Tag Archives: sports

Wednesday Workouts: What Does Your Week Look Like?

How much do you work out? I was prepping for the fitness class I teach on Tuesday nights and I realized that, for some of my “students”, it may be the only time they workout that week. While I applaud their effort to make it a weekly habit, that amount of exercise really WON’T DO ANYTHING. So seriously, how much do you workout?

I was raised by a mom that had intense dedication to her mental and physical health. She manages to make time to workout for an hour 6 days a week. What?! That’s a lot of working out. When I lived at home, I used to get super stressed about making enough time for that. Since I’ve moved away, I’ve discovered my own rhythm and it’s working awesomely.

Some basic rules for getting results and staying healthy:

1. SET UP A ROUTINE – determine what is manageable for your schedule and energy levels and slowly work that into your daily life. I know a lot of people who write down their weekly or monthly routine, put it on the fridge so everyone can see, and then cross off the days. Then everyone knows when you’re not sticking to it.

2. INCLUDE VARIATION – I know people who can do the same workout everyday but most people need some variation. So pick a few activities like walking/running, riding your bike, swimming, weight training, etc, and give yourself options for which workout you will do.

3. HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE – find a way to punish yourself if you don’t stick to you routine. My punishment is no dessert the night that I fail to stick to my guns. Works for me and my sweet tooth!

4. MAKE IT MANAGEABLE – don’t push your limits so hard that you burn out, make sure your routine is relatively easy to stick to and that you don’t feel like you’re spending your whole life working out.

5. did I say MAKE IT MANAGEABLE? – working out hard and often is really difficult. Ease your way into it and make sure you can sustain it.

For the past 3 months my workouts have looked like this:

3x a week – 12 to 20 minutes of the bodyweight/circuit workouts that I post here

2x a week – 20 to 40 minutes strength yoga to calm my mind, strengthen my muscles, and detox my organs.

I was resting after bike season. Now the pre-season winter training begins and I will be trading 1 yoga and 1 strength training for an hour of intervals on my bike trainer. Combine this with a healthy diet and I’m in the best shape of my life.

The Wednesday Workout for this week:

– 20 seconds on/20 seconds rest

– each exercise 3 times

– total of 12 minutes

– this workout requires you to push yourself. hard.

1. ^ butt kicks (standing in place or running)

2. ^ hip raise (if you can, lift one leg up to the sky or put your legs straight out on a fitness ball)

3. ^ pike pushup (if you can, do it with your legs elevated on a step or fitness ball)

4. ^ 45° Lunge – one direction then the other (just adding some variation to tone those small twitch muscles)

5. ^ plank (if you can, do it on hands and/or with little kicks)

SQUAT AND HOLD YOUR HAND OUT IN FRONT. quads parallel to the ground.

6. ^ sit & pray

Back to the subject: How much do you workout?



Friday Fun Times: Ice Skating!

Our lives were becoming stale. Wake up groggy and still tired, go to work, come home and eat dinner, watch tv, go to bed, repeat. It’s even boring writing it! So Mike and I decided to institute date night. For those of you that know us, you know that we didn’t go on our first date until we were 4 months into our relationship and living together. The whole graduation/moving to Illinois thing meant that we did things kind of backwards. SO, we have no idea how to date each other!

Of course, we are very short on money, so we have been exploring Peoria in a frugal way. Last Friday we went out to dinner (ordered only appetizers because they’re cheaper) then went ice skating! I told Mike that he had to arrange this one and, considering that he’s the romantically challenged of the two of us, he did a fantastic job.

There’s a rink right around the corner from us and it cost $6 each for ice time AND rentals. WOOHOO!


^ As far as I’m concerned, humans were not meant to have blades on their feet so I stumbled across the ice like a dancing baboon. Mike, however, is one of those people who is good at everything and he jumped on the ice and started skating backwards and doing turns and hockey stops and blah blah blah. I was slightly envious but also very proud of my man 🙂

‘Twas a great way to spend a Friday night. Cheap, cheerful, and sweat-inducing.

What do you do for a cheap date night?

Wednesday Workout: Two Things to Remember

Well hidey ho there blogosphere neighbors! Yesterday I led another great workout class. It was a 12-minute workout, just like last week but I remembered to tell the class about my Two Basic Rules.

Rule #1- BREATH. I learned this from lots of weight training and lots of yoga. Make sure you establish a breathing rhythm right along with your perfect form. If an exercise is a huge challenge for you, focus on (imagining) that you’re breathing into that part of you body. Better breathing means more oxygenated blood and muscles=better workout.

Rule #2-BRACE. Ok, put your hand on your lower belly, now flex it. Flex it so that you feel like it’s reaching back to your lower back. It should sorta feel like you’re (excuse my language) pooping. If you can hold this position throughout your exercises, especially when they get really difficult, then it will support and strengthen your back, belly, and the entire rest of your core.

Now that we have those out of the way. Here was the workout we did yesterday.

– 20 seconds on/20 seconds rest

– each exercise 3 times

– total of 12 minutes

– if you don’t push yourself, this doesn’t work. if you do, holy cow it’s amazing!

1) Side Hop – jump over something, or just step side to side as fast as you can.

2) Good Mornings – do it without a barbell, just with your hand on your head

3) Push Ups – plank position or on your knees or even on the wall if you have shoulder problems

4) Crunches – don’t bend your neck! Just lift your head and shoulders towards the ceiling

5) Plank – with speed kicks if you’re extra awesome

6) Frog Squat

‘Twas another great workout with so many people! I beginning to love teaching this class.

What workout will you do today? 



Workout Wednesday: Guide to Building Your Own Workout



Last Wednesday I had a crazy busy morning and didn’t have time to squeeze in a workout. I resolved to workout if I got a long enough lunch break or to just save it until after work. I am proud to say that I managed to workout, shower, eat lunch, get ready, and make a smoothie all within a 45 minute lunch break. That’s right, I am Wonder Woman.


Wonder Woman Covers

Wonder Woman

In the end, all of my time efficiency comes from having a routine for each of these things. I had the blender on while I was getting dressed and I was eating lunch while my hair dried. It’s all about thinking out a plan on the car ride home and not dawdling even a little bit. Which is what I’m trying to do this very morning so moving on…

The workout I did was quite unique. I realized on the drive home that I wouldn’t have time to look up a workout with the lovely Zuzana Light so I made up my own. I just chose some full body exercises and a time crunch that would make me sweat AND hurt at the same time. Sounds like fun right??

Here was my workout:

3 rounds of 5 exercises. Do each exercise to the max for 40 seconds, rest for 20 seconds, start the next exercise. Repeat each round 3 times.


1. Pushups (from my knees because my pecks are strangely weak)

2. Crunches (with my legs straight in the air)

3. Squat to shoulder press (with weight, use water bottles if you don’t have weights)

4. Lunge Jump (lunge down then jump up and switch legs)

5. Leg raise (Lie on the ground and lift legs up to 90° angle, keeping them straight, then lower them)

This workout ended up being killer and I felt pretty awesome for formatting my own. Some rules to help you do the same:

– Make sure you know the correct form for an exercise before you do it alone. Wrong form makes you prone to injury. (If you don’t know, just google or youtube it!)

– Establish reachable goals for the workout like “I want to do 30 crunches in each 40 second time period.”

– Keep the whole workout under a time limit so that you feel like you’re really accomplishing something in a tiny bit of time.

– Record all your numbers so that you can look back and try again in a few weeks. Track your progress!

– Be proud of what you’ve done and build on it, nothing’s better than self-propelled success.


I repeat: nothing is better than self-propelled success. So get off your bum and get it done!

And be sure to SMILE in between grimaces 🙂



Tip of the Day: Where Do I Run?

First, shout out to my Gran. She is my most devout reader and I was thinking about her a lot during my run today. Love you Gran!

And now the actual post: After two days of lots of work and no working out, I climbed out of bed, quickly got dressed before I changed my mind, and went out on a run. Before I ran, however, I had to decide where to run to…

This can be a tough one, especially when you live in a city made for cars. Some people need a different route every day but for me its more about predictability, otherwise I would never run anywhere.

If you’re like me and need some predictability but also some room to progress, here are some tips:

– find a park or running/bike trail with boundaries like fences or walls to keep cars out

OR  find a great block or two near your neighborhood to run/walk around.

– find a pleasant way to get from your house to this place

– map out your first run on mapmyrun.com to get your starting distance

Peoria has a great abandoned railroad that they are converting to a bike/jogging path called the Rock Island Trail. According to Map My Run, the head of the trail is 1.75 miles from my house. Today, Day One, I ran that distance and back totaling 3.5 miles. It was tough and full of hills but I did it! Also, sadly, there are areas where there’s no sidewalk which sucks but it’s only for a short distance.

no sidewalk^ No sidewalk?? WTF mate!

Hopefully soon I’ll get comfortable enough to run/walk some of the actual trail.

^ The trail head, hopefully I’ll run some of it next time.

Also, just for fun, we were eating breakfast on the deck and Mike decided it would be a great idea to feed the bunnies some celery stalks. Hahaha. This is why I love him.

The Wonderful World of Bikes

I ride bikes. Scratch that, I LOVE riding bikes. My family is very health conscious so I was a regular at the gym play room when I was a kid and then, for my 11th birthday, I got a gym membership of my own. That gift began a lifetime commitment to fitness. Soon enough though, I realized that gyms are boring! So I tried every sport in the book (basketball, soccer, track, swimming, water polo, softball, you get the idea) and sucked at pretty much all of them. I came to realize that I’m terrible at anything that needs hand-eye or foot-eye coordination. It was pretty frustrating because I always knew I could be good at something if not for the passion and discipline I would bring the sport.

Finally, in 2008, I accomplished one of my goals of doing a triathlon. I was in San Diego (the mecca for triathletes) for a 6 month internship and joined the Tri Club of San Diego. They have an incredible calendar of multiple training sessions per day and it was so easy to jump in on a few of those before and after work. They also held FREE monthly sprint distance triathlons and before I left to head back to Boston, I had done six. SIX! I also managed to squeeze in the Pumpkinman Olympic Distance at Lake Mead in Nevada.

When I got back to school I realized how crazy expensive triathlons are so I looked for a new outlet. I always loved to swim so I did some of that but it’s so fricken lonely. Then I found Green Line Velo. It’s a Boston-based bike race team started by a couple of kids that graduated from my school. I joined one of their community rides and, in my first day, met several people who would become my best friends. Triathlons drifted to the back of my mind for a while and I got fast on a bike.

Image^ that’s me! we had a pretty sweet team photo shoot (photo credit to Sam Rosenholtz)

Image^ me and some teammates on a training trip in New Hampshire.

I joined my school’s bike team my junior year and felt really sad that I hadn’t joined sooner. Collegiate road racing happens for all of March and April and became my favorite time of year. My last year at school I volunteered to captain the team (along with Mike, my now boyfriend) and we had one of the best adventures I’ve ever been a part of. While it was an incredibly intense nine weeks, it was well worth it. We would leave midday Friday, drive several hours to our host housing (usually a teammates’ parents), sleep for a few hours, then race both Saturday and Sunday. Monday through Thursday was spent cramming in ALL classes and homework (this was pretty hard during thesis time).

In the last few years I have discovered an amazing world of cyclists. People that are so dedicated and excited to be a part of the sport that they’ll do anything to see you get into it as well. Seriously. Next time you meet someone on a bike, mention that you were thinking about going out on a ride sometime; they will inevitably invite you on various group rides and make it impossible for you to resist. And honestly, don’t even try. The people I met on Green Line Velo and my collegiate team have become some of my closest, most encouraging friends. They’re amazing people and they’re totally worth the 7am wake ups and ridiculous training rides.


^ that’s me in the white helmet with a great friend of mine, Carolyn, in the pinstripes (photo credit to another friend, Chatura Atapattu)

ps. I fully intend on reentering the tri world but may have to wait until my real life job starts panning out and I can afford it.

Questions: Have you ever thought about riding bikes? Why haven’t you started already? Please comment, I’d love to hear what everyone else has to say.