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!

Happy Monday!

I’m trying to be consistent, but then I get out of the habit of blogging! At least I did some fun stuff over the weekend.

Friday night, it was gym-time. I really wasn’t feeling like going after a long week at work, but I had taken Thursday off and knew I would feel better once I finished. I ended up killing a lower body workout, ending with a run and felt great! Lunch at work was fried chicken- heavy- so for dinner, I had half a sandwich and a cup of tomato soup. The perfect accompaniment? The new season of Fuller House. Yes, it’s outrageously cheesy, but they know it, they use it well, and it’s all sorts of adorable. Nostalgia is in!

On Saturday, I was happy to not set an alarm and zzz. For breakfast, I made myself a veggie scramble and a waffle. So good and quite the meal to fuel my hike. My friend and I decided to hike to the Hollywood Sign, which is no easy feat. We took the long way and about a quarter of a mile in, I needed to pee. So we turned around and I used the MOST DISGUSTING port-a-potty known to man. It’s a good thing I can squat. But, I was better for it, and crushed that hike. I mean…

IMG_6127.JPG

IMG_6130.JPG

I can’t get enough of the view, even on a cloudy day!

IMG_6135.JPG

IMG_6138.JPG

By the time we hiked down, it was time for food and you better believe I worked for those chips and salsa. After dinner, we saw Office Christmas Party, which was funny but also, when are we going to allow women to be powerful and in charge and not a total bitch? I expect more than anti-feminist jokes in a movie that features Jennifer Aniston and Kate McKinnon. C’mon!

I was sore and had wracked up 21,000+ steps on my Saturday, but I did myself a favor and trekked out to the grocery store to get it done! It might not be the most glamorous way to spend a Saturday night, but it made my Sunday that much better.

Speaking on Sunday, it was time for more Fuller House while I munched on my pancake breakfast, folded laundry, and cleaned. After breakfast, I tossed a bunch of stuff into the crockpot and headed out for a bike ride. I love the beach. I always thought New York City was the city of my soul, but the ocean gets me. Surf’s up! Okay, I can’t pull that off and I’d probably make a terrible surfer, but it’s still on my LA Bucket List.

IMG_6139.JPG

(Side Note: Does anyone else remember that show California Dreams? I loved that ish.)

I rode for about 35 minutes and found myself a bench in which to gaze out into the ocean and write. Can’t.Beat.That. I really wanted to walk down to the water, but leaving my bike is a sensitive topic since it was, ya know, stolen.

After I headed back and grabbed a quick pb&j, I walked over to the gym and killed a body weight/plyometric-heavy workout. I mean, jumping plie squats, no but yes. Or yes, but no? Who cares, I did it. And loved it.

Back to the store it was, this time to Target, and it was MADNESS. I don’t like people surrounding me while shopping on the best of days, but this was chaos. I got what I needed, stood in line for too long, and hit the road.

Sunday night was productive. First, a dinner of chicken, broccoli, spinach, and ziti with a side salad. Then, I prepared my meals for the week, this time chicken and two-bean chili that smelled (and tasted) divine. Yay for new, yummy recipes! Next up, I needed to touch up my hair because it’s the holidays and people be paying attention. I also, importantly, finally got some nail polish remover and wiped away the buck wild nail polish sporadically on my nails. Yuck.

A new workout plan was in the cards, particularly of the core, which is always exciting (genuinely). Blog post writing time, regular writing time, and reading before bed, and I was ready for a full night sleep and to start the week!

Get it!

 

Bike Riding and Weird Massages

My weekend once again was the perfect combination of active and relaxing, starting with Friday night.

After work, like a champion, I headed to the gym and ran it out on the treadmill. This week, I wasn’t as tired as last, and I had a solid run before finishing it off with a quick Yoga flow. For dinner, I stir fried up some chicken, veggies, and brown rice.

If you’ve ever wanted to know what bad zucchini tastes like, it is not good. Luckily, I didn’t cut the zucchini into too small bites and I was able to scrape it out of the plate!

Some old Saturday Night Live episodes later and it was time to fall asleep, cus this girl was tired! Working 9-5 is hard, ya’ll.

On Saturday, I met up with a friend-of-a-friend for brunch before going to the gym to knock out a lower body workout. I biked over on the beautiful afternoon, then biked on over to a reflexology massage place for my sore feet. My feet were so swollen on Tuesday of this past week, they didn’t fit properly in my sneakers. This massage was $20 bucks, so I was weary of the quality.

Let’s just run this down for you:

An older man began my experience by massaging my forehead. As we know, I have a large forehead, so a long time was spent on this area. At one point, the gentleman began tickling my outer ears, which I thought was strange, but then he stuck his fingers in my ears, and I learned a new definition of “strange.” It was weird, but I didn’t hate it?

The man was clearly head honcho of this establishment as other workers kept coming over and talking to him, which was unsettling in an otherwise quiet situation. At one point, I thought a woman was trying to tell me to do something, so I opened my eyes and the woman hushed me, apologized, then stuck her hand on my forehead for a long time. I was then blind-folded, which I think was to hide the fact that a new worker took over my footwork, though I will tell you, once you’ve had giant, calloused fingers in your ears, you can decipher the difference of the petite, gentler touch of soft hands.

As mentioned above, my forehead is gaping, so it elevated the blindfold to the point of which I could see clearly. It was good that I distinguished this new individual as female when I was then planked on so that the massager could recenter my hips (or whatever the hell it was she was doing?) After some hand work, I rolled over and got all the sore spots in my shoulders and back worked out.

Listen, it was a weird experience, but it worked. For $20 bucks, I will accept your strange scenario and tip you for it.

It was dinnertime when I finished, so I pedaled over to my “local” taco shop before heading home to read and work on a new project. After some grocery shopping, it was time for bed.

Sunday is a great day to be outside seeking adventures. First up, was hike time. I actually went to the same place I did last week, this time with a meet-up group. The day was cooler, but in no means cool, and overcast, which made it great to be active.

Stopping at home for a few minutes, it was time to take my bike out for its first long journey. 18 miles is no joke. I’ve got a bike path, down the street from me, that leads to the huge Southern California coastal bike path that is remarkable. There are no words to describe the views and the feelings inspired by pedaling down this path.

IMG_5858.JPG

My intention was to go to Santa Monica and believe me, I kept waiting to see the enlightening sight of Santa Monica Pier, but as I rolled and rolled, I still couldn’t see it and I almost cried. At a stopover for a water and lunch break, I typed in my GPS location and realized I had ridden in the complete opposite of Santa Monica and had made it to Manhattan Beach. Since Manhattan (New York) is my favorite place in the entire universe (other than home), and I had never been there before, it was fitting.

IMG_5856.JPG

On my way back, I prayed for no hills, and had to stop to capture the above picture. I mean, what?

Back at my apartment and nursing my sore quads, it was time to meal prep for the coming week. Soup! It’s not appropriate in the warm, sunny SoCal environment, but back at home in Boston, it’s fall and prime time for soup.

I’ve had these lentils in my cabinets since back home, so it was time to cook ’em. I found the recipe online and added my own touches, such as doubling the recipe and adding zucchini.

IMG_5859.JPG

I had enough for four lunches of the week and enjoyed the remnants for dinner, paired with brown rice and a dash of cheese.

IMG_5860.JPG

Now I’m all cozy, full, and super sweaty.

It’s Monday, but let’s live like it’s Friday!

Mondays Scream for Ice Cream

The most exciting thing I learned yesterday is the Haagen Dazs makes the best java chip ice cream I’ve ever had. I don’t know if eating it too late at night will affect my sleep yet, but it’s worth it. Yum!

You’re welcome to all the people I wanted to text about this development at 9:00 pm my time and midnight their time for refraining.

Breakfast was a disappointing breakfast sandwich, but I suspect only because I have high standards. At home, I found the most delicious chicken sausage patties and paired them with egg whites, cheese, and an English muffin. Here, I had to settle on eh turkey sausage patties (lacking flavor) with the standard egg whites, cheese, and a Trader Joe’s version of english muffins which are too doughy.

Don’t feel too bad for me as I ate it before even snapping a picture.

Lunch:

IMG_5839.JPG

Beneath the cheese, black beans, and rice, you can see green sticking out. That would be spinach and there’s red pepper somewhere in there as well.

I was quite proud of myself on dinner. Grilled chicken, asparagus, and pasta to be swirled with marinara and paired with a salad.

IMG_5841.JPG

My gym time included strength training the upper body- biceps, triceps, and shoulders- along with some core action and cardio on the spin bike. Unfortunately, it was dark by the time I got home from work and couldn’t take my actual bike out for a spin.

Monday was one of those days I woke up ready for bed, but it was a good day and now we’re onto Tuesday, just that much closer to the weekend!

Working Out: Finding Time Is Half The Battle

Now that I’ve started working again, I need to be more organized with my time. Knowing myself, I will fit in exercise no matter what. Working out is my main source of stress relief and feeling healthy and strong (when matched with good eating habits). I also know that I workout best and feel best when I don’t have a workout hanging over my head the entire day. I decided that waking up early and fitting it in then will give me a fresh start for the day, feeling productive and energized.

With the short holiday week, last week I only had to do this twice. Monday morning, I woke up after not a great night of sleep because I went to bed earlier than I am used to and felt the nervous jitters and anxiety of waiting for something new to begin.

It helped that my friend Nouha agreed to meet me that morning because it may not have happened if either one of us said we were going to skip out. But we didn’t. After eating a quick breakfast, cup of coffee, and guzzling a few cups of water, I headed out to meet Nouha. Neither were happy that I started our exercise plan with burpees. Once we got going it felt good.

I took us through a workout incorporating medicine balls and the stability ball. After, we hopped on the treadmill and went between running and walking for half an hour. I was nice and sweaty by the time I hopped in the shower and readied for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, I got to the gym and went through a quick body strength workout, including squats, lunges, kickbacks, dips, and push ups before jumping into the pool and swimming laps. I’m not sure if it was the holiday week or normal, but the pool was nice and empty.

I didn’t have quite as early a wake up call on Wednesday because it was my rest day. On Thursday, I woke up with a deadline because the gym was closing early that morning (as it should). I fit in a strength workout using dumbbells, six sets of eight reps each. All the machines were taken, so I did a Plyometrics circuit, including jumping jacks, for my cardio. To finish off, I did a core circuit that I had to finish at home because I ran out of time. After lunch, we walked the dog for about a mile or so.

Before trying out the whole Black Friday thing, I fit in a kettlebell workout before finishing up with a few minutes on the elliptical. I had a very special concert to watch on PBS that night, so I jumped on the bike we have at home while watching part of it.

It was hard to psych myself up for the long run I had in the cold on Saturday, so I took it slow. My first plan of attack was a body strength workout, followed by a Yoga sequence to loosen up the muscles. As I went out for my run, pillowed in layers, I told myself to try to get three miles done, but I was feeling strong once I started and did my usual 4.2. I’m hoping I can extend that to an even 5 before I have to take my run into the treadmill full time (hopefully that never happens because Bo-ring!). On pure flat land, I could do 5-6 miles easily, but with all those hills, which I do have to go up quite a few times, it’s much harder. Persistence and practice!

Sunday, I headed to the gym for a strength workout using barbells. I performed each move in four sets of ten. My workout included the usual bench presses, bicep curls, deadlifts, high pulls, snatch and presses, squat presses, leg presses, and whatnot.

It was back to the early morning workouts starting not so bright and early on Monday. It was the same routine as the week before, at least for another week or so. This time, I was able to run on the treadmill for the entire time, save for the 5 minute walking warm-up. I credit this to getting enough sleep the night before because last week my body was tired and running on not much sleep at all. Sleep is medicine, people!

Tuesday was a tad more difficult to wake up on with my warm blankets and the cold outside, but I did it and I am glad I did. Nouha and I went through a quick body strength circuit that really worked the legs, then jumped in the pool for some laps.

This morning, I fit in a brief kettlebell strength workout, but kept it light because my shoulder has been bothering me a bit the past few days. I followed this up with a run on the treadmill and the knowledge that tomorrow is my rest day and I can sleep in for a lot longer than usual!

Here are a few tips for waking up early for that workout.

1. You need to be organized. I happen to love organization so this is my strong suit. The night before, I pack my gym bag with all necessary shower stuff- towel, toiletries, and flip flops; fancy clothes and shoes for work; all gym equipment- headphones, gloves, workout plan; my work bags; and of course my gym clothes folded and laid on top of my bags ready to be worn.

2. Plan of attack for food. In the morning, I need to eat first thing or I will have no energy for my workout, which goes the same for water and coffee. I either have an already made breakfast in the fridge or an idea in mind that comes together quickly. Sunday is the day for planning, so I chop up a ton of veggies, wash lettuce, and can throw together a healthy, delicious salad at my convenience. Leftovers are also another great option. I also have pre-packed snacks of fruits, veggies, nuts, and yogurt so I stay full and don’t reach into the candy bowl or vending machine with blind hunger.

3. Turn it into a positive. Workout out, at any time of your preference, is a choice. It’s already a great one because you have committed to leading a healthy lifestyle. It is quite difficult to fit in when you have so many responsibilities. You may hate every second of your workout, but if you try to see it in a positive light, it will be easier to get done and get through. I could do this after work, but I prefer to fit it in so rather than complain, I am going to view it as a necessary part of routine.

Let me tell you, it is very hard to wake up and do anything of substance when the sun still hasn’t fully risen two hours later. I guess you just have to decide what time works best for you!

Workout Renovations

Even though today was my rest day from the gym, I have a lot of exciting workout news to share. In order to blast through a plateau, I’ve updated my exercise plan. I have a lot of the same exercises that I’ve either added weight to or made it somehow more difficult.

This week’s schedule looks like this (thanks in large part to the rain).

Sunday:
Dumbbells/Body Strength Mash Up-
– Bench Presses
– Tricep Dips
– Tricep Extensions w/ Calf Raises
– Hip Lifts
– Bicep Curls
– Step Ups
– Front Raises
– Push Ups
– Single-Leg Rows
– Mountain Climbers
– Shoulder Presses w/ Squats
– Lunges
– Shrugs to Monkey Arms
– Deep Plie Squats
– Shoulder Flies

Core-
– Kneeling Kickbacks
– Mermaid Raises
– Crunches
– Bicycle Crunches
– Legs Up Crunches
– Russian Twists
– Sit Ups
– Alternating Ankle Grabs
– Plank (1 minute)
– Side Planks (30 seconds each side)
4 x 12
Cardio-
– Swim

Monday:

Strength/Core-
– Yoga

Cardio-
– Run

Tuesday:

Barbells-
– Snatch and Presses
– Bicep Curls
– Front Deadlifts
– High Pulls
– Front Rows
– Squat Presses
– Bench Presses
– Standing Tricep Extensions
– Front Shoulder Presses
– Front Raises
– Shoulder Raises
– Tricep Kickbacks
– Leg Presses

Core-
– Box Jumps
– Split Squats
– Squat/Elbow to Knee Twists
– Lunge Twists
– Burpees
– T Jacks
– V Push Ups
– Spiderman Climbers
– Hip Lift Calf Raises
– V Ups
– Plank (30 seconds)
– Side Plank (20 seconds each side)
4 x 10

Cardio-
– Jump Rope
– Jumping Jacks
– Bicycle Sprints
– Treadmill Sprints
– Rower Sprints

Wednesday:

REST

Thursday:

Medicine Ball/Ball-
Circuit 1
– Burpees to Throw
– Squat Swings
– Lunge Twists
– Single-Leg Deadlift Reaches
– Ball Twist Tosses

Circuit 2
– Mermaid Raises
– Hundreds
– Elevated Hip Lifts
– Russian Twists
– Ball Flies

Body Strength-
Circuit 3
– Lunge Knee Ups
– Jumping Jacks
– Squat Jumps
– Plank Jacks
– Box Jumps

Circuit 4
– Push Ups
– Mountain Climbers
– Dips
– Bicycle Crunches
– V Ups
3 x 15
Circuit 5
– Plank (1 minute, 30 seconds)
– Side Planks (1 minute each side)

Cardio-
– Swim

Friday:

Barbells-
Circuit 1
– Elevated Bench Presses
– Plie Squat Presses
– Side Deadlifts
– Leg Presses
– Cable Shoulder Presses
– Cable Shoulder Raises

Kettlebells-
Circuit 2
– Swings
– Deadlifts
– Tricep Pushbacks
– Snatch and Presses
– High Pulls
– Bent-Over Rows

Circuit 3
– Elbow to Knee Presses
– Split Squat Twists
– Side Leans w/ Squats
– Mermaid Raises
– Leg Lifts to Hundreds
– Legs Up Crunches

Body Strength-
Circuit 4
– Single-Leg Kickbacks
– Step Up Twists
– Walking Lunges
– V Push Ups
– Ankle Grabs
– Russian Twists
4 x 12

Cardio-
– Jump Rope
– Jumping Jacks
– Bicycle Sprints
– Treadmill Sprints
– Rower Sprints

Saturday:

Strength-
– Yoga

Cardio-
– Run

These workouts seem extensive, but remember, if you want to incorporate any of these into your routine, you can easily break up the segments. I prefer to do circuits because it makes everything flow faster and it doesn’t seem as tedious. Less rest in-between sets is also good to get the heart racing.

Good Sweat, Bad Sweat, What’s the Diff?

As I’m sure you know by now, exercise is my main stress reliever. This past week, I’ve been incorporating more core work into my routine as well as some intervals. I haven’t been as organized when it comes to scheduling, but rather focused on doing what I feel like on that day.

This week I had two runs that felt a bit on the painful side. Today, I was going to run at the track, but I chose the time when school gets out so it would have been a crowded, jammed mess- and that’s just the parking situation. Instead, I ran around my neighborhood, up and down and up and down even more hills. Then I went on a nice long walk with my friend Molly. When I went with my mom to walk the dog around the block, very short, it was growing cooler outside, which is very exciting. I love throwing on a sweatshirt and Yoga pants. Though it is kind of a pain to be cold in the morning when you leave for the day and hot and sweaty when you’re heading home or out and about. All about the layers!

I also started today off by meeting my friend Nouha at the gym to do a quick couple of minutes on the bike, followed by an intensive body strength and core workout that worked up a nice sweat and burn. This included jumping jacks (250 total!), prison squats which we affectionately entitled “Pipers,” alternating lunges, alternating standing kickbacks, push-ups (no more modified for me!), mermaid raises, leg lifts, hip lifts, sit ups, and everyone’s favorite, Russian Twists. We did five sets of ten reps. After, I did a 3.1 run that was hot and sweaty because I didn’t realize how warm it was until I was already on my way.

Yesterday, I worked the polls all day and didn’t have time for a workout. This was the perfect time for me to take my rest day because on Monday, I was feeling a bit off and weaker than usual. On Monday, Nouha and I did a strength workout using dumbbells, four sets of twelve reps. I followed this up with a few minutes on the bike and elliptical because my body wasn’t feeling any high intensity intervals. Finishing off with a strong core workout left me ready to relax and recover.

On Sunday, I pushed myself through four miles on my hilly route. My legs and lungs weren’t feeling as strong as they usually are, but I made it to the end, up a very steep hill that left me clutching my side for breath. My allergies were definitely in effect, but didn’t hurt me until the point I stopped running and started to walk. After a long recovery period, I did some Yoga moves before bed.

I found myself arriving to the gym just in time for the storm to roll in on Saturday. I heard the thunder looming, but the minute I stepped through the doors, the rain started pouring. Lucky me for once! I performed a strength workout using the barbells, nervous about clutching a large metal sticks with thunder and lightning striking outside, but I’m probably just paranoid. Before the gym closed, I finished off my workout with a quick ten minute sprint session on the Elliptical. I believe I mentioned I took a short break from swimming while the pool was being renovated, but I’m looking forward to getting back to it.

My scheduled rest day had been on Friday because it was so hot! That Thursday, I had a nice long run just as the sun was going down for the day, so I wasn’t quite as drippy or gross. I’ve learned that there is a good sweat and a bad sweat. The good comes from hard work, the bad from heat and humidity.

My fitness goals for fall is to extend the length of my runs, despite any hills, and to be able to perform my push-ups all the way touching the ground. TBC!