Wednesday, February 27, 2013

One More Sleeps...

It's almost here!! 2013 Arnold Sports Festival!! Our flight leaves tomorrow evening!!!! Wooooohoooo!!!! Yes - I am doing a happy dance. Yes - my children are mortified.

It's been a crazy week already.  Funny things, irritating things, exciting things... a few highlights - I don't get much hate-mail or hate-messages. I guess I'm just sliding under the radar ;-) but on Sunday I was called a douche. LOL. Not because of my clean eating or my fitness or even my amazing snarkasm. It was because I complained about the Machido vs Henderson fight on UFC 157. Yeah. Lol. Sorry, but it just wasn't entertaining. If I want to watch dancing, I'll tune into Dancing With the Stars. ;-) Now, the girls - Rousey vs Carmouche - AMAZING! Those girls brought it! Can't wait to see more!  Anyway - I ramble. So yes, I was called a douche for expressing my preference in UFC entertainment.

Then Tuesday I went to the bookstore (new JD Robb In Death book!!!) and as I was walking out, an older gentleman opened the door for me, I thanked him, and he said, "Age before Beauty."  I was busting a gut laughing. It took a moment, then he realized what he'd said and quickly tried backtracking. I just kept laughing.

Back home, I headed downstairs (FOOD) with Shiloh behind me when she said, "Mom, you smell like a prostitute." ???? "NO!! I meant that as a compliment! You smell good, like a high end hooker, like the kind who meet with presidents..." Better shut up now, kid, you're digging your hole deeper. Hahaha. I think what she was trying to say was my perfume smelled sexy. That's what I'm going with. LOL.

Which brings us to Wednesday - I did chest/triceps plus my stair-monster this morning. I've got a million things to do today, plus packing, then tomorrow I have my gym-time and a much needed Dr appt. Probably gonna get poked again (cortisone) but I timed it so the required time off lifting will coincide with my trip. ;-) I should be able to hit the weights again by the end of next week.

My food is all the same as usual with the exception of swapping out some chicken for white fish. And eating a lot more asparagus. And if you've ever eaten a lot of asparagus, you know about the side effects, lol.

Can you tell my brain is a little - scattered? Hahaha. I've got a running to-do list in my head, plus I'm excited, plus a million other things... oh dear! LOL! And since I just got back from the gym, I slightly resemble a googly-eyed troll doll. Haha! Shower-time!!!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week - Chocolate Covered Strawberry Shake

One of the easiest post workout meals to whip up is a shake. Getting the balance between protein and carbs in that post-workout meal is where the challenge often comes in. Challenge accepted - and won. ;-) This recipe might just become your favorite snack! ;-)

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Shake

1 cup coconut water (amazing for recovery!)
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
½ scoop chocolate protein powder (I use Champion Nutrition Pure Whey Chocolate)
1 cup plain greek yogurt (I use 0% Chobani)
1 Tablespoon coconut butter (not oil)
1 Tablespoon honey
1 cup frozen strawberries, unsweetened

Blend coconut water, cocoa powder and protein powder. Add remaining ingredients
and blend until combined. Serve.

Nutrition: per serving – 237 calories, 19 grams protein, 29 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fat, 5 grams fiber

© Chelle Stafford - Recipe For Fitness, LLC 2012

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Friday, February 22, 2013

I will NOT coast downhill...

Coasting Downhill.
photo courtesy of
I'm down to the last week of prep for The Arnold. Now, granted, I had to pull back from my crazy-ass  extreme prep because my body said, "Oh, HELL NO!", but I'm still bustin' it - lifting plus 20 min cardio in the a.m., then 40 min cardio in the p.m., clean and lean diet with carefully chosen and timed carbs... it's tough stuff and not for the faint of heart (though - to be honest ;-) hehe, I am drinking my coffee black, but still enjoying my red wine - all things in balance, folks).

All this while doing everything I can to preserve the muscle I've worked so hard for (thank you BCAA's, protein, and EFA's). My joints thank me for the change in program (and I thank Tabitha, the Worlds's Greatest Trainer and my BFF for knocking some sense into me and reminding me that I am NOT doing a show right now, lol), my brain thanks me for the carbs (lol) - oh, and so does my family ;-)

Anyway... this is the last week. Anytime I've done special event prep, whether it be photo shoots, special occasion, competition, whatever - the last week is the hardest. This is when my brain says (in a Wayne's World voice), "dude-ette, chill out - you've worked hard, you can coast now." Um, NO. No, I cannot coast. I must finish what I've started. I have a week to go. And I will finish. My journey toward this goal is not complete. And I will finish.

Let me repeat. I WILL FINISH.

But it kinda sucks, I'm not ashamed to say. ;-) Don't get me wrong. I'm fit. I'm healthy. I'm happy. I have a great self-image and I'm confident and comfortable in my own skin. So why am I working so hard??? I suppose you could liken special event prep to makeup. It doesn't rearrange your face, but it can be used to enhance and highlight strengths (while minimizing weaknesses, lol - thank you makeup gods for industrial strength concealer).

So... all these weeks of prep - they're just makeup. And aren't there days we all (ladies, I'm talkin' to you) want to ditch the makeup bag? That's where I'm at. I even had to fight myself today to put on actual makeup to go to the store because it seemed like too much damn effort. Yep, this is trouble-week. Nothing seems worth the effort. I just want to coast. Chill. Rest on my proverbial laurels.

Not gonna happen.

I'm so looking forward to attending the Arnold this year - especially because my hubby is joining me. I'm beyond thrilled to represent again as an Eat Clean Diet Ambassador at the booth (please come say hi when  you visit with Tosca!!!), as well as finally meet face-to-face my amazing sponsor Mike at Champion Nutrition USA! It's an exciting year for me in many ways. And still - I struggle.

For all of you who've asked me, what do you do when motivation lags .. here it is, folks. It's lagging. And what I do? Same thing I've done before (and told you to do, lol) - I put one foot in front of the other. I do what I need to do and try not to think about it. Cardio is on autopilot - I'm just burning calories, nothing more - I watch movies during my long sessions - no kidding. I've burned through Hunger Games, Transformers 3, The Mummy, and just started The Mummy Returns tonight. Don't think, Just Do. That's key for me. If I think about it, I might be able to talk myself out of it. Not an option. So I just do what's next. I embrace my inner Sweat-Slut ;-) and shower. A lot. Thank goodness for coconut oil and my amazing sugar-scrub!

And because I have to laugh or I go nuts, I must give a huge shout out to Pam on FB who posted this on my wall today... Pam - you had me rolling! The hubby thought I'd lost my mind. I so very much needed this, and thank you (THANK YOU) for thinking of me when  you saw it.

Nope. Not done yet! ;-)

Tonight, I am in a peaceful state of mind. My work is done (for the day), everything is on track, and the hubby is home and chilling beside me. Best part? He promised we could watch the UFC fight tomorrow night (Rousey vs Carmouche) - I am so excited!!! I will gladly suffer through his Gold Rush marathon tonight, so I can see my fight tomorrow! YAY!!!  Who else is tuning in? Who you cheering for??

Then, just to cap off my laugh needs... a little girl (I mean LITTLE - like 5 years old) came to the door tonight selling girl scout cookies. I sent the hubby to answer and after he bought 2 boxes (the Samoas are MINE, I just can't have them yet), she said in her sweet childish voice, "I have a question for you, Mister." "Yes?" he said. "Are you Santa Clause?" "Not today" he replied, "Why, do I look like him?"  "No, but you sure sound like him!"


Happy Friday, my friends! Thank you for joining me on my journey.

And just in case YOU need a few free giggles, check these posts out...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sweat Sluts...

Ya'll have heard me use that term before ;-) I coined it and I am unabashedly, a sweat-slut. I go through workout clothes like crazy, shower more than anyone I know, and burn out a LOT of ear-buds (for some reason, the technology isn't made to mix with sweat, go figure). And just in case anyone is wondering - I also use a LOT of antibacterial wipes at the gym - wiping down my equipment after I'm done. I am NOT that person who leaves a trail of sweat behind them. Not cool.

Anyway... on this lovely, quiet Friday-eve ;-) I got to playing around and decided to make a visual to go with the nickname. Just looking at this makes me ready to go another round. I've got goals to reach, and the more I sweat, the closer I get.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week - Training Friendly Marinades!

Here we are just days away from The Arnold Sports Festival, along with tons of Spring shows... if you're training and dieting down, chances are your diet is getting tighter - and tighter. The list of allowed foods is shrinking. Your meals are shrinking. And flavor is becoming something of the past. NOT necessarily!! While I can't expand your plate ;-)  I can definitely help you out with the flavor issue.

Rosemary Garlic Chicken 
1 chicken breast
1 Tbsp rosemary (dried or fresh)
1/2 tsp Mrs Dash Garlic & Herb
2 cloves garlic, minced
Olive Oil Spray

In a ziploc bag, mix herbs and garlic. Spray chicken with oil, then add to bag. Shake to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line baking sheet with foil and spray with oil.
Bake at 400 until cooked through (juices will run clear, center will not be pink).

Sweet Orange White Fish
Filet of white fish (tilapia, swai, etc)
1 orange
1/2 tsp Mrs Dash Garlic & Herb or Onion & Herb
Olive Oil Spray

Cut orange in half. Squeeze the juice of one half into a ziploc bag. Add Mrs. Dash and fish, shaking to coat. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line baking sheet with foil and spray with oil.
Slice remaining orange half.
Place fish on baking sheet and top with orange slices.
Bake at 350  until it cooked through.

Pepper Soy Beef

Lean Steak portion, raw
4 Tbsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1/2 tsp Mrs Dash Steak Grilling Blend

In a ziploc bag, mix Bragg's Aminos and Mrs Dash until well combined. Add steak and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat grill.
Cook until desired doneness.

Monday, February 18, 2013


My weekend FLEW by, how about yours? I've stayed on track - getting my food and workouts in. I've had to modify, reduce some weights, but it's happening... and that's what matters.

This morning I did a modified leg workout (stupid knee, lol) and stairs. Kicked my butt. Tonight I'll be going back for another cardio session. The Arnold is right around the corner! Speaking of... I did a test tan this weekend. I don't need anything oompa-loompa'ish, since I'm not competing, lol, but I do need some color so I don't scare off anyone.

I wore tank tops to the gym last week and felt that I needed to warn my fellow gym-goers to bring their sunglasses. Anyway... I tried out a new product from a local gal - it's a spray tan, but all organic. I was impressed! It dried super fast, looked natural, and didn't stink. Um.. YAY! After I showered it off this morning, I was thrilled with the color! Wow! And it survived my a.m. workout, hahaha.

If you're local here, and you're looking for a tanning solution - I encourage you to contact Mandy and set up an appointment. She was truly fabulous and I'm really happy with the product!

Ok... I've got a boatload to do, so I'm signing off for now. Already my day is flying by! YIKES!
Must be Monday!

Oh... and in case you're wondering... I am LOVING my TENS unit!! :-)  Woot!!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine Humbug Gets OWNED

Ok, so some of you might not know this about me, but I am a Valentines Day Humbug. I mean, seriously... it's NOT a holiday! What is it? An excuse to indulge, spend, and make your loved ones feel guilty. Really? Bill and I don't celebrate it... we never have. Each year do you know what I get for Valentines Day? An Oil Change for my car. Yep. That's what I want. If he's gonna spend good money on some random day of the year, then I want something useful.

Now... I'm not a total scrooge. I always pick up a card (only funny ones) for my man, and a few candy treats for everyone in the family - it's fun, it's unusual (for me to buy them junk), and everyone gets a kick out of it. But, when it all boils down... I am a V-Day Humbug. Until this year.

This year I got owned.

Backstory... about 6 weeks ago, I was doing the financial check-up. Going through CreditKarma, the bank account, credit cards... and I saw a charge I didn't recognize - in Las Vegas. ??? So I research, and still don't know what this is, but it looks fishy. I call the hubby. "Hey, do you know what this charge is to ___ for $___?"  "Yeah, don't worry about it," he said. "Um, excuse me? What IS it?" I replied.  "DON'T worry about it."  Oooookay. WTH??

Back to present day... Last night... we're chatting about our day and bowling night (Wed. is bowling league). I have somehow managed to mangle my right elbow (because I needed another injury??), so we're tossing ideas around about how to ease the pain without quitting bowling (I throw a nearly 15 lb ball - it's no small thing). Suddenly, he says, "I'll be right back". Was it something I said? He returns with a gift bag. And this is the moment my V-day Humbug took over my vocal chords, "Are you kidding me?? You got me a GIFT??" (insert "what is wrong with you" tone of voice).

"Just open it," he says (with maybe a little exasperation in his tone).

So I do (which was no small feat, as that box was both unlabeled and Chelle-proofed). Finally I get it open. Humbug is back. Is this a joke? You fell for this crap??? Seeing my poorly hidden skepticism (no poker face for me!), he begins explaining, finally ending with, "Just try it. If you don't want it, I'll use it."  Ha! This is MY gift, even if it is a gimmicky piece of @#$.  Back off, buddy! (I know, there's no logic in my irrational humbuggedness.)

So I open it up, set it up, turn it on, and...   OMG. Yeah, he's not getting this one back. And for someone who detests Valentines Day as much as I do, it means something when I say my dude scored a righteous gift! What was it?? Check this out...

What IS that??  It's a TENS unit. It's the size of an iPod, has two outputs (two can use it at the same time), and lemme tell ya, this is NO gimmick! Bugger packs a punch!

Remember this? I've come a long way, baby!
October 2010
If you are unfamiliar with TENS, it stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. It's used in Physical Therapy, which is where I was introduced to it when my knees blew. Through the little electrodes, which adhere to your skin, the device delivers an electric pulse. Turned up too high and you can scream in pain and watch your body jump like a kangaroo, too low and you'll never even feel it. Just right (thank you, Goldilocks) and the stimulation can ease pain. I had huge success with it, and have even looked into buying a home version of the device.

As I've been training these last months, and my injury/disease embattled body struggles, the hubby paid attention. When he attended a trade show, and a vendor said, "Hey! Wanna get a great massage?" my hubby said no-thank-you to the salesperson and walked away (lol - good man). A second salesman stopped him and said, "Hey,  you got any sports injuries?" "Well.... yes, yes I do." "I can help you with that." Magic words... now he had my hubby's attention. He hooked Bill up, put the device in his hand, and 20 minutes later, Bill had more fluid mobility in his shoulder than he's had in  years. Not kidding. Bill is super skeptical, but this little device proved itself to him. And being the loving, amazing, incredible husband that he is, he immediately thought of me and all my injuries, and how much I'd appreciated the TENS treatments when I was in physical therapy... and he bought it for me.

Ok - he bought it for me, hoping I'd let him use it ;-)  Which I will if he can stand the intensity ;-) because there are two sets of electrodes so you can use this on two people at once! How cool is this??? How awesome is my husband???

I am so excited with this gift! I used it last night on my shoulder for 20 minutes and did get some easing of the pain and more mobility (and the pain only woke me twice during the night!! HUGE victory!). And today after my leg workout I will be testing it out on my hamstring. So. Freaking. Excited. OMG! Thank you, hubby!!!!! :-D Thank you, thank you thank you!! But I am still morally opposed to Valentines Day, so...

Thank you, Easter Bunny. Bawk, Bawk!! ;-)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week - a TRUE Protein Jello!

This recipe takes "Jello-Shots" to a whole new level ;-)  I recently received @ChampionNutitionUSA  Protein Shots in my "christmas" package (it's like Christmas every month when I open up my box!), and I couldn't wait to play! First off, let me tell you that these taste great, warm or cold (I carry one in my purse, lol). Second, the tube itself will start many conversations. ;-) Anyway! I knew my first recipe with these would be Jello. I love the wiggly, giggly goodness that is jello. You might remember my Glutamine Jello (May 2011), or my Glutamine-Green Tea Jello (April 2012) and both are both competition friendly!). Well, today, my friends, I give you a real Protein Jello!

Protein Jello 
2 chilled protein shots
1 cup boiling water
2 packets unflavored gelatin

Set water to boil.
In a small bowl, pour shots, then sprinkle gelatin packets over the top. Let sit 1 minute.
Add boiling water and stir 5 minutes or until completely dissolved.
Divide between 2 small bowls, cover and refrigerate until set.

NUTRITION: per serving - 213 calories, 51 g protein, 4 g carbs, 0 g fat, 0 g sugar, 144 mg sodium.

TIP:  Top with fresh berries and fat-free, sugar free cool whip! YUM!!!

You can find this product on Champion Nutrition's website at:
(I know the link shows price for a case, but contact them and ask for the 12-packs). Available in Berry Punch and Wild Watermelon.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hitting the Reset Button...

Where to begin? My last blog talked about my gym failure - well, joint failure, anyway. Friday hit me just as hard. I did workout, but WOW it was sad. I had to drop my leg weights by 50% and STILL failed at 5 reps. Seriously. Sad. I felt so defeated - and decrepit. Lol. Back home, I started going through my logs, and researching, and connecting dots. As I started to form a picture, I tagged The World's Greatest Trainer (aka my bff Tabitha). I shared what was happening, how I was feeling, and what my concerns were. She asked questions... I answered.

Are your calories X?  Umm, yes.
Are you burning X calories in the gym just in the a.m.? Not counting your evening cardio?  Umm. Yeah.
Are you doing this, and that?   What, you have a hidden camera on me?? Yes.
You do realize this is your body's way of saying F-YOU?  Huh. Um. Ohhhhh! Duh! 

You need to reset, she said. So... I'm hitting the reset button.  After taking the weekend (the whole loooong weekend) as a total rest, and carb refuel, I am starting fresh, with a clear head.

What happened? What went wrong?
Lemme tell ya...

I, who don't have a single Extreme bone in my body (yes, that was a joke), went overboard - way, way overboard. I focused on one thing, to the exclusion of many others. Yes, I listened to my body, doing everything I could to avoid injury and keep pressing  on, but I missed the fact that my methods and intensity were actually counter-productive. I'll skip the science lesson, and just say that I depleted my body of everything that protects my joints and muscles. My arthritis flared, my bursitis blew up, and my tendinitis said, Hey, remember me? My AC joint is on fire. My knees are shot. Go big or go home, right?  This is why I need constant supervision, haha!

So... I have revamped my food, my lifting, and my cardio. I am focused on replenishing my body's natural resources and reducing inflammation. I no longer care if I can see my abs for the Arnold - as Tabitha put it, it's more important to be able to walk. Lol.

This crisis aside (and having been talked off the ledge - thank you, Tabitha), I actually relaxed this weekend. Friday the hubby and I saw Identity Thief - hysterical! Saturday we chilled - ahhhhh! Sunday, Tabitha and I hit the mall and scored many amazing finds! It was fun, I didn't burn a single extraneous calorie, and I ate like a normal person - well, I ate like me on track which meant gluten free, dairy free, but NOT carb free ;-)

This morning I felt better - hit the gym for leg day. Didn't see big improvement from my last debacle, lol, but my joints are pretty bad and our weather took a dive - rain and cold (never good for arthritis). I did a moderate cardio session, headed home and ate, and will do another moderate cardio session later, depending on how my knees feel when the time comes.

Today is a full day for me, lots of work (work and more work!), plus errands, and Shiloh comes home this afternoon (yay!).  My mind is calm, and I'm ready for what comes next. :-)  Thank goodness for the reset button!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

One of Those Days...

There are days when simply getting out of bed is a victory. Unfortunately, today was one. I've been going hard - training, eating, analyzing, repeat. Lol. It's been intense. And it all caught up to me. My knees and shoulder called it quits on me this morning. You know that scene in Jurassic Park (the 2nd or 3rd film) where the bus has gone half over the cliff, and she's laying on the glass and it's cracking... ? That was my knees this morning and my shoulder wasn't far behind. I was fully inflamed :-(  Three weeks until we leave for the Arnold, and this was NOT on my plan.

Ya know, though I try not to dwell on it, I've been honest here on my blog about my situation. I live with pain every day - I know I'm broken, lol, but I detest being forcefully reminded of it. And I REALLY detest being forced to stop. But... I did it anyway. I didn't work out. I did work, I ate clean, and I got to go shopping with Shiloh today and she found her wedding shoes! (yay for good things!!!). Plus, today was carb day - I got oatmeal with my breakfast (oh how I've missed you!), a banana with my shake, quinoa with my dinner... my whole body (and family) said, "Ahhhhhh."  I feel better, enough that I was able to go do cardio tonight - 60 min on the treadmill, with just enough hill and speed to keep my heart rate at about 130 bpm. That's my target hr for steady-state.

It's days like this that both shake me and settle me. Shake me in that every doubt, every fear I have rise to the surface. And settle me in that I know - I KNOW - despite the doubts and fears that I will get through this, too. I know there's an end coming to my ability to train hard  - it's simply a fact. There will come a time when my aggressive disease will end my "Are You CRAZY??" lifestyle - that's ok. It is what it is. But today is not that day. Neither is tomorrow. Until that day comes, I will continue to fight, train, modify, learn, grow, and push. When that day comes, I'll learn how to do all that in other ways and in other directions.

Again... This is NOT that day.

I will not go gently into that good night.
Though... with a cup of tea and a house to myself, it is pretty darn quiet around here tonight ;-)

Here's to tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week - Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I'm a sucker for lettuce wraps. In particular, Pei Wei's Cool Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Serious yummage there, but every time I eat them, my fingers and feet swell up like crazy. Well, as I'm heading toward my trip to the Arnold Sports Festival, my diet is pretty tight - no room for PeiWei's sodium-fest.  So what's a kitchen-geek to do? Make her own, of course!

These taste fantastic, very similar in flavor and texture, but way healthier! The high-protein, low-carb recipe fits in my ultra-tight diet, and yes, they're competition diet friendly! What more can you ask for?? Oh - yeah, MORE! ;-)   (Seriously, is it time to eat again? I'm ready for more!)

Chelle's Chicken Lettuce Wraps
serves 4

1 lb ground chicken breast
1 small head lettuce (iceberg works best)
8 mushrooms (I used crimini/baby bellas)
1/2 of an 8-oz can sliced water chestnuts (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup no salt peanut butter (I used fresh ground)
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Tbsp ginger paste (or 1/4 - 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
Bragg's Liquid Aminos (for serving)
Cooking Spray (I used coconut oil)


Spray skillet with cooking oil.
Over medium high heat, brown chicken breast with garlic and ginger (*see note below).
While chicken is cooking, chop (or mince in food processor) mushrooms and water chestnuts.
When chicken is nearly cooked through, add vegetables to chicken. Mix well.
Add soy sauce and peanut butter and mix well. Reduce heat to low and cover, simmering for 10-15 minutes.
Drain in colander or sieve.

To serve: Cut open head of lettuce and remove leaves to use as 'cups'. Fill leaves with meat mixture, and spray with Bragg's Liquid Aminos.

*Ginger: for best results use ginger paste (available in refrigerated herb section at grocery). If using dried/powdered ginger, reduce amount to 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon.

NUTRITION per serving:
257 calories, 32g protein, 11g carbs, 8g fat, 2g fiber, 2g sugar, 741 mg sodium.  9g net carbs.

How do mine match up to Pei Wei's version? Here is their nutritional info for the same serving size:

360 calories, 23g protein, 39g carbs, 11g fat, 4g fiber, 15g sugar, 3060 mg sodium.
The Kitchen-Geek Wins! 

Friday, February 1, 2013

The World's MOST Comfy Cardio Shoes!

I just have to tell the world! I have found the world's most comfy cardio shoes. EVER! Now, I know that shoes are pretty subjective - the right shoe for you might not work for me, and of course you have to factor in what you're wearing the shoes for - running, cross-training, etc. Because I'm doing so much time in the gym (and yes, there are days it feels like I'm doing time, lol), my gym shoes ran out of life a bit earlier than I expected. Boooo. My dogs were a'barkin! And with as much time as I have ahead of me doing cardio before the Arnold... I need happy feet. So, I bit the bullet and headed out shoe shopping.

Stop 1 - Sports Authority for Nikes. Nike has been my go-to gym shoe for years. And true to form, I found a pair that fit nicely. In my car they went.

Stop 2 - Skechers. Ya'll know I love my Skechers. I mean, LOVE. The Go-Walk's are my every day shoes. I have 3 pair. They're awesome. But I'd never tried their athletic shoes. I found a comfy pair, walked, jumped, lunged... all good. In my car they went.

Next morning - I wore the Nikes to the gym. They were awesome on the gym floor for my workout, but once I hit the stairmaster I wanted to cry. OUCH. It was like the toe area shrank! So in the afternoon, I went back for round 2 wearing my Skechers. As I walked into the gym, they felt great - then I got on the elliptical. Again, it was as if the toe area just shrank up. Weird - and painful. Truly one of the longest cardio sessions of my life!

Next day - returned the Skechers, and went in search of another pair for cardio. I ended up walking into my local Sport Chalet and was a bit overwhelmed by all the various shoes. UGH. Can't someone just put a sign up that says, "Hey, Chelle! These ones!"

Then I saw it.

The sign.

Ok, it didn't have my name on it, but it was a display table with only one pair of shoes and the sign said...."CARDIO COMFORT"    For real? I thought. Let's give it a whirl... the very nice gentlemen pulled my size and I put them on.

And the angels sang.

I am not kidding. Ok, maybe exaggerating a wee bit. But seriously. The toe area was nice and wide, the shoe itself was super cushiony, but I felt really supported and secure. I stepped up and down on the bench, I lunged, jumped, did all my usual trying-on-shoes-gimmicks. Nice. Home with me they went (yes, I did just channel Yoda).   But the real test was waiting....

A.M. workout and cardio - 5 minute elliptical warmup, 45 minute shoulder workout, 40 minutes stairmaster.  Result: Can you feel true love for a pair of shoes? I think it's possible.
P.M. cardio - Result: Oh yes. It's definitely possible. These are truly the world's most comfortable cardio shoe ever. EVER!!!

And so... because I'm sure I'm not the only one who's feet are whining little babies... I must share ;-)   Here they are - The New Balance 877 WAKE UP, Cardio Comfort Shoe:,default,pd.html