Workout Recap: Week 10

Compared to last week’s run in a thunderstorm and unexpectedly hitting my 15k run milestone, this week was pretty tame. I did an upper body gym session on Monday, leg day on Thursday, and a nice quick 5k on a snowy trail on Saturday morning. I also tried my hand at making apple chips, which were a success, and made some more cocoa date balls to try and offset my craving for baked goods that inevitably comes with this season.

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The finished apple chips. They were gobbled up very quickly!

Monday: Chest/Triceps/Shoulders

I was back at the big-league bench press this week and was able to add a little bit more weight to the bar. I still have a fair ways to go to reach my goal of benching 100 lbs (I’m currently able to bench 3×7 @ 60 lbs) but I still have 5 months to go before my goal deadline and I think I should be able to make it!

Workout:
5 minute warm-up on the treadmill
Bench press
Incline flyes
Lying dumbbell triceps extensions
One arm rows + kickbacks
Cable rope triceps pulldowns
Seated dumbbell shoulder press
Front raises
5 minute cool-down on the treadmill

Thursday: Leg Day

I was able to get a rack this time around instead of using the Smith machine. It was definitely harder! I don’t think I fully appreciated being able to push back against the Smith machine with my heels the last time around until I couldn’t take advantage of it this week. I was able to do a full four sets of 12 reps at 65 lbs this week, so I don’t think I’ve been challenging myself enough with these. I’m going to be stepping up the weight a fair bit next time to make sure I reach my goal of 150 lbs on time. I also tried out Bosu ball lunges thinking that it would be a nice way to challenge those support muscles while I lunge. Well it was a challenge alright! I almost fell over multiple times but managed to mostly save face. They were much more challenging than I was expecting and I’m looking forward to getting better at them!

Workout:
5 minute warm-up on the treadmill
Squats
Seated calf raises
Hip adductors
Hip abductors
Deadlifts
Bosu ball lunges
Kettle bell swings

Saturday: Morning Run in the Snow
5km – 28:12 (5:37/km)

It’s finally snowed here in Southern Ontario!! This may be bad news for some, but I’m one of those people who can’t wait for it to snow once October/November rolls around. I am a little concerned that with the snow will come some slippery conditions for running, but this also means that I have an excuse to go into the running store to get more winter gear!

There was only a little bit of snow on the ground Saturday morning so it wasn’t too slippery. I could feel the snow slip a little bit under my toe when I pushed off, but it was no worse than running on mostly wet sand. I did half of my run on a nearby trail so that I could soak in the winter wonderland view.

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On Sunday it snowed most of the day so we have even more snow on the ground now and I’m really hoping that it will stick around for Christmas! All this snow also means that it’s almost snowboarding and skating season! The pond down the street hasn’t totally frozen over yet, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it won’t be long now. It’s always so much fun to throw on a pair of skates and go whisking about for an hour or so.

What are your favourite wintertime activities?

What’s your secret to staying warm while enjoying the snow?

 

 

15k and a Run Through the Rain

I had a very interesting week running-wise this past week. I swapped out one of my gym nights for a quick run after work and ended up running in the middle of the pouring rain and a thunderstorm! In December! I didn’t even know that was possible. Then on Saturday I set out for my usual morning run and half-jokingly set myself a turnaround point that was very far down the road, which I actually made it to, and surprised myself by finishing my first ever 15k!

It’s also beginning to feel a little more like Christmas. The temperature, though still a little warmer than I’d like, is gradually getting colder which means that it’s more likely any precipitation will be snow (hooray!) and people in the neighbourhood have started putting up their lights and it looks really pretty at night. I mailed out all my Christmas cards on Saturday and have one more present to buy before I can check that off my list. I have also begun to consume large amounts of egg nog, which may pose a problem for my goal of eating healthy haha.

The downside of the weather turning cold is that I’ve realized that I have very little winter running gear. I have a couple of pairs of thicker leggings, a nice jacket that has served me pretty well so far, and some thin gloves, but I don’t think they’ll be a match for the full force of the Canadian winter. I’m hoping to get a bunch of winter running gear for Christmas, but I need to figure out what to ask for first. I’m thinking I’d like to get a buff that I can wear as a scarf or ear warmer, and some warmer leggings, but beyond that I’m kind of stumped. I don’t like carrying around extra layers that I’ve pulled off when I’m running so I need to find things that are lightweight, and wicking so that I don’t have to carry my whole closet with me haha. Another thing I need to figure out soon is how I’m going to run outside when it’s icy out. Any suggestions?

Monday: Back, biceps, and shoulders

My assisted pull-up is getting stronger and stronger! I’m almost ready to take another 5 lbs off the counterbalance, which means I’ll be another 5 lbs closer to my goal of an unassisted pull-up (and to my goal of a muscle-up!). I’m still having some grip issues, especially on back days I’ve notice. I think it might be because the pull-ups take a lot of strength to hold myself up, but all I can do is keep working at it and hope it catches up in time for my deadlift goal.

Workout:
5 minute warm-up on the treadmill
Assisted pull-ups
One arm rows
Wide-grip lat pull downs
Seated cable rows
Upright rear delt row
Straight leg deadlift
Bent over reverse flies
Front raises

Wednesday: Thunder Run
3.94km – 20:24 (5:11/km)

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Me in my soaking wet gear. My hat was literally dripping water.

This run was slightly terrifying and the fastest I think I may have ever run, at least recently haha. I got home from work and immediately headed out for a run. It was already starting to rain by the time I started and as I headed out it started to get heavier and heavier. I tried my best to avoid the puddles wherever I could, but it’s really hard to see puddles in the dark.

 

As I was approaching the point where I had planned to turn around there was a big flash of light in the sky behind the houses I was running past. “That was weird,” I thought to myself “that almost looked like lightning.” I dismissed the thought though, because there’s no way there would be a thunderstorm at the beginning of December. Even though I didn’t think it could be lightning I still kind of kept an ear out for thunder, but I never heard anything. Nonetheless I turned around, just in case.

A couple minutes later, another flash lit up the sky. I knew without a doubt then that it was definitely lightning in December. Sure enough a few seconds later there was an ominous rumble of thunder. I picked up the pace, regretting that I had gotten so far from home and still had to make my way back.

img_3986I continued to run back to my house as a couple more lightning flashes lit up the sky and I started counting the seconds between the lightning and the thunder, really hoping I could make it home before the storm was right over me. At this point I was running as fast as I felt I could without sprinting down the sidewalk, not bothering at all to try and avoid puddles. I just wanted to get home without getting fried!

I made it home just fine, though I did run right up to the door when I usually stop running at the top of my block, to give myself a bit of a cool down. I was absolutely drenched, but not electrocuted, and I logged my fastest pace ever: 5:11/km (with a pace of 5:08/km for the last two kilometres on the way home).

Saturday: Surprise 15k Run
15.2km – 1h39 (6:31/km)

If this run taught me nothing else about myself, it is that I’m ridiculously stubborn sometimes (which, really, I should have already known haha). As I mentioned above, when I set out for this run I picked a point that was very far down the road I would be running on that would allow me to head north on a road and create a giant loop back to my house, without actually thinking that I would make it that far. I had run down this road two weeks ago and gotten only about halfway to this turning point so I figured that I would just gradually work my way towards this turn and eventually get to run the whole big loop.

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This was the elevation for my run.

The reality of it was that the way out was very hilly. Not nicely rolling hills with a gradual incline, but unpleasant rolling hills that were steep, had a short downhill followed by another steep uphill. Every time I thought about turning around before my turn off, I thought about having to run all those hills again, said “no way” and kept going.

The giant, long, crazy steep hills I ended up having to climb when I got to my turn off was probably worse than having to repeat the other hills (apparently I have a very flawed memory for the steepness of hills and never remember how bad they are until I’m already climbing up them) but there was no way I was turning around. See? Stubborn as heck.

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My mid-run snack, which definitely helped me not die.

Once I got to the top of the hill(s) (which required a couple of stints of walking) I was able to run the whole rest of the way home. The top of the hill was fairly flat, with only a few gently rolling hills, and then I had a nice long downhill and some flat ground to finish off my run. It was a nice change from all the uphills I’d had to do, and a large relief for my body, which by this time was pretty sore, my ankles and hips in particular (my knees joined in later in the day).

 

 

I wasn’t sure how long the whole route was since I hadn’t measured it out beforehand so I was surprised and crazy happy to find out that I’d done a full 15km when I finally got home and measured it out! I have now conquered that milestone and it will be onto the next! The weird thing is that I felt like I could have kept running longer too, as long as there weren’t any more steep uphills! However, judging by the state of my body later in the day, I should probably be a little bit more careful about tackling long distance milestones out of the blue.

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I had this amazing view at 11k. It helped keep my spirits up.

I think this week I’ll probably go for a single, shorter run to try and give my lower body a bit of a break, as my joints are still feeling a little stiff. I really don’t want to injure myself and am going to play it safe so that I can keep running in the weeks to come!

Have you ever unexpectedly reached a milestone? 

What kind of winter running gear do you wear?

How do you stay safe while running outside in icy conditions?

Recipe: Hasselback Chicken with Basil, Tomatoes, and Mozzarella

This recipe was so incredibly easy to put together, you don’t even need any instructions, all you need is a picture of this delicious meal. I saw a photo on Pinterest a while ago of this recipe and it looked so tasty and so simple to put together that it’s been stuck in my mind ever since.

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The only ingredients you need are:

  • Chicken breasts
  • Tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes for a little sweetness)
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Mozzarella
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The prep is dead simple. You cut slices of mozzarella and tomatoes and separate the basil leaves from the stem. Then you cut slices into your chicken breasts width-wise, making sure not to cut all the way through and put them into a baking dish. After you’ve cut the slices in the chicken breast, you stuff a piece each of mozzarella and tomato and a basil leaf into each slice, drizzle some oil, sprinkle salt and pepper to taste, toss the dish (not literally) into the oven and cook them until they’re done!

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This is what they looked like before going into the oven

I cooked mine at 400F to make sure that mozzarella was nice and melty and it took about 50 minutes for the chicken to be cooked through and golden brown on top. You can do more or fewer slices into your chicken breasts, depending on how much of the good stuff you want to eat. These babies are pretty much a meal in one for me, all I needed was a little extra veggies on the side!

I would definitely recommend them!

What’s your favourite low/no-effort meal?

Recipe: Cocoa Date Balls

This week I had a little more success in picking a “healthy” dessert that was actually close to being healthy. These date balls have just three ingredients (dates, nuts, and cocoa powder), are super duper easy to throw together, and they taste like a real dessert. Which of course made it very difficult to not eat the whole batch in one go haha.

img_3933 Continue reading “Recipe: Cocoa Date Balls”

Recipe: Breakfast Egg Muffins

I am constantly on the hunt for things to eat for breakfast that are healthy, tasty, and have a bunch of protein in them to keep me feeling full and awake until I can eat my next snack/meal. Some of my favourites are cottage cheese with fruit/nuts, oatmeal, toast with avocado and tomato, and of course eggs in any form. A few months ago I started a new job which completely threw my leisurely morning routine out the window and I don’t have much time in the morning to make things that take a while (like eggs), so when I found Averie Cooks’ recipe for these cute little egg/omelet muffins that you could heat up in the microwave I knew I had to try them. Continue reading “Recipe: Breakfast Egg Muffins”

Weekly Update #4: A ‘Lazy’ Week

This week was a bit of a wash fitness-wise, thanks to a mad dash to get my Halloween costume ready for Saturday night, so this is going to be a pretty short update. Because I didn’t go to the gym much this week (only one day out of my goal of three!) I wasn’t able to see if I’d shaken off my funk from last week. I did get to thinking, however, that my funk might be partially due to a lack of solid goals so I’m going to spend some time this upcoming week planning some goals that I can work towards and see if that helps.

Monday: Back, Biceps, and Shoulders

My head felt mostly in the game on Monday and I was able to have a pretty good focus on what I was doing. I had to wait for some of the machines that I wanted to use which left me having to think of another exercise to do on the spot while I waited. Overall a pretty good workout. I did manage to move up to 3×8 @ 40 lbs for my military press! Continue reading “Weekly Update #4: A ‘Lazy’ Week”

Weekly Update #3

I made my target of three workouts again this week, but I had a hard time motivating myself or getting really excited about being at the gym, which is abnormal for me. I know some people find it really hard to get themselves to the gym, but I’m not usually one of those people. Wednesday was a little closer to normal, I was really itching to get to the gym during the day, but when I got there all the wind kind of left my sails. Hopefully I can either shake this funk or figure out what’s causing it so I can get back to feeling excited about my workouts.

Monday: Chest & Shoulders

I had a really hard time getting my head in the game today. I knew I was going to the gym but couldn’t decide which muscle group I wanted to work on. I didn’t want to do a big leg workout because there were still some muscle groups that I wanted to hit before starting my cycle over (leg workouts always signal the start of a workout cycle for me because it’s such a tiring workout). Triceps were out because they were still really sore from last week (I really think I might have overdone it and given myself a bit of an injury so I’m giving them a thorough rest before targeting them again). Continue reading “Weekly Update #3”

Initial thoughts

Well, today was the second day of my new, rather (read: very) intense training program, and I am already not keen on the food. The diet portion of this training program is very strict and involves eating only fish, steak, chicken, rice, broccoli, sweet potato, egg whites, and oats six or seven times per day.

The main thing that is causing me grief with this diet is the amount of time it takes to prep six meals a day, for seven days a week and following closely behind that is how bland the food is. I didn’t think it would be a huge problem because I usually don’t put a whole lot of seasoning in my food, but just these two days have been kind of brutal. I’m definitely going to have to up my spice and seasoning game if I want to keep eating these foods for the next three months. Continue reading “Initial thoughts”