Crampin’ my Style

So, here I am 5 days away from my first 5k of the year…semi-benched from running for the time being. Granted, none of it is official (mostly because I am too stubborn to go to the doctor because I’m guessing they will bench me from running – seems more ‘official’ and obligatory if someone ELSE says it), but based on a lot of research and the nature of the pain I felt on Friday when struggling to limp through one mile, I’m thinking there’s something a little more serious going on than just sore muscles from being a beginner runner. Let it be a lesson, folks — over-training is real. I will update you all when I actually know something, but for at least the next 6 days I am going to take it easy, reduce the impact of my workouts, and live in denial. (I don’t recommend following in my limping footsteps on this one, just as advice.)

How was your weekend? Do anything exciting? On Friday night, Trav and I had a group of friends over for Wine (and Beer) and Wii. I like to think I am really good at bowling, but really I am pretty awful at ALL video games. Introducing people to the WiiU game where you go around and pick up all the candies and try to avoid the player with the fork/knife who haven’t seen it before is pretty much awesome, though. I think we are going to make Wine and Wii a monthly event. Do you have a favorite hang out activity?

Last night was pretty restless for me. I’m hoping that means that spring is around the corner — I seem to always have vivid and somewhat twisted dreams right near the change of the seasons. Regardless, I think it is time to call it a night and hope for a more restful one. Here’s today’s workout! It was definitely one to keep the heart pumping, but on a slightly lower-impact scale. Enjoy!

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A day late, a dollar short…

That pretty much describes A) This post and B) My wallet currently. Luckily, you all are wonderfully forgiving readers and you’ll excuse the mild tardiness on yesterday’s workout post. As for my wallet – thank goodness tomorrow is pay day! Between a mini- snowboarding adventure, and the joy of extra bills, this was a tight pay check.

Does this seem like an absurdly long week to anyone else? All day yesterday, I thought it was Thursday, so you can imagine my disappointment when I woke up and it wasn’t Friday. I am ready to relax and just enjoy life! Sometimes, as Americans in particular, I think we cram too much into our days and fast forward through life. We need to take more moments and just enjoy everything going on around us. Each moment and experience…

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So, get this! I ran TWO DAYS IN A ROW! Yesterday, I ran a 5k on the treadmill and today I ran 2 miles, with the second mile as interval sprints. I wasn’t even really planning to run tonight, but my lovely friend, Tania <3, wanted to check out the gym and get a few strides in, so I decided to join her for “a slow and steady mile,” and, well, I guess I was feeling ‘frisky’ because I finished my mile and did another in sprints. I swear…I’m not a runner. Not really sure where this is coming from.

Alright, I have been battling to avoid an on-coming migraine, so I’m going to call it a night. Here’s the workouts from today and yesterday for your sweating pleasure!

*Cardio on Wednesday was a 3-mile run

*Cardio on Thursday was (supposed to be) 10-minutes of steady state, and then round two of the Winter Shape Up workout #4, as posted here!

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Hump Day

Well, I’ve made it this far. This week has been frustrating, to say the least. Work has been hectic, and I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. My cold has decided to return with a vengeance, so I’m tired and not feeling well. Since I haven’t been feeling well, my workouts have been lighter and crappier than I’d like, which isn’t helping to improve either of the aforementioned stresses.

But, I’ve made it past hump day, so the week is more than halfway over. Tomorrow is a new day, and we’re not far away from a whole new week. I plan to make the most of it, and do my best to snap out of the funk I’ve been trapped in. Unfortunately, my normal strategy for dealing with stress is to amp up my workouts, and since this cold has been kicking my butt and stealing my energy, that option’s kind of been taken off the table. What are your stress relief strategies? Do they change when you aren’t feeling well? Suggestions would be much appreciated! I am told that I am gonna give myself a heart attack if I don’t quit stressing.

Guess what! I just signed up for another 5k! So, I have the Arnold Survival Race coming up in less than a month (HOLY CRAP, is it that soon?!?! Gym buddy, time to make me run more!) and then The COLOR Run in July! If you’ve never done a 5k, the Color Run is a GREAT race to start with! The atmosphere is a blast, and the color stations help to break up the race, so even for a NOT runner, it is relatively easy to get through. I had so much fun running it with Trav’s sister, Cara, and her roommates last year that we decided to do it again! My mom is even considering joining this year!

Ok, I owe you a few workouts, and then it’s time for me to hit the hay. I have *got* to kick this darn cold to the curb. So over it, already!

Here’s Monday’s and Wednesday’s workouts:

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Tuesday was the Winter Shape Up week #3 work out! I modified it slightly to focus more on shoulders than biceps (substituted lateral raises for the curls) since I had done bicep work out Monday. Never fails, Gina kicks my bootay!!

So, now it’s way past my sick-y bed time. Have a good Thursday!!!

Friday’s Workout and New Kicks!

Friday was a running day for me. With a 5k coming up in less than a month (eek!), and now that I am finally (mostly) over my cold, it’s definitely time to start building up some endurance. I have always had somewhat of a love-hate relationship with running. I love the progress that you can see with running. Whether it’s increasing distance or time or even improving form, the results are evident and easily measurable. For me, it has always been extra challenging to get into a groove with running though. I can knock out 100 Burpees, no problem, but ask me to run a mile and it’s like I crumble! Maybe it has something to do with the style of workouts I tend to like best (described in this post) or maybe it is some long-standing mental block, but I have the hardest time running.

One of the other issues I have always had is shin splints. If you have never experienced them, consider yourself lucky! It adds a whole different challenge to adding running into a fitness routine. After a lot of reading up on shin splints and running injuries, I came to the conclusion that my 2-year old, el cheapo running shoes were probably a significant source of the problem. After much debate and self-battle over parting with my hard-earned dollars and cents (yea, I’m kinda a cheap-a$$ sometimes), I finally caved and went to Fleet Feet for some new kicks.

Now, if you are a “runner” (at any level) and have never been to an actual running shoes store, I highly, highly recommend changing that! Fleet Feet is also an excellent choice destination! The Occupational Therapy student nerd in me was in complete heaven!

After a few questions about your athletic/training goals, one of the first steps they take is (surprisingly) NOT pulling down the most expensive pair of shoes off the wall and handing them to you. Actually, you start off their “analysis” completely barefoot! I spent about 2 minutes running barefoot on a treadmill while the store expert filmed my gait. It is amazing how much you can learn about gait just by filming a few minutes of your foot strike and stride on a treadmill!

From the movement analysis, Dave (the wonderful associate who assisted me) was able to tell me that -like many runners- I over-pronate, especially on my left foot, leading to my ever-so-common shin pain. By switching to a shoe with a firmer support in the arch, my foot and ankle would be better supported, keeping me in better form throughout my stride. 

After trying a few pairs on for size (actually a size and a half larger than what I normally wear. Did you know most people choose running shoes in too small a size? Since you are placing such an additional force on your feet by running, your foot actually needs a little extra room to expand!) and going for a test run (lame pun intended 😉 ) on the treadmill, I ended up with these awesome Sauconys!  Image

I am still getting used to them, but so far, I am thoroughly enjoying the difference they seem to be making! I was able to complete a 3 mile run on Friday and a 3.5 mile run today! Normally doing that much running that close together would kill my shins, but today was actually a little less painful even than Friday. Plus, I was able to up my pace! I might be able to get into this whole running thing yet…but shh! don’t tell gym buddy…I’ll end up doing 10-milers or something crazy like that!

Ok, before I start totally rambling, here is the rest of Friday’s workout. Today’s leg session to follow!

  • Dumbbell Step Ups with Kickback
  • Tricep Kickbacks w/ Row
  • Tricep Overhead Pulls
  • Smith Machine Squats
  • Single Leg Deadlifts
  • Push-ups (Regular, Triangle hand positions)
  • Bench Press
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Tricep Extensions
  • Tricep Bench Dips

 

PS, this post was not sponsored or endorsed by Fleet Feet or Saucony. The opinions in this post are just that – opinions – based on my own personal experience.

Self-Discovery: Ya learn something new everyday…

…at least some of it might as well be about yourself!

I was really struggling to write a workout today. I wanted to get some cardio in, but had to do so in a way that didn’t cause me to leave >50% of my lung stranded on the gym floor after a nauseating and decibel breaking coughing fit. So, I resorted to asking my “gym friends” for ideas. The suggestion — Spinning. “That’s a great idea!” you might be thinking… except for the fact that I long ago decided that I am not, in any way, shape or form a fan of pasting my butt to a stationary bike for countless minutes and pedaling to no where. Or hell, even biking in the summertime! Not a fan. Bruised butt, pedal scratches, and helmet hair – that’s the worst! Maybe that’s rooted somewhere in the months I spent in Costa Rica where a bike was my only method of transportation…I don’t know. All I know is I was hard set against the idea, so I adamantly protested.

Until I couldn’t come up with anything better. I caved.

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And you know what, I actually kind of enjoyed it. I am pretty fortunate at my gym. While it is a relatively small, locally owned facility, they tend to spice things up by bringing in some truly cutting-edge equipment (just this week the added a treadmill desk to the repertoire – FitBit steps and studying? SCORE!), and one of the jazzy things they have is this lovely e-Spinner (or one similar). The cool thing about it is that it has these lovely video programs that are similar to taking a real live spinning class! It tells you when to go faster, when to slow down, and when to change the resistance settings. It even has a speed gauge on a bar and you have to keep your speed in between the two points to keep the screen green and happy. It also breaks down the session into 2-3 minute intervals of changing pace (cadence) and resistance, so you aren’t just sitting on the bike pedaling monotonously for however long you self designate. I planned on about 15 minutes of cardio and ending up getting into it and staying at it for the full 25-minute program. I won’t go as far as to say I’m hooked yet, but it was an acceptable change of pace. Props to the gym buddy on this one.

What I learned about myself in this whole debacle is that I will probably enjoy pretty much anything you throw at me, so long as you find some way of segmenting the workout so that it keeps things interesting. That is probably why I gravitate towards things like HIIT, Tabata, and even weight lifting — it allows me to constantly change gears, instead of monotonously repeating the same motion. Anyone else like that in their workout styles? How about in daily life?

Anyway, here’s what I got for ya today!

Cardio – 25 minutes on the bike (interval program)…or TRY SOMETHING NEW!

Strength (Chest and Triceps)

  • Incline Dumbbell Flyes
  • Incline Dumbbell Chest Press
  • Dumbbell overhead Tricep extensions
  • Barbell Chest Press
  • Barbell Skull Crushers
  • Bench Dips
  • Tricep Pushdowns
  • Cable Crossovers
  • Tricep Overhead Extensions

And the adventure begins!

I made it! Given the wild weather over most of the Midwest over the past few days, I am somewhat surprised, but definitely thrilled! The first flight was great – I had a whole row to myself, the crew was great ;), and I got to watch the sunrise from the plane window. The second flight left a little more to be desired. The plane was super small and my seat neighbor was…not. It was also a bit of a bumpy ride, so I was pleased to see this view and the announcement that we were making our final decent into Great Falls. I must’ve brought the snow with me from Ohio because, as you can see, there wasn’t much on the ground when I flew in. It started snowing almost immediately when I walked out of the airport and since then we have gotten about 6 inches or so. Image

ImageOne of the biggest challenges when traveling is healthy eating along the way. Here is one of the travelling snacks I packed to hold me over on the plane. I also crammed my bag with an assortment of Lara Bars, Fruit Chia Bars, and dried fruit and nuts – some of my favorite grab and go healthy snacks.

*On the note of healthy…I feel like that is such a broad word! The definition of a health meal is so strongly contingent upon your beliefs and education on what foods are healthy to eat and which ones are not. That is both culturally and personally influenced. For me, I try to avoid most processed foods (if I can’t read the ingredients, I try to avoid it more often than not) and practice a plant-based diet. I have been a vegetarian (technically pescetarian) for about 8 years now. More on my diet choices later!

 

So, I know a lot of times when traveling it is more challenging to get to a gym. If you are a member at a large chain gym (like LA Fitness), it is likely that your membership with be valid other places. For those of us who are not chain-gym members, there’s a little more homework involved. Many gyms will allow you to get a short-term pass for a small fee, which is what I was able to take advantage of here in Montana. There is also the option of using a “trial membership” which most gyms offer as an incentive to get you in the door. You may have to deal with a couple of sales calls afterwards, but it will allow you to get a traveling workout in! When all else fails, BenderFitness, Blogilates, and Fitnessista all have excellent workout options that can be done at home. I will be sure to post a few of those in the future too! 

Here is the workout from today. To be honest, this was a hard one for me — especially the HIIT intervals. I don’t know if it is the mountain air, being worn out from travelling, or just an off day, but I definitely had a harder time with this one today than I normally would. The strength training portion was awesome, though. My shoulders are already starting to feel sore!

HIIT (0:50 work, 0:10 rest)

  1. Mtn climber
  2. Chair Row
  3. 3-Way Frogger
  4. Bicycle w/ crunch
  5. Split Squat Jumps
  6. Hollow Rock
  7. Burpees
  8. Front kick hops (r)
  9. Front kick hops (l)
  10. Plank reaches w/ Push up
  • Arnold-style shoulder Presses
  • Bent over Rear Delt Flyes
  • Behind the head Dumbbell tricep extension (Bend elbow towards opposite shoulder. For the last set, lean at about a 45 degree angle to the opposite side of the hand you are holding the weight in and do the same motion. This BURNSSSS!)
  • Plank Shoulder Press/Row  x10
  • Barbell front raises
  • Barbell rear delt rows
  • Barbell skull crushers
  • Shoulder down dog Push-ups  x8 (From downward dog position, bend your elbows and move the crown of your head towards the floor while looking back towards your toes. You should really feel this one in your shoulders and upper back!)
  • Face Pulls
  • Tricep overhead extension
  • Leg lifts
  • Lateral Raises
  • Standing shoulder presses to exhaustion (lighter weight. I used 7.5lb dumbbells.)

 

I promise I will post more Montana pictures soon! Have a great workout and make it an excellent day!