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Hi.

Welcome to my blog. I document my adventures in travel, wellness and navigating this wild world as a proud lesbian. Enjoy your stay!

Wellness & Weekly Workouts

Wellness & Weekly Workouts

Wellness

To me, wellness has many meanings. It's made up of our emotional, mental and physical selves and takes daily effort to keep in check. There are going to be days you're not in the mood - you're sick, you're tired, your back hurts, you just ate a giant meal - whatever, but consistency is key. Doing something everyday is what truly makes a difference (even if it's a tiny something).  

Ultimately, there are an infinite number of healthy habits one can practice but some of these are my personal favorites: Stop taking shortcuts. Move as much as possible. Stand instead of sitting. Take the long way around. Eat well. Sleep well. Relax your mind. Avoid negative energy. Pamper yourself.

And WORKOUT - not the stroll around the gym on your phone kind of workout but the, I'M GONNA DIE OR PASS OUT OR BOTH, kind of workout. Push yourself harder every time you move. A trainer once told me the first 8 reps of every set are just a warm up. The real progress comes during those last 2 when you're dying.

TAKE THE STAIRS | Always take the stairs and I mean, ALWAYS. If you must take an escalator walk on it. There's no shame in asking someone to move out of the way either. No elevators.

STRETCH | Stretch throughout the day. You can have a formal stretch in the morning or take a moment during the day while waiting in line, sitting at your desk or riding the bus.

EAT WELL | Prepare your food at home. That way you can ensure everything you put into your body is fresh and healthy. Buy healthy ingredients and try to use packaged items as little as possible. For example, when eating salads I sprinkle them with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. That's it - no salad dressing full of chemicals and preservatives. Shop around the edges of the grocery store where food is perishable and try to limit animal products as much as possible.

EAT OFTEN | Eat often but small portions are best. If you ask anyone who knows me, eating is my favorite thing in the whole world. My entire life revolves around my next meal. Generally, I eat multiple breakfasts, lunch, snacks throughout the day and two dinners if I'm working out. The idea is to keep your metabolism going. Starving yourself is NOT healthy and has the opposite effect. And diets don't work long term. Think, lifestyle.

CAYENNE PEPPER | Benefits of taking cayenne pepper are not exactly proven but I swear by it. Being pretty thin I started out taking the pills to get my blood moving and stay warm during the winter but they've transitioned into much more. When taking cayenne, I have more energy and a higher metabolism (which means I can eat MORE - yes!). 

SLEEP | Get your sleep. It's that simple. How much sleep do you need? Read this article about sleep needs based on your zodiac sign

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Work Me Out

Every week I try to get as much variety and intensity in my workouts as possible. But I'll admit, I'm not the best at creating new workouts from scratch. Increasing weight, frequency or adding new activities is always a good option though. Try things like paddle boarding, cycling, rock climbing or ax throwing - anything that'll get you moving (a little fun doesn't hurt either).

The key is to find activities you love and are convenient enough you'll stick with them. Consider joining groups or working out at home if hitting the gym isn't your thing. A few years back, I was super intimidated by the gym (especially the weight area) so I did my research, asked around for help and scheduled a few personal training sessions to get familiar with the equipment. And when in doubt, YouTube.

Here's where I'm at today:

YOGA | Yoga keeps me loose, calm and grounded. Typically, I get my yoga practice in as often as possible. Depending on who's teaching I'll attend 2-5 classes per week. I've really only been involved with vinyasa flow but there are so many other options available.

STRENGTH TRAINING | Strength training has become a wonderful addition to my weekly routine. Each week I focus on three areas: legs, arms and chest/back.

Leg Routine

Because of low back pain I tend to do two lighter leg routines each week instead of one intense workout (squats and lunges are not an option for me).

  1. Step Ups with Weights: 10x each leg, 17.5lbs

  2. Modified Burpee (using bench): 10x

    • Place hands on bench wider than shoulders, bend 90 degrees at the waist, spread legs wider than shoulders, jump legs back to modified plank and push back up to standing position keeping your body as straight as possible

  3. Plank Walkout: 12x

Repeat three times.

  1. Low Lunge Taps: 20x each leg

    • Begin in a low lunge, tap toe of back leg to heel of front leg as quickly as possible

  2. Wall Squats: 45 second hold

Repeat three times.

  1. Leg Extensions Single Leg: 6x each leg at 30lbs (low weight/four second hold)

  2. Leg Extensions Both Legs: 10x at 70lbs (higher weight)

  3. Leg Extensions Both Legs: 10x at 50lbs (medium weight)

  4. Leg Extensions Both Legs: 10x at 30lbs (low weight)

    • Complete 1-4 using the Leg Extension machine and 2-4 as quickly as possible

Repeat three times.

Arm Routine

Personally, once a week is adequate for arms. My arm routine is based on P90X and no equipment is needed other than free weights. My opinion is you'll see better results with higher weight/lower reps. It's pretty much impossible for women to get bulky so that's never a concern of mine. What's more of a concern is seeing women doing arm curls with 5 pound weights (stop being a pussy).

  1. SHOULDERS: Alternating Should Press: 16x at 12.5lbs

  2. BICEPS: In & Out Bicep Curls: 8x at 12.5lbs

  3. TRICEPS: Two-Arm Tricep Kickback: 8x at 10-12.5lbs

Repeat twice.

  1. SHOULDERS: Deep Swimmer's Press: 8x at 12.5lbs

  2. BICEPS: Full Supination Concentration Curls: 8x at 12.5lbs

  3. TRICEPS: Chair Dips: 10x

Repeat twice.

  1. SHOULDERS: Upright Rows: 8x at 12.5lbs

  2. BICEPS: Static Arm Curls: 8x each arm at 12.5lbs (sets of 4)

  3. TRICEPS: Flip-Grip Twist Tricep Kickback: 8x at 10-12.5lbs

Repeat twice.

  1. SHOULDERS: Seated Two-Angle Shoulder Fly: 8x at 10lbs

  2. BICEPS: Crouching Cohen Curls: 8x at 10-12.5lbs

  3. TRICEPS: Lying-Down Tricep Extensions: 8x each arm at 12.5lbs

Repeat twice.

  1. SHOULDERS: In & Out Straight-Arm Shoulder Fly: 8x at 10lbs

  2. BICEPS: Congdon Curls: 8x at 10lbs

  3. TRICEPS: Overhead Tricep Extension: 8x at 17.5lbs

Repeat twice.

Chest & Back Routine

Chest and back is a bit tricky, especially if push-ups aren't your thing. Take breaks throughout but finish as much as possible. You'll need a pull-up machine (or similar) for most of the back exercises, along with free weights.

And like I said, I had no clue what any of this was until I YouTube’d each exercise. I'd suggest doing this BEFORE you hit the gym so you're not standing around on your phone. Write a little description of each exercise and take a photo of the list.

  1. CHEST: Standard Push-Ups: 10x

  2. BACK: Wide Front Pull-Ups: 10x at 55lbs

  3. CHEST: Military Push-Ups: 10x

  4. BACK: Reverse Grip Chin-Ups: 10x at 55lbs

  1. CHEST: Wide Fly Push-Ups: 10x

  2. BACK: Closed Grip Overhead Pull-Ups: 10x at 55lbs

  3. CHEST: Decline Push-Ups: 10x

  4. BACK: Heavy Pants: 10x at 15-17.5lbs

  1. CHEST: Diamond Push-Ups: 10x

  2. BACK: Lawnmowers: 10x at 17.5lbs

  3. CHEST: Dive-Bomber Push-Ups: 10x

  4. BACK: Back Flys: 10x at 10lbs

  1. BACK: Wide Front Pull-Ups: 10x at 55lbs

  2. CHEST: Standard Push-Ups: 10x

  3. BACK: Reverse Grip Chin-Ups: 10x at 55lbs

  4. CHEST: Military Push-Ups

  1. BACK: Closed Grip Overhead Pull-Ups: 10x at 55lbs

  2. CHEST: Wide Fly Push-Ups: 10x

  3. BACK: Heavy Pants: 10x at 15-17.5lbs

  4. CHEST: Decline Push-Ups: 10x

  1. BACK: Lawnmowers: 10x at 17.5lbs

  2. CHEST: Diamond Push-Ups: 10x

  3. BACK: Back Flys: 10x at 10lbs

  4. CHEST: Dive-Bomber Push-Ups: 10x

RUNNING & SPRINTS | I love a good run only because it sucks so bad. Half the time I want to die or barf or shit my pants but I do know one thing - after a run I feel incredible. They are typically only a few miles and not particularly fast. My best runs are after the sun sets and it cools off. Less people are out on the streets gawking at you.  

For sprints, the treadmill is perfect. The idea is to run as fast as you can for 30 seconds, then take 30 seconds off to rest. Warm up for a few minutes and then pump up the speed to a run (start around 7.6 mph). Run for 30 seconds and using the supports jump off spreading your legs to the sides. Rest for 30 seconds, then hop back on and run for the next 30. Continue this way for about ten minutes while increasing the speed every round (I've made it up to about 10 mph). Then, cool down. This quick set of sprints will kick your ass (even my abs get sore).  

JUMPING ROPE | To mix things up, I'll pull out my jump rope at the gym and spend ten or fifteen minutes jumping. This will surely get your heart pumping and is great for toning your arms. 

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In the end, the best wellness advice is what works for you. How do you know if it's working? Well, my measure is mood, quality of sleep and energy level. If I'm grumpy and feeling like a giant dump something isn't right. You may even want to think about becoming #glutenfree or vegan to give your body and mind that extra boost. 

What are your favorite wellness practices?

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