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.

562A03E2-46EC-47FC-BE87-0D2F3DD8E1BB.JPG

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.

541A09FC-7AE9-4282-854B-78992DD837E0.JPG

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.

F5AAD161-D665-4123-BD43-0BD4818F916E.JPG

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.

DC10B54D-A450-4005-B10D-D928F3D6E903.JPG

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!

Beware the Pigeons

Happy Monday! A little recap of the weekend lies ahead.

On Friday, there was nothing more that I wanted to do than sit on my couch and veg. I watched some 30 Rock and just chilled, but was lulled to sleep fairly early.

I even ended up waking before my alarm on Saturday to eat a pancake breakfast and work it out at the gym.

In the afternoon, I went to the Science Center to try and be smarter see the Pixar Exhibit. My first impression was of these beautiful trees that made me feel as though I was transported to a magical world.

16670F7B-3FCF-4F2F-9D88-36319DB6EFE2.JPG

Expectations were high, but then I met up with my cousins and we got lunch. Tables were full, so we ate outside and I can’t tell you how many birds surrounded the seating area. Every so often, as one, they would fly away suddenly. Long story short, on one of these instances, a pigeon clipped my head with its wing.

I got hit in the head by a pigeon.

I don’t know how else to emphasize this. Such an instance has inspired me to blog again because although ridiculous, it is also hilarious. A few minutes later, I was then hit in the head by a balloon that a kid popped. On the way home, I was worried for my noggin, you know, rule of three, but thankfully, all circumstances seemed to end there.

Back to the reason I was at the museum in the first place, the Pixar Exhibit, it was cool, but overcrowded by kids with minimal supervision and limited understanding of any of the science behind it. I give the museum itself an, eh, but that, as my cousin Sebastian pointed out, is probably thanks in large part to the Boston Museum of Science being amazing. Nothing else can quite live up to it.

Because I’m a cool cat, the rest of my Saturday included grocery shopping, meal prepping for the week ahead, lots of Netflix (30 Rock and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), writing, and reading. I wanted to watch Saturday Night Live, well, live, but I was tired and ending up falling asleep early.

On Sunday, I slept in a bit, enjoyed breakfast, and tried to make a lentil soup that ended up looking more like lentil goop. I’m sure you’ll see evidence of this travesty at some point this week because although it looks disgusting, I’m not above eating it. For the record, it still tastes well enough.

I was quite active, starting with Yoga on the new mat I purchased for 7 dollars. This feels like a steal, so please don’t take that away from me. I ran through my own routine, which oiled me up for the best run I’ve had in awhile.

Speaking of running, while my family suffered another snow storm back home on the east coast, I took to the sunny streets of Los Angeles for a sweaty run. It was in the seventies something and amazing outside.

Maybe I wasn’t the nicest daughter/sister/cousin by sending out this shot, but I couldn’t resist. At least many of them get a snow day today!

3588442D-800F-44F3-A635-64FB52B1FA3E.JPG

After my run, I fueled up with a piece of peanut butter toast and yogurt with strawberries and lots of water before I decided it was far too nice out to be locked up inside and took my bike out for a spin.

With the beach on my mind, there was only one destination intended, but the ride was not smooth. For whatever reason (there’s a reason), this ride was hard and slow (-er than usual) and I realized, on my eighth mile back from the beach and because another rider called out to me, that my back tire was low. Whoops. Here I was thinking I was out of shape, when really, I’m in excellent shape to ride that long on a flat tire. That’s what I’m telling myself.

Once at the beach, I pulled over to do some writing while taking in this view.

6C650AA5-8388-4D07-9CE3-D75662FFAA5B.JPG

Had I not been by bike, I would’ve stayed to watch the sunset, but it’s February and the weather has been what it’s been, so I think I’ve got some sunsets in my future (knock on wood).

For the rest of the afternoon, I had some errands to run and things to do, but once I got home, I made myself dinner, threw in the laundry, and prepped for the week ahead, including a new workout plan. Call me a nerd, but there’s something satisfying about a new workout plan.

E00DE564-6F1D-4793-ACF0-7E6EBE7E0C32.JPG

As I write this on Sunday night, I’m hoping to wake up earlier than usual and exercise in the morning. It all depends on how I sleep tonight. It would be nice to just go home, eat, write, and sleep in the evenings, but thus far, I’ve been consistent with my post-work exercising. My body’s ideal workout time is late morning, early afternoon, which is prime for very few people’s schedules. Pick your poison I guess!

No matter how your Monday or week goes, at least you won’t get hit in the head by a pigeon. Probably.

Weekend Catch-Up

The world is a darker place after what happened on Friday, but the truth is, it’s been darkening for awhile now. Bad things happen when people remain driven by anger, hatred, and cowardice. We will mourn, cry, and suffer, but terror and violence cannot persevere when we live our lives to the fullest, with love, hope, and kindness.

I’m starting to suspect that writing is bad for a person’s health. I’ll put together a carefully composed essay on the meaning of life and draw in few readers and no response, then I’ll type a silly story that has no purpose or sense of direction and get a high in likes for the day. Not to mention how the act of writing itself is difficult. It’s a muscle that needs to be trained and used, but it’s a battle to hone it. Sometimes, the spindles contract with you in ease and other times, tension is high and it’s a struggle.  And yet, here we (okay, maybe just I) still are (am?). Nothing that comes easy in life is worth it, right?

Anyways, as I type this up, I’m munching on a greek yogurt with grapes and a scoop of peanut butter for my post-workout snack, sipping on a warm cup of coffee, and listening to Adele. I’ve been angsty in my music choices these days- Adele, Hozier, Ingrid Michaelson.

After two weekends full of excitement, this one was tame. On Saturday, I had an early morning at work, but first, I fueled up with this simple and delicious peanut butter toast.

IMG_4313

After work, I came home craving breakfast food, so I chopped up a ton of veggies and scrambled everything together with an egg and a couple of egg whites. So good and the perfect meal for a run!

It was cold! The wind made things almost unbearable, but my legs were itching to get out there, so I bundled up and didn’t feel like the temperature was too much of a hassle once I got moving.

IMG_4314

I was in a complacent mood when it came to dinner. My stomach was screaming for Indian food, but my body didn’t want to get off the couch. I settled for paneer tikka masala from Trader Joes! I beefed the meal up by adding sautéed spinach and mushrooms. Forgot to take a picture, but once it was on the plate, it looked pretty!

The first meal of the day on Sunday came in the form of an egg and egg white omelet with cheese and an English muffin. I also had a few strawberries, but we were out of most produce at this point.

IMG_4316

That Indian craving was not going away, so for lunch, I had another meal thanks to Trader Joes, this time chicken tikka masala. I added the peppers, mushrooms, and spinach.

IMG_4318

Someone else was feeling the chill of November and needed to be warmed. The best part of this picture is his expression because you just know he is plotting all of our deaths. I try not to be a crazy pet person, but I couldn’t help myself this time. Every time I see it, I burst out laughing. And to be honest, these days, we take all the happy, laughing moments we can get!

IMG_4317

Though it was my rest day from formal workouts, I met up with my friend Molly for an hour or so for a walk. We covered about four miles and it felt great to catch up and stretch my legs before hankering down for an evening of studying. It’s crunch time, friends!

Dinner satisfied another craving I’ve had as of late- chicken cacciatore. Chicken, peppers, mushrooms, spinach, and pasta- yum!

IMG_4320

This morning, I was more than a little excited for breakfast. Yet again, I made an egg and 2 egg white scramble with cheese (breakfast of the moment). This time, I paired the eggs with a bagel slim with a pat of butter, blueberries, blackberries, and a half of a banana.

IMG_4321

The meal well-prepared me for the day’s workout! Yesterday, I spent a good chunk of time developing a new workout plan for the month or so. I’m quite excited about it too as I put a lot of effort into choosing grueling, effective exercises that don’t leave me in the gym for such a long time. Today, I did a series of circuit training that focused on my triceps, shoulders, chest, and core. For cardio, I hopped on the stair master (ouch) for 12 minutes and the rower for another 12.

That takes up to this moment, yogurt now finished, and me very much ready to hop in the shower. Happy Monday- here’s to a great week!

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!