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Body Weight & Plyometrics Circuit

I’m a big fan of all the activity taking place in August so far. I’ve uncharacteristically avoided the gym in favor of outdoor exercise each morning and evening. After work, I take a walk/run around the neighborhoods and enjoy all the sunshine I can. My mom has joined me a couple times and it’s a welcome dose of nature after sitting in an office for 9 hours. Lemon water for days….

Body Weight and Plyometric Circuit workout! Blog Post --> Stronglikemycoffee.com

This morning I blasted out a “Body Weight & Plyometric Circuit” that I’ll share with you! It took 35 minutes in the backyard, all done before the sun woke up :)

Plyometrics are exercises that incorporate jumping and explosive movement, using intensity and power for a short duration. The shock landing forces muscle contractions and aids in strengthening ankle, knee and hip joints (not recommended for people prone to joint pain/injury.) It’s in-between a strength workout and a HIIT workout.

 Body Weight & Plyometrics Circuit: 4 Rounds of 8 exercises

I set a HIIT timer (using the “Seconds” app) to complete 35 seconds of each exercise followed by 25 seconds rest.

*You will need a jumprope and mat. You can also add light weights for the lunges and squat jumps*

Body Weight & Plyometrics Circuit Blog Post from Stronglikemycoffee.com

Lately, I prefer to incorporate body weight exercise over weight lifting. At this stage of the game, I am concerned with being toned, not “making gains.” I want to use the muscles I have without building any more if that makes sense.

After 32 minutes of the circuit, my mom and I walked a cooldown lap around the neighborhood as the sun just started to light things up. We both agreed that we LOVE being outside at dawn and at dusk. Something about the glowy lighting. Sunrise runs are UNBEATABLE, nevermind the 4:30 wake up call. I will miss my sunrise runs with my high school teammate and good friend Matt. We’ve been doing summer cross country training together for six years now!

August Workouts and Summer Reads blog post on --> Stronglikemycoffee.com

Sweaty selfie!

 Summer Reads:

Another August trend I’ve been loving is trading an evening epidsode of House Hunter’s for some new novels I just bought. A friend at work suggested some titles including Beautiful Disaster and I already can’t wait to read it’s sequel, Walking Disaster.

Summer Reads on the blog --> Stronglikemycoffee.com

And the rest of August won’t be slowing down. Time for this morning’s balanced breakfast: oats with flaxseed, blueberries, and half a banana. You already know the coffee’s been loooong gone. ;)

Favorite summer workout and/or summer read…GO!

Week #2: Sugar Withdrawals, Coordinating Post-its, and Healthy Hair.

A little hodgepodge update on my Week #2 of Jamie Eason’s LiveFit Program! I have to say the hardest part is the clean-eating meal plan. The workouts are the fun part…I LOVE my afternoons in the gym.

But this girl has a sweet tooth. As per the clean-eating dietary guidelines, the only sugar my body consumes is from fruits and vegetables. I’ve been processed-food free for 11 days (do I get a pin or something?) and I can attest to the fact that my body is going through (refined) sugar withdrawals.

Last night I craved chocolate SO BADLY that I tried to concoct my own “clean” mug cake…..it turned out very poorly. :(

***My saving grace has been Quest Bars! They are primarily whey protein isolate, nuts, cocoa, stevia, and pre-biotic fiber.

Clean eating...My food is prettier than your food. (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Because we are the generation of convenience, our bodies have been nourished with processed and chemicalized foods for most of our lives. GMOs, preservatives, additives, refined sugars, corn syrups and the infamous red dye #3 have invaded our once-nutritious food products. Clean eating eliminates unnatural products from our diet, which rules out about 80% of the products in today’s grocery store (I made that percentage up but I’m assuming it’s pretty close…).

Our bodies are now hardwired to crave quick carbs (sugar), particularly when we are bored, tired, or stressed. It takes 21 days to make and break a habit….I’m over half way there. No cheating now!! I’m banking on the fact that in 10 more days my body won’t crave chocolate anymore. Wishful thinking, right? ;)

Let’s talk about workouts.

Workout Post its (stronglikemycoffee.com)

This was too cute not to get a picture of. Kerri and I both write down our strength exercises on post-its that are conveniently stuck to our water bottles. When we hit the gym together the other morning, we noticed that my blue water bottle/pink post-it combo perfectly complimented her pink bottle/blue note. Almost like we planned it right?

Today was only my second time venturing into the leg machines in my campus gym because I tend to avoid the weight room during crowded times. **My leg workouts usually consist of squats, lunges, running, stairs and arc trainer sessions.** Day 11 of the LiveFit program had the leg press, leg curl, leg extension, and calf machines on the menu. After 3 sets on the leg press, I decided to test myself for a set at my max weight. I did 12 reps of 190 pounds. Next week 200! These quads are on fire ;)

Oh I decided to make my hair healthier too! I chopped off a good 6 inches for a new fresh start. I haven’t had any recent picture opportunities so I settled for a selfie. I’m sorry.

Short Hair Don't Care (stronglikemycoffee.com) Lastly I wanted to mention my kickboxing class because it’s been another source of inspiration for my healthy lifestyle. Kerri and I signed up for the kickboxing PE class so that we would have a guaranteed workout together a couple times a week. Jimmy the istructor is pretty cool but this week we have substitutes. Today, a woman who has been a fitness instructor for 33 years and owns her own fitness studio took over. She was so HAPPY and always smiling at herself in the mirror while she taught. I couldn’t help but smile too! Who knows, maybe that will be me in thirty years :)

And as a firm believer that music is my single most powerful source of workout motivation, I will leave you with the latest and greatest on my iPod:

Love the line “take the curve, you may be stronger than you know.” Told myself that on the Leg Press machine today. Ha!

LiveFit: A New Goal

Settle in, this is going to be a long one. I’ve got a lot to say about my recent fitness-enlightenment.

This amazing thing happened two days ago while I was purusing some health and fitness blogs, like I tend to do when I’m procrastinating my finance homework. I found my new fitness goal. I have been aimlessly searching for a new source of motivation for the past month when my marathon training came to a (successful) end. Some days I would run laps around the field outside my apartment. Other times I would complete a few rounds of strength circuits. Weekends are full of hiking and biking. But there was no PURPOSE. I had no specific goal to reach for, and that really affected my overall mood and fitness.

hotel workout

One fateful link led me to Jamie Eason’s LiveFit Program from Bodybuilding.com. (The 15-minute introductory video had me instantly hooked. Which I subsequently sent to my mom, who was instantly hooked. Which I’ve now shared with you. Prepare to be hooked.) Jamie Eason is gorgeous, her body is incredible (I will sacrifice peanut butter for those abs), and her attitude was completely inspirational.

What had me sold: it’s not just workouts. The “3×3” philosophy includes Workouts, Nutrition Plan, and Supplementation Plan. My intial introduction sent me into hours and hours of research on supplementation, meal prepping, clean eating, clean recipes, weight training and muscle recovery. THIS IS THE STUFF I LOVE. Learning about metabolic functions/nutritional science/macros is pure fun for me. A lot of this information was not new to me, however I’ve never experimented with supplementation, meal prep or complete 100% clean eating.

As per the program’s requirements: cutting out processed foods, NOW. I am giving up my beloved Luna Bars, Clif Bars, and even the emergency Nature Valley Bars. (And replacing them with Quest Bars! Much more expensive but a much cleaner alternative.) I’ve decided to replace my powdered coffee creamer with unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Jamie made it very clear that her abs are made in the kitchen. You could have abs of steel, but if they are hidden underneath a layer of “cushion” then no amount of russian-twists are going to expose them. Plus, the chemical and preservative content of most processed foods leads to bloating and retained water (mainly due to high sodium content). So I solemnly swear that by committing to the program, I will follow a clean-eating lifestyle. All natural, whole, unprocessed foods. Fortunately there are SO many great natural foods.

Clean Eating collage (stronglikemycoffee.com)

I’m also exceptionally excited to try out clean-eating and protein-packed recipes from bodybuilding.com like the sweet potato protein pizza crust, which I found on Pinterest. *Naturally I’ve followed Jamie on Pinterest and Facebook. We’re basically friends now ;)

Nutrition Education (stronglikemycoffee.com)Another minor problemo…

Jamie does not support cardio in Phase 1 of the training. She believes we are solely focusing on building muscle and supporting our physique through weight training and diet. She also admits that she HATES cardio and can’t stand running. Guess what? I LOVE CARDIO. RUNNING IS MY FAVORITE THING TO DO. I do it for fun. I need to run. I am grumpy and unpleasant if I don’t. Running makes me feel confident and fit, and the endorphins are my drug.

Hotel room treadmill...you can still stay fit and feel good on vacation (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Needless to say I will continue my cardio exercise because I believe that it is an important part of my life and I can sustain enough energy to follow both the weight training program and cardio.

Now that I’m typing this out, I realized I am going to break it up into multiple posts. Next I will cover my thoughts and experience with supplementation, meal prepping, workout routines, clean recipes, and other goodies like carbs, alcohol, & cheat meals. (<—- including that list just made me accountable for keeping up the blog posts!) I’ll also share my progress and thoughts on the program :)

Fitness, for me, is a way of becoming confident and happy. I love the feeling of accomplishing something. Exercise gives me the opportunity to feel this every day.

Oh and I should note that I am in no way trying to become a “body builder.” My goal with this is to achieve a completely clean diet, commitment to build muscle, and see how my body transforms in 12 weeks. I will never be perfect, I know. I’m just trying to be the BEST I can be. I want something to give all of my energy to and see the pay off.

Keith Urban put it perfectly. And I have no shame (see what I did there? Listen to the song & you will..) that I played this song exactly eleven times during my run last night. You should turn the volume up way too high for this one:

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