lower body workout

Here’s that lower body workout I promised two weeks ago!

I focused on the major muscle groups of the lower body. First set includes work on the quads, one exercise with heavy weight, the second with body weight in an explosive movement. Remember to sit back on those heels!

The second set focuses on the hamstrings, with a heavy deadlift that will stretch the back of your legs followed up with hamstring curls that will be a slow burn.

Next, we’ll focus on the ab/adductors to work the sides of those upper thighs, on the inside and outside. Side lunges will be with some weight and move slowly, while the skaters should be explosive and quick.

For the glutes, bridges can be made more difficult either with weight resting on your hips or performing them elevated on a ball or incline of some sort. Step-ups are one of my least favorite exercises, but they are effective!

To finish off the strength portion of the workout, work the abs! Leg lifts and plank jacks will get the lower body moving along with the core.

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Enjoy the burn!

work it on out

After my long weekend away, last weekend, I was ready to hit the gym…kind of.

It was a vacation of indulgence between the vineyards, Ghirardelli, and In-n-Out, which is all well and good (except for my stomach) and we did our fair share of walking, but I was ready to return to normal.

When I did get back, I was up and early for the Red Sox/Angels day game in Anaheim and I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it back in time for the gym, coupled with the fact I didn’t touchdown in LA until 2 the previous morning. However, it was still late afternoon when I got back from the game (boo, we lost!), so I revved myself up to go!

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I wasn’t feeling my routine of late, so I worked through a standard total body workout targeting all the major muscle groups and finished with a half hour on the bike. It was good to work up a sweat.

That night, it was time to rejuvenate my workout routine. I’ve been doing total body lately, so this time, I broke it down into a split routine.

 

Workout Routine

Always gotta get in that core!

I’m a big fan of breaking up leg day like upper body workouts. I still feel the pain of my efforts, but I can target the muscle groups more effectively without tiring too much. Currently, I’m feeling the beautiful repercussions of mixing up my routine with those DOMS all over and a twinge in my core every time I laugh or sneeze.

workout updates

I’m quite pleased with my new workout routine I crafted a week ago. Before, I would either do total body almost every day or break it in different variations of triceps, biceps, chest, back, shoulders, and legs. For whatever reason, my body rebels against leg day and I have struggled to not resent those days.

However, I think I’ve found my antidote. Many people who do split routines do legs all in one, but this time around, I decided to break it up much like I do with the upper body. Here’s what my new routine looks like:

Day One: Triceps, Chest, Quads, Core

Day Two: Quick Total Body (Run Day)

Day Three: Biceps, Back, Hamstrings, Core

Day Four: Quick Total Body (Run Day)

Day Five: Shoulders, Ab/Adductors, Glutes, Core

Day Six: Yoga (Run Day)

And on the seventh day, I deserve a helluva rest!

Again, I’m only on my second week of this routine, but my muscles are sore and feel as though they have received the proper attention to each group. On Week 1, I ran through each exercise in three sets of twelve reps and Week 2 is four sets of ten reps at a slightly higher weight. For Week 3, I’ll do three sets of fifteen reps at a lower weight, and then my highest weight on Week 4 for five sets of eight reps.

Repeat.

For strength training, I like to incorporate body strength moves with weight training for the best results. For example, I’ll throw in some plyometric moves to hit my lower body, such as jumping lunges or jumping squats, and for my upper body, I’ll add a lot of push-ups and triceps dips. This adds a nice little dose of breathless to the equation.

For my core training, which I do every day at the end of my strength routine, I’ve tried to be better about hitting each spot of the comprehensive core. I do a lot to hit the obliques, like twists and lean downs, as well as stretch out the upper and lower portions of my stomach with rollouts or leg lifts, and finally strengthen the lower back  and pelvic regions with supermans and hip lifts.

On my non-run days, I do little bouts of high intensity cardio, including the spin bike and jump roping. It’s been awhile since I’ve jump roped, but I’m getting back into it and I just love it. It’s one of the best total body workouts you can do.

I’ve left the gym feeling sweaty and accomplished, which is really the reason we go in the first place. Or at least for me. I can’t speak for you.

My workouts are intense, but I love the challenge. My problem area has always been the eating and I know I need to rein in the sugar and extracurricular eating I tend to do when stressed or bored. Mindlessness is nobody’s friend, but I am feeling better about it.

What makes you feel strong?

healthy living

Well lookie here, a back-to-back post. It’s sad that we’ve come to this. I’m still thrown off by the fact that it’s already Wednesday, but it doesn’t suck! I can start planning my weekend already, woot.

Since the New Year, aka the end of endless treats, I’ve been making an effort to be healthier. I’ve put on a few pounds, which is nothing I can’t handle, but I haven’t felt as healthy as usual. To get back on track, I downloaded an app to track my meals, which prevents me from mindless eating.

For breakfast, I had a piece of toast with peanut butter and two hard-boiled eggs. I had grapes in my bag and forgot about them.

Lunch was ravioli, chicken sausage, zucchini, spinach, and red bell pepper. Meal prep makes life so much easier, especially healthy eating.

I snacked on a cheesestick and some wheat thins in the afternoon to prepare for my workout, which we’ll get to in a moment.

I threw together some cod tacos with salsa verde, tostitos, broccoli, and half a sweet potato for dinner, which is the only picture I can grace you with.

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Back to that fresh start, I’ve upped my workouts. Since yesterday was upper body weight training, I followed it up today with lower body body weights and plyometrics. I finished with some core work before hopping on the treadmill and racking up those steps. Hopping around might not look smooth, but it felt great and got the heart pumping. For the record, running after suffering through some wall sits is excruciating, but well worth it.

Something unexpected that makes my workouts easier are the new head phones I purchased with my new phone. It was one of those things the salesman mentioned at the end and I was hesitant because I’ve been bamboozled before, but I’m quite pleased with my first pair of wireless headphones. I usually don’t listen to music when I strength train because I had no where to put my phone (unless I stuffed it in my bra, tmi?). Game changer. And my phone doesn’t take such a beating while I exercise.

This is a random thing to end on, but I started watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend after having it on my list for awhile and I love it. It’s funny, smart, relatable, and a musical. Win-win-win-win.

Happy Hump-Day!

Fit Life

Let’s talk workouts! I’ve been going back and forth with how to split my routine throughout the week and I think I came up with the dynamic that works best for me.

*Please forgive the rattiness of the paper in which my workouts are scrolled. It’s been through a lot this week and its appearance cannot be helped.

This week of workouts started on Sunday with some bicep and shoulder action. As last week included six sets of eight- sometimes a drag- this week was four sets of twelve reps so we were focused on endurance and power! Performed in circuit fashion, I did six exercises of each muscle group before continuing on for the next three sets. After my biceps and shoulders had their fill, I moved onto core exercises, which I try to do every day.  For cardio, I had walked with my mom and the dog beforehand, so I headed out.

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On Monday, it was time for the triceps and chest! Similar set up for this round: six exercises for each muscle group, four sets, twelve reps. Burn! More core work followed up with cardio- heavy ropes, tabata style, and a few minutes on the row machine.

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Day Three brought us to the leg and back portion of the week. I like the combination of legs/back especially when it comes to deadlifts and bent-over rows because those muscle groups are working hard together to get the exercises done. The difference in this day is that I did not perform each exercise circuit style, but completed all sets and reps of one before moving on. It takes more time, but the set up on these are more complicated than just grabbing a kettlebell or a pair of dumbbells as I had to fix up the barbells and the cables, running all over the gym. I did finish the core part via circuit and got some good jump roping time in there.

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Today was run day and the weather was spectacular! It’s 70 degrees in early March, no snow or ice on the ground, and I can’t help but feel a little giddy. I snapped these pictures mid-run, so go ahead and be impressed!

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Since it was so nice, I wanted to extend the run and make it a little more special. I haven’t run around the lake since early fall when I was trekking out for 6.25-10 miles on the regular. As you might remember, I had to cut back because my muscles were overexerted, causing my feet to fall asleep! I’ve kept it to about four miles ever since, but the push felt nice today! 6.25 miles overall!

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Look at this view!

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The very worst part of this workout was the final climb back home. I walked it and it’s all uphill and after a long run, I was struggling. Phew! Happiness and a little bit of pain is pretty much the grounds for a solid run!

Since I’m nice, I’ll also give you a sneak peek of Thursday’s total body workout. This one is kettlebell and plyometric heavy and I’m already feeling tired! I tried to incorporate some compound movements into the routine as well. We’ll see how well that jump roping and sprints come out at the end.

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Friday will include some kind of cardio and then Saturday is a much-deserved rest day!

Happy exercising! If it’s nice out, take it outside, even if it’s just for a walk!

Sit Up Straight! No, But Really, You Should Do That

Is everybody recovering from their (hopefully) fun-filled Labor Day weekend?

Saturday morning, I opened at work, but I was out by noon and ready to enjoy a weekend! After lunch, I picked up my friend Nouha and we headed out to the store. Now’s the perfect time to buy a bathing suit because everything is on sale. Now is not the perfect time to buy a bathing suit because 1. they are hard to find in the store 2. all products are tossed together in one section regardless of size, shape, and match.

Fun fact: I found the bathing suit of my choice lying on a dressing room bench. It was 75% off and I just so happened to have a gift card, so I spent a whopping $3.44. Time well spent.

After our shopping trip, Nouha and I walked the five mile trek around a local lake. It was hot, but trees shaded us for the most part and things didn’t feel too bad. We rewarded ourselves with frozen yogurt after- mint chocolate chip is amazing! When I got home, my legs were still itching for a bit of a workout, so I took off for a run. By the end, I reached five more miles for a wonderful and exhausting tally of 10 miles.

The ability to walk/run 10 miles = my strength for Saturday.

I came home and grilled up the rest of the tilapia for another delicious meal! As I settled into study for the rest of the night, my parents came home and bullied me into going over to my neighbors’ house to sit by the fire pit. I say this in jest as it did not take much to tear me away from my textbook. It was the weekend after all!

On Sunday, I got to try out my new bathing suit. I had one goal in mind when it came to selecting a new suit: I wanted something I did not need to keep adjusting as I dove into the waves. I am a big beach girl so far as I love the ocean. Yes, it scares me because, sharks. Pools are also very nice and safer because, no sharks.

But there is something majestic about the salty water, the push and pull of waves, and connection to nature. So long as I can see through the water and there isn’t any seaweed hooking its way around me, or, sharks, I’m a happy girl.

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This picture just proves I have a humungous forehead. But at least it’s a happy forehead. Every dive into the wave on Sunday, and trust me, I was in the water for over an hour so there were a lot, gave me my strength.

As far as food on Sunday, I had a toast breakfast before the beach, a deliciously well-crafted sandwich for lunch, and barbecue for dinner (hot dog, grilled chicken, the fixings). On the way home, we stopped at Dairy Queen and I indulged in a blizzard- reese’s cup!

Monday morning, I set my alarm early to get in a workout before work. I started with a dumbbell strength circuit and I was feeling tired. I think it has to do with all the wave-diving of the previous day. I followed my strength routine up with a core circuit. I’ve been more devoted to core strength since I started studying for my personal training cert, as I grow increasingly aware of how important posture is for the body to function.

True Life: I am a sloucher.

Listen to your mamas and papas, folks, and stand/sit/walk with that head held up high and back straight. Damn.

To end things on a high note, I rocked a plyometric circuit that left me nice and sweaty. Before a few hours of work, I showered and stuffed down a peanut butter wrap, feeling strong to start my day.

I was out of work by noon and ready to relax by the pool. I fully intended to swim, but the water was a little chilly and I tried to take things slow by sitting on a raft. Relaxing turned into a full blown nap and I only woke up when a bird cawed loudly in the distance. For my life purposes, I am thankful I did not topple over into the water. For blogging purposes, I am thoroughly disappointed I could not share a story of me tumbling into the water with you.

After my nice nap, it was study time! I have a nice feeling about the nervous, skeleton, and endocrine systems, but the muscular system is still proving to be difficult to comprehend. I’ll get there, I hope.

Dinner was tilapia once again. This piece was intended to be spread over two meals, which means, yay! I don’t have to cook much for lunch. I topped it with thin slices of butter and a lemon pepper seasoning. Since it was a slightly thicker piece, I cooked the fish for six minutes on the first side and four for the second. Perfection! I paired the fish with a heaping portion of broccoli and a sweet potato topped with butter and cinnamon.

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I met up with my friend Molly to walk. We haven’t seen each other since our Californian adventures, so it was great to catch up! I’m not sure how far we got, but I do know there were a ton of laborious hills that left my legs feeling sore today. Chatting away as day gave into night and it was still hot as balls  was my moment of strength for Monday.

Before bed, I put in a few more hours of studying.

This morning, I woke up and made myself a pancake breakfast. Pancakes, peanut butter, jelly, coconut, and a berry bowl = delicious.

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The cakes with ample water and coffee left me feeling energized and ready to attack my strength workout. Now to get to it!

I’m the Maid of Honor, B*tch

I had a dream last night that a man stole my sister’s “precious” graphing calculator and we were all stressed out about it. Like, she was really upset. So I hunted the man down, doing a stakeout and everything and I took him down with a taser. Over a graphic calculator, while screaming “I’m the Maid of Honor, Bitch!” After, everyone congratulated me and I would tell them, “I’m just being a good Maid of Honor.”

Dream interpretation anyone? I’ll go first. I think it’s clear that I am not recuperating from the wedding being over. It’s been a rough few months since.

On another note, I ate a peach and didn’t die. Oh? You do this on the regular? Well then you must not have a pitted fruit allergy that precludes you from eating juicy, delicious peaches. I was tentative, but persevered and turns out, I didn’t show any symptoms. Yay me!

I also really understand the Nervous System. Listen, I’ve been stuck on the “Basic Human Science” chapter for awhile now with my Personal Training studying because I am terrible at science. It’s been quite the process but now that I have a grasp on it, things are going well. I would go as far as to say that today’s moment of strength came from studying and realizing that I actually grasp the concepts. In part, this is due to proof that hard work and diligence show results. It’s also just really cool and important to understand how the body works, how complex it is, and how important it is that we treat our bodies the right way. I might be taking it a bit too far, however, because on my way to work today, I yelled at a smoking woman for damaging her muscle spindles. We were both in our cars and she couldn’t hear me, but I know she felt it.

Let’s talk about the food for the day! Breakfast was this quick homemade waffle. I smeared peanut butter and jelly all over it and enjoyed with a bowl of berries.

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It was excellent fuel for my workout today, which included a kettlebell circuit, a medicine ball circuit, and a plyometric circuit and ended with sprints. I’ve never run so hard (on the treadmill) as I did today and even though my workout was killer, I felt powerful. Nothing better than that feeling!

Lunch was leftover pizza from last night’s dinner. I chopped up a bunch of celery and peppers, along with some carrots, that I dipped in some ranch dressing to go along with the slices.

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As I mentioned, I had a peach a little while later and I lived to tell about it.

The rest of the day was filled with studying and working. Before I left, I had a cup of Greek yogurt with some grapes to tide me over until dinner. My body was overheated from sitting outside and the yogurt was actually really refreshing.

When I got home from work, I heated leftover ravioli with a couple of chicken meatballs and a stir fry of veggies.

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All good here! Hope everyone has a lovely Friday!