Driving Girl

I sent this picture to my mom and I realized later that my dress…

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…matches my comforter! This shows how coordinated I am with myself. My future may lie in a cross between interior decorating and fashion, except a person has an outfit for every item in his/her house. I lost interest in my own project/joke, sorry. Other than the horrifying smile upon my face, I think it comes together nicely.

In other news, I had every intention of waking up super early Thursday morning to fit in a workout, but I had first-day nerves and couldn’t fall asleep in time. I brought my workout clothes to go after, but then I decided it was time for a rest day as I haven’t had one in awhile. My GPS went bonkers when I tried to switch, but thankfully, I was close enough to my apartment that I navigated my way home successfully. I’ll call that a win!

Breakfast was cheesy eggs, toast, and lots of fruit.

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Chicken and veggie stir fry with brown rice for lunch.

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For dinner, cod, spinach, and the rest of my quinoa dish.

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Have a great Friday! I’ll catch ya after this weekend!

Getting Back Into Routine

Happy birthday to my brother’s girlfriend, Cait!

So my sister and I might be the nerdiest sisters around. In truth, she’s the smart (and nerdy) one as she’s a librarian, but we both know more about Harry Potter than is probably the norm.

Such knowledge comes in handy when it’s trivia time. Listen, there are few things in life of which I am certain, but Harry Potter is one of them, so when it came time for trivia, you better believe I was confident.

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Lauren and I knew we didn’t need anyone else on our team and we ended up taking down the rest of the (much more stocked) teams to be crowned champions.

I think it’s okay to gloat a little bit!

It was the cherry on top of a great week of relaxation and vacation!

Monday hit full force with an early wake-up call, but it means I had a far more productive morning than I would if I slept in too late. Here was my beautiful breakfast.

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I love vacation and the occasional indulgence it brings, but I am always so ready to get back into my typical eating and exercise habits. It’s amazing how much the food you eat affects so much of your life, from how you feel to how you look. I tried to be careful-ish, especially when it came to eating between meals (which I didn’t), as well as alcohol consumption, but I definitely didn’t deprive myself of some extra savory and sweet foods.

To help get back into that healthy eating flow, I planned my meals for the week ahead of time. Lots of fruits and veggies make up some well-rounded and nutritious meals, but with a heavy yum factor!

Monday’s lunch was inspired by an unplanned trip to Trader Joe’s. In my defense, I only went to the store next door to pick up a prescription, but it wasn’t ready yet, so I stopped in! Chicken tikka masala minus the rice because I wanted that piece of naan and sautéed spinach. It looked heaping when I tossed it in a pan, but alas, it shrinks down to a mouthful.

Dinner was kind of a beauty, including salad topped with the usual selection of veggies, balsamic, and feta. For protein, I cooked up Buzzfeed’s garlic parmesan chicken tenders, and zucchini to use up the rest of the mixture! On the side, greek yogurt, blueberries, and almonds for a hit of fat and some extra protein.

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A quick breakfast of a hard-boiled egg and cheesestick fueled my Tuesday morning workout, before I came home for a post-workout whole wheat protein waffle and berries.

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Lunch was already assembled, so I apologize for the ugliness of the picture. Packed up includes more of those chicken tenders and zucchini, a medley of carrots, celery, and red pepper with hummus, and Greek yogurt with raspberries and walnuts.

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Inspired in part by the workouts of Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, and Katie Ledecky, because let’s face it, they’re amazing, I decided to go lighter weight with a heavy focus on bodyweight exercises, and higher reps. I’m not too fond of high reps, but I’m looking to slim down and those exercises lead to it! I’m also upping my cardio, particularly with intervals running and sprinting on the bike, as well as jump roping.

Monday’s focus was on the chest, triceps, and shoulders, with a heavy dosage of core- all day every day! I can’t tell you how great it felt to be back in action! After my strength training, I jump roped, 1minute on, 30 seconds rest x 5, and hopped on the treadmill for a 20 minute workout, 2 minutes walking, 3 minutes running at a higher clip than I usually would for a longer run.

Tuesday’s objective included the back, lots of legs, and more core! For my cardio dosage, I took to the spin bike and cycled happily away. Right now, I like to ride in position one (flat on the seat) for 2 minutes, position two (standing up straight) for 2 minutes, then position three (hovering over the steering wheel) for 2 more minutes x 3 or 4 depending on how much time I have left.

On vacation, I took the entire week off from standardized exercise. I contemplated going on a run or two, but it was honestly super humid outside and I wasn’t feeling it. I wouldn’t normally suggest taking a whole week off, but I go hard 5-6 days a week and my body needed it. It helps me in particular because I know I’ll get right back to it once that week is up. Much of that no-exercise allowance is mental as much as it is physical.

Glad to be back to it!

Weekly Workouts

I find that pre-planning my workouts make for more efficient, butt-kicking exercise. I don’t dramatically change everything up every week, but I do switch things around to keep my body guessing. Making something up in advance, helps keep you motivated and present. Exercise is all about routine because once you get to that point, it sticks, and it’s hard to live without it!

Day One started on Sunday with a run. I haven’t gone four miles in awhile, but it felt wonderful. I finished with a cool-down one mile walk.

Day Two is strength training day one, including chest and triceps, biceps and shoulders, and core- ALWAYS core. Three exercises for each muscle group, five sets of eight reps a piece, means I’m lifting heavy!

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Day Three (two for strength training) is all about the legs, back, and core. Same set-up with that first day of strength training, heavy lifting five sets of eight reps. For legs in particular, I like the combination of heavy compound movements with fast-paced plyometrics. Jumping lunges are pretty close to death.

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Day Four is another run, this time with some time and speed intervals tossed within. It keeps my heart rate up without allowing my body to fall into a steady-state rhythm. After I finish, I like to do some Yoga, whether it’s just planking or getting into a full sequence, depending on time.

Day Five is more strength training focused on chest, triceps, biceps, shoulders, and core. This time, I’m lifting lighter weights at three sets of twelve reps, which helps build my endurance.

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Here we go at Day Six! Legs, back, and core get the three sets of twelve reps endurance treatment.

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Though strength training is the focus four out of six days of exercise, I do usually finish up my workouts with at least 15/20 minutes of cardio. Lately, I’ve been completing a super sweaty and crushing ride on a spin bike, which I much prefer to the other types of stationary cycles. I’ll occasionally spend a few minutes on the elliptical or treadmill amping up those intervals. On days where I don’t have a lot of time, it’s all about jump roping and battle roping.

The seventh day is always built for rest! You don’t have to workout six times a week to be healthy, I just happen to need it for my wellbeing. Rest is always important!

Colorful Plates

Woohoo sunshine! I just came back from a walk and it is spectacular! To be honest, 52 is a lot colder than I remember, but once I got moving, I warmed up fast.

I realized I haven’t weighed in for a few weeks and the truth was, with everything happening, I hadn’t been paying attention. I did weigh myself yesterday and was pleased to see that I was down another 1.8 pounds, so at least progress is still being made!

To recap the past few days, on Monday, I had another total body workout that was butt kicking, but before that, I ran my fastest two miles on the treadmill! I intended to just hop on for 15 minutes to warm up, but once I got moving, I was feeling real good and decided to go for it. Tuesday was my rest day, as well as my long work day so there was no workout to be had, but I did still make it past 10,000 steps- the perks of being a personal trainer!

I do have some food pictures to share.

We’ll start with this breakfast, an egg and two egg white scramble with cheese, two pieces of whole wheat toast, bacon, and a berry medley.

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Next is a veggie-filled lunch with zucchini noodles, baby spinach, peppers,  cauliflower rice (which is pulsed cauliflower and very delicious), and chicken.

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Another veggieful (autocorrected into vengeful) dish included turkey taco meat over more cauliflower rice and a stir fry of zucchini noodles, spinach, peppers, and carrots, a dollop of sour cream on the side.

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I’ve definitely upped the vegetables in my dishes, which is making me fuller faster. I’m also not opposed to carbs in anyway, but I am trying to keep them at lower portions and only for two meals out of three. Especially when I’m training, I find I have to eat more frequently, so using an app to track has been helpful, but I’ve also come to rely a lot more on my body’s natural signals. For snacks throughout the day, I’ve stuck to hard-boiled eggs, protein bars, almonds, Greek yogurt, fruit, and veggie sticks. Breakfast still remains my largest meal of the day, one because I love it the most and two because I need more energy in the morning.

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Lately and Onward

Hi, everyone! I’ve been on the DL lately thanks to all the studying I’ve been doing. As I mentioned, it’s crunch time and I’m following a strict plan I’ve laid out for myself. The good news, I’m not just flipping through, but clarifying points I was confused on and I feel like I’m making actual progress. Here we go!

Things of late, we have mostly breakfasts.

Scrambled eggs, waffles, fruit. I think I actually might be off my waffle kick now.

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Fancy pancakes. I tried to do a design, but then I plopped the pancakes down on top of it and the fruit smeared.

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More scrambled eggs, fruit, and toast.

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Exercise-wise, I’ve done my usual strength training with bouts of cardio. Monday included triceps, chest, legs, and core with a few intervals on the bike thanks to a sore hamstring/glute. Thanks to the foam roller, or self-myofascial release if you want to be technical, it’s been feeling a lot better. Tuesday was biceps, shoulders, back, and core followed up with a sweaty walk/run/sprint cardio session on the treadmill that stretched out my sore spots. Stair climbing was really the pain-riddled issue. Wednesday was a rest day so that things could return to normal.

I leave you all with this link to my cousin Erin’s blog: https://queenbucks.wordpress.com.

One of us writes about food and exercise and the other is all about fashion and beauty. I’ll let you guess which is which.

I even dressed myself.

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(Reminder: this is from yesterday when I was in serious study mode and had no reason to leave the house until work much later on and in a completely different outfit. Don’t judge me!)

Don’t Be Lazy: Whatever Gets You Through That Workout

When it comes to exercise, and life in general, I try to be kind to myself. Maintaining a positive attitude is the majority of the fight, and yet so often, this is something so many struggle to do.

For my workouts, I don’t see them as a chore or a negative thing, I would say 90% of the time. It’s become such an ingrained habit and part of my life that it doesn’t often take a lot to get me inspired, but I still have days where I would rather do anything else. This is particularly true on tired, dark mornings, though it hasn’t been too bad thus far.

When it comes to exercise, I try to do workouts that I enjoy so that it’s easier to keep doing it. If you don’t like it, you’ll resent it, and then resent exercise altogether. All it takes is a bit of a sense of adventure and experimentation.

To keep myself motivated in those spots I need it most, and sometimes it’s just to keep myself going when I’m bored on the treadmill, I either turn up my music louder, focus on my daydreams, or mutter inspirations to myself. You’ll remember one such time I told myself to “keep running kitten.” That borders bizarre, but it was so funny, it distracted me from that hump and helped me run longer.

One of my favorite mottos that inspired me throughout my weight loss efforts, and remains one of my sayings when it comes to workouts or doing things I don’t necessarily feel excited about doing, is, “don’t be lazy.”

My Nana would always say the old, “Why put off tomorrow what you can do today.” I see my saying as an abridged version that is quick, efficient, and effective. Obviously there are moments when one does need to lay off the exercise or can take a breath and do something later, but I prefer to refer to such moments as relaxation. Unnecessary laziness is poisonous and so gays to succumb to because people are busy, busy, busy and we let things slide. It helps that I’m a bit of a control freak, so I won’t let my mind rest until my to do list is checked off.

This morning when my alarm went off, I would have been content to turn it back on for later and curl back into my blankets. I suspected that if I did, it was quite possible that my guilty conscience would have woken me up anyways and plagued my now sleepless thoughts. Totally unproductive on all fronts. Instead, I grunted, “Don’t be lazy!” And got myself up and moving. Turns out, as it does 90% of the time! it was worth those few painful moments of tearing myself away from my precious bed.

Last week, anticipating I would be away on Saturday, I switched my rest days and ended up waking up early everyday last week. I started on Thursday facing a threat of snow, so decided to conquer my workout at home. My body was not overly excited as I made my way through a body strength workout, rode the bike for a few minutes, then ended with some Yoga. I was feeling tight and sore and didn’t get enough out of my workout to the point I was wondering if it was even worth it. I tend to do better workouts at the gym or out and about for the run. As it turns out, the snow did not come anyways, but I’m happy to reserve such at home workouts for snow days.

Friday, I got to the gym raring to go and went through six sets of eight reps on the dumbbells. For these, I lift heavier weight in shorter bursts, mostly to mix things up from my other strength days. I finished up with a run/walk on the treadmill where I walked on an incline for five, ran for five; walked for four, ran for four; walked for three, ran for three; walked for two, ran for two; walked for one, ran for one; increasing my incline and speed the shorter the intervals. I finished off my sweaty workout with a few sprints at a faster speed.

As I mentioned, I was in New York City on Saturday, and though we were on the bus for a good eight hours, we also did a lot of walking. For whatever reason, my legs were still sore on Sunday, so instead of getting to the gym, I took another day off and shopped instead. I have to tell you, as much as I like shopping, it works me up into a frenzy and as I was speed walking around that mall, I worked up a sweat! Between Christmas shopping and food shopping, I fit in a ton of walking, with a walk with the dog topping it off. I also was standing the entire day, getting various chores done, like chopping up veggies for the week and making meals. Sometimes, you just need that extra day.

I was feeling rejuvenated on Monday morning and had no trouble waking up and starting off my week with a barbell strength workout. I don’t change up these moves very often, except to increase weight or mix up the order of my routine. I’m quite proud of the variety I include and observing how far I’ve come. After, I jumped on the treadmill and got in a full thirty minute run, feeling strong. I started off at a slower pace and increased the speed slightly in five minute increments that kept things from turning boring and kept my body guessing.

It would have been easy to convince myself to just do a workout at home Tuesday morning, except I reminded myself how much of a waste it had been the week before and how I would feel better once I got up and moving. It was definitely one of those, “Don’t be lazy!” days, but it worked, and I made my way through a leg heavy body strength, Plyometrics, and Yoga workout that is still leaving me sore (in a good way this time).

This morning, I met my friend Nouha not-so-bright and early for a dumbbell strength workout and a run on the treadmill. It helped knowing that Thursday is my off day and we are having some family holiday fun later tonight! Speaking of, check in tomorrow for some thoughts and reflections on my favorite holiday traditions!

And remember, when it comes to exercising and the holidays, try to maintain a regular schedule. Don’t be like those resolutioners who rely on one day a year to make changes that don’t last. The best changes are the ones inspired by yourself, not a culture craze.