Pilates Inspiration

I’ve always liked the idea of Pilates, but was so terribly inflexible that I struggled during the classes, and I certainly can’t make myself watch a DVD.  Not that inspirational.  However, I’ve found that doing a few routines with difficult moves (like the one I show below) isn’t too bad, and brings a great challenge.  I’ve also been told by my physical therapists –  many times – that Pilates would be good for me.

Alrighty, then.

Drawing from POPilates (the blog is here), I’ll be doing one of her ab-Pilates routines.  Cassey makes wonderful printouts of all her workouts; check her out! [click picture for higher resolution]

I’ll also be doing my slightly longer elliptical routine since one of my favorite shows is on tonight (much love for USA’s White Collar).  I like to hold a moderate pace during the show bits, and up the speed and intensity during the commercials.  Frequently, I’ll also hop off during a commercial in the middle and have a good stretch – 60 minutes on one machine is a long time!

  • Do you have a favorite Pilates routine or website?
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Superwoman

Superset style workout today!  Let’s be real, we all know we’re super anyhow, so we’re just amping it up.

Supersetting means that you do both exercises in each set once through without stopping, rest, then repeat.  When you’ve done each set two or three times (gauge how you feel, and if you think you can do the move with correct posture), move to the next set. [post-workout update: I did three times through each]

Strength

Set 1:

  • 30sec Power side-to-side jumps (squat low, power-up and jump to the side, squat again, repeat)
  • 10 Tricep dips

Set 2:

  • 30sec Mountain Climbers (keep your butt down, as in plank position)
  • 10 One-legged deadlifts with dumbbell

Set 3:

  • 30sec Plank
  • 10 leg-drops (hold your abs tight, don’t let your back come up off the floor)

Cardio

Tabata Style with long cool-down, ~20 minutes.  I do elliptical.

3 minute warm-up (assuming you’ve done the strength portion first)
4 minute Tabata Intervals (equals 8 intervals, total)
– 15 second sprint, 15 second moderate
8 minute moderate work (rate of perceived exertion ~5-6)
5 minute cool-down

I’m setting to work off my delicious Mexican lunch.  If you order right, Mexican can be really filling and healthy!  My personal favorite: steak fajitas.  Skip the tortillas, load up on the guacemole, lettuce and fajitas, and dig in.

They’re also insanely easy to make at home.

Happy Monday!

Friday Night Lights

I’ve been out of high school for quite a long time, but my dad still announces the football games… and so I decided to pay a visit to my old stomping grounds!

Before I headed off, I was pretty hungry and didn’t want to stoop to eating concession-food.  Yuck.  I made a power-packed salad that I literally couldn’t finish.

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In the mix:  hummus (best dressing ever), baby carrots, green olives, slivered almonds, chunked chicken breast, hard-boiled egg, mixed leaf lettuce, dill pickle and a dash of sweet peas!

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I also drink the equivalent of four of those water bottles a day.  I take it with me everywhere.

Right, moving on to the football!

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Hey, Dad!

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Trying our best to be really, really excited… (I think it’s working)

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Work it out!

My legs are a bit stiff from yesterday’s workout (which had me a sweaty, sweaty mess).  I ended up doing 10/8/8/8lbs for the step-ups, 15/20/20/20lbs for the swings and bodyweight for the squats.  On the elliptical, I was at level 7 for sprints, and 4 for moderate.

Today’s looks like…

Strength/Cardio
Intermixed!
1 minute, each exercise:

  • Starjumps
  • Kettlebell/DB Swings
  • Skaters
  • Squat with medicine ball
  • Plank jacks
  • Bicep curls
  • Back lunge with kick
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Knee-ups (30sec each side)

If you have any questions about the form of each one, let me know!  I felt like combining my strength and cardio today, so here’s to interval training!

Deciding to get more serious…

I’ve decided to get a bit more serious about posting workouts on this blog, since it helps me stay motivated and focused!  Strong women!

I’m a big fan of “sprint” workouts.  I don’t like chronic cardio, even though I do engage in it sometimes (see my previous post about cardio during my favorite TV shows).  I always find that I feel more accomplished after sprint or interval cardio.

Likewise with weight stuff.  I’ve been getting a bit complicated in the past, throwing in 10-12 exercises per strength training day, and it mostly just confuses me.  I’m deciding to stick to no more than 5 strength-oriented moves per day, and really bust those out.

So, without further ado, introduction of the “daily workout” portion of this blog.  Yeehaw, let’s go!

Body-fat today: 25.9%
Notes to self: one hip surgery and falling off the wagon… but chin up!

Strength
4 repetitions of:
10x Step-Ups (onto box or bench, with weights in hands)
10x Kettlebell or DB swing
10x Bodyweight Squat (butt vertical to knees)

Cardio
Tabata-style Intervals
Machine: elliptical
5 minute warm-up
4 minutes of work:
      – 15 second, all-out sprint, on incline/level that challenges me
      – 15 second, complete rest, lower level and just keep legs moving
5 minute cool-down

Work to be done.

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30-Day Trials

First off: apologies for probably only one post a day for now, as my computer completely died last night and I’m forced to reformat. Whomp.

Secondly, I just got my 30-day trial for a gym nearby my house!  For someone who travels a lot and is rarely in one place for more than 30-days, these things are a blessing.  It’s $9 for a 30-day trial at this little gym, which is an awesome deal.  It’s a 24-hour spot, and while I don’t usually gym at odd hours, at least it’s open all of the time!  The only downside is that, for group fitness class lovers like me, they don’t provide that sort of service.  It’s pretty much a “do your own thing” kind of gym.  For 30-days, I can deal.

An update from the running yesterday: my TFL and hip tendons are certainly tight, but not painfully so.  Check.  My quads are also really sore from the sprinting portions.  Double check.  I made sure to slather some bengay (like icy hot) on my upper legs before I went to sleep last night as a preventative measure, and popped an Aleve, so I think that helped with the recovery.  Nice job, legs!  Keep it up!

Here’s the ab plan for when I gym-it-up with my 30-day trial later today:

Single-leg plank flex and extend; up to 20 reps each side with good form

Turkish get-up plank: hold final position for up to 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times with good form.

Modified push-up. Do up to 20 with good form.

Ball ab crunch. I do 50 slow crunches.

Leg drop. Keep back pressed to ground and drop legs as far as you can. When bringing back to 90 degrees, add small reverse crunch. Do 10.

I like to do this whole sequence twice; three times if my body is feeling up to it.

I think I’ll do a moderate elliptical session too to loosen up these legs!

Happy exercising – TGIF!

A to Z!

Love this blogging trend… and it makes me think hard!

The A to Z of Brie!  (look, I rhyme.)

A – Airplanes.  I spend a good portion of life on them (or so I feel like), and the funny thing is that I’m really not the biggest fan.  I used to be deathly afraid, and with my hip issues I’m always uncomfortable, but I know that they always take me to a place that is wonderful.

B – Bread.  My favorite thing.. what I always crave.. and the bane of my self control.  So many things in one!  My favorite types are sourdough and spongy oat/wheat combinations, and I really love making homemade bread.

C – Coxing.  I mean, let’s be real, how could this NOT be my “c”?

D – Dessert.  I always crave something sweet after finishing lunch and dinner.  Oftentimes, a great yogurt or fruit hits the spot, but sometimes you just need that spoonful of marshmallow fluff.  Yum.

E – England & Europe.  The place where my heart lies, and where my body will soon follow!  Come September, I’ll be settling in merry ole England to study at Cambridge.

F – Family.  My parents have supported me through everything, and I can’t wait for them to hop the pond to visit!

G – Gates.  As in, Mr. Gates himself.  The Gates Cambridge Trust is paying for my entire PhD at Cambridge (living costs included), and I couldn’t be more honored to be a part of this network.  I’m looking forward to meeting wonderful, world-changing individuals, and having the opportunity to expand my knowledge at, arguably, the greatest university in the world.

H – Hard-boiled eggs.  I might regret using my “h” for this later, but right now, I’m obsessed with hard-boiled eggs.  Sometimes I medium-boil them (so that the yellow is solid but delightfully fluffy), and sometimes I soft-boiled them so that they split open on my salad or toast.  Now I’m craving one.. crap.

I – Ice cream.  The thing that hates my stomach, but that I love most.  My favorite flavors include Mint Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and recently, Ben and Jerry’s Greek Yogurt varieties.  I just did recently did a product review of Blueberry Vanilla Graham.

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J – Joking.  About 95% of what I say is sarcastic or humorous.  Don’t take life too seriously!

K – Kitchen.  The best place in any home.  I have no idea how I lived without a kitchen in my immediate vicinity in college for two years.  Seriously, I feel like I practically live there.

L – Long books.  Whenever I walk into a bookstore, I ignore any book that appears to be shorter than 300 pages.  I don’t know why – I just gravitate to the longer novels, etc.  It’s something that I’ve always done.. as if I judge quality by length?

M – Music. I have a downright huge range of musical loves, ranging from classic rock to bluegrass, and with a raging love of rap.  Some of my workout playlists should be rated R.

N – Neuroscience.  What I will pursue for my PhD – specifically, stroke rehabilitation.  It’s such a cool, growing discipline, and I can’t wait to learn more!

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O – Opportunities. I’ve had so many wonderful ones, thanks to school, Red Cross, etc., and I can’t speak enough to people about making the leap.  Go for things even if you have a hesitation.  The worst that could happen would be for something to not work out – but how would you know if you don’t try?

P – Pumpkin.  My favorite fall flavor.  I love pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin pie, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin mousse, pumpkin muffins… no, really, just feed me pumpkin.

Q – Quirky.  Me.

R – Red Cross.  I’ve volunteered for these guys for almost 7 years, and have loved every minute.  Their mission is incredible, and they treat their volunteers with immense respect.

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Meeting with South American Red Cross societies in Barranquilla, Colombia.

S – Sammy.  My cockapoo (cocker spaniel + poodle) mix, who isn’t the brightest creature on the planet, but is certainly the most kind hearted… and darn cute.

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I also have a few more animals in my household…. (minus my cat)

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T – Thanksgiving. Most say Christmas is their favorite holiday, but I prefer Thanksgiving because of the family and the food!

U – University.  I like to think I’ll be in University, somehow, for the rest of my life.  My brain flourishes in this setting, so hopefully I’ll be a research Professor as a career!

V – Volunteering. Love the rush it gives me, and love meeting new people.

W – Working Out.  Ah, the obligatory “fitness” shout-out.  I’m trying to figure out the best way to get a good workout with my hip limitations.

X – X-ray.  I get so many of them!

Y – Ya’ll.  A hilariously Southern phrase that I think is hilarious, and probably overuse.

Z – Zoo-school.  I went to a special program during my junior year of high school that sent me half-day to the Columbus Zoo to study the drill monkeys.  By far one of the coolest experiences of my life!

Home at last!

Sorry for no post yesterday – I was en route from DC back to my home in Ohio!  Now that my 10-week internship is done, I have roughly 5 weeks to get my things in order to MOVE TO ENGLAND.

So excited.

Anyhow, let’s rewind!  Friday was the closing ceremony for our internship, meaning great food and great people all in the same place!

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The buffet was incredible.

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I filled my plate with veggies first (huge tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots), then went for the meat (salmon, chicken, flank steak), followed by a small scoop or orzo pasta salad, a strawberry and grapes.

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I did indeed have seconds, which consisted of more tomatoes, cucumbers, chicken and the black beans that marinated the chicken.  Delicious.

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Can’t believe it’s over so soon!  As I was leaving, I snapped one final picture of my home for the last 10-weeks…

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And how beautiful it is.  You can see words inscribed on the ground (which are the seven ‘parts’ of our mission) – a very beautiful lobby.

After having my flight delayed for two hours in Reagan Airport, and having had a long conversation with one of the top ranking officials in Global Development from the White House, I made it home to Ohio!  It was my parents’ 40th anniversary yesterday, so of course we headed to our favorite place: Joe’s Crab Shack!

I apologize for the picture quality – my camera was buried in my luggage, but I couldn’t miss this moment!  I had snow crab, scallops and mussels in white wine.  Holy cow was it delicious.

So, now that I’m home, I have a huge to-do list, which includes exercising, getting back to my “comfortable” coxswain weight, figuring out the small annoying details of moving internationally for an unknown period of time… and seeing/loving friends and family!

Please enjoy the small workout I did this morning to kick start my day:

Jumping Jacks

60 reps

Raised push-ups

15 reps

Wall-sit

45 seconds

Step-back lunges

10 reps each leg

Butt-kicks

50 reps

Plank

60 seconds

Leg drop w/ reverse crunch

2 x 10 reps

Didn’t have me breathing too hard, but I needed something to kick-start my day before my gym membership gets up-and-running for the month I’m home!

Happy Sunday!