Legs, lungs, and other goals for the week

Y’know how they say it takes time to get your “sea legs?”

Well, after this morning’s run, it’s clear that I need to get my running legs (and lungs) back.


Not that I’d qualify this morning’s run as “bad,” it was just eye-opening. I haven’t focused as much on my running in the past couple of months for one reason or another and it’s clear that my running endurance has taken a little bit of a hit. Though, instead of letting frustration get in the way of me rediscovering my running groove, I’m going to embrace this morning’s run for what it was – a learning experience.

And of course, I now have a plan (don’t I always??). This week is all about getting my running legs and lungs back. Come Saturday, I want to experience runner’s high again, allowing my body to go, my mind to freely wander, taking in the sights and sounds around me. Just me. Running.

Here’s how I hope this week will look (as always, if life happens, this plan may change and I’m cool with that…):

Sunday – run (today was about 4.5 miles or so)
Monday – Core Fusion Pilates Abs (just two segments of the workout to get my core warmed up); followed by an early-AM run with Scott (really excited avout this, supposed to hit 80 tomorrow so I’m anticipating the morning to be fairly mild – and I’m hoping that running while the world wakes up will re-inspire me…there’s something so calming and centering about running in the dark, as the sun rises, with the birds chirping, my best friend by my side…)
Tuesday – chest/back workout and Core Fusion Body Sculpt – abs section only (Haven’t decided if this workout will look exactly the same as last week’s yet, I may opt for drop-sets vs. supersets. We shall see.)
Wednesday – Ride in the AM; weights in the PM – biceps/triceps (in case you’re wondering – the goal in adding Ride to the mix? Cardio improvement, and the benefits of cross-training)
Thursday – Run date with my sis and Steph in the AM; weights in the PM – legs/shoulders
Friday – rest (this may involved some very, very light yoga  – I promise – to stretch out what I anticipate to be very sore legs by this point in the week)
Saturday – Run with Scott – runner’s high, please?

So the difference in this week’s workout plan versus last week? There’s a big focus on running. Four planned runs, in fact. My hope is that by recommitting to running again, by week’s end, this running “slump” I felt this morning will have all but passed. And I’m really looking forward to getting those running legs (and lungs) back again.

PS. A favor, please. My sis has had an incredibly hard time getting her running groove back. She is doubting her abilities (which is ridiculous, she’s very fit) and is seriously wondering if she’ll ever get her running endurance back. I’ve tried everything to get her to believe in herself and to let the mental piece of running go, to stop doubting herself, to stop letting her fears manifest themselves into physical reactions (like panicked breathing). But she won’t listen to me, at least not fully. So I’m calling all hands on deck – can you please throw some advice her way for me? Tips on letting your mind go, on rediscvoering your running groove, etc? Maybe she’ll listen to you vs. listening to her sister.  😉 Thanks friends!

Let’s recap, shall we?

Let’s recap the week, shall we?

…I kicked the sickies to the curb.

…I started a new weight rotation, created by the one and only me. And I’m loving it. So much more than I thought.

…I finally got to run after three weeks sidelined.

…I stuck to my Core Fusion committment, including yoga.

…and I have major, major DOMS going on today, which I love. Feeling wicked alive today. 🙂

But guess what? I realized, sort of by accident, that I took two rest days today. Wednesday was my original rest day – mostly because my husband surprised me with an invite to an impromptu date night. Much needed. And I happily accepted. But also – today I awoke at 5:20 ready to hit up Ride for the first time in weeks, but as soon as I moved, I knew it wasn’t happening. Holy DOMS. My legs, particularly the front of my quads and calves are super-duper sore. Thank you leg workout from last night! And my upper body, biceps particularly, are STILL sore from workouts I completed days ago.

And I felt zero guilt upon resetting my alarm clock and snuggling back down next to my now-sick husband (woops, I guess I shared my germs with him. Boo).

Zero guilt after skipping a workout? That is so not me. At least it’s not the “me” from before. Like I said recently, I’ve suddenly turned a corner and have learned to let go and enjoy my workouts for me. No schedules. No numbers. Nada. In fact, because I’ve learned not to be tied to a workout schedule so much (goodbye workout manager!), I nearly forgot that Wednesday was my rest day when I got up the second time this morning to get ready for work. Score one for me? I’ll take it. 🙂

Also, in other news – wanted to give you an update on last night’s weight workout. It was awesome, but I did make some modifications. In the spirit of full disclosure, this is how it turned out (hehe):

Legs set #1: Lunges, body-weight only. 3 sets @25 reps per leg. 30-45 sec rest between sets <—this turned into 20 reps per leg

Legs set #2: Squats with a barbell. 3 sets @ 20-25 reps per set, 25lbs. 30-45 sec rest between sets <—this turned into 25-30 reps per leg, I probably could have gone heavier. Note to self for next week.

Legs set #3: Plie squats with one weight. 3 sets @ 25 reps per set, 30 lbs. 30-45 sec rest between sets

Legs set #4: Calf raises with two weights. 3 sets @25 reps per set, 15 lbs in each hand. 30-45 sec rest between sets.

Shoulders superset #1: Front raises (12.5 lbs) followed by overhead press with the barbell (20 lbs); 3 sets @15-20 reps, 30 sec rest between sets. <—front raises were done at 10 lbs each, was I on crack when I jotted that number down? Those are hard when you go high reps!

Shoulders superset #2: Overhead presses with dumbells (12.5 lbs), arms rotated forward followed by rear delt flyes (10 lbs); 3 sets @15-20 reps, 30 sec rest between sets.

Shoulders superset #3: Side lateral raises (10 lbs) followed by upright row with the barbell (20 lbs); 3 sets @15-20 reps, 30 sec rest between sets. <—by this point I was pooped, I skipped the third set of these

See? I’m nothing if not an honest fitblogger, huh?? Happy Friday, ya’ll!

3 weeks later, the verdict

Well, after three full weeks of absolutely no cardio due to sickies x2, I finally got my run on this morning. Run-date style no less! (with my fab friend Steph who ran the half with us last fall)

The verdict?

I can still run.

Seems simple enough right? But seriously, after being out of the cardio game for so long, I was legit nervous while I waited for Steph to arrive for our run date. I was worried that I’d suddenly lost major cardio endurance. And worse, that this would be a “bad” run for me today.

But as soon as we started running, the nerves subsided, those new sneaks felt nice and cushy and supportive, and we were off! We ran about 5 or 5.5 miles and talked the entire time. I’ve missed her and our run dates!

I will say though, that damn – I cannot wait to be running longer and longer distances again. We were reminiscing about our half marathon training runs last spring/summer and how crazy it was that 5 or 6 miles was a “short” run in our book. And banging out a good 9 or 10 mile training run was no biggie.

I so miss that. Not the mileage per se, but the accomplishment of seeing your body acclimate, adjust and perform to longer and longer distances. <Guess it’s time I revisit my race calendar, huh?>

It makes you feel just a little bit more alive.

And honestly – that’s the key for me, really. Working out makes me feel alive. Having major DOMS from my two upper body workouts this week has been such a welcome feeling. Not because I’m a glutton for punishment (well, I kinda am), but because that feeling reminds me that my body will not fail me. That it’s built strong and is willing to endure a lot for me.

And I dig that. So much.

In other news, today is the last weight training workout for the week for me. On tap? Legs and shoulders. I’m planning to get those done before dinner (fingers crossed) so I’ll post my planned workout today and give ya’ll an update tomorrow. Fair enough?

Shoulders and Legs – endurance-style (high reps, low weights)

Legs set #1: Lunges, body-weight only. 3 sets @25 reps per leg. 30-45 sec rest between sets (I find that going with body weight only in an endurance style workout helps me keep proper form and I can truly get my legs into that 90 degree angle that’s required of a proper lunge. If you’re looking for form pointers beyond my rambles, check out Heather’s post  over at Mile26andMore on this very topic today. Great tips, girl!)

Legs set #2: Squats with a barbell. 3 sets @ 20-25 reps per set, 25lbs. 30-45 sec rest between sets

Legs set #3: Plie squats with one weight. 3 sets @ 25 reps per set, 30 lbs. 30-45 sec rest between sets

Legs set #4: Calf raises with two weights. 3 sets @25 reps per set, 15 lbs in each hand. 30-45 sec rest between sets.

After legs, I’m switching to supersets for shoulders. It’s efficient and gets the job done a wee bit faster. 😉

Shoulders superset #1: Front raises (12.5 lbs) followed by overhead press with the barbell (20 lbs); 3 sets @15-20 reps, 30 sec rest between sets.

Shoulders superset #2: Overhead presses with dumbells (12.5 lbs), arms rotated forward followed by rear delt flyes (10 lbs); 3 sets @15-20 reps, 30 sec rest between sets.

Shoulders superset #3: Side lateral raises (10 lbs) followed by upright row with the barbell (20 lbs); 3 sets @15-20 reps, 30 sec rest between sets.

Whew. If I get through all of this today, it’ll be a minor miracle. Hehe. 😉

Workin’ those pipes!


After last night’s chest and back workout, I awoke to a decent case of DOMS this morning, especially in the pec region. Something I did not fully appreciate until tonight’s bi’s/tri’s workout, that’s for sure.

Here’s how my “something new” strength workout looked today.

Biceps/Triceps – endurance-style (high reps; low weights)

Superset #1: barbell curl (30 lbs) followed by triceps dips (bodyweight); 3 sets @16 reps each. 30 secs rest between each set.

Superset #2: concentration curls (15 lbs) followed by lying triceps extension with barbell (20 lbs); 3 sets @ 16 reps each. 30 secs rest between each set.

Superset #3: incline curls (15 lbs) followed by double arm kickbacks (10 lbs each); 3 sets @16 reps each. 30 secs rest between each set.

Superset #4: hammer curls (15 lbs) followed by one arm overhead triceps extension (20 lbs); 3 sets @16 reps each. 30 secs rest between each set. <—let’s just say that those hammer curls got me good, ended up closer to 12 reps since I chose to do double-arm style vs. single. And man was I tired by then!

I gotta say – it felt damn good to work those pipes (hehe love that word) again today. I felt strong at the beginning, but wiped (in a good, worked-hard way) at the end.  One thing I’ve noticed though, already? I miss the lengthening I get from Core Fusion when it comes to building strength. I like the balance of building strength with building length. A lot more than I think I realized before.

To accomodate that need? I rounded out today’s workout with Core Fusion: Yoga Energy Flow. Who knew I’d finally start wanting to do yoga? But I totally do now! I’m starting to get a hang of the flows in this workout, too – a lot of downward facing dog into chatarunga into upward facing dog with planks swapped out for the chatarunga, or push-ups. It’s a really awesome flow, it takes a lot of endurance to keep it up – but hey, that’s the name of my game this month apparently, endurance baby!

Me: 1; Me: 1

It’s official – I legit just kicked my own ass.  Hence:

Me: 1; Me: 1

Yes, I’m a dweeb.

But I digress.

Today’s “something new” workout knocked my socks off! I was so surprised at how hard I worked tonight, and all by myself, with nobody coaching me alone. Just me, my weights, and a little Food Network in the background (which proved to be a bad idea, hello rumbly tummy!).

It ended up being a PM workout for me – I was up until nearly 3am hacking and coughing away, it was awful. Needless to say, I was dragging this morning, like whoa. I smartly (thanks to my husband who told me to stop “being so <bleeping> stubborn around 2:30am) reset the alarm clock and got a few decent hours of sleep. It was worth it. Tonight I was in MUCH better shape to get my workout done, surprisingly so.

Here’s how it looked:

Back/Chest – supersets, endurance-style (high reps, lower weights)

Warm-up: four sets of push-ups done in drop-sets. 20x; 15x; 10x; 5x. I did these on a mix of my toes and knees. Really can’t wait to do them all on my toes. For some reason, push-ups have always been tough for me. A good goal for the end of this mini “rotation” maybe?

Superset #1: flat bench press followed by bent-over rows with a barbell. Three sets of 15-20 reps, with 30 secs of rest between each set. Bench press: 35 lbs; Bent-over rows/barbell: 60 lbs

Superset #2: chest flyes on a flat bench followed by one-arm row. Three sets; 15-20 reps each; 30 secs rest between.  Chest flyes: 12.5lbs; one-arm row: 17.5lbs

Superset #3: incline bench press followed by deadlifts. Three sets; 15-20 reps each; 30 secs rest between.  Bench press: 35 lbs; deadlift: 80 lbs
<whew, tired yet??>

Supertset #4: incline chest flyes followed by seated “T’s” with a band. Three sets; 15-20 reps each; 30 secs rest between. Incline flyes: 10 lbs (started low, arms were shaking like crazy by then); T’s – band only.

I decided to top it all off with some killer core work with the ab section of Core Fusion Body Sculpt. That one kills me everytime. Abs burn like craaazy. Love.

Whew, done – about an hour later.

So yeah, that was a pretty damn good workout.  Especially considering how long I’ve been away from consistent workouts (hello sickies, you can depart whenever you’d like, btw) – I was duly impressed with myself, not gonna lie. Expecting some good-sized DOMS tomorrow (I hope, heh).

Already looking forward to tomorrow’s workout – but let’s hope it’s an AM workout this time. I seriously need a good night’s sleep tonight, and hopefully this workout did it!

Something new

As I alluded to in my post on letting it go, I’ve been thinking long and hard about my workouts lately. About what they mean for me. About my motivation. About my new focus and mindset that is far less about the numbers and structure, and far more about getting back to basics.

As part of all this thinking and mulling, I’ve decided it’s time for something new.
Call it another case of antsy pants.
Call it an insatiable desire to challenge and shock the system with new approaches to working out.
Call it me being me. 😉

This “something new” entails a new approach to weight training. You see – for nearly as long as I’ve been seriously lifting weights, I”ve either always taken a group fitness class, worked with my husband on a weight workout at the gym (rarely), or followed a structured weight lifting program like STS, done at home with the always awesome Cathe Friedrich by my side.  But I’ve never created my own lifting program.

And I have no idea why.

I have all the tools at my fingertips in my home gym. And, I know plenty about weight lifting after all these years to create a program of my own. So why haven’t I ever gone this route before?

I talked it over with Scott on a long walk today – and mentioned this concept to him.  And,  by the end of our walk (and talk), a new 4-week workout was born. I may not be a personal trainer by any stretch, but dammit – I know enough to be dangerous and I might as well start appreciating that fact, right??

So here goes.  The next four weeks will look something like this – with running, spinning or kickboxing for cardio and Core Fusion for core/flexibility training for a good, well-rounded cross-training routine.

Monday – Back/Chest: four exercises per body part, with 30 second rests between each set of 15-20 reps (I’ll go into the types of exercises I’ll do throughout the week in future blog posts, don’t worry); and Core Fusion Yoga or Pilates Abs
Tuesday – Biceps/Triceps (same format as above)
Wednesday – Ride
Thursday – Core Fusion Yoga or Pilates Abs; Kick
Friday –  Legs/shoulders (same format as above) and just the abs section from Core Fusion Body Sculpt (10 mins)
Saturday – Run

So you’ll see – I’m trying to balance the weight work without forgetting to work abs (something I ALWAYS did pre-Core Fusion) and including some sort of flexibility work in the mix, another area I’ve always pushed aside in the past. I’m thinking of doing this for the next four weeks, upping the weights each week, letting my body tell me when to go heavier.

I’m not sure how I”ll approach each week, yet. I figure I’ll go with the flow a little bit in terms of the format – it could involve trisets (my fave), or supersets. But, it’ll mainly be endurance based, to build up my endurance (duh) but also build lean and toned muscles, something I’ve been favoring more and more lately. I credit Core Fusion with that in large part, because it has lengthened and toned my muscles, leaning them out a little bit which I’m digging, interestingly enough.

Surprisingly, I’m really excited about this – it might seem simple to some of you fitness friends to build your own workout program vs. relying on a workout class or DVD to get you through, but this is kind of new for me. To train myself, trusting myself to lead the way. And I’m really looking forward to seeing how it goes. See? I am a personal trainer afterall – a personal trainer of ME! 😉


Body weight.

Another one of those phrases that brings with it such connotation.

Can bring with it a negative context if in relation to managing your weight (much of that connotation brought on by societal pressures, sadly).

But it can also bring with it a positive connotation if you put it into a different context.

With a different mindset, if you will.

It’s something that struck me today while doing the first of my Core Fusion workouts for this week, week #4 of the Core Fusion Challenge. Body weight can be the best tool in your fitness “toolbox” if you let it. If you embrace it.

I’ve admitted on this blog that one of the big problems I knew I’d face going into the Core Fusion Challenge was my mindset. As it relates to weight lifting, my mindset has always been that body weight-based workouts just don’t compare to heavier weight lifting styles like my favorite STS. I admitted that I was afraid that going to Core Fusion as my sole form of “weight” workouts during the week, mixed with cardio, would cause me to lose strength somehow. I think I was afraid that after a really strong round of STS where I definitely saw strength gains, that I’d take a step or two back by embarking on this challenge.

Well,  during tonight’s workout, it struck me. If you put your body weight into context, it can be your best tool for strength training. You just have to embrace it – use that body weight to propel you out of plank pose and into warrior pose. It was during this pose tonight during Core Fusion Yoga Energy Flow that the whole body weight/context concept sprang to mind. I am feeling so very strong this month, in quite a different way than I’ve ever felt, and I have my own body weight to thank for it.

The body weight that can drive me nuts at times (hello “fat days”). The numbers game we’ve all been prone to playing. When, in reality, we should be embracing that body weight as our armor, something we can always turn to, to strengthen, to protect, to carry us forward.

A major mindset shift for me. One of many I’ve noticed this past month. Mindset shifts I wasn’t quite so sure I’d ever see. I’m constantly amazed by how something as simple as a workout can change your mind about something you’d always felt pretty strongly about.

Who knew?


So yes, friends, I’m most definitely in it to win it as we head into the fourth week of the Core Fusion Challenge. My plans for this week? It is as follows:

Sunday – rest (much needed after a fanfrickintastic night in Boston with my sis, M and Scott)

Monday – speedy rounds on the treadmill this morning; Core Fusion Yoga Energy Flow tonight

Tuesday – Core Fusion Pilates Plus or Core Fusion Boot Camp

Wednesday – Ride (I WILL get there this week…again, it didn’t happen last week but I swear it shall be done, commute or no commute!); Core Fusion Body Sculpt

Thursday – Core Fusion Pilates Plus or Core Fusion Boot Camp (whatever I didn’t do on Tuesday); MAYBE Kick at night if my commute is lighter as I hope it’ll be thanks to school vaca week…

Friday – Core Fusion Lean & Toned

Saturday – run, outside, maybe??

As you all know, the best laid plans…we’ll see how the week goes, but this is my optimistic plan for the week. Wish me luck. 😉

Step into my (home) gym, won’t you?

Well, it’s time.

I’ve procrastinated long enough, but per Heather‘s insistence (love ya, girl), I am *finally* getting around to my “this is my home gym” post.

So without further ado….step into my (home) gym, won’t you?

That would be my weight bench, along with what could be the best purchase ever – the pull-up tower from Cathe, that doubles as my rack for my barbell. Comes in mighty handy during bench presses, lemme tell ya!

A shot of my step, free weights (the barbell is in the corner) and various medicine balls and stability balls.

The dreadmill treadmill I am learning to love in the winter, but that gathers lots ‘o dust in the spring/summer. Treadmill…I love to hate thee.

A sh*tload ton of workout DVDs ranging from lots of Cathe videos to my latest Core Fusion challenge DVDs. Wouldn’t you love to have that butt?? 😉

And finally, a dated but still quite workable TV to watch all those videos (except those that need tons of space to move around, those I do in the living room) and to keep me occupied during those interval workouts on the treadmill. And yes, that *would* be a water fountain for my cats beside it. 😉

So there you have it – my home gym. And yes, I realized after putting this post together that I am downright lucky to have all of this equipment at my fingertips. Trust me, I do not take it for granted whatsoever. And for the record, I acquired these goodies over time, so a home gym like this *is* feasible if you build it up over time versus handing over a big chunk ‘o change right out of the gate. Just sayin’.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a return for more Core Fusion Challenge updates…into week two we go!

TRX – uh yeah, that was pretty awesome

Sooo one of the workouts I’ve been dying to try but never had the time in my workout routine?


For those of you who aren’t familiar, it’s suspension training which basically forces you to rely heavily on your core to keep you stable and uses your own body weight combined with the TRX straps to give what turned out to a ridic workout.

Ridic as in pretty awesome.

My husband and I went to our favorite instructor’s class tonight. She’s been dying to get us there – everytime we see her at Ride, she’s always prodding us to try TRX. I guess she knew we’d love it, huh? Because we sooo did.

I’m sitting here typing this and I swear I’m already feeling some major DOMS action. Across my entire body.Whoa. Tomorrow’s gonna sting a little. 😉

So the workout – here’s how it went down. Well first…lemme back up: here’s a pic to give you a visual…in case you have no idea what I mean by suspension training!!

<basically it’s two straps attached to the ceiling that you use for all sorts of funky workouts, really cool>

Started with a basic warm-up to get the blood flowing.

Quickly moved on to some serious squat action that took me by such surprise. I had no idea how painful squats could be with no weight other than your own body weight and the resistance from pulling those straps taught from the ceiling. Seriously – there were so many low-ends I thought my legs my give out. My husband was not happy…he hates working his legs so he was in a serious world of hurt already.

From there, we did some upper body work including back, triceps and biceps which was really neat. Probably my favorite part.  Again, totally surprised that you could work up SUCH a burn with two wimpy lookin’ straps hanging from a ceiling, who knew?!

After this we went back to lower body which included LOTS of lunges followed by a series of floor work that burned those glutes like WHOA. From there we did mountain climbers mixed with push-ups…this is where i thought I might not make it. Those push-ups were SO HARD to do with my legs in those straps. Whoa.

As if that wasn’t enough, we went back to upper body for a reallllly intense series of shoulder moves that worked every part of the shoulder…our instructor confessed she loves to work shoulders so she added a few extra goodies in there for us. Um, thanks?

We finished up with PLANKS which were deadly. No joke.

Through all of this, there was a continual focus on the core since you had to keep that core taught throughout. Your body was often in a “surfboard” position when doing the upper body work which meant some serious core conditioning action was underway throughout the workout. Awesome. Um yes, but not awesome? That I went into this class with a sore core to begin with thanks to Core Fusion! Man, glutton for punishment over here. 😉

So yeah – you could say I LOVED TRX!! I give it an A++! Have any of you tried it?? If so, were you as surprised as I was at how intense it was for so little equipment??

STS – that’s a wrap!

Today marks the end of my STS rotation.

I cannot believe it was just over three months ago that I decided to start this rotation – how the heck did that fly by so fast?!?

Of course, while I made my way through my last STS workout today, I started to assess how this rotation went vs. previous ones. <—-and ahem, note to self? Don’t try to do a killer STS heavy weight training workout *after* repeating yesterday’s interval workout on the treadmill. It.Nearly.Killed.Me.

So, my assessment?

Aside from feeling rather She-Ra like, other observations…

  • Paying closer attention to how close “to failure” I was on each set paid off. I felt like I worked my hardest everytime I did an STS workout. I can’t say that I necessarily felt that way after every STS workout last time around.
  • While I did not take measurements or before/after pics, I feel and see improvements. Note I didn’t say “changes” but “improvements”…I don’t view STS as a workout I went to to change my body but to improve upon what’s already there…it’s a mindset thing, learning to love who I am, what I am, right where I am, if that makes sense.
  • Stronger legs, stronger arms, means other workouts are stronger. I definitely saw much improvement in my kicking ability during Kick workouts than before. I can keep more forcefully and more effectively now. I credit stronger glutes, thighs and calves for that (oh how I love to hate leg workouts in STS – they get me good every single time).
  • I fell back in love with weight training this time. While I’ve always done weight training as part of my workouts, I never really LOVED it. I was always a cardio queen. But this time? I LOVED STS days, looked forward to them…hell I even had an anti-cardio week which is huge for this self-professed cardio addict! I call that progress. Now I love both, equally.

So that’s that. My self-assessment: STS style. My sister just finished her rotation, too which means we’re now collaborating on our big “what’s next” plan, which I plan to share with ya’ll next week. So you’ll have to be patient for now. 😉


In the meantime? I’m borrowing a fun theme for Friday, courtesy of Erin at The Healthy Apron who asked her readers to identify their “Favorite Feature Friday.” In other words – what feature about your body are you loving most right now? As Erin did, I’m urging you all to find one feature that you love and to celebrate it today. We work hard, might as well celebrate it, right??

For me? My shoulders are my favorite – not just because they are strong (and stronger thanks to STS), but like I told Erin, they are a shoulder that my friends and family can lean on whenever they need it. And I love to know that my loved ones trust me enough to come to me for whatever it is that’s bugging them. So that’s it – my shoulders!

Your turn. 🙂