Throwback Thursday - Fitness Focus!

27 June 2013
Over a year ago, a couple blog friends asked me how I stayed in shape and I did a big questions answered post and included the answer to that question.  I am reposting that post below.

Sometimes you fall off the fitness wagon and this was one of those school years.   I still ate pretty healthy but I stopped going to the gym.  I sprained my ankle in September, then had a lot of tragic events happen.   I stopped taking care of myself and I got depressed and unmotivated.   I had gained about five pounds since last summer and it may not seem like a lot to many, but to me it was unacceptable, plus it showed on my small frame.  I have this fear that once I say it is ok to have an extra five pounds on me, I will then say it is ok to have an extra 10, and so on.   The more you let it go, the harder it will be to get back.   So, after everything in my personal life and at work settled down (APPR and Evidence Binders), I signed myself up for a personal trainer.  I am finally getting back on track.  I love going.  My trainer is so funny and really pushes me.  Here is his page if you are local and want to check him out.   I also think exercising really helps my mood.  

Here is a a photo of me from a few weeks ago.   The champion exercise pants really suck it all in!  I refuse to post a bikini pic!  
I think I have a Kardashian butt!

My trainer recommended this protein powder and I like it because it is not animal or dairy based.
I add the powder to my breakfast smoothie.   I just throw some frozen berries or banana in there with either some frozen kale or fresh baby kale.  Then I use Coconut Milk because I am lactose intolerant and cannot drink normal milk.  

I will keep you posted on my progress.  I am hoping to gain back a lot of the muscle I lost.   

Here is my Throwback Post!  I originally posted it January 2012.  Click the image to see Cara's Throwback post and link up!

Questions Answered!
Thank you for all of your questions in the comments from my "Happy New Year - Ask Me Anything Post."  I am going to try my best to answer as many as I can!

Question 1:
RachelleJodi, and Cara want to know "How do you keep such a "Rockin' bod?"  They even suggested that I start another blog, a personal/fitness one!  Haha, that totally made my day.  They were referring to a picture I posted of my family and me on my brother's boat.  It was on a thread in the TpT seller forums under a "Share Pics of You and Your Family."  I am posting the picture below, next to a picture of me, my freshman year of college.  At 33 years old and 5'2, I am in better shape now than when I was 18!  *Please, keep in mind that I have a very petite frame, so 97 lbs. looks healthy on me, but would be probably be too low a weight for someone taller or with a bigger frame.
So, as you can see, I was not always this fit or thin.  In college, I did not workout and ate lots of carbs.  I used to go to this Night Owl Cafe every night and have a soft pretzel!  I pulled myself together senior year of college and got into working out and stopped eating tons of crap.  I have not been over 102 pounds since then.  I don't always look like the picture on the right, my weight will go up and down depending on how much discipline I have.  I find every September I have to cut back on working out because I am overwhelmed with work. I also, don't weigh myself  often.  I prefer to go by how my clothes fit.  Remember, muscle weighs more than fat.   
Usually, I try to go to the gym 5-6 days a week.  Five is ideal and four is good, with three keeping me from losing muscle.  If you are just starting a gym, get a personal trainer for a few sessions.  He or she will help you learn about workouts you can do on your own and will make sure your form is right, so that you don't hurt yourself.  I don't have a personal trainer now, but I have had one in the past.  I like taking classes better.  Here is my workout schedule:
Monday - Rebounding for 30 minutes (Mini-Trampoline Class), 15 min. Pre-Cor Machine, & 15 min. ab class
Tuesday - Elliptical machine for 30 minutes or an hour class
Wednesday - Rebounding with breaks for strength training - 1 hour
Thursday - Boot Camp - 45 minutes
Friday - Off or Zumba - 45 minutes - 1 hour
Saturday - Boot Camp - 1 hour
Sunday - Off
Besides working out, I watch what I eat.  I am reading Skinny Bitch right now and I am freaked out by all processed food and meat.  (I plan to post more on this book on The Best Endings Blog, soon.) I love Zone bars for breakfast, but I am going to try and cut them out since they are made of all chemicals.  I also don't buy junk food.  At night I sometimes crave something sweet, but I have nothing in my house, so then I will make myself some tea.  
I hope this helps you.  I feel working out is such a stress relief for me, that I make it a priority.  

Question 2:
"What advice do you have for someone who wants to get started on Teachers Pay Teacher?"
I have been with Teachers Pay Teachers since 2008 and was even in the NY Times article.  You think that article would have made me a top seller, well it didn’t.  I only started making the big bucks this year!  I would not be making the “big bucks  if I had not been motivated by a TpT email about Deanna Jump’s success. I was floored by the email and needed to find out what she was doing that I was not.  Here's what I found:  1. She created whole units not just individual lessons or downloads.  2.  Her products looked like something I could not make using just Microsoft Word.  3.  She had a blog.  I had never heard of teacher blogs before.   Right then and there she became my teaching idol and I thank her for her model of success. 
So, I started this blog and bought my own clip art and fonts.   I added cover pages and credits to my products.   I also think having 24 freebies in my store helps to gain followers to my store.
Success does not come easy; I consider this my full-time second job.  I get tired and discouraged at times.  I get upset when I see that I still have not made any of the top five lists or that I have not had my store featured or gotten a shout out.  When that happens, I don’t let it get me down, I brush it off and tell myself there is always next week.  I think of what I could make that would sell well and I start working.   Another thing that I find motivating is that if I click on the list of sellers only in NY by earnings; I am number two and that just makes my day!  Click {here} to see that list.  Oh, and I am number one for NY in ratings!
So, after reading this, if you would like to sell, please use this referrel code: 

Question 3:
"Where do you get your clipart and fonts and what program do you use?"  
That is easy, click on the links to the left of this post.  I try to stick to those three sellers and the free site (  This makes it easier for me to create a credit page at the end of my product.  Sometimes, I use other Etsy shops, Whimsy Doodles Graphics, Kristen at Ladybug's Teacher Files freebies,and/or From the Pond on TpT.  Click {here} to read my previous posts on graphics and fonts.  Click {here} for my Pinterest page on graphics and fonts.
I have a Mac, but I still use Microsoft Word.  I had to purchase it for my Mac.  I was afraid of the learning curve involved in using Mac's Pages.  I also sometimes use PowerPoint to make documents.  I do love my Mac so much!  It is so easy to take screen shots and to work with PDF files.  As with when I had my PC, anything I cannot figure out, I Google.  So please, don't ask me for tech advice!  I am no expert.  I just learn by doing and Googling.  

Question 4:
"How did you get your blog all fancy?"  
I paid someone and it was so worth it!  Cara Carroll of Oh So Spoiled and The First Grade Parade designed my blog.  She is no longer designing blogs, but there are so many others out there who are.  Etsy has a ton.  I used the lovely Kristen of Ladybug's Teacher Files to design my Critters in the Classroom blog and I love it.  For blog tips, go to Kristen's blog and click her awesome tutorials.

Question 5:
"How do I get followers on my blog?"
1. Make your blog look fancy (see above).
2.  Give away lots of free files.  Click {here} to see my freebies.
3.  Comment on other blogs.  Click {here} to see Ladybug's tutorial on leaving a direct link.
4. Post pictures or sample images and Pin yourself!  Yes, I know it is like patting yourself ont he back, but it works!  Click {here} to follow me on Pinterest.
5.  Host a giveaway.  Have people follow you for an entry.
6.  Make a facebook fan page and comment on other facebook fan pages.  Then post links to your blog posts on your fan page.
7.  Make it easier for people to comment on your blog.  Click {here} for What the Teacher Want's tutorial.

Question 6:
"How do you do it all?"
Um, I don't!  I have someone who comes and cleans the main floor of my house every other week and I rarely cook.  I don't have any children and I am not married.  So that leaves a lot of time to work on the computer.  I do get stressed out, overwhelmed, and frazzled.  I feel pressure to keep producing new units and keep blogging.  So when I feel stressed, I try to break things down into smaller manageable tasks or take on one task at a time.  I prioritize.  For example, I wanted to make a big Halloween packet, but I was getting observed in the beginning of October and had a lot going on.  So instead of making a math, literacy, and art packet, I just made a math one (click {here} to check it out on TpT).  It was not as time consuming and I still felt like I got something out there.  
I know there were more questions, but I don't want this post to go on forever!  I will answer when I can or in another post.  Thanks for reading!


  1. I've read the original post, but wanted to say thanks again for admitting that you DON'T do it all. Sometimes in blog world it's easy to see people looking like they somehow keep EVERYTHING amazing all the time- and it's great to see someone who's not ashamed to admit that you get some help with getting it all accomplished!

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

  2. Hi Erica,

    I remember reading the original post & I'm glad to be reading it again! Thanks for being so open & honest. I really look up to you and the work that you do! You were one of the first blogs I ever followed. I remember when I first learned about the world of teacher-blogging...what an eye opener!

    Happy Summer!

    First Grade Follies

  3. I agree...exercise puts me in a better mood too! Thank you for the reminder and the motivation to get back on track. I go through phases and even though it is swim suit season, I am not as focused as I should be.

    Sidenote: I love kale... but never had it with coconut milk. I'm about to google a smoothie recipe for that now!!

    Crayons and Whimsy

  4. You look great and that protein vanilla blend looks delish. Thanks for sharing your inspirational post today!

  5. You look awesome :) Your shake looks yummy!!!! I'm so glad you like your trainer and things are going well :) Your blog is one I always look forward to reading!!!

    Literacy Without Worksheets

  6. Erica, you know I love this original post! :)
    By the way, you look amazing! I'm doing my squats right after I post this comment. Now that it's summer time, I don't have any more excuses. I must get in shape! Thanks for the motivation. :)
    Sarah's First Grade Snippets

  7. Hi Erica!
    I want to thank you for answering those questions! I absolutely love how your style stands out in all of your products. Your ideas for your products are current, colorful, and very effective in the classroom. Thanks for sharing!

    Following First Grade With Mrs. Parker

  8. Gosh, this could me my blog post. :) I too am fitter, healthier and better looking now at 32 than I ever did at 20! I went Vegan and lost 40lbs. I also weigh 90 something now and am 5'0", we should start a club. :)

  9. Erica,
    You look awesome! Injuries are the worst. I have a bum knee and it really hinders what I am capable of doing. Thanks for sharing about your struggles and successes. You're more of a superwoman for fighting back!
    Have a Happy Fourth of July,

  10. Thanks for your honesty and generous sharing of tips!

    Kinds regards,

    Liz at

  11. Thanks for share this post I also share with you something hope you like my post. Wake Up and Drink: Sleep promotes dehydration, so drink a glass of water before slurping your tea or coffee when you first wake up. Go Bananas: Bananas are perfect energy boosters, with only 99 calories and 0.1g fat. They make a great go-to snack just before a high-energy workout. Sweet Treat: Swap high-sugar and fat desserts for diet jelly with natural yoghurt. Thanks

  12. Thank you so much for your honest answers! It was so nice to hear real answers about the struggles of being a blogger/teacher sometimes! When I see your blog I think... how does she do it all? Your answers made me laugh and realize you're much more relatable than your fans may think! I think you're doing an INCREDIBLE JOB and I love love love your blog! Thanks again!

    Frugal In First

  13. Oh I so need to find your motivation. I am a good 50lbs overweight and though most people even the guy at gym said I look 20lbs lighter than I am, I definitely feel all the weight. I am so trying to find the motivation to loose it. It is not ok. I have been making myself go to the gm atleast 30 minutes a day. Then I will add more as time goes on. Im doing better to eat healthier too. I'm 5'4 and my weight is just ridiculous. I'm truly tired of it now.


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