All About Stretching

One part of exercise that is not my expertise is stretching. I do not do it enough. I’m big enough of a woman and personal trainer to admit this. I do urge my clients to do this, especially when they come in talking about lower back pain and other various aches. Stretching is important to keeping the body limber because whether you’re sitting, standing, or a mixture of both all day, odds are, your body is feeling some kind of pain. This appears only to worsen as you age.

When to Stretch?

At the end of your workout! The best way to warm-up the body to prepare for an exercise routine is to start moving. I’ll dive further into this in another post, but take 5-10 minutes at the beginning to jump on the treadmill, a bike, or loosen up with some jumping jacks or squats. Get that body moving through a dynamic- movement- stretching period.

Once you’ve made your way through your cardio and/or your strength training, take another 5-15 minutes and stretch. The body will be nice and warmed up and ready to relax after all it just endured.

Why Stretch?

Stretching helps alleviate all those aches and pains. The body, as does the mind, tackles a multitude of obstacles during the day that leads to soreness and strain, especially if you add a workout on top of it. The muscle is tight and needs to unclench. Another excellent way to do this is by foam rolling, which I can get into further at another time.

Stretching also helps the body get better. The way strength training works is the effort breaks down the muscle and rest helps it repair, allowing the muscles to strengthen. It helps the blood to flow better and prevents injuries.

My Favorite Stretches

As you can see, I was able to complete these stretches in the comfort of my own home, crazy cat and dog included!

Biceps and Triceps

Back and Chest

Shoulders

Quads

Hamstrings

Hips

Workout Shake-Up

These next three weeks of workouts include total body compound movements that have consistently left me sore. I took a week off when I went home for a few days and my body paid for the absence. Though it was a struggle some days to move, it was the good kind of pain — I realize I probably sound crazy.

For this cycle, I’m strength training three times a week with a few minutes on the bike, as well as running and (in theory) working through some yoga sequences three days a week. While my morning workouts continue to be consistent, I find it difficult to wake up with enough time to fit in my yoga and just end up running. Yay for cardio, but also, I could use the yoga. Awake and alert me understands this. Sleepy Caitlin does not.

I’ve returned to circuit training, performing three moves consecutively, four sets of twelve reps, four total circuits. In between sets, I rest for about 45 seconds and a minute between circuits. Such exercises include squats with lateral raises, curtsy lunge step-ups, skull crusher chest flies, jumping squat chest throws, and more. In total, these workouts take about 45-60 minutes. I’m quite proud of myself on this routine because I hit each muscle group multiple times a workout.

Maybe because I’m organized or perhaps because I’m enthusiastic about exercise planning, but I’ve already written out my next two three-week cycles of workouts, which I’ll be sure to share. Next week, I’ll share Day One of my strength training routine for the week. Consider this a teaser.

Get moving!

weekend and travel plans

This weekend was one of relaxation after traveling. I did a lot of nothing, with some exercise thrown in to assuage the guilt.

I had taken a week off from working out thanks to my travel last week and it was much needed. On Saturday, I got back to it with a total body strength routine and some spinning and I was feeling those DOMS on Sunday. A run/walk combo helped stretch out my sore legs in particular, but they were still achey on Sunday night and this morning! I have a love/hate for this kind of pain, but it is the good kind of pain. I guess it was time to mix things up with my plan.

I was also able to catch up on sleep, which had gotten messed up when I took a red-eye to Boston last Friday. I don’t sleep well on planes, especially with my legs feeling a bit cramped. I had a couple of hours to nap once arriving home before my mom and I got mani/pedis for my cousin’s wedding. It was dancing time at the beautiful ceremony and reception and we were up past 2 am, which meant I was awake for the better part of 24+ hours and jet lagged. Whew. But it was well worth it.

The rest of my break was spent with my family, shopping, going to movies and dinner, and spending some quality time. It’s always hard to leave, but it was great to see everybody. Even though it’s a long flight from coast-to-coast, particularly east-to-west, it was nice to gain three hours of the day on the way back.

I captured some snapshots from the plane:

IMG_1064

IMG_1066

IMG_1069

It was hard to not include the wing of the plane in my photos, so that accounts for the odd angles.

Somehow, it’s Monday again. Enjoy it!

broken wing

I’m hoping I’m not making the wrong impression with this fly situation. It’s not like I have fleas or that my room is swarmed with bugs. I’m a clean person. There isn’t food lying around or mass amounts of trash. There was (is) one fly zooming around, haunting me. Just so we’re clear.

Probably looks like this:

fly

On another note, I’m starting to age. Well, yes, as this is a fact of life, but I’m starting to feel it. I put myself through grueling workouts six days a week and yet, I bust my shoulder PICKING UP MY BAG IN MY CAR. I must have twisted the wrong way and twinged the muscle in my wing because it was bothering me a little when it first happened and a lot later that afternoon. I found a makeshift foam roller to apply pressure to it, as well as someone willing to massage the area (don’t judge me) and it seemed to help a lot. I can still feel it right now, but it’s not anything damaging.

I know that it’s one of those cases where I pay close attention to every movement during a workout and not so much when I’m living every day life, but still. It’s almost offensive.

Feels like this:

165670736

But I just enjoy being dramatic from time to time.

Side note: I don’t know what’s up with the animations, except I get more views when there’s pictures and I don’t have actual pictures, so. I got them from Google. I did not make them, nor am I taking credit for them. But I am accepting your laughs.

Because I was nursing my sore wing, when my friend suggested Happy Hour after work, I decided a rest day from the gym was in order. Felt like a Friday night, still just a Thursday. Regardless, it was a fun night chatting away with a friend, sipping a margarita, chomping on chips and queso, and eating a salad I didn’t have to prepare.

It’s Friday now, which means the weekend is near! Lots of adventuring, writing, and relaxing is in store for this girl.

What are your weekend plans?

adulting

There’s a fly (or whatever) haunting my room. It’s been here the past two nights and although it could be mental, I feel like it keeps biting me and I get itchy. I don’t think it’s bed bugs (is it bed bugs!), but it’s annoying all the same.

You’re not welcome here, fly! You’d be happier outside, promise.

Anyway, let’s start Tuesday by throwing it back to the weekend. On Friday, I crushed it at the gym (after a few days break), quickly showered, then headed out for drinks with my cousins, Dan and Meghan, to watch/listen Dan DJ. It was a fun night, but I was also battling a cold/allergies (not exactly certain), so I was really looking forward to my bed.

On Saturday, I slept in to my heart’s content before it was time to feast on a pancake breakfast. I tore it up at the gym again, went grocery shopping, and meal prepped for the week ahead. Crockpot sesame chicken update to come later this week! My friend came over for a girl’s night and we made pasta and veggies, salad, and chocolate chip cookies.

Sunday included another restful morning. I enjoyed breakfast and hydrated before running in the beautiful weather- California winters for the win! Once I was a proper sweaty mess, I hopped in the shower and heading out to meet my cousins to see Beauty and the Beast. It was good- not as magical as the animated version, but enjoyable and magical all the same.

My car was due for an oil fill, so I did the adult thing and got it done. It’s actually strange how satisfying it feels to be productive. Continuing the theme of the weekend (relaxation and productivity), I folded laundry, got my things ready for the morning, and wrote for three hours.

I’m still not sure how the weekend passed by so fast, but it was a good one. Now we’re at the point where we can start looking forward to the next one. Happy Tuesday!

a day to remember

This weekend was all about the Women’s March for this girl! It was an incredible experience to share with over 2 million women and men who represented love, hope, equality, and progress. I got to laugh, shout, and listen to the likes of Jane Fonda speak on the importance of representation and equal rights. It is a historic, memorable day that, despite critics suggesting otherwise, will be revolutionary to this country. I am also proud to say that both my parents joined in on the march, in support of their children and themselves, and I can’t emphasize how much it means to me that I have two wonderful, intelligent parents who raised and educated two daughters and a son with equal love, support, and expectations.

7B6FF717-1DB7-4B86-BB5B-7359BD1E2A68.JPG

One last note: Nothing of quality ever got done by sitting quietly at home and minding your own business.  Our country is built on it.

Other than the march, it was a low-key weekend, thanks to the rain and the aftermath of a cold I was battling all week. Entertaining friends and family is always fun and worth while, but it takes a lot out of me, so I welcomed the relaxation.

Thankfully, I was able to fit in a few solid workouts this week, although much of my time outside of work was spent sleeping. Colds are no fun, but thanks to my constant vigilance, it never accumulated into anything too serious.

Here’s some food from the previous week.

A huge salad with chicken, pita and hummus, and some tempura cauliflower I tried from Trader Joes.

5CE2D2B9-5149-44FA-8437-781CA0CA15A4.JPG

Cod, zucchini noodles and spinach, and baked sweet potato fries. I was missing ketchup for those fries!

4AEBA410-1EAB-4003-B36C-22AAD4140A41.JPG

A hunk of a salad topped with garlic-butter shrimp.

26519CCF-BA00-4938-A81A-1769DB0F0813.JPG

Sesame ginger chicken with broccoli and spinach.

0574930D-1C09-4D25-A6D2-DB596D320FAF.JPG

A grilled cheese and soup on my sickliest evening. Notice the spinach- gotta fit in those vitamins! The soup was a roasted corn and red pepper from Trader Joes.

A97C428F-E987-4956-91C7-0FBF6D79729F.JPG

Apparently I’m not good at snapping breakfast shots. This was a warm bowl of oats with peanut butter, blueberries, and strawberries.

B26F14C0-BAFD-4D2D-A7CD-7B6B9CD6AC44.JPG

My lunch of the week was salads with chicken, pita, and hummus. I love meal prep because it makes the week so easy.

E3A272B7-4B62-4825-A342-77830C2D87C2.JPG

After lots of rest and healthy eating, I’m feeling invigorated and ready to face the week! Happy Monday!

Shake It Off

After a few weeks’ hiatus, I’m back! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Mine was busy as I hopped on a plane Tuesday night 9pm LA time, flew into New York City for a two hour delay, then made the final leg of my trip to Boston, arriving around 9am Boston time. I flew back to LA on Friday morning, so it was a whirlwind, but wonderful trip home. Though it was more of a teaser for Christmas break, I’m so happy to have been able to spend time with my family, eat delicious food, and relax.

I believe this picture was taken as my mom told me my head was too big.

IMG_6081.JPG

I have enjoyed my time in LA thus far, but I’ve felt out of sorts and overwhelmed these past few weeks, as I believe I’ve mentioned, but I decided I’m shaking myself out of it. Part of that is getting back into my writing routine. Life is busy and it’s hard to get into a routine after a long day of work, but writing is important to me and it’s why I moved out here, so I have to do it! Doing it!

IMG_5963.JPG

Upon my arrival back to LA, my Lyft driver gave me a gallon of some strange water she was promoting. Apparently, I am supposed to drink it within three days or the live cultures will die. I’m not drinking water that has living beings in it thank you very much. What a welcome back though!

Friday found me in a vegetative state. Had I known it would be the only warm, sunny day of the weekend, I may have felt more motivated to get up, but it started on a long plane journey and I was tired. Plus, my new bike- because yes, one of the blah things that have happened to me in the past few weeks is that my bike was stolen…out of my gated apartment building…where it was locked up- had loose handlebars and I didn’t have the tool to fix it yet, so really, I didn’t want to fall over them.

Regardless of any activity I should have done, Gilmore Girls dropped on Netflix and nothing else mattered. I watched two of the four-part series, napped, cooked dinner, then watched the other two. I loved it, smiled the entire time, and teared up a few times. As the creator/writer said that she ended it the way she always wanted to end it, I fear those last four words, however cryptic and cliff hanger-y, are it for the show, for real this time. I wouldn’t be opposed to more though, please and thank you!

On Saturday, I was on the metro to meet my friend for a hike in Malibu when the skies opened. Apparently, the only things to do in Malibu are go to the beach and hike, so we drove around for a bit before heading over to Santa Monica.

PSA: Don’t all-you-can-eat sushi. Sushi is not something you should ever overeat. Our reasoning for going to this restaurant was to try different types of sushi, but you had to eat all of what you ordered and would have to pay full price for any leftovers. We ordered two rolls too many and I had a piece in my mouth when my body decided it was too much and I had to spit it out. I was full, but it wasn’t that overly stuffed feeling so much as this is not something you should ever have too much of. The mayo-laden sushi glistened at me menacingly and thankfully the waitress took pity on us and took it away as our little secret and we didn’t have to pay. I am now on a six month hiatus from sushi, if not more.

After we ate ourselves silly, it was time to move around. We ended up doing some window shopping in Santa Monica and took in the sights.

IMG_6085.JPG

I should have snapped a picture of the pier all lit up at night, but shoulda coulda woulda and I did-ah not. Ha.

On Sunday, I woke up to more rain, so I cooked an omelet with an english muffin and fruit before heading over to the gym for my first workout in a week. It felt good! Nothing inspires motivation better than a kick ass workout.

In the afternoon, I went back to Santa Monica with my friend Brad where we got some writing done before heading back, making tacos for dinner, and readying for the work week ahead.

I’m in a better place and thinking positive thoughts. Sometimes, it’s good to struggle because it gives you some perspective and forces you to work that much harder. A hug from mom will heal anything. Plus, it doesn’t suck that it’s Christmas spirit time! No better excuse to fit in some shopping.

Happy Monday!