go forth…and be sweaty

I talk an awful lot about strength training around here and while it is an integral part of any training routine, cardio is still important too.

For me, cardio is often a long run or session on the spin bike, but on days when I want something to top off my weight training, I’ll turn to quick cardio bursts.

You can perform the circuit below anywhere between 1 and 5 times, depending on your timeframe and how your body feels. This is also a great workout you can do outside, at home, on vacation, or wherever life takes you. All you’d need is a jump rope, but even that motion can be mimicked without.

Sweat fiercely.

Cardio without Machines

*I apologize in advance for the triple whammy of burpees.

Rain Drops, Leaves, and Tears

I don’t usually mind running in the rain, but yesterday it was cold and leaves were everywhere. I could easily envision myself slipping and falling to my death a badly injured ankle. Instead, I knew I had to take it inside to the treadmill.

You can see I handled this very well.

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Rather than straight up run, I decided to mix things up a bit, which resulted in a great workout! I started off with a mile run, alternating between a flat incline and a slight incline. A body strength circuit followed with squats, lunges, kickbacks, tricep dips, push ups, supermans, and hip raises. Another mile on the treadmill, this time focused on alternating speeds and another round of the body strength circuit. My third and last mile went back and forth between running on an incline and sprinting. By the end, I was exhausted, but completed one last circuit and ended with a few Yoga moves to cool down.

I came home to make another salad with a black bean burger on top.

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For dinner, I made a steak fajita stir fry that included bell peppers, spinach, mushrooms, and zucchini.

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On another dreary morning, I decided to make something a little fancy. I realized I haven’t eaten oatmeal in awhile, so I went with a fall angle with some apple cinnamon. First step, I chopped up an apple and tossed it in a bowl with cinnamon, vanilla, a pat of butter, and just a teaspoon of brown sugar.

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While my base ingredients for my oatmeal was simmering, I grilled the apples, which filled my kitchen with a wonderful smell!

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The oatmeal finished cooking, so I poured it into a bowl with a tablespoon of chopped walnuts and raisins and laid the apples on top.

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Once everything was stirred together, it was time to eat!

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Yes, thank you.

Traipsing About: Words and Workouts

I’ve been watching quite a bit of Gilmore Girls lately, thanks Netflix, and I’m really enjoying it. When it was on, I would watch an episode here or there, but it was never one of my core shows. The dialogue moves fast, but that’s one of the aspects I like about it. As a writer, I am trying to learn more about how dialogue flows and pertains to certain characters, so really, it’s a learning process when I watch…

One thing I’ve noticed is how frequently they use the word “traipsing.” This might seem like an odd stand-out, but the emphasis stems from the fact that I learned how to properly pronounce traipsing from the show. It’s difficult to convey to you my history of mispronouncing words, mostly because the element of humor and appreciation would be best viewed from hearing it. There was the “compromise” situation that started it all, pronounced by me, “com. promise.” Most recently, I learned that the word “acquiesce is not pronounced in the manner I always assumed (and to be honest, my pronunciation is far prettier). I tended to stretch out the word when apparently it’s just a jumble. I can’t even explain how I would say “traipsing,” but I’ve learned and now Gilmore Girls won’t let me forget it. Lesson learned!

Onto some exercise talk, which starts with the swim I did last Thursday where I last left you. My incorporation of sprints in my swim time is fun, necessary, and exhausting. It does make swimming, which has the tendency to be boring and repetitive lap after lap, move more quickly and adds another challenge. It wipes me out in a good way and I feel more satisfied when leaving.

The more I exercise and it has been an ingrained habit, the less effect exercise has on my body. In order to do real “damage,” and I mean that on a positive level, I need to keep upping the challenges and this becomes difficult. Sprints are one way I blast through a plateau. I add them in my swimming, running, biking, and jump roping and I’m planning on including them in my strength workouts for this month as well. I’ve mentioned quite a bit about Tabata intervals, which means you perform one move for twenty seconds, rest for ten seconds, over a course of four minutes. This is an effective workout and should be included with the more stable exercises, such as a longer, steadier run, swim, bike ride, etc. Having the body go from a resting state to a high intensity state has an awesome effect on your body and fitness level. I like to leave my workouts with a thick glaze of sweat coating my body, which has proved more difficult than it has in the past. Having to up the ante may seem like an annoying, difficult process, but I see it as an accomplishment and challenge to go even further.

On Friday, I headed to the gym to do a series of strength workouts. I started on the barbells doing a series of key moves like deadlifts, bench presses, squat presses, and leg presses. Since I was crunched for time, I moved onto a couple of kettlebell circuits that get in both strength and cardio exercises.

Before the fun adventures on Saturday night, I went out for a run. I started off feeling ambitious about the hills, but my body was tired and not on the same page, so I took a few of them at a slow run or even a fast walk. Hill runs are another element I want to include in my workout a few times a week. I’ll start at one and see how it goes and hopefully add more the better I get at it.

I do love working out and it is my biggest stress relievers, however, I have no shame in informing you that I planned my rest day last week to fall on my birthday. I was too busy celebrating with friends and family to fit in any time at the gym. The effects of a relaxing, fun rest day was just what I needed to rejuvenate and I headed into the gym on Monday raring to go! I got through a strength workout that incorporated some moves using medicine balls and the stability balls, including that burpee move I couldn’t get through last week. I followed up my strength workout with another swim and felt nice and tired, but energized on my way home.

I renovated my strength workouts a bit and on Tuesday, I tried out my new dumbbell routine using the stability ball. This helps my core while strengthening my muscles. I did a circuit that included shoulder presses, lying tricep extensions, shoulder flies, and bench presses. I was once again a bit overly ambitious and attempted to perform some plank rows with my feet on the stability ball. This will have to be an accomplishment I work towards and instead had no trouble balancing on the ground. After four sets of twelve, I moved on to do two kettlebell circuits that focused on strength and core work. To end, I tried to jump rope, but for some reason, I wasn’t in my groove and couldn’t keep a consistent pace.

I’m headed now to do a Yoga sequence before traipsing* out for a run. Here’s to hoping I don’t slip on any wet, gross leaves. You’ll hear about it if I do!

*I realize that traipsing means moving without care, but I couldn’t resist the pun!

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!