And Then There’s Snow.

Still riding high on that nice weather, even though the weather app on my phone is threatening snow!

I fit in a bike ride on Wednesday afternoon and felt warm in only a sweatshirt! I’m still getting back into riding an actual bike, much of my experience in recent years has been spinning. Cycling outside makes me nervous, so I stick to side streets and bike paths for now at least! And yes, I will always wear a helmet.

E49AFFED-3758-4573-854B-307F9CF00990.JPG

Wednesday’s breakfast was an impressive omelette consisting of an egg, two egg whites, baby spinach, red bell pepper, tomatoes, and feta. I enjoyed it with whole wheat toast.

EABB81E2-2E3F-49D5-AA80-9BC0F9DB5D9F.JPG

For lunch, I had visions of crafting a beautiful salad, but was starving by the time I got home and had leftover chicken broccoli ziti (with a piece of leftover salmon instead).

Dinner was chicken with spinach rice and a big spinach salad.

A3EFEF19-E5E4-4558-B46E-468AB1EBB0A0.JPG

I’m trying to be more creative with my cooking, especially as I’m back to blogging.

Stay warm, everyone. Tomorrow’s Friday!

Chef Caitlin

In another life, maybe I should have been a chef. Let’s discuss.

At breakfast, I put together this bowl of oatmeal and cooked it in the microwave…about five seconds too long because a bit spilled out over the sides. But only a little- every great chef has a kitchen mishap or two. Topped with banana, raisins, and walnuts, it was a tasty treat.

IMG_6104.JPG

For a snack, I pulled the microwave trick again and cooked an egg and put it atop a piece of toast and cheese.

IMG_6105.JPG

I happened to enjoy it so much that I had another with my quinoa, chickpea, and veggie lunch.

I was raring for dinner after my workout and grilled a piece of cod in a buttery, garlic sauce and placed it on two corn tortillas with a drizzle of soyaki. On the side, some green beans and a giant caesar salad made with baby spinach leaves, a sprinkling of parmesan, caesar dressing, and crushed tostitos.

IMG_6108.JPG

They may not look restaurant-worthy, but the dishes tasted great and I think that merits some points.

Speaking of my workout, it was upper body day, so I worked my biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest, and back. For the bi’s, tri’s, and shoulders I did two exercises per muscle group. For the chest and back, I worked three exercises, all three sets of twelve reps. To top things off, I did three core exercises and ended with 20 minutes on the bike.

Happy December- it’s officially Christmas time! No matter that it’s in the sixties and I’m finding this “chilly.”

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.

IMG_6081.JPG

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!

IMG_5963.JPG

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.

IMG_6085.JPG

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!

Rainy Days

I can’t decide what is more painful, having to wake up on a rainy, cold day or having to be stuck inside on a warm, sunny day. Regardless, we don’t always have the chance, so I rolled myself out of end this morning and got my day started in the rain.

A strength workout was in the cards this morning. I performed ten moves in five sets of nine reps. My muscles were feeling the exertion by the end of it. For a hit of cardio, I did a few rounds of box jumps and jumping jacks and finished everything up on the bike for a few minutes.

I joined my mom for a rainy day walk after work. It was quite chilly, but I don’t think I’d have minded so much if we hadn’t just had a week in the nineties. It’s confusing!

Breakfast was quite delicious. I had an egg sandwich on an English muffin with a piece of pepperjack cheese and a chicken sausage patty that had a lot of flavor. A big bowl of berries sweetened the meal nicely.

  
It was quite a busy day and I needed a little jolt of happiness in the for, of this soup. I ate a homemade salad and quite frankly, I make the best salads. I also enjoyed an apricot for a little dessert and I had no signs of an allergic reaction! It was a plum the day before that and I was fine too! Maybe I should try apples and cherries to see if it affects me.

 
As I type this, I realize I forgot to snap a picture of my dinner. It had a little surf and turf flair with salmon and steak. A spinach salad with poppyseed dressing, walnuts, and raisins joined a stir fry of zucchini, peppers, carrots, and broccoli. Very tasty!

I should end with a hearty congratulations to my fave, Kristin Chenoweth, on hery Drama Desk Award win last night. Next, that second Tony. Boy, does she deserve it!

Don’t Be Lazy: Whatever Gets You Through That Workout

When it comes to exercise, and life in general, I try to be kind to myself. Maintaining a positive attitude is the majority of the fight, and yet so often, this is something so many struggle to do.

For my workouts, I don’t see them as a chore or a negative thing, I would say 90% of the time. It’s become such an ingrained habit and part of my life that it doesn’t often take a lot to get me inspired, but I still have days where I would rather do anything else. This is particularly true on tired, dark mornings, though it hasn’t been too bad thus far.

When it comes to exercise, I try to do workouts that I enjoy so that it’s easier to keep doing it. If you don’t like it, you’ll resent it, and then resent exercise altogether. All it takes is a bit of a sense of adventure and experimentation.

To keep myself motivated in those spots I need it most, and sometimes it’s just to keep myself going when I’m bored on the treadmill, I either turn up my music louder, focus on my daydreams, or mutter inspirations to myself. You’ll remember one such time I told myself to “keep running kitten.” That borders bizarre, but it was so funny, it distracted me from that hump and helped me run longer.

One of my favorite mottos that inspired me throughout my weight loss efforts, and remains one of my sayings when it comes to workouts or doing things I don’t necessarily feel excited about doing, is, “don’t be lazy.”

My Nana would always say the old, “Why put off tomorrow what you can do today.” I see my saying as an abridged version that is quick, efficient, and effective. Obviously there are moments when one does need to lay off the exercise or can take a breath and do something later, but I prefer to refer to such moments as relaxation. Unnecessary laziness is poisonous and so gays to succumb to because people are busy, busy, busy and we let things slide. It helps that I’m a bit of a control freak, so I won’t let my mind rest until my to do list is checked off.

This morning when my alarm went off, I would have been content to turn it back on for later and curl back into my blankets. I suspected that if I did, it was quite possible that my guilty conscience would have woken me up anyways and plagued my now sleepless thoughts. Totally unproductive on all fronts. Instead, I grunted, “Don’t be lazy!” And got myself up and moving. Turns out, as it does 90% of the time! it was worth those few painful moments of tearing myself away from my precious bed.

Last week, anticipating I would be away on Saturday, I switched my rest days and ended up waking up early everyday last week. I started on Thursday facing a threat of snow, so decided to conquer my workout at home. My body was not overly excited as I made my way through a body strength workout, rode the bike for a few minutes, then ended with some Yoga. I was feeling tight and sore and didn’t get enough out of my workout to the point I was wondering if it was even worth it. I tend to do better workouts at the gym or out and about for the run. As it turns out, the snow did not come anyways, but I’m happy to reserve such at home workouts for snow days.

Friday, I got to the gym raring to go and went through six sets of eight reps on the dumbbells. For these, I lift heavier weight in shorter bursts, mostly to mix things up from my other strength days. I finished up with a run/walk on the treadmill where I walked on an incline for five, ran for five; walked for four, ran for four; walked for three, ran for three; walked for two, ran for two; walked for one, ran for one; increasing my incline and speed the shorter the intervals. I finished off my sweaty workout with a few sprints at a faster speed.

As I mentioned, I was in New York City on Saturday, and though we were on the bus for a good eight hours, we also did a lot of walking. For whatever reason, my legs were still sore on Sunday, so instead of getting to the gym, I took another day off and shopped instead. I have to tell you, as much as I like shopping, it works me up into a frenzy and as I was speed walking around that mall, I worked up a sweat! Between Christmas shopping and food shopping, I fit in a ton of walking, with a walk with the dog topping it off. I also was standing the entire day, getting various chores done, like chopping up veggies for the week and making meals. Sometimes, you just need that extra day.

I was feeling rejuvenated on Monday morning and had no trouble waking up and starting off my week with a barbell strength workout. I don’t change up these moves very often, except to increase weight or mix up the order of my routine. I’m quite proud of the variety I include and observing how far I’ve come. After, I jumped on the treadmill and got in a full thirty minute run, feeling strong. I started off at a slower pace and increased the speed slightly in five minute increments that kept things from turning boring and kept my body guessing.

It would have been easy to convince myself to just do a workout at home Tuesday morning, except I reminded myself how much of a waste it had been the week before and how I would feel better once I got up and moving. It was definitely one of those, “Don’t be lazy!” days, but it worked, and I made my way through a leg heavy body strength, Plyometrics, and Yoga workout that is still leaving me sore (in a good way this time).

This morning, I met my friend Nouha not-so-bright and early for a dumbbell strength workout and a run on the treadmill. It helped knowing that Thursday is my off day and we are having some family holiday fun later tonight! Speaking of, check in tomorrow for some thoughts and reflections on my favorite holiday traditions!

And remember, when it comes to exercising and the holidays, try to maintain a regular schedule. Don’t be like those resolutioners who rely on one day a year to make changes that don’t last. The best changes are the ones inspired by yourself, not a culture craze.

Traipsing About: Words and Workouts

I’ve been watching quite a bit of Gilmore Girls lately, thanks Netflix, and I’m really enjoying it. When it was on, I would watch an episode here or there, but it was never one of my core shows. The dialogue moves fast, but that’s one of the aspects I like about it. As a writer, I am trying to learn more about how dialogue flows and pertains to certain characters, so really, it’s a learning process when I watch…

One thing I’ve noticed is how frequently they use the word “traipsing.” This might seem like an odd stand-out, but the emphasis stems from the fact that I learned how to properly pronounce traipsing from the show. It’s difficult to convey to you my history of mispronouncing words, mostly because the element of humor and appreciation would be best viewed from hearing it. There was the “compromise” situation that started it all, pronounced by me, “com. promise.” Most recently, I learned that the word “acquiesce is not pronounced in the manner I always assumed (and to be honest, my pronunciation is far prettier). I tended to stretch out the word when apparently it’s just a jumble. I can’t even explain how I would say “traipsing,” but I’ve learned and now Gilmore Girls won’t let me forget it. Lesson learned!

Onto some exercise talk, which starts with the swim I did last Thursday where I last left you. My incorporation of sprints in my swim time is fun, necessary, and exhausting. It does make swimming, which has the tendency to be boring and repetitive lap after lap, move more quickly and adds another challenge. It wipes me out in a good way and I feel more satisfied when leaving.

The more I exercise and it has been an ingrained habit, the less effect exercise has on my body. In order to do real “damage,” and I mean that on a positive level, I need to keep upping the challenges and this becomes difficult. Sprints are one way I blast through a plateau. I add them in my swimming, running, biking, and jump roping and I’m planning on including them in my strength workouts for this month as well. I’ve mentioned quite a bit about Tabata intervals, which means you perform one move for twenty seconds, rest for ten seconds, over a course of four minutes. This is an effective workout and should be included with the more stable exercises, such as a longer, steadier run, swim, bike ride, etc. Having the body go from a resting state to a high intensity state has an awesome effect on your body and fitness level. I like to leave my workouts with a thick glaze of sweat coating my body, which has proved more difficult than it has in the past. Having to up the ante may seem like an annoying, difficult process, but I see it as an accomplishment and challenge to go even further.

On Friday, I headed to the gym to do a series of strength workouts. I started on the barbells doing a series of key moves like deadlifts, bench presses, squat presses, and leg presses. Since I was crunched for time, I moved onto a couple of kettlebell circuits that get in both strength and cardio exercises.

Before the fun adventures on Saturday night, I went out for a run. I started off feeling ambitious about the hills, but my body was tired and not on the same page, so I took a few of them at a slow run or even a fast walk. Hill runs are another element I want to include in my workout a few times a week. I’ll start at one and see how it goes and hopefully add more the better I get at it.

I do love working out and it is my biggest stress relievers, however, I have no shame in informing you that I planned my rest day last week to fall on my birthday. I was too busy celebrating with friends and family to fit in any time at the gym. The effects of a relaxing, fun rest day was just what I needed to rejuvenate and I headed into the gym on Monday raring to go! I got through a strength workout that incorporated some moves using medicine balls and the stability balls, including that burpee move I couldn’t get through last week. I followed up my strength workout with another swim and felt nice and tired, but energized on my way home.

I renovated my strength workouts a bit and on Tuesday, I tried out my new dumbbell routine using the stability ball. This helps my core while strengthening my muscles. I did a circuit that included shoulder presses, lying tricep extensions, shoulder flies, and bench presses. I was once again a bit overly ambitious and attempted to perform some plank rows with my feet on the stability ball. This will have to be an accomplishment I work towards and instead had no trouble balancing on the ground. After four sets of twelve, I moved on to do two kettlebell circuits that focused on strength and core work. To end, I tried to jump rope, but for some reason, I wasn’t in my groove and couldn’t keep a consistent pace.

I’m headed now to do a Yoga sequence before traipsing* out for a run. Here’s to hoping I don’t slip on any wet, gross leaves. You’ll hear about it if I do!

*I realize that traipsing means moving without care, but I couldn’t resist the pun!

I Like To Move, Move- Updated Workouts!

Writing this out, I understand that these workouts might seem intense. Keep in mind, I dedicate/have a lot of time in order to workout and I always listen to my body’s signals. This month’s workouts are great because they can be broken up into segments that people can pick and choose to their liking. I always get excited about formulating new workout plans, and these have definitely kicked my butt in a good way!

Day One:
Strength (Using Barbells)
– Rows
– Bicep Curls
– Front Deadlifts
– Snatch and Presses
– Squat Presses
– Bench Presses
– Lying Tricep Extensions
– Front Shoulder Presses
– Shoulder Raises
– Leg Press

Body Strength
– Step Ups
– Lunges
– Deep Squats
– Dips
– V Push Ups
– Leg Lifts
– Single-Leg Hip Lifts
– Sit Ups

Cardio (HIIT)
– Jump Rope
– Treadmill Sprints
– Bike Sprints
– Rower Sprints

Day Two
Strength (Using Ball and Medicine Balls)
– Burpees to Throw Downs
– Wall Throws
– Lunge Twists
– Single-Leg Deadlifts
– Squat Swings
– Rollouts
– Elevated Hip Lifts
– Hundreds
– Russian Twists
– Mermaid Raises

Body Strength
– Box Jumps
– Dips
– Rope Swings
– Leg Swings
– Jump Rope

Cardio
– Swim or Elliptical depending on time

Day Three
Strength
– Yoga

Cardio
– Run

Day Four
Strength (using cables)
– Pull Downs
– Chops
– Rows
– Tricep Extensions
– Flies
– Leg Presses

Strength (using kettle bells)
– Swings
– Goblet Squats
– Alternating Knee to Elbow Shoulder Presses
– Single-Arm Snatches
– Front Rows
– Bench Presses (on ball)

Body Strength
– Box Jumps
– Push Ups
– Mountain Climbers
– Leg Lifts
– Backwards Lunges
– Split Squats to Standing Kickbacks

Cardio (HIIT)
– Jump Rope
– Treadmill Sprints
– Bike Sprints
– Rower Sprints

Day Five

REST

Day Six
Strength (using dumbbells)
– Bench Presses
– Flies
– Hammer Curls
– Front Raises
– One-Leg Rows
– Deadlifts
– Shrugs to Lunges
– Shoulder Presses
– Tricep Extensions with Calf Raises

Strength (using barbells)
– Plie Squat Presses
– Leg Presses
– Angled Bench Presses

Body Strength
– Hanging Leg Raises
– Box Jumps
– Split Squats
– Lunge Twists
– Push Ups
– Spiderman Climbers
– Mermaid Raises
– Alternating Ankle Grabs
– Single-Leg Hip Lifts
– Russian Twists

Day Seven
Strength
– Yoga

Cardio
– Run

For sets and reps, it depends on how I’m feeling that day and how much time I have to workout. Lately, I’ve been trying to push my workouts to the next level, so I’ve varied between 4 sets of 12, 5 sets of 10, and 3 sets of 15. The heaviness of weights also depends on the amount of reps per set.

On most days, I end my workouts with a series of planks- front planks, side planks, reverse planks, and also include shoulder stands and full bridges. I also try to walk as much as possible to fit in as much movement throughout the day.

Soon, I am going to start studying to become a personal trainer because I think I have a unique background and the drive to help a lot of people. For me, exercise is energizing, fun, and stress-relieving. I like testing my body and proving how strong I am. It doesn’t always have to be this intense, depending on your preference. Please feel free to use some of these moves and incorporate segments into your own workout.