Category Archives: Exercise

Controlled By Routine

Good Morning everyone! Another lengthy post ahead… 😀

I went on a run this morning despite the on and off rain we have been experiencing since yesterday. It is quite warm out at least, and I ran in shorts and short sleeve, more evidence that we are approaching the wondrous warm weather 🙂 Running the rain (as long as it’s not too cold!) always makes me feel intense, kind of bad ass? Haha, I am slightly embarrassed to admit that but I usually feel really powerful in this kind of weather, which I did today.

(source of picture)

I completed 9 miles in 1 hour and 10 minutes and felt increasingly more energized as the distance went by. Like I mentioned yesterday, I listened to South of Broad by Patrick Conroy on my iPod and once again, made the time go by quite fast. This book is really compelling so far and some of the descriptions make me want to move to the South pronto!

On my run this morning I realized how much I love working out in the early morning, to start my day and to get it over with the rest of the day. I usually do enjoy my workouts, but I still like to complete them, shower and then do whatever else I need to do without a workout impending on my thoughts. This goes along with my addiction to exercising, but I also can’t remember the last time I didn’t work out in the morning- this isn’t at the crack of dawn though! I don’t have class until 11:15 each day so I go for a run/gym around 7:30 which gives me plenty of time to shower after and get ready for the day.

Reflecting on this workout routing allows me to see how much I am love, depend on and am attached to my daily routine. I get up, workout, sort of eat breakfast, go to class, have an hour to do work until lunch, eat lunch, go to my remaining classes, blog, or do homework the rest of the afternoon depending on the day, go to dinner or have dinner in my room, go on the computer a bit more/watch tv, and then go to bed preferably before 10:30 pm. Yep, not exactly a thrilling routine but one that I have become used to and when this schedule is disturbed, or a requirement comes up that was unexpected, my anxiety flourishes, I am irritated and cannot handle the change well.

I can understand now that my routine provides a sense of “comfort” for myself, which goes right along with desiring to have complete control over what I eat/when I eat, exercising, and how my own body looks. I get truly nervous and upset when any part of my routine is disturbed. For example, if I have an unexpected meeting around the time I usually have lunch, I get pissed because my usual lunch time has to change, and I have to maneuver what I am going to eat, or if I have to bring it with me, etc.

Last summer, I would wake up run/workout, eat fruit for breakfast, get anxious if I ate anything else, pack my lunch (salad, no fat sources, egg whites), go to the beach (if I was not working that day), come home and try not to snack until dinner (I always did because duh, I was hungry) which would include a large sweet potato with Greek yogurt, an apple and spinach. I would try not to eat dinner before 7:30 because I feared being hungry before going to bed. Well why not just eat something then right? Nooo because that would be a disturbance in my schedule of course!

My older brother Tucker was living with us for a few weeks last summer and sometimes he liked to have friends over, which gasp, coincided with my dinner time. I didn’t like eating in front of anyone besides my family so I would get so angry when someone unexpectedly came over and disrupted me. I felt I was being judged by his friends, which was not true at all, and they are people I have known for years. They probably couldn’t care less what I was doing and came over to see Tucker, not to see what I was eating. I was so crazed at that point and my attitude lead my brother and I to fight a lot last summer, something I truly regret. I hope he understands it was not completely about him, and that any changes to my daily routine were simply not allowed with me.

Another story:  as an RA, emergencies occur usually on the weekends and in the middle of the night which require me to get up. “OH NO! I’m going to miss out on my usual 8-9 hours, my workout the next morning is not going to be as successful, I am going to be tired the rest of the day, and my eating will be off!” During these incidents I turn into an unpleasant bitch, as if the world is revolving around me and I am the only one that is affected by a disturbance in sleep. However, the other members of my staff obviously have to get up too and they put on a smile and deal with the situation in a necessary fashion.

 

We had to clear these boxes in the middle of the night after move-in day! Fire Safety Issues

This is all about food, which I have come to realize and can admit to. I want to eat the food that I want to eat, when I want it, and in the environment of my choice. This is why going out to a restaurant that is unfamiliar causes me to become a nervous wreck. What if there is nothing I want to eat? Or what if everything is smothered in butter/oil? What if we have to wait and I have to eat later in the evening then I want to? I might still be hungry after eating! <– These are all the thoughts plaguing me when I go out to eat and prevents me from enjoying the company I am with and the chance to be in a new environment trying something new. All I can think of is how this unfamiliar food and change in my routine is going to make me FAT.

What a way to live right? No, this needs to stop and I think recognizing this is a necessary first step. Again, this goes along with my addiction to exercise and my anxiety when I take a day off. Resting for a day is a change in my intensive workout schedule, and my irrational thinking= I will lose everything I have worked for, lose muscle, gain fat, blah blah blah. For so long I have believed that my controlling my routine and every aspect of my life would make me happier, but in fact, holding on to my “schedule” has increasingly upset me and make me cling to even more. I am petrified of letting go of this routine but know I need to.

Perhaps people can relate to this? Does anyone else turn into an irrational bitch if something is slightly off? I do not think this is a great quality to have at all, and “going with the flow” is a goal of mine I am determined to achieve and make a peace of mind with my once controlling schedule. 🙂

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Filed under Confession, Disorded Thoughts, Disordered Eating, Exercise, Recovery, Running, Serious Stuff, Weight

Addicted to Exercise?

Good afternoon! My attempts at doing homework today have been a large fail. After lunch, I drove my car to my favorite location to do work, Barnes and Noble, and managed to take fall asleep in my car for a half hour before waking up to the sound of someone’s car alarm going off next to me.

I have finally moved my bum into Barnes and Noble to do work, but I am writing this post instead because it is a topic that I need to talk about, especially after I am feeling today! This is my story of compulsive exercising and is on my mind right now. I am taking a “rest” from working out today and I am flooded with anxiety.

I like to think of myself as an athlete. What defines someone as an “athlete” depends on the opinion of the person you are asking. I consider myself one because I work very hard to stay in shape, usually have a specific fitness goal in mind, and participate in running races and triathlons to prove the physical ability I have worked so hard to attain.

There are days that training is exhausting. Tempo runs and interval work, difficult strength training day, and even those that are both mentally and physically tiring because your mind is simply not into the workout and need to recover. These are the days where listening to your body is vital, it asking you to take a break. Recovery and rest days are the major component to a successful, healthy performance.

During recovery, our bodies replenish energy stores and repair tissues that have been damaged during physical activity. This is how muscles are built up and toned, and how a person’s endurance is improved. Without sufficient time to repair, the body will continue to breakdown from intensive exercise and can lead you very susceptible to injuries. This seems pretty obvious; if you feel a twinge of pain in your knee and continue to run on it, the pain will get much worse and could leave you with an even worse injury.

It doesn’t matter if you are a professional athlete, a person who workouts out every so often, a casual runner with no specific goal in mind, everyone needs to rest once in awhile! Makes sense right? Well, I need to listen to my own preaching on this!

This morning I woke up around 9:15 after getting about 10 glorious hours of sleep. After that amount of time I should have felt refreshed and roaring to get my day started. Instead, my alarm went off and I felt as I often do, sleepy and my whole body is exhausted from the workout the day before. Despite this physical feeling, I did my usual routine of coffee and breakfast and was getting ready for a run. Knowing the importance of a rest day and fighting against my own thoughts, allowed me to realize how much I didn’t want to run. It would have been “junk” miles, a distance pounded out with no benefit physically or mentally. I texted my friend Danielle instead and we went for an “easy” walk, which turned out to be 5 miles up and down hills. This is what I consider a rest day.

Getting what I consider to be enough exercise is something I achieve most days of the week. In my crazy mind, doing some kind of physical work for at least 60 minutes is necessary and 80 minutes is even better. Sometimes I will do a combination of things to meet this time criteria, running, spinning, elliptical, plyometrics, strength training, fitness classes, etc. For example during cross-country season, I would do about 40-50 minutes on the elliptical in the morning, and then practice later that day.

I have felt that it is no longer a choice, but an obligation. What is the fear behind this? Gaining weight of course! Without this exhausting amount of hard-core exercise every day, I will balloon, and lose everything I have worked so hard to achieve! For example, during last summer, the peak of my disordered eating, it was easy to mask my long runs, and two-a-day workouts with the excuse that I was training for the upcoming cross-country season. Although partly true, I was trying to keep my weight down/lose some. Here is the irrational side of my brain taking over the part I know that is not true. I have become addicted to exercise and become very anxious, uncomfortable and upset if I do not complete the “necessary” amount of exercise per day, at least 60 minutes of strenuous activity.

I know I meet the criteria of a compulsive exerciser, someone who feels they need exercise to maintain a peace of mind.

Warning Signs of a Compulsive Exerciser (Source)

  • You force yourself to exercise even if you don’t feel well- Check.
  • You almost never exercise for fun- Check.
  • Every time you exercise, you go as fast or hard as you can- Check.
  • You experience severe stress and anxiety if you miss a workout- Check.
  • You miss family obligations because you have to exercise- Check.
  • You calculate how much to exercise based on how much you eat- Check.
  • You can’t relax because you think you’re not burning calories- Check.
  • You worry that you’ll gain weight if you skip exercising for one day- Check!

Back to this morning, I took a 5-mile walk with my friend and was earlier contemplating going to the gym because I didn’t think a walk was enough. It is and it was a fabulous walk with my friend! But I can honestly say I cannot remember the last time I have not exercised, but it’s been YEARS.

Realizing how compulsive/messed up this is, I have forced myself to do no more activity the rest of the day. However, now the thoughts that I don’t need to eat as much food are creeping in. I mean why not just restrict a bit, then I will feel better, some of the suffocating exhausting will lessen. I mean obviously if I eat the same way as other days, I will gain weight. NO, this is not true! I must fight this, as backing off once in a while is NECESSARY. I need to scream this to myself to get it through my sometimes-thick head!

So how can I recover from this? It is a process, and “practicing what I preach” is certainly necessary. If I want to be the best athlete I can be, I need to rest, but can this be done with the suffocating anxiety that comes along with it?

One thing during the walk that did brighten my day was the first flowers I have seen of the season! Warm weather is on it’s way 🙂

I would love to hear suggestions, hints, and help from anyone on this subject! Can people relate, or perhaps once were able to?

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Filed under Confession, Disorded Thoughts, Disordered Eating, Exercise, Friends, Recovery, Serious Stuff, Uncategorized, Weight

Influenced Once Again- Oats in a Jar

Ahh, it is such a gorgeous day out! 54 degrees and sunny in Amherst, which feels balmy after this brutal winter we have all experienced 🙂 Spring is surely in the air. But HOLD UP… there will be a Winter Storm Warming in effect starting tomorrow night…. There are 2-4 inches of snow expected, not too much but winter just does not want to let go!

A little less of this...

How about a little less of this…^

AND MORE OF THIS!

This morning I went to the gym here at school and did 20 minutes of intervals on the elliptical. I set the incline at 15 and did a simple HIIT routine of going 35 seconds fast, and 25 seconds recovery for 5 minutes at level 12. Then I would recover for 2 minutes at level 10 and then repeat the sequence until the 20 minutes was up. This was pretty random but I wanted to get in some cardio before Kickboxing!

I have talked about this class before but want to mention it again because it’s one of my favorite group fitness classes. I am seriously the most uncoordinated person alive, so I was a bit apprehensive about trying this class at the beginning of the year in fear of looking like a GOON. Although I do punch right or kick left (when I am supposed to be doing the opposite! haha) I still get a great workout in and am always sore the next day! Especially in my back and arms, I’m not used to working them that way. Besides, everyone else is worried about if they’re doing the routine correctly and not lookin at you!

*Below the surface- I am constantly feeling self-conscious and that people are looking/staring at me, of course in a negative way. I feel like I am being judged all of the time, on my clothes, how my hair looks, makeup, acne, my height, and of course, my body. Although i am finally understanding this is not the case, I still can’t help feeling, “somebody’s watchin me!” (anyone know the song?!) I am working through this and I also have realized how much I look at other people. And I admit, I do my share of judging as well. Not necessarily something mean, but I make conclusions about people I see or talk to. I really need to get the heck over this, it’s rude and just not necessary. Of course I feel that people are looking at me, I’m lookin right back! Can anyone relate/have advice? I am not a mean person, actually quite nice 🙂 so I think I do this because I sometimes feel bad about myself.

Phew, sorry about that tangent! On to the title of this post….after my butt was kicked at Cardio KICK, I returned to my room where a fabulous breakfast awaited me! Overnight Oats in a Jar the blog world strikes again!!

Looks so nasty, tastes so good! Into almost empty jar of one of my favorite nut butters, Barney Butter’s Crunch Almond Butter, went:

  • 1/3 cup dry (not instant!) oats
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1 sliced medium banana
  • 1.5 tbs Chia seeds
  • Several dashes of cinnamon= i am addicted to cinnamon

Stir that baby up, put it in the fridge overnight (or for a few hours) so the liquid can be absorbed by the oats. Unscrew the cap the next day and try not to inhale it’s ugly wonderfulnous <– that’s a word, I swear.

Demolished! So good. There was probably about two tablespoons of almond butter left in the jar when I put the mixture, it was my best oatmeal concoction yet!

I have an appointment this afternoon, then a dinner date with the lovely Danielle!

Have a good day everyone, enjoy the weather if it’s nice where you are 😀

*Has anyone tried overnight oats in a jar? I’ll admit when I first heard of this in the blog world, I thought it sounded gross. How wrong I was.

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Filed under Awesome Bloggers, Below The Surface, Breakfast, Exercise, Favorite Products, Nut Butter, Product Review, Recipe

Motivating Music

Hi Readers!

I made a new page about important people in my life, to get to know me a bit better. Check it out if you would like! 🙂

I have my paper to finish and an exam later today so I knew I wanted to start my day out with a run. It gave me a chance to think about what I needed to do for the day, but also have some “me” time, and I knew it would feel great. At least that’s what I was telling myself. For some reason, the LAST thing I wanted to do was run today, just wasn’t feelin it. However, I knew once I got out there and finished, I would feel better, I don’t think I have ever regretted a workout.

Confession: I know a part of my sluggish feeling is not fueling before runs ( i have talked about this before but need to reiterate!). I KNOW i need to do this, but I am never hungry when i wake up, so I just slam some coffee down, pop in a piece of gum and go. My irrational thinking is that since I am not hungry, why eat…i’ll just “save” my calories for later. This is ridiculous, I know I need fuel for this sort of exercise and that my performance is better when I do. I had this meal before my race on Saturday and I felt great during that.

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Yum 😀

To give myself a kick in the butt to get going, I decided to run with music today. Sometimes I run with music, but for the last few months I have been listening to books while running instead. Let me tell you, it’s great! Especially when I’m listening to a good story, the time and miles zoom by. I finished Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult the other day, and am now listening to South of Broad by Patrick Conroy. Unfortunately, this book hasn’t exactly pulled me in yet so I figured the run would go even slower. At this point, music seemed the best option, and it really helped push me on the run!

It is safe for me to say that I like really ANY kind of music, so my playlists are all over the place. They range from current pop songs to country, oldies, etc. Today though, I decided to listen to the only band I consistently liked every song they have produced, Rascal Flatts!  Yes they’re country, and I know there are a lot of country music haters out there :p but this bad is fabulous. Most of there songs are upbeat, have catchy lyrics and don’t have that “twang” sound you often hear in country singers. I would loveee to go to one of their concerts soon too 😀

 

So Seductive :p

(Source)

I think I have about every song they have written on my iPod, so I just blasted them for my entire run.

Stats for the run: 7.1 miles, 55:00, which averages about 7:45 pace per mile. It was a very hilly run, so I bet some of that time contributes to me have sheer relief of being able to go downhill!

Here are the songs I listened to today (all Rascal Flatts):

  1. Here’s To You
  2. Life is a Highway
  3. Break Away
  4. Feels Like Today
  5. Backwards
  6. My Wish
  7. Me and my Gang
  8. Cool Thing
  9. No Reins
  10. Secret Smile
  11. Summer Nights
  12. Sunday Afternoon
  13. Why Wait
  14. Love You Out Loud

Although I most races without music, sometimes you just need that extra something to get you going!

*Do you run with music? Ever tried listening to a book? Or are you anti-ipod?

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Filed under Confession, Disorded Thoughts, Exercise, Favorite Foods, Favorite Products, Fuel, Running

Thursday’s Workout and Product Reviews

Thank you all so much very much for your encouraging comments on my last post. These sorts of posts and comments form others is helping me to purge my feelings, and recognize my old, irrational habits, ones I am letting go 🙂

Fitness is an important part of my life, so I want to share my recovery on this blog, but also discuss my workouts, tips and my training toward my Half- Marathon in May. I am re-discovering how much I love working out to make myself FEEL GREAT as opposed to losing weight and diminishing my body. The muscle I am finally developing is a plus too! 😀

On that note, this morning I had a great workout! I woke up at 7:00 and headed over to my school’s rec center. I began with a 15 minute warm-up on the elliptical at an easy pace. I then attended a 45 spinning class where the usual hills and sprints were a focus, and it was a heart-pumping good time!

I was in the mood for a good weight session too, so after the class I completed these two circuits and tried to work each part of my body.

Exercise Set 1: I went through this 3 times:

Squat w/ lateral raise 12-15 reps 15 pound DB
Renegade row 12 rows for each arm 15 pound DB
Plank hold 45 sec- 1 minute Body weight
Kettle ball Swing w/squat 12-15 reps 20 pound KB
Bicep curl in lung position 10 curls for each leg 12 pound DB

After the first two circuits I did a 2-minute cardio blast, to get my heart pumpin! I completed as many reps as possible in 30 seconds then moved on to the next move:

1.     Mountain climbers

2.     Burpees

3.     Squat jumps

4.     Jumping jacks with 5 pound weights in each hand

Once this was done I moved on to this circuit and went through it three times

Scissor crunches 30- 45 seconds Body weight
Chest press 12-15 reps 20 pound DB
Hamstring Roll-Ins 15 reps Body weight on ball
Tricep pull-down 15- 20 reps 40 pounds on machine
Oblique crunches 15 on each side Body weight

I repeated the same cardio blast as above after the first two circuits and did a whole lotta stretchin after this workout.

The gym at our school was built last year and I feel so blessed to have free access to this gorgeous place. It has so many fabulous offerings, such as tons of ellipticals, treadmills, bikes, arc trainers, rowing machines, two weight rooms, an indoor track, and a yummy smoothie bar! There are also three open rooms for group exercise classes, such as cardio kick, spinning, Zumba and others. Here are some pics!

I was oh-so-sexy sweaty after the combination of spinning and this weight routine, and quickly made my way back to my room, showered and had breakfast!

Once again the blogging world rears its influential head for my breakfast :p I had prepped overnight oats before heading to the gym so they were nice and ready by the time I ate them.

Mmm looked like baby food! 😉 The mix included: McCann’s “Quick and Easy” 5- Minute Steel Cut Oats, chia seeds, almond milk, a banana, Trader Joe’s Blueberry Jam, and a small dollop of Peanut Butter and Company- Cinnamon Raisin Swirl… a delicious mix!


It was my first time trying McCann’s Instant Steel Cut Oats, and I really enjoyed them! They maintained the heartier, nuttier texture that steel cut oats have and did not take 20- 30 minutes to cook on a stove top. This type absorbed the liquids nicely and was a tasty new try! I recommend these if you are short on time in the morning, but still like to enjoy this type over rolled or other instant kinds.

The jam from Trader Joe’s was also a great addition. It had sweet blueberries throughout the jam, yet the flavor was not too powerful, a nice fruity touch to the oatmeal!

I have three classes this afternoon and then my friend Danielle is picking me up to go to Whole Foods for Free Sample Night!! Yay for hoarding free food 🙂

I shall be recapping this amazing event later tonight. I hope everyone has an nice day!

Question: Has anyone tried this type of oatmeal before? Or any other interesting kinds you enjoy?

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Filed under Breakfast, Exercise, Fitness, Oatmeal, Product Review, Whole Foods