workout wednesday

For workout Wednesday, we have a barbell circuit.

Barbell Circuit

Perform each exercise in five sets of five reps and go heavy, so long as you keep your form.

Go forth, and be sweaty.

No April Fool’s Here! It’s A Review!

I’ve retired from April Fool’s Day because I know how to learn my lesson. A few year’s ago when my sister was living in Argentina, I decided it would be funny to email her that I was feeling too overwhelmed and would be dropping out of school. This would be ridiculous on many levels, but primarily because my parents never would have allowed it unless something was seriously wrong. Now, at the bottom of the post, I wrote APRIL FOOLS in huge font, and she should have been suspicious given my propensity for humor and past reputation, but she was thrown off I guess with the time change. Anyways, it happened to be a day she was traveling so I couldn’t even reach her to explain it was all a joke, she only realized when she looked down at her ticket and saw what the date was. I’m no longer allowed to prank…her at least.

As promised, I have a book review to share with you all. I took out Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker from the library and quickly became entranced by the topic. It’s a short book from the perspective of a pubescent teem girl who is battling the repercussions of growing older and the changes that come with it, along with a massive alternation in the way the world works.

It’s never explicitly explained exactly what has happened, how, and why, but time has slowed. Days grow longer, as do nights. Among the chaos, fear, and danger of this realization, species die, illnesses arise, and crops can no longer be grown naturally. Tensions rise between those who remain on “clock time” and the few, now ostracized, who prefer to live by the sun.

It’s interesting to read how people acclimate to even the most extreme changes. What once seems normal, is foreign. Things like pineapple-gasp!- are no longer. Grapes cost over 100/pound. The sun is to fierce to be outside and people work, go to school, and live their daily lives in the darkness. Personalities shift as well as some relationships crumble and others grow stronger. Despite this, many people adjust, though there are always those who don’t.

Among the changes to the earth’s rotation, life still progresses for this little girl. She still has those awkward moments puberty and being a middle schooler provide. She still has crushes on boys and complicated friendships. She comes to realize that her parents are human, susceptible to weaknesses and changes like everyone else. Loss and happiness are ever present and the daily ministrations of life still seem like the biggest things in the world, even with the larger things happening in the world that have nothing to do with her, because it’s her life and aren’t we all like this?

The perspective of the book seems old and wise, which makes sense because it’s the little girl looking back at this time of her life. Much of what she discusses is seeped in observations influenced by hindsight. Her reflections are beautiful and thoughtful. With the threat of Global Warming growing ever present and the changes in the atmosphere and weather far more severe, this topic is definitely something to consider. 

This weekend, I also finished watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The show is a Netflix original comedy created and produced by Tina Fey. The premise is about a young woman, played by Ellie Kemper who was Erin in The Office and was also in Bridesmaids, who was kidnapped as a young girl by a cult leader who tells four women that there has been an apocalypse and the bomb shelter he has them locked in is the only source protecting them. The first moments of the show reveals the “mole women” being rescued and then becoming viral sensations. On a publicity tour in New York, Kimmy Schmidt decides she wants to lead an adventurous life and chooses to stay in my New York rather than go back to Indiana. Now she is an almost thirty year old woman who has the cultural knowledge of a fifteen year old girl, who has been damaged by this heartbreaking incident, yet remains optimistic.

The show is quirky and weird. The premise alone as a comedy seems outrageous. My favorite part are the supporting characters, The sassy roommate, the jaded landlord, the wealthy and shallow boss, and so on. I also think Ellie Kemper does an excellent job, but it’s the cast of characters that make the show worthwhile. The episodes are about twenty minutes long, very weird, but full of smart jokes, and genius guest star appearances. I cannot ruin this because the shock value alone is so clever.

I’m sad that I’ve already finished the season, but it left off at a satisfying point. I’m still intrigued and want to know what happens next and I think that is a mark of any quality show. Thus far, the jokes are funny. The characters endearing, and the writing clever. For me, it’s not quite at the level of Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, or The Mindy Project, but it certainly has the makings and the potential to get there. But honestly, it’s not like Tina Fey can do bring anyways. Watch!

Breakfast was a little weird this morning. After the gym, I ate a hard-boiled egg, but we were having a bagel morning at work and so I figured one in like three years would not do harm. I chose a sesame one with a smear of cream cheese and it was quite good. No time for pictures though.

Lunch was a simple salad with some grilled salmon on top. Since I had a carb-heavy breakfast and ice cream cake to celebrate a birthday, I felt satisfied by just the salad until I got home from work and ate a pear. Thankfully, I still seem fine to eat them. Last week my eyes were red, raw, and sensitive, but I started to take an allergy pill before night and it cleared right up. I might even be brave and try an apple, but only when I’m home and Benadryl is accessible.

  

Dinner was simple and tasty. Grilled chicken paired with leftover brown rice, roasted brussel sprouts, and a dollop of leftover cauliflower gratin. Delicious! The trick to these sprouts are salt, pepper, and a mixture of olive oil and maple syrup.

 

 My workout this morning began with a body strength workout. I performed four sets of ten moves with step ups, squats, lunges, kickbacks, burpees, push ups, mountain climbers, mermaid raises, hip lifts, ankle grabs, v ups, and Russian twists. I did a few planks before jumping into the pool for my cardio. I switched things up just a little by doing three sets of sprints. Very tiring, but very refreshing. I’m just loving the effects of hemming on my body when mixed with running and strength training. I also went for a brisk walk when I got home from work because at 40*, it felt spectacularly warm!

Sing Til It Hurts!

This morning on my commute, I decided to be festive and listen to a little Wicked-she’s green!- on my way to work. Despite the rain and being tired, I can’t help myself but sing as loud as I can whenever Wicked is playing. I may have gotten a little overzealous during my performance as mid belt, I bit my tongue. As every talented performer knows, the show must go on and I persevered, but I can’t say I was feeling 100%….

When my alarm went off this morning, I didn’t even process it and fell back to sleep, waking 10 minutes later quite abruptly and having to scramble out of bed. I was still tired after downing a glass of water, eating my hard-boiled egg and cheesestick, and drinking my coffee. I am usually fairly awake on my ride to the gym, but I was feeling the sleepiness all the way. It wasn’t until I was through my first round of my body strength circuit that I felt awake. A combination of squats, lunges, kickbacks, step ups, push ups, mountain climbers, mermaid raises, hip lifts, ankle grabs, Russian twists, and bicycle crunches will do that to a girl. I went through the circuit four times, twelve reps each and felt geared up for my hit of cardio.

The water temperature has been great these past few times I’ve been, not too cold at the start, but not too warm that it’s uncomfortable once I get going. I swam for about thirty minutes, feeling stronger as I kept going. I was able to do a couple of sprint laps to end my workout and felt great to start my day.

For breakfast, I whipped up this delectable bowl of oats. Swirled with dark chocolate peanut butter, jelly, banana, strawberries, and blueberries, it was a warming bowl of goodness. Look at that beauty!

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I came back for more miso soup my sister had prepared. It is so good with a little chili sauce stirred in! I paired it with half of a ham and cheese sandwich and a medley of veggie sticks with a little laughing cow cheese triangle for dipping. A lime seltzer was a refreshing accompaniment.

photo 2Dinner included a spinach chicken salad tossed in poppyseed dressing with walnuts, craisins, peppers, tomato, and cucumber. On the side, I chopped up some zucchini medallions and drizzled them in a mixture of spices and olive oil. So tasty!

The weather was quite strange as it went from down pouring rain to being warm and sunny to more rain and to a touch of sun but bitter cold. I will take it all as long as there is no more SNOW (for the season).

Grape Adventures of My Childhood

As I was tossing a grape into the air to catch it, my mother took the opportunity to tell me how I almost died as a child. Apparently, I was an enthusiastic eater- spoiler alert: still am- and I got over excited for the grape and began to choke. She had to slap me on the back as hard as she could until it finally plopped out into her hand. The kicker is that after I got over my initial shock, I just took the grape back and popped it into my mouth. Nothing to see here.

Speaking of food, this morning, I had a few extra minutes in the morning because I didn’t have to pack up my lunch, so I scrambled up some eggs, threw a slice of muenster cheese on top and enjoyed it with some toast and fruit. It was an excellent, filling breakfast to help me refuel after quite a grueling workout.

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For my workout, I decided to alternate strength and cardio circuits. Starting with strength, I ran through two sets of dumbbell exercises of ten reps before hopping on the treadmill for twelve minutes, running a mile and a bit. Next, I went back to perform the same set of dumbbell exercises, raising the weight and lowering the reps to eight for two sets. Back on the treadmill, I ran for another twelve minutes, raising the pace just a tad. (I just wrote that as twelve miles by accident, which would have been obnoxious had I just said that so casually). One last strength circuit was two sets of six reps at the heaviest weight. By the end of it, my arms and shoulders were aching. Twelve more minutes on the treadmill at the fastest pace, finishing off for a total of 3.25 miles for the whole thing. To round things off, I ended with a couple of minutes planking and left the gym nice and sweaty.

Lunch this afternoon was very exciting because we ordered out for soup! I chose Mulligatawny, which is a curry-based soup and delicious! I enjoyed it with a bite of a small side salad and a multi-grain roll. Funny that we would choose soup on the warmest day of the year thus far..

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Last night, we headed over to do some final preparations on my sister’s wedding dress. We came home to have a roasted chicken dinner with stuffing, spinach rice, Brussels sprouts, squash, and peppers. A great way to end the evening!

It should be noted that it was so nice out today-almost in the sixties!- that I would have driven home with all my car windows down had the majority of my commute not been on the highway. It was a little warm even without my jacket locked up in my car that got far more sun than I did, so I had to turn on the AC, but only a little. I won’t complain. Bring on the melting! Bring on the sunshine! Bring on the warmth!

Alarm Clock Blues

What’s better or I suppose, worse? Waking up from a deep sleep at the alarm clock or waking up on your own, seeing you still have an hour or so, then waking up to your alarm a little drowsy? I’ve been living the latter lately I guess because when my alarm went off this morning, it took me a long time to realize what it was. I was actually wondering why someone was calling me. When I realized it was time to wake up, it was a little harsh.

I’ve heard that some people like to set multiple alarms every few minutes until they finally wake up, but I tend to be a one-and-done type of a gal. On the rare occasion, this can backfire as I think I’m just resting my eyes for a moment and I wake up twenty minutes in a panic. It’s best for me just to jump up and get going before I process what’s happening.

No matter how long you’ve slept or how well, if you wake up from an alarm or anything unnatural, it is painful! But usually only for the first few minutes- just like running!

I woke up to another hard-boiled egg and cheesestick combination, along with a tall glass of water and a small cup of coffee. I bundled up nice and warm to step out into the freezing cold!

At the gym, I ran through two quick strength circuits using medicine and stability balls. The first circuit included twists, overhead squats, lunges with arrows, kickbacks, and mermaid raises. The second was rollouts, hip lifts on the stability ball, hundreds, Russian twists, sit ups, and push ups. I had one of those fitness pride moments because for the first time, I did a big girl push up all the way to the ground! I went through three sets of twelve reps and every push up was perfect. I’m not certain how I got there, other than determination and practice. Set fitness goals to keep you motivated! They’re a hell of a lot of fun once you accomplish them!

Today’s workout included a longer bout of cardio as I hopped on the treadmill for a longer run. I fit in 37 minutes- an odd number- and felt invigorated after. Running can sometimes be a hassle to get through, but I always feel great after. I also really like that I reach my steps quota before 7:00 AM!

My tasty breakfast reward was a pre-baked oatmeal I heated up in the microwave. Stuffed with oats, dark chocolate peanut butter, mashed banana, raspberries, and blueberries, it was a healthy indulgence! I topped it with even more peanut butter and a smear of jelly.

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Lunch was an odd assortment of delicacies, each delicious but enjoyed individually. I started with a bowl of wonton soup I picked up from Trader Joes. Very tasty, especially the dumplings and broth, but I definitely think I can make this on my own with a ton more veggies! Knowing the veggie levels in the soup would not meet my standards, I had chopped up some veggie sticks. To top it all off, I toasted a corn English muffin with a tablespoon of peanut butter.

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There was a misdemeanor with the crockpot not being turned on to brew the barbecue pulled chicken that was planned, so we turned to leftovers. I ate the rest of my quesadilla with a small salad, asparagus and peppers, and these green bean fries we found at the supermarket. Not too shabby!

photo 3I’m definitely feeling the end-of-the-week exhaustion. The excess of snow and dreary weather must be getting to me. With the Red Sox truck on its way down to Florida for Spring Training and the day’s growing longer in what sort of looks like sunshine, I’ll just keep dreaming of nicer weather.