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.

 

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My Left Side Is Rebelling Against Me

I just came back from my first massage in a year (almost to the day) and it made me realize how much has changed. It’s funny what triggers those thoughts! Last year, I got a massage with my mom and sister right before my sister’s wedding. I happened to be at a job that was stressful and that I didn’t love and I had to ask the massage therapist to stop touching my neck because it hurt too much from where I carried my stress.

A year later and I’m in a position I love, I know exactly the muscles that are being affected by the massage, and the tension in my body isn’t from stress, so much as physical labor. As I suspected from recent weeks, my left side has been taking a beating, from my foot to my upper trapezius muscles. No idea why the tension is primarily on one side over the other, especially considering that I’m right-handed, but it happens!

Note to self, get massages more regularly.

This is the face of a happy beach-goer.

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The only decent selfie that was snapped of the four of us celebrating Katie’s birthday!

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My breakfast is already anticipating the July 4th holiday, thanks to the delicious fruit!

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In other news, I’ve been grinding at the gym with total body workouts, including a day of intense HIIT and plyometric strength training so as to rev up the metabolism and burn fat. I also upped my running to three times a week, altering mileage, speed, and incline to mix things up (especially if it’s raining and I’m stuck on the treadmill). I’m still going easy on the lower back exercises- deadlifts, rows, and bridges in particular- but my back isn’t quite as sore as before. In exciting personal gains, I’m getting so much better at the hanging leg raises, and my body is no longer swaying, but is stabilized by a stronger core. Practice does make better!

According to the body fat calculator at work, I’m down 3% since the last time I weighed in, around a month ago. I don’t know how accurate body fat calculators are, but it has showed similar numbers in the past, so I’ll take it!

Like most of the world, I am also obsessed with Hamilton and I’ve been listening to the Original Broadway Cast Recording on repeat all day, every day.

I’ve had to tear myself away from this new book I’m reading thanks to my mom’s recommendation. It’s called Two Truths and a Lie by Katrina Kittle and it’s fascinating. I sat down in my backyard Monday afternoon expecting to get through a chapter or two and ended up reading for the next three hours. Whoops.

It is summer, so it’s almost time for my annual Harry Potter reread! Someone didn’t believe me that there was a July 31st and the only reason I knew for a definitive fact that yes, 100% there was indeed a July 31st was because it’s Harry Potter and JK Rowling’s birthday. Let’s not eliminate such a blessed day!

Writing time! Happy Wednesday, folks!

Coming to Life

Proprioception is the body’s ability to sense position within itself and with regards to the external environment. It’s something we lose awareness of when sitting at all, whether in front of the computer screen at work or the TV screen at home. I know. We need to work and we also need to watch TV, but giving yourself at least 30 minutes to move your body provides it with much more than calorie burn.

One of the coolest things about studying for my Personal Training certificate is understanding the complexities behind how the body functions and just how cool that is. Now when I exercise, I think about how everything ties together to create movement and it fuels me to work harder. Exercising wakes up the body, makes it move, and brings it to life.

It’s also a battle, messy, imperfect, and hard.

Next time you workout, think about your heart beating, feet meeting the pavement, limbs threading through the water, muscles powering weights, and realize how IMG_4132powerful that is!

This was something that stuck in my head during my morning swim and I found that it pushed me to move faster. I started the day with a kettlebell circuit followed by a body strength circuit that woke me up when my body would have preferred to continue sleeping.

My workout yesterday was a four mile run. It was hilly and difficult. My feet hurt from my new sneakers, which lead them to eventually fall asleep. My calves hurt from the extra pressure on them thanks to the feet. Blisters on my ankles were sore and bloody. I was a sweaty mess and yet, it felt great. Sometimes, it won’t feel great and sometimes I’ll have to walk or struggle my way through. There were obstacles and parts of it that weren’t fun, but it was something my body needed.

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Now let’s talk about food! Grilled tilapia with rice and veggies made up yesterday’s lunch after my run.

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Dinner was a chicken cutlet with creamy white sauce, spinach rice, and grilled Brussels sprouts I tossed with a mixture of olive oil and maple syrup.

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For breakfast this morning after my workout, I knew I need something to power me through a large chunk of time while I was at work. I went with an egg scramble with waffles, raspberries, and half of a banana.

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While I did have to snack on a few almonds at work and I munched on an apple right when I got home, I made a salad for myself with some grilled chicken for protein and a side of cranberry walnut bread that I grilled for an added yummy factor.

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I’m the Maid of Honor, B*tch

I had a dream last night that a man stole my sister’s “precious” graphing calculator and we were all stressed out about it. Like, she was really upset. So I hunted the man down, doing a stakeout and everything and I took him down with a taser. Over a graphic calculator, while screaming “I’m the Maid of Honor, Bitch!” After, everyone congratulated me and I would tell them, “I’m just being a good Maid of Honor.”

Dream interpretation anyone? I’ll go first. I think it’s clear that I am not recuperating from the wedding being over. It’s been a rough few months since.

On another note, I ate a peach and didn’t die. Oh? You do this on the regular? Well then you must not have a pitted fruit allergy that precludes you from eating juicy, delicious peaches. I was tentative, but persevered and turns out, I didn’t show any symptoms. Yay me!

I also really understand the Nervous System. Listen, I’ve been stuck on the “Basic Human Science” chapter for awhile now with my Personal Training studying because I am terrible at science. It’s been quite the process but now that I have a grasp on it, things are going well. I would go as far as to say that today’s moment of strength came from studying and realizing that I actually grasp the concepts. In part, this is due to proof that hard work and diligence show results. It’s also just really cool and important to understand how the body works, how complex it is, and how important it is that we treat our bodies the right way. I might be taking it a bit too far, however, because on my way to work today, I yelled at a smoking woman for damaging her muscle spindles. We were both in our cars and she couldn’t hear me, but I know she felt it.

Let’s talk about the food for the day! Breakfast was this quick homemade waffle. I smeared peanut butter and jelly all over it and enjoyed with a bowl of berries.

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It was excellent fuel for my workout today, which included a kettlebell circuit, a medicine ball circuit, and a plyometric circuit and ended with sprints. I’ve never run so hard (on the treadmill) as I did today and even though my workout was killer, I felt powerful. Nothing better than that feeling!

Lunch was leftover pizza from last night’s dinner. I chopped up a bunch of celery and peppers, along with some carrots, that I dipped in some ranch dressing to go along with the slices.

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As I mentioned, I had a peach a little while later and I lived to tell about it.

The rest of the day was filled with studying and working. Before I left, I had a cup of Greek yogurt with some grapes to tide me over until dinner. My body was overheated from sitting outside and the yogurt was actually really refreshing.

When I got home from work, I heated leftover ravioli with a couple of chicken meatballs and a stir fry of veggies.

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All good here! Hope everyone has a lovely Friday!

Weekend Catch Up!

Time for a peek back at the weekend!

Friday morning, started off with a strength workout before work. I ran through a dumbbell circuit before finishing up with a plyometric workout. My breakfast of choice was this egg, cheese, and chicken sausage sandwich with blueberries and pineapple on the side.

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After work, I met my friend Bobby in the city for a concert. On my walk over to the restaurant where we had dinner, I had to stop and capture this moment.

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It was absolutely mesmerizing, this moment where city meets nature.

Dinner before the show was a little unimpressive considering how delicious the dish sounded. I opted for mani mani in a tomato based sauce with peppers, but the fish didn’t have a ton of flavor. I could definitely recreate this at home with the right spice mixture! Sure did look good, though.

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Bobby and I have been fans of Idina Menzel for a long time now. It was great to be able to see her in concert!

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The highlight of the show, and there were a ton of amazing moments, had to be when she called up all the kids to help her sing Let it Go. I seriously almost started to cry. I think I’m going to have to go with this moment, magnified by watching someone so talented do something incredible with that talent, as my Friday moment of strength.

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I was up Saturday morning to work early. I had poached eggs over toast and a banana for my breakfast but didn’t get a picture. For lunch, I munched on a large salad and a turkey and cheddar wrap.

After work, I headed out as the sun began to go down for a magnificent run around a local lake. I don’t know why I don’t do this route more often. Sticking around my neighborhood is more convenient, but this area is still hilly so the terrain prevents a nice challenge, yet it’s not so extreme that I can elongate my run. The lake is five miles around on the nose and I felt strong throughout. It’s strange because running hasn’t left me feeling great after for the past few months, but recently things have improved and I’ve loved it again!

Extra points for running this route…this view after. Not one ounce of alteration.

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This would absolutely constitute as my Saturday moment of strength, sitting on a log and looking out into the water as my body rested.

I had a waffle with a smear of peanut butter right when I got home, then feasted on a salmon salad for my dinner. Later, we went over my neighbor’s house for some s’mores and conversation before an early to bed call for me.

Sunday was busy! I had to open at work so it was a bit of a shock to be called out of bed by my alarm. I had enough time to make eggs and some waffles for my breakfast, which helped me wake up and be okay in the alert world. Right after work, I drove to my friend Erin’s bridal shower, for whom I am honored to be one of her bridesmaids.

Erin is my first friend from college to be getting married. It’s kind of strange for the four of us to be celebrating this momentous occasion, but wonderful too! We had a great day and I think Erin enjoyed herself.

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We didn’t have time for many pictures, but here is a nice one of me and my friend/college roommate Stephanie.

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The rest of Sunday was spent at my sister’s house having dinner and watching Father of the Bride. I cannot get over how young the entire cast looks in that movie, especially Steve Martin. With the grey hair, I used to think he was so old! Not to mention how young the marrying couple are makes me feel very old. Lauren and I ordered an Indian food spread that included vegetarian samosas, garlic naan, chicken tikka masala, saag paneer, and basmati rice. It had been awhile since I had Indian and I had a real hankering for it. The food was decent, but lacking in spices like my dinner on Friday! It was nice to spend some sisterly quality time together regardless. Sister bonding made up my moment of strength on Sunday- both in regards to my actual sister and my college friends!

I kicked off Monday with another morning workout. I love my morning workouts, though it’s hard to justify waking up so early on days that I don’t have to, which is why they haven’t been happening on a consistent basis. I did a dumbbell strength workout including bicep curls, tricep extensions, alternating front raises, shoulder raises, weighted lunges, and high pulls. For my core workout, I ran through a circuit of kneeling kickbacks, tricep push ups, alternating ankle grabs, crunches, Russian twists, and side plank push ups. For cardio, I did some plyometric work that included box jumps, high knees, skater jumps, and jump roping. To finish my workout, I did a little Yoga with planks, shoulder stands, and a bridge.

My breakfast was delicious! I scrambled two eggs and two egg whites with some cheese, toasted a piece of whole wheat cinnamon raisin bread, and chopped up some strawberries and banana for sweetness.

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I packed a great lunch for work too! It consisted of a vegetable laden salad with chicken and a cup of plain Greek yogurt and oodles of red grapes. Red grapes are huge in my family right now.

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I snacked on a few celery and carrot sticks for an extra veggie kick later in the day.

For dinner, I enjoyed grilled salmon, roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, and buttered, cheesy pasta.

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My moment of strength came during my studying time as it really hits me how complicated and beautiful the body is. The particular moment of clarity was reading about muscle spindles and how they protect the body from overextending its muscles when stretching. There is a stretch reflex that kicks in as you simply lift your leg. I mean, this is simple stuff, but it never occurred to me as to how impressive it all is!

It was a happy Monday and a wonderful weekend. Any moments of strength, joy, food, or exercise you want to share?

Finding Strength: Uphill, Downhill, On the Way

As of late, I’ve been fascinated with strength. It wields so much power, both in the physical and emotional state. Through my emotional strength, I built physical strength. I don’t succeed if I don’t have the two strengths combined.

Picture this: you’re running; it’s hot; it’s uphill; it’s downhill; it’s uphill again; your legs say no more; your mind says stop; you stop.

Picture this: you’re running; it’s hot; it’s uphill; it’s downhill; it’s uphill again; your brain says no more; your legs stop; you stop.

Two scenarios that happen to me all the time when I run. Sometimes, it depends on the sneakers or the playlist. It could be what you had for breakfast or how much water you had during the day. It’s having to use the bathroom or the workout from the day before. Sometimes, it’s necessary to stop. Sometimes, it’s necessary to keep going. I can’t tell you what’s right in each situation. It’s a matter that relies on the mind-body connection. That connection deserves to be strong.

Strength does not just mean you have the will-power to go to the gym or that you lift heavy things and put them down. It doesn’t just mean that you avoided eating the cookie or you burned 400 calories on the elliptical. Strength does not just mean success and it does not just mean overcoming failure. Strength for you, does not mean what it does for me. It’s immeasurable. It can’t be defined. Strength is your own to build, to learn, to discover.

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Strength is having the will to lead a happy and healthy life to the best of your ability and to what you can control. To quote my favorite show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which you’d know if you were paying attention!), “The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.” So let’s live it our way.

If I did the math right, which could very well be wrong, then my 26th birthday is 80 days away. I decided to do something productive about it.

Every day, for the next 80, I want to reflect on at least one thing in which I found strength. At the end of each post, I am going to share what I found strength in that day. I would love if you would share along with me. It can be anything that makes you feel happy, strong, healthy, and powerful. It does not have to be about exercise or any other subject in particular. I know it won’t always for me.

Today, I ran 6 miles. Some of it was uphill, some of it was downhill, and some of it was flat. My legs were beneath me, my mind was above, and my spirit within. That run, during and after, gave me strength because it’s the first time I ran in weeks (maybe months) that I didn’t feel like I was struggling to get through. I didn’t feel the need to walk or to give up. I pushed through this block and I found my strength again. It feels good.

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Let’s go for 80 days strong!

Rainy But Warm

Rainy days are better than snowy days, at least that’s what I’m telling myself. It seems almost unfair that on one of the first warm days of the year, it pours. I won’t complain so long as it stays this warm. Although I was the dummy who wore really cute shoes that won’t hold up in water. Let’s see if they recover. 

Breakfast this morning was more scrambled eggs. I like keeping them simple by mixing them with a little butter in the pan. I sprinkled some cheese on top and enjoyed my eggs with peanut buttered toast and some berries.

  

I found a new dressing and now I’m obsessed. It’s some kind of red blush thing and it has such a tasty tang to it. My salad this day had the usual veggie medley with some leftover tilapia on top. On the side, I had a piece of falafel and a Baggie of popcorn. The up close and personal pictures of salads make it look that much better.

  

As much as I love home-cooking, sometimes all you need in life is pizza. Especially on rainy days! I had roasted red pepper with sautéed spinach and mushrooms. Delicious!

  

When I woke up for the gym this morning, it wasn’t raining yet and was actually quite pleasant, however dark. I worked through a pretty intense strength workout using the stability ball and medicine ball. My abs were burning by the time I jumped in the pool to get in my laps. I did the same routine I’ve done the past couple of times and I think I’m ready to mix things up again. I can’t get over what a big difference swimming had added to my workouts and how my body feels- so much healthier and not as sore after! 

Hey, guess what!? It’s Friday! Happy weekend!