Monthly Archives: May 2014

Backyard HIIT Workout

Yesterday morning, my backyard was transformed into an outdoor gym with 6 HIIT stations. We had country music, coffee and water bottles…all before 5am!

After discontinuing the LiveFit Trainer and re-committing to daily running, I set up a workout schedule for the first week of summer vacation that looked like this:

Monday: Cardio Carnival (35 min. run; 15 min. bike; 30 min. walk with incline)

Tuesday: Morning run on treadmill (5 miles); Evening run on treadmill (5 miles)

Wednesday: Morning at-home HIIT workout; Evening jog around park (5 miles)

Thursday: Morning run with Matt (5.5 miles); Evening run on treadmill (5 miles)

Friday: Morning run on treadmill (5 miles); Evening run around the park (5 miles)

Saturday: Strength workout at the gym followed by 7 mile run outside

Sunday: Long Run (8 miles)

Notice a lot of “Run” in that schedule? That’s because running is my FAVORITE activity. I don’t look at it as pure exercise or a chore. My mom said my enjoyment and enthusiasm for going to the gym and working out is “disturbing.” ;)

Yes there is a whole lot of cardio on that workout schedule, but I have tried a strength-dominant routine. It’s not for me. This is how I like it :)

So on to the HIIT sesh!

***HIIT is widely popular right now as many health and fitness enthusiasts have recognized interval training as one of the most effective cardio strategies. If you are unfamiliar, it stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It incorporates short intervals/fast and intense exercises followed by a short rest period, repeated for a pre-determined duration.****

At 4:55am, my parents and I headed into the backyard with some country music and coffee. I wrote out six exercises. Downloaded a HIIT Timer app. Set it to beep after 35-second intervals and 25-second rest periods. We did a light 5 minute warm up jogging across the yard and jump roping.

Circuit –> Move from one exercise to the next. Complete 5 total rounds of each. (30 minutes total)

Backyard HIIT Circuit (stronglikemycoffee.com)

My favorite station was jumprope and least favorite was mountain climbers. My mom and I modified the “push-ups with a clap” on our knees. We’ll repeat this circuit every Wednesday for 4 weeks before mixing it up.

We were way sweaty by then end. Even in the cool morning air, our shirts were soaked with SUCCESS ;)

This workout is easy to fit in at home or in your backyard. Should take 30 minutes & all you need is a jumprope! (Bonus if you get to watch the sunrise.)

Are you pumped yet? GO HIIT IT!

Continuing my Medical Journey

One quick follow-up on my procedure and then I will return to this blog’s intended purpose: health & fitness!

At some point, the fun had to end. I checked into the hospital for a new procedure to continue improving the venous malformation on the left side of my face. We met with my surgeons once more to discuss the plan of attack. Dr. Milton Waner and Dr. Berenstein founded the Vascular Birthmark Institute and pioneered treatments and equipment that is now used all over the world. They are the best in the field, hence our travel across the country to see them.

My pants match the wall!

A pre-op photo with surgeons Dr. Teresa O and Dr. Milton Waner – My pants match the wall!

I do like to include medical information about my procedures on the blog. Before my surgeries, I would Google and search for other people with similar circumstances. I would have loved to connect with others who have undergone similar treatments, but never had any luck. Maybe this will help someone doing the same!  So just a quick break-down of the game-plan because it’s a pretty complex process (that will be *hopefully* completed by this time next year!)

  • 2-3 more rounds of sclerotherapy with Dr. Berenstein, using Bleomycin injections into the remaining malformation.
  • Laser treatments with Dr. Waner to attack surface veins and reduce the visible purple coloring.
  • “Smoothing” the left side to decrease bulkiness and fill in depressions.
  • Creating a more symmetrical smile! Medical technology is amazing. Dr. Waner and Dr. O use a procedure to re-animate the nerve and muscle function around the left side of my mouth to increase it’s movement. They will use a sensory nerve, artery and muscle from the area around my Achilles tendon, and implant it like an “extension cord” to create symmetry.

I have to do some of my own research to see how using the tissue from my leg will affect my running. Another option is using a cadaver. Yes, creepy. Don’t think about it too hard, that’s what I tell myself ;)

Last week I had the first Bleomycin treatment. Cross one procedure off of the list!

Hospital Recovery (stronglikemycoffee.com)Needles make me squeem. When my anesthesiologist began prepping my HAND for the IV, I just shouted “WHAT are you doing?!”

I *politely* requested he use the underneath of my elbow (<— does that body part have a name? I’ve never had to refer to the “underside of my elbow” before..)

I woke up feeling alright. No major pain or nausea, and I was able to go home later that night after recovering in the pediatric unit. A Sex & the City marathon was playing (how appropriate!) and my parents brought me a peanut butter smoothie to fill my empty belly.

I just have to say a public THANK YOU to my amazing supportive parents. Two of the most caring and generous people, I am blessed to call Mom & Dad. I love you so much :)

The parents (stronglikemycoffee.com)

During our week in the city, we balanced Healthy Choices and Happy Choices. The latter would be splurges on ice cream, cocktails, and special dinners because…..well, because WE CAN.

My parents and I are all glad to be home and return to normal, healthy home-cooking. One saving grace was staying at an apartment with a kitchen. We didn’t have to rely on restaurants for ALL meals and snacks (although stocking a kitchen in Manhattan is still pretty damn pricey).

We packed a fruit and hummus picnic to take to the always-gorgeous Bryant Park:

Bryant Park Picnic in spring (stronglikemycoffee.com)Obviously the water is mine ;)

We made pretty parfaits to fuel our walk through Central Park with yogurt, banana slices, apple chunks, and a crumbled Toasted Nuts & Cranberry Luna bar.

Breakfast parfait on vacation (stronglikemycoffee.com)

We made a Whole Foods stop for movie snacks, where I picked out some delicious “Cacao Blueberry Raison Coconut Almond” clusters. Should be pretty easy to recreate…every ingredient is in the title. :)

Can’t finish this New York recap without mentioning the 9/11 Memorial Museum. By Friday, I was feeling good enough to trek down to the newly-opened museum. It is located underground, directly below the sights of the twin towers. Several layers include actual architecture from the buildings, thrashed fire engines, video and audio clips, and thousands of pictures from the day that our nation will never forget.

9-11 Memorial Museum Manhattan (stronglikemycoffee.com)

And that concludes this New York trip. Tomorrow morning we reunite with LA Fitness. Can’t wait to get sweaty again :) I shall bring you many recipes and workouts soon!

A Carrie Bradshaw Day

Today’s goal when we awoke? Spot a celebrity. We were bound for Central Park. Magazines and tabloids snap shots of exercising starlets there all the time…
I had my eyes peeled for Katie Holmes, Donald Trump, or at least an Olsen twin. No luck on this chilly Monday. We did see a Zack Galifinakis look-alike though…. so that’s something.

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I harnessed my inner Carrie Bradshaw today, forgoing my flat iron for some French braid waves. I adore Sex & the City ever since E! Network started airing reruns during my long treadmill sessons :) (My favorite is Charlotte.) Today’s Carrie hair inspired another Carrie favorite: my first Cosmo.
But first, back to our Central Park stroll.

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My parents and I entered the park next to The Dakota, at Strawberry Fields. We followed the pathways through the enormous park next to lakes, ponds, playgrounds and sports fields. When we came upon the Jackie Onassis Reservoir, I was ready to RUN!

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I came prepared with some Nikes!
The jogging track around the perimeter of the lake is about 1.58 miles, and I cruised for 3 laps while my parents found a coffee cart. ( Now you know where my obsession comes from!) The loop was full of other joggers and walkers. I plan to return tomorrow to squeeze in a couple more laps before my consultation with my surgeons. Central Park is so GREEN, I just want to enjoy it as much as I can!

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(Yes, I wear my purple pants a lot. Can you tell I like them?)
We used the Map My walk app again as we covered ground around Central Park, Upper Manhattan, and along the Hudson River. Add another 17 miles to the vacation total. We are on a roll! Walking everywhere is a great way to get some exercise on vacation, and in New York it’s often faster than driving anyways. You can also avoid the cab-induced car sickness. Triple win!

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After a snack we walked westward to the Hudson River. Riverside park has a boardwalk out over the water which was disappointingly brown today.
We were ready to take a break from walking, sit in a cafe and order some coffees. (Yes, we have an addiction. No, we don’t want to fix it.) “The Great American Health Bar” boasted espresso, coffee and cappuccinos in its windows – perfect. We were seated at a table and given a menu. I picked an Almondcchino, & my dad picked a Mint Mochacchino. When the server took our orders, he said we could not stay for coffee because they had a $10 per person minimum. He literally grabbed our menus back and picked up our silverware. I guess that was our queue to leave….
No worries, Cafe Europa let us make our simple order and we were caffeinated in no time ;)
By 6:00 we were ready for a cocktail and dinner. Since I’d turned 21 at school this year, my parents and I hadn’t properly celebrated with a drink together! At Delta, a Cajun bar & restaurant, we toasted to another successful semester.

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I knew that I wanted to try a Cosmo at some point on our New York City ” vacation” because of Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha, and Miranda’s infamous girls nights out. The lime & white cranberry made this one a little tart, I loved every sip!

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And here I sit in my apartment blogging. What a very Carrie way to end the day. :)

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