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Using proper form

I am running a 5k tomorrow morning, so I knew that today would either be rest or cross-training. I’ve been feeling pretty good today so I decided I wanted a good sweat session!

I started off with 30 minutes on the elliptical. I kept the ramp at 10 but I gradually increased the resistance from 5-8 when I got too used to it. I read some of the latest issue of Vegetarian Times while I worked up a sweat.

Woo! I hadn’t used an elliptical in a long time and I had forgotten how great of a workout it was. My heart rate got up into the 150’s, my legs were burning and I was covered in sweat. That might sound gross, but that’s exactly what a good workout is to me! 😉

Afterwards, I carefully did some upper body weights. Since I injured my arm a few days ago (it’s better now), I was sure to use proper form and weights just a tiny bit lighter than I usually would. So far, so good!

For each exercise, I did 2 sets of 20.

  • Chest presses (12.5 lb dumbbells)
  • Military shoulder presses (7.5 lb)
  • Reverse flyes (7.5 lb)
  • Bent over row (20 lb barbel)
  • Upright row (20 lb barbel)
  • Bicep curls (7.5 lb dumbbells)
  • Tricep extensions (1, 10 lb dumbbell, overhead)

Since I was in the weight room and not on an exercise mat using a body bar, I think what made the difference was being able to see myself in the mirror. When it’s right there in front of you, it is easier to see what you are doing and to check and make sure you are doing it correctly.

This is how I usually work out but for some reason the other day, I was in a room without mirrors and just judging by how things felt. That is probably how I hurt myself. Noted!

This was a great workout and really made me realize how much I love the challenge of weight training. I’m definitely planning to get it back into regular rotation here soon.

What’s your favorite magazine?

Listening to your body

On my food blog, See Sarah Eat, I posted yesterday about the importance of listening to your body’s hunger cues and not eating based on the clock or your own “time frame.”

This same concept can be applied to exercise. I think it’s interesting how I got to apply this principle in my routine yesterday, both through food and fitness!

Yesterday, my training plan called for a 2 mile run and weight training. However, all morning my legs weren’t feeling too great from the past two days of running on the treadmill (especially that 4-miler). I also started to think about my upcoming workout and honestly the thought of running was not exciting to me.

When that happens, instead of pushing through a run and totally not enjoying it, I’d rather switch it up for a day and re-arrange my schedule to do a run later. It’s frustrating at the time, but I definitely think it pays off!

I ended up doing 25 minutes on the elliptical trainer, followed by some weight training.

  • Plank push ups (2 sets of 5 – I struggled!)
  • Chest presses (2 sets of 15 – 15 lb dumbbells)
  • Shoulder presses (2 sets of 15 – 5 lb dumbbells)
  • Shoulder shrugs (2 sets of 15 – 20 lb dumbbells)
  • Bicep curls (2 sets of 15 – 10 lb dumbbells)
  • Tricep kickbacks (2 sets of 15 – 10 lb dumbbells)
  • Leg extension machine (2 sets of 15 – 35 lbs)
  • Leg curl machine (2 sets of 25 – 50 lbs)
  • Side bends (2 sets of 25 – 12.5 lb dumbbells)
  • Reverse crunches (2 sets of 40)
  • Side crunches (2 sets of 25, each side)

This routine made me realize that I am neglecting my back! I need to write up a new routine because having a strong upper body with a weak back won’t do me any good 😉

Also regarding time: sometimes we plan for a morning workout but we don’t feel up to it or we oversleep. That’s okay! Just try to fit it in later in your day. There is almost always something that can get moved around in order to accomodate your workout, especially if it is a high priority to you.

You might have to use your lunch hour (and eat at your desk), skip or record a TV show you usually watch, or tell a friend you’ll be late for dinner. Don’t stress about it! The feeling you get from finishing a workout is totally worth it.  You are worth it 🙂

I always put a workout on my calendar like an appointment. It might get moved around a lot but it almost never gets deleted!

Every work out is a learning experience. I am so glad that I did not push myself to run yesterday because today my legs feel strong and I’ve definitely got the energy to run today!

New obsession?

Yesterday afternoon I headed to the gym for yet another indoor workout. In addition to the snow still on the ground that hasn’t gone anywhere yet, we are expecting another 5-10 inches of snow starting tomorrow night!

Ugh. So now I have to break my positivity rule and just say it: “WINTER SUCKS!” Whew, glad I got that out.

But I got in another great workout nonetheless. I attempted to hop on a treadmill but they were all taken, the sign up sheet was full for another 30 minutes and I didn’t have time to wait.

So I elliptical-ed again!

I love how each time I use this machine, it’s a different experience. I went a lot faster this time so my time and mileage almost lined up with how fast I run on average.

I also gradually increased the ramp and resistance (every 5 minutes) and then cooled down the last 5 minutes.

Even though I’d rather be running outside or on a decent treadmill, I’ve enjoyed my time on the old elliptical. I used the elliptical trainer quite a bit when I first started working out again during my big weight loss and lifestyle changing period.

Afterwards, I did a few quick upper body moves (bicep curls, tricep extensions, shoulder shrugs, dead lifts, lateral raises, front raises) and called it a day.

I’m trying not to worry about my training right now but I do need to start thinking about increasing my mileage during the week if I’m not able to get it in elsewhere. The elliptical is a great workout but it’s not a running substitute.

Do you use the elliptical? What do you like or dislike about it?

Now that’s a workout!

This city is still freezing cold and snow-covered, which I have finally decided is NOT meant for me to be running in.

I can do cold, to an extent, but I’m tired of dodging ice patches and snow piles on the sidewalks and streets!

So, in lieu of running outside yesterday, I chose to stay indoors, which was almost a disaster. When I walked in, every single cardio machine in the room was taken! I know the weather had a lot to do with that.

I walked into another room and did an abbreviated abs session and came back…still full!

So I waited a few more minutes and FINALLY someone hopped off an elliptical machine.

Remembering my experience on the elliptical last time, I knew I didn’t want to fall short on my workout this time around.


Check that out vs. last time!

I believe it is good to up the resistance on the machine to an extent but you should still be able to maintain a decent speed.

I am glad that my stats on the machine today were only a little bit slower than my normal running speed. Every 10 minutes, I increased the resistance (started at 5 and went up to 8) and then from 30:00-35:00, I did an awesome climb and cranked the resistance up to 12!

I was totally covered in sweat when I was done, which to me, is always a good thing. It was exactly what I’d hoped to achieve yesterday and it’s exactly what I did!

What was the last satisfying workout you had?

Chickened out

I was supposed to run 4 miles today. Hmm…

I had actually not felt like doing it all day but I thought it was just because I was doubting myself or just being lazy.

But when I left work, I actually felt really good and had my route all planned out, so I was ready to go!

Then, as soon as that cold air hit me as I walked outside, I said “Uh, no!” I chickened out!

I ended up visiting an old friend I hadn’t seen in a loooong time.


I did the elliptical trainer for 45 minutes!

I felt like I went pretty slow, but I had it on the “fat burning” program, so the resistance was intense. But I noticed that I did not burn as many calories as I normally would. I thought it was just this machine, but apparently it is a big ol’ fitness fallacy!

I’m glad I still got a workout in today, even if it wasn’t a 4 mile run. I just wasn’t feeling it today and I’ve found that it’s always better to go with your gut.

I’m starting to think that this program has me running too many days per week. I think I’d be more comfortable at 3 or 4 days/week (as opposed to 5), I just need to figure out the miles spread.

It’s not that I can’t run 5 days a week. In fact, I have felt pretty good, no soreness or anything lately. It’s just that mental burnout I am afraid of. I don’t want to get tired of running!

I haven’t been able to do a long run on a Saturday in a few weeks now and this week isn’t looking much better. We are expecting more snow!

Runner: How many days a week do you run? Mileage?