It’s the Final Countdown

 

The countdown is on folks. We are officially less than a month away from our wedding and the lists are many. Fortunately, a lot of the things on the lists are getting crossed off.

Because I’m such a list fiend, I’m actually feeling pretty good about where we are in terms of being ready for the big day. I mean, there are still a lot of little details to take care of, but the beauty of having a small wedding is that there are fewer moving parts and consequently there is less to worry about.

(I’m also a pretty chill person, so getting worked up about a big party just isn’t my style.)

One of the things left on my list is my dress alterations. I actually go in today for my last fitting and I’d be lying through my teeth if I told you I wasn’t a little nervous about how it’s going to fit. I probably shouldn’t be, but I am, because that’s how I roll.

In order to allay my concerns about my dress fitting today (and in another month), Clay and I have been doing Whole30 – and really it’ll end up being a Whole48 – and I’ve committed to run at least one mile every day until the wedding. I know that I need cardio in my life to feel my best, and I’ve been away from running regularly for a while.

Inspired by one of my good friends who is in the middle of her own run streak (something like 100 days, now!), I figured that in addition to my normal gym routine, if I can get myself moving for even just one mile everyday, I will feel good. And I’ll have more peace of mind. And I’ll be running again. FINALLY.

Posting about this streak here will help keep me accountable – so feel free to bug me on social media and make sure I’m getting out and getting my miles in. Every. Damn. Day. Find me on insta and twitter @kylepjennings.

Here we go!

A Case of the Mondays

I don’t know about you all, but March has felt like a million years long and I’m pretty sure I just need a nap.

Between winter finally deciding to show its face and my man being gone for the first half of the month, March has felt really dreary and blah and basically made me want to escape. Which I did last week – my mom, my sisters, and my sister’s friend met up in Arizona for spring break. It was fantastic. 80-degree temperatures, laying by the pool, reading, shopping, visiting with friends… I would like to go back now please and thank you.

I was supposed to write about vacation workouts today. But you know what? I just didn’t work out on vacation. I was gone for a week and maybe truly exercised one day: we went for a short hike/walk and I did an ab circuit. But other than that? I just relaxed. Because it was vacation.

I struggle with this mindset though, I’ll admit. I get it in my head that I need to make time to work out, no matter what I’m doing. I need to stay on top of my workout regimen and my diet so that when I get home I’m not playing catch-up.

All that thinking does, more often than not, is ruin my vacation, because I get a little obsessed with what I’m eating and how much I’m moving, and I forget to relax and just enjoy myself.  I had one morning while in Arizona that I focused on exercise… and then realized that I was there to chill out. And all I really wanted to do was be in the sun, read my book, work on wedding-related things with my mom and sisters, eat good food and drink margaritas. So I did. And you know what? I got home, and felt a little unfit, but a lot more relaxed and even though I’m super tired and not ready for Monday, I do feel a lot more prepared for what we’ve got coming down the pike. A new workout schedule, the Whole30, a wedding.

So, no, I don’t have a post about “Six Super Easy Vacation Workouts!”, but I do have some words of affirmation: You are enough – so enough that you deserve a break. Enjoy it.

Happy Monday.

Traveling? Modify Your Workouts!

Anyone who has traveled literally ever knows how challenging it can be to try to find time to exercise on a trip. Especially if that trip is one for work and your days are almost entirely consumed with work-related activities.

Between days full of meetings and education sessions, and evenings that have multiple events requiring your presence or attention, finding time to get even a 20 minute workout in can feel impossible.

That’s the situation I’m faced with this week. I’m on the road for the annual conference that the association I work for puts on. Fortunately, the hotel we’re taking over has a fitness facility and I’ve committed to working out at least three times during the five days I’m working there. Ideally, I’ll be able to make it happen all five days, but you know as well as I do that sometimes, you’re just too wiped by the end of the day.

Now, what might seem like a challenge is figuring out whether or not I’l be able to continue with my current workout routine. Currently, I’m doing a lot of barbell work – front and back squats, cleans, push jerks, thrusters, bench press, deadlifts… Without a barbell, these things seemingly become more difficult.

But that’s just how it seems. What’s cool is that al of these moves can be scaled or adjusted to be performed with Dumbbells or kettle bells. And some can even be done with body weight alone (I’m looking at you squats).

So, this week, depending on the equipment available to me, I’ve been doing my normal workouts or body weight workouts, based on the following:

Monday – bi tri/cardio
Row – 50 cal warm up – The likelihood that the hotel has a rower is slim, so I’ll probably just jog for five minutes or so
Standing curl – 4×8 (20)
Hammer curl – 4×8 (17.5)
Ez bar curl – 4×8 (35) – All of these cable-related lifts will be dependent on equipment. No cables? Tricep push-ups and kickbacks instead!
Tricep pushdown – 4×10 (55)
Rope pull down – 4×10 (38.5)

4 rounds
10 KBS (20)
10 burpees

Tuesday – legs
Back squat – 4×8 (185)
Box jump/air squat superset – 3 rounds, 10/15
Sled push – 1,2,3,2,1

Pull-up/box jump/push-up superset.
6/10/6

Wednesday – back
3:00 AMRAP (3 rounds)
Deadlift/push-up super set 185/135 – Deadlifts can be done with Dumbbells or kettle bells easily enough. I won’t be able to get up to my normal working weight, so I’ll probably up my AMRAP time to 5:00.

Barbell row 4×8 (135) – Dumbbells, lower weight, higher reps.

Cable row/lat pull down superset
4×10 (121) – If there’s no cable machine, I’ll add to my pull-up reps in the next movement.

Pull-up/box jump/push-up superset.
6/10/6

Thursday – chest
Straight bench – 4×8 (135-7,6,6,5) – Will sub with Dumbbells if necessary. Or push-ups if no Dumbbells are available.
Seated Fly – 4×8 (30×4)

15 min EMOM
18/12 cal row – If no rower, I’ll run!
18/12 air squat
18/12 dips

Pull-up/box jump/push-up superset.
6/10/6

Friday – shoulders
Thrusters – 4×8 (85) – Modify this with Dumbbells if necessary
Push press – 4×8 (75) – Modify this with Dumbbells if necessary

6 min EMOM
Wall ball thrusters max
Jump squats max

Pull-up/box jump/push-up superset.
6/10/6

Saturday – rest
Saturday is a travel day, so working out is a maybe. If I have time to do a short workout in the morning, I will, but I’m not going to scramble to make it happen.

Having a workout plan and schedule for the week should make my goal of working out while at Conference easier to achieve, but as well all know, things happen. In the event I can’t stick to my schedule, I’ll improvise, and that will be good enough. Because as long as I get to move my body and zone out for a little bit, I’ll be in a good spot.

A Few of My Favorite Things

With the beginning of the new year, I’ve got yet another new fitness regimen. We’ve worked up some new strength programming and have put a new focus on some HIIT-inspired movements.

Sweating for the wedding is real right now.

In an effort to stay inspired in the gym and feel good about the work we’re putting in, in conjunction with Clay’s new role at work being very focused on helping lead PT for his unit, our workouts have started to look very different.

It’s awesome.

What’s even more awesome though, is that Christmas meant new fitness accessories – and consequently better workouts. Its always interesting to me how having the right equipment can make such a big difference in how efficient your movements and lifts are. I feel so much better in the gym now that I’ve solved a couple of workout woes.

So what am I loving right now?

Nike Metcon 2

These shooooesssss you guys. If you’re doing weightlifting and cross-training workouts, these shoes are going to be your jam. I’ve read about them for a long time (I read a lot of fitness blogs, okay) and many athletes have shared how much they love this shoe. It’s an ideal cross-trainer, because while it’s the tiniest bit weighted and flat-soled for lifting stability, it also have a flexible forefoot, which means running and agility drills are comfortable. (I was going to say no sweat, but that is not the case at all. There is a lot of sweat.)

I’ve been using these bad boys for a couple of weeks and I’ve already noticed a significant difference. Squats, thrusters, push presses, and deadlifts all feel better – the flat sole of shoe connects me with the ground, and the solid heel helps keep my form correct. Workouts have gotten harder, but my feet are happier.

Nordic Lifting Wrist Wraps 

Originally, I bought wrist wraps and straps for Clay for Christmas. He was about them and has used them pretty much every day he could since then. Of course, his raving made me want to try them… and I borrowed his wrist wraps on days when we were bench pressing and immediately I noticed the difference. I’d never really thought I needed or wanted more wrist support, but the added stability has really helped me to continue to move heavier weight at higher reps. My wrists feel safer all around.

Qalo Ring

I’ve written about my Qalo rings before, but I can’t stress enough how much I love them. Qalo offers silicone rings to wear in place of your wedding or engagement rings while you workout, work or play outside. Throwing around weights and barbells can do gnarly damage to your jewelry AND your fingers if something gets caught wrong. Not to mention all that sweat. No good can come from that. I have a couple of these rings and I wear them a lot – always when I’m at the gym, sometimes when I go to Kazaxe and on days when I’m doing a lot of cleaning or hiking or playing outside. They have a ton of fun colors and styles, and even some rings whose proceeds go to charitable organizations.

It’s important to remember, thought, that at the end of the day, fitness equipment is just that – equipment. It doesn’t work unless you do. It’s not meant to turn you into a super athlete, its meant to help you be more efficient, more effective and safer in your workouts so that you can get the most out of them. So, lace up, strap in and get going!

 

Weekend Hangover and #WeddingWednesday

I’m writing this post to you on Tuesday, for Wednesday, but it was originally supposed to be up Monday.

That should give you some idea of how this week has started for me.

I had a three-day weekend, which you think would mean that I got lots done or rested or got my ish together. Unfortunately, none of that was the case. The things I took off to do on Friday? Not done. Lunch with friends? Spoiled by a parking ticket (that I didn’t even deserve!). No time for the gym for three days between running errands, and rehearsals and choir concerts. Football Sunday was shaping up to be a good day, and then the Packers lost.

And then it was Monday and I forgot to write a post. So, here we are.

I think I’ve managed to move past that nonsense though, finally getting back in the gym yesterday with Clay (he’d been traveling for two weeks for work). Brilliant us decided that leg day was the best way to get back at it and though these deadlifts look easy, they were just the beginning of a “let’s just slay ourselves” evening under the barbell.

Picking up heavy things really helped me shake off the weekend and the general bummer that it was. I remembered that my guy was finally home and how much more I like working out when he’s with me. I remembered that even though the Packers lost, I still got to spend Football Sunday with good friends and enjoyed good food. I remembered that despite a parking ticket, I got to see some of my favorite people, even if it was just for a couple of hours. And at the end of the day, all the weekend lameness was just that. Lameness. It goes away.

There are so many more things to be grateful for – I really don’t need to complain about anything at all.

My mission for the rest of this week?

  1. Sleep more. I’ll feel a lot more together with more than 5 hours of sleep each night.
  2. Meal Plan.  Now that Clay is home, I can’t just skate by with half a grilled chicken breast for dinner anymore. Back to the list making!
  3. Gym. Our schedules are pretty normal for the next couple of weeks – time to find our routine again.
  4. Work on Wedding Playlists. We’re doing our own DJ-ing, so I’ve been collecting song ideas for the ceremony, cocktail hour and dance portions of the evening. Time to sit down and spend some quality time with my iTunes library and a spreadsheet.

Happy Hump Day!

What are some of your must-hear wedding jams? What gets you on the dancefloor? I’m taking suggestions!

Wedding Wellness Wednesday

You guys, I’m so sorry for all of the wedding-related things that have been falling out of my mouth (fingers? I don’t know. Whatever.) lately. This is supposed to be a fitness-ish blog, and I feel like I can only write so many posts about how I’m “going to the gym and lifting heavy things” every day. That probably gets boring.

Because I know I get bored doing it.

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But, it’s necessary for a lot of reasons. 

  1. Working out keeps me healthy. Duh.
  2. Working out keeps me in a good headspace – I feel better about myself when I’ve gone to the gym or gotten a good sweaty dance sesh in.
  3. I have to wear a fancy dress in 8 months and apparently there will be a lot of pictures taken of me in said dress and I really would like to look and feel good in those pictures.

So, for this week, you’re getting another #weddingwednesday post, but it’s also going to be a #wellnesswednesday post. HA! It counts.

Eight months feels like a long time, but it’s really not. Especially when you consider the fact that those eight months include: Thanksgiving (FOOD), Christmas (COOKIES), and my busiest time of the year at work, leading up to our annual conference. Stress and food. Lots of food. That eight months kind of feels like a lot of time to do a lot of nutritional damage and not a lot of time to fix it.

My goals? Not inflict so much of the damage, and really dial in my fitness so that the “damage” I do isn’t really damage at all.

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(grilled) chicken and (protein) waffles is totally healthy, right?

What does that mean?

For me, this means restructuring my workout schedule. In the past, I’ve written about having a pretty set lifting cycle, but the last couple of months have been a little more freeform. Clay and I were working out together a lot and we’d lift regularly, but during the summer, his work schedule gets pretty brutal, so I’ve been on my own, which has meant more flexibility in what I choose to do. It’s also meant I’ve lacked some of my motivation. Not having a gym buddy can be a bummer on the days that you’re just dragging and don’t want to go.

Now that Clay’s work schedule has calmed down a bit, we’re going to be getting back in our routine. I’ve found that in the last few months the balance of strength and cardio has been working well for me, so we’ll be keeping that as a basic blueprint, and adjusting our set/rep counts on strength days to achieve our individual goals. He wants to bulk up a bit and I want to cut body fat. I know that’s a totally vain reason, but hey, I’m being honest.

Go buy this right meow – so many good recipes, so easy, and its current 46% off on Amazon!

Having him around more regularly will also make our meal prep and planning easier, which I’m super excited about. I’m looking for new recipes to make and fit into our dinner rotation. I just picked up Juli Bauer’s Paleo Cookbook and I’m super excited to make more things from it. Her blog, PaleOMG, is also a regular go-to for me for just about everythang. Recipes, workouts, fashion… this girl is hilarious and awesome.

I got distracted. ANYWAYS. Having a concrete reason and deadline to meet a goal makes working on that goal way more fun and makes finding the motivation a lot easier. I know that I’m already 75% of the way there, I just have to get that last 25% moving and shaking.

What are some of your motivational hurdles? What fitness goals are you working towards?

Mixing It Up

Ahhh… Summer. It’s been a bit of an exciting one so far. As Meridith mentioned last week, I got engaged a couple of weeks ago and have been kind of basking in that glow for a bit. Being the planner that I am, I have to fight my urge to jump in and start planning all the things right away, and remember to just enjoy being engaged. Which I’m not so good at, because I love list making and researching and all of that nonsense. Clay has had to reign me in a couple of times. Oops.

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Love this boy – so excited for what we have coming up!

But, there are definitely other things I need to focus on in the mean time, like making sure my bod is hotttt for my wedding day – it’s never too early to start that work. To do that, I’ve been trying to ramp it up and keep things fun and spicy in the gym.

I’ve been working on programming a healthy mix of HIIT, strength, and cardio into my training. This keeps me engaged and allows me to work on certain skills and endurance at the same time. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get bored when my workouts are the same every other day. I need variety. And so, this is what happens:

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That middle workout? Smoked me the first time I did it. Heavy sled pushes into burpee box jumps are no joke. Leg days have left me jello-legged and sore. My favorite kind.

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Cardio has been alternating between spin, running, and Kazaxe. I used to spin all the time, but back in December I changed gyms, which meant leaving my favorite spin instructors. Womp womp. It’s been hard to get back at it and find new classes that I like as much. But, I’m giving the new place the benefit of the doubt and trying out a few instructors – hopefully I’ll find some that I like!

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Don’t want to wear your fancy jewelry at the gym? Get a Qalo ring!

I’ve been trying to find the motivation to run outside, but the forecast for this week has the highs in the 90s and humidity at swamp-like levels… running mostly sounds terrible. I’m not training for a race right now, so convincing myself to get out there is tough. But, I am in the gym every day, and I don’t feel bad about that.

Cheers to summer and sunshine and sweaty workouts and exciting life events. I’ve got a lot of reasons to smile!