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

I Think I Broke My One Abdominal Muscle

Okay, I promise I know that there is more than one abdominal muscle in the body. I happen to be studying the muscles as we speak. But sometimes, especially in my regard, I feel like there is just a one-pack. Regardless, I just so happened to twinge one of those muscles yesterday and so I’m really feeling that little guy today.

I’m not certain what happened. Since starting my studying, I’ve realized just how important the core is, so I’ve been making an effort to extend that facet of training. One move that is uber effective is the ab roller and I even had my form checked to ensure that I was doing it correctly- which for the record, I was- but for whatever reason, it hurts in that NOT-A-GOOD-PAIN sort of pain. I did it on Monday with no issues, then tried it again on Wednesday and realized I needed another day of rest from it. Come Thursday, I thought, well hey, but I didn’t make it through one before the pain entered and did not go away. Great.

My workout before that was a fun one. I found a superset workout online, added a few exercises to make it a total body experience, and it killed in a super way. Supersets have you perform two (or more) different exercises back-to-back utilizing the same muscle groups. Whew. I haven’t felt that kind of tension in my muscles (this time, the good kind of pain) in awhile! Mission accomplished, I suppose.

After the ab roller fiasco, I stuck to other core exercises that didn’t twinge nearly as bad. Another fun part of my workout was this box jump/step up combination I thought up the other day. I start out jumping onto a smaller platform (I’ve got no game when it comes to jumping), jumping down, then stepping up onto a larger platform. I kind of felt like I was leap frogging, but there was barely anyone around and I had a blast (and an effective workout)!

I swear to you, I snapped photos of my lunch and dinner from yesterday, but my phone deleted them! Lunch was a salad using leftover steak from the previous night’s fajita dinner. For dinner, I gobbled down a piece of swordfish with brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and spinach rice. Both meals were excellent and they looked pretty too, so I’m bummed the pictures are gone.

This morning, I rolled out of bed later than I should have because I was a lady-on-a-mission to get to a spin class on time. First, I had to fuel up, which came in the form of and egg and egg-white scramble. I topped the eggs with a sprinkle of cheese and had a piece of whole wheat toast as well.

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Along with the all-important glasses of water and coffee, it was the perfect meal to energize me! Spin was a great class and once again, I feel like I’m improving. For the record, I made it just in time.

To follow up my cardio, I performed a few resistance moves, including tricep bench presses, lunge presses (note, hard!), clean and presses, seated rows, and lateral pull downs. There was no method to my madness as one of my goals this weekend is to formulate an entirely new workout plan. For today, I just went with what felt right in the moment. My ab muscle was feeling better, though still a little tender, and I focused on core moves that would stretch it out. In a circuit style, I did something I don’t know the name of but it required me holding a weight in one hand and leaning into it, leg ups, side box jumps, kettlebell goblet squats with pull ups, and kettlebell swings. I fit in some nice stretching before heading out.

My post-workout meal included a piece of peanut butter toast and a Greek yogurt with grapes!

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Have a great weekend!

Weddings, Birthdays, and All Hallows Eve

Oh, boy what a weekend! A long weekend for me as Thursday kicked off my friend Erin’s Wedding Weekend! After a doctor’s appointment on Thursday morning, I met Erin at a local nail salon to get a pedicure. Not quite worth the money on my end as there wasn’t much more than just the painting of the nails, which by the way, smudged that night after plenty of dry time!

Thursday night’s agenda was the Rehearsal. Erin’s sister and two of my other friends from college, Katie and Stephanie, rounded out the bridal party. We practiced the ceremony a few times before it was time to head to the party for some wine and dinner. IMG_4165

That night, the intention was to watch Bridesmaids, but everyone was sleepy and headed to bed before the movie ended. It’s okay, we’ve all seen it before.

On Friday, we were up bright and early to enjoy breakfast made by Erin’s mom, as well as to get ready for the big day! The bridesmaids had to run a few errands first, which included the ultra important task of grabbing coffees! By the time we got back, it was time to get our hair done! I was obsessed with the way the stylist did it, but I can’t find any pictures of the back on my phone! Sadness. Here’s a peak at the full picture.

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And some more scenes from the wedding itself, which was beautiful! I’ll be honest and admit I got teary eyed as Erin walked down the aisle. Even though we’ve graduated three years ago, it still feels out of sorts to realize that we are now doing actual adult things! Maybe I’m out of sorts because I’ve “retired” twice already from different careers (it’s okay though because I’m on the right track now).

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Some bridesmaid hang time.

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The beautiful bride!

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Terrible angle for some of us, but it was the only picture of the four of us I got! Thank God for the professionals!

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I won this lantern, which was the centerpiece thanks to having the birthday closest to the day of the wedding.

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And here we are the day after the wedding, recuperating at a brunch.

It was a wonderful weekend and I know Erin and her now HUSBAND Stephen got their marriage and rest-of-their-lives-together off to a great, happy, loving start!

The day after the wedding was of course Halloween and all this girl did was put on a tiara (just a typical Saturday) and hand out some candy. I had high hopes for some study time but I was exhausted and all I could muster was some writing, while watching the classic Reese Witherspoon movie Sweet Home Alabama. Saturday also happened to be my sister’s 29th birthday, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY LAUREN!

As we welcomed November on Sunday (ok, wait, where did August-October go!?!?), we also entered Caitlin Birthday Month! It’s a big deal, everyone! I’ve got super exciting plans to celebrate my birthday weekend coming up that I will divulge after the fact! Woohoo! Even though 26 is only famous (or shall I say infamous) for being the date I get kicked off my parent’s health insurance, I still like to celebrate and to be honored.

We did start the celebrations on Sunday afternoon with my sister, her husband, my brother, and his girlfriend coming over for a family dinner. I like to think I was Lauren’s greatest birthday present she ever received as we were born 9 days (and 3 years) apart. We often celebrated our birthdays at a joint party, which I don’t mind. On the menu were short ribs, chicken wings, macaroni and cheese, spinach, and a roasted veggie medley of Brussels sprouts, carrots, and red peppers. It was divine!

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For dessert, my mom made us an ice cream cake with coffee ice cream, hot fudge, marshmallow sauce, walnuts, and crushed oreos. Happy birthday to us! This just means the celebrations have begun NOT ended!

Having anticipated such a meal, I headed out for a run earlier that afternoon. On doctor’s orders, I had to keep it light as she believes my feet are going numb due to excessive muscle tension. That means I have to stretch, wa-ay more than I ever make time for. I know I’m terrible. But! I did just finish the portion on Flexibility Training in my textbook, so I’m in an excellent position to move forward.

I also noticed that I tend to lean forward during my stride, so I’m wondering if I’m placing too much tension on my ankles and that might be cutting off my circulation. Ugh.

Now that we’re all caught up, I’ll share one last picture of this morning’s breakfast before I head out for a workout and a productive day of studying/work. Just some scrambled eggs and egg whites, waffles, and a sweet bowl of berries!

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Welcome to my birthday month, friends! When all else fails and the days turn into darkness, remember, I’ll be getting presents and you’ll be getting Thanksgiving soon!