Race Results…and Life!

Hello, my fellow fitness lovers! Sorry for the long hiatus from posting. Injuries, chaos at work, and the eternal winter of 2014 have had me feeling rather down. Thank goodness for a little sunshine today — got me feeling more like myself!

So, back on 3/1, I ran in the Arnold Survival Race! Since my shins have been pretty tender, I decided that I was going to take it easy

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and just focus on FINISHING the race, trying every obstacle, and enjoying myself. I finished in 37:23, which, considering I had to wait in

 line for a few minutes at several of the obstacles, isn’t too disappointing. (I am hoping to be able to run a 5k in 28:00 by the end of the summer, but I have a ways to go and some shins to heal before I’ll be there.) I was thrilled that the weather forecast called for almost 50 degrees on the day of the race. With the kind of winter we had, I expected -10 and a foot of snow! Unfortunately, it did start spitting snowflakes right as we walked out the door to head to the race, but it warmed up relatively quickly, and I was comfortable through most of the race.

ImageMy friend who I had signed up for the race with didn’t end up making it out, so it was just my friend, Brian, and I. Brian is a little more of a seasoned runner than i am, and I was hobbling through a good chunk of the race so I eventually convinced him that he didn’t need to wait on me, and he ended up finishing about 4 or 5 minutes ahead of me. All-in-all, it was a blast, and I would definitely run this race again! It is a good training race since it is pretty early in the season, and I really enjoyed it!

Last week, I finally broke down and went to see an athletic trainer about my shins. While she wasn’t able to tell me anything definitive or conclusive at this time, she did recommend that I take it easy and quit running for a week or so and see if that helps. She also recommended keeping all my other workouts low-impact during that time to really weed out the possibility of just excessive soreness/shin splint pain before heading to imaging for some x-rays. I plan to follow those instructions, but today was just TOO beautiful to pass up on a run. I ran 3.25 miles in the beautiful sunshine, and am already paying for it in shin pain. Bring on the ice and ibuprofen — tomorrow it gets cold again, and I start ACTUALLY taking time off. 

In other news, I have decided to spend Lent this year focusing more on the positive and am trying to keep a gratitude journal of something I am thankful for every day. I got the idea from FitnessBarbie, and definitely think that it is a great tool for helping you to remember the positives every day. So, today I am thankful that spring is right around the corner and the chance to enjoy a warmer day.

I did actually listen to the athletic trainer, and tried to keep Monday’s workout relatively low impact. Here’s what I came up with:    Image            Image

And today was gym and lower-body strength:

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Soooo behind!!!!! Thank you, Travel!

Montana was AMAZING! I can’t believe my trip is already over! I apologize for the lack of posting during my trip. The internet at my sister’s wasn’t quite up to the task of blogging. I have lots to update on…pictures, workouts, trip details, and article reviews, all in the works!

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The first day of my trip we did a little sight-seeing (AKA..SHOPPING!) around Great Falls. Ever since my parents’ first trip out there, my mom has been raving about a couple of different higher end resale shops in the area. We went to lunch at Cafe Rio, which has become a tradition after family airport arrivals. Then, we went to Scheel’s to check out their end-of-season sales on sporting goods. I was totally psyched to get a Denver Broncos jersey before playoffs! They have been hard to come by here in the MidWest. I guess that’s what happens when they are playing well — I suppose I will take the trade-off! Then we hit Runway Fashion Exchange, which, for the fashionista in me can be very dangerous. We capped off the evening by watching the Buckeye’s play Clemson in the Orange Bowl. Man, those Tigers were quick! It was a bummer to lose, but we had a great time watching the game as a family. I think my sister’s face was scarlet the whole game since my parents and I were yelling at the TV!

The next day the weather was a little bit crummy. I must have brought the snow and cold from the Midwest! I literally started snowing as soon as I stepped off the plane. The temperature dropped about 40 degrees from the time that I arrived through Saturday morning. Since it was so cold, we decided to plan indoor activities for the day, one of which was going to the The Peak Health and Wellness center – which was an incredible facility! If you live in, or are ever near the Great Falls area, I highly recommend checking them out. They will allow you to purchase punch cards for a number of visits, so it was absolutely perfect for me as a traveler to the area. I got a pretty good workout in there. The breakdown can be found in my last post!

Ok, more juicy trip details tomorrow! The hardest part of any vacation is its ending and getting back into a normal routine… I am definitely struggling with that, so getting to bed at a decent time is a high priority this week, along with workouts and good food. Here’s a little of each for you this wonderful Tuesday evening.

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Dinner tonight was the amazing Italian Wonderpot. I first saw this on Pinterest, and knew that the next time I needed a delightfully easy and tasty dish, this would be an easy go-to. I underestimated just HOW delicious it would be! I should NOT have waited to make this one. It was incredible. There are a couple of variations out there on the web, but here is the one I used from the Tasteful Texan.

  • 4 cups vegetable broth 
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil 
  • 12 oz. fettuccine 
  • 8 oz. frozen chopped spinach 
  • 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes 
  • 1 medium onion 
  • 4 cloves garlic 
  • ½ Tbsp dried basil 
  • ½ Tbsp dried oregano 
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes 
  • freshly cracked pepper to taste 
  • 2 oz. feta cheese 

I eliminated the oil (as I try to do from most of my cooking), and also cut out the cheese. I also used about 3 cups of Veggie Stock and one cup of Broth. This gave it very rich flavor. In total, this dinner only took about 30 minutes to prepare! You just throw everything into the pan and let it boil for a few minutes, and then simmer for about 10 more. The sauce cooks down, and the end product is fantastic!

As for my workout this evening, I focused on shoulders and glutes, a couple of the muscle groups I prefer training. It is always easier to get back into the groove by starting with something you thoroughly enjoy, rather than pushing yourself directly into muscle groups that are a little more difficult/challenging to train. It was a good workout, an just what I needed to get back into a gym-rhythm. 

Tabata 1:

  • BOSU Squats (fast)
  • BOSU Hop Over Squats
  • Plank Jacks on BOSU
  • Mtn Climbers

 Shoulder Set 1:

  • 8lb Shoulder Presses
  • 8lb Lat Raises
  • Shoulder Press Burpees (x10)
  • Rows

 Tabata 2:

  • Box Jumps
  • Split Squat Jumps
  • High Knees
  • Tuck Jumps

Shoulder Set 2:

  • Arnold Shoulder Presses
  • Bent over Rear Delt Dumbbell Rows
  • Bent over Dumbbell Flyes

 Glutes:

  • Single Leg Dead lift
  • Smith Machine Squats
  •                 Super Set with Squat Jumps
  • Weighted Lunges (smith or dumbbell)

Make it a great day and a fantastic workout!

Fitness for Christmas!

Christmas was all about FITNESS this year!!! I am so excited to share my gifts with you all!

#1 and #2… Cook books! Chef Del is a NY Times bestselling author, whom I have been privileged to learn from at the Wellness Forum here in Columbus. In his cookbooks, Del explains much of the diet and lifestyle taught by the Wellness Forum, and explains the role it has played in his journey from a hefty 475lbs to nearly his optimal body weight, where he is today. While I am still learning a lot about the Wellness Forum’s concepts on a healthy lifestyle, I have been thoroughly impressed with the way they are able to back up their concepts with science. 

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Dr. Popper, founder of the Wellness Forum, supports a plant-based diet, which has been shown to have remarkable impacts on both health and fitness throughout life. I highly encourage checking out some of the information on their site! You 

can even join the Forum (even if you are not a Columbus local) for a very reasonable fee. Membership gives you access to additional resources on their site.

I haven’t  gotten to try any of the recipes from the books yet, but I have had a few of his creations from the Wellness Forum’s food case and meal events, and let me tell you…THEY ARE INCREDIBLE!

 

#3 A FitBit One!

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Oh, if I could only for this one! It is going to be beyond amazing to have the ability to track my workouts, activity levels, and sleep patterns without having to do it all manually! I know that one of the biggest negative factors in my ability to keep up with my fitness routines and continue to make progress has *always* been my sleeping habits (funny since I work for a sleep lab now!). I am a night owl. I have been since I was little. Only problem is that now, it catches up with me a lot quicker. I definitely notice my mood and energy levels are WAY different when I get 4 hours of sleep instead of 6 or 8. describe to you how excited I am f

I am also excited to see how active I am throughout the day. I work a desk job, so most of my day is (or seems) pretty sedentary. I try to get up and walk around every hour or so, but some days we are just far too busy for that. Maybe I need a treadmill desk?? Like this! Hmmm…somehow I don’t think I am going to be able to get my company to foot the bill for that one…now matter how well I can explain the benefits! Shucks.

Overall, it was definitely a fantastic Christmas, and I am looking forward to using my new tools to continue to understand in progress in my fitness journey. What tools are you looking forward to using in 2014? 

Look for FitBit stats on workouts to come!

 

Speaking of workouts, I loved this weekend’s Tabata style workout so much that I decided to do another today! I also brought back the standard bench press into my upper body routine – an exercise I have been wimping out on for a while. Normally, I am not the kind of girl who cares what other people think about the exercises I am doing. I also know my limits pretty well, so I am a decent judge of what I can or cannot do. For some reason, though, I have had a total mental block on the bench press lately! I kept picturing myself going up to press just the bar and dropping it or not being able to get it back up, so I have been avoiding it completely. I am happy to say that, not only did I survive the bench press, but I was able to lift MORE than the bar, and do three sets of 10 reps! Take that, bar! Here is the breakdown from my entire workout today. It was challenging, but not too ridiculously so.

Tabata 1: (0:20 work, 0:10 rest x8)

  • High Knees
  • Sumo squat jumps
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Tuck Jumps

Strength Set (3x)

  • Push ups (Rotating, Triangle, Regular)
  • Bent over Row w/ Tricep Kickback
  • Lateral Front Raises

Tabata 2:(0:20 work, 0:10 rest x8)

  • Up up, down downs
  • Mountain Climbers

Strength Set (3x)

  • Stability ball Overhead Tricep Extensions w Kettlebell
  • Stability Ball Chest Press
  • Stability Ball Flyes
  • Stability Ball shoulder Press

Tabata 3: (0:20 work, 0:10 rest x8)

  • 3-way Froggers
  • Plank Jacks
  • Jump overs
  • Burpees

Strength Set (3x)

  • Bench Press
  • Tricep Bench Dips
  • Plank Reaches

Soon, I am going to have to bring running back into my weekly workouts. I signed up to run a 5k Survival Race at the Arnold Fitness Expo! I am excited, but I have a little work to do before I am up to even a 5k again. Stupid shin splints. 

Ok, that’s all for tonight, folks! 🙂

Behold…the Wonders of Tabata!

Over the weekend, I was busy searching for something new – and super quick! – to add to my fitness routine. Between chaos from the holidays, family visiting, and preparing for my trip to Montana (I leave in 4 days! Yikes!), I have been crazy busy! In all the chaos, I keep reminding myself to take time for myself each day and make sure to get a workout in. It has taken me most of my life to really and truly understand how important it is to take daily time for myself, so I am definitely not backing down on it now!

With all the chaos, though, I haven’t had as much time to design my own workouts and fitness routines, so I have turned to the wonderful world of the Blogisphere to do so for me! On Friday, I was in a super huge rush to leave work, get a workout in, and make it downtown to meet up with some out-of-town visitors. I wanted to get in a good workout, do so quickly, and was also craving a new twist on some of my usual routines. I have gotten in the habit of doing exactly 15-21 minutes of HIIT, followed by 35-45 minutes of strength training, and while I include a lot of variety in the exercises that I do, I’ve learned that the more you keep your body guessing, the better your results, so it was about time for a change.

Over the past year or so I have heard a lot about Tabata but didn’t really have a clue what it was, and since one of my new-found favorites, Gina of Fitnessista posted this Tabata-style workout, I decided I MUSTTT try it!Xmas crumble

Tabata is similar to HIIT in that it incorporates short bursts of super-high energy, balls-to-the-wall (so to speak) periods of a particular exercise, followed by a brief period of rest. The biggest difference I’ve noticed so far is that the Tabata-style workout intervals tend to be shorter, and the total set is generally a little shorter, allowing you to repeat or change exercises in each set, as well as pair the cardio bursts with strength training. The rest period in Tabata (by definition) is also shorter than the period of work. In this particular workout, I noticed an interesting phenomenon — though the overall workout time ended up being longer than my typical HIIT session (about 24 minutes, just of the cardio portions!), I actually worked harder through the entire session! Since the intervals were so much shorter, I think it was a mental game of “Ok, ten more seconds, you can do it! Push it!” which made me push harder the entire time! I highly recommend incorporating some Tabata into your workout regimen – I will definitely be doing more if it in my workouts moving forward!

I did modify the Tabata session Gina posted a little bit to better match my fitness goals. Here’s my breakdown.

Tabata 1: 20sec, 10 sec rest, 8 rounds

  • Body weight squats
  • Squat jumps

Strength Set (3x)

  • Bicep Curls
  • Lunge w Overhead Press (R)
  • Bent-over Row
  • Lunge w Tricep extension

Tabata 2: 20sec, 10sec rest, 8 rounds

  • High Knees
  • Burpees
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Jumping lunges

Strength Set 2 (3x)

  • Pushups x10
  • Tricep Dips x20
  • (R) Leg Bridge Pulse x15
  • (L) Leg Bridge Pulse x15

Tabata 3: 20 sec, 10sec rest, 8 rounds

  • Jump Overs
  • Out-out, In-ins

Core Burn Finish

  • 50-second plank
  • 50 Bicycle Crunches
  • 25 Leg Lifts
  • 25 V-ups

Make it a great Monday! More later.