30 Day Squat Challenge

Hello! Things have been eerily quiet around here and all I can say about it is sorry. I have no other excuses or explanations, I simply did not want to write. I had no energy to. No drive to. No desire to. So I didn’t. (Duh.)

But! I’m back. I’m starting again. Or starting new, rather. It’s a new month, a new season, and I am taking advantage of it. In the past few weeks I’ve: started a new Bible study, compiled lists and ingredients and ideas for new recipes, and I just started this 30 Day Squat Challenge.

I’m already a pretty regular squatter (does that sound as weird to you as it does to me?), so I’m not completely unfamiliar or adverse to squatting. However, I normally hover around 20 – 40 reps a day so after the first week I imagine this challenge is going to be very challenging (double duh) but I’m looking forward to it!30 day squat challnege

source

I’ll (possibly) post a regular update in my sorely neglected Thursday Things posts about the week’s squats so feel free to join in! Today’s the perfect time to start because 30 days will take you all the way to the end of July – the timing couldn’t be better! If you’re really worried about doing squats for 30 days, take heart in the fact that there are seven rest days built into the challenge. It’s really only a 23 day squat challenge…but that doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as nicely 😉

Weekly Workouts May 27 – June 1

After what was a light week last week (and we’re talking exceptionally light), it’s time to get a little more intense. To do a little more. While I can’t devote a lot of extra time in the mornings to my workouts I can make sure that the time I do have counts. And I will (and have been) use my time in the evenings to my advantage too. Some quick stretches and abs workouts after I get home from work, lunges while I’m watching tv. Those kinds of things will make a difference. Those kinds of things will (hopefully) make my training sessions with Shawn this summer a touch more bearable.

But…of course now that I say that I’m expecting some kind of fresh torture upon my return home.

Workouts May 27 – June 1

Monday: 1.5 mile run, 9 minute pace, abs/arms using Swiss Ball

Tuesday: 30 minute KB tabata plus warm up + cool down

Wednesday: 1 hour of yoga

Thursday: 30 minute bike ride, leg circuits using free weights and medicine ball

Friday: Tae Bo (because yes, exercise DVDs are still a thing and Billy kicks my tuckus every time)

Saturday: short run + squats, lunges, and hip circuits

Weekly Workouts May 20 – May 26

I’ve never been a busy busy person. Sure, I’ve had things that I’ve wanted to do. Long lists of items to cross off, ideas in the back of my mind. But I’ve never been so swamped with things I have absolutely had to do.

Until now. My internship has been crazy. Beyond, actually. I’ve been working outside the office to keep up. Interviews, articles, deadlines. And with the Sweets & Snacks Expo this week, things are only going to get crazier.

But with all this, all the work and the sleepless nights (because I’ve been suffering from a bit of insomnia too, yay), I’ve still been working out. It’s been keeping me happy and sane and has stopped me from eating leftover frosting for dinner until I pass out.

With this week of craziness I am going to attempt to do the same. I’m going to keep to my workout schedule as much as possible. Tomorrow I will have to take the day off because I’m looking at a 14+ hour workday. My obscenely early mornings on Wednesday and Thursday mean light afternoon yoga sessions to relax and recharge. Friday morning I’ll get up and thoroughly kick my own butt. It’s all about having a plan.

Workouts May 20 – May 26

Monday: 45 minute bike ride, deadlifts, stretching

Tuesday: *OFF* (let’s call it a rest day)

Wednesday: 30 minutes of yoga after work

Thursday: 30 minutes of yoga after work

Friday: Burpee pyramid, 55 squat + push-up pyramid

Saturday: 1.5 mile run, abs + arms

How do you adjust your workouts for a busy schedule?

Weekly Workouts May 6 – May 11

“Screws fall out all the time. The world’s an imperfect place.” ~ John Bender, The Breakfast Club

I love this quote for a few reasons: I adore John Bender, I get to share my obsession with The Breakfast Club, and it’s incredibly true. Bender may have been being a smart aleck when he said this, but the man’s got a point. The world’s an imperfect place, we are imperfect people. We will mess up, we will fall down, we will skip a workout.

I missed a workout last week. I was sleep deprived bordering on delirious and needed that extra hour of sleep on Tuesday. When I finally did rouse myself, I began to panic. What was I doing? How could I skip a workout? I’m going to ruin everything I’m working for! 

It wasn’t until I called home in tears, nearly hyperventilating, that I began to understand this wasn’t the end of the world. I was talked offer the proverbial ledge. I was convinced one missed workout wouldn’t completely derail me. I was reminded that I had a soccer game that night. I’d be running around a field for 40 minutes. I’d certainly be out of breath. I’d be tired and I’d get a workout. Maybe not the one I had written down, but that wouldn’t make it any less effective. And when Wednesday morning rolled around, I felt that soccer game. I felt the previous night’s victory aching in my legs. I smiled and proceeded to my next workout.

And so, with my Tuesday night soccer game in mind, I came up with this week’s workout plan. I swapped things around, opting for yoga this morning and strictly weights tomorrow morning. After running around Tuesday night, a leisurely bike ride is totally in order on Wednesday morning.

Workouts for May 6 – May 11

Monday – 45 minutes of yoga

Tuesday – weight lifting, arm circuits and abs + soccer game

Wednesday – 30 minute bike ride, TRX 55 squat and pushup pyramid

Thursday – Medicine ball circuit workout

Friday – Burpee circuit (resulting in 55 burpees and certain torture)

Saturday – 1.5 mile run, 9 minute mile pace, abs

 

 

What is a tabata?

If spellcheck tells me one more time that tabata isn’t a real word, I swear. I just want to scream at those stupid squiggly red lines underneath it “Tabata is a real word!” I have the same problem with my last name…

But tabata is a real word! And it is a very real, very effective, very fun, and very exhausting workout.

Tabata timer

I was introduced to them a few years ago by my mentor/trainer back home. Initially, it was just another way for me to do beloved kettlebell workouts, but now we use them for practically everything. Jump roping, tire flipping, rope slamming, and (the dreaded) stationary biking – we can (and do) do it all. This is possible because the concept of the tabata is so versatile. Strength, cardio, conditioning. If you know a workout, you can make it a tabata.

So, really, what the heck is a tabata?

Simply put, it’s a timed interval workout. It has multiple work periods followed by shorter rest periods that all add up to one full workout. Traditionally, tabatas are four minute workouts, with 8 sets of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest.

The simple math : (20 sec. work + 10 sec. rest) x 8 sets = 4 minutes = 1 tabata workout

tabata timer

both photos lovingly taken on my laptop via screenshot

While I would love it if I did a four minute workout and called it quits, the little voice in my head (that sounds oddly like my trainer sometimes) says I can do more. I typically shoot for about 4 – 6 sets of tabatas for a total of a 20 – 30 minute workout, including rest times. The kicker is that, if I did my job and worked really hard and put forth effort, I’m wiped after those 20 minutes. I’m sweating, my muscles are quivering, and my lungs are burning.

The really cool thing though, is that tabatas are totally customizable. Longer work period, more sets, shorter workout – it can all be done with a tabata timer. I typically use this tabata timer online, but it’s got a downloadable app that’s nifty because you can create playlists and have music to play along with workouts (though, be forewarned that it tends to repeat songs throughout the workout and I don’t know why).

Tabatas are time effective, keep my body guessing, keep me from getting bored, and are fun. I’ve started creating my own tabata workouts for kettlebelling by combining some of my favorite moves in sets or choosing to focus on specific body parts for four minutes at a time. I have jump rope and TRX tabatas written down too. Because, again, you can make virtually anything a tabata.

Here’s the KB tabata workout I’m slated to do tomorrow. I’ll be using 20, 35, and 50 pound bells.

20 Minute Kettle Bell Tabata Workout

Tabata 1

  • Two-handed Swing
  • High Pull – left hand
  • Goblet Squat
  • High Pull – right hand

*repeat 2x*

Tabata 2

  • Lunge to Clean – right leg
  • Halo
  • Alternating Dead Snatch
  • Lunge to Clean – left leg

*repeat 2x*

Tabata 3

  • Alternating-hand Swing
  • Muy Thai Knees – right side
  • Clean and Press – left hand
  • Bulgarian Split Squat – right leg
  • Muy Thai Knees – left side
  • Clean and Press – right hand
  • Bulgarian Split Squat – left leg
  • Alternating Elbow Strikes

Tabata 4

  • Windmill
  • Two-handed Swing
  • Inverted Farmers Walk
  • Sumo Squat to Upright Row

*repeat 2x*

 

*If you’re an avid or novice kettlebeller, you’ll probably recognize a lot of these moves. If you’re not, then Google them, because there’s no way I’d be able to explain them 🙂

And there you have it! A crash course in the wonders that are tabatas! I highly suggest you give them a shot the next time  you’re looking to ramp up your workout routine!

Weekly Workouts April 29 – May 4

I have worked out or done some sort of exercise 6 of the last 7 days. I cannot remember the last time that happened. And it feels good. Being sore all day Thursday felt good. It felt great actually.

And so I really, really enjoyed that day off. I didn’t feel guilty, I didn’t agonize over what was or wasn’t happening to my body, what I was or wasn’t doing to it. Because I had worked hard, I had made a change. I deserved a reward and deserved some rest. So I watched too much tv, baked a layer cake and played with makeup. I enjoyed my day off, because I knew it was just one day. I’d be back at the grind soon enough.

Even this morning, after a restless night and after hitting snooze three times, I still got up to go for a run. A slow, agonizing run – but a run nonetheless. I got up. And I’ll keep getting up, getting through my workouts. Enjoying my workouts.

Workouts for April 29 – May 4

Monday – 1.25 mile run, lunge + pushup sets

Tuesday  – Kettlebell tabatas, 20 minutes + warm up & cool down

Wednesday – 45 minutes of yoga

Thursday  – 30 minute bike ride, ab exercises using Swiss & medicine balls

Friday – Burpee circuit + TRX squat and pushup pyramid

Saturday  – 20 minutes of yoga

What kind of eater are you?

What kind of eater are you?

Kelly Kapoor Cupcake

This may seem like a weird question – to wonder what kind of eater someone is. And I’m not talking about the vegetarian, vegan, or meat eater debate. I’m talking about exactly how we eat the foods we choose, the relationship a person has with food.

There are so many different kinds, and one person can be one of them, all of them, maybe even none of them. I know that for me, recognizing the eater I am at any given moment has been instrumental in getting a hold on overeating.

***

Guilty Gorger – You have “good” foods and you have “bad” foods. So long as you don’t stray off the “good” list, eating is fine, no big deal. One slip onto the “bad” side of the list, one too many cupcakes or a few too many chips, and all hell breaks loose. Because of the connotations of food being either “good” or “bad,” there’s a lot of remorse and guilt tied up with eating certain foods. These feelings of guilt often lead to a downward spiral of overeating.

How to combat it: Assigning the labels of “good” and “bad” to food is never a good idea, it will only lead to problems. Rename foods, if you must, as healthy or nutritious or indulgent and think about what they do for your body. Remember the old adage of enjoying everything in moderation. One cupcake is not going to make you gain weight, just like one salad won’t miraculously make you skinnier.

Stress Snacker – You’ve got three deadlines to meet, midterms are coming up and you’re behind on reading, rent is due next week and you’re more than a little bit short. This is all incredibly stressful – on mind and body. And the only way to alleviate that stress is by eating. And eating. And eating. The eating is distracting, an escape. You turn to food when you have to make difficult decisions because food is always there, it understands.

How to combat it: Look for something else to alleviate your stress, seek another outlet. Walking, reading, writing, even talking on the phone are all good distractions from stress and will often do a far better job of clearing your head than eating an entire pizza could. If the stress is really pressing, try talking to a professional – there’s no harm in getting help if it will make you feel better in every area of your life.

Emotional Eater – Happy? Sad? Melancholy? Overjoyed? Eat! E-A-T! You use food to celebrate, to mourn, to comfort, to remember. Food is a reward for a job well done, or a shoulder to cry on when you fail. Food is playing a staring role in your life, as well it should, but to the point where it’s starting to overshadow some other important characters – like family and friends.

How to combat it: There’s a saying “you’re not a dog, you do not reward yourself with food.” It’s painfully true but, as a culture we gauge our emotions and eat accordingly. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating with a big slice of birthday cake and yes, sometimes the soul does need that piece of chocolate, but know when food is becoming a crutch and when the “celebrating” needs to stop.

Mindless Muncher – The TV is on so you might as well snack, right? Go ahead, grab those chips. And when a commercial comes back on grab the dip. Wait, you’re halfway through this season of New Girl and the chips are already gone? But how? You don’t remember eating them all. You’re still hungry though, maybe some ice cream will do the trick…

How to combat it: Focus, focus, focus. Get rid of distractions when eating. No TV, laptop, or cell phone. Think about what you’re doing in the moment. Pay attention to the flavors, textures, and balance of a meal. If you’re watching TV, try drinking flavored tea instead of eating, that way your hands and mouth are busy and your brain registers flavors without all the extra calories.

Restrictive Rationer – After succumbing to one of the other types of eating, you feel so remorseful that you vow to do better next time. And by do better you mean eat less. To make up for a perceived “failure” you limit the foods you eat for the next day or even multiple days in order to offset the calories. This often leads to a cycle of restricting and then binge eating.

How to combat it: This is very similar to being a guilty gorger, so the thought process to stopping it is very similar. Just because you feel you over indulged for one meal or one day doesn’t mean you can make up for it right.that.second by refusing to eat again for the next 72 hours. That puts the body into starvation mode and it will actually store fat. The best thing to do after eating much too much is to simply begin eating a normal diet again. Easier said than done, but jumping right back on that bandwagon after falling off is the only way to make lifelong, sustainable habits.

Calorie Counter – Numbers count (no pun-intended) and nothing else. The focus is solely on the caloric value of a food, not the nutritional value or the ingredients. So long as you don’t exceed your allotted number of calories for the day, everything else will be fine.

How to combat it: Educate yourself. Many processed and packaged foods that are low in calories are also low in vitamins, minerals and nutrients – the important things our bodies need to be happy and healthy. Focus on nutrition and not numbers. Eating minimally processed foods will be the best way to get the most bang for your (caloric) buck. For example, avocados and nuts are highly caloric but also chalk full of heart healthy fat and minerals and do wonders for hair and skin to boot!

Absentminded Abstainer – You make a sandwich then get a call on your cellphone and before you know it two hours have gone by and the sandwich is still on the counter but your desire to eat it has long since dissipated. Three meals a day is unfathomable, two is maybe doable but you might be too busy or just accidentally forget and not eat at all.

How to combat it: Make a schedule. It sounds silly, to need to write down when you’ll eat meals, but it’s the best way to ensure meals won’t be missed or skipped. Pack a lunch the night before work so you’re not tempted to skip the next day. Always travel with snacks on hand, in your bag or car so when you actually do feel hungry there’s something available.

***

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been every single one of these “eaters” at one point or another. Sometimes it’s a combination of a few, sometimes I have no idea how I would classify my eating habits. What I was trying to show with this post is how important it is to be aware of when, how and why we turn to food. Figuring out my past and current relationship with food has been integral to forging a better, healthier, and happier one with food in my future. It has given me insight into my head and heart, even outside of food.

Weekly Workout April 22 – April 27

Before this year, I didn’t have a bike on campus and MAN! was I missing out! I bike at home a bit, nothing serious, just getting out and about and using it to save gas when I remember. In high school, my best friend and I would go on bike rides for hours and they were always the best – a great workout and even better conversation. I tried to mimic that feeling by taking spinning classes freshman and sophomore year, but it just wasn’t the same. Great workout? Sure, and my instructor was fabulous. But they just weren’t quite right. I missed the actual road.

There’s something about pedaling in the wee hours of the morning, there’s no traffic on the streets or the sidewalks, I can just go and cruise. And as a bonus, I get (waaaaaaaay) farther on my bike than if I’m just running so I’m looking at different scenery. This focuses my short attention span and alleviates my propensity to get bored. I’ve really enjoyed reincorporating them into my workouts.

Workouts for the week of April 22 – April 27

Monday: 1.5 mile run, 9 min. mile pace, medicine ball sets of arms, abs, and legs

Tuesday: Jumprope + TRX tabatas, 25 minutes + warm-up & cool down

Wednesday: 1 hour of yoga

Thursday: Tae Bo “Flex” DVD (yes, workout DVDs. They work!)

Friday: 30 minute bike, 20 minutes of yoga

Saturday: Kettlebell tabatas, 20 minutes + warm-up & cool down; 20 minutes of yoga after work

What about you? Do you bike? Spin? Avoid any sort of bicycle altogether? 

“The Dress”

This post is hard to write. It’s embarrassing to write. Because putting it out on the internet for everyone to see makes it real. Real and upsetting. And it’s about clothes. 

Blue flowered dress

This dress? It’s basically what dreams are made of, at least for me. Perfect cut, great color, feminine but comfortable. I bought it in January, excited to find it on sale and in my size. When I found it, I knew it was “the dress.” Every woman has “the dress” in her closet, the serendipitous purchase that makes getting dressed fun, makes her feel fabulous. It was going to be the outfit that I ushered in spring with. That I wore to my internship to feel like a real adult, a real career woman (even if the dress is covered in flowers).  

I’ve been at my internship for over 3 weeks now, and I haven’t worn the dress yet. I can’t. The dress doesn’t fit me anymore. 

SONY DSC

I can’t get it over my hips. It won’t zip. I’m afraid to keep trying for fear of ripping a seam. And so it sits in my closet, tags still on. I avoid it. I find other things to wear, things that hide what has happened to my body these past few months. What I’ve done to my body. And what I haven’t done to it. 

I have skipped workouts. I haven’t gotten enough sleep. I have had meals that consist solely of frosting. I haven’t eaten enough vegetables. I have punished myself. I haven’t shown my body any grace or love or care. I have made excuses. I haven’t made any changes. 

And I’m tired of it. I’m tired of being tired all the time. I’m tired of picking outfits based on what is most “slimming.” I’m tired of treating my body like it’s disposable, unworthy. 

So, I’m making a resolution. Because it doesn’t need to be January 1 to recognize a need for change and to pursue improvement. I’m resolving to workout harder, sleep more, and eat better. Because, yes, I want to fit into the dress I was so excited about all those months ago. Because I want to feel good in my clothes, in my own skin. More importantly though, I’m going to take care of myself because it’s what my body deserves, it’s what I deserve. 

Blue flowered dress

Weekly Workout April 15 – April 20

I haven’t been to the gym in about 9 months. Scary, right? Well, no, not really. At least for me. The gym is a far scarier place than my living room – which is where I do most of my exercising and working out. I’ve steadily been curating a collection of exercise equipment that I can use at home. I also do my best to utilize the outdoors and my own bodyweight when I can. Kettlebells, my TRX, and a jumprope – these steadily got me through the winter. I’ve recently added to my collection with a new Swiss ball I scored at TJ Maxx for $10. It’s my size and it’s pink, it’s very me. And it’s helping me remember the moves I used to do at the gym and making working out feel fresh and new and a little more fun.

Workouts for the week of April 15 – April 20

Monday: 30 minute bike ride, swiss ball back and ab exercises

Tuesday: Jumprope and TRX tabatas, 30 minutes + warm up & cool down

Wednesday: Workout at home with trainer

Thursday: Kettlebell tabatas, 25 minutes + warm up & cool down

Friday: 1.5 mile run, 8 minute pace, swiss ball full-body exercises

Saturday: Yoga, 30 minutes

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