saturday morning walking club.

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Sometimes a girl needs exercise motivation in the form of a friend and good conversation to accompany her. So…bring on the Saturday morning walking club.

Soon, I’ll be heading out the door to meet my aunt and cousin for a nice long walk. Is it crazy strenuous? No. Will I be able to run a marathon or complete a triathlon in a few months? Not if my only exercise is walking. But I will reap the benefits of switching up my workouts and spending quality time with the fam. Check. Mate.

I’m also hoping it gives me the guts to ask my friends Natalie and Annie to start going for a run each week.

The point of this post? If you have been following my blog, you might think my road to success has been quite slow with a few set backs. (You’re kind of right, it has.) But the moral of the story is: Everyone’s path is different. And you don’t have to follow the one with a steep incline toward success. Every step you take toward better health is a step in the right direction. And if you remember the popular fable…the turtle won the race.

P.S. Gregory and I went to the Cincy Italia festival last weekend. Talk about playing like a kid again…he forced me to ride this horrible enclosed ferris wheel thing and made us flip upside down a million times. In his words, “If you can’t ride the rides anymore, that means you’re old.”

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slacker.

Yes. That’s me…slacker.

I thought things would slow down a bit after my trip to Austin. I was wrong. I’ve been slacking with the blog because the rest of my life has taken over. But I’m back!

Looking back at an old Twitter post, I know I said that I couldn’t wait to tell ya’ll about the fun ways I exercised while I was away. Let me just say –it was great! I understand why Austinites all look so healthy.

Town Lake. A picturesque riverbank developed into a nature/running trail serves as a place where thousands of people walk, run, bike and take their dogs every day. As I did my own walk/run on the trail, I pictured Cincinnati with the same set up. It’s my personal wish for my beloved Cincinnati.

Also on Town Lake (which is actually the Colorado River), I went to the Rowing Dock to test out my skills at Stand Up Paddle-boarding. My advice for everyone is to try it out. Today. It’s easier than it looks, and it’s so much fun! Plus, it’s a great blend of exercise and fun. Things can get a bit tough when you’re heading upstream in the wind, so you can target your core, arms and back all at once.

So get up off the couch. Quit being a slacker. And get out and play.

austin lovin.

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I have been to Austin before. I loved it then, and I love it even more now.

So I bet you are all wondering how the whole paleo thing is going while I am on the road. Here it goes…

Although I haven’t been strict paleo yet today, I have been able to come pretty darn close. I splurged and got a latte at the cutest little coffee shop that I happened to stumble upon this morning. Then, I ate fruit – pineapple, honeydew and cantaloupe – and two hard-boiled eggs for breakfast (courtesy of the conference peeps).

For lunch, I listened to the concierge and walked about half of a mile (woo exercise!) to a bustling spot called Annie’s Cafe. As you can see by the yummy pic below, I ate salmon with zucchini, squash and tomatoes. The topping on the salmon was creamy (not paleo), but light. So I am happy with my decision.

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For dinner, I am going to try my best to be good while dining with family. Can’t wait!

Paleo on the go.

So how difficult is it to stick to the paleo diet plan while traveling for work? I’m about to find out. My plan is simple. I’m going to do the best I can given the circumstances and remember that it’s better to eat something than to skip meals.

And since I was curious, I did a little research on Austin. It turns out there is actually a paleo restaurant a few miles from where I’ll be staying. It’s called Picknik, and the menu looks quite appetizing. Guess who will be trying it out!

The other thing I’ll be missing out on is my weekly tumbling class, so I’ll have to figure out a way to get some exercise in during my stay. I’m sure I’ll make a trip to Town Lake for a run/walk, but I’m also hoping to get in some stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking. More to come on that later…and hopefully I can take some pics to spice up this blog a bit.

Balance.

I truly believe in the power of balance. Especially in the balance of healthy eating, physical and spiritual activity. That’s why I’m not beating myself up for slacking on paleo over the Easter weekend.

Where did I find a balance? Even though my eating habits weren’t on-target with my paleo goals, I did manage to work in quite a bit of exercise over the holiday weekend…tipping the scale back in my favor ever so slightly.

Yard work fun. When I was about 12 years old, my dad decided to redo the landscaping around our entire house. That meant edging/digging out all new flower beds around the entire house, filling those beds in with mulch and topsoil, flowers and shrubs, and spending a lot of time and effort to make it happen.

This past weekend, he managed to make me feel like that 12 year old kid again by asking me and my boyfriend to help him spread fresh mulch around the house for the Spring season. To add to the activity, we also had to do the same thing to my grandparent’s house. It was a lot of exercise and work packed into a short weekend, but I feel great.

The lesson. Landscaping may seem more like a chore than a workout, but my muscles were quite sore by Sunday. I managed to work a bit of everything into a total of about eight hours of work. Back, shoulders, core, biceps, lots of legs…it was well worth the effort! So next time you have an opportunity to do some yard work, I highly suggest it as an alternative (or additional!) workout.

Have you experimented with alternative (non-gym) workouts? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.

A crazy little thing called fun.

The weather was amazing yesterday. I’ll take 80-degrees and sunshine any day, especially after the winter we just had. Anyhow…after a morning of running errands (Easter Bunny surprises for the nephew), I couldn’t stand to just sit inside and have a lazy Sunday. And let me tell you, yesterday was anything but lazy.

I started out simply taking a stroll around the neighborhood and talking on the phone, but the sunshine and Spring blooms kept calling my name. So my stroll turned in to a solid 3.5 mile power-walk, immediately after which I picked up my boyfriend and went to the football field.

Yep – the football field. Remember…this blog is half about getting out and playing like a kid again for some legitimate exercise. And that’s exactly what we did. I learned how to punt, kick-off and kick a field goal. Plus, I got even more exercise when Greg decided to break out the soccer ball. The 1.5 hours went a bit like this: Ashley kicked, Greg caught the ball. Greg kicked the ball way over Ashley’s head, she went running after. So I ended up getting some good cardio work out of the deal!

You would probably think we were done after that. But no. We were so energized that we decided to go to open gym for two hours of tumbling action! I wish I had photos to share, but I was too busy having fun to even think about it — just like a kid who’s too busy playing outside with their friends to realize they are late for dinner.

Any thoughts on what my next ‘kid adventure’ should be?

My first official day of Paleo

It’s my first official day of starting out the first phase of the Paleo diet. I know it’s only noon, but so far – it’s been great! I decided to phase into the program as suggested in doctor Cordain’s book, which allows a few ‘cheat’ meals throughout the first few weeks to allow your body to adjust more smoothly to the diet transition. I’ve heard some people say that it’s best to just make the switch cold-turkey (pun intended), but I’m a realist. And I know that the realistic expectation of me sticking to the plan is greater if go with the phased approach.

Some advice that was given to me, and that I will pass along:

As with any healthy eating plan, it’s best to think ahead. After all, it’s called a ‘plan’ for a reason. I’m trying to plan my meals ahead of time whenever possible. Some people will spend all of Sunday cooking and packaging meals. For me, “ahead of time” typically means 12-24 hours in advance, which I’m hoping will work too.

So in case you are just dying to know what I’ve planned for the day:

Breakfast

2 eggs (organic) overeasy, 1/2 avocado, 1/4 yellow onion and 2 baby sweet peppers — I fried this all in a skillet, but didn’t use any oil or butter. Instead, I just used a non-stick pan. It worked out quite well, and it was sooo delicious.

Lunch

I’ll call this concoction my very own spinach power salad. It includes: 1-2 cups fresh spinach leaves, 1 serving of walnuts, 1 small apple (diced), 1/2 avocado, 1 1/2 servings lean turkey breast, 2 baby sweet peppers (i love them). The dressing (not paleo, but still healthy in comparison to regular ranch style) is a pomegranate blueberry vinaigrette.

Dinner

Leftover sirloin steak (grass-fed) that was simply seasoned with a bit of pepper and cooked in a grill pan. I used a small amount of EVOO to grease the pan and give the steak those nice ‘grill’ marks.

This is getting to be a lengthy post, so for those of you who want to hear about my fun fitness activities from this weekend, join me here.

For those of you Paleo enthusiasts reading this post: what were your first few weeks on the diet like? What scrumptious recipes did you try?