Workouts of Late

This week, I am down 1.8 pounds.

I’ve collected quite a few sweaty selfies of late thanks to my fitness Instagram- Stronger with Caitlin. Here’s a few of them, along with what I’ve been doing for my workouts lately.

Lots of running.

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Summer into fall is my absolute favorite time to run and I always pick up my pace and length once the weather cools down just a bit. Of course, I try to run outside in the winter, but it’s never for as long. I also detest the treadmill and cannot go for miles unless I’m somehow in a trance-like state.

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I’m excited to see how fast and far I can go now that I’m dropping a few extra pounds. I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts, ranging from True Crime to Disney World themed, during my workouts, although I’ll always return to my favorite playlists and upbeat musicals when I just want to cruise.

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I’ve also been a sweaty mess during my strength training workouts, which I do three times a week. I try to add 15-20 minutes of faster cardio to the end or throughout. My cardio of choice on these days has been jump roping. It’s such a great workout that you don’t have to suffer through for an extended amount of time. I like to do a set of jumps 50-100 after each set of exercises to get the heart rate UP.

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In conclusion, I aim for six days a week of challenging workouts. 3 running days and 3 strength training days. Thus far, I’ve been enjoying the results.

Stay-tuned for the fall when I’ll be mixing things up!

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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lower body workout

Here’s that lower body workout I promised two weeks ago!

I focused on the major muscle groups of the lower body. First set includes work on the quads, one exercise with heavy weight, the second with body weight in an explosive movement. Remember to sit back on those heels!

The second set focuses on the hamstrings, with a heavy deadlift that will stretch the back of your legs followed up with hamstring curls that will be a slow burn.

Next, we’ll focus on the ab/adductors to work the sides of those upper thighs, on the inside and outside. Side lunges will be with some weight and move slowly, while the skaters should be explosive and quick.

For the glutes, bridges can be made more difficult either with weight resting on your hips or performing them elevated on a ball or incline of some sort. Step-ups are one of my least favorite exercises, but they are effective!

To finish off the strength portion of the workout, work the abs! Leg lifts and plank jacks will get the lower body moving along with the core.

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Enjoy the burn!

I’ll often hear many people, usually women, complain about their upper body strength. Most likely, this is because women (and I know I’m generalizing here) tend to stick to cardio like running, biking, or ellipticalling, which is great for their health, hearts, and legs, but they’re completely ignoring an important part of their body! Or else, they aren’t working out at all.

There is no judgement in this post, I’m just pointing out what I’ve heard and trying to remedy that! Cardio is easy- hold the pitchforks- in the sense that you hop on the machine or head outside and you pretty much know what to do.

Strength training is intimidating. There is equipment involved, whether complicated looking machines, funny-looking dumbbells, heavy-looking barbells, or the even stranger kettlebell to name a few. Also, it can be difficult to know what to do and why.

If you are starting out with weight training, exercising, or coming back from an injury, I recommend checking out the weight machines offered at the gym (this is the only time I’d recommend the machines for the record).

Otherwise, if you’re interested in lifting, take the time to do some research, whether in online tutorials or trainers at your gym (we’re always happy to help!) to learn exercises and the proper technique, whether the workout involves equipment or body strength.

Below is an upper body workout that targets all the main muscle groups, including the biceps, triceps, shoulders, back, and chest. If you perform each move properly, the core will always be engaged.

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Come back next week to check out the lower body workout!

I’m Onto You, Suzanne Summers

I had a dream two nights ago that Suzanne Summers was stalking me, so you better believe I’ve been checking over my shoulder whenever I leave the house. We were cool Ms. Summers, don’t pull a Liza on me.* In the dream, we were participating in a Hunger Games-esque event, except it had nothing to do with death. If I remember correctly, then if Suzanne “tagged” me, then I had to go live outside in nature. This all seemed very plausible in my dream, but now makes no sense at all.

*If you forgot that Liza Minelli stalks me, then lucky you. It’s a thing. I’m sure I’ve written posts about it before. She’s remained stagnant as of late. Let’s not jinx that.

Anyways….is anyone else slightly alarmed that it’s already October 21? I’m sorry, but I thought it was still July of 2012. Time is flying! I better step up my studying because my test date is approaching.

Here are some eats from the past few days we’ve been away from each other.

Scenes from my dad’s birthday dinner Act I. Act II actually doesn’t have a picture, but my family went out and it was fun, happy, and delicious.

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A very interesting looking meal with waffles, scrambled eggs with a chicken sausage, and a big bowl of berries. My breakfasts are often big meals because they fuel me for my workouts and because it’s the best meal of the day.

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This stir fry was impressive. Steak, zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, and spinach over rice with ginger sesame dressing drizzled on top.

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Peanut butter toast can do no wrong.

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Grilled tilapia, broccoli, zucchini, peppers, and rotini. Yum!

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This morning’s plate of cakes. I can’t get enough of these!

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Workouts the past few days included grueling strength training sessions, lap swims, spin classes, long runs (slightly painful thanks to new shoes which I’ll debut tomorrow!), and core workouts that left me with sore abs whenever I sneeze (I sneeze a lot, ouch!).

In other news, I hung out with my family a lot this weekend which is always good for laughs and fun, enjoyed the nice weather with a few walks outside, cleaned and prepared for fall/winter (still more to do, ugh!), worked (it’s a blessing to love what I do), and lost a few years of my life trying to buy Star Wars tickets. For whatever reason, they are starting to premiere the new film BEFORE midnight, so my friend Stephanie and I have our tickets for 11:50. We like to stick to the idea of premiering a  movie at midnight, but in this situation, beggars really can’t be choosers. It is very exciting though and we are now two months away!

I can’t get over this picture:

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I also bought another decal for my computer. I like the subtlety of my Harry Potter one that fits right over the apple on the Mac, and I thought I was continuing this trend when I bought this new one. Not so much. It’s huge! I had to cut it.

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I think my nerd is showing just a bit.

Also, my coffee mug looks super creepy in that picture and it was unintentional!

Happy Wednesday!

Food on the Brain

I think I mentioned that I’ve been running more, but I don’t know if I told you how I ran 10 miles. Straight. Yes, okay, so that run ruined my sneakers and is now the reason why my feet go numb when I run (I know I need to get to the store), but it was so worth it. Running 10 miles is a feat if only based on how long it takes me. Note, just short of 2 hours. So I’m not a fast runner, but my clip was consistent and I have the feeling that I could do it again. Even more, maybe. Half marathon, let’s go! Remember, if I can run, you can run. You just have to start.

After that shameless plug, I’ll get back into recap mode. Wednesday’s run seems like a walk in the park with just 4 miles and a few breath-taking sprints at the end, but it was still a great workout on a beautiful day! Thursday’s workout was an early one as I had to work later that morning. It included a kettlebell strength circuit, followed up with some body strength moves, and a swim.

But look what I had waiting for me at home!

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As promised, it’s baked oatmeal time again! My go-to baked oats recipe includes oats, baking powder, cinnamon, mashed banana, chopped dates, and milk of any kind. It’s fun to mix things up and tis the season for pumpkin and apple! I tossed in some chopped apple, canned pumpkin, raisin, and walnuts, baked it for 25 minutes at 350 and had myself a tasty, warm, and nutritious breakfast.

I made it the night before and heated it up for breakfast and it was still fresh and delicious!

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Um, yes, please and thank you. Some peanut butter might have been thrown on top because I can’t help myself.

Lunch was fun too when I got down to it. Quesadilla time! First step, grill those veggies!

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It’s nice to have already grilled chicken on hand like I did, but it doesn’t take much time to cook that up either. Once cooked, mix everything together nice and hot.

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Assemble the tortilla and cheese!

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Top with mixture on one side (you know, where the cheese is). Don’t forget to sprinkle another layer of cheese on top for the sticking factor.

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Let it brew before you chew.  I had to do it without actually doing it. I’m sorry.

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Savor.

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A comfort favorite packed with nutrition and YUM!

And on to this morning’s recap…I had a quick homemade breakfast sandwich before skipping over to the gym for a dumbbell circuit. I held some planks too before getting my butt kicked at a spin class. Nice to mix up the cardio sometimes.

Now time to think about lunch…HAPPY FRIDAY!

Bump-y Weekend of Fun

Well, hey. It’s been awhile, which isn’t intentional and I’m not quite sure what happened to delay my posting. All I can say is that I’m back now to our regularly scheduled blogging. October is busy and somehow basically mid-way thru?

Let’s continue with a little weekend recap. Saturday morning started off at work, but after, I rushed home to finish up putting a few things together before hightailing it my friend Katie’s apartment. Our college friend Erin is getting married at the end of this month and we’ve already kicked off some of the celebrations with her bridal shower in August, but this time it was all about the Bachelorette.

My friends from school refer to ourselves as “the core four” as there are four of us who are really close and we’re all bridesmaids (except for the bride of course).

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We started off with a delicious potluck meal that included a buffalo chicken dip, chicken parmesan, pasta, garlic bread, salad, and cupcakes for dessert. Yum!

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I would zero in on the cupcakes, but hey! I made them and I have a hell of a sweet tooth.

Second event on the agenda was an improv show in the city. So freakin’ funny. There’s something about improv that is so raw and re-actional. As a writer, I’m all about the planning and the wording, but it’s so important to have instincts and gut reactions. Color me so so impressed! Definitely something to do again soon! Though I will say they should work on their margarita.

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The rest of the night was focused on celebrating Erin with some drinking and dancing. You have to dance when you drink because you burn off all those calories and it’s just so darn fun. It’s a rule. Look it up!

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The next day, started off with some brunch and lots of water and coffee. I went simple with eggs over easy, toast, sausage, and some home fries. My eggs were half raw, which would never happen in my kitchen. Brunch is about the experience and the people you’re eating with (sometimes) and not always about the food (we’re going with that for now). The woes of being a cook in a restaurant!

Once I got home, I focused some more on rehydrating before I headed out for a run. I am so sick of my feet falling asleep- I know I need new sneakers but I was in denial- but I still made it through a wonderful 6.25 mile run on a gorgeous day. Seriously, the weather this weekend was phenomenal. I walked another two miles home and just enjoyed being outside and listening to my music. Good music is everything when it comes to running and getting in that groove.

I made a hunk of a salad for dinner to pair with the pizza my parents brought home from their lunch. I didn’t have the biggest appetite after running, but the meal hit the spot. For the rest of the night, I watched some episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer  studied (okay, so I did a little studying and a lot of watching). I also wrote quite a bit and ended up falling asleep later than I should have.

Regardless of my late start to sleep, I woke up early on Monday morning for our weekly grocery shopping trip. There was nothing but angst and pain when I realized the store didn’t have blueberries OR raspberries. That is a true nightmare. Thankfully, there were strawberries so I could keep it together. Also, I can eat apples again so we’re all good on the fruit front.

A strength training workout was also on the agenda. Despite feeling tired and somewhat affected still from Saturday night, I killed it at the gym with my lifting session and felt even stronger than last week when I hit a few milestones. To top things off, I worked through a body strength/plyometrics circuit that left me feeling nice, sweaty, and accomplished.

I should mention that I whacked my head yesterday too and am rocking the bruise and bump combination. It really was completely a moment of stupidity because all I did was bend over and knock it off something I knew was there. Whoops. I seemed to sleep fine last night and woke up so I doubt there’s a concussion…

Before work, I had a nap before a productive study session that cleared up a few points I wasn’t grasping before. I just used “before” a lot in that sentence. I was going to change it, but then I decided to mention it, so you can’t judge it. It’s a thing.

So here we are on Tuesday, which feels like a Monday, but we’re already that much closer to another Friday!

I started my day off with an egg and two egg white omelet with chicken sausage and cheese and a fresh homemade whole wheat waffle. Notice the grapes for fruit as there were no berries and the strawberries required a lot of moving other things around to get to them and I was hungry.

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Still delicious and spot-hitting!

Now for even more productivity, less head hitting, and a lovely (albeit rainy) day! Promise I won’t go as long between posts.