Monday, January 19, 2015

Don't Give Up on Your Fitness Goals + Funny Workout Tank

I shared a story about how far I've come in terms of fitness via my personal Facebook account Thursday. The post generated SO much positive feedback that I knew I had to share it with my HGG readers as fitness motivation for 2015.


In the past 18 months, I've learned self-motivation is the key to sticking with a fitness goal. Find whatever motivates YOU to keep going when the going gets tough. And remember, things that motivate someone else might not work for you.

I create new playlists, work out with friends and change up my routine with different classes, equipment and tempos to keep things fresh. Having the chance to wear funny workout clothes is always a plus too . . . 

"Ruck Funning" Workout Tank from Constantly Varied Gear on Hungry Gator Gal

Photo by Brianna Kolota

I took this photo early in the morning after drinking waaaaaayyy too much coffee in one sitting. Hence the serial killer face.

I was also excited it was a lifting day and not a running day. I really don't like running, unless it's with friends or sprinting in the heat of a sport or a competition. Naturally, I picked the tank above when Constantly Varied Gear asked me if I'd like one in exchange for writing about its products.

Constantly Varied Gear Funny Tank Top on Hungry Gator Gal

Photo by Brianna Kolota

The company sells A TON of funny shirts and tanks in a variety of colors for men and women. I spent an hour trying to choose a tank before deciding on the "Ruck Funning" one. It's soft and thin, which is perfect for when Florida decides winter doesn't exist.

The tank is so comfortable that I now have my eyes on this yoga tank, this coffee tank and this tank about punching people. Because, you know, you can never have too many workout tanks or leggings for that matter. Who needs to wear real shirts and pants when workout clothes are so comfy?!?

Order your own hilarious gear here. :) 

P.S. Follow the links below to learn more about the Army ROTC program and the Ranger Challenge competition.

Note: Constantly Varied Gear or any other company did not compensate me for this post. The company simply sent a tank top to me without charge in exchange for writing this post. As always, all thoughts, opinions and reviews are my own.

Questions: 

  1. Who or what motivates you to exercise?
  2. Do you have a 2015 fitness resolution? What is it?
  3. Do you own any funny workout clothes? What do they say?
  

Related HGG Posts:


10 Goals to Improve Overall Fitness in 2015 

 

Hungry Gator Gal's Top 10 Posts of 2014 



10 Things I've Learned as a New Runner

10 Things I've Learned as a New Runner from Hungry Gator Gal 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

10 Goals to Improve Overall Fitness in 2015

What's one way to ensure you achieve fitness goals? Share them with thousands of people . . .

Below you'll find 10 goals I'm pursuing to improve my overall fitness in 2015, in no particular order of importance. Some goals are easy "check-off-the-list" things or habits I plan to change. Other goals are HARD and are going to take serious commitment.


These goals are personalized to my life, but please tweak them to fit YOUR life, whether you're a seasoned fitness fanatic or an exercise newbie. No two persons are at the same fitness level, and you should be realistic when setting goals.

I've explained why I'm pursuing the goals below. If you're an athlete, training for a specific event or just a fitness geek, I HIGHLY suggest reading the reasons why I'm pursuing the goals because they're probably applicable to your life too.

Click on the links within this post to learn more information, such as where body composition assessments are offered near you.

You now have permission to call me out if you see me slacking! Feel free to let me know what your 2015 fitness goals are in the comments section. :)

Goal #1: Complete a functional movement screen (FMS)/mobility assessment.


Why: 
  1. Identify and assess muscular imbalances. 
  2. Correct my form.
  3. Prevent injuries.

Yes, I am damn proud of my ability to squat four or five rounds of 10 reps at nearly 200 pounds. Yes, I can do 50+ perfect-form push-ups in 2 minutes. However, if I'm doing these moves incorrectly, I'm putting myself at risk for an injury that I literally cannot afford. If I can't perform physically as well as mentally in the next 2.5 years of law school, I put myself at risk for losing my scholarship.

I think anyone, whether you're a seasoned lifter or just learning how to strength train, can benefit from a mobility assessment. Identifying and correcting muscular imbalances allows you to strengthen weak muscles and prevent injuries from happening. You can visit the FMS website to find a professional near you who gives the assessment.

Goal #2: Complete two body composition assessments (one in the January/February, one in August/September).


Why:
  1. Determine my body fat percentage.
  2. Assess how my nutrition and exercise habits are impacting my athletic performance.
  3. Improve my athletic performance.

I've suspected for a year or so that my body fat percentage is in the female athlete range, and I want to confirm or deny this suspicion. Depending upon the number, I may or may not pursue, in a healthy way, a goal of dropping a few percentage points to improve my speed and endurance.

UF offers a BodPod test, one of the most accurate body fat assessment tools, for $50, and the follow-up test months later costs $35. Click here to see where the BodPod test is offered near you. I'll be sure to write about the experience when I do it.   

Goal #3: Complete a running assessment and possibly a few coaching lessons, depending upon the cost.


Why: Analyze and work on correcting my running form.

I've been dealing with shin splints on and off since August, which I'm attributing the fact that I literally never ran before joining the Army ROTC program.

It was probably too much running too fast and not with proper form. I've recognized and corrected some of my own problems, like my tendency to heel strike, which has allowed me to increase my speed and endurance. However, I know I may have a muscular imbalance that's contributing to my shin pain.

If you're a running coach or know of a good, reasonably priced running coach in the Gainesville, Florida area, email me at bkkolota@gmail.com!

Goal #4: Complete at least one 4- to 6-mile run per week.


Why:
  1. Increase endurance.
  2. Mental relaxation.

Endurance is NOT my strong point. I LOVE sprints, HIIT and basically any short, intense workout. However, I've recognized that completing even one moderate distance run per week at a moderate pace makes the short intense workouts easier and totally relaxes me.

In other words, I think I'm actually enjoying running now?!?

Goal #5: Complete a sprint workout at least once per week.


Why:
  1. ABS baby!
  2. Increase speed.

Read this article about the benefits of sprinting and you'll be on your way to the track . . . like now.

Goal #6: Commit to writing down the weights used during strength workouts.


Why: Track my strength increases.

I write down workouts in terms of what I did and how many reps, but I've never tracked how much weight I'm using to see if my strength has increased.

I know I'm stronger than a year ago, but I want to be able to look back at 2015 to see exactly how much my strength has increased. I'll start putting the weight amounts on my weekly workout page.

Goal #7: Compete in at least one obstacle course/tactical race. 


Why:
  1. To have FUN with friends.
  2. To say I did it!

Do I really need an explanation for wanting to complete a Spartan Race Super and/or a Tough Mudder?

Goal #8: Foam roll for at least 10 minutes every day.  


Why: Benefits of foam rolling.

Goal #9: Go to two yoga classes per week.


Why:
  1. Prevent injuries.
  2. Improve flexibility and balance.
  3. Maintain my sanity.

Pro Athletes Turn to Yoga

Goal #10: Earn a 300 on the APFT.


Why:
  1. To earn the badge!
  2. To say I did it!

I'm SO close to maxing the test. <--- I earned a 292 out of 300 on November's test.

If I follow through on all of the aforementioned goals, there's no reason I shouldn't be able to earn a 300 by August.

P.S. You can train for the test , even if you're not in the military, to assess and track your fitness progress.

Question:

  1. What are your 2015 fitness goals and why are you pursuing them? 
 
Related HGG Posts:

Tips for Setting Realistic Fitness Goals in 2014 

 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hungry Gator Gal's Top 10 Posts of 2014 + Thank You!

My thoughts on 2014 in general . . .


Source

I accomplished SO much in this whirlwind of a year: studying for and taking the LSAT a second time while working and going to school, graduating from UF with highest honors, applying to and starting law school, and starting the Army ROTC program, just to name the highlights.

It was rough at times with late nights, early mornings and moments of  "What did I get myself into?!?" However, I wouldn't change any of it, and I want to thank everyone, including my readers, for supporting me and Hungry Gator Gal through it all.

It means more to me than words can express that this little website has encouraged so many others to live healthier, active lives. This blog has been a constant source of fun and creativity in my life for only three years, but I honestly don't remember life without it and your words of encouragement.

So before I get super sappy, here's a list of YOUR favorite posts, based on page views, from the year 2014. Click on the titles to see the original posts.

Enjoy, and I'll see ya' in 2015! I have a feeling it's going to be the best year yet. ;)

1. Yoga Workout Playlist




2. Upper Body + Abs Circuit Workout


Upper Body + Abs Circuit Workout from hungrygatorgal.com 


3. Paleo Oatless Oatmeal


Paleo Oatless Oatmeal from Hungry Gator Gal

4. Basic 8 Leg Workout + Lower Body Stretches


Basic 8 Leg Workout from Hungry Gator Gal

5. Vega Bars Review


 #vegabars on Hungry Gator Gal @FitApproach @VegaTeam #sweatpink

6. Summer Workout Jams


Summer Workout Jams Playlist from Hungry Gator Gal (spotify playlist included)

7. Burnin' Abs Circuit


Hungry Gator Gal Burnin' Abs Circuit

8. Favorite Nike Training Club App Workouts




9. Ultimate EDM Playlist




10. Very Berry French Vanilla Smoothie


Very Berry French Vanilla Smoothie from Hungry Gator Gal #OneChange #VegaOne 

Questions:

  1. What was your favorite post, workout, playlist and/or recipe from 2014? It doesn't have to be from Hungry Gator Gal.

Monday, December 29, 2014

150-Rep Lower Body Challenge

This lower body endurance workout + a 6.6-mile run afterward = sore quads and hip flexors for days.

But really. I was sore to the touch for a SOLID 48 hours. I really have no idea what I was thinking. All I know is that I hobbled around the mall and Target the next day in pain. I looked like a baby giraffe learning how to walk. But it was amazing.

So if you love self-imposed pain, check out this workout. Feel free to tell me how awful and awesome it makes you feel afterward. :) 

150-Rep Lower Body Challenge from Hungry Gator Gal

Exercise videos:

P.S. This is an awesome at-home or holiday workout that requires minimal or NO equipment. No gym = no excuse. I usually complete 50 reps of one exercise and then 50 reps of the next exercise, etc. Feel free to split up the 150 reps however you choose.

Questions:

  1. Do you ever complete lower body workouts and longer runs on the same day?
  2. What's the hardest workout you've ever completed? 

Related HGG Posts:


10 Things I've Learned as a New Runner

10 Things I've Learned as a New Runner from Hungry Gator Gal 

26-Minute Boredom-Busting Treadmill Workout 

26-Minute Boredom-Busting Treadmill Workout from Hungry Gator Gal 

5-4-3-2-1 Lower Body Blast


5-4-3-2-1 Lower Body Blast Workout from hungrygatorgal.com

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

50-Rep Upper Body + Abs Challenge

Merry Christmas Eve! If you're looking for a fast-but-challenging workout to do today, you've come to the right place! :)

I'm all about challenges, both mental and physical. Pushing limits means making progress for me, and if you feel the same way, you'll probably like this workout.

50-Rep Upper Body + Abs Challenge from Hungry Gator Gal

Exercise videos:

The workout may not look difficult on paper, but trust me when I say it's a doozy, especially if you're not accustomed to endurance workouts. I used lighter dumbbells for the curls and raises, and my biceps and shoulders were ON FIRE.

I had already completed 250+ push-ups, so this workout was a "finisher" that brought me to muscle failure. If you do this too, you'll combine strength and endurance into one session and get more bang for your workout buck.

However, you can also complete this workout by itself if you're new to strength training or short on time. I started strength training 3.5 years ago with these basic moves and still complete them today.

Regardless of what you choose, let me know what you think of the challenge if you try it. Also, stay tuned for more "challenge" workouts in the next week or so. I'm home for the holidays and actually have time to share my fitness creations. <--- Yay for vacation!!!

Until next time,
Brianna

Questions:

  1. Do you ever combine strength and endurance in one workout?

Related HGG Posts:


Upper Body Drop Set Circuit Workout

Upper Body Drop Set Circuit Workout from hungrygatorgal.com

Chest + Back Supersets Workout

Chest + Back Supersets Workout from Hungry Gator Gal

Quick Bicep & Tricep Blast

Quick Bicep & Tricep Blast Workout from hungrygatorgal.com

Monday, December 22, 2014

"Go Time" Playlist (Spotify Playlist)

Do you have a big test today? Presentation at work? Intense workout?

If you're like me, "go time" means taking your doubts and fears and channeling them into a ball of positive energy so you can kill it. That's what this playlist is: a motivational anthem comprised of my favorite "pump up" tracks.
 
I listened to this playlist nonstop during my first two-week exam period in law school. It was the soundtrack of my life. I blared it through the speakers in the car while driving to an exam. I drowned out my frustration by listening to the tracks while sprinting on the track. I listened while lifting some heavy stuff.

Seriously though. I felt like Michael Phelps before an Olympic event while listening to this playlist: ready to rise to the occasion. I hope it does the same for you.

"Go Time" Playlist from Hungry Gator Gal

Spotify playlist (scroll using the right-hand sidebar to see all 19 tracks):


Let me know what you think if you listen to the playlist. I LOVE hearing from readers. :)

Questions:

  1. How do you pump yourself up?
  2. What are your favorite motivational songs?

More HGG Playlists:

Fall 2014 Workout Jams

Fall 2014 Workout Jams from Hungry Gator Gal

August Workout Jams (Spotify Playlist Included)

August Workout Jams from Hungry Gator Gal (An @spotify playlist)

Pumping Iron Playlist

Pumping Iron Playlist from Hungry Gator Gal (an @spotify playlist)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

No-Bake Gingerbread Cheesecake Bites (#MadeWithChobani)

If Thanksgiving is all about pie and Christmas is all about cookies, when does cheesecake get its day?

Today, my friends . . . in a healthier, bite-sized, no-bake, holiday-flavored form.

No-Bake Gingerbread Cheesecake Bites (#MadeWithChobani)

Graphic by Brianna Kolota

The truth is that I fully intended to make a cheesecake, but lazy, post-law-school-exams me wanted no part in that baking ordeal. I bet you're too busy for that nonsense too, which is when I decided a healthier, raw snack version of cheesecake was the way to go.

I started with the main ingredient: Chobani non-fat plain yogurt . . .  <--- One of my favorites!


 . . . and added mascarpone, ground flax seed and a few other ingredients to give the bites that distinctive gingerbread flavor.

After making the cheesecake base, I rolled the balls in two different toppings: cocoa powder for my inner chocoholic . . .

No-Bake Gingerbread Cheesecake Bites (#MadeWithChobani)

 Photo by Brianna Kolota

. . . and lightly salted, crushed brown rice cakes for a sweet and salty flavor combo.

No-Bake Gingerbread Cheesecake Bites (#MadeWithChobani)

 Photo by Brianna Kolota

You can roll your bites in any crushed cereal, nuts or even protein powder if you feel so inclined. It didn't occur to me until after I made the bites, but crumbled graham crackers would probably taste AMAZING. Maybe like pie crust?

Anyhoo, no matter how you roll, make sure you share these gingerbread munchkins with the ones you love. Bring them to a holiday party. Make a batch for your kids, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. Gifts don't have to be store-bought, and I can personally vouch for the fact that people appreciate homemade gifts, especially homemade desserts, MUCH more than any item you'll find in a mall.

So without further adieu, here's the recipe.

No-Bake Gingerbread Cheesecake Bites (#MadeWithChobani)


Makes about 24 bites

 

Total preparation time: 10 minutes

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 5.3 ounces Chobani non-fat plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 4 dashes of powdered stevia (or your other favorite sugar substitute)
  • 1/8 cup cocoa powder (optional; for rolling the bites in)
  • Four crushed, lightly salted brown rice cakes (optional; for rolling the bites in)

Steps:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, except for the cocoa powder and crushed brown rice cakes.
  2. Once the mixture is even, roll into small balls and roll the balls in whatever mixture you choose.

If you like these bites, be sure to check out more Chobani recipes too. It's seriously incredible how many things you can make with Greek yogurt, and I'm always a fan of adding a protein punch to my recipes. 

Disclaimer: The thoughts and opinions in the post are entirely my own and do not reflect the views of Chobani. Chobani did not compensate me or provide products for me to use in making this recipe.


Questions:

  1. Are you a fan of cheesecake?
  2. Do you cook or bake with Chobani yogurts?

Related HGG Posts:


Berry Cheesecake Smoothie


Berry Cheesecake Smoothie from Hungry Gator Gal

Overnight Strawberries and Cream French Toast




Dreaming of Holiday Sweets

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