Showing posts with label strength. Show all posts
Showing posts with label strength. Show all posts

Saturday, September 22, 2018

5 Reasons NOT to Skip Leg Day!

Saturday's are leg day around here and in the FASTer Way to Fat Loss® program we work them pretty hard!

If you are still wondering why "never miss a leg day" is a big deal, check out these 5 reasons why you shouldn't forget to train your lower body once a week.

Leg Day - 5 reasons it’s important

1. Core and cardio - leg exercises are compound movements which mean you work multiple muscle groups and get your heart rate up

2. Better performance - strong legs mean better balance and stability during all of your activities.

3. Fat loss - training the largest muscle group means using more energy which comes from stored fat

4. Prevent back pain - strong glutes, hip flexors, quads and hamstrings keep you stabilized and will help prevent back injuries

5. Look great - toned and strong legs are sexy!

If you'd like to see some leg day exercises, follow me on IG (here) or join my FASTer Way To FASTer Way to Fat Loss® bootcamp. Get more details and a FREE starter kit here!

Friday, May 4, 2018

I like Being Sore, Arm Workouts and More...

It took awhile to get moving yesterday, but I finally found my way to the fitness room for another strength workout. I was moving a little slowly because my muscles were sore from the leg workout I did the day before. I like that sore feeling.

I really like the Dirty Dozen Arm Workout, so that's what I did. I walked on the treadmill for 10 minutes first as a warm-up and then went through the 12 exercises two times. I was pretty excited to discover that I no longer need the 5 pound weights (although I did use them on the reverse flys only because my back/shoulder is still bugging me).

As a finish to my arm workout, I did a 90 second plank for PPB challenge day 3. I didn't think I could hold it for 90 seconds without losing form, so I broke it into three 30 seconds planks. After I did them, I figured out that I could have probably done two 45 seconds planks. I think I was distracted by the man on the elliptical who was breathing really heavy and I don't think he realized it. Anyway, I did my core work.

Speaking of core, did you see this??? I'm totally envious of her core strength!

I love tacos from Hot Head Burritos. For the past two days instead of having breakfast at the end of my fasting window, I've been having tacos...for brunch.

On our way to see the family, we stopped in My Main Squeeze to get a smoothie because it was 90 degrees again. I was thrilled to find that they make acai bowls (I love them), so I changed my mind. For toppings I chose peanut butter, granola and raspberries.

For dinner we met up with mrC's childhood friend and his wife at a restaurant in Palmer, MA that was new to us. Steaming Tender Restaurant is the formerly Palmer Union Station that has been restored and turned into a beautiful and fun place to eat. While we were eating we saw an Amtrak train pass right by through the floor to ceiling windows in the dining area. And, I highly recommend the Rattlesnake (spicy chicken pasta). Soooo good!

not my picture

Ever have to workout near a heavy breather?
Would you try Lindsey Vonn's ab workout?

I'm linking up with Lacey and Meranda and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Weekly Wrap - This Is What You Came For

It was really kind of the perfect week. I made it to two strength training classes, ran, hiked, and did some yoga. On Friday when I was able to book a Bodystep class (after more than a month of conflicts), it was my 5th workout of the week and my body was starting to feel it.

It was a tough class. My muscles were already sore from Bodypump. Our instructor challenged us with a couple of tough one minute circuits and I really had to dig deep. During one move (bench jump squat with a snatch) she came over to me and said, “I think you need this” and handed me a medicine ball. I did not want that medicine ball. At all. I was dying. I wanted the circuit to be over.

During the quick break, I realized that my instructor did me a favor. She pushed me when she knew that I could handle it. I survived the circuit and even did it a second time with a different mind set. Yes, it was hard. Harder even than the first time. But pushing myself, not quitting, that’s what I came for.

This is what you came for is my mantra for 2018. It will help me stay focused on my goal to keep moving. Whenever it feels like I‘m thinking about giving up or looking for an excuse to stop/skip a workout, I will repeat my mantra.

Here's how my week shaped up:

Monday - Rainy day spent in Central - lunch and Escape Room fun

Tuesday - Bodypump

Wednesday - 5K run and hike

Thursday - Bodypump

Friday - Bodystep

Saturday - Took littleC to the airport then yoga - I had planned on run #2, but my legs were tired. With a very bad knee, I can’t afford to take chances.

Sunday - Rest day: with a big chunk spent sitting in a salon chair enduring my routine Keratin treatment (only worth it because it makes my life easier for the next three months!)

And just like that another week of 2018 is over and done. Not only that, it was time to put littleC on a plane back to the US. She was happy to spend her final week with us moving at a slower pace, which I appreciated because it gave me (and her) plenty of time for workouts.

Do you have a mantra or word for 2018?

I'm linking up with Holly  and Wendy for the Weekly Wrap!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Sweaty Saturday 5K, GRIT and a Walking Tour

Today I improved my 5k time.

Five thoughts during my run:

  • the weather was amazing - only 70 degrees and practically no humidity. The change in the weather makes a run feel soooo much easier, doesn't it?
  • it had been over a week since my last 5k run. I couldn't believe I had let that much time go by. My last 5k was the Thursday before last! I was sick on Monday and had to skip the night group run and I ran a one mile warm-up before strength class last Saturday. Wow!
  • I love my Mizunos (affiliate) - they feel so light on my feet and I think they just look good.
  • I only stopped for a break twice ---> once at the beach to stretch my legs and keep my knee happy and second on the final big hill at the end. mrC came along and pushed me to start running again. It was my best run in a LONG time. 
  • every muscle is still sore - the ones I could feel the most during the run were my glutes and trapezius (back of my neck/shoulder area). I could really feel the soreness of my glutes when I was heading up the final hill. I guess I know my glutes were activating ;)

I was sore from Thursday's GRIT workout. I took this class a couple of times in February, but I didn't remember much about it. This class was about 30 minutes HIIT strength and 20 minutes core. I actually liked this class better than Bodypump. I used lighter weights, but the repetitions were much faster.

There was a good mix of cardio strength, supersets, and a bunch of core. It was challenging, but that is exactly what my body needs. I didn't burn as many calories as I expected, but hopefully they were burning long after class was over.

I walked my way through Friday's active recovery day on a history of Hong Kong walking tour with mrC. Even though we have lived in Hong Kong for nearly a year now, it was fun to learn more about the history and politics from a local.

Our guide was very open about the way Hong Kongers see events from the past as well as things that are currently happening. It was very helpful to hear a local explain the effects of past wars and post-war agreements made with the British and China on everyday life in Hong Kong.

It was also interesting to learn new things about places that we have visited many times. For example, the HSBC Bank building has two lions made out of bronze flanking the front of the building symbolizing protection and security. What we didn't know is that the holes in the lions are from bullets and that the lions were actually stolen by the Japanese during the war.

We wrapped up our successful run today with some pool time. I will never get tired of this place. It is impossible to NOT relax here.

Then part of breakfast included a big Bob's Red Mill protein (affiliate) smoothie. I've been making more of these lately and getting better at using my Hong Kong blender (I really miss my Ninja (affiliate).

Any improvements or PRs you want to share?
Have you ever taken a tour of your own "home" town?
Do you love/hate your blender?

I'm a little late and off topic, but still linking up with Lacey and Meranda and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Thoughts About Workouts and Other Stuff

Things that make me go hmmm. (I'm linking up with the Friday Five 2.0 - join the fun here)

It was leg day on my workout schedule. I started with a one mile warm-up run on the treadmill. I had already walked to the fitness center, so my legs felt good during this run. For some reason the Nike Run Club app on my watch thought I had run for 50 minutes? Hmmm.

Another thing that makes me go hmmm...why doesn't the treadmill and my watch distance ever match up?

My FASTer Way to Fat Loss® strength training workout was broken into three parts:

LEGS: squats and deadlifts
SUPERSETS: thrusters/plie squat jumps and scissor step-ups/calf raises
GLUTES: kickbacks, clamshells, bridges, abductors

It was a good workout, but I had trouble figuring out how to do the scissor step-ups in the fitness center. There are several weight benches that are the right height and some low step platforms that are kind of too low. I used the low step platform today because I wasn't sure if it was appropriate to put my shoes on the weight bench. I did wonder though, do people step up on weight benches? Hmmm.

Another thing that makes me go hmmm...what is the proper etiquette for wiping down mats in the gym if you didn't leave sweat marks?

After our workouts (mrC ran a 5k on the treadmill, yay!), we walked back to the apartment for our cool down and enjoyed the amazingly pleasant fall-like weather we are having right now.

Let me side-track for a minute...The nice weather actually started yesterday. Here I am all dressed up and waiting for the bus to go to lunch with the girls and NOT sweating to death. (PS - I love my sandals ((affiliate)) but for the life of me, the right heel strap will not stay up, no matter how tight I make it. Ugh, but I still wear them)

And since I brought up lunch, here is the freshly made pasta I had for lunch. If you are ever in Hong Kong, I highly recommend dining at Cucina at the Marco Polo hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. They have spectacular views of Victoria Harbour (you can see the table where we sat on the Cucina website here - right in the corner). My friend's husband is the General Manager of the hotel, so we might have had some VIP treatment thanks to her ;)

How about more good food? I'll share our post-workout breakfast from today: Trader Joe's Pumpkin Pancakes. I've been looking forward to making these ever since we brought the box back from our trip to the US in September. First I was saving them to eat in October (anyone else do that?) and then it was just a matter of time to make them.

They are soooo good! Why, oh why, don't they sell these year round? And why did I only buy one box? Hmmm.

mrC had to run to the airport, so I got caught up on some TGIT on Hulu. When he gets back we are going out to dinner.

What do you have going on for the weekend?
Do you like pumpkin pancakes?
Are you a Grey's Anatomy, Scandal or How To Get Away With Murder fan?

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Thursday 5K & Strength Training

One thing I love about my carb cycling program (and I've said this A LOT) is the flexibility. I moved my days around to accommodate some plans that I have on Friday.

So instead of a fasting day, I did a strength training day.

But first...I woke up this morning and decided to run. Before waking up completely and changing my mind, I threw on my Mizunos and headed out the door. It was being able to run while the sun came up that convinced me to go.

By the time I got to the beach and took this selfie (about half way into my run) I was looking more awake. There were a lot of other people awake too: runners, walkers, bikers, commuters, students. In New Hampshire, I could go for a run and never see another person (besides cars). I love the constant activity here.

One of my safety measures is that I text mrC to let him know that I'm heading out (the other is the Wearsafe tag I'm wearing on my tank) and where I'm running. Today was easy since it was the route that he picked the last time we ran together except I added an extra part along the beach promenade.

Running in DB means you have to run some hills. This route is one of the easier ones. According to MapMyRun, this route gets a climb rating of 5 (the easiest). For any climb to be rated (receive a climb score/category ((by MMR)) it must be at least 500 meters in length with an average grade of 3% or more. Even though it is one of the easier ones (officially and unofficially), it is still hard.

The end is at the high rises

I felt pretty good about my run. My overall pace was 11:11 ---> not bad when you take into account that I walk every mile for my knee and more on the last uphill because it's hard. It also feels good to be doing longer runs.

The actual strength training: I did the at-home version - back, biceps, triceps and abs plus finishers. My arms were feeling sore from my Bodypump class yesterday, so I didn't push myself too hard today. The end was the killer. Holy cow! I'll just show you this video of one of the finishers: man makers x 20.

Off to the pool for a bit again as my reward. Ironically, mrC is flying the maker of this towel today. Small world. I didn't stay long because it is actually too hot ---> 90 degrees and feels like 97 is what I call Hong Kong Hot.

The contractor was back to finish the water damage repair. He did a good job; the wall looks brand new. 

It was a regular calorie day and I kept it simple: protein bar snack, turkey roll-ups and watermelon for lunch, grapes snack, and scrambled eggs with ham and rice cakes for dinner (again).

Do you before, during or after the sun comes up?
Ever done man makers before?


Monday, October 9, 2017

My Weekly Wrap

My workouts for last week were not much to speak of until I blogged about scheduling in my Friday post. Another irony, right? I just needed to put it our there that I was having trouble following my schedule in order to get back on schedule!

Fitness isn't always easy. Life gets in the way. Work gets in the way. Lots of things get in the way. And it happens to all of us. The best part is, you can start over at any time.

Here's a look at what I did manage last week:

Monday - Pier volunteering - Monday night group 5k run

Tuesday - rest

Wednesday - Hosting sailors to lunch and walking tour of Hong Kong

Thursday - Rest

Friday - Run with mrC

Saturday - Strength training with FWTFL - leg day (at home version)

Sunday - Recover ---> DOMS set in and got worse as the day went on.

In the future, when I'm thinking about skipping workouts because I'm traveling or too busy and how I can just jump back in anytime, I will remember how sore my legs were. SO sore that it hurt to do anything - stand up sit down, sit on a hard surface, everything made my legs scream. THAT will hopefully keep me from skipping multiple weeks worth of strength training!

Anyone else ever find yourself going through this?

I'm a little late, but I'm still linking up with  Tricia and Holly for the Weekly Wrap!


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Weekly Wrap - It's Sunny in Hong Kong

We finally had some great weather around here and just in time for the weekend.

Work before play, Saturday was Leg Day! Before heading to the pool to soak up some vitamin D, we hit the fitness center. For my warm-up, I ran for 10 minutes on the treadmill. Normally I would have gone for the mile, but my knee was feeling little wonky, no pain, just off. I used to push through moments like this, but not anymore.

The rest of the workout was the same as last week, except the one-minuters were doubled up and I increased my weights. I could still only do one round of the finishers although this time I did some really slow lunge jumps. No one said they had to be fast, right? I was toast at the end.

One of my favorite things to do after a good and sweaty FASTer Way To Fat Loss workout is relax at the pool. I'm so thankful that our fitness membership gives us access. It's so nice to just change in the locker room and walk outside to this beautiful view. It feels so good to just sit in the water to cool off and then dry in the sun.

We took advantage of the sunny weather again today and took our SUP boards out for a couple of hours. It had been awhile since we had them out. Between rainy days and other workouts in the morning (it is way too hot even for the pool or SUP after lunchtime in my opinion), it just hasn't worked out. Until today. I forget how tall my board really is 10'6". We got our boards on Amazon and brought them to Hong Kong as checked baggage. My exact board is not currently available, but they have this newer version out now.

We paddled out and back and then out again. The second time I went around the corner of the little beach bay area further than I've ever gone before. Then I did a little SUP yoga - my version anyway. It was so peaceful laying there. I could have taken a nap.

After we put our boards away, we walked down to the other end of Tai Pak Beach to check out the Funtastic Summer event that has been set up for the month. For the kids they have big inflatable slides, mini powerboats and a couple of inflatable endurance games (like a mild version of what you would see on Wipeout). For the adults there are deck chairs with umbrellas and a big misting zone. This is provided by the company behind the development of Discovery Bay and it is all free.

The other big highlight of the weekend was making banana protein bars. I mostly make these to have for hiking, but I was in the mood to make them today. I changed the recipe a bit and used almond butter instead of peanut butter. Both ways are good.

Here's how the rest of my week looked:

Monday - Mixing sprints and Tabata

Tuesday - Outdoor HIIT workout

Wednesday - Bodypump ---> and revealing breakthroughs

Thursday - Strength training at-home workout

Friday - Easy run ---> my attempt at a heart rate run

I'm linking up with Tricia and Holly for the Weekly Wrap!

How was your weekend?
Any big events going on in your neighborhood?
Favorite DIY snack?


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Just One of Those Days (TOL #2)

My usual trip to the fitness center for strength training was scrapped when severe storms passed over Hong Kong. I woke up to the sounds of thunder and lightening echoing off the mountains and multiple alerts hitting my phone. I can do rain, but I don't do storms.

So instead of doing the planned gym workout for the day, I did the FASTer Way at-home version. I love that I have options for my workouts so that I can do what works for me any given day. Even with options, it took me a while to get motivated though.

-I was tired from waking up earlier than usual.
-Our small apartment is not exactly an ideal space for workouts.
-The hand weights we have are not really heavy enough for me anymore.
-There may have been multiple episodes of RHONY playing via Slingbox (available on Amazon)

It was just one of those days. We all have them once in awhile and it's totally ok. Eventually, I put on my workout clothes and got out my gear. We don't have much. A couple of 4kg hand weights that we bought in China.

Today's strength focus was back, biceps, abs and finishers at the end. It actually went ok even with my underweight dumbbells. I was expecting to feel underwhelmed, but it wasn't like that at all. Only couple of exercises felt a little futile. Thinking out loud, even if the first part of the workout had been mediocre, the finishers kicked my butt. As usual.

Regular calorie day - the meals

Broke fast at 11:30 - breakfast while catching up on the Bachelorette!

Lunch -

Dinner -

How do you motivate yourself when you don't feel like working out?

I'm joining the Thinking Out Loud linkup with Running with Spoons

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Strength Training and Breakthroughs

This morning I went to Bodypump. It was a strength training day and I have finally figured out how to match Bodypump to my carb cycling workouts. My workout plan for today focused on legs, chest, triceps and shoulders. I can do all of these on my own at the fitness center weight room, but Bodypump is a lot more fun.

In true Hong Kong weather fashion, as soon as I was getting ready to leave it started pouring rain. Instead of walking, I took the bus to stay dry. Ha! At least my shoes stayed dry. By the way, I'm loving these new Nikes for my indoor workouts. They're good for running too, but I like the simplicity of this shoe for cross training. It's actually the first running shoe I bought about a thousand years ago, just kidding. It was 2005.

Bodypump went like this: warm-up, legs/squats, chest, back/glutes/hamstrings, arms/triceps, arms/biceps, legs/lunges, shoulders/arms, abs, cool-down. Bam, bam, bam. It was a fast one today and it was good. 800 reps but it was over before I knew it.

Today's class was packed. Not a single piece of equipment left on the rack. And it was 100% women. It's amazing to look around the room and see so many strong fierce women sweating it out. I realize that many of us here in DB are traveling spouses and we don't work, but I still love it!

It wasn't raining when class ended so I took advantage and walked back to the apartment. Even with the looming storm clouds, I have a pretty awesome view no matter which way I look. I wasn't sure if I would make it without having to pop open the umbrella, but I was willing to risk it. I made it.

There goes my bus! No sweaty marks left on the seat today, haha ;)

Walking home lets me get in additional low intensity cardio. The goal is to keep the heart rate in the fat burning zone. I determined my zone to be between 108-126. I was powering up the big hill today (which felt easier than normal!) and probably spent more time above my fat burning zone, but during Bodypump my average heart rate was right in there at 114.

When it comes to fitness, I have had a few breakthroughs over the last year.

1. I'm RUNNING again! This is by far the biggest and best thing happening right now. I am so thankful that my knee has responded to the osteopath and chiropractor work and just me taking things slow and steady. I'm not running long distances, but I embracing the fact that I can run a 5K and a little more.

2. LISTENING to my body. I can honestly say that I do this. I have tried to do it in the past, but now I really, really do. If I'm not feeling it, if my knee is cranky...I don't do the exercise, the workout, the activity. I take time off. I don't let FOMO make me do something that will ultimately hurt me. I just finished this super funny book that makes fun of all the wild and crazy things people will do in the name of fitness. I used to be that person!

3. Working out SMART - this year I have learned not to push too hard. I'm following a workout plan and taking rest days. I warm-up and I stretch. I foam roll and do yoga. All the things the super smart people tell us to do. I'm finally doing it.

4. I understand the relationship between FOOD and WORKOUTS. When I was younger I didn't need to know any of this because my body was a fat burning machine 110% of the time. As I've gotten older and my fitness habits have changed, I've had to educate myself on how fuel and exercise affect my body. Through the FASTer Way to Fat Loss carb cycling program, I have gained valuable information that has become a lifestyle for me.

5. I've embraced STRENGTH TRAINING. I used to dread anytime a coach or instructor told me to lift weights. Now I know that my body will not burn fat without muscles and the muscles I used to have are, well, gone. I have to build new muscles, 46 year old muscles.

Regular Calorie day 1 - the meals

Broke fast at 11:00 - I was seriously craving the grapes today.

Lunch - I was feeling lazy and went for the Cheese-its.

Dinner - One of the recipes I make most often when mrC is on a trip, cheesy tuna and quinoa (recipe here)

Snacks - 1 cup of Chex rice cereal

What breakthroughs have you had recently?
Do you watch your heart rate during workouts?

It's Wednesday Word and I'm linking up with Deb. Today's word is breakthrough and I'm linking up with AnnmarieNicole and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday!!