4 Reasons to Have a Workout Journal


Even though I’ve been lifting 5 days a week for over 5 months, I just recently made a point to get a workout notebook. I spent countless days reminding myself to get a notebook but it never happened, until 3 weeks ago. Long long ago (we’re talking high school) I used to keep track of my workouts because we had to for strength and conditioning. As organized as I am in every other aspect of my life, why I waited so long to actually start bringing a notebook to the gym is beyond me. You may be wondering why it is so important, or laughing at me because it took me so long, but I am going to explain their importance. Before I begin I want to explain what I use my workout journal for. My workout journal is strictly for recording the date, exercise, weight, sets, and reps. I like to keep it simple. There are many different types of workout journals where you write about how you feel during your workout, your mood, etc.. but that isn’t something I personally choose to do. Also, in this great technological age there are a bunch of different  apps that you can use to record your data too.  I tried using some of those in the past but found that they just weren’t for me as far as weight lifting is concerned. I do use MapMyRun and Polar Flow to track my other exercises (like rollerblading, walking, biking, and hiking) and calories burned but a real notebook is the only way that works for me to track my weight lifting. Anyway, that is stuff for a different day.

Here are reasons why you should have a workout journal:

  1. It increases workout efficiency. When you sit down on a machine, the longer you spend sitting and thinking about what weight you did last week, the more time you are  wasting. Your workout soon takes an extra 10-20 minutes because you have to think about how much weight you did last time and play a game of trial and error. If you have to do that for 5 exercises, that is a lot of wasted time! This way you also know the order of the exercises that you want to get done and have a clear-cut plan.
  2. It increases workout effectiveness. If you are spending time guessing about what weight you think you did last time, and then try it for a set, or half a set, you are decreasing the effectiveness of your workout. Let me give you an example. Say I want to do Preacher Curls today. For those of you who don’t know what those are, here is an example of them. I think last week I added 17.5 pounds to each side of the bar, so I add the same weight today. Well when I do that today I can’t get more than 2 reps. Now my arms are already tired and I have to adjust the weight without getting a solid set in. (Even if you are thinking you could consider it a warmup set, it would be better to get more than 2 reps in).  If I had written down that last week I did 3 sets of 15 pounds/5 reps, 15/6 , 15/4, then I would have known what to start with this week. Had it been recorded in my journal, I would have known that I should have started with 15 pounds again this week. In addition to knowing what weight to start with, by keeping track of what you did last time, you will have an idea of how many repetitions you should be able to do with the weight this time. If I know that my last set of lateral raises I did 20 pounds/5 reps, then today I should be able to do more than that. Your workouts will be much more effective because you can recall what you did last week and move forward from there.
  3. It shows your progress and can inspire you. As you continue to lift, you will continue to build strength and muscle mass. If you have a workout journal, you can look back and reminisce on the days where you could only overhead press 15 pounds, or leg curl 110. You have a tangible road map of your progress and can use that progress as motivation to keep working hard.
  4. It helps you set goals, realistic goals. Keeping track of the weight and reps over time will help you get a feel for your body. You will be able to identify which muscle groups are the strongest and which are the weakest, as well as which muscle groups strengthen the fastest. Each person’s body is different. Keeping track will provide you with feedback so that you can set goals that are realistic for you.

The past few weeks of using my workout journal has greatly enhanced my workouts.
I encourage you to try to keep track of your workouts!

Here is an example from my workout journal. Nothing fancy, but it gives you an idea of how easy it is to jot down the info.




Do you use a workout journal? Why or why not? I’d love to hear from you!




Building the trellis

Last spring I decided I wanted a garden. I’ve grown plants with my mom many times in years past but I decided last year was the year to go big. As soon as I moved home from college I asked my parents to help me and reluctantly they agreed. I decided what I wanted to plant and drew up plans for the shape of the garden. My parents and I fenced in the space, tilled up the area, built wooden frames for the raised beds, hauled in a bunch of dirt, and started planting. But, as soon as I was bitten by the garden bug I absolutely HAD to have a trellis. I saw so many cute ones on Pinterest and knew that I NEEDED one in my garden. My dad is great at building things (and building them to last) so he made me look around to get real plans and make a trellis that would be sturdy and long lasting. Well, one Saturday my dad and I assembled our trellis in the garage. It was huge and holding together well. We used solid boards, staples, and cattle fence. When we went to stand it up and realized that our trellis is bigger than the two car garage door. With some work we got it out into the yard and up in the garden. Here is a picture of the trellis the day that we installed it! It is about 16′ by 10′. The squares are about  5″ by 5″, which I thought would be too big for the plants but it worked perfect!! If you made it all the way through this post I hope you found some piece of useful/interesting information that you can use! I’ve attached some pictures so you can see how mine looks!

He is the trellis the day we installed it.



Here is the trellis near the middle of the season with the plants totally growing on it.


And here is the trellis in the fall at the end of the season.





The Terrible Reality of Child Abuse

189280Recently I came across the short film ReMoved. It tells the terrible story of a child abused by her parents and then abused again and again by foster parents as she is thrown into the system. The system that is supposed to help her and keep her safe. I encourage you to take that time to watch it (the link is at the bottom of this post).

So many children face this struggle daily. Abusive parents, abusive foster homes, such a tragedy each and every time. I have had my fair share of undergrad classes that talk about the outrageously large amount of child abuse in the US. But, more importantly, I have had plenty of my own first hand experiences with children who are dealt this terrible hand of cards through my different jobs, internships, and volunteer programs in the past four years. In fact, I have personally filed 3 CPS referrals as a mandated reporter (for all separate children).

The reality is that so many children are  daily victims of abuse. Every TEN seconds, a report of child abuse is being made in the US. That seems so frequent, and yet consider that most people who are not mandated reporters DO NOTHING, so the overall number of abuse victims is actually higher when you factor in the people who stay silent. In  2012 there were 3.4 million referrals involving approximately 6.3 million children (Child Maltreatment, 2012). Children may be physically, sexually, or emotionally abused. Or they may be physically or emotionally neglected. This snapshot from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) shows the prevalence rates of each type of abuse in 2012. Keep in mind many of these types do not occur on their own, so this chart of prevalence rates consider which particular type of abuse the child most often faced.

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I could throw a bunch more numbers and stats at you, but if this is something that grips your heart, I encourage you  look into it more on your own.

Take some time out of your day to watch the video (it’s literally 12 minutes, which is probably less time that you aimlessly spend on Pinterest or Youtube or other internet sites throughout the day, I know I spend wayyyyy more time on Pinterest) and think about the things you have to be thankful for, big or small. You may have been a victim, you may know people who were victims, or you may be one of the lucky ones and not know a single person who was a victim of child abuse.

So often we become so focused on our lives and all the problems and stressors we have going on that we need step back and realize that we have it pretty good. Regardless of whatever your current situation is, there are always positive things to acknowledge, it is a matter of perspective. As a college student I see it all the time, people live in their perfectly content bubble so wrapped up in themselves, occasionally watching videos and reading stories of real issues  but never lifting a finger to try to help. What do I mean by help? I mean spending some of your time just hanging out with a child (or children depending on the program) who need someone. There are so many children that are victims of abuse in shelters/programs in every city. Spend time pouring love and happiness into a child who may not have any other positive influence in their life. Be a friend, a mentor, or just a stable person who they can count on.  Imagine if every person who was actually able to help DID. Perhaps you are reading this as you say “well Cassie, I do volunteer already,” then I commend you and hope you keep it up. Many people care about problems (like child abuse) but never get involved. If this video touches your heart and you find yourself in a place where you want to do something, I encourage you to find an organization to volunteer with. There are Big Brothers, Big Sisters organizations everywhere, as well as a ton of other programs. You don’t need money to help, you just need a heart and genuine concern for others. One hour of your time a week could mean the world to someone else. You never will know how much of an impact you could have on someone who really needs it until you get off your tush and try. One final side note: perhaps child abuse isn’t the issue that pulls at your heart the most, thats fine, find something else that you can put your heart into.

Here is the link: http://www.tosavealife.com/little-girls-story-told-beautifully-haunts-think-many-kids-shoes-haunts-even/#.VPK_Hg71jmo.facebook

Watch the video, reflect, then decide if this is a cause that is worthy of your time.

Resources: https://www.childhelp.org/child-abuse-statistics/ & http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/cm2012.pdf


Calories, Diet Plans, Fat Loss, and Muscle Building

Lately I have been nearly obsessed with perfecting my workout routine. I have been on the search for reliable information about lifting and muscle building for women. I was an athlete in high school and love being in the gym. After dropping 30 pounds in the last year, I am now on a workout plan to gain muscle. I have a good understanding of weight training, but was lacking in knowledge about the nutrition component. Now, a good workout routine is a necessity, but even before that you need to understand how the body works in regard to calories in-calories out, losing fat, building muscle, utilizing protein in a diet, etc. The first plan to a successful workout regimen is proper nutrition, without the right amount of calories for your goal, your progress may be slowed down or feel nonexistent.

Well, this website http://www.acaloriecounter.com/diet/ has been a VERY useful resource for me and I think it will be for you. (I have no association with the website/author at all, I just have really benefited from this resource.) You can spend all day googling “calorie intake” or “calorie calculator” and find a zillion websites to plug in your info and have it spit out a number. Many of these sites do not take body composition into account but can provide you with a ballpark.  Every website will give you information and you have to weed through it to find the most accurate info. Knowing your caloric needs is helpful, but it is more helpful to understand the ratio of protein to carbs to fats that your body needs and the other nutritional components, which is what this website offers.

As with everything in life, this website is the opinion of one person. People will always have different views and opinions so it is important to cross check information and decide for yourself what you want to believe. I don’t believe this is the “end all be all” source of info, but it is definitely a great starting point.



Grocery Shopping List Template {Free Printable}

Hi there! Thanks for stopping by! Well, just like my meal plan, I was looking for a good grocery list template. I tried using a bunch of different ones on Pinterest but they either didn’t have enough space in the categories, or they just weren’t divided into the categories that suited my needs. I have been grocery shopping for an entire month at a time and the majority of what I buy is produce. None of the templates worked that well and I found it frustrating.  You may be in the same boat as me, or you may just be trying to use a grocery list and be a bit more organized. Regardless, feel free to download and use this printable if it works for you. Click here –>  Grocery Shopping List to get the pdf. I print it out and then keep it in the kitchen so I can add to it when I think of things I need. Enjoy (:

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Weekly Menu/Meal Plan Template {Free Printable}

Recently, I have been searching Pinterest for the “perfect” meal plan template. I have found some that I like, but none that I loved. After getting tired of searching, I decided to make my own. It is a super basic template, but I have found it to really suit my needs. Feel free to download and use if it suits your needs too! Clicking on this —> Weekly Menu should let you download it as a PDF and print it out to write on!Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 5.27.08 PM

20 Things You Need To Accept About Your Twenties



I just turned twenty last month and am now embarking upon the journey of the magical, unpredictable, and terrifying decade that awaits me in my twenties. I realize that there are going to be a lot of things that I need to accept if I am going to survive the next ten years. I am always inclined to expect perfection for myself and my life and I learned in my years as a teenager that having that expectation only hurts me. Many of you have probably done the same. Therefore I made myself this list. There are many facts of life that we all need to accept in order to find the happiness and satisfaction that we need as adults. Perfection is in the imperfection nature of growing up.

  1. You’re going to be broke for a very long time. Stock up on Ramen and make the best of it.
  2. The…

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Tom Attwater Is Dying. His Daughter Might Die, Too. The Letter He Left For Her Is Unforgettable.

This is truly inspirational.

Kindness Blog

Tom Attwater is dying of a brain tumor, but he isn’t worried about his cancer. Instead, he is trying to save his 5 year-old daughter from her own.

tom attwater Tom Attwater with daughter Kelli and wife Joely

He has vowed to raise approximately $820,200.00 for her cancer treatment, even if he wouldn’t be around to see her go through it.

Now Tom is almost half way to his fundraising target he is more adamant than ever to reach it. Tragically his deadline is short as his latest scans show his brain tumour is growing.

He says: “These days people make bucket lists, and the very top of mine – the one that matters most – is raising money to make sure Kelli gets the medical help she might need.

Tom attwater

“Some people have advised me to slow down and concentrate on enjoying the rest of my days. But how can I knowing…

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Hello!! I was reading my Bible the other day during devotional and I came across a verse at the very bottom corner of my page. It was

1 Corinthians 15:58

“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”

Wow. There is so much in that little verse that is tucked away in the bottom crack of my Bible. Can you believe I nearly missed it? I took out my journal and then begun to write about that verse. There were so many eye-opening points that I just had to share with you.

  • “Be strong and immoveable.”

That is incredible instruction. Be strong, yes, but IMMOVEABLE?

I was so hung up on that word that I decided to find the Merriam Webster definition online. This is what I discovered:

          1. Incapable of being moved
          2. Not moving; or not intended to be moved

Seems pretty simple right? Immoveable, well, not moving, duh. Reread that first definition, it uses the word “incapable.” Paul is telling us that we need to be incapable of moving when it comes to letting sin try to push us around. We need to be immovable in our faith and not let anything diminish our faith or out focus on God. We need to be immovable in situations that test our patience and belief in God’s timing and plans.

  • “Nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”

Seriously? Where do I begin on this one? This is so important to remember on a day to day basis. Sometimes, we just are in a place where we wonder “God, why am I doing this right now? I feel like I am just not where I feel like I should be. I feel like I am not being used how I feel like I should be. Why am I here?” Remember, that nothing we do for God is EVER useless. The cool thing is, when He puts us somewhere, He will use all the knowledge gained sometime in the future in a completely unthinkable way. Sometimes, even the most tedious of things will end up having the biggest role in your walk with the Father down the road. Keep Galatians 6:9 in mind also; “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

Hope this was encouraging in some way!!!


Cassie (:

Mark 7:1-23

Hello there! I hope life is treating you swell and that you are enjoying each day to the fullest. I just read Mark 7:1-23 and I have to share with you!

This passage starts by talking about the Pharisees tradition of hand-washing before eating. The Pharisees had many traditions they followed regarding food and ceremonial washing before food consumption. Then the passage talks about the Pharisees noticing that some of Jesus’ disciples did not follow this ritual (7:2). The Pharisees were quite shocked by this and asked Jesus why his disciples didn’t follow the tradition (7:5).

Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’” (7:6-7).

See, Jesus is upset. The Pharisees are so focused on their traditions and rituals that all get put before the Word of God.

He [Jesus] said; “For you (the Pharisees) ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition. You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold onto your own tradition (7:8-9).

Jesus calls out to the crowd, “It is not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart” (7:15).

What does “defile” mean? Defile: to make unclean; to corrupt the purity of; to corrupt the perfection of.

Jesus goes into a house with his disciples and they ask him what he meant by what he just shouted out.

Jesus said, “Don’t you understand either? Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you? Food doesn’t go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer” (7:18-19).

And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you” (20-23).

At this point, Jesus is talking about literal food into the body. He is saying that the food we put into our body doesn’t go to our heart, it just passes through the body for digestion. The Pharisees thought that if they did not wash their hands following the tradition, then the food would corrupt their hearts and defile them. Jesus is saying no, it is not the food that they ate without the washing that causes their heart to be impure, but rather it is the true condition if the heart that is corrupt and “defiled.”

Jesus is saying that it is senseless for us to get wrapped up in traditions and rituals that truly have nothing to do with God’s law, but yet still manage to interfere with our relationship from God. After time, we will begin to ignore God’s law and desires because we have become so accustomed to our own traditions. Just like in Isaiah’s prophesy, if we follow man-made ideas, believing that those traditions and rituals are what makes us pure, our hearts are far from God. This is important because sometimes in life, we do certain things “ritually” that we think draw us close to God and will make Him proud of us. We think that if we fail to do a certain thing, then we are “bad” or impure, when in reality, that is not the truth at all. Not sure why this passage stuck out to me, but it did. Perhaps this was some food for thought!

Love, Cassie (: