Newburgh Waterfront

Yesterday started off with what would end up being my last hotel workout of the trip… yaaaaahoo!  This hotel gym is very nice and it’s been great that I’ve mostly been able to stick to my normal workout schedule while I was here, but I’m more than ready to get back to my real gym at home!

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(Cute, right? The sweaty, 5am bedhead look is entirely in right now.)

I’ve been getting frustrated with the dumbbells here (I find random bruises all over myself from where they awkwardly hit me), but I actually really liked yesterday’s workout.  It was different, and that kept it interesting and fun.  Here’s what it looked like:

  1. Warm-up: 10 minute walk on treadmill
  2. Dumbbell push presses:
    1. 15 @ 40lbs
    2. 10 @ 50lbs
    3. {8 @ 60lbs + 8 Handstand shrugs} x3
    4. {8 @ 50lbs + 8 Handstand shrugs} x3
  3. Workout (8x):
    1. 5 Right hand dumbbell snatch @ 25lbs
    2. 5 Left hand dumbbell snatch @ 25lbs25 Jump ropes
    3. 5 Right hand dumbbell clean @ 25lbs
    4. 5 Left hand dumbbell clean @ 25lbs
    5. 25 Jump ropes
  4. 100 Air squats
  5. {12 Bent over rows @ 15lbs each + 12 RDLs @ 25lbs each} x4
  6. {10 Kneeling rows (each arm @ 15lbs each + 12 Squats @ 30lbs each} x4
  7. Core (4x):
    1. 15 Dumbbell swings @ 15lbs
    2. 20 Weighted side bends @ 15lbs
    3. 15 Weighted bridges @ 15lbs
    4. 20 Crunches
  8. Cool down: 10 minute walk

I seemed to have lost my picture from breakfast yesterday, and I can’t even remember what I had at this point… so I’ll just skip it. 

Food for the rest of the day consisted of baby carrots, chicken with peppers, snow peas, and spices, a poor little pear that got brutally mutilated in my lunchbox, cantaloupe and TJ’s trail mix, and a banana. 

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But after work is where things got a little more fancy… 

The town I’m staying in this week has a beautiful waterfront along the Hudson River, and last night, my coworkers and I headed down there for dinner.  The cherry blossom trees (I think?) were in full bloom, and even though it was chilly, it was still a beautiful sight.  There are all kinds of restaurants along the water, and it’s a great place to walk around and take in a little fresh air.  One time when I was here in the past, I saw the absolute biggest yacht I have ever seen in real life docked here.  Seriously, it was like a mini cruise ship!

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For dinner, I started with the garden salad with balsamic dressing.  (I resisted all the bread and it felt so good!)

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And for my entrée, I went with the filet mignon (which was cooked perfectly and absolutely delicious) and a double portion of the steamed veggies (carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, and cauliflower). 

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I nixed the potatoes/rice in favor of double vegetables, and in addition to skipping the bread, it was definitely a good choice.  I left feeling full, satisfied, and most importantly, stomach-ache free, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with myself.  Normally, I would’ve said ‘oh, a piece of bread or two on this special occasion won’t hurt,’ but then I’d end up sitting at home with a stomach ache later.  Since making the decision to not do that anymore, it was surprisingly easy to pass on it!

With my last night behind me, I am very excited to be heading home tonight… Sleeping in my own bed, cooking in my own kitchen, and working out in my own gym is going to be absolutely glorious after ten days away!

See you from NH! Smile


Going Gluten Free…

Sometimes my workouts go really easy for me and I feel strong and powerful and energetic… and sometimes they don’t. 

Yesterday was one of those days that didn’t go so well.  I usually take Sundays off, so maybe my body somehow knew that it was the day of rest and decided to be stubborn.  Or maybe it was because I’ve had a more-strenuous-than-normal week and had already gotten five good workouts in and I was just tired.  Or maybe it was because I hadn’t eaten anything besides a banana, a few grapes, and a couple ginger snaps in about 17 hours.  (I wasn’t really hungry for dinner after my late lunch, and I rarely eat before morning workouts.  But I got to sleep in a little bit yesterday, so my workout was later than normal, stretching that time out even farther.) 

Whatever it was, things didn’t go great yesterday.  But I still got out of bed, to the gym, and moved around a little bit… and that’s what counts for me. 

Here’s what my workout ended up looking like:

  1. Warm-up: 10 minute walk on treadmill
  2. Squat and twist – low to high (each side):
    1. 15 @ 15lbs
    2. 12 @ 20lbs
  3. Workout (21-15-9-3 each):
    1. Sumo deadlifts @ 45lbs
    2. Burpees
    3. Upright rows @ 20lbs each
  4. {10 Dumbbell snatches (each arm) @ 20lbs each} x5
  5. {12 Reverse flies @ 10lbs each + 10 Lying rows (each arm) @ 10lbs each} x4
  6. 100 crunches
  7. Cool-down: 10 minute walk

After that, I showered up and had breakfast before I headed off to work.  I made a three-egg scramble with tomatoes and spinach, plus bacon on the side, and it was a nice change from my usual green pepper and spinach scramble.  I used to like my eggs very dry, but the tomatoes don’t allow for that and yet I still like it, so maybe I’m coming around. 

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I snacked on some slightly off-looking carrots a little later.  I find it weird when carrots get a little bit white like this, but they still seem to taste fine, so I guess it’s no big deal…?

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For lunch, I brought a batch of chicken, red peppers, and snow peas made with chili powder and cumin.  I made two helpings of this meal and just seasoned them differently, so it really will be like having two different meals, even though the base ingredients are the same. 

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For a snack in the afternoon, I had some purple grapes and cashews.  I never used to like nuts of any kind, but cashews have since become one of my favorite snacks.  I think I’ll have to branch out and try a new type of nuts soon though, because maybe I’ll like them too!

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I was at work longer than expected, so dinner got thrown together in just a few minutes when I got back to my room.  I cooked a porkchop and green beans in a pan on the stovetop (there’s no oven in my room), and microwaved a sliced apple for about a minute and a half.  I’ve never tried “cooking” an apple that way, but it was actually really delicious.  I bet a hot apple topped with a little bit of maple syrup or Greek yogurt would make an awesome dessert!

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After dinner, I spent some time picking up my room and getting organized for the days ahead, and I snacked on some gluten-free, wheat-free ginger snaps as I went.  (It sounds complicated, but they were actually really awesome.  I could identify all of the ingredients on the list and they tasted even better than other snaps I’ve tried.  The grocery store I’ve been going to here has a pretty great all-natural/gluten-free/dairy-free/etc. section, and I’ve found quite a few things that I like there.)

I’ve been feeling so much better this week staying away from gluten/dairy/grains entirely, and I’ve pretty much decided that I’m going to make a solid effort to stick with it.  Straying on Saturday to enjoy a meal out with my friend showed me that it does actually make a difference (in the form of a stomach ache) and I figure that it’s about time I finally commit 100%. 

Since most of what I normally eat is naturally gluten free (fruits, veggies, meats, nuts, seeds, etc.), and I’ve been staying away from dairy and grains lately anyway, it’s really not going to be that big of a change for me.  My daily diet won’t change much at all, but where it will come into play is in the desserts region of my diet.

I’m not saying there won’t be times that I’ll stray again (because there will be), but in the past, I’d eat well 90% of the time and then throw caution to the wind when it came to desserts or treats.  From now on though, I’m going to make a concerted effort to make even those special treats dairy/grain/gluten-free.  (Like these brownies, or these cookies, for example.)

People often think that “gluten-free” means “healthy,” but that’s not always the case, so please don’t be misled.  Many calorie- and fat-laden sweet treats are gluten free, but that certainly doesn’t mean you’re going to lose weight if you eat a whole batch of them.  I am hoping that it will finally allow me to get my stomach aches in check once and for all though… and for that, it’s totally worth it to me.

It’s time to get this week underway… Have a good one, friends! Smile


Unbroken

Yesterday morning, I added another max to my list: front squats.  For the past few weeks, I’ve been having to clean the bar (bring it up the my chest from the ground on my own), so I was nervous to go too heavy.  Yesterday though, I moved my front squats into the squat rack, and increased my weight by a good amount.  I struggled a bit, as I’m still working on my form and the overall strength it takes to do it right, but hey, I’m getting there – and that’s what counts. 

For the rest of my workout, I had one goal: do at least each group unbroken, meaning I wouldn’t stop in the middle of any of the sets.  Sometimes I find that I go too easy on myself, allowing myself to take largely unnecessary breaks just because, well, I can.  There’s no one watching me and no one to tell me not to… so why not, right?  But in reality, I’m only cheating myself, so in an attempt to push myself harder, I made a conscious effort to stop doing that.  And I’m happy to say that it was a total success!  I really didn’t have to work that much harder to complete all of the sets unbroken, but I’m sure I got a heck of a lot more out of it.

Here’s what it looked like all together:

  1. Warm up: 5 minute walk on treadmill
  2. Front squats:
    1. 15 @ 45lbs
    2. 12 @ 65lbs
    3. 8 @ 95lbs
    4. 6 @ 115lbs
    5. 3, 2, 1 @ 135lbs
    6. 8 @ 115 lbs
    7. 3 @ 135 lbs
    8. {8 @ 70lbs} x4
  3. Workout (UNBROKEN):
    1. Run 6 laps
    2. 10 Pull-ups (assisted @ 40lbs)
    3. 10 Toes-to-bar
    4. 10 Walking lunges (each leg)
    5. Run 4 laps
    6. 10 Hand-release push-ups
    7. 10 Box jumps
    8. 10 Goblet squats @ 20lbs
    9. Run 2 laps
    10. 10 Handstand push-ups
    11. 10 Wall balls
    12. 10 Dumbbell deadlifts from floor @ 30lbs
    13. 50 Shoulder presses @ 35lbs
  4. {12 Barbell bicep curls @ 20lbs + 12 Overhead tricep extensions @ 20lbs} x4
  5. {20 Swiss ball sit-ups + 20 Swiss ball overhead side bends} x5
  6. Cool down: 5 minute walk

For breakfast, I made another chocolate protein shake, plus a banana on the side.  (I know I said I want to mostly drink this at night but laziness + lack of food/ideas/time = another chocolate shake. Oh well.)

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For lunch, I just brought another serving of my dinner from the night before.  What’s easier than that?  I didn’t put honey on the chicken this time, but I did use some crushed red pepper to spice things up.

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Later, I snacked on an apple and almond butter before calling it a day.  Sometimes Fridays drag on, but this one flew by, for sure!

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After work, I drove to my mom’s house to stay for the night.  I told her I’d pick something up on the way so we wouldn’t have to cook (it was Friday, after all), but she’s awesome and decided to make dinner in the crock pot instead.  (I really need to get a new crockpot and start using it because it makes cooking weeknight dinners so much easier!)   She cooked chicken, veggies (carrots, broccoli, peppers, peapods), and spices in the crockpot, plus she made asparagus and rice on the side.  It was totally delicious and much needed after a long day… thanks, Mom!

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Time to start this weekend off right… Happy Saturday! Smile


Largely Unplugged

This weekend was spent largely away from the computer, camera, and TV… and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  Most of the time, I enjoy snapping pictures and blogging about everything I do, but every now and then it gets tiring and I need a little bit of a break.  With my Spring allergies starting to bloom in full force, the stress of my CPT exam being just a week away, a beautiful three days of warm weather, and an Easter holiday spent with family all converging at one time, it was the perfect weekend to unplug a bit and just enjoy a little downtime. 

I did snap a few pictures here and there though, so here’s a limited recap of this past weekend.

Saturday morning, I headed to the gym first thing and completed this workout:

  1. Warmup: 10 minute walk on treadmill
  2. Back squats:
    1. 10 @ 95lbs
    2. 8 @ 135lbs
    3. 6 @ 155lbs
    4. 4 @ 175lbs
    5. 3 @ 195lbs
    6. 2 @ 215lbs
    7. 2 @ 235lbs
    8. 2 @ 215lbs
    9. 2 @ 195lbs
    10. 4 @ 175lbs
    11. 6 @ 155lbs
    12. 8 @ 135lbs
    13. 10 @ 95lbs
  3. Workout: (4x)
    1. 25 Jump ropes
    2. 15 Close-stance front squats @ 45lbs
    3. 10 Overhead squats @ 45lbs
    4. 5 Push presses @ 45lbs
  4. Wide stance barbell squats (Plié squats):
    1. {15 @ 95lbs} x2
    2. {12 @ 115lbs} x2
    3. {15 @ 95lbs} x2
  5. 5 Deadlifts @ 95lbs x5
  6. 25 RDLs @ 45 x2
  7. Leg presses:
    1. Wide: {12 @ 170lbs} x2
    2. Middle: {12 @ 180lbs} x2
    3. Narrow: {12 @ 170lbs} x2
  8. {10 Hanging knee lifts + 25 Calf raises} x4
  9. {25 Swiss ball sit-ups + 15 Handstand shrugs} x4
  10. Cool down: 5 minute walk

Post-workout, I snacked on a delicious green smoothie on the way to visit my family.  Made with plain Chobani, frozen strawberries, a little bit of honey, and a ton of spinach, it was the perfect drink on a warm Spring day.

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After a little bit of shopping and hanging out outside, my mom, cousin, and I went to a local Chinese restaurant for dinner. 

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This is pretty much our entire family’s favorite Chinese restaurant, and I think we ate enough for everyone who wasn’t there with us!

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For dessert, my mom and I snacked on my cousin’s famous homemade biscotti.  Everyone in my family seems to have a signature treat that everyone else always asks them to make, and that’s definitely his… it’s amazing!

Easter morning, I opened my Easter basket with my mom and lounged around for a while before getting the day going.  (Yes, I’m 24 and still get an Easter basket… thanks, Mom. Smile)

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I made a bacon and egg sandwich on an English Muffin with strawberries on the side for breakfast (plus chocolate from my Easter basket, of course), and then my mom and I took a long walk outside with the dog. 

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The weather was absolutely beautiful, and now that I’m starting to transition out of Winter and into Spring mode, I’m just hoping it sticks around!

For Easter dinner, we headed over to my aunt’s house to share the day with my aunt, uncle, and cousins.  I feel so lucky to have so much family living so close by, and it’s wonderful to get to see them practically whenever I want. 

My aunt is a fellow Pinterest addict, and along with all kinds of appetizers, we enjoyed these fun (and wicked tasty!) blue drinks before dinner. 

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And for the main attraction: enough food to feed an army!  Of course, with three growing boys, she pretty much always has to prepare like she’s feeding a small army, but my aunt is an excellent cook, so I love joining in.  We had ham, lamb, potatoes, rice, green beans, rolls, and all the fixings.  She steamed the GB’s and then tossed them in lemon, honey, and garlic, and I had two huge helpings.  I definitely need to try making them that way next time! 

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For dessert, we had birthday ice cream cake for my cousin, plus Trader Joe’s pear tart (delicious), and of course, more biscotti.  Stuffed full, I eventually rolled myself into my car and drove on home, where it took all the energy I had left just to crawl into bed early. 

A great weekend, indeed! 


My Favorite Part(s) Of The Day

Do you have a favorite part of the day?

Aside from the fact that it’s still dark out and sometimes it’s so hard  to get out of my nice, comfy bed, my favorite part of the day is by far the hour and a half I spend at the gym in the morning.  I won’t lie: sometimes when I’m lacing up my sneakers, it’s the absolute last thing I want to do at that moment, but once I get there – and especially, once I’m finished – I remember why it’s my favorite. 

Usually, I feel sort of tired and groggy on my way in to the gym, but after a few minutes of getting my blood pumping on the treadmill, I’m ready to go.  It’s weird, I can almost feel myself getting all pumped up for my upcoming workout, and I get almost overly excited for the pain fun that’s about to ensue. 

When I tackle something new, make some sort of gain, or even just get through a particularly tough workout, I feel accomplished and so proud of myself.  Maybe I’ve just never experienced that before because I didn’t really play competitive sports growing up, or maybe it’s because I just don’t get that sort of satisfaction in other aspects of my life… but it’s seriously awesome

Every day, I pretty much see the same people there in the morning, and even though I don’t talk to most of them (I’m shy, what can I say?), I still feel like I know them.  It’s almost like we share a bond; a membership to the secret 5am workout club that you have to be really tough and committed to join. 

And seeing people rock their workouts that early in the morning is really, really great. 

So I’m telling you: if you haven’t already boarded the exercise train, get on it immediately.  You don’t have to lift super heavy weights or run 16 miles a day; just get out there and do some walking, biking, swimming, rock climbing… whatever makes you happy.  Because honestly, as long as you’re being active and doing things that you enjoy, I promise it will make a positive impact on your life. 

Yesterday’s workout wasn’t anything all that special, but I did feel like a champ after I finished all those pull-ups!  Here’s what it looked like:

  1. Warm up: 10 minute walk
  2. Front squats:
    1. 15 @ 50lbs
    2. 12 @ 60lbs
    3. 10 @ 70lbs
    4. {8 @ 80lbs} x6
  3. Workout (5x):
    1. Row 250 M
    2. 10 Overhead lunges (each leg) w/ 10lb plate
    3. 15 Wall balls
  4. Pull-ups (assisted @ 50lbs) & Hanging toes-to-bar:
    1. 10 PUs + 8 T2Bs
    2. 9 PUs + 8 T2Bs
    3. 8 PUs + 8 T2Bs
    4. 7 PUs + 8 T2Bs
    5. 6 PUs
  5. {12 Cable upright rows @ 40lbs + 12 High cable rows @ 40lbs} x4
  6. Core (4x):
    1. 20 Swiss ball crunches
    2. 15 Back extensions on Swiss ball
    3. 10 Oblique twists (each side)
    4. 5 Hanging knees lifts
  7. Cool down: 5 minute walk

For breakfast, I had the rest of the cinnamon-banana-dark chocolate chip muffins I made the other day, plus a bunch of purple grapes. 

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Late morning, I started getting hungry, so I snacked on some sliced cucumbers and carrots before heading out to a meeting.  The meeting was at the company office right near my apartment, so I stopped at home for lunch, and it was wonderful to get to be outside for a few minutes during the warmest part of the day.  Being at home for lunch is always my favorite thing, but it was particularly great considering the beautiful weather we had going on yesterday.  I guess I might have to revise my previous statement because noontime sunshine makes the lunch hour a pretty great part of the day as well! 

I just threw the leftover steak, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli I’d brought with me for lunch onto a plate and popped it into the microwave, but somehow not eating it out of a plastic container made it taste so much better than it would have at my desk.

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DSC_0465Dates for dessert, of course. 

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I snacked on an apple with almond butter later on, and then my friend forced me to try one of the Panera chocolate chip cookies that someone brought in.  I love most all chocolate chip cookies, but Panera does chocolate chip cookies right.  That’s for sure. 

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I had to run a few errands after work, so a quick heat-up-in-the-microwave dinner was perfect. This massive plate of goodness consisted of homemade meat sauce over spaghetti squash with sliced green peppers and snow peas. 

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I always try to make extra food when I cook early on in the week because by the end of the week, I often get lazy and/or busy and don’t have time or energy to make meals.  Having a few extra meals in the fridge ready to go makes it easy to grab something healthy on busy nights, and it also makes the probability of stopping at a fast-food restaurant on the way home smaller.  I try to plan it out to make sure I don’t end up with way too much, but you can always just stick a pre-made meal in the freezer if you don’t end up eating it.

Questions:

Do you prep extra meals ahead of time?

What’s your favorite part of the day?  Do you have more than one?


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