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.

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!

Finding Motivation in Unexpected PRs

I’d be lying if I said that the last couple of weeks in the gym have been stellar. In fact, the last couple of weeks have been anything but stellar, from both a gym and nutrition perspective. Have I been working out? Yes. Have I been eating healthy? For the most part. Have I also been totally exhausted and consequently lacking motivation? Oh yes.

It’s been really difficult to push myself on days that I have to work out by myself and even more difficult to convince myself to go run or do any kind of heavy cardio workout. I couldn’t even.

So, it was a really pleasant surprise that after my weekend away (hiking and camping and watching baseball), getting back in the gym this week felt good. It probably helped a lot that we mixed up our workout routine again – instead of lifting heavy, we’ve transitioned into more HIIT-inspired workouts with elements of CrossFit (kind of). The boyfriend is currently training for his next Physical Fitness Test, so we’ve put more emphasis on those elements: running, pull-ups, crunches, and supplemented with other conditioning and weight training.

These workouts remind me a lot of what I used to do in high school and college basketball practices. Lots of conditioning and strength training that kicks my butt and simultaneously humbles me and reminds me how strong I am. That’s an awesome feeling.

Never was this more evident than earlier this week: I hit a massive PR on my bench press and then cranked out more pull-ups than I ever have.

image1It was really the pull-ups that got me though, because we did them at the very end of our workout and I was totally gassed. We pyramid them, starting at 6 and going down to 1, before working our way back up to 6. That ends up being 41 pull-ups.

As a kid, I used to do gymnastics and could do pull-ups and chin-ups no problem. I would actually do them all the time in my backyard. But, add about 20 years and 100 pounds and pull-ups got really, really difficult. Last summer, I could barely do one. But, this winter and spring I worked hard on the skill and now I can string them together much better. So, it was a huge win for me the other day when I did our 6-5-4-3-2-1-2-3-4-5-6 pyramid without failure.

They might not be the prettiest, but I’m proud of them and the hard work that I’ve put in to be able to even do this many. Seeing how far I’ve come in less than a year gives me the motivation I’ve been lacking to keep pushing myself, to keep programming workouts that challenge me and force me to work on my weak skills. To turn those weaknesses into strengths.

Moral of this story: sometimes we have down weeks. Sometimes we struggle to find our stride, literally and figuratively. Sometimes, we just want to eat ice cream and cake and sit on the couch and watch the NBA playoffs. But, sometimes, looking back at where you were and the progress you’ve made can be just the kick in the pants that you need to get your head and your heart back in it. Our bodies are capable of really amazing things – I’m excited to see what the next amazing thing is.

 

Embracing the Dread… mill.

After five long months – yes, five – I’m finally able to run again.

Like, really run. Not “run for a mile or so and have to stop and walk because my ankle gets sore.”

new shoes

Because, let me tell you, that version of running barely counts. And is super frustrating. And no matter how much cross-training you do, it’s just not the same thing.

This week marked the longest run I’ve been able to do since #bustedankle happened – granted, it was only a little over four miles, but I felt really good. I didn’t have to stop at all, and my legs and lungs (and ankle, duh) were strong.

I’ve been doing almost all of my running on the dreadmill because 1. pacing is way easier and 2. it’s a lot harder (though not impossible, trust me) to roll your ankle on a flat surface. But, the upside to all of the treadmill running is that it makes speed work a lot easier.

My goal this summer is to really work on pacing and speed. I’m running the Baltimore Marathon in October and I would love another PR and love negative splits even more. So, I’m prepared to embrace the dread. Good ol’ Tready and I will likely be getting very familiar this summer.

Don’t get me wrong, there will be plenty of running outside. I can’t handle long runs on the treadmill. Nothing good could come from that. I would go insane. Also, I like the sunshine.

But, I don’t like humidity… and I do live in a swamp. So, inside running doesn’t sound so terrible. Especially in July. Or August. Because DC is terrible then.

So, here’s to a summer of many more miles and much fewer injuries! Cheers!

What are your favorite treadmill workouts? Tabata? HIIT? Endurance?