Last week’s workouts

A Fit Mess

Hey there. How are you doing? Do you feel like the holiday season is already here? I saw Christmas decorations at Target this weekend and for a second I couldn’t remember if we already had Halloween! I think we are going to be thrown into holiday shopping, parties, and travel soon, don’t you? Which makes me feel like I need to get a head-start on things. Which makes me think that having Christmas decorations in stores may, in fact, be a good reminder to get on it! What do you think?

 

Anywho, I wanted to share a few things with you today, including last week’s workouts. I managed six days of workouts, including two Orangetheory classes and a run outside, which was absolutely gorgeous. I am not sure how to describe the feeling I get after finishing a run outdoors, but the only word that comes to mind is “grateful.” Coming back from my hip and hamstring injuries was tough. I remember the days when I couldn’t even jog across the street. So I really appreciate being able to do the physical activities that I truly enjoy once again.

 

Last week’s workouts

Monday – strength training at the Y

4 rounds:

  • 20 feet elevated push ups (slow tempo down, hold for 1 count, and then press up fast)
  • 5 strict chin ups (or AMAP)

 

4 rounds:

  • 12 dumbbell external rotation on the knee
  • 20 ab wheel rollouts

 

5 rounds:

  • 10 pistol squats to bench (per side)
  • 20 DB calf raises

 

4 rounds:

  • 10 shoulder presses (I used 20 lbs.)
  • 10 single arm low rows (20 lbs.)

 

10 minutes of core: ab pull ins, reverse crunch, plank taps + hip raises prescribed by physical therapist

 

Tuesday – workout at Carpe Diem Personal Training

Tricep, biceps, and abs

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Wednesday – Orangetheory

Strength portion looked like this:

Round 1:

  • Row 600 meters + 2-3 rounds of the next three exercises
  • 5 lateral lunges to single arm row
  • 10 tricep extensions
  • 10 plank jacks

 

Round 2:

  • Row 300 meters + minimum of 3 rounds of next two exercises
  • 8 DB lunges off the bench (per side)
  • 10 crunches on bench

 

Round 3:

  • 150 meter row + 5-6 rounds of the following two exercises until time is called
  • DB thrusters
  • full burpees

 

–> begin with 2 reps of each and add 2 to each round (2,4,…12)

 

The treadmill portion included a lot of incline work alternating with base pace and push pace. The final round included repeated 30 second all out sprints which left me WIPED!

 

Thursday – REST

 

Friday – 4.25 mile run outside 

 

Saturday – Orangetheory 

Treadmill work included 25 minutes of what seemed like endless sprints. It was SUPER hard which may be why I’ve blocked it from memory.

A Fit Mess

Strength work included the following:

Round 1: complete 2-3 rounds

  • 5 DB snatches
  • 10 froggers
  • 10 weighted toe touches using the same weight as the snatches

 

Round 2: complete 3 rounds of the following:

  • 8 dead lifts (I used two 35 lbs.)
  • 10 low rows using TRX
  • 20 spidermans
  • 150 meter row (I did mine in 30 seconds and completed 3 rounds)

 

Round 3: AMRAP

  • 10 squat to curl
  • 10 plank jacks
  • 150 meter row

 

Sunday – strength at the Y

3 rounds of each superset:

  • 12 DB shoulder presses
  • 12 rear delt flys
  • 12 DB front raises
  • 12 seated Arnold presses
  • 12 DB lateral raises
  • 12 seated bent over rear delt raises

 

3 rounds with no rest in between movements:

  • 15 reverse crunches
  • 15 leg raises
  • 15 oblique crunches (each side)
  • 15 toe touches

 

10 mins of foam rolling + PT exercises

 

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of super-setting, check out this post.

 

How I’m feeling + physical therapy

I’m feeling pretty good overall. I was really glad to be so active this week. In general, I aim for three strength workouts per week (outside of Orangetheory) so I was really glad to hit my goal. Friday I was planning to practice yoga, but a run just sounded so good. It was threatening to rain in the afternoon so I took advantage of the window of time right before the weather turned. I felt like I could have run for another hour, but since I’m still trying to be careful with my shins I decided to cap it at just over 4 miles.

 

A couple of weeks ago I went to see a physical therapist about my shin pain. To be honest, it has gotten MUCH better over the last month, but I decided to meet with her to get an overall assessment and maybe learn some practices to continue to manage/prevent these. The PT I met with was super thorough and tested my leg and foot strength. It was really helpful to get her thoughts on what the issue(s) may be and how I can manage these better.

 

She came back with three initial conclusions:

  1. Strengthen hips to prevent my alignment from being thrown off.
  2. Properly warm up before a run.
  3. Prioritize recovery following exercise.

 

A lot of my lower leg pain is most likely due to weak hips. There are many factors which may have contributed to my hip issues. No doubt, carrying twins, tearing my hamstring, and running have all played a role. When she tested my strength it was obvious that my right hip is extremely weak. She gave me some exercises to do on my own, including side lying hip raises that make me feel the fire like no other. And she offered some ideas on how to up my recovery game. Suggestions included more foam rolling, using a tennis ball to work into my shins while seated, massage, ice cups, stretches, etc. I’m going to put a lot of effort into doing all of these things and really focus on recovery.

 

What did your workouts look like last week? Any OTF members doing Hell Week?

What are your favorite recovery practices?

5 changes that have made a big difference in my life

afitmess
August 4, 2016

 

Life is about learning and every small change can be a step forward. Sometimes we make big decisions and they have quite an impact on our lives. And other times the littlest changes can really turn things around. Today I want to share some of the changes that have made a big difference in my life.

 

5 changes that have made a big difference in my life

 

1.  I started strength training consistently.

I considered myself a runner for most of my life. In fact, I ran just about every day until a few years ago. I was so focused on putting miles in that I really neglected strength training. I lifted weights maybe once or twice a week, but I didn’t challenge myself and I never made any real progress. My heart just wasn’t in it and I didn’t understand the benefits of strength training. I weighed about 15 pounds less than my current (“happy”) weight. A lot of the weight I’ve put on is muscle, especially my arms and legs.

 

The picture below shows a side by side snapshot. The one on the left is from 2011 and the one on the right was taken a few weeks ago.

A Fit Mess

To be honest, it’s a bit hard to look at the picture of myself on the left. I look thin and fragile. And I have no muscle definition (granted I’m not flexing), but you get the idea.  The one on the right is me now. I lift around 3-4x per week and incorporate yoga and interval training. I feel stronger and healthier than I have ever felt in my life. Even though the number on the scale might be higher, I have gained a lot of muscle and I’m in better shape. That’s why I think it’s important not to put too much stock in the number on the scale. Go by how you feel and how your clothes fit.

 

2.  I stopped wearing heels.

Giving up heels was a difficult decision to make (I’m 5’1 so I need all the help I can get!), but I am really glad I stopped wearing them on the regular. Today it’s rare for me to wear heels (I still have so many pairs gathering dust in my closet), but when I do I always, always feel it the next day. You can read all about my decision to give up heels here. It’s been over a year since I stopped wearing them and I’ve noticed so many positive effects, such as improved strength and less pain in my toes, legs, and hips. Not to mention it’s way more comfortable! I couldn’t image picking the girls up and down, getting them in and out of the car, and chasing after them while wearing heels.

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If you regularly wear high heels, I encourage you to try and alternate some days with flats. Your body will thank you for it. And be sure to read this article from the Spine Institute of Health entitled, How High Heels Affect Your Bodyto learn more.

3.  I learned about the Paleo diet and how to make my own food. 

A Fit Mess

I started eating mostly Paleo a few years ago and it has truly been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. When I first heard about the Paleo diet I thought it was just some fad (like Atkins or The Zone) and I didn’t bother to really learn anything about it until I became pregnant and started to take a closer look at my diet. I’ve never tolerated dairy and gluten has always made me feel awful. My diet has changed significantly over the last decade, but Paleo makes sense to me and it felt right. I found a few great cookbooks that taught me – among other things – how easy it is to prepare healthy and tasty meals. My favorite books are: Everyday Paleo, Practical Paleo, and any book or recipe by Julie Bauer.

 

Last year I completed two Whole30s and they were eye-opening for me. I felt my best eating clean and unprocessed food. It was a bit more work to prepare my food and at times I was pretty cranky about missing all.the.things, but I’m glad I did it because it was a great reminder of how many artificial ingredients are hidden in our food.

Read about my Whole30 experience here.

4. I make my bed every morning.

make your bed

(source)

This might get some eye rolls, but I’m serious when I say that I feel much better when I make my bed every morning. My house might be messy, the bathrooms might be a disaster, but for some reason having a bed that is made makes me feel like I have some order in my house life. It also makes me feel like I’ve already accomplished something in my day. If you are in the habit of leaving your bed looking like you just rolled out of it try making it as soon as you wake up. Game changer.

5.  I started to show myself some grace.

A Fit Mess

This is for the part of me that struggled with the all-or-nothing mentality. I felt pressured to be completely devoted to something – whether it was 100% Paleo, completely gluten-free, no sugar, or only using all natural products. It’s not realistic for me to live that way all the time. And I shouldn’t have to. I will always support a healthy lifestyle and I strive to make good decisions most of the time, but I also want to enjoy my life. And I want to show my kids that they shouldn’t take themselves too seriously. Life is a gift and we should be having fun. It doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. We can also hang out in the in between.

 

I would love to hear what changes you’ve made in your life. Please comment below. And if you like what you’ve read, please share!

 

Why women should love leg day

afitmess
June 2, 2016
A Fit Mess

Leg strengthening exercises are something I often overlooked or skipped during my training. I felt like they were irrelevant for my goals and I didn’t understand how important they are to include in a workout plan. I’ve since learned that they are essential for everyone, in particular women, due to the hip/pelvic and low back pain we seem to develop from sitting, carrying children, and wearing heels. Whether you love or hate leg day, strengthening your lower body is vital and produces benefits that go beyond appearance.

 

So when you question why you need to strengthen your lower body or feel tempted to skip them all together, remember the following advantages:

  • Boosts metabolism. Your legs contain some of the largest muscles in your body, and therefore, require more effort to train. This means you’ll spend more energy performing lower body exercises which will lead to more calories burned, greater fat loss, and a higher metabolism. There is also some evidence that shows the hormonal response created from training your legs will also help you build more upper body strength.
  • Upper body and core strength. This is something I recently learned in my PT course. Multi joint movements, like squats and deadlifts, incorporate just about every muscle in your body. So in addition to your legs, your arms and abs will work to balance/stabilize and move the weight. And you’ll build strong knee, hip, and ankle joints which may reduce your risk of injury. This is really important for functional movement and our day-to-day activities.
  • Improve athletic performance. Strengthening your legs will improve your athletic ability. If you are a runner, weight bearing exercises for your lower body may improve your endurance and power. They’re also essential for counteracting all the physical stress we place on our bodies when we run. Additionally, you may notice increased performance in other areas, like being able to jump higher and move faster.

 

So what type of leg exercises should you be doing?

My favorites ones are multi joint movements since they recruit more muscles and essentially offer more “bang for your buck.” They are also a surefire way to get my heart rate soaring. Squats and dead lifts are great staples to include. Single-leg/unilateral movements like lunges and step-ups are also beneficial since they help balance out both sides of the body and really isolate the muscles.

If you’re new to training the lower body, I would recommend working with a professional to ensure you are doing the movements properly and to avoid injury. As always, please check with your doctor before beginning a new workout program.

 

Check out this YouTube video on how to correctly do a squat:

Make no mistake – leg day is HARD. I often feel like I am going to crawl home after training the lower body. But trust me…they are super important! Not only will these exercises help you tone and strengthen your legs, but they’ll improve metabolism, balance, and performance.

 

P.S. There’s still time to enter my giveaway for a FREE massage or facial!

Do you love or hate leg day?

Weekend highlights: gym fun, indulgences (too many), + yoga

Hi everyone! I hope you are enjoying the long weekend. Matt is working a full day today, but I’m home with the girls. If the weather turns around we’ll head over to the pool in the afternoon. Doesn’t look promising with all the rain we’ve been having.

We had a busy weekend, but I managed to fit in a few early birthday indulgences and a bit of personal time. It was all around a good few days.

Okay, here’s a quick rundown of our highlights.

Award ceremony at The Little Gym. The regular season has ended (summer sessions will begin soon) and the class received little ribbons for all their hard work. Omg, the girls were so proud of themselves. They’ve been sleeping with their ribbons ever since.

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Those smiles!

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Friday evening massage at Hand and Stone Spa. Matt renewed my three month membership as my Mother’s Day gift (good man!) and I had a wonderful massage at the end of the day. Nothing puts me in weekend mode like a massage.

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Saturday sweat sesh at Orangetheory (yes, I consider getting my butt handed to me a highlight). It was endurance day which meant a lot of incline sprints and rowing. We ended the last 15 minutes of class with a partner workout. I was toast at the end.

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Farmer’s Market with the girls. We headed to the FM after my class, but I was a bit disappointed with the limited selection. I may try and visit another location next time. We did find our peaches and they were magnificent. How great does peach ice cream sound?

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Painting birdhouses. I picked up some wooden birdhouses at AC Moore (LOVE this store) for $1 each and the girls enjoyed painting them on the deck. Big tantrums afterwards when I told them we needed to leave them on the deck to dry (we’re definitely in THAT stage right now where everything is the end of the world) which leads me into my next highlight…

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A manicure for mommy. Matt came home from work and I was like, “I gotta tap out!” So I left to get a manicure. I know it might sound silly, but getting my nails done always makes me feel good. It was just what I needed.

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A little wine on Saturday and a whole lot of Bloodline (season 2!). We definitely binge-watched three episodes. Anyone else into the show?

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Sunday morning hot yoga class. I’ve been favoring strength training over other things lately, but it felt so good to move and stretch. I felt a bit like the Tin Man though.

The end.


Last week’s workouts (strength programs from bodybuilding.com)

Monday

LEGS!

  • narrow stance squat 4 x 15
  • narrow stance leg press 4 x 8
  • walking BB lunges 3 x 20
  • single-leg BB squat (foot on bench) 4 x 8
  • standing calf raise 3 x 20
  • leg extension 3 x 10

Tuesday

Arms + abs + cardio

  • push ups 4 x 15
  • seated tricep extension 4 x 8
  • cable single arm tricep ext 3 x 8
  • reverse grip tricep push down 3 x 8
  • skull crusher 3 x 8
  • close grip BB bench press 3 x 8
  • incline DB curl 4 x 8
  • alt. DB bicep curl 4 x 8
  • BB curl 21s 2 x 21
  • stability ball crunch 3 x 25
  • weighted v-ups 3 x 15
  • stability ball reverse crunch 3 x 15

cardio: 2 mile run

Wednesday

@home

  • DB press (on floor) 2 x 10 — warm up
  • reverse tricep DB press on stability ball 4 x 8
  • DB fly (on ball) 4 x 8
  • DB press (on ball) 4 x 8
  • dips 4 x 8
  • weighted crunch 3 x 25
  • leg raises 3 x 10
  • reverse crunch 3 x 15

Thursday

1 mile run, then:

shoulders – 4 x 8 for each exercise

  • Arnold DM press
  • seated bent-over rear delt raise
  • standing one-arm DB press
  • front DB raise
  • standing DB upright row
  • side lateral raise
  • reverse fly

And calf raises 3 x 15

10 minutes rowing (every 3 minutes do 25 jump squats)

Friday

@ home workout:

20 minutes (as many rounds as possible)

  • 10 v-ups
  • 15 pushups
  • 20 jump squats
  • 25 mountain climbers

I got 10 rounds.

Saturday

Orangetheory class

Sunday

Hot yoga 75 minutes

 

Guess what? I have my FIRST giveaway for you guys! Stay tuned this week because I’m going to share it soon!

How was your weekend?

What are your plans for today?

What shows are you watching?