Taking on the Edge Challenge, Fall Season Continued, Part 2

I thought I’d share a quick Edge Challenge update in this post after yesterday’s visit to the gym for personal training and group exercise.
The first thing I did today was use one of the ab machines on which I had recently gone up in weight setting. When I’ve been on this machine, the oblique crunch / twisting oblique, I always do 7 sets of 10 reps and was at the 45 lb. setting and then 65. Today, I did three
sets at that weight and a bit spontaneously decided to try it at 85 for one set; it wasn’t too bad, but I still have to work up to that as the regular amount I use. My last three sets were back to 65, which actually felt somewhat easy in comparison. So, maybe it won’t be too long until it’s no longer what I have the machine set at for crunches.

After that, I went into the women’s only area to add a different routine to exercises I do on my own. Someone posted in a Facebook group for the Edge Challenge members a neat idea that inspired me into trying it. Random exercises were listed next to each letter of the alphabet and you do whichever ones are next to the letters of your name. I had crunches, push-ups, a 60-second plank, lunges and burpees. That was just my first name, but I’ll have to challenge myself to go through my first, middle and last.

I squeezed in some time on an elliptical, then my half hour personal training session was up next. For the duration of the challenge, I’m
signed up for a full hour, but my schedule on its usual day didn’t work, so I had to split it this week. My group exercise class was an hour and a half after personal training ended. In that time, I walked over to Panera Bread and had a Caesar salad with grilled chicken. I’m not sure if the dressing was low-calorie, low-fat or regular. I also forgot about croutons, but decided to eat around them and turned down
bread for a side that came with the salad.

As far as weight, I’m teetering exactly at the milestone that I’m trying to drop below. But I know that it’s also a matter of gaining muscle. Other members at the gym, along with my trainer, have seen a difference in me. I see differences in those I’ve been in classes with
as well. So, even when I feel like I’ve hit a plateau, I have a lot of encouragement along the way.

When I got home, the mail included a magazine with cover stories about exercises and an one actress’ ab routine. In the past, I would see workout moves in a publication, but think they were too difficult. Now, I am confident enough about my abilities to try and get better as I do them more frequently.

Posted in Diet, Dining, Edge Challenge, Edge Strong, Exercise, Food, Foodie, Health, The Edge Fitness, Weight Loss | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking on the Edge Challenge, Fall Season, Continued

My schedule of classes last Thursday had to be changed due to errands running a longer than expected. I dropped kickboxing, but to make up
for it, added a second Zumba that would immediately follow Strong by Zumba. For extra classes, I enrolled in two on Saturday and Sunday each. So, while in one Thursday class, I thought about how this was another way that exercise has become a lifestyle change for me. Need to cancel a class? Find a different one to make it up. Besides, I have a goal to drop under a milestone weight for next week’s weigh-in at
the start of my personal training session.

Strong by Zumba was intense and as one of several first-timers, I loved it and couldn’t wait to sign up again! It was one of my extra weekend classes and I plan to take it more regularly as time goes on.

The flavors of fall are tempting, but the Edge Fitness shake flavor of the month is delicious Pumpkin Pie. I haven’t had any high-calorie
PSLs in a long time, so I can get my fix throughout October.

I’ve always loved the tuna and chicken salads offered at the salad bar of my local grocery store, but the calories can be cut. So, I’m using
canned tuna in water and mixing in a light mayo. With so many people wanting to lose weight, I’ve been wondering why the light version of sour cream, mayo or cottage cheese is most likely never an option for ingredients used. Some salad dressings offered are light; usually in ranch, vinaigrette or Italian flavors. When grocery shopping, I get whatever ones I like only in the lesser calorie; my favorites are honey mustard and thousand island.

Also, as mentioned in my last Edge Challenge post, I wanted to share a healthy dish from Applebee’s. When ordering the grilled salmon (260 calories), I usually have steamed broccoli (100) and garlic mashed potatoes (250). This time, I switched out the mashies for garlicky
green beans (180). From now on, those are my choices for two sides when ordering the salmon at this particular restaurant.

My old menu choices are still tempting, at least in appearance. However, I am not daring to order them at this point after everything at the gym. I look at their calorie count and just want to steer clear of those dishes. After all, healthy options are delicious, too!

When I get together with my best friend soon, we’ll be having lunch at a King of Prussia area restaurant. My favorite drink to order in the
past has been a frozen fruity one, but it’s loaded with sugar. So I’ll have to check out what low-calorie beverages are available, along with having a ice water with lemon to work on getting my water in for the day. That’s another change in my diet habits; no more soda, not even diet versions, which was the only kind I had for years. But now, I’m so used to water that I can’t drink soda anymore.

It won’t be until early November when I meet for lunch with my best friend, so I’ll probably have more Edge Challenge updates in the
meantime. I’m also working on some more travel-related posts and one type of outing has been difficult – food festivals. I have been
feeling as though it’s better for me to skip them for a while, until we’re back to spring again. It would be too easy to mess up dropping and staying below a milestone weight if I attend food events before then. Plus, I don’t want to undo any exercise efforts during the gym
challenge. There might not be too many healthy options at some food festivals anyway. So, my upcoming travel posts won’t be focused on
eating as they are on destinations and other favorite events.

I also have another friend’s Halloween party soon, but she always has a veggie tray set out for when friends are coming over. That will be a great help toward keeping it a Happy, Healthy Halloween season and only the start of more food-filled celebrating. I’m not feeling such
dread about getting through the holidays this year, now that I’m in a regular exercise routine at a gym that offers so much. As my class and I cheer with our instructors after a workout, “Edge Strong!”

Posted in Diet, Dining, Edge Challenge, Edge Strong, Exercise, Festivals, Food, Foodie, Health, Holidays, The Edge Fitness, Weight Loss | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking on the Edge Challenge, Fall Season

It’s in the beginning weeks of another 8-week challenge event at The Edge Fitness and I had a great start. My weigh-in on kickoff night
revealed a new low weight since becoming a member; I’m close to dropping below a major milestone. Sometimes, I doubt that number will
go downward for a particular time stepping on the scale. Then I get a surprise when it does in those instances.

I did have a few rough days though recently, feeling under the weather on and off last week. But now that it has passed, I’m back on track to
hit my goal of losing another 20 pounds by the end of this challenge.

So, onto more positives, which also brings me back to another point about the kickoff night this time around. The young guy speaking for
the event is an employee from a different Edge Fitness location. He talked about going to the gym, any gym in general and how when you
start to make friends, it’s a lifestyle change, no longer feeling like a chore. I’ve begun to meet people in my group classes and we know
each other by names. It definitely makes it a lot more fun and inspires me to keep it up.

There’s another aspect I thought of in terms of going to a gym as a lifestyle change. When I go shopping for clothes, I like to look for cute tops and leggings specifically to wear to my exercise classes. I have dropped a size or two at this point and while going to gym of another chain, I still hadn’t lost much weight. I was wearing my most casual, loose-fitting shirts and pull-on pants and couldn’t stand how I looked. Although I see women of all shapes and sizes in more fitted activewear for workouts, I simply didn’t feel confident to do so myself. But I am feeling better now, having lost an amount of weight I thought for so long I’d never lose. Several of my cuter tops are starting to fit more loosely on me now, too.

My left leg tended to have a little swelling in recent years and working out much more regularly has helped to decrease that problem.
Some exercises required balance and I think between those and overall physical activity this year, I’ve had another surprising outcome in
terms of what I wear on my feet. I never was much of a high heels person, mostly because I’d think, “How does someone walk in those,’
when I see a woman in stilettos. I imagined myself being a bit wobbly in such shoes. Then, with the swelling I had in my left leg, certain styles of footwear weren’t possible. But now, after the decrease in swelling and better balance, check these out! I’ll have to post some head-to-toe photos donning them later on.

Dining out is still a pain at times, depending on where I go. It seems as though some places just have no healthy options. Recent places I’ve
been to include Season’s Pizza, Cafe Riviera and Ruby Tuesday. Their menus do have healthy dishes, even though I didn’t always order the
best one for sticking to a diet. I also haven’t had a dessert in a long time, however small those choices; that even includes the shot-glass-sized sundae offered at Applebee’s. That’s partly for the purpose of cutting calories, but also because I’ve been too full lately anyway. Applebee’s also has a variety of healthy items on their menu and next time I go there, I’ll post about that as well. Here are a few dishes I’ve had at the other above mentioned restaurants.

The Ultimate Grilled Chicken and a side of sweet potato fries – Season’s Pizza

I ordered this minus the mayo in its description; I’m not big on that condiment anyway. I’ve been skipping fries for the most part, yet will still have the sweet potato version here and there.

Classic Caesar Salad – Cafe Riviera

This could be ordered with grilled chicken, salmon or another option. I don’t usually see salmon for a Caesar salad, so I’ve gone with that choice a few times already. Such a delicious healthy dish, I finished if off and was full; that’s something I haven’t always done with the lettuce part.

Hickory Bourbon Salmon – Ruby Tuesday

One of the menu options with a healthy FT notation, it comes with two sides and as someone who loves mashed potatoes, I’ve skipped that one. Instead, the choices I go for are steamed broccoli and grilled zucchini. Both of these are also marked with the FT symbol and are 60 and 20 calories respectively.

This week at the gym, while using an ab machine, the usual weight I set it at didn’t seem like enough anymore. So, I’ve been working my
stomach muscles at one setting higher.

Other recent exercise changes have included using a rower and an elliptical that I describe as having a sort of slider motion. When I would go into the gym theater, I used to hop on a treadmill for 10 to 20 minutes. I’ve come to like
working out on ellipticals more over time.

As another holiday season approaches, it’ll be the first one in a while that I won’t have difficulty with facing party food. Not only
that, but winter always tends to be the worst for me in keeping active. I’m just not a winter person and am usually dreading the
weather that comes with it. But I feel better going into this year and I think I should try an unusual outdoor sport to celebrate. When I was
an undergraduate, there was a flier posted around campus to announce a snowshoeing adventure. I wanted to go then but it was cancelled to due to very bad wintry conditions. Well, I may not have been in shape enough at the time for that excursion. By the time an opportunity like that comes along, I’ll have completed this second challenge, will be
continuing my usual classes and personal training. I also decided to have two sessions per week with my trainer for the duration of this
challenge. All of that will help me to be ready to take on a trek in the snow. But if not snowshoeing, than I’ll at least go on a few local
winter hikes.

The goal I want to reach is a weight I haven’t been for years. So, I can’t wait to see the outcome when this challenge comes to a close!

Posted in Diet, Dining, Edge Challenge, Edge Strong, Exercise, Food, Foodie, Health, Holidays, Nature, Snow, The Edge Fitness, Weather, Weight Loss, Winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My MixTape Tunes from the 80s into early and mid 90s

Inspired by the 80s-90s theme and songs listed on each NKOTB member’s spread in the tour book, I had an idea. I decided to think up some
songs I would put on my own mixtape from that era. At first, I tried to keep my picks narrowed down to 20, but it was impossible Having so many favorites that take me back to special memories, my list grew enough to fill several mixtapes worth. Some of these songs remind me of when I first began enjoying the work of a singer or band. With others, I could relate lyrics to feelings for a crush…those words that would be difficult to find and express.

When I first heard the name of their new tour, I had to get tickets for the nearest show. I caught the nostalgia-stirring NKOTB MixTape Tour in Philadelphia toward the end of June. With tons of photos from the show, I’m working on which photos to use for a blog post and it may still be a while. Until then, I thought I’d share what songs I’ve put together so for that mixtape(s) idea of my own. There’s even more add, once I decide among hits by several artists. Stay tuned for those and my concert blog post.

  • I’m So Into You – SWV
    How Will I Know – Whitney Houston
    I Think We’re Alone Now – Tiffany
    Feelings of Forever – Tiffany
    Shake Your Love – Debbie Gibson
    Lost in Your Eyes – Debbie Gibson
    You Got It (The Right Stuff) – NKOTB
    Step By Step – NKOTB
    Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard
    Animal – Def Leppard
    Hysteria – Def Leppard
    Nothing But A Good Time – Poison
    Jump – Van Halen
    Mercedes Boy – Pebbles
    Let the Music Play – Shannon
    Into the Groove – Madonna
    Dress You Up – Madonna
    True Blue – Madonna
    Your Love – The Outfield
    Let’s Dance – David Bowie
    Jump (For My Love) – Pointer Sisters
    Drive – The Cars
    Magic – The Cars
    Summertime – Will Smith
    I Love Your Smile – Shanice
    And We Danced – The Hooters
    Footloose – Kenny Loggins
    Oh Mickey – Toni Basil
    Push It – Salt n Pepa
    Let’s Go Crazy – Prince
    Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
    Don’t You Forget About Me – Simple Minds
    Learning to Fly – Tom Petty
    Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty
    Heaven – Warrant
    Fly to the Angels – Slaughter
    I Love Rock n Roll – Joan Jett
    Cruel Summer – Bananarama
    Pleasure Principle – Janet Jackson
    Straight Up – Paula Abdul
    Don’t You Want Me – Jodi Watley
    Tell It To My Heart – Taylor Dayne
    Mad About You – Belinda Carlisle
    Heaven Is a Place on Earth – Belinda Carlisle
    Tunnel of Love – Bruce Springsteen
    Human Touch – Bruce Springsteen
    Boys of Summer – Don Henley
    Gypsy – Fleetwood Mac
    Hold Me – Fleetwood Mac
    Edge of Seventeen – Stevie Nicks
    Stand Back – Stevie Nicks
    Head Over Heels – Tears for Fears
    Sweet Dreams – The Eurythmics
    Hold Me Now – Thompson Twins
    Lay Your Hands On Me – Thompson Twins
    Doctor, Doctor! – Thompson Twins
    Jack & Diane – John Mellencamp
    The Warrior – Patty Smyth
    Sledgehammer – Peter Gabriel
    Motown Philly – Boyz II Men
    Rock Steady – The Whispers
    Freeze Frame – J. Geils Band
    867-5309 Jenny – Tommy Tutone
    Cars – Gary Numan
    Rock the Casbah – The Clash
    Money for Nothing – Dire Straits
  • Posted in Concerts, Entertainment, Music, Nostalgia, Philadelphia, Pop Culture, Teen Crush, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Taking on the Edge Challenge to the End, Staying on Track

    The last couple of weeks of the Edge Challenge seemed to go by in a flash and I was unsure how my total weight loss result would turn out.
    At some weigh-ins, I was up a few pounds, while at others I was down a few. My final week included Zumba, a foundation class with various exercise stations and personal training time. Following that was the closing party and last weigh-in, which revealed that I lost 10 pounds throughout the challenge. I also lost 4 or 5 before it started. With that achievement, it was enough to get me back within my high school weight range.

    After weigh-in, participants were treated to several different chicken caesar wraps and a free challenge finisher shirt. There were also
    raffles for prizes in between trainers sharing their team members’ success to the others. Everyone had done an amazing job in reaching
    their goals and I have to shout out a big congratulations on what they’ve accomplished!

    Yesterday, I went out for dinner at a local diner and upon entering beyond a small lobby area, you are greeted by the sight of tempting cakes! I admit that I totally wanted a slice of this one, topped with strawberries, debating it through my salad order. But by the time I finished, I was feeling too stuffed anyway. It was a generous-sized healthy dish, making it easy to go guilt-free yet well-fed while following a diet.

    A shirt I had on was slightly tighter when I first bought it and fitting more loosely now. That reminded me, I forgot to tell my trainer about another shirt I got last weekend. Just looking at the style, I wasn’t sure it would fit me; yet it did! Before paying for it, I was trying on some denim shorts just to see what I fit into at
    this point. I definitely dropped at least one size. So I’ll have to tell him that during my next personal training session.

    Posted in Diet, Dining, Edge Challenge, Edge Strong, Exercise, Food, Foodie, Health, The Edge Fitness, Weight Loss | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    An emergency with my Camaro

    I bought my Camaro new back in 2000, the first car I had in my name and it’s always run perfectly over the years. The photo above is from 2017, after a visit to a car wash. In recent times, a few minor things have needed work; they still do because of cost. I have to get new
    visors. My driver side mirror is out of whack and a whole piece of the interior around the adjuster knob broke. Panel around the controls is slightly loose and the paintwork has a few spots to be fixed up.

    Despite those, I’ve been getting around. But on July 10, I was back in my car after leaving the gym. I turned the key and it wouldn’t start. A couple more tries didn’t get it going either. Initially, it was thought to be the starter, then the battery. I called two different services to get a tow, yet both of their systems sounded
    broken up, as though they were going to cut out from bad reception. Then I called a nearby dealership, where I bought my car long ago,
    getting info on their towing service. Once the tow truck driver arrived and tried my car, he said neither was the problem. He towed it
    to a nearby dealership, where I bought it long ago.

    This all played out in the early evening hours, so it was getting too late for anything to be looked at until the next day. Because nothing
    like this had ever happened with it before and not a mechanical expert, I was panicked that I would no longer have a car. On top of that, I’m still trying to conduct a job search that I felt would come screeching to a halt with no way to get to interviews. I’m not in the position to replace my car at the moment either, not even with opting for something used.

    It turned out to be the fuel pump and repairs cost around $1,400 due to the 2000 Camaro design and where that part is located. I got the
    car back on July 12 and it’s running well just as usual. After this whole incident, I can’t wait to find a new job that pays well enough for me to afford a new car, full warranty and all. I love my Camaro, such a cool car to have no matter what year and because it was the first I owned outright. So, of course, my mind is already thinking ‘new Camaro,’ or at least, ‘newer Camaro.’

    I also can’t help wishing that I could buy a classic model instead, like this ’68.

    Posted in Cars, Chevy Camaro | Tagged , | Leave a comment

    Remembering a friend lost in a motorcycle crash

    No matter how safely I drive, I’m always nervous near anyone on a motorcycle because he or she is so exposed as they ride. It saddens me to learn of reports about any motorcyclists killed in accidents.

    A personal reason is that one of my friends died in a motorcycle crash when he was only 28 years old. His name is Shane and it’s hard to
    believe that it’s now just over 15 years since he’s been gone. My mom and his mom were had been friends since 4th grade and then sometimes while I was in elementary school, we went over to their house. Our moms talked and my friend and I hung out, he showed me his music cassette collection. He said I was really quiet. I had a crush on him and would mostly smile shyly at him. I still liked him when we were in 7th grade homeroom together, but after that year, didn’t see him much even in the halls. I finished high school years at a private campus. We’d cross paths here and there in our local area, talking for a few minutes and I found him attractive, yet by then my heart was stirred by a guy at my small private school. Even though we lost touch and I saw him less often, Shane will always be special as my first crush overall and I’ll miss him forever.

    Posted in Cars, Motorcycles, Safe Driving | Tagged , , | Leave a comment