Archive for the ‘Fitness Buddies’ Category

When my alarm blares that dumb iphone harp noise almost every morning and almost always before 7:30am, I rarely welcome the electronic instrumental cacophony. Each Tuesday and Thursday it sounds at 4:52am, and all other days I usually set it with the intention to run around 7am. Funny thing is, the only time I hop up with intention is on Tuesday and Thursday–when I rise before the sun. On those days, I teach a Cardio Fusion class at 5:30am and know that I have people counting on me to give them their solid sweat for the day. The other 5 days it is always a gamble whether or not I will actually get up at the time I planned. Similar thing with these blog posts–I told you all I will finish and blog about these 30 days; so, I am. Build a fortress of accountability and you will succeed in your goals.

1. Get a success buddy. You have a goal? I bet you know someone with a goal. Propose to them the idea of keeping one another accountable. Maybe you would like to start a blog and your friend would like to build an online business? Starbucks has wifi; have a working coffee date. You want to lose ten pounds and your boyfriend wants a six-pack? Do your cardio together. Log your workouts and food on myfitnesspal. Ok, those are totally both examples from my life; my creative example-generating skills are clearly off today. Whatever your goal is, find a goal-oriented friend and take on to-do’s together!

2. Keep a written record steps along the way. Food journals, to-do lists, measurement recordings, and success diaries are all perfect for tracking how you’re doing and identifying where to go next.

3. Make a public proclamation. HELLO INTERNET! I AM TELLING YOU NOW THAT BY THIS TIME NEXT YEAR I WILL HAVE A SICK-NASTY (THAT MEANS COOL) FITNESS AND HEALTH WEBSITE WITH 500 SUBSCRIBERS AND WILL WEIGH UNDER 140 LBS! Something like that, or something less obnoxious will do. Don’t keep your goals a secret. Because then your successes are a secret; and secrets are no fun unless they involve birthday presents or parties.

4. Make a contract. This, to me, seems only necessary if you REALLY need a push. If so, write your goal, when you plan to achieve it, a reward for when you achieve it, and a consequence for the slight chance you don’t.

5. Join a like-minded group. Feeling less than fit? Join a group fitness class. I’ll skip the preaching about benefits of group x because you probably know that this will turn into a 1000-worder if I’m not careful. Need to boost that GPA? Find or form study groups, and actually study. It is so empowering to be surrounded by people who share your goals, passions, and desires (this is the main reason I love endurance sport events; not because I am ultra-competitive, but because I love the positive fit-minded atmosphere).

6. Use social media. I just used my blog to tell you that I WILL achieve my goals, and I use it to update you on my progress. When I am done writing this, it will go straight to Facebook and Twitter. Share your goal-related thoughts on the same forums where everyone else shares their last meal and current geographic whereabouts. I care more about you getting an ‘A’ on a paper or making it to the gym than I do that some girl I graduated with not enjoying her shift at 7-11. Delight me with positive posts, pretty please.

Follow these steps and make things happen!

I am making things happen, by the way. In the next week, my site will no longer be iAMincharge.wordpress.com. I officially purchased a domain and will be claiming my own space on the internet. Stay tuned.


I know this is long, but keep reading–the prize is at the bottom, like a cereal box.

Day 23 began before the sun rose; I woke up at the booty crack of dawn (3:45am Chicago time! Thankfully 4:45am “my” time) to run the  Rock n’ Roll 5k in Chicago’s Grant Park. Most athletes at this event competed in the half marathon, a 13.1 mile feat. One of the amazing athletes happened to be my sorority sister, Michelle, who raised nearly $8000 dollars for cancer research (she was the TOP fundraiser in the Chicago area) and killed her first ever race out of love and compassion for her mom. Seriously Michelle, you are an inspiration. But Jeremy and I decided to forget about training plans and Gu packets, enjoy a quick 3.1 miles at my favorite event ever, and enjoy cheering on the whopping 19,000 that tackled 13.1. What a fun, fitness-filled day it turned out to be! Jeremy and I both did better than we expected to do, completing the lake-front course in about 21:00 and 24:00, respectively. After we finished, fueled up with protein bars and bananas, and socialized with a few other 5k competitors, we watched and cheered on the half-marathoners at mile 6 (I also admired their cute running attire). Then we got foam roller messages, enjoyed a free concert from Cobra Starship, and gave Michelle sweaty hugs as she crossed the finish line. I love runners, running events, oh, and running swag.

I want to thank you all for allowing me to complete the task for day 23 of PUSH. Chalene wants me to make a promise to someone that I will complete my goals. So guys, I promise you, I WILL reach 500 subscribers on my blog by creating a more exciting, inviting site and WILL see my weight to the 130 lb range by tracking my calories, practicing portion control, and exercising often. That was easy.

Now, for the crazy cool, crazy rewarding, crazy simple challenge(s):

Challenge 1: Track it 5lb challenge- lose 5 pounds, in 3 weeks, in 5 steps

More than 66% of Americans can reap health-related benefits by dropping 5 lbs (If you are at a healthy weight or don’t feel this challenge is for you, see Challenge 2, tomorrow). I am going to provide you with the steps you need to safely and effectively lose some extra pounds and feel more fit.

Step 1: Calculate BMR by clicking on the link. This number will tell you how many calories YOUR body uses just by functioning on a daily basis. For example, a 5’5″, 140lb, 20-year-old women burns 1,406 calories per day. The average American woman is 5’4″ and weighs 165lbs; she burns 1,503 calories per day. Knowing how many calories you are burning without exercise allows you to determine the number of calories to eat and burn through exercise each day.

Step 2: Create close-to an 850 calorie deficit each day. To begin we have to revamp calorie consumption. You will eat around 1200 calories per day. If this seems like an itty-bitty amount, try eating 4×300-calorie meals throughout the day to keep your energy up. My advice for limiting calories? Plan meals, track meals, enjoy meals; that is, try to think ahead about and even write down what you are going to eat a day ahead time; join myfitnesspal , friend me on the site (don’t worry, I can’t see your weight or what you eat, just your exercise and pounds lost), and use it to track the foods you eat; eat the healthy foods that make your body happy.

Step 3: Work out! You’ll be sexy and I know it. To determine how many calories you should burn through exercise complete the following equation:

BMR-1200 calories= diet deficit

example for the average American woman: 1,503-1200= 303 calorie diet deficit


850-diet deficit= necessary calories to burn through exercise

example: 850-303= 547 calories

That final number is the amount you should be burning 6 days per week through exercise. It may seem like a lot, but the average woman can torch that amount by doing Zumba for 50 minutes, power walking for an hour, or interval training for 45 minutes.

These steps leave enough wiggle room for a day off of exercise, as long as you stick to 1200 calories.

Track exercise on myfitnesspal, as it will provide with calories burned.

Step 4: Commit. Tell a friend or family member what you’re doing. Write your goals and numbers down. If you hate the idea of tracking online, you can do it in a journal by looking up calories in food and calories burned online. It is simply easier to rely on a website to do the calculations for you. Finally, subscribe to my blog by clicking “Follow” in the top, right-hand corner and comment on this post making a promise to me; hey, I made two to you, above!

Step 5: On Wednesday, August 16th, comment on my post of the day with “I DID IT!” and two challengers will receive a $10 Starbucks gift card if they have been tracking on myfitnesspal (I say, nothing is wrong with the occasional iced coffee with soy, we all need our vice!).

To recap:

1) Calculate BMR- signing up and plugging in weight and height on myfitnesspal will do this for you. 2) Eat 1200 calories a day- myfitnesspal almost always suggests that number for a goal of losing 1-2lbs per week; the site allows you to look up what you eat and track the specific foods and serving sizes in your diary. 3) Work out! This is a challenge, so working out 6 days a week should take some determination and focus, not to mention scheduling. Make it a non-negotiable part of your day, like brushing your teeth. Track activity /minutes exercising on myfitnesspal to see how many calories you burned. 4) Commit already! Grab some friends, make a promise and join me on this three-week journey to forming fit habits. 5) Follow my blog, friend me on myfitnesspal, and comment on my blog post August 16th for a chance to win a Starbucks gift card!

I am no doctor or personal trainer; I just love fitness and improving my health and want to inspire you  and provide you with simple steps to do the same. If you complete these three weeks with me you WILL adapt healthy habits and WILL have the chance to win a Starbucks card. I know what it feels like to need a push in the right direction, a companion on my fitness journey, or a cut-and-dry plan for success; here are all three of those, friends. I want you to do this with ME! Please share this with friends and anyone you know, the more healthy, happy people we have in this world, the merrier.

Tomorrow: Challenge 2 for those in a happy, healthy, weight range.

*Your doctor should confirm that you are healthy enough to participate in this challenge before you commit.

Back in March, I pounded the uninviting pavement of Elkhart in search of a job. The lack of finds are what gave the proverbial pavement an heir of gloom. Nevertheless, before I exhausted my resources for making a few summer bucks, I racked my brain for all the ways I could rake in the cash regardless of how glamorous or career-applicable the job. It finally hit me: Swim lessons! 

I taught for a few years in high school but always dreaded my three hours at the pool shivering, head pounding from screaming toddlers, and permanently soaked with the scent of chlorine. Nevertheless, it was money and I was willing to do about anything less working a line with ex-jailbirds to make a dollar.

Here I am, a week and a half into my first session of swim lessons. I requested all level P1’s which means that prying them away from Mom is practically half my job. I still have kids that whimper the entire 35 minutes their in the water and kids that disregard on a daily basis the fact that they cannot touch, and need to hang on to the wall to prevent um…drowning. The reason I am telling you all about my super stellar summer stint is because yesterday I noticed something about the kids that I think we over-18 folk take away: they have an end goal in mind and they get the job done.

“I get to go see mommy now?” I hear this line approximately 15 times a day, as it is asked following the completion of each tough skill like “submerging eyes, nose, and mouth” or “front gliding 2-body lengths.”

Usually the answer is “In a little bit, but can you do it again so we make sure your mommy sees it?” 

They just want to get back hugs, kisses and cheerios; most could really care less if they can kick with straight legs or retrieve and object in chest-deep water. So the little munchkins get the job done to go back to mom. They may be whining, getting water up their nose, or freezing the whole time; but they stick it out.

So many of us complain about the journey and forget about where the journey may lead us. Take a college education, for example; as students it is easy to feel that our lives are lived in between tests and quizzes or from syllabus week to finals week. We moan, gripe, and pull our hair out in stress. But with work, comes reward. Our earning potential will increase and doors will open for us. In fitness and health sometimes the 5:30 am workout seems less than exciting, or that green salad doesn’t look quite as good as the pizza slice. Healthy choices mean healthy bodies and healthy bodies mean healthy lives. 

Stick it out, stay on the path to success–even if your bottom lip quivers or you get a little water up your nose.

“My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.” – Mark Twain

Few other quotes could accurately describe the relationship that my mom, Kathy, and I have nurtured for nearly the past 20 years. I labeled my 2-year-old to 12-year-old self as a “terrorist.” I was, at one point, asked not to return to children’s church if that gives you a clear enough picture of the little devil I was for the first 60% of my life, thus far. However, my mom’s ability to rationally explain to me that having a more positive and likeable attitude would reap positive consequences to my actions finally stuck with me at about age 13.

She is able to persuade not only me to reconsider my actions and potentially exchange them for more healthful, beneficial, productive behaviors, but almost anyone. My mom confronts people with such graceful assertion that one may not even notice that my mom really would rather gauge her own eyes out with a spork than attempt to calmly manage them–and they are almost guaranteed to take something positive away from the discussion. I try to emulate the communication skills that my mom uses on a daily basis, and I believe that doing so has allowed me to grow in so many directions.

Effective communication is vital in any relationship be it friendly, professional, family, or romantic. It is human nature to read tone, body language, volume, and eloquence during a discussion–not just the words exchanged. Therefore, it is important we remain attentive to our communicative actions when trying to foster heathy, growing relationships. I have learned to rephrase potentially abrasive statements to be more positively received by the listener– such as “I really hate when you cook steak for dinner,” instead maybe “Hey, next time you grill steak would you mind throwing a veggie burger on for me?”

Beyond healthy communication skills, my mom has put up with my health and fitness obsession for the past 6 years. She not only puts up with it, but fully supports it. She attends my workout classes even when her legs are sore; we walked a 40-mile cancer walk a few summers ago; she comes up with creative and health related gifts for birthdays and Christmas; she doesn’t bat an eye when I tell her my shoes are worn out and I REALLY need another pair; she always makes sure there are several vegetarian options on our dinner table even if I often decide last-minute fix my own dinner or eat with friends.

For almost 20 years, my mom has been my biggest supporter in health(I can’t say 20 years yet in regards to health, because 20 years ago she was pregnant and feeding me Burger King Whoppers and Dairy Queen Blizzards 4x weekly–not exactly “Fitness Buddy” worthy), happiness, and love. So thanks mom for teaching me to not throw rocks at people to make them play with me, for learning to love green  beans without bacon grease, and for pushing through chair pose every Tuesday and Thursday.

Since I started blogging it has become the joke amongst my close friends: Who will be AnnMarie’s next fitness buddy?

Will it be spaghetti-inhaling, pre-workout expert Garrett? Iron pumping, stair master Sophia? Calorie-counting cycle instructor John?

I have many, brilliantly fit friends who inspire me on a daily basis with their lifestyles tailored around healthy habits. However, today’s fitness buddy is extraordinary not for her limitless knowledge of proper nutrition or motivating spirit but rather for her desire to be inspired, her newly made healthy lifestyle changes, and for being my best friend in the entire world. Today’s fitness buddy is Elyse Eldridge.

“I’m a vegetarian now. I’m not even kidding.” “My legs are shot! I ran so much this week.” These are two texts that I recently received from Elyse that, had you asked me 6 months ago who these texts were from, Elyse would have been my absolute last guess out of everyone in my contacts. It is not often that I see someone make a total health-minded turn around as Elyse has in the past month.

About a month ago, she noticed that the food and fun inevitable in a college lifestyle were leaving her sluggish and out of shape. So she bought a pair of sweet Brooks running shoes and hit the pavement. She now runs to class, to see friends, and to just work up a good sweat in her down time. She even runs with me, something I couldn’t pay her to do for the entirety of our friendship (approx. 15 years). Then today, she tells me she read a brochure on animal cruelty and can’t eat meat anymore . Not only is a vegetarian diet proven to benefit the planet, the elimination of saturated fats found in animals is beneficial for cardiovascular functioning.

Starting a running/workout regimine and completely changing one’s diet are two extreme shifts in one’s lifestyle, and for Elyse to take on both of these challenges is admirable. I always thought that Elyse was admirable for her ability to talk to ANYONE, lighten ANY situation, and adapt to ANY enviroment, but never for her health habits–I am happy to say that I now admire her more than I ever have. I know that  if she keeps up with these positive changes that the positivity will spill into all other facets of her life.

Elyse makes me laugh, smile, cry, and now she makes me proud.

Keep up the good work champ.


Fitness buddies have been few and far between in my posts these days, but today definitely called for the recognition of one: Katie Reines.

I met the ballerina-esque fitness instructor at a picnic for our major (Nutrition, Fitness, and Health) during one of my first days on Purdue’s campus. I was automatically enthralled with her when she announced that back home she worked at both a raw vegan restaurant AND  yoga studio.

“Who IS this girl?!” I thougth to myself. She was the definition of a friend I wanted: health obsessed, spirited, conscious, beyond average. And what a pleasent surprise it was when Katie showed up at our first Group X staff meeting she was a fitness instructor too!

I have since switched my major, but Katie and I remain friends through Group X

and our shared passions. She is the type of person who radiates positivity. Today, when all I really wanted to do was lay in my bed and watch “Dance Moms,” I forced myself to teach an energetic Turbo Kick class and stayed for Katie’s Dance Mania class that follows mine. My mood instantly turned around as we began warming up to “No Hands;” my smile grew as we aerobically ground (this is an “AnnMarie” way of saying “shook our hips with the intent of burning calories,” please feel free to use the term in your day-to-day conversation) to “Wild One;” my whole body felt more alive when Katie and I both added some skillful singing to our movements during “Call Me Maybe.” Her class rocks. That’s why she has one of the highest attendance rates in the Purdue Group X program, because I am not the only one who is inspired and lit up by Katie’s contagious cheer.

I love Katie’s workout attitude: balanced, excited, amazed; but the thing I admire most about Katie is her committment to perfect nutrition. This is where I put her on a bit of a pedestal: she is a fairly strict vegan and by no means a typical eater by any stretch of the imagination. Katie and I share our own private stash of kale at Windsor Dining Court (they keep it in the back for us) but I admittedly skip the kale at least one day a week in exchange for something less healthy. She eats gorgeous salads all the time adorned with flax seeds, banana peppers, tomatoes, practically the rainbow. Her meals are seamlessly perfect and I look to her for inspiration to keep my diet pure, healthy, and cruelty-free. Truth be told, I’ve often hit the dessert line at Windsor with the thought, “I hope Katie doesn’t see me  eating this!” Not that she would judge, belittle, or even say a word about what I chose to eat, the thought would simply be out of desire to be as cool as Katie with her ideal eating habits.

Katie Reines is a brilliant dancer, fitness instructor, eater, and friend; so for that, she is the perfect fitness buddy!

What a gorgeous Monday here in West Lafayette! I am in high spirits because Spring Break starts Friday, and although I chose to pass on the sunny spring break in paradise for the first time since Elementary school, I am more than thrilled to spend a relaxing week with my family. Besides a weeklong break from school, my spirits are high because beautiful days like today inspire me to reflect on the little things that keep me going in life. And because of that, today I have TWO fitness buddies, two girls that keep my spirits high, two girls that remind me to strive for above average: Erin and Michelle.


The first recollection I have of Erin completely making my day was several months ago–I was walking down the street on the phone with my mom probably stressing about some dumb “white kid problem,” when I saw someone running at me through my peripheral vision and all of a sudden two arms wrapped around me. It was Erin. Her smile lights up a room and automatically turns a negative situation to a more positive one. She is always down for a late night trip to the TREC to chat on the elliptical, but in all honestly Erin is more of a mental fitness buddy for me than anything else.

So often people allow one or two characteristics about someone to define that person; Erin has this brilliant ability to see people as one whole person, faults and attributes combined, and love them for the bigger picture. She sees people in a different light than most. Her happiness and spunk make her not only an enjoyable person to be around, but offer a refreshing break from a sometimes all-too-serious world. We all need an “Erin” in our lives.

Literally the only picture I could find of Erin where there weren't a billion other people in the photo. Point proven.


Upon meeting Michelle, I must say I was slightly taken aback by her ultra-dry sense of sarcastic humor. Now though, I have grown to appreciate her grip on reality, obsession with romance, and loyalty (especially to reading my posts). This girl keeps me accountable on so many levels. I love writing, totally love it, but sometimes I don’t feel like sitting down for a half hour to crank out 500+ words that may or may not mean something to someone. And it is on the days that I think no one will notice my negligence to my blog that Michelle so feistily reminds me that someone noticed. Her bombardment with nutrition and fitness related questions every time there is a lull in conversation is honestly much appreciates. I could talk for hours about anything from Turbo Kick to kale (or anything from nothing to everything, for that matter), and I am pretty sure Michelle would listen. After dropping 30 pounds last year, Michelle is actually an inspiration to me. She is currently training for a half marathon and notifies me whenever she reaches a new mileage milestone. This girl is no joke, and its no joke that I love her for that.


So, the moral of today’s post: Look beyond your best bud from workout class, or your trainer, or your health-freak friend and I guarantee that you can find amazing fitness buddy qualities in the people you love the most. Being fit isn’t all about eating a strict diet or running a certain amount each days, its about being the best you can be and surrounding yourself with people who help you to do just that.

Next post: less stress on tracking

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 13 other followers