Beat The Heat

We’re experiencing a heat wave, folks! While I just want to hide out and sleep all day, that’s not really an option. None of the ideas below are revolutionary, but sometimes it’s nice to have them laid out for you.

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Working Out in the Summer

Don’t: stay inside in the air conditioning, lying on your bed, unmoving.

Kidding.

As I mentioned, I headed out for a run on Saturday afternoon because the temperature was not going to drop even as the sun went down and I wanted to fit it in. Since it was Saturday, I was well-equipped time wise to prepare for my run, but I’m not sure it was the best idea I’ve ever had.

Friday, I was smarter because I stuck to strength training in my much cooler basement and was not in the direct sun, or any sun at all.

Here’s what I do when the sun is not my friend:

  1. Drink water
  2. Eat a satisfying breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack
  3. Lather on the sun-block
  4. Wear a hat or stick to the shade
  5. Take it slow
  6. Swim!
  7. Go in the morning
  8. Workout inside

Some of these ideas speak for themselves. When exercising, or just existing, you need to drink a lot of water- more than that!- and eat nutritious and satisfying food.

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Sun-block is something that I am working on in particular this year. I don’t tan so much as freckle and at this point, they’re merging into one giant one! I will burn though, this fragile Irish skin…And yes I did apply this sunblock at 9:00pm all in the name for the pic.

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Now that I dye my hair, wearing a hat out in the sun is essential. One would think it would be good to have my blonde locks soaking up the sun, but too much exposure actually hurts my hair and ruins the dye. Also, when I was running, I was fortunate to have a lot of shady spots, but I really felt the heat once I was in the direct sun.

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Not every workout has to be bone-crushing. Hot days are the times to take it easy and go slow and steady. Focus more on mileage than speed, aim for endurance versus power or strength, rest more in-between sets.

If you have access to a gym, this is the time to workout inside, even though summertime screams outdoor workouts! I love running outside (as much as one can love running), but HATE the treadmill. Not a shocking revelation, I know, but I’ll even run outside in the winter so long as there’s not too much ice and snow.

Or you can just be like Lily and go for the naked baby look. I only recommend that if you’re a baby.

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summer workout tips

It’s summer! We’re in the thick of the heat, from the east coast to the west. I love the sun and the vibrancy of summer, but I do not love being hot. Building up a sweat at the gym is not the same as being sticky and uncomfortable out-and-about.

I will always choose running outside on an outdoor track or around the neighborhood  than being stuck on the treadmill, but how do I stay safe?

  1. Drink a lot of water. Why does this tip keep popping up on my lists? Why do I keep making lists? One, because water is the most important thing you put into your body. Two, because it looks better than lengthy paragraphs. Drink water throughout the day in preparation of that after work run or workout or maintain hydration throughout the day, then start your day with two glasses before your morning run.
  2. Dress appropriately. I’ll workout in a tank top and shorts during the winters of Boston, or at least leggings, as I’ve never come around to the idea of sweatpants, but this is especially prevalent during the summer. When working out, comfort needs to be optimal. Clothing should be breezy and prevent you from such atrocities as chafing.
  3. Go early in the morning or later in the evening. Regardless, be safe. The heat of the day (in LA is pretty much always, but it’s better in the morning or before the sun goes down) can be brutal, so try to find the sweet spot that works best for your schedule. Unless you thrive in the brutal heat and humidity (who are you?!), you’ll need it to survive. *I actually love running at night in the summer, but this is not practicing what my mother calls situational awareness, as I’d be on my own. As my favorite podcast, My Favorite Murder, says, I need to “stay sexy and not get murdered.”
  4. Sunblock. I need to be better about this. My upper body has quite the tan thanks to all my outdoor runs (and okay, time lounging on the beach), but I do try to ‘block before I get out there, even if the sun isn’t fully out yet because, like most things in life, sunlight is better in moderation- too much or too little can be detrimental to your health.
  5. Mix it up. When I headed to the track the other day, it was still hot out around 6:30 at night. I was hot and not up for a long run, so I mixed it up with intervals of running and walking. This can actually be more effective to heighten your heart rate and I found it more manageable to know walking was only a few minutes away than a steady run.
  6. Hike, Swim, or Strength Train. Running is great cardio exercise, but it is not the end all be all. After six years, I still have a love-hate relationship with running that will never quite be defined. I love that I can do it easily, quickly, and without fuss, but sometimes it can be brutal to get through. For an outdoor workout, try hiking as it will tend to provide shade and better allow you to be present in nature; swim laps, splash around, or just tread water, as it is one of the best exercises for all types of people, but beware if you, like me, dye your hair blonde, because green looks good on very few; body weight train and use any and all equipment available to you- I’ll do yoga, go through a quick series of bodyweight exercises, jump rope, or sneak equipment outside if the AC is malfunctioning and the room is crowded.
  7. Eat well before and after. Dehydration is not the only pitfall of a heavy sweat session. Your energy stores will need to be replenished with both sugars and salt post-workout, especially when out in the sun. I personally don’t drink gatorade or juice because I’d rather enjoy my calories in other ways, but before my workout, I make sure to eat a healthy snack like peanut/almond butter and baby carrots or a piece of fruit after my workouts. In a crunch, a popsicle is never a bad way to go! *Of course this works better for afternoon/evening workouts. I usually workout in the morning and don’t eat right before, mainly because I sleep as long as possible, but my meals the night before are healthy and well-rounded to help me get through.
  8. Listen to your body. One of the most obvious pieces of advice you’ll find popping up on healthy living posts, but one of the hardest to follow. At some point, I’ll address my lack of concentration inspired by my phone and the cultural idea of “multi-tasking,” but for now I’ll stay on topic. Your body wants to tell you everything you need to know, but we don’t know how to listen well. Whether it needs a certain food, more water, more exercise, less, the body knows. If you’re out running or exercising and you start to feel dizzy, light-headed, or an undefined “wrongness,” stop. If it feels too hot and stuffy before you start to workout, go inside. If you absolutely can’t bare to be indoors after a long workday of sitting in a frigid, unnatural air conditioned environment, keep the intensity to an easy/medium level, length of time brief, and enjoy. Sometimes, the best part of summer can just be a walk around the neighborhood.

 

 

Strength in Nature

Yesterday’s workout consisted of a strength training circuit that focused on moves meant to support the big six I did the day before. I focused on higher reps and lower weights, running through the circuit four times with twelve reps each. I did bicep curls, shoulder raises, tricep extensions, front raises, weighted lunges, and deadlift squats to high raises. After, I ran through a core circuit, same amount of sets and reps- kneeling kickbacks, mermaid raises, v push ups, hundreds to v ups, hip lifts, and bicycle crunches. For cardio, I hopped in the pool for a 40 minute lap swim.

At home, I was glad to have leftovers for lunch so that I wasn’t in a rush to get off to work. This chickpea dish is delicious, though next time, I think I’ll be more contemplative when it comes to spices. I like spices, but I don’t know how to utilize them in my recipes, so more research must be done! A piece of buttered raisin toast and a cup of plain Greek yogurt with a spoonful of peanut butter and a handful of grapes completed my meal.

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I’m loving all the standing work entails! My hips and butt don’t feel as sore from sitting all day and I can already feel my legs grow stronger as they get accustomed to standing so much again. Nothing was quite like teaching when it came to standing/running around all day!

Dinner was a plate with crockpot buffalo chicken, broccoli, asparagus, and red peppers with a drizzle of ranch over everything. I had a separate bowl for some macaroni and cheese. After a long day, it was a great way to end things.

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I curled up to read for awhile after before drifting off to sleep.

This morning, I took the time to whip up my favorite peanut butter pancakes. They were delightful topped with more peanut butter, jelly, and shredded coconut and paired with a side of bananas and blueberries. I’m still full with these protein and nutrient dense cakes! They’re quite pretty too!

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Now’s time to talk about what gave me strength yesterday, something I promised in another post, but didn’t get to it last night. After work, I was walking outside with my friend when we saw lightning a way’s away from us. It was strange because there was no thunder and it wasn’t raining, so it was just one of those heat things. I tried to get a picture that captured the beauty of the illuminated night sky, but I don’t think I did it justice.

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Standing in a field, surrounded by nature, filled me with the realization of how insignificant the small and petty things in life are. We always need reminders of this. The gift of having seen this lightning show for just a few minutes helped me to see that strength is not always something we seek. Sometimes it entails going out into the world and living in it. These small blessings surround us every day.

*A brief aside: There may be good in this world, but terrible things do still happen, like earlier this morning during the news broadcast. I don’t know why we keep hurting each other and why we remain immobilized from making changes. Living in a world where we’re afraid to live in it (and validated in that fear), is not much of a life at all. For now, we can focus on the victims. Be kinder, love harder, do good.