These Legs Were Made For Walking

My  poor legs are so tired at the end of the work day that the last thing they want to do is run. At least, that’s what I’m going with.

For my Tuesday night workout, I hopped on the treadmill (ugh) and did a 5-4-3-2-1 run/walk. Walk for 5 minutes, run for 5 and so forth. My body wasn’t happy but it made it through. I ended my cardio with a quick Tabata HIIT Training, four minutes, 20 second sprint and ten second rest.

My body did enjoy the Yoga sequence I worked through after. At least I’m still flexible!

Food was a success, starting with this omelet, toast, and fruit.

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A little bowl of oats with a spoonful of peanut butter, jelly, and blueberries made my first snack of the day.

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Lunch was another bowl of quinoa, chickpeas, red pepper, zucchini, and carrots with soyaki. I also had a cheesestick and a handful of wheat thins to accompany it.

My second snack of the day fueled me through my workout. A salad with lettuce, cucumber, carrot, a dash of shredded cheese, deli turkey, and a handful of almonds on the side.

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For dinner, I baked some chicken tenders and zucchini sticks and matched them with spinach rice and broccoli. Before the white sauce:

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After the white sauce:

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The “white sauce” looks more brown because I used whole wheat flour instead of white.

In other news, my first LA radio station is one that plays Christmas music non-stop. I make my mother proud.

 

Living Well

When I’m feeling overwhelmed and a little lost, I tend to eat too much. Not eating comes when I’m super stressed, which I’m happy to not be enduring, but the other side of it isn’t healthy either.

It’s easy to use the excuse that we’re in the holiday season and bad eating choices are all around us. I’ve been eating mindlessly, which leads to danger. When I first arrived in LA, I was on point with eating and exercising and had lost a few pounds, something I could tell from my loose fitting clothes. These past few weeks have proved difficult and my waistline is feeling it. I know it hasn’t been anything too crazy, but a constant pushing it off ’til tomorrow only lends itself to poor and unhealthy habits.

Exercise is my strong suit. As a personal trainer, I love formatting and executing a new workout that I know will crush me and push my body to new heights. That sounds terrifying to put it like that, actually, but I mean it in the best way possible. I love sweating during and after a solid workout. To me, there are few greater daily accomplishments.

I did take most of the week off with Thanksgiving and all that traveling, but I got back into it on Sunday with a killer workout. I worked through three sets of twelve reps. First circuit was tricep dips, jumping lunges, and front raises. Second included burpees (death), push-ups (more death), and high knees (not so deathly). My third circuit took me through resistance band bicep curls, a plie squat to step ups, and supermans. I finished with a core circuit of pike rolls, side plank twist dips, and cable ab presses. For cardio, I did 18 minutes on the spin bike and left the gym a bundle of sweat. Since it was nice out, but windy and cold, I ran a mile outside. It’s been awhile since I’ve run outside and run a straight up mile for that matter- I’ve been working on intervals more to stave off treadmill boredom- and I felt more tired than usual, but still strong.

Strength is an emotional and physical attribute that constantly needs to be developed and honed. It’s ever-changing depending on circumstances. Find it, use it, and whether you succeed or fail, learn from it. Thankfully, I have a constant reminder of how far I’ve come and how far I have to go.

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Most of the time, I don’t think twice about my post-work workouts because it’s just part of my routine. It feels good to end the day that way, although my running suffers a bit. My Monday night workout was another total body knockout. All circuits again, I started with some barbell work. In sequence, I performed a row, clean, front squat, to shoulder presses. The second circuit incorporated dumbbell chest presses, skull crushers, and alternating hammer curls. Next up, I went through kettle bell swings, split squats, and kickback deadlifts. Each circuit was 5 sets of 5 reps with heavy weight. To top things off, my core circuit included v ups, rollouts, and medicine ball twists at 3 sets of 20 reps. Cardio was HIIT cycling with another mile on the treadmill.

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I’m amping up my routine and reeling in my eating habits. It will help that I am blogging regularly again because I have to share what I’m eating with you.

Monday’s breakfast was a warm homemade waffle and fruit.

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For a snack, I spread a scoop of peanut butter over a slice of whole wheat toast.

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Lunch will be the same throughout the week: quinoa, chickpeas, zucchini, red pepper, carrots, and soyaki.

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My pre workout snack was a cheesestick and a handful of wheat thins.

Soyaki drizzled salmon, spinach rice, broccoli, and more soyaki was on the menu for dinner. I’m getting decent at cooking salmon, but I think the soyaki helps a ton.

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Mindfulness can be hard, while reaching for a bite of this and handful of that is easy and instantly satisfying. Longterm, leading a healthy lifestyle and feeling good and strong in your body and mind is more important and satisfying. Eating will always be somewhat of a challenge for me, be it ingrained habits or unlucky genes, but I refuse to see such a natural component of life as a negative. Yes, I will enjoy the holidays and every day life, just as much as I will eat mindfully and healthfully, but as the saying goes, “it’s all in moderation.” Moderation takes practice, as do all the good things in life.

Live well!

Shake It Off

After a few weeks’ hiatus, I’m back! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Mine was busy as I hopped on a plane Tuesday night 9pm LA time, flew into New York City for a two hour delay, then made the final leg of my trip to Boston, arriving around 9am Boston time. I flew back to LA on Friday morning, so it was a whirlwind, but wonderful trip home. Though it was more of a teaser for Christmas break, I’m so happy to have been able to spend time with my family, eat delicious food, and relax.

I believe this picture was taken as my mom told me my head was too big.

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I have enjoyed my time in LA thus far, but I’ve felt out of sorts and overwhelmed these past few weeks, as I believe I’ve mentioned, but I decided I’m shaking myself out of it. Part of that is getting back into my writing routine. Life is busy and it’s hard to get into a routine after a long day of work, but writing is important to me and it’s why I moved out here, so I have to do it! Doing it!

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Upon my arrival back to LA, my Lyft driver gave me a gallon of some strange water she was promoting. Apparently, I am supposed to drink it within three days or the live cultures will die. I’m not drinking water that has living beings in it thank you very much. What a welcome back though!

Friday found me in a vegetative state. Had I known it would be the only warm, sunny day of the weekend, I may have felt more motivated to get up, but it started on a long plane journey and I was tired. Plus, my new bike- because yes, one of the blah things that have happened to me in the past few weeks is that my bike was stolen…out of my gated apartment building…where it was locked up- had loose handlebars and I didn’t have the tool to fix it yet, so really, I didn’t want to fall over them.

Regardless of any activity I should have done, Gilmore Girls dropped on Netflix and nothing else mattered. I watched two of the four-part series, napped, cooked dinner, then watched the other two. I loved it, smiled the entire time, and teared up a few times. As the creator/writer said that she ended it the way she always wanted to end it, I fear those last four words, however cryptic and cliff hanger-y, are it for the show, for real this time. I wouldn’t be opposed to more though, please and thank you!

On Saturday, I was on the metro to meet my friend for a hike in Malibu when the skies opened. Apparently, the only things to do in Malibu are go to the beach and hike, so we drove around for a bit before heading over to Santa Monica.

PSA: Don’t all-you-can-eat sushi. Sushi is not something you should ever overeat. Our reasoning for going to this restaurant was to try different types of sushi, but you had to eat all of what you ordered and would have to pay full price for any leftovers. We ordered two rolls too many and I had a piece in my mouth when my body decided it was too much and I had to spit it out. I was full, but it wasn’t that overly stuffed feeling so much as this is not something you should ever have too much of. The mayo-laden sushi glistened at me menacingly and thankfully the waitress took pity on us and took it away as our little secret and we didn’t have to pay. I am now on a six month hiatus from sushi, if not more.

After we ate ourselves silly, it was time to move around. We ended up doing some window shopping in Santa Monica and took in the sights.

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I should have snapped a picture of the pier all lit up at night, but shoulda coulda woulda and I did-ah not. Ha.

On Sunday, I woke up to more rain, so I cooked an omelet with an english muffin and fruit before heading over to the gym for my first workout in a week. It felt good! Nothing inspires motivation better than a kick ass workout.

In the afternoon, I went back to Santa Monica with my friend Brad where we got some writing done before heading back, making tacos for dinner, and readying for the work week ahead.

I’m in a better place and thinking positive thoughts. Sometimes, it’s good to struggle because it gives you some perspective and forces you to work that much harder. A hug from mom will heal anything. Plus, it doesn’t suck that it’s Christmas spirit time! No better excuse to fit in some shopping.

Happy Monday!

Breathe

“The hardest thing to do in this world is to live in it.” (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) 

These past two weeks have been bordering on terrible, with a few good things sprinkled over, but thus has been 2016. It’s an actual thing, people hating on 2016. There’s been a lot of major celebrity deaths, bad political happenings, and a general consensus of unhappiness.

Seventeen days into 2016, I lost my beloved cat. A few months later, I lost my aunt and one of my best friends in the world. I also became a personal trainer and moved across the country. I made new friends, tackled challenges head on, took off on adventures, and made memories with family. I’m still living and breathing and pursuing dreams. This year, I learned the true depth of a human’s ability to adapt. I am both proud and sad considering this revelation. Do we adapt because of our strength or because, in time, we forget?

There is not happiness without sadness, joy without anger, or relief without fear. Nothing is more challenging or damaging than forgetting the specialness of life, but mundanity and exhaustion are very real.

I keep waiting to snap out of my funk, to get out of my own way, and to be given a break. And I’ve got an amazing life. Being so far away from my people does not help.  I’m learning, adapting, and delving into my own strength, and those shared by loved ones, and beginning to understand that life doesn’t care who you are or what you need. Life is one big trial and error experiment and I’m realizing my failures are just as, if not more, important than my successes. Instead of feeling bad for myself and moping, I’m persevering. Some days are harder, or easier, than others.

“But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”(Harry Potter).

Dark Days Lie Ahead; May We Be The Light

The oppressed don’t know they’re oppressed until it’s too late. Some people have a lesson to learn. For the rest of us who anticipate the challenges ahead, let us go high when they go low, accept and love the differences within all of us, and remember one important facet of this country’s anthem- one man does not define us. We have the right and the responsibility to speak, vote, and hope. It might not feel like enough right now, but dammit my people, it’s time to stand up and unite against more of the same disguised in orange. Here’s to Hillary Rodham Clinton; here’s to the women; to the gays, to the blacks, yellows, and reds; to the people fleeing hatred in their own countries (ha!) and seeking opportunity here; here’s to the disabled; the uneducated; to the poor. And hell, why not, here’s to you Donald Trump, you don’t know what lies ahead after the big words you’ve spouted and tweeted, but you won nothing more than a fight today. Big man, we’ve got a big purpose now. We are pissed. We are going to promote love and peace and equality and you will go down in history as someone who tried to stall it. And you will lose.

Her Story Is Our Story Is History

Today, we have a chance to make history. We are either about to nominate our first female president or an egomaniac with no experience, high delusions, and intense prejudices against anyone who is not a white man. Today, we define our country.

Change is imminent, no matter the victor because we have experienced politics in a manner that is unprecedented. We have demanded more, in some cases (Clinton), and less in others (Trump). We have proven that when using our voices and our votes, we can define progress. Bernie Sanders did not run and lose in vain. He has forced a largely moderate Clinton more towards the left, although I will argue, her moderate tendencies were inspired by the obstacle of being a woman in politics over the past thirty years. She did not have flexibility to be a flaming liberal in a world that already wanted to silence her.

Over those last thirty years, Clinton has made quite a few changes in her beliefs, and so has this country. As we have grown and progressed, so has she. In Bossypants, Tina Fey writes that politics is the only profession in which experience works against the candidate. In order to be a successful politician, one has to abide by his or her party, which is, thankfully ever-changing. This is by no means an endorsement of the two-party system. I am a registered Independent because I don’t believe my politics can be defined by one party, or for that matter, one perfect candidate. Perfection does not exist.

I’ve read that some Trump supporters believe he is an enigma, decimating the two-party system and telling the world exactly who he is. Yes, actually, he has. For one, I do not associate Donald Trump as a true Republican, which is a compliment to that party. Two, his honesty has proven to be his strongest attribute. Such honesty is disheartening, offensive, and dangerous to the progress we have made over the past thirty years.

A victory for Hillary Clinton will not be the birthday of true equality. It will, however, be a start. Our choice in Clinton will be a definitive statement that equality is what this country desires and we will continue to fight for it. Love him or hate him, President Obama has done incredible things for this country in regards to equality. Only Clinton, of the candidates facing off in this election, will continue his legacy. It is a legacy that Hillary Clinton has participated in throughout her career. She is not only the best candidate against Trump, she is the best candidate.

A victory for Donald Trump does not end our journey to true equality, but it will be a huge, discomforting, and disgusting barrier in which we have to climb. Call it, a costly, ugly wall that we ourselves will have agreed to pay for because we either voted for Trump or refused to vote for Clinton. His words and actions are most often sexist, racist, zenophobic, homophobic, and ableist. He does not know what he is doing but because he is a famous face, is unafraid to spout his prejudiced words (because let’s be real, what did he have to lose in doing so?), and is a white man, he has won success. Let him win no more.

Use your vote today to promote progress, seek equality, and stand up to the bullies that have been trying to shut us up. We are America. We are different. We are free. We must be with Hillary Clinton.

Exercise Shake-Up

Happy Monday! We’ve got a strange week ahead, but I’m going to talk about exercise instead. I’ve felt bored lately with my workouts and I’ve been trying to play around, finding a new fit. My new gym doesn’t offer a lot to be creative, so I’ve had to delve into my experiences and come up with something exciting. Motivation is hard sometimes!

My new favorite exercise has been taking my bike out on the bike path by my apartment. I am no mean’s fast. Plenty of people speed past me, but I’ve had to go around my share of people (toddlers, okay, shut up). It’s hard not to enjoy peddling by the ocean, under the sun and palm trees, and not feel invigorated by life.

Side note: life is good, but lonely. Moving is hard in a lot of ways, and even though I know I made the right choice, it’s hard to be away from family and friends. I’ve been trying to keep busy and focused on why I moved out here in the first place- write write write.

My ride yesterday took me into the fog. Once I reached water, I hopped off and parked to walk the rocks. Spooky and eerie, but calming!

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I’ve also done some running, but since I’ve been working out after work, I’ve had to take it out on the treadmill. Boo! Good music can get you through almost everything though, so I’ve been jamming to Hamilton and just getting through. Hiking on the other hand, has become one of my favorite things, and in LA, we aren’t lacking on possibilities.

Sunday’s hike took me and my friend Sara to an LA staple, Runyon Canyon.

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I mean, c’mon!

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Strength training-wise, I’m settled on two days a week of quick, hard-hitting total body movements and two days of specific muscle training.

Day One is total body, heavy lifting movements, six sets of five reps. Day Two is upper- biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest, and back. Day Three concentrates on lower body. For those two days, I’ve been doing four sets of ten reps with medium weight. Day Four is more total, this time focused on body weight plyometrics. Again, six sets of five reps. You haven’t sweated until you’ve done burpees into push-ups into jumping jacks. But I love it and I’m starting to feel excited about exercising again.

On strength training days, I always end with core and a bout of cardio.

Now onto food, which I’ve been kind of killing lately.

Homemade pancakes- I forgot the egg, which is why they turned out so flat I guess, but they were still tasty!

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Banana bread! I had a couple of bananas that I didn’t want to toss but couldn’t eat straight up, so I bought a few more ingredients and threw together this delicacy.

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It made a perfect accompaniment to this beautiful omelet I made on Sunday.

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I cannot believe I didn’t snap a picture of the chicken broccoli ziti soup-ish dish I made on Friday. I was seriously impressed with myself and it was super tasty. One pot meals for the win!

Shrimp fried rice, no big deal. Shrimp, an egg, veggies, brown rice, and soyaki. Cannot be beat!

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No Dark Chocolate peanut butter was used in this dish, but look at the empty jar photobombing the picture!

And okay, so on Sunday, I went to another LA staple, Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. Fried chicken. Waffles. Disgustingly delicious.

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