lover’s quarrel: running

Within, you will find the many faces of my post-running experience- there are two expressions, I’m either in agony or thrilled to be done. I can lift heavy, jump all around, but nothing makes me feel stronger than a solid run. This stems from my not natural ability to run. I believe some bodies are made easier to run than others. Being short and stocky is not an example of this, however, the fact that I have been able to run miles despite this, is a point of pride.

IMG_1927.JPG

I started running in February of 2012 on a treadmill in the basement gym of my college. 30 seconds of running, 4 minutes and 30 seconds of walking for 30 minutes. Every week or so, I would add 30 seconds to my running time. When I reached 10 minutes, I decided to see what would happen if I kept going, a mile wasn’t far out of reach.

IMG_8318.JPG

The first time I ran a mile, it took me 15 minutes. By the time spring came, I could run two miles straight. Being outside and off the treadmill helped me to go longer and faster. I hit 5 miles by that summer.

Running is my most tumultuous relationship as I have been on and off with it for years. Throughout spring, summer, and fall, my running is in peak form, but when winter comes around, it’s back to the treadmill (unless the ground isn’t icy or snowy) and it falls off a bit.

IMG_8363.JPG

The most miles I’ve been able to run is 10 and my legs were shot after. Usually I stick to 3-6 miles. Right now, my goal is to hit a 30 minute or under 5k. My most recent run on Sunday was 4 miles at a 10 minute and 20 second pace.

I can sometimes tell how my run will go based on the first two miles. If those feel like a breeze, I can extend my mileage to closer to the six mark. Sometimes I really have to push myself through those first two and then the third doesn’t seem as bad. Once I hit my groove, it starts to feel easier and I naturally gain speed.

IMG_4199.JPG

I’m not far off, I just need a better warm-up plan- better than just lacing up my sneakers and getting out there! Practice always makes better! And I hope that with my continued weight loss, running will become naturally easier as well. Considering I started off the summer with a pace of 12 minutes and 59 seconds with walking mixed in, I think I’m making vast improvements!

IMG_7487.JPG

Music is everything. I have a proclivity towards musicals and pop music, something that has a little pep and motivation to it. Much of the time, I will also listen to podcasts because it feels like I’m within a conversation- hello My Favorite Murder!

I love the feeling of finding my stride and cruising. I hate struggling and feeling like every step is a battle. Either way and in-between, my runs are always worth it.

IMG_9688.JPG

Running is not for everyone and I respect those who keep it from their workout plans. It’s the same reason I don’t do burpees. I HATE them. For me, running is a test of endurance and strength of which does not come easily to me and I enjoy the challenge- most of the time.

What’s your relationship like to running?

Workouts of Late

This week, I am down 1.8 pounds.

I’ve collected quite a few sweaty selfies of late thanks to my fitness Instagram- Stronger with Caitlin. Here’s a few of them, along with what I’ve been doing for my workouts lately.

Lots of running.

562A03E2-46EC-47FC-BE87-0D2F3DD8E1BB.JPG

Summer into fall is my absolute favorite time to run and I always pick up my pace and length once the weather cools down just a bit. Of course, I try to run outside in the winter, but it’s never for as long. I also detest the treadmill and cannot go for miles unless I’m somehow in a trance-like state.

541A09FC-7AE9-4282-854B-78992DD837E0.JPG

I’m excited to see how fast and far I can go now that I’m dropping a few extra pounds. I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts, ranging from True Crime to Disney World themed, during my workouts, although I’ll always return to my favorite playlists and upbeat musicals when I just want to cruise.

F5AAD161-D665-4123-BD43-0BD4818F916E.JPG

I’ve also been a sweaty mess during my strength training workouts, which I do three times a week. I try to add 15-20 minutes of faster cardio to the end or throughout. My cardio of choice on these days has been jump roping. It’s such a great workout that you don’t have to suffer through for an extended amount of time. I like to do a set of jumps 50-100 after each set of exercises to get the heart rate UP.

DC10B54D-A450-4005-B10D-D928F3D6E903.JPG

In conclusion, I aim for six days a week of challenging workouts. 3 running days and 3 strength training days. Thus far, I’ve been enjoying the results.

Stay-tuned for the fall when I’ll be mixing things up!

Now Serving…

I was busy towards the end of last week and didn’t have time to update with a collection of food pictures, so here we are!

Breakfasts

Whole wheat waffles with a red, white, and blue fruit medley. I tried these with sugar free syrup because it’s 1 point versus 11. Not too shabby.

Two eggs scrambled with a slice of muenster cheese and a cinnamon raisin bagel thin with a smear of cream cheese. Big bowl of pineapple and watermelon on the side.

ABA724F6-E0D5-4BAB-BDEB-C0CEE394C3B4.JPG

Oatmeal cooked in water with mashed banana, cinnamon, vanilla, powdered peanut butter, and berries.

C955BE79-29C7-4E72-887E-0D198DC39E67.JPG

Simple english muffin topped with peanut butter and banana before a run.

F3EDC705-58E9-4384-91E2-B1CEC886C8A8.JPG

Lunches

I do love tacos. These ones are stuffed with a combination of leftover chicken and steak with veggies.

FFF369A6-DFC0-4CF2-BF61-54543E409901.JPG

Salads are a go-to lunch for me. This one is chock full of veggies and leftover steak.

C9DF6F92-301E-41E1-ACF8-601A53383ABD.JPG

Salad with grilled chicken. So easy, yet, so good.

8279771A-47C7-44C4-AD6B-BA817EE97904.JPG

Another salad with chopped up deli meat: chicken, ham, salami, and turkey pepperoni.

1678D65A-415E-4AEA-BC24-EACDB4D9E03C.JPG

Dinners

I love a good caesar salad, particularly with steak tips on top. Mashed cauliflower and roasted bell peppers and zucchini on the side.

6C8D1234-9F1F-492E-B54E-E2F794566F79.JPG

A whopping salad served italian style with deli meats.

6FD7D7D8-04C5-4606-A07A-B0B27CC60C4D.JPG

Very into the shrimp these days.

24F6A1F1-639F-4A9A-B17F-C993C7C4F9F1.JPG

A salmon salad out with friends.

0144B479-26BD-46D8-90C0-252310BB168F.JPG

It’s been a fine week of dining. What’s on your plate?

 

Arms for Days

Happy August! I’m happy to say I wrote a blog post for every week day throughout the month of July. I’m back and trying to be as consistent as possible. And now…

Have 20 minutes and a pair of dumbbells? You can crush this arm workout.

Many clients come in complaining about their arms, particularly the underbelly. Some of this loosens with age, or in my case, weight loss (from being stretched for so long), but it is not impossible to tighten up everything.

When I say arms, we aim to target the biceps, triceps, and shoulders. Chest and back would still be considered upper body, but I will provide a nice push/pull workout another day.

Here is a quick routine to follow to get the arms you desire:

Front & Lateral Raises

Yes, perform both in sequence. Enjoy the burning sensation in your shoulders.

Plank Shoulder Taps

Holding a plank is hard, now add some movement. To keep too much pressure off your shoulders, lean back into your heels, keeping your hips down. Trying hard not to rock your body, lift one hand to the opposite shoulder, alternating.

Hammer Curls to Shoulder Presses

The trick with any form of bicep curls is to keep your arms close to your body and keep everything still, except for the forearms. Don’t rock your body back and forth. If you do, the weight is too heavy and not hitting the intended target.

High Curls

I enjoy this exercise because I can see the muscles pulsing as they get to work. Also hits those shoulders for the double whammy.

IMG_4894

Tricep Extensions

Again, keep everything steady except for the forearms. Elbows nice and tight, as well.

Tricep Pushbacks

Bend the knees, drop your hips and butt to maintain a nice, flat back, and slowly press your arms behind you as far as you can while still keeping proper technique. Do not swing your arms, it won’t be as effective.

IMG_4899

If you have a lighter pair of dumbbells, 5 pounds each for example, perform each exercise in 3 sets of 15 repetitions. Rest for 30 seconds per set before moving onto the next, OR perform circuit style and rest for 1 minute after each set.

If you have a heavier pair of dumbbells- and I would encourage you not to be afraid of lifting heavy weights- try 3 sets of 10 repetitions each.

Don’t forget that leg day will follow….

The “Cheat Meal”

Another week, another 2 pounds down. Feeling strong!

One thing to keep in mind about Weight Watchers or healthy eating in general, is that it’s not so much a temporary fix. I know people like quick fixes to lose weight fast, but sustainable weight loss requires a lifetime of choices.

This weekend, I went to the beach with family and had an indulgent meal followed by an ice cream. I don’t eat that way every day, but once a week makes a big difference in my perspective.

Eating real food with few fake or shady ingredients is important, but if you enjoy something, it should never be off limits. You just have to learn how to eat them in moderation. Easier said then done, but do something long enough, it does become habit.

Just like I need a rest day once a week, I also need a meal or two where I’m not counting calories or points, or wondering the ratio between carbs, proteins, and fats. Sometimes that meal turns into a week of meals, but know it’s never too late to return to healthier ways. Being super restrictive leads to resentment, which blocks success.

I don’t know if we should label anything the “cheat meal” because ice cream for me is just as important to my diet as baby spinach. I eat a lot more baby spinach per week, but it keeps me determined and successful. Referring to something as cheating provides further negative connotation to food, which our society does not need. We need to stop shaming people based on their habits, but try to promote better habits. Eating, for me at least, is an enjoyable part of life, whether it’s breakfast in the middle of a hectic morning or Thanksgiving dinner. I enjoy it now more than I did when I was obese and eating a lot more. Part of that is I’ve come to like cooking, but another part of it is coming to accept the fact that we need food to live.

I’m not a proponent of many diets, fasts, or cleanses (although different things work for different people). Learning to eat real food most of the time just has better lasting effects and makes you feel better inside, which is most important.

Keep being you!

Food for Friday

It’s Friday and it’s time for the Friday Food Round-up! How are you feeling? Eat well this week? Sleep enough? Fit in some exercise? Hopefully all those answers are yes, and now we get to enjoy the weekend!

Breakfast

I made bagels from Skinnytaste that were 3 points on Weight Watchers! 3! The base is Greek yogurt and though my mom didn’t love the texture, I thought they were tasty. I dipped the first one in some peanut butter.

3C1B04B6-E7C8-4B8A-8DB9-2B5A10FAD56F.JPG

Because the way I assembled them were too thin to cut, I dipped them into two over-easy eggs.

8724ACFA-E66F-4CDC-800D-36137A61A9A2.JPG

I need simple and satisfying breakfasts at work, so I’ve been on a huge peanut butter stuffed pita kick as of late. With banana or other fruits is particularly delicious.

66AA2C53-3FDE-4685-8652-95191A99F9D2.JPG

Sometimes a girl just wants some eggs and toast.

IMG_4833

Lunch

I started off the week with a huge salad full of fresh veggies, grilled chicken, and some nuts for crunch.

D4BB2CDD-8621-481B-B535-CFCC5FF48F10.JPG

One day I stuck with leftovers for lunch, but the next day, I made this tuna salad with greek yogurt and mustard. Red bell peppers, carrots, and celery rounded out the dish.

EAA450C6-77F7-43E0-8ACA-61381CE3173B.JPG
Since I work late Thursdays, I made a significant lunch of whole wheat pasta, grilled shrimp, and veggies.
IMG_4836

Dinner

The first dinner of the week was this blackened salmon dish with spinach rice, roasted bell peppers, and broccoli.

25A949F3-EA5D-4B42-BA26-8DC7C7EF8CF2.JPG

Blackened scallops on a bed of spinach, peppers, carrots, and nuts.

81FA42CE-9566-4F20-B90E-3C29BE06F4F1.JPG

Chicken cacciatore with whole wheat pasta, bell peppers, and asparagus.

IMG_4832

A beautiful salad with veggies and grilled chicken.

IMG_4837

Have a spectacular weekend!

WW Problem: Going Out to Eat

In my second week of Weight Watchers, I’m down 1 pound.

IMG_4816

I knew I wasn’t going to lose another 6 pounds because that would be a lot after one week of changes. This is more consistent with what a person should aim to lose weekly. Also, I indulged in some pizza and Chinese food this weekend, not a weight loss winning combination, however delicious.

IMG_4817

My workouts have been consistent. I stick to a six-day plan, 3 days of strength training with harder, shorter bursts of cardio like jump roping and spinning, with 3 days of running.

I’m trying to be better about cooking at home on the weekends more often. This is difficult when it’s busy and I’m out and about. I’m pretty good at identifying what’s good to eat on menus, but I always find the healthy stuff is better when I make it myself.

Salads for instance! I went to a restaurant Friday night with my parents and because I wanted some chips and salsa, opted for a grilled shrimp salad. There were five tiny shrimps, lettuce, tomato, and a bunch of onions (blech!). It’s disappointing when you get something unsatisfying for a meal, particularly when you’re paying for it!

On Saturday, my friend and I split a small pizza with a large salad for lunch and then split some Chinese food dishes for dinner. The food itself is indulgent, but we also tried to manage the portions. Still, I want to try to stick to one indulgence on the weekends- at least in one day!

I also went out to eat on Sunday afternoon, which Weight Watchers builds into the plan, but I counted all my extra points for Saturday and didn’t want to go too crazy. I had a salad with grilled shrimp (much better this time) with a cup of soup and one roll because hey, it’s Bertucci’s and their rolls are amazing. I only had a small bite on Sunday for dinner because it was filling though.

I think the important mental note to take away when you’re trying to eat better or following something like Weight Watchers is that healthy living is something you want to be doing consistently. If you like to go out to eat, do so, but also learn to choose those indulgent favorites as a treat, rather than the norm. One meal does not a diet break, but if you view these changes as temporary, your mind will set back to old habits.

Plus, cooking at home can be fun!