Traipsing About: Words and Workouts

I’ve been watching quite a bit of Gilmore Girls lately, thanks Netflix, and I’m really enjoying it. When it was on, I would watch an episode here or there, but it was never one of my core shows. The dialogue moves fast, but that’s one of the aspects I like about it. As a writer, I am trying to learn more about how dialogue flows and pertains to certain characters, so really, it’s a learning process when I watch…

One thing I’ve noticed is how frequently they use the word “traipsing.” This might seem like an odd stand-out, but the emphasis stems from the fact that I learned how to properly pronounce traipsing from the show. It’s difficult to convey to you my history of mispronouncing words, mostly because the element of humor and appreciation would be best viewed from hearing it. There was the “compromise” situation that started it all, pronounced by me, “com. promise.” Most recently, I learned that the word “acquiesce is not pronounced in the manner I always assumed (and to be honest, my pronunciation is far prettier). I tended to stretch out the word when apparently it’s just a jumble. I can’t even explain how I would say “traipsing,” but I’ve learned and now Gilmore Girls won’t let me forget it. Lesson learned!

Onto some exercise talk, which starts with the swim I did last Thursday where I last left you. My incorporation of sprints in my swim time is fun, necessary, and exhausting. It does make swimming, which has the tendency to be boring and repetitive lap after lap, move more quickly and adds another challenge. It wipes me out in a good way and I feel more satisfied when leaving.

The more I exercise and it has been an ingrained habit, the less effect exercise has on my body. In order to do real “damage,” and I mean that on a positive level, I need to keep upping the challenges and this becomes difficult. Sprints are one way I blast through a plateau. I add them in my swimming, running, biking, and jump roping and I’m planning on including them in my strength workouts for this month as well. I’ve mentioned quite a bit about Tabata intervals, which means you perform one move for twenty seconds, rest for ten seconds, over a course of four minutes. This is an effective workout and should be included with the more stable exercises, such as a longer, steadier run, swim, bike ride, etc. Having the body go from a resting state to a high intensity state has an awesome effect on your body and fitness level. I like to leave my workouts with a thick glaze of sweat coating my body, which has proved more difficult than it has in the past. Having to up the ante may seem like an annoying, difficult process, but I see it as an accomplishment and challenge to go even further.

On Friday, I headed to the gym to do a series of strength workouts. I started on the barbells doing a series of key moves like deadlifts, bench presses, squat presses, and leg presses. Since I was crunched for time, I moved onto a couple of kettlebell circuits that get in both strength and cardio exercises.

Before the fun adventures on Saturday night, I went out for a run. I started off feeling ambitious about the hills, but my body was tired and not on the same page, so I took a few of them at a slow run or even a fast walk. Hill runs are another element I want to include in my workout a few times a week. I’ll start at one and see how it goes and hopefully add more the better I get at it.

I do love working out and it is my biggest stress relievers, however, I have no shame in informing you that I planned my rest day last week to fall on my birthday. I was too busy celebrating with friends and family to fit in any time at the gym. The effects of a relaxing, fun rest day was just what I needed to rejuvenate and I headed into the gym on Monday raring to go! I got through a strength workout that incorporated some moves using medicine balls and the stability balls, including that burpee move I couldn’t get through last week. I followed up my strength workout with another swim and felt nice and tired, but energized on my way home.

I renovated my strength workouts a bit and on Tuesday, I tried out my new dumbbell routine using the stability ball. This helps my core while strengthening my muscles. I did a circuit that included shoulder presses, lying tricep extensions, shoulder flies, and bench presses. I was once again a bit overly ambitious and attempted to perform some plank rows with my feet on the stability ball. This will have to be an accomplishment I work towards and instead had no trouble balancing on the ground. After four sets of twelve, I moved on to do two kettlebell circuits that focused on strength and core work. To end, I tried to jump rope, but for some reason, I wasn’t in my groove and couldn’t keep a consistent pace.

I’m headed now to do a Yoga sequence before traipsing* out for a run. Here’s to hoping I don’t slip on any wet, gross leaves. You’ll hear about it if I do!

*I realize that traipsing means moving without care, but I couldn’t resist the pun!

Step Up, I’m Ready for My Close-Up

One of the big excitements in our family is the pending marriage of my sister Lauren to her fiancé, Nick. It is a big honor that I have been asked to be my sister’s Maid of Honor, and people have taken to calling me MOH. Okay, I’ve been calling myself that, but so have others. Some (my sister) may find my excitement to be over zealous, but I just like to refer to myself as sassy.

Others close to me have received nicknames that have to do, not with the bride, but with the Maid of Honor. For instance, my cousin Mikey is considered to be the MOH assistant, so with affection, we call him MOHAss. His sister Erin, is the assistant to the assistant of MOH and is now MOHhalfass, or at least I think she is. It changes on the regular. My mom’s nickname took off best, MoMOH, mother to MOH. It’s all very silly, but fun. Odds are, if you are in anyway connected to this wedding, you’ll get a nickname in time.

That was just a fun look into my quirky perspective, but it does have some connection to Workout Wednesdays. My goal for this wedding, or I should say hope, is that my excess skin will have tightened. I’ve maintained the same weight for a good two years now and the skin has progressed, but I still have a ways to go. Once this happens sufficiently, I will know if I want to lose more weight or if I feel that I’m in a good place. I have a lot of muscle, which makes the number on the scale skewed.

With September’s arrival, I’ve stepped up my workouts so that I can be in my very best shape for the wedding, which isn’t until next summer. My main goal is to incorporate a regular Yoga practice into my schedule because I believe this will help to tone and heal.

Last week, I went from having the best run of the summer, six miles, to a very poor run, maybe one mile. This was due to my cold. After being at my sickest last Wednesday, I thought I was feeling up for a run on Thursday, but I was very wrong. My nose started running and burning, my legs felt numb and weak, and I realized that even if I was feeling better, I wasn’t fully recovered yet. It actually took me past the weekend to be able to run again, which I just came back from and legged out three and a half miles, feeling good and strong, with only a slight nose drip.

I plan on increasing my runs as we progress into fall because the air will chill and the humidity will disappear. That’s what prevented me, in part, from running until today. The past couple of days have been killer.

During this time, I found it easier to perform my strength workouts. In order to up this, I’ve taken to doing five sets of ten or four sets of twelve for each move. I rotate between going through a cycle or focusing on all the sets of one move before moving on. I’ve felt the difference and feel like it has been more effective.

I’ve also increased my Tabata intervals to extend beyond the bike. Tabata means four minutes total of one exercise, twenty seconds working as hard as you can and ten seconds resting, then repeat. For my cardio two days a week, I’ve been doing this for the bike, treadmill, box jumps, kettlebell swings, and jump rope. It is exhausting, but fast and effective.

Another aspect I am trying to fit in more consistently is core work. I’ve extended my plank to hold for a minute and twenty seconds and my side planks for 45 seconds to a minute. I’ve been doing different core moves,d my current routine including t push ups, mountain climbers on my forearms, kneeling kickbacks, mermaid raises, hip lifts, bicycle crunches, hundreds, alternating ankle grabs, and elevated Russian twists. I find that when I break these moves up into sets, I am able to perform at my highest each time. I’ve been working through them in a cycle, which moves fast and leaves my abs burning.

I have not been swimming laps as much lately, but spending some time on the elliptical. This is partly because I wanted a break, but now because the pool is closed for a week for renovations at my gym. Once it gets cooler out, I will get back into that routine because I really like doing it. The problem has been finding the right time to go when it isn’t overcrowded.

With exercise, it’s all about listening to your body and resting enough, especially if your body has been sick or overworked. Working out is a source of comfort and stress release. It helps me feel better, happier, and more productive. When it doesn’t leave me feeling this way, I know I need to take a step back. After feeling off and weak last week, it was nice coming back strong these past few days!