Fridays = The Best Days

Happy Friday!

I know we shouldn’t live for the weekend, but Friday has long been my favorite day and I can’t help but feel happy when it arrives.

Let’s start it off by going back to Thursday, which wasn’t bad itself.

I woke up Thursday morning and enjoyed a classic breakfast sandwich of my own making before heading to the gym.

First, I weighed myself and realized I’m down 1.6 pounds!

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My workout included 40 minutes of arm and core exercises, as well as a treadmill run. I’m running “long” distance twice a week and once a week, I’m working on speeding up my mile. I’ll run one mile, then complete sprints.

A quick snack to refuel was this peanut butter toast and berries.

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After my morning shift, I came home and threw this delicious salad together. With a kale base, I threw in bell pepper, carrots, peanuts, tofu, and chicken with balsamic vinegar. So good!

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Dinner was leftovers during my night shift. Chicken with white sauce, spinach rice, and sautéed spinach and kale.

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Legs As White As Snow

At dinner over the weekend, I wore one of my new dresses and was feeling really good about myself. My calves are my best features as they have been honed by strength training and running and I’m quite proud of them. We were standing around talking before heading out and my aunt asked me if I put anything on my legs. My initial assumption was to believe that she was complimenting them in some way as they may have looked shiny or something, but then she said, “Oh, I thought you were wearing white stockings.”

Listen, it’s been a long, bleary winter. Forgive me if my body is pasty and as white as snow.

I can’t believe at this point that Monday has already come and gone and we are into Tuesday. When my alarm went off in the morning, officially signaling the end of the weekend, I wanted to just snuggle into my pillow a little deeper. I had a bit of trouble falling asleep last night because my mind was racing with writing ideas. This is a positive, but I’m also tired, though as the day turned out, I didn’t feel overly tired.

Instead of rolling over, I rolled myself out of bed and threw on my clothes. I went through my usual routine and once I got to the gym, I started with some plank action. I’m alternating between full planks and forearm planks to mix things up. After, I meandered over to the barbells to run through circuit training. For each move, I performed reps by 10x8x6x4 going up in weight, then finished at a medium weight with 8x8x8. By the end, my muscles were feeling the effects of hard work. To throw in some cardio, I jumped on the treadmill for five minutes of sprints before doing some box jumps, jumping jacks, and jump rope. It was an excellent way to start the week!

Breakfast was a glorious invention my Aunt Dawn recommended. It’s an egg sandwich maker that allows you to cook everything within five minutes. All I had to do was throw in an English muffin, cheese, ham, and an egg. It came out toasty, melty, and delicious. It kept me full for a long while too and I wasn’t hungry again until it was lunchtime! Some fruit added to the meal.

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I made a couple of stir frys for the week on Sunday and this is one of them. Welcome back chicken teriyaki meatballs! I mixed my veggies with a little teriyaki sauce over buckwheat noodles and happily chowed down for lunch.

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No extra snack was needed as it was someone’s birthday at work and we had ice cream cake to celebrate. My favorite kind of anything!

For dinner, we broiled scallops- one of the best kinds of seafood!- and enjoyed them with some lobster ravioli. Spinach, peppers, and mushrooms were a nice added touch in the marinara sauce.

  
Nothing really else exciting to report except that I am trying to convince myself that my runny nose, deep cough, and chest burn are all to do with allergy symptoms rather than that terrible chest cold/flu that is going around. I can’t be sick for the beginning of May!

An Appointment with the Hair Doctor, Ham Solo, and Birthday Wishes

You know those great moments in the middle of the night when you wake up and have to pee? You glance at your clock and you still have a few more hours rest, so you snuggle under the covers and full back to sleep blissful and cozy.

Yeah, that happened to me this morning and it was 4:58. Technically I still had 17 minutes of rest, but that flew by and I was a miserable lump. And I couldn’t hold it in until then so knock off another three minutes. Whiny, I know.

Once at the gym, I built up more motivation. First up was a body strength workout using some stretch bands and a medicine ball. I did squats, lunges, kneeling kickbacks, push-ups, hip lifts, Russian twists- or as I prefer to call them, rushin’ twists because they hurt so good- mermaid raises, v ups, and sit ups. I finished with some planks, a couple that were elevated. By the time I hopped into the pool, my abs were burning. Today was sprint day in the pool. By the time I was done and out of the pool, I was still catching my breath. The key to sprints in the pool is continuous and fast kicking followed by long, quick strokes to get into a groove. Wooo-eeeeeee.

Breakfast was a stovetop oatmeal that came together quite quickly. I did my usual stovetop oats with some white chocolate peanut butter and raspberry peach jam mixed in. Strawberries and blueberries joined the concoction. 

 

Stir frys are so simple, healthy, and delicious. I’m liking the buckwheat noodles for something a little different and heartier. I paired them with a combination of chicken and chickpeas, veggies, sesame oil, and Thai peanut sauce. A bag of popcorn came on the side.

 

  

After work, I had a hair appointment scheduled, but I accidentally said I had to go to the hair doctor, which is just funny. The dead ends needed to be chopped badly and after it finished, I felt so refreshed!

 

 I was on my own for dinner and had a hankering for pizza. Some slices and a great big salad popped into my mind and wouldn’t waver! I ordered a small so I could take the same for lunch. Delightful!

  

I feel obsessed with weather lately, but HELLO!? It’s been crazy nice out lately and we have had such a long, cold, butter, snowy winter. A little sun and warmth- and appreciation for it- won’t hurt you!

Also, I need to mention the new Star Wars trailer because HAN SOLO! (Autocorrect tried to make it say Ham Solo, which is just funny). I can’t wait to see Leia in it too, specifically with Han. Don’t even get me started if they aren’t happily married. Stay on my good side, Abrams.

Finally, a very Happy HAPPY birthday to one of my oldest and dearest friends, Molly! Have a great day, brotha! (Yes, that was a Lost reference).

I Like To Move, Move- Updated Workouts!

Writing this out, I understand that these workouts might seem intense. Keep in mind, I dedicate/have a lot of time in order to workout and I always listen to my body’s signals. This month’s workouts are great because they can be broken up into segments that people can pick and choose to their liking. I always get excited about formulating new workout plans, and these have definitely kicked my butt in a good way!

Day One:
Strength (Using Barbells)
– Rows
– Bicep Curls
– Front Deadlifts
– Snatch and Presses
– Squat Presses
– Bench Presses
– Lying Tricep Extensions
– Front Shoulder Presses
– Shoulder Raises
– Leg Press

Body Strength
– Step Ups
– Lunges
– Deep Squats
– Dips
– V Push Ups
– Leg Lifts
– Single-Leg Hip Lifts
– Sit Ups

Cardio (HIIT)
– Jump Rope
– Treadmill Sprints
– Bike Sprints
– Rower Sprints

Day Two
Strength (Using Ball and Medicine Balls)
– Burpees to Throw Downs
– Wall Throws
– Lunge Twists
– Single-Leg Deadlifts
– Squat Swings
– Rollouts
– Elevated Hip Lifts
– Hundreds
– Russian Twists
– Mermaid Raises

Body Strength
– Box Jumps
– Dips
– Rope Swings
– Leg Swings
– Jump Rope

Cardio
– Swim or Elliptical depending on time

Day Three
Strength
– Yoga

Cardio
– Run

Day Four
Strength (using cables)
– Pull Downs
– Chops
– Rows
– Tricep Extensions
– Flies
– Leg Presses

Strength (using kettle bells)
– Swings
– Goblet Squats
– Alternating Knee to Elbow Shoulder Presses
– Single-Arm Snatches
– Front Rows
– Bench Presses (on ball)

Body Strength
– Box Jumps
– Push Ups
– Mountain Climbers
– Leg Lifts
– Backwards Lunges
– Split Squats to Standing Kickbacks

Cardio (HIIT)
– Jump Rope
– Treadmill Sprints
– Bike Sprints
– Rower Sprints

Day Five

REST

Day Six
Strength (using dumbbells)
– Bench Presses
– Flies
– Hammer Curls
– Front Raises
– One-Leg Rows
– Deadlifts
– Shrugs to Lunges
– Shoulder Presses
– Tricep Extensions with Calf Raises

Strength (using barbells)
– Plie Squat Presses
– Leg Presses
– Angled Bench Presses

Body Strength
– Hanging Leg Raises
– Box Jumps
– Split Squats
– Lunge Twists
– Push Ups
– Spiderman Climbers
– Mermaid Raises
– Alternating Ankle Grabs
– Single-Leg Hip Lifts
– Russian Twists

Day Seven
Strength
– Yoga

Cardio
– Run

For sets and reps, it depends on how I’m feeling that day and how much time I have to workout. Lately, I’ve been trying to push my workouts to the next level, so I’ve varied between 4 sets of 12, 5 sets of 10, and 3 sets of 15. The heaviness of weights also depends on the amount of reps per set.

On most days, I end my workouts with a series of planks- front planks, side planks, reverse planks, and also include shoulder stands and full bridges. I also try to walk as much as possible to fit in as much movement throughout the day.

Soon, I am going to start studying to become a personal trainer because I think I have a unique background and the drive to help a lot of people. For me, exercise is energizing, fun, and stress-relieving. I like testing my body and proving how strong I am. It doesn’t always have to be this intense, depending on your preference. Please feel free to use some of these moves and incorporate segments into your own workout.

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!

Pain is Gain (Unless It’s The Bad Kind)

Never in my entire life have I had summer allergies up until last year. Spring allergies I understand. All the blooming and blossoming and colorful crap springs to life and brings new life as the snow melts and people around here can go outside again and not freeze to death. Over the years, I became so immune to the snot dripping down my face intermingled with the tears streaming from itchy, red eyes. That is, until the allergies didn’t go away come summertime.

Last year, the focus was more on my breathing, and I’m not certain that any breathing issues weren’t actually slight panic attacks at the idea of my Master’s program. It’s just not fair when your mother bans you from eating the delicacies that are summer fruit, such as cherries and apricots, peaches and plums. I get the apples in the Spring, okay, as it’s one season, as difficult as it is, but now it’s bordering on two seasons. I shouldn’t be judged for trying to eat fruit as a little child is for sneaking cookies out of the cookie jar!

Depending on how I feel that day and if I have reinforcements around to save me if I go unconscious, I will put my life at risk and enjoy some sweet cherries. The thing that really gets me is when the allergies affect my workouts.

The drip drip drip of my nose against my futile attempts to wipe it away with the back of my hand or snort it back in so I don’t choke as I run. The irritation and itch that plagues my eyes concealed by goggles, but no less resistant to whatever is in the air that affects me as I swim. Arms placed at my hips, bent over as I try to catch my breath after a tough workout when I suddenly can’t breathe. It’s not that I’m out of shape, it’s the allergies.

I take my allergy pill every night before bed. I (mostly) stay away from fruit and other irritants that stimulate my symptoms, and for the most part I’ve been able to stave them off. However, in those moments that my allergies do strike, there’s little I can do than just try to work through them and hope for the best (that I don’t die).

Regardless of these annoying obstacles, here’s another Workout Wednesday.

I met my friend Nouha to show her one of my strength routine’s on Wednesday. We ran through a dumbbell circuit routine four times, performing 8 sets for each exercise. Then, I hopped into the pool and swam for a good half hour. I went at a busy time, and therefore didn’t have the patience to go for a full mile, but I still felt pretty fired up.

Last Thursday, I waited for the sun to start to go down before taking to the streets for a run. Despite my constant drinking of water, I don’t think my body was properly hydrated because I didn’t feel as energized as I worked through my run and even had to walk in some parts.

The next day, I completed a part dumbbell/part kettlebell strength workout broke into circuits to keep my motivation up. I ended with a quick Tabata workout on the bike that consisted of twenty seconds of sprinting with forty seconds of slow pedaling.

Before the party on Saturday, I went on another run, a little earlier in the day than I normally would with the sun blaring, but turns out, it was a way better run than the one on Thursday. It’s so weird when that happens. When I got to the huge hill at the end of my route, I was even able to run all the way up it without tripping and rolling back down.

I enjoyed my scheduled rest day on Sunday with a brief game of basketball with my brother, which I won! Haha. He’s not been reading this even though he says he keeps meaning to, so let’s put this to the test. I did beat him though.

On Monday, I had a long strength workout which left me feeling a little bit on the wrong side of sore the next day. I didn’t feel any twinge during, even though I upped my weight for most of my exercises. After, I did another two circuits of Tabata intervals on the bike, five minutes at level 6, five minutes at level 8, with some medium pedaling in-between. I finished off with some incline speed-walking in-between running sprints on the treadmill. I even got up to 10 miles an hour, which is very fast for me, at 30 seconds sprinting, 30 seconds walking. That night I also walked two miles with my mom around the neighborhood.

As humid as it was on Tuesday, I performed a core/Yoga routine in my air-conditioned room, while watching Bob’s Burgers, my new obsession. I was feeling fine until I extended into a full bridge, fell, and felt the breath go out of me. I recovered quickly I think, though when I stood up again I felt a bit dizzy. In the mid-afternoon, I swam some laps in the pool, which is when my shoulder pain presented itself. Once the sun went down, I went for a run at the track to try and make my mile faster. It’s a process.

Today, I had another strength workout. I didn’t feel any pain while performing the moves, but as I’m writing this I’m definitely feeling tender. Part of the pain might have to do with the mile swim I did right after. Either way, at least today it’s a good type of pain.

Now enjoy this picture of Bandit doing some Yoga.

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