A New Fitness Challenge

Hey guys! So, I have to confess that I am a failure. I gave up on my last little fitness challenge because I realized towards the end that I was not really getting the results I wanted. This realization lead me to thinking about what I was really trying to change about my physique in the first place. I really thought hard about what my fitness goals are. I have always just said to myself, “I just want to be fit and more toned,” but what does that even look like?

To some people that looks like this:

For others that statement may look more like this:tumblr_lwzlj0tOjN1r981two1_500
In my opinion all of these women look healthy, beautiful, and “fit” on some level. But, what do they all have in common? The answer, CONFIDENCE! 

Now, I know confidence is a state of mind, but I also think that you are the MOST confident when you feel comfortable in your own skin/body. Not the body that society tells you that you should have, but the body that YOU feel comfortable with. For me, confidence equals feeling strong and feeling strong equals MUSCLES! I’m not talking Ms. Schwarzenegger strong (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but a little muscle makes me feel pretty badass, not gonna lie.



The thing is, I like doing cardio workouts occasionally, but I have always felt the best when doing strength training. BUT, for some reason for years I had it in my head that women can’t train the same as men. I remember discussing weightlifting with my boyfriend some years back and he would always encourage me to try the workouts he did. I would always say no, because I didn’t want to have huge, manly muscles. I just wanted to be “toned” and in my mind that meant tons of cardio and long drawn out total body workout DVDs. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my workout DVDs! Even though I have read many articles in the past that tried to convince me that my fear of becoming Incredible Hulk was unwarranted, I was stubborn. Throughout the past year or so I have spent some time researching exercises, workout programs, and fitness in general. Even though I had heard it many times before, it wasn’t until I read up on testosterone (and physiological differences in men and women) that I started to actually believe it. It has been a long process, but I now know that weight lifting is something I should have been incorporating into my workout routine a long time ago in order to achieve my fitness goals.

I have gotten great results from DVD’s in the past, but I feel like I need to do things differently to see the change I’m looking for. Most DVD’s I have done have focused more so on muscular endurance while never really progressing to muscular hypertrophy (Enlargement of skeletal muscle fibers in response to overcoming force from high volumes of tension). To build noticeable muscles you must put down the 8 pound dumbbells and pick up something a little heavier. Heavier weight and fewer repetitions and you’ll have muscles popping up in no time (well, it will take some time). :-p

So I have decided to switch things up completely and do something out of my comfort zone…no DVD’s, just weights, a weight bench, and my body. I hope you all will follow me on this new little workout challenge. I will continue to post weekly updates about my workouts and progress. My next post will describe what I am doing in detail, so be sure to check back for that. If you want to read more on weight training for women here is an article that breaks it all down for you and is an easy read.

Thanks for reading!

Bows and Arrows,


The Fitness Diaries: Week 7

Hey guys! I didn’t do my usual update on Sunday because I was enjoying Lynda taking over for a while with her fun travel updates! I just started week 8 today so I figured I would go ahead and post this so I wouldn’t get behind. I completed all of my workouts for this past week. I am pretty proud of myself because I feel fully committed to my workout routine and feel more and more motivated every week. I don’t feel like I have to talk myself into working out on most days. It’s something I look forward to doing now. It’s a great feeling! I am taking care of Lynda’s dog child, Gabi while she is away on vacation, so I will be walking dogs like crazy for the rest of the week. It will just give me an excuse to go outside even more which is always great. Thankfully the weather has been really nice the past few days, but who knows how long it will last.

IMG_20140311_190708_384 (1)

A friend from work was kind enough to help me with walking Gabi because I wasn’t sure I would be able to walk them both by myself. My dog likes to walk in a zigzag at times. She’s a silly goose. My friend’s daughters were super excited to help out as well! I guess I am getting off topic here, but walking the dogs is exercise so it’s relevant I think. 🙂 On to the workout schedule for week 7…

Workout Schedule

Week 7:

Monday (3/3): Strength 2

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: Strength 1

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Walk with Rose

Saturday: Strength 2

Sunday: Rest

Monday: Timed Metabolic

Tuesday (today): Strength 1 (week 8)

**If you are new to these posts and are wondering what the heck I’m talking about with this workout schedule, click here for an explanation of what I’m doing.

The workouts in this phase are still feeling challenging because I try to increase the weight I’m using each time I do it. Strength 2 still feels more challenging to me. The exercises in this workout are just more intense for me and it really works my legs! There is one exercise in strength 2 called rear-foot elevated split squat and boy does this one hurt so good! Here is a picture from my book of the exercise.IMG_20140311_204654_673

On a side note,  I wanted to show you guys my latest fitness related purchase -my new beautiful Nike trainers. I really only owned one pair of sneakers and I was using them for running/walking outside and working out indoors. I realized this was not working out when the last time I put them on to workout inside I got dirt (and who knows what else) all over the carpet. I run/walk on unpaved paths sometimes so my other shoes were getting dirty. This was justification for needing a pair of sneakers for indoor use only. Yes, totally justified! 😛 To make myself feel even less guilty about this purchase I paid for the shoes with the change in my hello kitty coin bank! Another benefit to working as a barista….tip money! Don’t worry I cashed the change in at the bank, so I didn’t literally give someone $80 in coins.

IMG_20140311_214454_042I think that is all I have to report this week. I am excited for the measurements and picture updates coming after week 8. I think there will be some change this time. If you have any questions about the Drop Two Sizes DVD’s or book I would be happy to answer them for you. Also, I would love suggestions for a workout program to try next after I am done with this one. I love trying out new programs and seeing how effective they are/can be, so if there’s a program you are wondering about please let me know.

Thanks for reading!

Bows and Arrows,


The Fitness Diaries: Weeks 4-5

I am officially failing at doing weekly updates! And today is not Sunday, but I figured I would go ahead and post this anyway. I have completed almost 5 weeks of the Drop Two Sizes program, so I wanted to give you all a more in-depth update this time since I am about 1/3 of the way done with the whole program. After the slack week 3 I tried to pick up my workouts a bit more and get back on track.

Workout Schedule

Week 4:

Tuesday (2/4): Run/walk/jog with Rose (not sure how far it was, I should really get a pedometer)

Wednesday: Strength 1

Thursday: Rest day

Friday: Strength 2

Saturday: Run/walk/jog with Rose

Sunday: Nothing

Monday: Nothing again

Week 5:

Tuesday (2/11): Strength 1

Wednesday: Countdown Metabolic (this was the last workout from Phase 1 of the program)

Thursday: Rest day

Friday: Strength 2 (Phase 2)

Saturday: Rest/lazy day

Sunday: Rest again

Monday: Strength 1 (Phase 2)

Tuesday: Long walk with Rose

Wednesday (today): Strength 2 (Phase 2)

Rose and I stopped to pose for a picture on our walk.

Rose and I stopped to pose for a picture on our walk.

I have technically not completed all of the week 5 workouts yet because I kept getting off schedule and taking too many rest days here and there. I feel like I am getting pretty good results with the program so far. I was slightly disappointed when I took measurements and everything was just about exactly the same as the first time I measured a little over 4 weeks ago. I may not have lost any inches yet, but I can tell I am toning up some. I also definitely feel stronger and can see a bit more muscle definition in certain areas. I don’t think any of these changes would be apparent to anyone else looking at me, but that is usually the case. What is that quote I always see on Pinterest in the Fitness category about noticing your body changing? Something like: “It takes 4 weeks for you to notice a change, 8 weeks for your friends and family to notice, and 12 weeks for everyone else to notice”. There may be some truth to that.

dd83c144b64ff99ca2c1971bec4ea71aI really want to get into the best shape of my life and I know that a key component to that is the food I’m eating. I have a pretty decent diet as is, but it is not perfect and I probably allow myself to over-indulge a little bit too much sometimes. The way I eat now allows me to maintain my current weight, but I’m not sure it will allow me to reach my fitness goals…especially not if I’m trying to get some nice abdominal muscles! We’ve all heard it before. Abs are made in the kitchen! Sure, I could probably keep myself pretty slim and somewhat fit by keeping my same diet, but I really want to see what my body is capable of. So, I decided to clean up my diet some more and be a little more strict about the foods I allow myself to eat. When it comes to eating healthy I absolutely have to write out a plan for the coming week or I will just completely fail and end up at Bojangles. I was sitting down to write out my meal plan last weekend and I remembered that there is a Drop Two Sizes book that includes meal plans. I’m not sure why I didn’t remember this until recently, but I went to Barnes and Noble and grabbed a copy. I really like this book, guys! Rachel Cosgrove teamed up with a registered dietitian who designed the meal plans. I like the meal plan because it is simple and not overwhelming or unrealistic to follow. I gathered ideas from the meal plans and wrote out my own meal plan and grocery list. I will probably go into greater detail about my meal plans in a later post. If you guys are interested in the book, it is sold online and in stores and is even available as an e-book. No matter what your fitness/weight loss goals are I think this book is a great motivational tool.


Anyway, I’m hoping that I will see even more results by being a little more strict with my diet. I am by no means saying that I am going to count calories or restrict my food intake drastically. My goal is NOT to lose weight, but only to tone up and gain muscle mass/definition.

Okay, so as promised here are my picture updates. I don’t think there is much of a difference, but I also probably could have worked a little harder than I did. That’s okay, there’s plenty of time!  To compare it to the beginning click here.

Fotor0219112444Sorry, these are not the best quality. My boyfriend is not a photographer, nor does he try very hard to get these “perfect” for me. :-p Also, I do own other workout clothes, but I thought I would keep it as similar as the first time as I could. I didn’t include the measurements this time because like I mentioned earlier nothing really changed.

Thanks for reading ALL of this if you did! If you have any questions/feedback I would love to “hear” from you in the comments. I’ll be back in a week or so for another update.

*I am not affiliated with Drop Two Sizes or Women’s Health in any way…although I wouldn’t mind it 😉

Bows and Arrows,


The Fitness Diaries: Weeks 1-2

Hello! I’m back for my Sunday fitness update. I kind of dropped the ball for last Sunday’s update. I was having a bad day and didn’t want my negativity to rub off on the post so I just decided to skip it. I hope you’ll forgive me!

So, I’m feeling pretty good because I have successfully completed 2 weeks of consistent working out. I have been following the Drop Two Sizes DVD program and also walking and running on almost every other day. For me the hardest part of keeping a workout routine is actually starting a routine and staying committed to it.  After a while it starts to become just another part of your day, but in the beginning it may really feel like a chore. Now that I already have 2 weeks behind me, I’m feeling much more motivated to continue. Before I get into the details of what I’ve been doing the past two weeks I wanted to briefly talk about my thoughts on fitness and working out. If you don’t care so much about this part, you can skip over it, but I just wanted to share.

Becoming more physically fit and living a healthy lifestyle is just that- a lifestyle change. It is not accomplished by some magic pill or by a certain special workout program. Losing weight and getting fit is all about dedication and repetition. There are so MANY ways you can achieve your fitness goals, but your motivation and dedication will be the determining factor in your success. How often you workout is much more important than how you workout. But, obviously you want your workouts to complement your fitness goals. If you want to gain muscle mass you’re not going to just cardio all day everyday. My point is, I don’t want you guys to think that because I am doing this DVD program I am promoting it as being better than any other workout. Because that is not the case at all.  I think people should do what works for them, whether that is going to the gym or working out at home/outside with your own equipment.  Personally, I get very distracted by other people at the gym and it causes me to lose focus.  In a way I view my workout time as personal “me time.” I feel most focused when I am alone or outside in an open space. Sure, I could just do sets of exercises on my own instead of following a person on a DVD, but I like the variety and encouragement that you get from a DVD. Anyway, if you happen to like working out to a DVD like me then great because this is an in-depth review of one. And if you don’t particularly enjoy working out to a DVD that’s okay too, because I’ll be sharing other workouts and also just showing how being consistent (with pretty much any workout) will give you results.

My Workout Schedule

Week 1:

Monday: Strength 2IMG_20140106_160505_087

Tuesday: Short walk with Rose (~1 mile)

Wednesday: Rest (I was sore and I worked all day!)

Thursday: Strength 1

Friday: Run/walk with Rose (~2 miles)

Saturday: Strength 2

Sunday: Rest again

Week 2:

Monday: Rest..again. I was supposed to do a “Timed Metabolic” workout from the DVD, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I was really worn out from week 1. I was also really regretting that workout hiatus that happened around the holidays at this point.

Tuesday: Strength 1

Wednesday: Short walk with Rose (~1 mile)

Thursday: Strength 2

Friday: Run/walk with Rose (~2 miles)

Saturday: Strength 1

Sunday: Rest (again I was supposed to do a “Countdown Metabolic” workout from the DVD, but it didn’t happen)

It seems like I have a hard time getting motivated to workout on Sunday and Monday, so I’m going to have to try a little harder next week! Instead of working out today I went to TJ Maxx and bought a sports bra and a Nike tank top. That’s at least workout related, right. Haha!


So far, I feel like I am getting pretty good results with the workouts. Obviously there has not been any drastic changes in anything yet, but I can tell that I’m getting stronger and my legs, shoulders, and arms seem to be toning up some already. Two more weeks and Phase 1 of the DVD program will be over and I will have completed 4 weeks of workouts. I plan on doing updated measurements and pictures at the end of week 4, so that should be interesting to see. Hopefully, there will be some noticeable changes…*fingers crossed*! Until then, be sure to check back next Sunday for my weekly workouts and a brief description of some of the workouts I’ve been doing.  Lastly, what are some things you guys do to get motivated to workout on the days when you’re not feeling motivated? Leave me some comments! 🙂 Thanks for reading.

Bows and Arrows,


The Fitness Diaries: Introduction

Hey guys! I am so excited to introduce this new series of posts I will be doing!  Now that the holidays are officially over it is time that I get my butt back in gear and start working out regularly again. I took a two month hiatus because well, it just always happens to me around the holidays. I went from working out at least 3 times a week to doing basically nothing 😦 There was just so much going on and as much as I enjoy the feeling of satisfaction I get after a good workout, I can also enjoy being lazy just as much sometimes.  But, in reality working out makes me happy and when I’m not working out I’m a less happy and less confident person. And that’s just no good! So, to motivate myself, and you guys, I have decided to do “fitness diaries” to share with you all my workouts and my progress and results. I don’t know if I have mentioned this before, but I actually prefer working out at home or outside over going to the gym. My love for at home workouts has lead to my acquiring a pretty large collection of workout DVD’s. Trying out new workout DVD programs has kind of become a fun little hobby of mine.  Part of what I hope to accomplish through these posts is to provide reviews on some of the DVD’s that I own by completing the programs and tracking my progress and experience with them. For my first review/fitness diary I have decided to do my most recently purchased DVD program combined with stationary biking, jogging, walking and whatever else I feel like doing.

The Program: Drop Two Sizes

drops2sizesdvd_046120_700x700_1 Description: The program is 12 weeks long. There are 6 DVD’s broken up into phases (1,2, and 3). Each week consists of alternating strength workouts (3 per week) and one metabolic workout (1 per week). This program focuses more on strength training. The program also emphasizes the importance of ignoring the number on the scale and looking at how your clothes fit as a better indicator of progress. Click here for more details about this program.

So, I completed 4 weeks of this program a while back before the holidays and I really enjoyed it. Even after only 4 weeks I noticed my biceps, back, shoulders, and legs shaping up, although sadly most of that is gone now and my biceps are looking puny again.  I can’t wait to see the results after 12 weeks! To accurately track my progress I decided to take body measurements. I also took some really awkward photographs that I should be embarrassed to put on the internet, but I’m doing it anyway! 😛 I did not weigh myself because I don’t own a scale and I try VERY hard not to worry about that number and focus more on how I look and feel. Plus, this workout program is really all about “ditching the scale” anyway. I know I am at a healthy weight for my height and age, so it’s not really important for me to pay close attention to the number on the scale.

My Starting Measurements (1/12):

Waist: 26.5 inches

Hips: 37.5 inches

Thigh (R): ~22 inches

Thigh (L): ~22 inches

Upper arm (R): ~10 inches

Upper arm (L): ~10 inches


Sorta flexing? I dunno...

Sorta flexing? I dunno…









My right  little bicep. Yes, that's a big scar on my arm. I was a clumsy child.

My right little bicep. Yes, that’s a big scar on my arm. I was a clumsy child.

My left little bicep. Yeah, look at those stretch marks..proof that I am a yoyo exerciser :-/

My left little bicep. Yeah, look at those stretch marks..proof that I am a yoyo exerciser :-/









So, I know it’s hard to really tell what my body looks like, but I was not about to make it even more awkward and take bikini pictures, so this will have to do. Sorry to disappoint you. haha! I kid, I kid. Today is technically Day 2, because I did the first strength workout yesterday. Today I worked for 8 hours on my feet (hey, that counts!) and then took my dog for a 20 minute walk. Tomorrow will be Day 3, another strength exercise. I plan on posting once a week, on Sundays, to update you all on how the previous week went. I will also be describing the DVD workouts in greater detail, while also explaining any other workouts I do that are not a part of the Drop Two Sizes Program. When I complete this DVD program I would love to try out a new one and track my progress and results for you guys again. If you have any suggestions for at-home workouts (DVD’s or otherwise) please leave them for me in the comments.

If you read all of that I am really impressed! I promise every week will not be this long, so please keep an eye out for my Sunday updates. If you have any questions, comments, and/or encouragement I would love to hear from you! Thanks for reading 🙂

Bows and Arrows,