Good morning from Atlanta :)
Surprise! I’ve decided to relocate from SoCal sunshine to Southern Comfort. The palm trees and Mexican food will not be missed.
…..if you fell for that, you have not been around here long. Kenzie’s hair + Humidity = Frizz outta control. Hello, Poodle.
No, my time in the Peach State will be brief (unless a Luke Bryan-esque cowboy comes to sweep me off my feet in the next 75 minutes…) I’m just on a layover for my flight to New York for the next round of bleomycin injections to my cheek.
While I sit in airports, I have lots of time on my hands. Naturally I made a list of things to get done, hence this Saturday morning blog post :)
Though I have never left the country, I’ve done my fair share of travelling. College tour road trips, recruiting visits, out-of state track meets meant full travel days. (Longest trip yet: 2 hour drive + 3.5 hour flight + 8 hour drive + 45 very grumpy teenage athletes. Real quality bonding time.)
From all-day drives, overnight train trips, even a 4 hour horse ride (ouch.) I’ve learned ways to make a day of moving from here to there a little more bearable.
Lord knows how many germy, snotty tiny humans sat in that seat, sneezed on that tray, reached for that door handle. Airplanes are basically breeding grounds for germs and stress compromises your immune system. De-cootify your hands, don’t eat from the tray, drink water like it’s your favorite thing to do, and take immunity insurance like Airborne or Emergen-C. A little extra Vit C couldn’t hurt! (And the berry flavor chewable type taste like Sweet Tarts.)
This is referring to your outfit. I know my pajama-wearing girls are gonna hate me for this. I don’t think a flight warrants the need to look like a hobo. A lot of people don’t see a point in putting together a decent outfit, but you are still in public. God bless the inventor of the maxi dress/maxi skirt. It’s like yoga pants without legs, perfectly comfortable and yet somehow stylish.
I prefer fitted athletic wear (not to be confused with baggy sweats and old t-shirt) because I can squeeze in some discrete exercise (see tip #4) But if I need to look presentable when I get where I’m going I like skinnies and flat-heeled boots.
3.) Be Productive! (This is my caffeine talking!)
What a perfect time to cross off those menial tasks we procrastinate for the elusive “later.” Uninterrupted hours are at your disposal.
*If you’re the slip-on-my-eye-cover-and-slip-into-a-short-coma passenger, feel free to skip this tip.
Travel days seem like wasted hours so I like to find a few things to work on (eh-hem this post right here…) A killer playlist can keep up energy and focus. None of that sleepy John Mayer crap. I have a specific “Airplanes & Trains” playlist meant to Get. Stuff. Done.
4.) MOVE when you can
Sitting for hours on end is like a punishment for your body. After a while, your metabolism slows, yours blood flow slows, your energy is wasted. Find opportunities to MOVE and use them. (Which relates back to tip #2 and the convenience of yoga pants.)
Get up and take a restroom break every hour. Be that girl. Your fellow flyers may think you have over-active bladder syndrome but you’ll protect yourself from collecting a blood clot!
Tangent —> Blood clots freak me out for real. In elementary school, I heard a news story about a reporter doing a piece in the Middle East. After hours cramped in a military vehicle with no leg space, he developed a blood clot in his leg that travelled to his heart and killed him. This stuck in my head, and in 7th grade my biology textbook even referenced the incident. Maybe this will scare you into moving more. Fear tactic! Muahaha.
Got a long layover? Do some lunges/squats/calf raises/stretching. Hey I have no shame doing exercises in an airport if my fellow flyers have no shame wearing pajama bottoms, Crocs and hair curlers in public. Layovers were made for walking (and that’s just what I’ll do) ;)
5.) Snack Smart
Dry roasted peanuts anyone? No no no. You’re smarter than that, girl! You already know that airports, gas stations, and snack carts have “convenient” junk. When you’re packing your bag, bring your own food for the day with actual nutrients and vitamins. Obviously we’ll have to compromise a little for convenience, portability and TSA regulations (THEY MADE ME THROW AWAY MY PEANUT BUTTER THIS MORNING. I will not forgive them.) but some safe options include protein bars, bananas, apples, almonds, pistachios, kale chips and rice crisps.
College girls travel smarter!
Speaking of travelling, last night I had a dream that I traded in my car for a little motorcycle. As I was getting ready to ride the 5+ hours back to school, it just then occured to me “how would I carry my stuff?” You know, furniture….clothing….important things. Not sure where that one came from ;)
What’s your travel must-have?
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A lot of my internal conversations revolve around goals. I’ve blogged about my fondness of lists and my aspirations for the future and my mind that just won’t shut off. Much of this comes from a deep desire to constantly better myself, continually look for opportunities that will help me with a successful career, and a genuine passion for living a happy life.
Most recently I used this passion to go after an internship that didn’t yet exist —> “You Get What You Work For”
So there are many times I ask myself “How can I improve?” As a student, a friend, an intern, a daughter. But today I’m specifically speaking about improving fitness. Because that is what this blog is all about, isn’t it? You don’t come here to read about another 20-something’s wanderlust and “dreams.”
I’ll give my personal goal as an example for these areas of improvement that can be applied to anyone:
Area of improvement: I WANT TO BE A FASTER RUNNER. (I think that is the goal of every runner. To be faster.)
Unit of Measurement: 3 mile time trial (weekly.) AKA Tempo Tuesdays. I’ve been running the same 3-mile course at 5am for the past 3 Tuesdays and here’s how it’s going:
Week 1: 18:39 // Week 2: 18:45 // Week 3: 18:42
I’m nothing if not consistent! Overall, I’m not unhappy with these times…but they don’t represent the downward trend I am striving for. So, cooling down from my 6:14 average pace this week, I asked myself “HOW can I improve?”
We cannot expect to see improvement in our fitness level if the effort is not put in to justify it.
If something doesn’t change in your your diet, exercise, sleep or mental health, you cannot expect to grow and become more fit.
Nutrition: I love talking about nutrition. You already know this. I do not pretend to know everything or have a perfect diet. But I do believe I make a good balance of clean whole foods, healthy nutritious meals, and splurges here and there. You can read about my typical daily diet here.
Things to consider:
- Are you eating enough before a workout to fuel yourself? Are you eating enough afterwards to recover?
- Are you eating too much, to sabotage your efforts?
- Can you cut back on soda/fried food/processed snack consumption?
- Do you eat breakfast?
- Do you keep a food journal?
- Are you getting a good balance of protein, carbs and healthy fats?
- Do you warm up before each workout? Do you include dynamic stretches before exercise and static stretches after?
- Could your routine benefit from more variety? If you are a cardio junkie (guilty!!) then try scheduling a couple strength-based training sessions into your weekly agenda. If you are camped out in the weight room, try venturing over to the pilates class. Sometimes we hit a plateau in our training and it’s important to incorporate variety into a training program.
- Are you resting enough? You might even have to CUT BACK on workouts. If you are in the gym and on the treadmill 7 days a week every week then your energy could be depleted faster than it can handle. Rest days are recharge days so schedule them wisely!
*For my goal to improve my 5k time, I am adding a weekly speed workout. 400 meter, 200 meter, and 100 meter sprints at “interval” pace. (All out.) I’m also going to be more diligent about post-workout static stretches!
This only requires one easy question: are you sleeping enough? If you constantly feel fatigued or tired, your body needs more hours of sleep before you can expect it to perform.
How is your attitude? Positive?
Do you look at fitness as a challenge or a chore?
Are you happy with your body, your energy level and your diet?
- Do you believe that your goal is attainable or does doubt cause you to get off track?
Mindset has a lot to do with results. It’s not just some cheesy cliche – the body achieves what the mind believes is as accurate as it is cutesy. Fitness and health should have a positive connotation, not viewed as a laborous chore to suffer through. In the end, it’s up to YOU and your own mind to motivate you to reach the goal.
*Achieving a mindset that is intrinsically motivated is a habit that I have formed over years of being the Straight-A Student, the Scholar Athlete, and the Over Achiever. I don’t work hard for a reward or for attention or any other tangible reason. It just makes me happy.
Assessing the different areas in your life and setting goals is part of lifelong happiness. And of course once you CONQUER a goal, the feelings of pride and accomplishment will only increase your motivation to do better. That is what lights my fire to run.