Yes, I’m alive and kicking

HI GUYS!

Holy crud.

I haven’t posted since May.

It’s been over three months.

I’m here. Alive. Kicking. The stress fracture is healed and I’m healing/working through the soft tissue crud that comes along with overuse. It’s been a long summer. I worked and took multiple classes – sports and performance psychology, cognitive psychology, and abnormal psychology (this one actually is still going, finishes September 1st!), in addition to the usual frolicking up mountains and casually lifting weights. Fall classes start today and I have a unique semester ahead (I’ll get into this). Overall, it was a good summer. I had a TON of realizations, experienced a lot of feels and definitely grew as a person (depth, comfort zone, aka the tough stuff).

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View from North Twin

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View from South Twin

Okay, so let’s delve a bit deeper, shall we?

The stress fracture. It’s healed. It was a long couple of months, taking time off from running/hiking/kickboxing/lower body lifting (except non weight bearing… e.g leg ext, hamstring curls, GHD, monster walks – which btw, NEVER EVER get easier), and partaking in usual physical therapy, massages, stretching, and RESTING. But, I’m happy that it was just a stress fracture and I only had to take a couple of months off. In the big picture, this isn’t the end of the freaking universe. I lived despite thinking I was going to spontaneously combust out of lack of endorphins and anxiousness. I learned that I can take time to heal and that this is 100% entirely acceptable and even welcomed by my body. I learned that just because I am injured and “out” for a bit doesn’t mean I will never be back. It doesn’t mean I can’t continue to fuel my body. It doesn’t mean I will become un-fit or un-healthy. All the injury actually meant – it was a wake up call.

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I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. This could be because I’ve done enough questionable stuff in my life that I need a solid explanation for (running head on into a tree I was just sitting against (it was night time mind you), having a stress fracture and relapsing and then having another one and relapsing again (2008/2012), spontaneously signing up for an ultramarathon in 2011 and falling in love with the sport/community, changing majors to then change back again, quitting a job to then go back because they are actually super awesome/flexible with school, ect.). We learn from what we go through. We GROW through what we go through. Anyways, I’m going off on a tangent… Everything happens for a reason. I got injured for a reason. It took a lot to process this one and it took even more to not fall back entirely into my eating disorder because this is the first injury in my life (since ED) that I haven’t severely struggled with ED behaviors because of the uncertainty and unshakable sense of fear with being injured. My ED is a coping mechanism, a shitty and maladaptive one, but a coping mechanism nonetheless. Exercise is also a coping mechanism, a better one, but still inextricably meshed with the ED. This is why, in the past, I’ve flip-flopped back and forth. Exercise, injury, relapse, repeat.

However…

This time was different.

What changed?

Simply put, I’m more removed from my ED (in terms of years out of treatment), I have better coping mechanisms, closer relationships/a different social life, and I am more self-aware/confident in my abilities and trusting my judgement even when my judgement tells me to ask for help/to reach out to my closest homies. I also attribute some of the business with summer classes and keeping myself busy to be helpful in the healing process.

I will do an entire post detailing this process (might vlog?! we will see). Ultimately though, this time was different because my circumstances were different, my outlook was different, and my introspective abilities are stronger. Additionally, I think that now at 24 versus 15-20 years old, I have entirely different experience with the world. Don’t get me wrong, I had those nasty thoughts rearing their heads and they were loud as loud can be. I stumbled a bit a couple weeks into the injury, specifically once I learned it was a stress fracture and not “just” a sprain. But I’m learning how to take care of myself rather than destroy myself. I decided that my long-term health is more important than my short-term ability to feel in control (not to make it sound like an easy choice… it isn’t… it’s incredibly difficult and takes YEARS to accept). Heck I still haven’t fully accepted it but the majority is in favor of wellbeing.

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Presidential Range

Until I blog… vlog. Until I discuss details, I’ll be keeping myself busy with school. SO what constitutes a “unique semester”? Well, my course-load is a follows: online general education course (environmental change), ASL 1, capstone (senior project) which is TA/independent study for psychobiology, and then TA/independent study for sports nutrition (working towards nutrition minor). I’m honestly pumped. While I am petrified of learning a language, it will be a good change of pace, interesting, a helpful skillset, and eye-opening.

This was a longer update than I had anticipated so I’m going to close the curtains on this post. I also want to go eat lunch before heading back to campus for the TA positions 😉

“Don’t let the expectations and opinions of other people affect your decisions. It’s your life, not theirs. Do what matters most to you; do what makes you feel alive and happy. Don’t let the expectations and ideas of others limit who you are. If you let others tell you who you are, you are living their reality — not yours. There is more to life than pleasing people. There is much more to life than following others’ prescribed path. There is so much more to life than what you experience right now. You need to decide who you are for yourself. Become a whole being. Adventure.” Roy T. Bennett

That fitness thing: pt. 2

Hey kids! Happy Saturday 🙂 I’m currently writing this post at work… so there’s that. Perks of working the front desk at a gym I suppose, being paid to blog and do homework – just finished up my stats homework prior to deciding to write a post!

In my last post I told you guys that I’m changing things up in terms of fitness and goals around competing (more specifically, what I hope to compete in again). I’ve moved from a solid strength and lifting focus blended with some endurance work to really structuring my workouts to become the best endurance athlete that me and my body can be. I’ll be getting into more detail about what exactly I’m doing at the end of this post (so scroll down if you literally just want to see how I workout… but that’s only half the fun).

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Elevation profile of 2012 ultra… THIS = my jam. This stuff makes me giddy.

Quote from my last post to lay the format for this current one: “You can push until you can’t push anymore, but if the energy which drives the engine is negative, anxious, depressed, over-worked, stressed, and unsure deep down then the engine will only produce so much force before something breaks down. Our greatest goals cannot be forced.” This sums up my feelings about getting back into running and focusing on that aspect of my life versus pursing anything else especially at if it’s going to be from a competitive angle.

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Casual

I know for me, lifting helps my running tremendously – the answer lies in the capacity in which I’m lifting (e.g quantity vs. quality and then taking intensity into consideration). Running now compared to running in 2011/12 feels light years different – I feel SO MUCH stronger endurance wise, my engine is bigger. This is likely twofold: 1. increased capacity due to being just stronger in general from lifting, and 2. prioritizing self-care.

I’ve found that there are a set few characteristics from previous programs I’ve followed (which were strength based) that I’ll still implement. I like the set up that I’ve been using for legit forever of 5 weeks “on” and 1 week “off”, off meaning deload. I’m going to keep using this with lifting. It works super well for my body in that I feel like I’m staying healthy, not over-doing it, and able to then rest and repeat on the gain train. The only difference between now and past is my goals with having weightlifting be part of my weekly routine: then it was gaining as much strength as possible, now it’s maintaining, stabilizing, and increasing muscle endurance. Additionally, I’ve shifted from lifting four days a week (deadlift day, bench day, leg and accessory day, press day) to three days (see below). Frankly, I DO NOT NEED to lift four days a week if my focus isn’t there. Also, the more frequency the more risk for over-taxing and that just isn’t worth the risk. As mileage increases with running I will likely move to two days per week as/when needed!

Definitely going to be a trail and error so to speak for a little bit as I get back into the endurance world. That’s ok, it will be a real-life research experiment on my own physical capacity. I kind of dig it.

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Smiles for miles

Ok, enough with the novel… can you tell I like to really delve into things and explain them? 😉 Onto what I do inside and outside of the gym!

Monday:

  • lift (lower body) capped at 60 minutes
  • cross training endurance in the form of cardio kickboxing #yassss

Tuesday:

  • run – 45-60 minutes

Wednesday:

  • rest day

Thursday:

  • lift (split – upper and lower body) capped at 120 minutes
  • run – 30-45 minutes

Friday:

  • HIIT/cross train (usually come up with a workout on my own – I LOVE programming metabolic conditioning workouts… Or I’ll find a metcon on crossfit website that isn’t super taxing but which gets my HR elevated and blood flowing for a bit). Working different energy systems and challenging myself in ways other than longer cardio workouts!

Saturday:

  • hike or snowboard or easy recovery run

Sunday:

  • lift (upper) capped at 60 minutes
  • run – 45-60 minutes

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Right now my mileage is on the lower side, I’m getting my body used to running consistently again and using a slow and steady approach to this. I find that if I go completely gung-ho my body has a bit of a hissy-fit and ain’t nobody got time for that. Not like I signed up for a 50 mile ultra in five weeks so the slow and steady approach will work just fine. Ideally I’m looking at getting back into racing in May (25k, errrr 15.5 miles) and then July-August for anything of substantial distance. I’m in this for the long run. Endurance stuff speaks to me in a way that lifting doesn’t. It’s my zone.

“Don’t let a day go by without asking who you are…each time you let a new ingredient to enter your awareness.” – Deepak Chopra

That fitness thing

Hey guys! Happy Tuesday. When it’s Tuesday, I don’t workout Winking smile I’m actually being serious though. I’ve talked before about my gym routine and even given some examples of at home workouts. Today I want to talk about what I’m currently doing, which although fairly similar in structure to 2014’s post, there have been some changes and also about two years since I’ve talked about this with you guys. I can’t explain how often I get the question from friends, other bloggers, and readers… what do you actually do at the gym? I’m here today to begin answering that.

Before I lay it all on the table I want to quickly point out that I’m thinking about making this blog a bit more fitness, workout, lifestyle oriented. Just a thought. Everything from workouts (weekly workouts?), supplements (another super common question), what I learned in my sports nutrition course, gym clothing reviews, mobility, daily eats and snax, mental health and self care. These are all topics I’m super passionate about, so naturally I want to delve into them more. It will give me some direction to head in with future posts especially seeing that school is done until the end of August, I no longer work weekends, and have more free-time on my hands.

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Cool? cool.

So my workouts… The general outline is 5 weeks “on” and 1 week “off”. On meaning I’m pushing it, off meaning I do a deload week. During my “on” weeks though I do 1 active recovery day and one full off day. Deload weeks I will lift 40-60% of my usual weights and cut the length of my lifting sessions by about half by taking out some accessory work. I also take out metabolic conditioning workouts for this week to let my body completely restore and replenish itself. You can read more about deloading here if you’re interested. This general outline seems to work super well for me though as I have energy to get through the five weeks, feel refreshed after my deload week, am gaining both strength and endurance, and haven’t been injured since 2012 (knock on ALL the wood).

I’m not going to get super specific in this post because it would be way too detailed, rather I’m just showing an outline of what a 6 week cycle looks like and I’ll get into more of WHAT I do in following posts!

Typical week

Monday: morning lifting + evening conditioning (1 hr – kickboxing) I freaking hate the word “cardio” haha so I use conditioning instead because #IdowhatIwant

Tuesday: active recovery day OR full off day (whichever option I choose here, I’ll do the other on Friday – I choose full off day or active recovery depending on my soreness level and how busy I am on the particular day).

**Note: Active recovery = something like a yoga class, or a short and slow “run” aka casual jog (1-2 miles @ 12-13 pace). Whereas full off day = I do nothing other than typical daily living.**

Wednesday: morning lifting and metabolic conditioning (10-20 minutes high intensity) (CrossFit terminology: “metcon”)

Thursday: evening conditioning (1 hr – kickboxing)

Friday: active recovery day OR full off day

Saturday: morning lifting

Sunday: morning lifting and metabolic conditioning (20-30 minutes high intensity)

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Playground.

Another common question that I’ll answer in this post is “do you do CrossFit?”… Put simply, no. I don’t workout at a CrossFit gym so I try to avoid confusing people and answer no. That being said, the gym I go to has a huge weight room and then a turf area (pictured above) with things like a rower, ski erg, slam balls, medicine balls, a plethora of kettlebells, boxes, tires, ropes, a Rogue rig (not pictured), gymnastics rings, ect. The metabolic conditioning workouts I do are either taken from Crossfit Invictus, made up by me but are things that would also be seen in a CrossFit gym, or taken from Instagram (because lets be honest, people post some good workouts on the gram’).

One thing is for sure though, double unders make it into just about every single workout I do because I love them and am completely biased towards the sport of jump rope.

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Weighted pull ups are another favorite. Mainly because I get to #dickaround Winking smile So there’s that for your Tuesday entertainment.

Like I said, I’ll get into more specifics in following posts, so like what my lifts consist of and a few examples of metabolic conditioning workouts. I’m thinking a weekly workout post idea could be of one of my metcon workouts from the week because those change each week whereas lifting is essentially the same week to week so that would be as boring as boring can be for you guys to read and therefore nobody would read. Kapeesh?

Questions: what are you favorite things to put into a workout (mine being double unders and pull ups)? Do you take a deload week/rest days?

“We often want it so badly that we ruin it before it begins. Overthinking. Fantasizing. Imagining. Expecting. Worrying. Doubting. Just let it naturally evolve.” – Anonymous

What to do when you can’t get to the gym

Hi there! Happy Sunday 🙂 This is my first Sunday off in quite a while and I’m already digging it and it isn’t even 9am! Going to be a fabulous day. So what’s on the docket for my day off? posting this, finishing my genetics homework that I was SOOOO close to completing last night but decided to go to bed, a yoga class, meeting a friend (trying to get my social life going a bit, I heard it’s helpful in decreasing stress levels or something…), a few errands, and then studying a bit and getting another post ready for early this week!

Over the past couple months there have been a handful of times when either the gym is closed or I just don’t have the time to get there and back plus do a workout. Insert home workouts. Before this year I was never really a fan of home workouts to be honest. I’m not sure why, I guess I just prefer the atmosphere of being in a gym? I mean people watching is a thing. As is competing with the guy next to you on the treadmill. 😉 Kidding, kind of.

As my life ebbs and flows from being busy to not busy I’m embracing the ability to get in a good butt kicking workout in as quick as possible. I figured I’ve received some positive feedback on posting some of my workouts on instagram so why not start compiling them onto the blog? I will most likely create a fitness page on the menu up top so that I can keep adding more over time. Perhaps other fitness/workout/wellness related things as well – suggestions welcome! Now that I’m a NASM personal trainer I’d really like to start incorporating some of that knowledge into my blog and just see where that goes.

Onto the workouts:

Workout #1: for when you want your shoulders to be on fire

FIVE ROUNDS:

a. 1/2 mile run

b. 10 pull ups/chin ups (overhand, neutral, or underhand grip)

c. 15 push ups

d. 15 sit ups

Then…

50 DB overhead press per arm (I split these up into 2 sets of 25 per arm)

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Post the little medley listed above. Shoulders = toasted.

Workout #2: for when you want your legs to feel a tad spicy (what does this even mean?!)

30 seconds on, 15 seconds off (and swap movements) for 10 minutes (i.e two times each). Do this twice.

a. double unders (can sub or just jump in place if you don’t own a jump rope)

b. walking lunges

c. goblet squats or air squats

d. frog jumps

e. stair runs

Workout #3: for when you only have 15 minutes

THREE ROUNDS:

a. 1/2 mile run

b. 30 double unders (can sub 60 single jumps or just jump in place if you don’t own a jump rope)

c. 15 sit ups

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All the double unders… #imcompletelybiased

I hope you guys try one or all of these out and please let me know if you do! I always find myself naturally adding either running and/or jump rope into my home workouts just out of simplicity but will try to get a bit more diverse in my exercise selection for workouts I post on here for any readers to try because I realize not everyone is in love with running and jump rope like me 😉

I hope you all have a great rest of your day and that you have the chance to get outside, catch some sunshine, get some movement in, and spend time doing what you love! Catch ya soon.

“Every morning you have two choices continue to sleep with your dreams or wake up and chase them.” – unknown