Category Archives: Exercise
Hello guys, how has January been treating you? We’ve had some freezing days here in MA and other warmer days like today – though it poured most of the day. Recently, I signed up for a free trial of an on-line workout program that provides a daily workout to keep you motivated. It promises to be challenging and get you results – and so it seemed like a good idea/deal. I’ve been feeling less than motivated to push myself lately, and have also been less active in general (blame living in the suburbs, driving everywhere and spending too long commuting the last semester). I’ve also gained a few extra, unwanted pounds and become softer and more jiggly in various areas….and lets just say my butt seems to have expanded overnight. (That being said, my arms are a lot more defined, muscular and stronger so I’m happy about that for sure….but my legs, butt and thighs could definitely use some more toning). So that’s why I decided to try something new and see if the on-line workouts would motivate me to push myself more. I know I used to run a lot more in previous years but lately, due to various injuries and inclement weather, I’ve either done a different workout or battered my knees and shins up on the dreaded treadmill. Needless to say, I need to get my butt back outside (no pun intended).
Also – lets face it – my love of eating peanut and almond butter straight out of the jar, and my age-related slow in metabolism have caught up with me. I’m no longer in my 20’s, no longer run as much as I used to and can no longer eat whatever I want without a thought. So to get rid of the jiggliness and lose some of the extra pudge and pounds I’ve put on I’m going to have to be
(i) More mindful of the amount of peanut and almond butter I routinely eat,
(ii) Start running outside again more regularly,
(iii) Try to incorporate more non-exercise activity in general (walking, biking), and
(iv) Push myself out of my comfort zone and done some more HIIT workouts.
Phew – that was a long intro/ explanation as to why I signed up for the on-line workout program. Anyway, after a few days of not using it and then watching one of the programs, I realized that I don’t really enjoy the idea or the process of working out in front of a commuter or device (Though I don’t mind a DVD workout so much). To me, a workout is more than exercise; it’s “my time,” my time to relax and do something I want and enjoy, my time to zone out, a time to de-stress as well as get an endorphin high. It’s something I enjoy, but I enjoy it more when I’m either outside, at a gym or in the pool. Working out in front of a computer or device feels more like a chore, a targeted approach to “lose weight” vs something I enjoy….and I know I won’t stick with it. I need to enjoy it to do and stick with it. And as much as I need/want to tone up and lose a few extra pounds, I don’t want exercise to become a chore or something that I don’t enjoy anymore. So I cancelled my subscription and I’m happy with that. Though I will not ‘cancel’ my commitment to keep working out, push myself more this year, run more and be more active in general…and to be more mindful of my peanut butter habit (Yeah – that one’s really got to go).
I also need to re-vamp my non-existent social life….part of the late night PB treats and “parking my butt on the couch” sessions are probably attributable to not having a social life right now (thanks to living in the ‘burbs and being in school full-time). But that shall change after this last (YES!!!) semester. Wow, this was a long post (but much-needed). All right…I’m done with the therapy for now….Hope you all are having a great weekend and I shall catch up with you again soon!
Woke up crazy early to a snow day today. Went to an awesome hot power yoga class at 8:45 am (yes, in the snow). This was my 3rd yoga class this week so I’m off to a great start for 2014 (does this give me 2 “free” weeks if/when I’m not able to make it to a yoga class in 2014?? 😉 Doubt I’ll be able to do 3/week (or afford 3/week!!) once my rotations start next week but it felt GREAT this morning. Plus, something I always forget and that I’ll have to remind myself of this year is that – you never leave a yoga class in a bad mood or stressed out. Yoga always has a calming effect on me – whether it’s a super hard or an easy class – and makes me feel more relaxed for the rest of the day/several days. Must remember that when I’m stressing out about my graduate oral and RD exams this year, and trying to find a job post-graduation.
In light of it being a snow day, I also busted out and used my juicer!! I bought it off Craig’s List months ago but never got around to using it. I have this one – a centrifugal juicer and not one of the super-fancy masticating ones. After some checking of the manual, produce washing and fiddling, I made a glass of celery, carrot, apple, cucumber and ginger juice (lemon would have been a nice addition). Verdict: the color wasn’t very pretty but it tasted delicious!! And so, so, so refreshing. Totally see the hype about freshly pressed juices now 🙂 I probably won’t juice more than once or twice a week but it was definitely worth getting the juicer (esp. on Craig’s List!) to try it out. Just wish I had a dishwasher to deal with the washing up part (tho honestly, clean-up is super-quick).
Now I’m off to do some studying and then enjoying my last few days of freedom before final semester of grad school & internships begins.
Have you tried juicing? Or had freshly pressed juice before? Thoughts?
Happy New Year everyone! Just a quick post to say thank you for reading, and that I hope 2014 brings you the very best! 🙂
I didn’t do anything crazy exciting last night – stayed home due to a lingering chest cold and it being freezing here in the northeast. Today started off with a quick mini-yoga session at home (one of my resolutions for 2014 needs to be to try and go to yoga once a week), a lazy breakfast, talk with my parents, dog walk and then an inordinately large amount of time spent shopping for a wool coat, and clothes for my baby nephew. (Coat shopping took forever because I’m so indecisive). Ideally, I would rather live in South Florida and never have to wear a coat or jacket ever again. (Sigh). Anyway, I came away with a navy blue wool coat – it’s slightly big in the shoulders but I loved the style over the “more practical” basic black pea coat….Just don’t like buying clothes/shoes that I don’t love. I also wanted to buy a pair of Nike running capris for $30 – which I would totally wear, but I’m trying to be frugal since I have other capris that I can use at the moment, and I’m still in grad school (last semester!!!!).
Also made some cashew flour pancakes this afternoon (still need to tweak the recipe so will post it later) and managed a 4.0 mile treadmill run in the evening even though I didn’t feel like running. Since one of my resolutions for 2014 is to get back into the running groove, I felt compelled to start the year with a run 🙂 How did you spend NYE and New Year’s Day? Do anything fun?
All the best for 2014!!
Hello folks!! Hope your summer is going well – although I’m sad that it’s almost over 😦 I start classes and my hospital internship in a week and although I’m looking forward to the experience and starting the last leg of my RD journey, I’m sad to see the summer end. I only managed 1 trip to the beach this year (pitiful I know) due to classes and work etc.
Anyway, this past week seemed more depressing than any other week during the summer …and I’m not quite sure why. Maybe it was the thought of summer ending, anxiety over my upcoming races, frustration….and/or probably also the fact that I was exhausted and my legs felt like lead all week long. In hindsight I should have a taken a couple of days off from working out – but the Type A personality in me refused to do so and still wanted to do some “easy swims” during the week. Anyway, suffice it to say that I didn’t run the entire week – and that may also have contributed to my pissiness. Well…I ran 6 miles today (granted I stopped twice to get water and stretch but I still did it)…and the pissiness has gone 🙂 Maybe it’s a runner’s high or maybe I just snapped out of it – but I firmly believe there’s truth in the “runner’s high.” I love all kinds of activities – swimming, biking, weight training, yoga….but the runner in me still loves a good run. There’s something about running that just makes me happy – and I don’t get that same feeling from cycling (maybe swimming)…but it’s hard to say. Anyway, long story short, I’ve been really slacking on my running lately and it shows. So it’s time to change that, especially with a stressful semester coming up. My goal is to run 3-4 times a week…short or long, doesn’t matter…just do it. I will probably be a healthier, happier, calmer and less pissier person for it 🙂
What activities help keep you calm and make you feel more centered? For some it’s yoga, meditation, or walking. For others, like me, it’s a mixture of running, swimming and yoga…
As the weather begins to get warmer, my desire to run outside increases. I’m not a winter runner because I hate bundling up in layers of clothing to run outside and so I end up on the treadmill, but that gets old soon. And the treadmill isn’t actually as “cushioned” as we all make it out to be…case in point, I have developed a “stress reaction” in my left shin thanks to the infamous “dreadmill” and bumping up my runs too quickly. So long story short, I’m taking a few weeks (6 – 8?) off running for a while just to let any “possible” stress fracture heal. So where does that leave me? Well, I can still swim, use the elliptical, bike and do pool-running, as well as other non-impact activities like yoga and so I’m not too bummed about it (yet).
But the elliptical and bike sometimes leave me wanting a tougher workout, a way of getting my heart rate up, and so I incorporate some of the exercises I learned at CrossFit into my workouts a few times a week. These are short bursts of intense activities like kettle bell swings, burpees and mountain climbers, and they get your heart rate up in a short amount of time (most of these circuits are only 10-12 minutes long). I posted one circuit at the start of the year and here’s another one that I did today after 40 minutes on the elliptical. Start with 3 rounds and bump up to 4, and remember to warm up beforehand! It’s a great way to get your heart rate up if you’re left wanting more after an elliptical or bike workout.
And then remember to stretch and refuel asap!
Hi Folks! I hope everyone had a great weekend! I seem to be on a weekly schedule with my blogging at the moment so sorry (again) for the delay. This weekend I participated in a bike event here in Boston called Hub on Wheels. It’s a cycling tour of various parts of the city, from downtown to Dorchester, Hyde Park and the Arborway. The ride started at 8am from City Hall Plaza on Sunday, and riders could choose to do a 10 mile, 30 mile or 50 mile option. I did the ride with some friends and although we’d initially planned on doing the 50 mile ride, we started out towards the back and the group decided they wanted to do the 30 mile loop instead. It was a gorgeous day and we really couldn’t have asked for better weather! (Well – maybe less windy… but at least it wasn’t raining!). Here’s a view from the start…there were over 5000 cyclists!!
The first 10 miles took us through Storrow Drive which had been blocked off from general traffic, and then we veered off into various parts of the city, through the cemetery, by the Charles River and through several parks. The ride was really well organized – from snacks, drinks and port-a-potties at several rest stops, to bike support from Landry’s Bicycles.
I hadn’t ridden more than 20-ish miles on my own, and certainly not through traffic – but I did well and didn’t fall off my bike! Apart from enjoying the ride with my friends, I found that it was also a great confidence builder for me as a newbie road biker. Prior to the ride, I’d always been nervous about stopping & starting at traffic lights and being able to jump out of the saddle at stops – and the ride really helped me get more comfortable in all of these areas.
When I got home (after a ridiculously long wait in the parking garage…one area that could do with some improvement for next year), I was itching to get in some more miles (can you tell that I had my heart set on doing 50 yesterday? 😉 ) So after wolfing down an egg and veggie burrito and taking Folly out, I dragged my bike back out for another 20 miles on my own. Rode from Framingham up to Wellesley and back for 21 miles and called it 50 for the day (30 miles done as part of Hub on Wheels). It felt great to get the 50 done since I had really planned on it – and great to know that I can bike 50 miles without too much strain 🙂 Needless to say, I was exhausted last night – but in a good way, and although my neck and shoulders are a little sore today I still feel pretty good! Even made it to the gym this morning for some elliptical-ing and a high-intensity workout (more on that later!)
Last night I also found myself looking up cycling shorts & gloves on Amazon…and thinking about investing in a bike rack for my
beat-up car (I’ve been taking the wheel off and putting it in my back seat so far)….I’m also considering do a century bike ride….Hmmm…So maybe I am turning into a biker after all?? 🙂
Hello All! Happy Sunday to you! I hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend and soaking up the last days of summer. Fall classes start on September 5th for me, and after that my life will be super busy again. My new investment (splurge) is a brand new road bike!
She’s already been named Maddy (short for Madeleine) and she’s a 2011 Raleigh Capri 2.0. I bought her from Grace Bicycles in Holliston, MA and have already taken her out for a spin. I’ve spent the last few days researching and trying out some road bikes, both at REI and at Grace, and I went to the latter based on the recommendations of some friends at my gym, who are avid cyclists and highly recommended the shop. The guys at Grace, Scott and Roy were absolutely awesome and I wanted to hug them both at the end of yesterday, when I left with my prized possession. They not only answered my billion and one questions, but were extremely patient with me as I hummed and hawed between two bikes, asked the seat to be lowered, handle bars raised etc. Roy even let me borrow a part for the handlebars so that I could get used to road biking and feel comfortable before trying a lower bar height. Once I was convinced I wanted Maddy, they went through a whole video analysis of my current biking form and proper form, correcting my mistakes and just really making me feel more confident and comfortable about road biking. A huge thank you to both of you for doing all that! And I absolutely LOVE my new investment (and the best part are the hot pink handle-bars – don’t you agree 😉 ! I’m taking her out for another ride later this afternoon.
This morning, I worked out at the mini gym downstairs, with a 30 minute warmup on the elliptical, a CrossFit type high intensity workout consisting of 5 rounds of: 12 KB (20lb weight) swings followed by 15 burpees. I was a sweaty mess by the end of it and my heart was racing – but that’s the point of these short, intense workouts. To get your heart rate up in a short amount of time. Then, even though I said I was burnt out from running after the Providence Half last weekend, I tried a slow 3 mile run on teh treadmill, since I was itching to run again. It went well so I may ease back into running again but I’m still not signing up for any races till I have a strong running base again, and am really enjoying it as opposed to feeling stressed out about it.
Post-workout, I made Breakfast Tacos and a protein shake with a new smoothie supplement (review of the supplement will come later). The tacos were delicious and totally hit the spot, and had a healthy balance of protein, carbs, healthy fats and a plethora of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants…and the recipe is posted below! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday – I’m off to look for some new clothes before the start of Fall semester!
Breakfast Tacos (serves 1)
2 corn tortillas
1 egg + 1/4 cup egg whites
2 Tbsp shredded cheese
2 Tbsp black beans
1.5 cups baby spinach, washed
6-7 baby carrots, chopped
1/4 zucchini, chopped
2-3 Tbsp salsa
spring mix & dressing of choice
1. Spray a medium skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium heat. Add carrots, spinach, zucchini, beans and saute for 1 minute.
2. Crack egg and add to the skillet, along with the egg whites. Stir/scramble mixture for 1 minute.
3. Add cheese and salsa and stir for another minute till heated through, and yolk has reached desired done-ness ( I like my yolks slightly runny).
4. While egg mixture is cooking, warm the two corn tortillas. Divide the egg and vegetable mixture onto the two tortillas.
5. Season with ground black pepper, avocado and additional salsa if desired. Serve with a spring mix salad and choice of dressing.
Happy Friday to you all! Here is the face of a “not-a-morning-runner:”
Yes that’s me after a 4.5 mile run this morning. (Note: the photograph is really for my mom’s benefit since she lives in India and we don’t get to see each other very often:( Hi Mom!)
I haven’t done an early morning (well, 7:30am is early to me) for a long time, but I figured that if I want to get better at this running thing, then I just need to do it and actually be more consistent about it. That may mean running slower but that’s OK. I’ll be the turtle and get there eventually. So 4.5 miles were done this morning, 4 in one stretch and 0.5 miles in sprints at the end. Not so surprisingly, I feel more energized after having worked out in the morning and it feels great to have gotten it done before the heat and humidity set in.
Post-run, I had a strawberry protein smoothie, and egg & egg white and a peanut flour protein pancake.
(I actually made this stack a while ago and then just frozen them for easy breakfast options – so I didn’t eat what you see above. It was more like a messy plate of eggs and a pancake, wolfed down in record time).
The original recipe for these pancakes can be found on Monica’s blog, and I followed her directions except for the cottage cheese, since I can’t do dairy. I subbed in 1/4 cup of mashed banana which added a “banana” flavor to the pancakes and also probably changed the texture. Mine turned out a little “rubbery,” with a faint banana flavor and were pliable, like a mini tortilla. Flavor-wise, they weren’t bad at all, but just had a very different texture from your traditional “fluffy” pancakes. I may try these again with a coconut milk or almond milk yogurt instead of the cottage cheese and see if that makes a difference. The pancakes are also much lighter and higher in protein than your traditional fare – so I would say give these a try if you’re looking for something different. You could also use almond flour/meal instead of the peanut flour for a high protein, gluten and peanut free option (I may actually try the almond flour version next time).
Anyway, enjoy the weekend and the weather. Have any of you tried any variations on traditional breakfast options like pancakes and waffles, e.g with a different flour? What were your thoughts?
Happy Wednesday to ya’ll – well I guess it’s over but that’s another day closer to the weekend, right?! Yesterday, I finally completed my 200 hour food service requirement for my nutrition internship program and so I mailed off my evaluation plus other paperwork today. That was a relief! I’m still going to my volunteer internship a couple of times a week because I’ve really grown to love working there and have made quite a few friends in the process, and so I couldn’t just “not go” anymore. It’s become a part of my weekly routine and I actually look forward to my time there with with chefs and the other volunteers.
The title of this post though, doesn’t refer to my volunteer work or anything related to school. It refers to my goals for running. I know I’ve written about my struggles with running this year, and dealing with strained hip flexors and now a strained ankle, and it’s really forced me to take a good, long, hard look at my relationship with running. I realize that in the last few months, I really haven’t been running enough to be able to do races – and yet I’ve still signed up for them, or gone ahead and done them with inadequate preparation. I’ve sustained injuries because I’ve tried to jump back into training at a pace that I used to be able to maintain when I was running more frequently – but let’s face it. If you don’t run, you lose practice and you lose your pace. Ideally, I would have started out at a much slower pace since my hip flexor injury in February, and not simultaneously tried to train for races and start a program of learning to run naturally. But – given my Type A personality, that’s exactly what I did, and that’s why I kept getting injured and ended up with a strained ankle. For the last few months (and it’s totally my own doing), I’ve felt a constant pressure (self-imposed of course) to get faster, be a better, “natural” runner, register for more races, get back to my old pace etc, etc – without taking the time to actually recover and pace myself (no pun intended). And yet, through it all, I don’t think I’ve really enjoyed running at all. I can’t even remember the last time I ran just because I loved it – and not because I was “supposed” to be doing a 4 mile tempo run that day, or sprints, or a long run, or training for such-and-such a race. I think I liked running more when I didn’t have a Garmin and I couldn’t keep track of my pace; when I registered for races for the fun of it, just to be able to do them and finish them – not to get faster or beat a certain time. I miss those days. I miss the days when I ran because I could, because I loved it so much.
So I’m redefining my running goals for the remainder of this year. I’m not going to set any. I’m not going to register for any more races (sorry NYC peeps) till I can run again injury free, without worrying about my pace, form, whether I’m heel-striking or maintaining a mid-foot strike. I just want to run again – without thinking about it so much. I want to re-kindle my love for the sport and not feel so overwhelmed or stressed out by it anymore.
It’s a hard decision to face just before a half-marathon. Oh yes, – I have a half-marathon coming up this weekend – the Rock n Roll Half-Marathon in Providence, RI on Sunday. I feel so un-prepared for it and anxious about injuring myself that I don’t really want to do it. But I’d also feel like a wimp if I didn’t at least try it (Part of me hopes that it’ll rain on Sunday so I can be justified in skipping it due to “bad weather” 😉 ) In all honesty though, I will probably give it a go but leave my Garmin at home (so I don’t obsessively check my pace), and go in with the attitude that if I need to walk or stop because something doesn’t feel right, then I’ll walk or stop. I’m OK with taking a DNF (Did Not Finish) at the race – but I don’t want to face a personal DNS (Did Not Start) for the sake of my own pride. (By the way, whoever said that pride is a dangerous thing was SO right).
So we’ll see what happens this weekend. My goal will be to not get injured and then take a break from races. (Though, like I said, I also hope that it rains on Sunday ;))
My other goal will be to find headphones that don’t fall out of my ears whenever I start to run 🙂
Hi guys! I hope everyone had a great weekend! Mine was absolutely AWESOME even though I spent most of it covered in mud! 🙂 This weekend, on Saturday, I participated in the Spartan Sprint New England 2012 in Amesbury MA, and it was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life.
It was a 3.5 mile course through hills, bogs, muddy trenches and woods, with 15+ obstacles scattered throughout the terrain. I have to admit that I went into the race with a less than enthusiastic attitude – thinking “What on earth am I doing?” right until we set off on the course (and even a couple of times during it). I’d signed up for the race with a friend back in March, but unfortunately she couldn’t do it and so I was on my own. That alone was daunting enough – to be doing an obstacle race through muddy trenches, hills and woods without a group. I almost decided to skip it – and was incredibly nervous going into it – mainly because I’m so injury prone that I didn’t want to end up hurting myself in any way (given that I already have a sore ankle). But I’m also a stubborn mule and didn’t want to give up, so with KT tape on my ankle – I bit the bullet and decided to go for it. I’d seen my friends do a Tough Mudder in Pennsylvania so I had some inkling of what to expect (though Tough Mudder is a lot longer, between 10-12 miles).
While stretching at the start and still dreading the race, the announcer mentioned that there were 15+ obstacles (knew that), we only got 1 shot at each obstacle (okay….) and that there was a 30 burpee penalty for EACH obstacle that we couldn’t do (WHAT??????…Did NOT know that going into this or when I signed up!…And we only got 1 shot at it???!). After hearing that, I gave up stretching and just mentally prepared myself for doing a billion burpees on the course.
Here’s what the start looked like…a lovely uphill run right at the beginning. In talking to the volunteer coordinator, I found out that they design the course to spread out the competitors from the very start, so that the obstacles don’t get crowded. This uphill run at the beginning was designed to stretch out the group, with the most competitive and athletic participants reaching the top first, and the rest of us trailing behind. Needless to say, I was part of the “rest of us” group.
After the hill, we ran through some wooded areas to our first set of obstacles, a series of wooden walls to climb over. I got over the first one but the others were too high (and my upper body strength needs a lot of work). Fortunately, several nice guys and a girl gave me a leg up over the rest (Thanks guys!) and saved me from 30 burpees. The next obstacle was ridiculous. We had to leap across several tree stumps but they were so spread out that unless you had the legs of a giraffe, there was no way you could even get to the second stump. I think everyone did burpees here. And these weren’t burpees on smooth grass…no, they were burpees on twigs, branches, rocks etc so you can imagine how comfortable that felt 😉
I can’t remember the exact sequence of obstacles after that, but I do know that we waded through muddy puddles that were chest-deep, bogs where you could potentially lose your shoes and more wooded uphill climbs. At some point, we had monkey bars to work our way through. Yeah, that was another 30 burpees for me … couldn’t make any of them…fail 😦 Then, there was a cinder block lift where we had to use our own strength to raise a cinder block that was tied to a rope, up a tree. That involved a lot of hauling and I think I used my entire body weight to get it up and not let it crash down (that would have incurred a burpee penalty). All the time, I just kept thinking how much I did NOT want to do any more burpees and that’s probably what got me through it. After more ditches, swamps and hills, we had more walls to climb. These were higher and I got a leg up from some kind folks. Then there was a spear throw – failed at this and missed the target. Might have got it eventually but we only got 1 shot 😦 …30 more burpees. After that, a rope climb, and dragging a 40-60lb cinder block on a chain through mud. Did both those. Then (and I forget the exact order), I think we climbed over a cargo net and down the hill to the start for water (we were dying of dehydration at this point). After climbing across another wall, we were given sandbags to carry back up the hill that we ran at the start.
Then it was back through the woods to more obstacles, including the barbed wire mud pits…you got through one long stretch and over a barricade only to find another longer muddy field of barbed wire – where the wires were even lower. Got through those literally drenched in mud – I even had to wipe my face on a volunteer’s t-shirt for fear of getting mud in my mouth! After that, we jumped over some burning branches and ran downhill over the last obstacle, got clobbered by the gladiators at the end and were done! I’m sure I missed writing about some obstacles but I just can’t remember the exact order now. Anyway – it was the muddiest, and most exhilarating thing I’ve ever done on my own and I totally loved it 🙂 The girl who handed me my finisher’s medal said that I may have been the muddiest person she’d seen go by (I’m not kidding when I say I rolled through the muddy barbed wire pits…there was mud everywhere – and I mean everywhere…).
One of the easier obstacles on the course:
I finished in an official time of 1 hour and 43 minutes – not great but not too bad considering I did it on my own and came out of it injury free (save for a few scrapes on my shins). I left the race with a medal, muddy clothes, fabulous memories and a huge boost of self-confidence – and it was totally worth it 🙂 I went into it on my own, unsure of how I’d do, and really doubting my own strength and abilities, and came out of it a muddy mess but with a huge smile on my face and a renewed self-confidence. Worth every penny, every scrape and bruise, and every muddy mile!
I was dog-tired at the end of the day, but the next day (yesterday) I wasn’t as sore as I thought I would be, and I had a great time volunteering at the event. For doing that I’m also getting a free race entry to another Spartan – so let me know if anyone is up for doing one. I would totally do that all over again!