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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

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Lifting cycle: 10/6/14 – 11/9/14

Hi there! First things first, take a gander at the top of my site. You many or may not have noticed I finally managed to get around to making a heading for Pursuit of an Outlier. I had the two side pictures which I thought were perfect to go along with the theme of my site: pursuing your passion and getting out of your comfort zone. The middle picture is a Rye, NH beach in the summertime – aka my spot of bliss. So I’m really excited about that.

Today I want to take some time and show you guys the layout of my training cycles and my most recent training cycle. Last week was week 4, which is my week where I test out around 95% of my max, and this week I am de-loading. I figured this was the perfect time to go over my cycle and show you guys what I’ve been up to in the gym!

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Layout:

Week 1: moderate weight (75-80%). 4 lifts + 1 conditioning + 2 yoga

Week 2: increasing weight (80-85%). 4 lifts + 1 conditioning + 2 yoga

Week 3: heavy weight (85-90%). 4 lifts + 1-2 conditioning + 2 yoga

Week 4: max weight (95%). 4 lifts + 2 conditioning + 2 yoga

Let’s break it down:

Weeks 1-3: main lift is 5×5.5.2.3.2 or 6×3; and accessory work is 3 sets

Week 4: main lift is 5x.3.3.2.2.1 or 6×3; and accessory work is 4 sets

I was nervous trying this scheme out as I had never tried a set/rep outline like this before but it’s done wonders for me.

I’ve put 20 pounds on my bench in the past month along with 25 on my deadlift in the past two months. Guys, I haven’t been this strong in years and I’m happy to say that with this strength I feel good. By that I mean, before I was constantly tweaking something and getting injured. Now, where I do have the occasional tweak for the most part they are occasional. I think for me it’s also important to recognize the days where I’m really flaring and back off. I’ve actually had gym sessions where I will go warm up and then just leave because I’m too tired and my body needs healing not working. Three years ago that never would have happened. I would’ve pushed through, made things worse, and then repeat the process the next day. Hello, over-taxing. There are other little things which I do to help my body heal and recover from pushing it such as yoga (which as you can see from my outline I schedule in twice weekly), chiropractic, foam/lax ball rolling, and then supplementing + eating well as my foundation.

Deadlift from a few months ago prior to taking some time off from heavy lifting to heal.

Stuck around 155#. Cleary rest, proper programming, and body tlc helps strength substantially.

Just this week I was having a conversation with a friend in regards to the bone density update and he said “You used to over-train. Everyone knows that. But you don’t anymore and you take better care of your body than any other 21 year old I know, heck you take better care of your body than anyone I know.” Makes me smile. Little things like that comment make me realize how far I have come and how grateful I am to have supportive people in my life.

The actual lifts:

What is each lifting session composed of? A main lift + accessory work.

Strength bench day: 1. bench 5×5.5.3.3.2, 2. dips, 3a. 1 arm row, 3b. double unders, 3c. sit ups

Strength deadlift day: 1. deadlift 5×5.5.3.3.2, 2a. bulgarian split squats, 2b. pull ups, 3a. GHD back ext., 3b. leg ext.*

Speed bench day: 1. bench 6×3, 2. weighted chin ups, 3a. DB OH press, 3b. tricep push down, 4. push ups

Speed deadlift day: 1. deadlift 6×3 (reset between each rep and pull with speed), 2a. step ups, 2b. weighted plank, 3a. double unders, 3b. v-ups

Conditioning is usually sprints or intervals on the bike. Sometimes I’ll just do speed jump rope or freestyle. Occasionally I’ll throw together something like 10×100 DU’S (double unders) 5×50 DU’s 2×25 DU’S and call it a day. It all depends. I might even hit up a crossfit class.

* I know leg extensions get some major criticism in the fitness world. I use these to help my quads out because with all the deadlifting I do my hamstrings are definitely growing stronger, but I am unable to squat so I feel like I need something to help balance myself out. *

1742897_1424471374460332_1899710114_n Conditioning day. Love my DU’s. Ex-competitive jump roper problems.

What I’m changing for the next cycle:

I mentioned this week I am de-loading so right now I’m in the midst of tweaking things to better fit where my body is at and my goals. I rarely make huge changes to my lifting and only do so when needed, otherwise it’s just little things. I am going to be changing up a few accessory moves and that’s it. I feel like this last cycle really worked well for me and I feel great. I have energy in the gym the bulk of the time and I’m putting on muscle and gaining strength. Don’t change something that isn’t broken. I’m not changing this until I feel like it’s no longer working, so when I hit a plateau that I can’t seem to pass, or if I need to medically. One thing is for sure, I’m not nixing pull ups. Goal: 20 dead hang. Current: 12.

“Start now. Start where you are. Start with fear. Start with pain. Start with doubt. Start with hands shaking. Start with voice trembling but start. Start and don’t stop. Start where you are, with what you have. Just…start.” – Ijeoma Umebinyuo

xo, S

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All things training related

Hello! In my first post back to the blog-o-sphere I said that I would do an entire post on a training update, because well it’s going to take an entire post. If you don’t give a hoot about my current gym routine and relationship with training then feel free to skip this post with no hard feelings. I get it, really. Not everyone is into this stuff and heck I sometimes question WHY I still am.

I’ve been an athlete for the bulk of my existence. This is not necessarily a good or a bad thing, yet merely a fact. I am who I am because of it. I think we all can agree on one thing if nothing else: the things we experience during our early childhood shape us (at least partially) into the person we develop to be during late childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. I know I don’t stray from that theory at all. I’m a competitive person, both with sports and with life and I don’t foresee that changing. Being introduced to the sport of jump rope at four, showing demos by age seven, and competing by age eight – it’s my second nature and arguably my first.

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Circa age 10ish

For me it was all about fun. I genuinely enjoyed the sport, and I would have  never left practice if given that option. When I quit jump rope at age 12 my eating disorder had already began to develop and leaving the sport only strengthened it’s fury. Throughout my experiences thus far with my recovery, the question has been prompted to me on numerous occasions, “can you talk about how your Ed and training are connected?” To be honest, point-blank, I really can’t. I don’t think they were. I think they are now only because it has been over 10 years. With time comes lack of control. I’m sorry but when a person has a “personal interaction” with a mental illness for ten consecutive years it tends to interplay with every single last bit of their life. And you know what? It sucks. But also, I refuse to believe that the two were related from the get-go… Yes the development of my ED and competing were happening at the same time, however the motives were different. I competed because it brought complete joy to my life, a smile to my face. There is not other feeling like performing those skills, it’s a high you get, you’re in the zone. My eating disorder on the other hand began to develop after I was already experiencing anxiety which started rearing its ugly head around age 5. I was a happy kid, but an anxious one. I think in my case the ED was an effect of my anxiety and a way to cope with that rather than being linked to sports. There was just absolutely way to much passion for the sport and for life. I miss that, I will admit that I miss having a relentless passion for my life. I’m working to get that back, which brings me to the present day.

Despite the advice of many people in my life suggesting that I cease any hard-core training for now and potentially for good, I’m going to pass. During my last round of treatment (early 2013) I stayed out of the gym for a period of months but what is more fascinating at least to me is that I stopped going to the gym the day that I relapsed. When I was actively in my disorder I would not train because I refused to allow the two to inter-correlate themselves anymore then they already were. Now if you have read any previous post on this blog you might be asking but, Sarah, you discussed how you almost died training for the death race. Yeah, I did. This is a difficult thing to explain and I’m going to do my absolute best here. When I first started training for the race I was in a really good spot mentally, physically, and emotionally. I was stable. I was a senior in high school and had been on a good track. I completed another Spartan Race and thought heck, why not. I’m competitive and this is the ultimate. It wasn’t about anything other than seeing what my body was capable of doing.

After my training for the race had been going for months I began to become obsessive with it, however in my head I told myself that everyone else was training at a high capacity and that in order to be prepared for a 50+ hour race you kind of need to “over-train”. Which brings up a whole different controversial point among the fitness community. What is over-training? And is it really over-training, or rather under-recovery. At the time I didn’t see an issue with it. There was a different mindset during this time, while I definitely wasn’t taking care of myself I also wasn’t completely neglecting things which is what happens during a relapse. I was eating enough to keep my weight stable, but I wasn’t eating enough to allow my body to recover between sessions enough to avoid injury. It’s a very fine line, but there is a difference in mentality and perspective.

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 2014. Progress is a process.

These days there is a balance. There is a balance between gym-life, work-life, social-life, and school-life. Each different component has it’s time and place, and they balance each other out nicely. My mentality around the gym has also undergone a full 180 from where I was back in 2012. I no longer beat myself up over a bad session. It is what it is and if I can’t let it go than it has control over me which is not positive energy and will only affect future sessions. I used to go in with the mindset that I needed to absolutely annihilate myself in order to improve, where in reality it’s quite the opposite. While I still push myself and give it full-effort, I respect my body and it’s signals. If something doesn’t feel right I go lighter or modify to a different exercise and I don’t beat myself up over this emotionally. If I feel really good one day I’ll push a bit harder. I’ve also come to terms with accepting days off, or rest days. I’ll admit there used to be days where I could barely walk, I was sick, or I just dreaded the thought of going and I went anyways only to leave feeling worse. People say you never regret a workout, I can’t tell you how many times I have. Now a day I have an idea of what my workouts will be each week, but it’s fluid. This allows less stress and more balance. If I wake up really not feeling going I can either choose to take the day, change my workout plan to something different, or head to the gym at a different time than “planned”. If I’m too strict then things inevitably happen and I freak out.

In my last post I wrote about how I’ve been lifting less while practicing more yoga. This is still holding true and my body is feeling good. I’m more relaxed, my mental clarity is better, and I’m focused. I’m beginning to really feel like I’m getting back into my zone which is such an amazing feeling. A typical week looks something like this (but it does change):

Monday: lift (usually deadlifts and accessory work), maybe some sprints

Tuesday: jump rope or crossfit or a run, yoga

Wednesday: yoga

Thursday: jump rope or crossfit or kickboxing

Friday: yoga, maybe a run

Saturday: lift (usually bench and accessory work), yoga

Sunday: off, active recovery (10 hour standing work shift)

I’m still enjoying practicing deadlifts and bench press, as those are my two favorite lifts. I definitely feel myself gaining strength since cutting back on other lifting and really focusing on only those two plus accessory stuff to help the rest of my muscles support the load. I’ve been having fun with more body-weight exercises, which yoga also helps me focus on. Jumping is going good, I hope to compete again one day. That’s a big goal of mine and each step I take with my gym-life is ultimately focused around that goal. Time will tell. For right now though it’s all about finding my happy and enjoying each moment.

 Just playing around.

In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.” – Abraham Maslow