Get Moving Monday

I can’t speak for anyone else, but stress is never good for my health and weight. When I get busy and stressed, my focus on exercise and eating well is often the first thing to move down to the bottom of the priority list. But I’m trying to get back in shape, lose about 10 pounds, and most importantly, get ready to climb the 90 steps (yes, I said NINETY!) up to the house on The Property. I don’t want to embarrass myself (or more importantly, P-Daddy) by having to stop halfway up and rest! So in preparation, I need to get moving! This week, here’s my plan:

- walk Pooh to daycare at least 3 days
- work out at the Y at least 3 days

Pooh’s daycare is about a mile away from our house, so each of those days will be a 3-mile roundtrip, giving me 6 miles if I do it 3 times. In all honesty, I’d like to do it everyday, but I’m trying to be realistic here. I’m also being realistic about going to the Y. Pooh loves to play in the pool, and as soon as the pool opens we’ll be there every day if he has his choice. But this will be our first week at the Y, so I’ll hope for more but set my goal at just getting there several times! How about you? How are you getting moving today?

My new favorite pick-me-up

It’s probably been clear from my lack of posts lately that things here have been BUSY! And when things get hectic, I tend to shove everything down on my priority list that’s not an absolute must-do. I’m working on making blogging more consistent, really I am!

Anyway, one thing that tends to happen when I get stressed is that many of my good eating habits go out the window. I neglect to prepare lunches for the week, and then don’t have anything quick to grab as I head out the door, so I go eat at fast-food central at the university. Not only is this bad for my overall health, it’s also not great for my wallet (or our saving-for-el-salvador fund!). So I’ve really been trying to make sure that I have food ready to go. Since I try to head to the gym in the mornings, in addition to lunch, I need a quick protein pick-me-up for after my workout. I’ve played around with a few different things, like boiled eggs and string cheese, but I’ve found that I really need something that I can eat/drink while I walk back across campus to my office, and peeling an egg just doesn’t work while I walk. Apples work great, but don’t have as much protein as I’d like. So what’s a girl to do?

Eat like a man. And by that, I mean take advantage of all the different protein powders and drinks that are out there. I resisted this at first, but recently I’ve stumbled upon a formula that is tasty, quick, full of protein, and convenient. I take a 32 oz container and fill it with ice, then add one scoop of vanilla protein powder. I then fill the container half full with coffee, and fill it the rest of the way with fat-free milk. Yum! The ice blends the powder well into the rest of the drink, and there’s no need to add additional sugar or splenda since the protein powder is pretty sweet already. I stick the whole container into my gym bag (yep, make sure the lid fits well and is leak-proof!), and the ice keeps it cool the whole time I’m working out. Since the coffee and milk are full-strength to start with, the melting ice doesn’t water it down too much, and I have a delicious frappe kind of thing to drink as I walk across campus. The best part? This drink holds me easily until lunch and beyond.

I know that there’s a better choice than protein powder out there for this, but I feel like it’s the protein that is really helping with keeping me satisfied for the rest of the morning, and I just don’t think that coffee and milk alone would do that for me. But are there alternatives to expensive protein solutions? I’m on the lookout, and I’ll keep you posted.

Workin’ on Workin’ Out

This morning a question hit me as I wiped the dripping sweat from my eyes as I tackled the elliptical…okay, I admit it, it was tears since I had almost finished reading The Help and brought it to the gym with me to finish while I worked out – what a great book! Regardless of the state of my workout, I questioned what the state of gyms in El Salvador is like. In Guatemala, I found this tiny place called El Shaddai that was around the corner from my house – lots of muscly sweaty men lifting weights (when they weren’t ogling the gringas), with not a single cardio machine, and an aerobics instructor who wore Jane Fonda-esque leotards and led us in lots of jumping and bouncing routines despite the fact that exercise science had already progressed well beyond attributing significant benefit to those particular moves. I loved it! And I recommended it to others at the school that I taught at, and soon there was a significant contingent of Americans descending on the gym several afternoons a week. These days, the gym monopoly for Americans there in town appears to be held by a gentleman who has multiple business interests who really likes dealing with Americans. Plus he installed cardio machines. And there was convenient parking. And the aerobics instructor is better (though every machine and weight stack in the place face the aerobics floor, so that the class feels a little like a floor show). 24-Hour Fitness it is not, but definitely a step up from what we were used to!

A quick google search nets only a few results for gyms in El Salvador (notably this one, which has prices well beyond what we pay for our completely equipped and open 24 hour gyms here at home, and a World Gym, which lists an address but gives no further details of what’s available. There also appear to be several Curves locations, but that will do P-Daddy no good at all! And there’s a dog gym, but again, that’s limiting the usefulness of the gym to less than our entire household. Of course the big hotels all list gyms as amenities, but it seems unlikely they’d let me work out there if I’m not a guest.

However, I am not deterred, since it’s becoming clear that businesses in El Salvador are not as cyber-savvy as those in the US. There must be more! It’s going at the top of my list of things to look for when we visit next: where are the gyms, what do they offer, and how much do they cost? If you have any of these answers, feel free to comment. If not, I’ll report back once I know!

Or maybe we’ll just open our own…