April Arms Challenge Recap

Hi, hi, hi! How is everyone doing? Now that the April Arms Challenge that my friend Athena lead is over, I thought I would take some time to reflect on how the challenge went! Now, as I mentioned in my birthday post, I am not big on setting goals and doing challenges; in fact, when presented with a challenge, I usually lose interest in what is at hand. I am so internally motivated, that I prefer to do things on my own time, on my own account and when I feel like doing them (selfish, much?), not just because someone is challenging me or because there is a prize at the end (although, don’t get me wrong, I am the biggest sucker for free things). And, I have a fear of not succeeding, or better yet, failing (there, I said it. After Friday’s post, I feel like I can/should share that stuff with you guys). Needless to say, when Athena hosted her January Abs Challenge, my response was “I wish I had time, but with all the teaching I am doing, I don’t want to add another thing to my plate.” Okay, this is partially true- taking on any sort of “challenge” certainly would add more to my already busy schedule, but I could’ve fit that in. No doubt about it.

to do listsource.

This time around, I went for it. Now that I have been teaching for almost a year and have been strength training more consistently throughout that time, I’ve noticed an all around difference in my body, but I knew there could be more. I’ve always wanted those arms. You know what ones I’m talking about: toned, defined, not too stick thin and you can tell they workout. I thought that maybe if I took a month and put extra focus on working out my upper body, I could be closer to having those arms. And, you know what? It did! So much so, that I have decided to not only repeat the April Arms Challenge this month, but I have also started the January Ab Challenge. Bathing suit season is just around the corner so I know I’d love to tone up a bit and my class members probably feel the same way!

Here are some before and afters (not bragging here, just showing that there was a difference and that doing something like this WORKED and was really easy to fit into my normal routine).

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Before & After

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Before & After

And, not just by pictures, but in class when I am teaching, I notice more of a definition in my arms and I LOVE it. Now, I will never have those arms because I think that is really more genetics than working out a lot (some people are naturally graced with better arms or legs or stomach or back, etc. and no matter how much working out you do, if you were not naturally graced with those good features/body parts, they will only look so good. I could be all wrong here, but I really believe this.), but I feel like I have made great progress with the type of definition my body is capable of producing.

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007(Incorporating different AAC workouts into my classes- win win win!)

I cannot do justice by trying to explain how organized Athena was throughout this entire challenge, but I will say that I was totally impressed. She created workouts that were short and manageable for even people like me with a crazy teaching schedule, she incorporated a variety of moves that worked our muscles in all sorts of different ways (and, gave me loads of inspiration for my classes!), she showed wonderful modifications so that the workouts could be tailored to fit everyone’s levels and she kept it fun with prizes at the end!

The workouts were designed in the following format:

  • Sunday Circuit- This workout incorporated cardio, upper body and core (usually), so it was easy to make this into a fully body workout if you repeated it 2 or 3 times.
  • Monday- Pushup Pyramids, increasing the number of reps each week (or, she had us to a 1 minute pushup challenge to see how many we could do).
  • Tuesday- Triceps Tuesday! My all-time favorite day.
  • Wednesday- Biceps Blast- A close second for my favorite day.
  • Thursday- Tabata Thursday- I loved to hate this day, as did my classes!
  • Friday- Friday “Fives”- the workouts varied greatly on this day, but they always incorporated 5 different exercises. These were a bit longer and I usually incorporated some cardio intervals between doing rounds of the Friday Five workout to complete my entire workout for the day.
  • Saturday- REST:)

005So, there you have it! I can’t believe how much more I enjoyed the April Arm Challenge than I thought I would. It’s fun to have a plan and it makes it easier some days because you don’t have to think or plan out what you want to do for a workout. If/WHEN ( 😉 ) Athena does another challenge, I highly suggest that you sign up! Athena, thank you for taking the time, energy and knowledge to plan such a fun month of upper body-focused exercises.

Questions for you:Have you ever participated in an online workout challenge? Are you externally motivated (ie: more apt to follow through with something if there is someone pushing you along)? What is your current favorite workout move?

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Weekly Workouts

Is it really Monday already?! Sometimes I feel like I am more ready for Monday to come around than others, but today is definitely not one of those times. Between hosting Sara’s shower all day on Saturday, going out a little on Saturday night and going to my friend Christy’s surprise bridal shower yesterday, my weekend was a whirlwind and I feel like I didn’t get any down time (not that I am good with that anyway, but still). Don’t get me wrong, I had an absolute blast at all the events that I went to and I am definitely not complaining, but I could certainly use another day in my weekend, that’s all!

Let’s get to the workouts, shall we?

Last Week’s Workouts:

  • Monday- Hotel workout in NY and taught Dynamax
  • Tuesday- I took this as a total rest day, aren’t you proud?! I didn’t even do a lot of walking since I drove to work and I skipped out on the Triceps Tuesday April Arms Challenge workout. Since I was gone all weekend, I felt like I had too much other stuff to catch up on (laundry, picking up, organizing, cooking, blogging), so my workout took a back seat, and that’s totally fine!
  • Wednesday– Since I skipped my AAC workout on Tuesday and couldn’t figure out a good way to incorporate Wednesday’s workout into my class, I decided to do both of them before I taught. It.Was.Awesome. I ran 1.5 miles on the treadmill and then got busy with tri’s and bi’s and abs.

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  • Thursday- Ran through Cambridge like a crazy bag lady, taught TBC (Supersets) and Kickboxing

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  • Friday- Got up and did the burpee tabata from Thursday’s AAC workout and the Friday workout from AAC before work. It felt so good to be done my workout for the day by 8am!
  • Saturday- Got up and ran 1.5 miles and then did 2 circuits of the Sunday AAC workout (wanted to rest on Sunday and not Saturday) and did some extra core work.
  • Sunday- Walked 2 miles with Danielle and then gardened for about a half hour.

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This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- My own cardio & teaching Dynamax. It’s the first day of the new session and I am so excited!!
  • Tuesday- This might be a rest day, but if I can wake up and do something before work, I’ll do that.
  • Wednesday- Cardio and/or biceps blast before teaching UXF
  • Thursday- TBC (which, I recently learned is now called Shred or something. Not sure how I feel about that!) & Cardio Kickboxing
  • Friday- I might do a Deck of Cards workout before work, run during my lunch break, or go play in the UXF area at the Wellington BSC after work is over.
  • Saturday- Teaching Kickboxing at the YMCA. It’s been a few weeks and I’ve missed it! Can’t wait to remind them about what they’ve missed 😉 [insert evil laugh here]
  • Sunday- Rest! and gardening. I really want to get everything planted this weekend.

Your turn! What was your favorite workout last week? Any new moves or exercises to share?

Last day of being 27

Hey Burpees to Bubbly readers! Happy, happy Saturday to you! Have anything fun planned? I’ve got a busy day, but before I get to that, let’s catch up on yesterday! As most of you probably know, Friday’s are my “work from home” (WFH) days and after a full, busy week, it’s the best feeling to get home on Thursday after teaching a double and know I don’t have to pack a lunch or get up early to make the commute into the office. WFH on a Friday before my birthday is even better… treats and flowers and cards galore!

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When I finished my work day, I had plans of going to the gym near me since I am no longer teaching my Friday night UXF in Allston (so sad. I miss you guys!), but the weather was so gross that I decided to stay in and do an “at home” workout.  I was gchatting with Athena (but, let’s be honest, when are we NOT gchatting?!) and she said she was going to use the jump rope today. Ding, ding, ding! The light bulb went off and I decided that I could get a great workout done in the comforts of my own home. I can’t tell you how nice it was to have the option to go to the gym or to workout at home or to not do anything at all!

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So, I set up shop in the kitchen with my weights, jump rope and “Friday Five” Arms/cardio workout and got busy. I ended up doing about 60 minutes including warm up and cool down/foam rolling and time flew by!

  • 5 mins warm up (jogging in place, jumping jacks, squats, hamstring curls, knee lifts, etc)
  • 5 mins jumping rope (this is SO much harder when you use a real jump rope vs imaginary jump rope)- this round was tabata style with 20 seconds jumping, 10 seconds rest.
  • 15 minute Arm/Cardio/Core from April Arms Challenge (up the ladder)
  • 5 mins jumping rope (30 seconds jumping, 5 seconds rest)
  • 15 minutes down the ladder
  • 5 mins jumping rope (alternating leads and speed and direction)
  • 10 mins (abs, stretching, foam rolling)

60 minutes later, I was sweaty and tired and rope burned. Wait, what? You read that right, I clearly need work on my jump roping because I got whipped by the rope more time than I’d like to admit and boy did it hurt!

013After I showered, I headed out to the grocery store. On a cold, rainy, Friday night. REALLY not that fun, but it was dead and fully stocked, so I couldn’t really complain too much. As I was shopping, I thought about how great it would be if I could have a glass of wine. Wouldn’t that make grocery shopping so much better?

wine and groceriesI was so ready for wine by the time I got home that I poured myself a glass before I even took my jacket off! J.Lohr is one of my favorite wines- red and white. It’s delicious!

015I sipped as I put away all my groceries. It really made the process a lot more enjoyable, but then again, when doesn’t wine make things more enjoyable?

I was so in the mood for sushi last night, so I picked some up in my travels. It totally hit the spot! There is something about Chardonnay and Sushi. They go hand in hand in my book. Anyone else with me on this?

018Although I had somewhat wanted to go meet up with friends for dinner or drinks, the weather and knowing that I have lots of things on the agenda for today made me decide that staying in was more desirable than going out!

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Today’s agenda:

  • getting my BSC paycheck and going to the bank
  • tanning (yes, I tan occasionally…sorry if that offends anyone, but I want a nice glow for my birthday!)
  • teaching kickboxing
  • going to Jess’s first tasting
  • getting my hair highlighted and cut (!!!)
  • getting all done up in my birthday dress for birthday celebrations!!

A little serious talk…

So, today is my last day as a 27-year-old. It’s a little crazy to think about, but I am ready for 28. First off, I am a fan of even numbers, so right away 28 is better than 27, haha. Secondly, I am in a much better spot personally at this point than I was last year, so I am excited for what 28 will bring. I have a few things lined up (expanding and growing the blog, moving into my own place, etc- more on that later) for the next year and I hope you will all stick around with me as I share my journey. I have only been blogging for a few months, but I have had so much fun thus far and appreciate everyone who reads and follows me. You have no idea how much that means to me!

Questions for you: What’s a special meal that you’ll splurge on every once in a while? Birthdays- love them or hate them? What’s been your favorite year thus far?

Birthday Week!

Hey everyone! TGIF,right?! Remember how I said the week wasn’t going by slow? Yeah, I was so wrong. As soon as I wrote that, my weekly drastically slowed down and I felt a day ahead. But! Good news is that it is Friday! Birthday weekend officially kicks off at the end of the work day today. Woohoo!

Catching up…

Wednesday was a great workout day. Actually, the whole week has been awesome. I have been pleasantly sore all week, which hasn’t happened in a while so I must be doing different things this week that has “shocked” my body. Love that! Before class, I managed to run 3.25 miles. Nothing like being a sweaty beast before class even starts:)

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I taught UXF, but was able to incorporate some moves from Wednesday’s April Arms Challenge workout. I switched up the moves a little bit, but we got it all in!

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(Took this from Sunday’s 3-2-1 circuit. New favorite move!)

007(We just did side lunge and biceps curls, so I switched it to an isometric side lunge & 1-armed triceps extension. 30 seconds each side, 3 rounds)

008(Finishing off class with 3 rounds of 30 second wall sits & hammer curls, followed by 30 seconds of high knees)

The whole trip home (I have to get back on the T and then take a bus from Davis… really not that fun), I brainstormed what I could throw together for dinner. I am usually good at having enough leftovers from “Sunday Dinner” to get me through until Thursday, but not this week. I ended up throwing together a Caprese Omelette, which, even though it didn’t look that good, tasted delicious and was just what I wanted!

011Birthday’ing

Yesterday, my friend/coworker took me out for a birthday lunch at Miel which is the French restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel (remember when I went there for a massage?). French cuisine is my absolute favorite (I blame it on the sauce and cheese that accompany every meal!), so I was really excited about this lunch. JP got the French Onion Soup to start and he said it was delicious (I mean, how can it NOT be delicious when it looks that cheesy and gooey?!)

015I usually get the Cobb salad, but yesterday I splurged on the Croque Monsieur. Best.Decision.Ever.

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And, no birthday is complete without dessert, right?

019This was a flourless chocolate cake and it was to die for! I am usually not a huge fan of flourless things, but this was amazing! I was thankful that I was teaching a double after work! haha

As for today, I am not digging the gloomy weather! I just hope it’s nice for tomorrow since I am celebrating my birthday at the Brahmin and want to wear my birthday dress without freezing to death. Tonight is the first night I am NOT teaching, and, I just don’t really know what to do with myself! I am pretty sore from workouts this week, but since it’s mostly my lower half, I’ll be fine to do today’s A.A.C. workout… and maybe some light cardio? Who knows!

I’ll check back in soon! To all my other April Birthday Buddies, I hope you’re having a great month!

Questions for you: What is your favorite cuisine? What is your favorite restaurant? Any good workouts to share this week?

Sunday Dinner- Pinot Grigio Chicken with a Honey Citrus Glaze

Hey everyone! How was your Sunday? The weather- again- didn’t end up being what I thought it was going to be, but that’s ok. I mean, it has to get warmer soon, right?

Even when I try to make Sunday’s relaxed, a wide open schedule stresses me out and without even meaning to, I end up filling it with random things. Is anyone else like this? For instance, yesterday I got up, had breakfast, blogged, went grocery shopping, made a delicious lunch, went to the mall, prepped some blog posts, showered, made dinner, did my April Arms Challenge for the day… no wonder why I am tired! The thing is, I never once felt stressed or rushed or anxious. Yesterday was a great day and a great mix of being on my own schedule of things I WANTED to do and some things that I had to do.

After facing the masses and masses of people at Market Basket, Danielle and I got to making a nice lunch. This is kind of weird for a Sunday, but since we didn’t have any leftovers and had lots of groceries, it was a great idea.  I cooked up a bunch of chicken and made a salad for lunch, as well as a few for lunches for the beginning of the week.

sunday lunch

Danielle made her new favorite thing to make: homemade Mac N Cheese! She added broccoli and buffalo chicken (leftover from Friday night pizza night) and it was delicious! My mom had gotten me the cutest little pot thing and it was perfect for the Mac N Cheese.

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I went to the Cambridgeside Galleria for a few things (got my birthday dress at the first store I went to- on sale- amazing!!), but wasn’t really in the mood to poke around so I didn’t stay long. When I got home, I prepped dinner and then got busy with the Sunday circuit for the April Arms Challenge.  Since I was tired and sore from a tought week of workouts, I just did a 5 minute warm up and cool down and 2 rounds of the 3-2-1 circuit. I also switched up the 3 mins of cardio to a kickboxing cardio move that felt better for my shoulder and did the same with the reverse curls (something wasn’t working with them, which I was so bummed about because I love that move!).

Ok, ok, let’s get to dinner, shall we?

I usually make up my own recipes for the blog, but when I saw a recipe for Pinot Grigio Chicken over at Eat, Live, Run, I knew I wanted to make it soon. Another deciding factor was the fact that we just happened to have an open bottle of Pinot Grigio in the fridge:) I followed the recipe to a T (except for the fact that I had to use drumsticks since Market Basket was out of chicken breasts), so go on over to Eat, Live, Run and check it out!

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On the side, I roasted some asparagus (all I did was spray them with Pam spray and give a few shakes of garlic crumbles, sea salt, pepper, and lemon juice) and cooked up some harvest grains blend quinoa.  Since we had extra white sauce from the Mac N Cheese, we put a little of it on the asparagus, which was a great idea!

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I absolutely loved this meal! It was very different from what I usually make and I only wish that I could’ve grilled the chicken instead of baking it! I was a little nervous that it would be TOO citrus-y (is that a word?), but it was not at all! I took the skin off of the drumsticks and poked some holes in them so that the marinade would be absorbed, which was perfect because we didn’t lose all the flavor when peeling off the skin before eating. I have just enough left over for dinner tomorrow night- score for me!

Questions for you: What’s your go-to blog for finding recipes? drumsticks/Thighs/Darker meat- fan or not? I used to hate it, but then I realized how much more flavorful dark meat is than white meat so now I eat it when I can!