Celebrating the Small Things

After breakfast yesterday, I got started on my workout. Up first was a dumbbell circuit that included bicep curls, standing tricep extensions, shoulder raises, weighted lunges, alternating front raises, and inverted rows. I performed each move in 6 sets of 8 reps and felt strong after my rest day on Sunday. For something a little extra, I went through a plyometrics/cardio circuit of box jumps, jump rope, rope swings, push ups, and sit up twists.

To top things off for the day, I hopped in the pool for a swim. I’ve learned the hard way that my watch does not track swimming, so I still have to count laps to make sure I’m staying on track. It can be a pain, but I break the laps down into groups of twelve, as each set is 1/3 of a mile. When I started, it took me a good 17 minutes to finish each round of 12 laps, which totaled approximately a 51 minute mile. Swimming is slow, especially for me, but I’ve been growing stronger and faster as I practice and learn good form. Yesterday, I swam a consistent 13 minute 1/3 mile swim and put in a little extra effort that last bit to make up a 39 minute mile. That is three year’s dedication right there! I think, when you put in effort and determination, we’re allowed to celebrate the small things as much as the big.

Whether in swimming, running, or lifting as of late, I’ve been noticing myself growing stronger and I take a lot of pride in that. For exercise to be effective and consistent, you have to find what works for you, what you enjoy, and be mindful of how it takes care of your body!

This should be the motto for anything we do in life. It’s hit me lately that if I put as much work, consistency, and determination into other things in my life as I do exercise, I can really make things happen. I consider myself lucky that the greatest challenger to myself and what I do in life, is myself. Not everyone can say that.

To recover from my workout, I enjoyed a lunch of leftover whole wheat spaghetti with peppers, mushrooms, and spinach along with a piece of parmesan crusted tilapia I had prepared the day before. I will share that recipe soon!

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While grocery shopping on Sunday, I checked out the sushi section and decided to try something different. I’m new and unadventurous to the sushi world, but I went with the spicy tuna roll and thought it was delicious! For an extra hit of veggies and protein, I enjoyed a side of carrot and celery sticks with peanut butter for dipping.

Breakfast this morning was a one-egg, two egg-white omelet with spinach, peppers, tomato, and jalapeño and some cheese. I paired the delicacy with two pieces of buttered whole wheat toast and a side of fresh blueberries and raspberries.

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With a little blogging and digesting, I’m off to the gym to fit in another great workout!

Caitlin Walked Into Whole Foods and Sampled ALL the Cheese

The heat wave has broken for the time being, but yesterday was HOT. I spent most of the morning studying, locked away in my air conditioned room. I was all about learning about the heart, which by the way, so less complicated than the muscular system, when I heard a strange noise ring out. I looked around and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, but upon further instruction, found that Bandit was lying under my bed, snoring. In case you didn’t know, Bandit is a cat.

Other than studying, it was a slow moving day due in part to the heat but also my laziness. I did hop into the pool for a few minutes. At 84 degrees, it felt cold! This is a testament to how hot it was. I fully appreciate that in just a few months, I will be complaining about how cold it is and the snow. There’s never a happy medium anymore.

Once I cooled down my body and the day started to turn into night, there was a breeze blowing around in my backyard, so I took off for a run. Yes, when the breeze was blowing, it felt spectacular. When the breeze was not blowing there seemed to be barely any air at all. By the time I got home, I was in need of some water and lying down time to recuperate. My body was slick with sweat, which is a wonderful feeling (except for the whole no breathing thing). Suffice to say, I drank about a gallon of water after.

Going back to breakfast, I woke up with a craving for waffles. I seriously don’t know where this comes from as I’ve never been a huge maple syrup fan before. Maybe I’m preparing for fall. I scrambled some eggs and made a big bowl of fruit to go with it.

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I had to stop at Whole Foods to pick up a few items for dinner. I should never be allowed to roam free at Whole Foods. I ended up wandering the cheese aisle which offers a TON of samples and coming home with a slice of pizza to go with lunch. This is low on the scale of what could have happened. I was disappointed there was no offering of chocolate samples. The rest of lunch was leftover swordfish, veggies, and rice.

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My sister and brother-in-law came over for dinner. The antipasto pepper salad is the reason I went to Whole Foods in the first place. We discovered such a thing over the weekend. It includes multi-colored peppers, provolone cheese, an assortment of  meats (in this case pepperoni and prosciutto), marinated in Italian dressing. Delectable! The rest of the meal included a giant salad, steak tips, and roasted cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.

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We had cookies I picked up from, yep, Whole Foods, for dessert. Conversation centered on Harry Potter and which houses our family would be sorted into. Both my parents are Hufflepuffs (or as Nick brands them, Hufflepuffles); Lauren, Nick, and I are Ravenclaws; and my brother Jimmy is a Gryffindor. My mom also wants it noted that Mac, the dog, is a Hufflepuff by default and Bandit is a Slytherin because he is definitely cunning, which is a nice way of saying evil. Of course this conversation was started when I mentioned that JK Rowling declared us to be in the Age of the Hufflepuff.

Now time to study the Respiratory System! Lungs are important, ya’ll!

Buggy The Slayer of Absolutely No One

Whoa boy! Yesterday’s workouts took a lot out of me, but they were powerful! After I finished breakfast and blogging, I got myself to the gym for a strength workout. I went through my go-to power moves and my muscles were not disappointed.

You may remember last week when I did this same workout and tried to deadlift with 45 lbs on each side and couldn’t do it. I felt strong during my entire session, so I decided to give it another try. Granted, I really had to pump myself up, but I did it! Success! It was really a moment of pride that had me grinning and sweating from head to toe. The trick is to maintain a firm grip on the barbell while lifting so much weight. The rest of the workout went great too and I finished with a core workout that included curtsy lunges, push ups, mermaid raises, leg raises, and Russian twists. Phew!

After my workout, I hopped in the shower because I was super sweaty and gross. I know it’s strange, but I love this feeling if only because it shows the effort I put into it. If I’m not sweaty, I feel as though I haven’t pushed myself.

This salad came together in no time thanks to leftover tilapia. It included sweet baby lettuce, shredded carrots, chopped red pepper and cucumber, chickpeas, walnuts, feta cheese, and red pepper flakes. So good! I enjoyed with a piece of cinnamon raisin toast. In lieu of the apple which wasn’t tasting fresh, I enjoyed a few pieces of pineapple that added just the right touch of sweetness.

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It was a major day of studying and I felt accomplished! I’ve moved onto learning about the cardiorespiratory system, which I find to be a lot less complicated, thank all that is good and pure. I did find this tidbit about inspiration, which is actually just inhalation, striking.

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As you can tell, I turned this into a Snapchat moment. What stands out to me is how inspiration in the physical sense means to breathe, while in the figurative sense means to be motivated. We really do draw breath, both literally and figuratively, in the things that inspire us.

The rest of the day included more studying, some babysitting, a dip in the pool, and maybe my favorite part of the day: kickboxing!

I haven’t gotten a chance to take this class again thanks to work and other obligations, but I was so glad I got to tonight! Maybe part of me is drawn to the fact that I have a lot to improve upon when it comes to my kickboxing skills, or that I just need to take some aggression out on the air by punching and kicking. I think it really is just me channeling my inner Buffy. *Note: As I typed “Buffy,” I accidentally typed Buggy and I found it to be too amusing. Just call me Buggy the Vampire Slayer. (Except, please don’t try to bite me).

Anyways, I was a sweaty mess by the end of the class and my arms are sore, but I really did feel powerful.

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Do I look at all intimidating?

As for my moment of strength, I cannot decide between my deadlift achievement or my kickboxing fun, so I’ll go with both! No matter if you’re a seasoned pro or starting new, you will surprise yourself by how much power you have in you. Just have to try it first!

Dinner included a fresh piece of swordfish that was marinated in some teriyaki sauce and grilled to perfection. We paired it with a few Chinese food items, broccoli, and spinach.

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The rest of my night included some more studying, writing, and doing much of nothing at all. Happy Hump Day!