Fun Weekend Things

Welcome back from the weekend! I hope it treated you right and that Monday is doing the same.

My weekend started early Friday afternoon when I got off work and headed to a local amusement park with my mom. I’m not a huge daredevil in real life, but I do love a thrilling roller coaster!

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On Saturday, I started my day with this egg roll-up stuffed with scrambled eggs, bell peppers, mozzarella, and turkey pepperoni for a total of 3 points.

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I spent a good chunk of the day reading a mystery I couldn’t put down! For once, I wasn’t disappointed by the ending and it was a solid page-turner. I did tear myself away to fit in a great workout I was really feeling.

Doing a lot of barbell work, I focused on heavy weights 3 sets of 10 reps and did 100 jumps on the jump rope after each exercise. 5 upper body exercises, 5 lower body, and 2 core, which totaled to 1200 jumps! I enjoyed mixing the strength and cardio because it kept things moving and didn’t feel tedious. I also worked up a good sweat.

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For lunch, I heated up some chicken and veggie potstickers with lots of veggies- bell peppers, broccoli slaw, and bok choy- with a touch of hoisin sauce. Altogether, the meal was 7 points.

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I headed down to the park to meet up with my sister and her family and spent some quality baby time. She was feeling the not-so-hot weather and promptly napped.

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By dinner time, I was hungry! I grilled up chicken and veggies and splurged with some whole wheat pasta. I mixed everything with a lighter alfredo sauce and a sprinkling of cheese for a total of 13 points!

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Since it’s the weekend and I had most of my weekly points remaining, I very much savored some ice cream, while watching a movie- Table 19- which didn’t get great reviews but was free on HBO. I actually thought it was cute.

Sunday morning started with a cheese omelette, piece of toast, and raspberries.

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Then it was time for a muggy run! 3.1 solid miles of sweat.

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The rest of the afternoon was spent celebrating my Grandma’s birthday. It was nice to spend time with family and celebrate the day.

Happy birthday, Grandma!

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.

faster, stronger

I’m growing more nervous because – if you’ll remember yesterday’s blurb about the fly in my room – it appears that it might be stalking me. Why would I assume such a thing? As I was driving home from work today a fly flew into my eye and I’m certain it was the same one (I’m not certain at all). I might’ve killed it, it probably lived, but we’ll know in time.

Thus far, I’ve only completed two days of my new workout plan, but this picture sums it up:

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The plan follows the exercise sequences I’ve been doing for the past few weeks, except instead of numbered sets, I’m doing timed. This is more exhausting than I anticipated and my muscles have been burning in the best way possible.

Try doing jump squat after jump squat for thirty seconds, three times with minimal rest, and let me know if you weren’t a tired, sweaty mess after.

To spice things up, I’m also performing all four exercises per muscle group before moving on, which meant that my triceps were crying before I even started chest. I thought I was okay on Tuesday until I tried to take off my jacket. And, although leg day used to be my most dreaded day, I solved that problem by breaking it up like I would the upper body – something I’ve mentioned before – and I feel like I’m making drastic improvements. Of course, in the end, the body is all connected anyway.

Three days a week I do split training and mix it up with brief, but hard-hitting total body strength workouts twice a week, which I pair with running. On non-running days, I bike (indoor and outdoor), jump rope, or hike to get my cardio fix.

Running outside has improved my endurance, something that I despise on the treadmill. While it’s good to mix things up with intervals, I have a love/hate relationship with long(er) distance running and being able to do that is a point of pride.

On that note, we’re all caught up with my exercise news of late. Enjoy Wednesday!

Baby It’s Cold Outside For A Run, But It Can Still Be Done

Workouts this past week started with that long run I mentioned I was going to do on Wednesday, but then I delayed it until Thursday. I’ve been making the four straight miles a regular routine and my only complaint is that in order to extend it to five, I’m going to have to incorporate more hills. I finished off with a mile walk and a good stretching session.

On Friday, I did a barbell strength workout that included five sets of ten bench presses, dead lifts, front rows, high pulls, squat presses, leg presses, bicep curls, front shoulder presses, tricep pullovers, and then finished up with some dumbbell bent-over flies and tricep push backs. After, I went through a difficult leg workout that included a ton of Plyometrics and left me feeling nice and sore the day after.

Even though my box jumps are still on the smallest box and I will admit that I am not the world’s greatest- or graceful- jumper in the world, it’s still a great workout. With them, I also did jumping jacks, high knees, skater jumps, single-leg hip lifts, squats, lunges, and push ups. I finished the day with a few minutes of jump rope.

After my leg-heavy workout on Friday, on Saturday, my legs were not feeling enthusiastic about the run I set out to do. Not helping was the fact that I was at the track where running is considerably more boring and it was freezing. I have a stand-by plan of attack for running outside in cold weather, which I prefer over the treadmill for as long as possible. I was not yet prepared for such frigidity and headed out in just a light jacket and nothing to protect more pore head. I could only get through two miles before meeting up with my parents and did two more miles run-walking.

Listening to my body, I took Sunday off and instead enjoyed the day with my family. On Monday, I was feeling a lot better and did a dumbbell workout that included bench presses, bicep curls, shoulder presses, front raises, rows, shoulder flies, and tricep extensions in a circuit of six sets of eight. Then I went over to the barbells and completed four sets of twelve of side dead lifts, squat presses, leg presses, and elevated bench presses. When I finished, I did some box jumps and jumping jacks before heading home and doing a quick ab workout.

The next day, I did a quick strength workout using the medicine balls. Starting with the dreaded burpees, arrow lunges, then did wall throws, squats, and standing kickbacks on the bosu. I used the stability ball to do a core/strength combined workout that included knee tucks, kneeling roll outs with my arms, pull overs with the medicine ball, elevated hip lifts, and roll outs lying down with my legs. To finish, I did another circuit that included mermaid raises, hundreds to v ups, ankle grabs, Russian twists, and push ups on the medicine ball. In the pool, I got in a mile swim incorporating a few sprints in there to make things harder and go a little more quickly.

Today, I headed out into the glorious sunshine and very cold temperature for another four mile run. This time, my legs were stronger and I was much more prepared for the cold. I threw on my athletic ear muffs that don’t slip and hold ear buds in place, a wrap around scarf, and two jackets. Though I was nice and warm, my one qualm with running outside in the winter is that my sweat turns clammy and my skin dries out easily. Yuck!

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I would like to point out that in this picture, my eyebrows are more defined and darker than they normally are. I think it’s because my hair is pulling my skin tighter than usual. Also, I may or may not have ran to a little Christmas music, depending on your reaction. But I will say that listening to Idina Menzel and Michael Buble sing “Baby It’s Cold Outside” was appropriate. For the record, I was also listening to other music interchangeably so I’m not a complete psycho.

I finished off my run with a two mile walk and then two more with my mom with the dog. When I got back, I did a short Yoga flow with a ton of planks and an ab workout that seemed to do the trick.

Next week for Workout Wednesday, I’ll include my game plan for working out during the holiday season!

For Exercise, Attitude Is Key

It took a few days, but it appears that I have caught up on my sleep. I felt fine throughout the day, except for my workouts where I felt weaker and drowsy. Part of this lack of motivation might stem from needing to freshen up my workouts, which is on the agenda for this weekend.

Last Thursday, I swam my fastest mile ever in just over 42-minutes. That sounds really slow, but a mile in my pool is 36 laps, back and forth equalling one. Swimming is a long process and can be boring, but I just kept going through storyline plots in my head. It also helped (time and focus) that I incorporated some sprints into my routine. It’s amazing how out of breath you can feel from swimming. I also had two kickball games, the first we won by a run and the second we lost by eight runs. I can’t say that felt spectacular but it was a fun season!

On Friday, I ran through another routine, starting with a quick barbell circuit of squat presses, bench presses, and deadliest among other moves. After, I moved on to three different kettlebell circuits. These are good because they work on both a cardio and strength level. When I get home, I went out for a quick two-mile run, anticipating that I wouldn’t have time on Saturday, before dropping some family off at the airport. It was good to get that extra workout in because it was Halloween and you better believe I indulged in some chocolate!

Saturday was a sister birthday celebration because we were born 9 days (and 3 years apart). We started with a shopping trip at Target to finalize Halloween costumes before making it in for a pretty intense Yoga class. It wasn’t an intensive workout, but it left me feeling a bit sweaty and much more alert and relaxed. I could have fallen asleep on that mat at the end (which is ironic because that’s how I slept that night and it wasn’t as easy).

Even though it was one of the meager forced trips, on Sunday, as I mentioned, I was able to go through a dumbbell circuit that included body strength moves in-between, followed by a measly 15 minutes on the Elliptical and a quick walk in the freezing cold. I didn’t feel better or worse for having gone and had I felt truly awful, I would have skipped it. However, sometimes there are just days where motivation is low, especially when weather is poor, and just the art of keeping to routine will make a huge difference to your approach.

Monday, I did my medicine ball routine. I couldn’t muster up the energy to do Burpees or work through my sets with my usual power. Sometimes, to get through certain moves that are trickier, it is good to envision yourself doing them and talking yourself up. In this case, I knew I would struggle through the rest of my workout if I did them, so I felt I was justified in skipping. It’s not as though I skipped out on an entire workout! I finished up with a 35 minute swim where I didn’t keep track of laps. My mom and I ended the night with a run/walk combination in the dark and it wasn’t that late!

On Tuesday, I did an hour of Yoga before going out for a four mile run that was a bit of a struggle, but finished strong. For me, my best mileage comes from the middle to end when I’m feeling my strongest. After all this time, it can still take my body awhile to adjust to running and not feel like it’s death. I’ve learned that if I stick through the first mile or so, I will usually get myself into a good rhythm and it won’t feel quite as burdensome. Quality music and a positive attitude will always help!

Today, I felt much stronger and revitalized, so I went through my barbell strength routine, a body strength/core combination workout, and finished up with five minutes of jump rope and five minutes of box jumps interval style. For my strength routine, I’m noticing that I am able to go up in a lot of weight. I’ve been rotating between four sets of ten and three sets of twelve, depending on the day, and they seem like the magical numbers. If I were to do lesser amount of moves in each routine, I would up my number of sets, which might be on tap for this next workout plan, in addition to more ab work and Yoga. I haven’t decided yet!

Tomorrow, I will write that post I promised about my excitement for November. Exciting things to come!

How To Pack When You Love Stuff

I have never been accused of not packing enough stuff whenever I go anywhere. There is no place where I like to sleep more than in my own bed, even though hotel beds can be quite nice. Since it would be beyond extreme to pack up my bed and take it with me wherever I go, I at least need to bring my own pillow (except on very long trips in which lugging a pillow is just a hassle).

As someone who likes the comfort of her own belongings, I have learned over the years how to, at the very least, be an organized packer. On my first move-in day in college, my parents and siblings didn’t know how much stuff I had actually brought with me until they were helping to unpack it all in my very small dorm room. Over the years, I did learn the difference between seasons and what I needed immediately and what could wait, but I can’t say my belongings diminished in any dramatic fashion.

My trip to LA to visit my friend Brad has thus far been an annual adventure I look forward to each year. It didn’t take long to realize that lugging a large suitcase and a good-sized Vera Bradley bag around was not easy. This year, I was able to fit so much clothing, toiletries, and reading and writing materials between two small carry-ons and still had ample leg room. To be fair, I have short legs.

When I went to New Hampshire last week, I didn’t give myself enough time to pack and so I wasn’t as organized as I would have liked. Knowing there was a possibility that I could stay the whole week or head home with my parents after the first couple of days, I knew I needed to be strategic in my packing, but it was getting late and I had an early wake-up time. In this case, it was very handy that I am a heavy packer because I had enough clean underwear to get me through the week.

However, going through shirts and shorts and throwing them into a bag with sneakers, a sweatshirt, and a towel is not an effective strategy. I ended up having to take a backpack on top of that to fit my reading and writing material, toiletries, and other items that could not be squeezed into the bag. This would have been fine if we didn’t have to fit the dog and all of his things along with us because apparently he too is a heavy packer who doesn’t like to be separated from this things.

During the week, I didn’t have my usual organized method of well-matched and well-planned outfits as I usually do on vacation. I ended up having to wear nice shorts and a fairly nice shirt to an amusement park in which I went on a water ride and was drenched in the first five minutes.

I learned my lesson and when my parents headed home, I gave them my backpack and any possible item I didn’t need for the duration of the trip as I would be squeezing into whoever’s car would take and fit me and my bulging bag.

The morning of our trip home, I laid out all of my clothes on the bed and carefully folded and rolled them into compact bundles. Rolling clothes helps to fit items into the smallest of crevices, helping one to utilize space much easier than simply folding and tucking them on top of each other. I had only sent a few things home with my parents, so the fact that I was able to fit in most of what I had brought with me was impressive, including the sweatshirt, sneakers, towel, and toiletry bag.

Caitlin’s Royal Advice for Packing for Anything:

1. Layout shirts and shorts (or any necessary bottoms) on your bed to make sure that you are going to like what you are going to wear, that such outfits are appropriate for where you are going, and to make sure you have enough for the duration of the trip

2. Choose as many pairs of underwear as days you will be going on the trip, then double it because you never know. Especially if you are being in anyway active, you don’t want to have to wear the same underwear you went hiking up a large mountain to a nice dinner hours later.

Note: Same goes for socks because you will probably be doing a lot of walking and I’ve never gone somewhere (even the laundry room) with the same amount of socks as I had when I first arrived

3. Roll, don’t fold (it kind of rhymes, so therefore it’s kind of catchy).

4. Place the bigger rolls on the bottom, such as bottoms, towels, and sweatshirts. Then move up and over according to size, therefore socks will either be on top, or most likely squished in-between free air spaces.

5. Don’t forget your toothbrush, contact case, contact solution, or any medications you will need. Yes, you can probably buy many of these things at a convenience store, but you never know. To keep these organized, get a small toiletry bag and bring only what you will absolutely use. This method proves convenient when you wake up in the middle of the night from an allergy attack and need an allergy pill. Stumbling around in the dark only makes things worse because people don’t like to be woken up.

6. If you are not a hoarder in real life, do not be a hoarder on vacation. Over the years I have learned the difference between reality and allusion. Being mindful of what you really use will help be more productive and efficient in anything. For example, I have a ton of make up and usually only apply five things, the same coverup, blush, eye shadow, mascara, and lip gloss except for special occasions. Therefore, I only bring that amount of make-up.

Note: In college, and now for that matter, I own a lot of crap. I won’t deny that. But I also have it very organized and I mostly know where everything is. I also am someone who has a tendency to hold onto material things for sentimental value. Just be aware of what you use in real life and what you think you want to use because when traveling especially, this can make all the difference with how far along that zipper zips.

Packing in such a way seems a little obvious, but I said I’d write it up and so I did it. Just before midnight, but hey, it got done. Putting even a tad bit of care into this process at least helps you to pay attention to what you have, which will make you more noticeable of what you may have forgotten, hopefully before you leave for that trip.

In relation to this, I wanted to discuss how I get my exercise in during vacation. From experience, I have realized that I often think I’ll have formal workouts more often than I do. During my regular life, I am proud of the fact that I can say I workout on more days than I don’t. It helps to plan breaks from the gym and extended time to rest your body around vacation. However, it never hurts to get something in.

When traveling, I’ll often bring a jump rope (that may or may not get used but at least fits well inside a suitcase), sneakers, and headphones. Sneakers and headphones enables you to do the most effective form of exercise ever, running or walking. It can be fun to explore a new part of a world. The best, most fulfilling run I have ever had was on Redondo Beach looking up to see the mountains and looking out into the ocean. I have never felt more at peace with the world than in that moment and that is something that would not have been achieved without running.

Much of the time just being on vacation allows you to get different, natural forms of exercise in. My best advice here is not to worry so much. Forgive yourself a bit. Also, like I said on the latest edition of Workout Wednesday, the sooner you jump back into your exercise routine on return from vacation, the better.

Vacation is all about relaxing and being refreshed. Exercise can aid in this, but not if you’re stressed about it. Find a happy medium, accept it, and don’t second guess it.

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