What I’ve Been Loving at the Gym Lately


Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head
But that doesn’t mean my eyes will soon be turnin’ red
Cryin’s not for me
‘Cause I’m never gonna stop the rain by complainin’
Because I’m free
Nothin’s worryin’ me


Actually, there is something worryin’ me. Ben and I moved some furniture around on Sunday night and, since I haven’t lifted weights in ohhhh a year??, right now my body feels like it’s been hit with a sledgehammer! Damn you second-day soreness! 8O


Notes to self:

1. Commence strength training immediately. (In my defense, I did try and go to a Body Pump class at my gym last week, but the darn thing got canceled!)

2. Lift with your legs not with your back.


Because of the pain (and the rain!) I took today off from the gym to sit and moan in my sweats. Since I haven’t posted a workout here in ages though, I thought I’d tell you what I’ve been up to lately. The past two weeks I’ve been dominating the, dare I say FUN?!, 30-20-10 Workout!

30 Minute Treadmill Run (plus 1 minute on either end for warm-up/down)

Time Speed Incline
0-1 4.0 1%
1-6 6.5 1%
6-11 7.0 1%
11-16 7.5 1%
16-21 6.5 1%
21-26 7.0 1%
26-31 7.5 1%
31-32 4.0 1%
Total: 3.67 miles

20 Minutes Stair Stepper (the stepmill and I broke up again…)

Time Steps Per Minute
0-3 60
3-5 80
5-6 100
6-9 60
9-11 80
11-12 100
12-15 60
15-17 80
17-18 100
18-20 60

10 Minute Treadmill Walk (could just tack onto the end of the run, if you want)

Time Speed Incline
0-10 4.0-4.3 5-7%
Total: ~.7 miles

LOVE IT! Love it, love it, love it! The treadmill and stair stepper sections are each made up of intervals, so they fly by individually, and overall I’m moving around so much that I don’t even notice that the workout is an hour long.

I’m drenched by the time I leave too, which is how I personally like to gauge how successful a workout is. Actually I had to ax the last 6 minute chunk of the stair stepper section the other day because I was blinded by sweat…ok I was also super embarrassed that my shirt was 100% soaked…I had to get out of there!


At any rate, the rain demanded something super cozy for dinner, so I decided to go ahead and call tonight Trader Joe’s Tuesday and break out the Mac & Cheese.


Ohh yeah, baby. I went the hardcore freezer route this week!


This “reduced guilt” choice has 65% less fat and 25% fewer calories than TJ’s regular Mac & Cheese.


Which is what Ben got…LOOK AT THESE STATS!!! 8O


The mac & cheese was featured in TJ’s latest fearless flyer newsletter, and I knew I had to have it.


3.5 minutes and dinner was ready.


Love that! :D


Ok – this was NO Mom’s Classic Mac, but for frozen and reduced-guilt, it was pretty good!


The cheese was a tad chalky, and I could have used a little moresauce, but all in all the pasta was cooked really well and it had good flavor.


ps I like to jazz up my mac with chopped tomatoes. My Dad always did that when I was growing up, which I thought was gross at the time, but I can definitely appreciate the flavor combo now!


The Score:

Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Macaroni & Cheese: 6/10. Good flavor but, you know – it’s reduced guilt macaroni and cheese!

In other news – Happy Fat Tuesday! :D I was kicking myself for not making a N’awlins-inspired dinner this week, but I plum forgot what the date was until Sunday afternoon, after I had grocery shopped for the week.

As I mentioned last night, New Orleans is probably my favorite city in the entire country, and Ben and I were actually debating driving down there for Mardi Gras this year! Alas, it didn’t work out, but there’s always next year to indulge in those sweet beignets…

let Bourbon Street take you away…

and realize that you can sleep when you’re dead (and maybe put on a little bronzer?!) ;)


Ohhhh gosh. Too bad “professional traveler” doesn’t pay the bills! ;)

Have a good night!

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  1. I adore Cajun dishes and can’t wait to go to New Orleans!
    Luckily, our church had a Mardi Grai themed party with all kinds of New Orleans treats, complete with KING CAKE! :)

  2. I’ve seen that mac & cheese at TJ’s but have never tried it. Their organic shells & white cheddar kind is fabulous though!

  3. Lauren 03.08.2011

    I was wondering about the new reduced guilt mac and cheese. I’m not even the biggest fan of mac and cheese so I passed on it.

    Love the variety in your gym sessions. I wish I could be more spontaneous like that and add some more forms into my cardio. I need to get off the treadmill sometimes and branch out.

  4. Molly 03.08.2011

    ha when you said “Dinner ready in 3.5 minutes” I totally thought of the scene in Home Alone where he makes the mac and cheese right before the “bad guys” come.
    Looks awesome Ill have to try it!

    • DLaree 03.09.2011

      That is so funny! And the prayer Kevin says is hilarious!
      “Thank you for this highly nutritious, microwavable macaroni and cheese dinner and the people who sold it on sale. Amen.”

  5. Dying to get my hands on a beignet!

  6. AmyLou 03.08.2011

    Ooh that mac n cheese looks good, even if it is microwaved and reduced fat!!

    I’ve been working with weights since last October and I love it. I have a trainer, though, because I know the difference between a dumbbell and a barbell and that’s about IT! LOL! Cardio just wasn’t doing it for me anymore – I was actually gaining weight doing cardio on my own! eeppssss!!!

  7. Stefanie 03.08.2011

    I wasn’t a fan of the TJ’s Reduced Guilt Mac & Cheese, too chalky for my taste :( But I did make a NOLA inspired dinner on Sunday as it too has to be one of my favorite places ever! But my Jambalaya wasn’t the same with Target brand andouille sausage (Waterfront was out) :(

  8. Kath 03.08.2011

    Go to New Orleans for Jazz Fest instead of Mardi Gras. Much more fun, I think! Fantastic music of all types, fantastic food, and plenty of partying.

  9. OMG whyyyy is there no TJ’s close to where I live?!?

  10. That’s an intense workout! You go girl!
    And I thought for sure I’d see one of your New Orleans themed dinners tonight….I forgot to cook something festive too!

  11. Jennifer 03.08.2011

    Mr. Stairmill and I were ‘on a break’ for a few weeks. I was up to 1hr on him, if I had a good book on my Kindle to pass the time. When I decided I wanted to see him again, he started playing hard to get, and I could only manage 20-30 minutes. He was scorned, and he let me know it. He’s worth it, though. The amount of sweat I have is proof. (ew?)

  12. Lindsey 03.08.2011

    I hate “weight training” too! It’s just soooo boring! I started P90X a couple weeks ago and LOVE it! My husband and I do it together, and its a great workout! It really works and builds your muscles, although you don’t feel the “lull” of weight training. Definately keeps you busy! I definately recommend it! (I also supplement with a little treadmill time too!)

  13. Kirby 03.08.2011

    I’m a first time reader and have to say THANK YOU so much for writing about your healthy eating habits. I am a parent raising a couple of Iowa girls myself and I hope they will adopt your realistic, fun approach to eating. Your writing helps us all develop a LUV-LUV relationship with good food.

    Tonight’s menu: meat loaf, mashed potatoes and a double helping of Iowa Girl Eats!

  14. What a great idea to put diced tomatoes on top! My husband will often add broccoli, tuna, onions, or whatever is in the fridge to his mac ‘n’ cheese.

  15. LisaL 03.08.2011

    Awesome Carnival season this year in the Big Easy! Well, it is every year! Try to make it down when you can. I agree with Kath that Jazz Fest is also amazing. Bon Jovi again this year!

  16. Travel could pay the bills… if you were a travel writer. Believe me, I’ve looked into it.

  17. emily 03.08.2011

    y did you broke up with the stepmill?! we’re best frenemys!

  18. Definitely wish there was a TJ’S near my house!!! I am not a big fan of macaroni, but I wish I could get a hold of those sweets from New Orleans :)

  19. I didn’t know TJs had a reduced-fat version! I love to add mushrooms to my mac ‘n’ cheese. It somehow makes a kid’s meal feel gourmet. :)

    New Orleans looks amazing!

  20. i wish professional traveler was a viable career choice! :)

  21. I love new orleans too! How ironic that you had reduced guilt mac and cheese on Fat Tuesday haha!

  22. Jen 03.08.2011

    I haven’t tried the reduced guilt mac and cheese but the regular stuff is freakin AMAZING. It was rated #1 on Yahoo which is why I picked it up in the first place. It is soooooooooooooo good regardless of the stats!

  23. Lori 03.08.2011

    Funny, my boyfriend and I made the exact same purchase at TJ’s last week! Reduced guilt mac and cheese for me and regular for him. I definitely like the regular mac and cheese best but the reduced guilt is good for being…well reduced guilt!

  24. JennyV 03.08.2011

    I was surprised to not see a NOLA inspired menu tonight — esp. with your travels and all! I’m not much of a chef myself (although I’m an avid food-blogger stalker!) and I actually made jambalaya w/ shrimp, chicken and turkey sausage. Love those creole seasonings!

    Giving up anything for Lent?

  25. I hate how reduced-fat mac and cheese has a chalky taste sometimes. Gah…why is the noodle + gooey cheese combo so. darn. good?!

  26. Kelsey 03.08.2011

    thanks so much for the shout out Kristin! :) I really appreciate it!!

  27. Masha 03.08.2011

    I LOVE THE STAIR-STEPPER!! In as little as 5 minutes into the stairs, I am always already sweating bullets.

    I tried to make my own “guilt free” packaged food (beef stroganoff) for dinner today using 1%milk and it DEFINITELY did not work. I still felt like I should get on the treadmill for two hours to sweat all of the sodium out =(. “Every time I try and refuse processed foods……IT pulls me back in”

  28. I reached for mac’n’cheese when it was rainy here the other night, too! It was so comforting.

  29. Hope 03.09.2011

    I just wrote on my blog yesterday how I really wanted a beignet! I’ve never had one from New Orleans because I’ve never been there but I definitely want to go there! It looks like such a fun place to visit! :)

  30. Cindy 03.09.2011

    Bummer about BodyPump being cancelled because that class is where it’s at! I’ve been doing Pump for two years and recently started instructing it and it’s changed me in more ways that personal training ever did. I love it!

  31. Daisy 03.09.2011

    I want to go to NOLA so badly!

  32. Fun post! I am the exact same way when it comes to workouts – if I’m not drenched, it wasn’t worth my time!

  33. Melissa 03.09.2011

    LOVE this workout idea! Doing it tonight–but with 20 on the elliptical, since my workout room doesn’t have a stair climber! Thanks for giving me a new option–I needed something to motivate me today!

    Um, I sometimes put ketchup on mac & cheese. I know, gross, but it’s kind of like tomatoes. Kind of. Right? ;)

  34. Karie 03.09.2011

    I loved the mac and cheese too. Definitely easy and fast comfort food when you need it!

    FYI- I clicked the link to vote for Kelsey and totally didnt pay attention until after I had clicked vote but the link went to someone named Karen. Maybe because as they get more votes they move up? Not sure but just wanted to mention it so everyone could give Kelsey the votes and not “Karen”!

  35. Heather 03.09.2011

    Hello~ I love reading your blog! I live in Fort Dodge and have know found a new love for Trader Joes as well! I was wondering do you do a work out schedule or do you aim for so many days a week? Just wondering.

    Thank you! Heather

  36. Olive 03.09.2011

    I love TJ’s reduced guilt mac n cheese! I’ve never heated it up in the microwave-only in the oven. Then I mix in some chopped broccoli florets. It’s DELICIOUS and filling :D Maybe it’s the waiting for the oven timer to go off that makes it taste even better in the end haha.

  37. Mac 03.09.2011

    You should order beignet mix and make them at home, they are just like the real deal!

  38. Laura 03.10.2011

    That’s a bummer your Body Pump class got canceled…the class is AMAZING! :)

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