everything was pretty much a blur once I left downtown. I passed the same people over and over again with my intervals, and I just listened to my music at full blast so I couldn’t really hear anyone around me.

The last two miles were the most fun and challenging. My intervals were becoming slower and slower and the pain I had felt over the last month was beginning to act up. Yet, I was so close that it didn’t matter. As we winded our way downtown and on to Michigan Avenue, I began to push myself harder than most of my past races. However, like a good Chicago runner, I knew that I would have to face the worst thing any runner may face at the last mile… Mt. Roosevelt Road. While only a quarter mile long, Mt. Roosevelt Road is known world wide as being a major biiiiitch. I told myself that I should walk up the damn thing. But the other, more stupid side, wanted to keep trucking up it. By the time I got to the top, I was completely out of it. My energy was at a zero. I ended up skipping my last run interval and walked until I saw Brendan at the finish line. I mustered up enough strength to run the last tenth of a mile.

My watch time was 1:56:06. That’s a 12:30 pace. For someone who spent the night making contingency plans on how to exit the race in an emergency… I’ll take it. I also graciously took the chocolate fondue and cup of hot chocolate at the “after party.”

Spent the rest of the day relaxing until dinner came. We went out to the Chicago Diner to celebrate. SO GOOD.

Ok, as for today… Here are my goals:

  • Clean the bedroom and bathroom
  • Dance Dance Party Party
  • Gentle, non-leg strength training
  • Knit until my yarn is gone
So that’s it. One more day to go!


Day 3 of the Weekly Challenge


Day 3… and not much happened.

I have class on Wednesday, so fitness is at a zero. I guess I could wake up in the morning and go, but since I am at work/class till 9:30pm, I prefer to enjoy my extra hour in bed.

Anyways, because of class, I didn’t get much done. No paper writing, no knitting, no actual relaxation. I came home, made dinner, watched Modern Family and headed to bed. I’m not even sure if I managed to get through a Doctor Who episode… GAH.

Somebody find me the Tardis and let's rewind!


So, that was my yesterday. Exciting, huh?

Here’s my nutrition wrap up. I did fairly well. I could have done without the little bags of chips and cookies…

Tonight’s goals are:

  • Finish my paper!
  • Make dinner (chicken and pasta)
  • Run a 5K and do strength training
  • Drink 8 cups of water (currently at 4)