Looking Ahead: Workouts for 2016

Good morning! I don’t have a workout for you today, but I still want to talk workouts with you. Sound ok? Good! As we approach and start a new year, it’s natural for us to think ahead to things we want to change and accomplish over that next year, right? I’ve never been one for resolutions- mostly because as soon as I put a rule or label around something, it makes me want it more- and this year I’m not even really focusing on specific goals, but, with that said, I have been thinking about what types of workouts I want to focus on this year and how I want to learn and grow.

Last year was a big growth year for me in terms of exploring new areas of fitness (kettlebells, barbell heavier lifting, more indoor cycling, etc.), learning to take and appreciate the importance of rest days and cutting myself a freaking break when it came to backing off of workouts and taking it easy. Was any of this easy to do? Hell no! But does it get easier as I go? Sure does! I’m getting more comfortable with kettlebells (still have a long way to go here, though) and venturing to the weight lifting section of the gym, I’m loving my rest days and I’m getting better at taking my workouts day by day, listening to my body and knowing that a few extra rest days or lighter workouts are not going to ruin all of the hard work and hours I’ve put in at the gym. It’s a really good feeling and something that’s fun to work towards!

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With that said, even though I don’t have any goal-specific plans with regards to my fitness journey this year, I do have some thoughts on things I would like to do/learn/get better at. Right now, I’m having a blast learning new lifts and just getting more comfortable under the barbell. I still have a long way to go here, but every time I learn something new or get a new PR I feel more and more comfortable, which is exactly the type of motivation I need to keep going! Although I’ll always love cardio, I think it’s time for it to take a bit of a backseat for a good part of the first part of the year. With wedding planning, time will be limited so my workouts will likely have to be shortened, but that’s ok because you can get a great strength/HIIT/metabolic resistance type of workout done in less than 30 minutes and feel totally spent 🙂

Once the wedding is over, I’d like to attend more trainings and certifications and spinning is first on the list! I have gotten so much better at spinning, but I would love to really start mastering it so that I can add it to my teaching repertoire. I’d also love to take a kettlebell training course so that I can learn how to properly execute the basic moves. These are things I really enjoy, so I figure it’s wroth investing the time and money to make sure I know what I’m doing!

As far as physical goals & strength goals with regards to numbers, I don’t really have any. Last year I had a few goals: 10 unassisted pull-ups/chin-ups and 10 chest to floor push-ups. Did I get there? Well, not entirely. Most days I can do 4-5 chin-ups, but I’ve never gotten further than that. Do I think I could? Sure, with more practice, but I just kind of lost interest in that goal after a bit. When it comes to chest to floor push-ups, this is a give or take, depending on the day. Some days I feel strong and can do 10 of these in a row, other days I struggle to get 3-4 good ones, but the thing about fitness is that’s just how it goes. It’s not a linear process; there are days where you max out, PR, etc. but then the next day you may struggle to do half as much as you did the day before. That’s just the way it works, so realizing and accepting that has made life so much easier 🙂

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I’d love to hear from you, though- do you have any fitness related goals this year? New PR for squats, chest press, deadlift, 5K, triathalon, etc.? Did you reach any goals you made last year? What are you most proud of with regards to your health/fitness over the past year?

I hope wherever you are in your health/fitness journey. and wherever you plan on going with it, you do it with love and compassion. You are so much more than the number on a scale, the number on the weight rack or the number on the treadmill! Health and fitness is (or at least should be) a lifelong journey- there will be high points and there will be low points- but at the end of the day, if you are consistent and keep at it, you’ll gain so much more than a new PR or a toned physique. You’ll gain confidence and a sense of empowerment that will carry on with you through all your other life adventures (good and bad) outside of the weight room. Appreciate where you are right now, and keep an open mind to all the places you can go if you put your mind to it!

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How My Workouts Will Change to Get “Wedding Ready”

Got ya! If you guys know me, you probably know that I’m not likely to adopt some crazy workout routine or diet to get “wedding ready”. In fact, I don’t really think there’s such a thing as “wedding ready”. If RM and I were to get married tomorrow, I would be perfectly happy with how I look and feel, but that’s because each day I strive to workout and eat in ways that make me feel good. That’s always the ultimate goal. Why? Because it’s achievable and sustainable. It’s a doable thing every day that has just become a part of me.

I have a hard time when people go on crazy diets and workout routines in order to prepare for something: wedding, vacation, reunion, birthday, etc. While they may get the results they want for the specific event they were working for, the chances of those results lasting after the event has come and gone are not very likely. Why? Because what they’ve been following was probably very strict and a huge change from how they were living prior to that so it was probably a hard adjustment. They likely got through it because they had an end date in mind, which is where I struggle with any of those diets or workout routines that last 14 days or 30 days or something like that. If you know you only have to do something for X amount of time, what’s likely getting you through that time is knowing you can go back to “normal” once that timeframe is over. Right? I know that’s how it would be for me if I ever did something like the Whole30 or something else like that.

Rather, I believe in lifestyle changes. Starting with small, achievable changes that you can sustain for a long as you want to. Once you master that, you pick something else to change and soon enough, you will have made lifestyle changes that don’t have an end date. You learn to appreciate the way you feel and look and learn to really love fueling your body with real foods and working out in ways that make you feel strong and powerful.

With that said, it’s safe to assume I am going to carry on with “business as usual” when it comes to my diet and exercise in preparation for the wedding. Because, again, I’m not “preparing” for the wedding. I am very happy with how I look and feel as a result of my current “diet” (by diet, I mean what I eat on a day to day basis) and workout routine. Sure, we’ve been eating out a lot more and eating things we don’t normally eat (hello, moving and not having a fully functioning kitchen for so long!), but that’s only temporary. Last week we had time to do lots of meal prep and had a fridge stocked with various cooked veggies and meats all week, making it easy to make healthy choices.

On the workout front, I have been teaching a lot more lately which means my own workouts have fallen a bit by the wayside. I haven’t been going to the gym for my own workouts and let me tell you- I miss lifting heavy things!! But again, I know that I will get back to that soon enough, so I am trying to focus on embracing all of the newness of our engagement and celebrations right now. I’m always looking to try new workouts and formats, so just as I usually do, throughout the next year I’m sure I’ll be trying lots of new things- taking you all along for the ride. I may do some “wedding-themed” workouts here and there, but I can assure you I will not be doing anything drastically different on the workout OR diet front leading up to the wedding!

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I’d love to hear from you guys, though! Do you like to follow “quick fix” diet or workout plans or do you prefer to make lifestyle changes? Did you do a crazy diet or workout plan before your wedding or another big event? When do you feel your best?

 

Weekending & Life Lately Catch-Up

Good morning! I hope you all had a great weekend 🙂 Mine was really pretty great and I actually took pictures so I thought I’d spend today sharing those with you! But, before I get to that, let’s catch up over the past couple of weeks. I can’t believe we’ve been back from Italy for over 3 weeks- seems like just yesterday we were packing up to go there.

  • I’ve been working out outside a lot- whether in the form of running or bootcamp style workouts. With the nicer weather upon us, I just want to be outside as much as possible!

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  • But, I’m also loving being back in the gym with weights and strength training! Feels so good to leave the gym with jello-feeling everything 🙂

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  • I’m participating in Neghar Fonooni’s Bikini Rebellion challenge this month and am more than obsessed with it. If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ve probably seen some very personal, “leave it all on the table” types of posts, which has been hard, but also really refreshing.
  • We’ve been loving healthy, light meals. In the heat, it’s awesome to throw something together quickly!

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  • My curly hair is back… BIG and back! I was afraid my curls were going away over the winter, but fear not… it was just the dry weather that made my hair less curly than usual!

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Dealing With Injuries & Modifying My Workouts

Good morning and happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend and feel rested and ready for the week.

So, last week I had to deal with something I HATE dealing with: injuries. I know most people probably don’t like them, but I have a really hard time dealing with and accepting them; I often keep pushing myself and ultimately making things worse… when will I ever learn?!

You may remember me mentioning last week that I tweaked my knee while at the driving range, but that after some ibuprofen and taking it “easy” at the gym and in my class, I felt totally fine. Fine enough to move heavy things up and down 2 flights of stairs all weekend, run 3.5 miles and teach kickboxing. On top of that, Monday morning started off early with my Muscle  Mix class, Tuesday night my bootcamp and Wednesday a 30 minute outdoor run before teaching UXF Burn.

I know, I know. You’re probably shaking your heads at me going “you dummy. Of course you got injured. That’s a recipe for disaster and you haven’t taken a rest day in going on 2 weeks!”. And, you’re totally right for thinking that. All of those workouts and moving finally caught up with me and I woke up on Thursday morning with so much pain in the same knee I tweaked the week before.

Luckily, Thursday was a planned rest day for me anyway, and with some ibuprofen and ice, I woke up on Friday feeling better than I did on Thursday. However, I made a pact with myself that I would take it easy all weekend.

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Again, I know what you’re probably thinking: “Wow, Monique. You gave yourself a 4 day break. Whoop-dee-freaking-do”. But guys, taking it down a BIG notch for 4 days is so hard for me. My body is used to moving (actively) every day, so telling it to slow down for 4 consecutive days is a huge challenge for me.

But, I gave myself {multiple} pep talks and worked hard to convince myself that taking a little break wasn’t the end of the world, and certainly didn’t mean I was going to lose all of my strength, cardiovascular health and gain 5lbs (I know, I’m so dramatic).

The craziest part about all this is I’m SO GOOD at giving this advice to others. I’m so good at telling people to rest and listen to their bodies and that we all have muscle memory and we’ll bounce back faster than we think. Why can’t I be SO GOOD at giving-and taking- this advice for myself? Will I ever learn, or will I forget all about this until the next time I am faced with another injury (remember the post I wrote about rest days? I haven’t listened to that much lately…) ? It’s so frustrating that I am so bad at listening to myself and my body and that I am so addicted to the feeling during and after a good workout. Don’t get me wrong- it’s great to have a passion and a healthy passion, but when does it get to the point of being unhealthy. An injury? A different set back? When will I get to the point where I see the signs BEFORE things get too far. Before a healthy thing turns into an unhealthy, injury prone obsession?

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So, although all of that is hard to admit, it’s true, and injuries are an eye opener for me. I’m happy to say that I did rest for 4 days (with the exception of short walks) and plan on taking it easy with my workouts this week. I don’t need to be beating my body into the ground every day like I generally do. If I want to have a lifetime of physical activity, I need to take care of my body now and not wear it down.

Phew. how’s that for a heavy Monday post. Thanks for listening, though. It always feels good to get this stuff out- I hope some of you can give me good advice and if you’re dealing with the same thing as me, I’m hoping you can find relief in the fact you’re not alone.

This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I’m not teaching today so my plan after work is to go to the gym and do some light, steady state cardio (I just want to sweat!!) and some upper body and core work. I’m going to take it easy with squats and lunges this week.
  • Tuesday- It’s the first week of my second bootcamp session and I’m SO excited. A bunch of people from my office have expressed interest, so it could be a decent size crowd!
  • Wednesday- Teaching UXF Burn at 6:30 in Central Square. Before class I may do some steady state cardio or lifting. I’ll see how I feel.
  • Thursday- Not sure! Maybe my own workout, maybe a class, maybe a walk. I’m going to see how I feel.
  • Friday- Probably a rest day.
  • Saturday- I’m supposed to be teaching my cardio kickboxing class at the Oak Square YMCA, but I was invited to attend #BosFIT, an AWESOME fitness event hosted by Bostinno, so I’m trying to get a sub for my class. Check back here on Wednesday for a chance to attend the event for free!
  • Sunday- After the classes I’m planning to take on Saturday, Sunday will be my second rest day of the week

Questions for you: What was the best workout you had last week? What’s the last injury you’ve had? How do you deal with injuries? Any good advice to share?

Catching up {Workouts and Life}

As I read other healthy living blogs, I’m happy to see that I’m not the only one feeling like there just isn’t enough time in the day or week to accomplish everything on my to-do list. Sometimes blogging just has to take a back seat, and even though I sometimes feel guilty about it or stressed to get posts written, realizing it’s OK to take a break is so refreshing. Sarah wrote a post earlier this week that hit me hard. It was as if I was writing it myself! I’m finding myself in a recent job change, increasing love for fitness and teaching and no longer just being on my own. Being in a serious relationship and moving to that “we” thing is awesome, but it’s also a big change for someone who hasn’t had that in a longggg time. My normal blogging time and teaching time and “Monique” time is just not the same as it used to be and I wouldn’t change that for the world. As we grow up, our priorities change, right? It’s such an exciting time, but sometimes it can be a little stressful! Sarah’s post was a great reminder to not let myself get stressed out over these types of changes, but to embrace them and live life. Blogging will always be here, but random nights with the bf or friends of family won’t- it’s more important to DO those things, rather than sit at home, writing a post because it’ll “screw up my schedule” if I don’t.

And, with that, let’s catch up on some stuff!

Workouts- Last week

Last week was my last week teaching my Thursday night double, which was totally bittersweet! On top of that, RM and I headed to Chicago with some friends so my weekend workouts were a bit different than usual. Overall, though, it was a great week of workouts. We did SO MUCH WALKING when in Chicago. Our hotel was about a mile from all the action (just in the wrong part of the city), so getting to and from anywhere was at least a 2 mile walk.

    • Monday- After work, I ran 3.5 miles and then did the workout listed at the bottom of this workout post. I kinda died a little…

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    • Tuesday- I went to a BodyPump during work since I had a hair appointment after work. What is it about BodyPump that gets me every time?!
    • Wednesday- I ran 3.5 miles on the treadmill before teaching (and doing most of) UXF Burn. I’m not sure what we did to get so dirty?

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    • Thursday- Last double:( In SHRED, we did 3 rounds of stations and then we did some across the floor cardio and partner ab stuff. We had a big group and everyone seemed to enjoy it! Kickboxing had it’s biggest crowd to date and we worked super hard!

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    • Friday- Nothing. We had an early flight so there was definitely no morning workout for me! We did do some walking, though.
    • Saturday- I got up and ran 4 miles, although I think my mapmyrun GPS wasn’t working because it was saying I was running all sub 8 minute miles… highly doubt that! After, I did some core work at the gym and then RM wanted to go for a walk so we went on about a 45 minute loop- we were walking so fast!

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    • Sunday- We had all intentions of going to the gym at the spa before our massages, but a late lunch got in the way of that. I did walk for about an hour in the morning while getting breakfast and Architecture tour tickets.

Catching Up- Life

The past couple of weeks have been so busy!! I feel like I’m on auto-pilot going from one thing to the next. Anyone else feel this way? I have a full recap of Chicago coming soon, but besides that, here are some things going on:

  • My garden is growing so much! Over the past couple of weeks I have picked kale and green beans, and both taste so fresh!

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  • I recently started reading The One and Only by Emily Griffin for a book club that my college friends and I started. It’s really just an excuse to get together to drink wine, but we decided to throw a book in the mix, too!

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  • I had to buy new Tom’s when walking around in Chicago and I’m actually happy about it because I’ve been meaning to buy a new pair for a while now. Love this blue!

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  • I’m heading to the Cape this weekend with RM and his brother, sister-in-law and their 1 year old son. I think the weather is supposed to be crappy… why can’t it be nice when I have time to go to the beach?!
  • My parents are coming next weekend for my mom’s birthday- any good meal suggestions?

Questions for you: When’s the last time you skipped workout for sleep? Have you had any garden-fresh veggies this summer? Do you read Emily Griffin books? Are you in a book club?