Category Archives: Workout

How to Take the Dread Out of the Treadmill

I go months without talking about my workouts, and then blog about fitness two Fridays in a row.  Who am I?

Anyway, today I want to talk about how I’m taking the dread out of the treadmill.  But first a back story.

When I first started working out, the treadmill was my cardio machine of choice.  Looking back, I think I really enjoyed knowing how fast I was running/walking and how far I was going.  The exactness of it drew me in. 

I only realized how fun and liberating outdoor running was when I started training for my first half marathon.  After a while, I actually looked forward to my long runs on the trail.

Then I moved several times, and once again became a slave to the good old treadmill, only to rediscover my love for running outside when we made the move to Miami.  I can honestly count on one hand how many times I ran on the treadmill during our time there.

But as you all know, St. Pete is a bit different than Miami.  I’m still familiarizing myself with area, and believe it or not, the heat and humidity are much more evident up here. 

Because I don’t want to stop running altogether until I (and the weather) figure things out, I’m resorting to the treadmill a couple of times a week.  And one big lesson I’ve learned so far is that while I can run long distances outdoors, I just can’t do it while on the treadmill.  Yes, I realize this more than likely a mental thing, but I just find it so boring and blah. 

So to take the dread out the treadmill and to keep my boredom at bay, I came up with a little run/walk workout.  I’ve completed it a few times now, and I must say it does a decent job of keeping things just interesting enough! 

So here’s how it works – complete minutes 0-10 and then repeat three to four times for a great cardio workout.  And I know this has you changing the speed a lot, but the pattern is easy to grasp after the first go around (I just think 3-1-1 and 2-2-1).  The best part is that it’s 100%customizable – adjust the speeds to your liking and add an incline to make it even more challenging.  The possibilities are endless!

Just for the record, I still call the treadmill the dreadmill.  I just tolerate it a lot better now!

Happy Friday and thanks for reading!

Ripped in 30 + Back to the Basics

Ripped in 30

I’ve been intuitively exercising since my half marathon. Basically, this means my fitness routine lacks structure. I do what I want when I want.

This also means that my motivation to workout has been anything but consistent lately. Quite frankly, I just work better with a plan. I also work out better when someone else is telling me what to do.

Enter Jillian Michaels’ Ripped in 30.


As you all know, I’m not the biggest JM fan as evident by my open letter to Jillian. I am, however, a fan of her workouts. I really do love them! When I was in Atlanta last week, I did level 2 of Ripped in 30 and was sore for two days. Like so sore that it hurt to get out of bed.

When I thought about it some more, I realized that this DVD is exactly what I need right now. The prescribed program is only four weeks long. The workouts target all body parts and incorporate strength, cardio, and abs. And really, all you need is thirty minutes, some floor space, and a set of dumbbells. Perfect!

Now for the sake of transparency, I have to mention that I’m going to Puerto Rico in a little less than a month for my friend Sweeti’s bachelorette party and wanting to look decent in my bathing suit may be a big motivator right now. It’s not that I’ve completely let go of my healthy habits or anything like that. But ever since our team meeting earlier this month, I haven’t been making the best choices. I’m hoping my plan + my trip will help kick my butt into high gear!

JM’s Ripped in 30 workout plan suggests doing 5-6 days (in a row) of each level before moving on to the next. I don’t like doing the same exact workout (except running) on consecutive days, so I’m customizing it to fit my style.

Here’s a rough outline of what a given week will look like:

  • Ripped in 30 + 20 minutes of cardio on non-consecutive days. Once I’ve done each level 4-5 times, I’ll move on to the next.
  • Running/walking/elliptical on the in between days for 30-45 minutes
  • One longer run on the weekend
  • One full rest day
  • Lots and lots of stretching

If you’re in the middle of a winter workout rut, I highly recommend this DVD. It’s one of her best ever. Quick and effective!

Back to the Basics

As I mentioned in a past post, Vishnu and I are officially “cleansing” right now because we ate a lot last week. And not all of it was healthy.

Our definition of a cleanse is probably different than most people. We’re basically going back to the basics with most of our meals. This means we’re going to be eating lots and lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, and lean proteins. I’ve also recommitted (for real this time!) to the dairy-free way of eating.

We stocked up on lots of fresh produce on Monday night, and I’m going to the farmer’s market on Saturday to buy more of the good stuff. And so far this week we’ve enjoyed salads, stir-fries and a new-to-us green juice (recipe to come!). I feel better already!

Are you a fan of JM workouts?  What’s your favorite?

Half Marathon Training – Week 12 + 13

When planning my week 12 workouts, I had every intention of following the original script. I even penciled everything into my planner.

Well, as we all know, sometimes it’s not about our plans…

Before I explain, here’s what week 12 looked like:

Monday Arm Burner + 20 minute power walk on the dreadmill
Tuesday – Rest
Wednesday – 3.25 mile run + 1.25 mile walk
Thursday – Rest
Friday – T25 (Speed 1.0)
Saturday – Rest
Sunday – 6.5 mile run

So what happened was…

After a much needed rest day on Tuesday, I felt fresh and ready to knock out 4.5 miles on Wednesday. However, about 3.25 miles in, I started to feel pain in what I now know is my Achilles tendon. Almost like a shooting pain that started right above my heel and shot up my left leg. So I stopped and walked the rest of the way home.

When I told Vishnu and my sister about this pain, they told me I needed to rest and not irritate it anymore. So that’s why the next three days were dedicated to not doing much. Speed 1.0 incorporates stretching into the workout so I thought it would be good for my muscles. Plus, I needed to move my body in a different kind of way. Thankfully, I didn’t feel any pain.

That brings me to Sunday. I started my run at 6 pm and felt strong for the first few miles. I even smiled to myself at one point because I wasn’t feeling any pain. Then right around mile 6 I started to feel a dull ache in my left heel, and slowly but surely the pain started making its way up my leg. I wanted to persevere and keep running, but after staying with it for an additional half mile, I knew I had to stop, especially with the half coming up so soon.

And because I want to write my race recap next week, I’m also sharing what this week’s workouts have looked like/will look like:

Monday: Gaiam TV yoga with Vishnu!
Tuesday: Lots of low impact walking
Wednesday: Lots of low impact walking
Thursday: Lots of low impact walking
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest

All of my short runs have been replaced with walking. I don’t want to risk injury this close to race day.

In fact, when I talked to Roshni, who’s a podiatrist, she told me to rest as much as I can, apply a warm compress as needed, and take anti-inflammatory drugs to help with the pain and any potential swelling. She also said I should wear sneakers to work. I responded to that last suggestion with a “maaaaaybeeeee!”

Fingers and toes are now crossed for a pain-free/injury-free run on Sunday. My goal is still to run the whole thing, BUT if I start to feel the slightest bit of pain, I’m going to resort to running + walking.

AHHH…wish me luck!!!

And in case you’re interested, here are links to my weekly recaps:

Week 1 Half Marathon Training
Week 2 Half Marathon Training
Week 3 Half Marathon Training
Week 4 Half Marathon Training
Week 5 Half Marathon Training
Week 6 Half Marathon Training
Week 7 Half Marathon Training
Week 8 Half Marathon Training
Week 9 & 10 Half Marathon Training
Week 11 Half Marathon Training

Half Marathon Training (Week 11) + A Full Body Strength Circuit

I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! January 25th honestly can’t come fast enough. As much as I’ve enjoyed training for this race (well, 95% of the time), I’m ready for a new challenge. One that involves a little bit of cardio and lots of strength training.

While this week wasn’t a total bust, I definitely didn’t get a lot of mileage in thanks to my cold. However, I did manage to complete my long run this week! 11 miles done and done! AND I ran each and every mile!

With that, here’s what week 11 looked like:

Monday: 2 mile walk
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 3.5 mile run
Thursday: Full Body Strength Circuit + 2 mile run
Friday: 4.5 mile run
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 11 mile run

This week’s long run was a beast, but I did everything in my power to ensure that it actually happened. For one, I ran at 6 pm instead of 8 am. I also made sure to eat a substantial lunch and drink a lot of water throughout the day.

Only one more long run to go…eek!


Fitness Buddy App + A Full Body Strength Circuit

Vishnu recently introduced me to Fitness Buddy, an app that houses tons of workouts with step-by-step instructions, animations, etc. I haven’t tapped into the app’s full potential yet, but I love what I’ve seen so far.

The built-in workouts are my favorite feature, and I can’t wait to use this app to shape my strength routine after the half. I tested one of the workouts on Thursday and wanted to share it because I think most people would benefit from a little Fitness Buddy in their life!

*Full disclosure: I am not a personal trainer. Please adapt this routine to your current fitness level and/or consult with a professional before attempting.

FB Strength Circuit

A few notes:

  • I used 10 pounds weights to complete 10 reps of each exercise for a total of 3 sets.  If you are new to strength training, I recommend starting with 3-5 pound weights and increasing slowly.
  • Complete all eight exercises back-to-back with no rest.  However, be sure to rest for 1-3 minutes between sets.
  • *For the body weight plank, I did a 30 second plank followed by 10 seconds of rest followed by 30 more seconds of planking.
  • To challenge yourself further, follow this routine with 20-30 minutes of cardio (running, elliptical, Stairmaster, etc.)

An example of each move:

What’s your favorite way to exercise?  Please share any strength training apps/tools/resources you use!

And in case you’re interested, here are links to my weekly recaps:

Week 1 Half Marathon Training
Week 2 Half Marathon Training
Week 3 Half Marathon Training
Week 4 Half Marathon Training
Week 5 Half Marathon Training
Week 6 Half Marathon Training
Week 7 Half Marathon Training
Week 8 Half Marathon Training
Week 9 & 10 Half Marathon Training

Half Marathon Training (Week 8) and Running to Lose Weight

Happy Christmas Eve!  Even though we aren’t going home to Atlanta this year, Vishnu and I have plans to relax, watch Christmas movies, and spend time with friends.  Should be a great couple of days!

Oh and I have to fit some running in there as well!

With that, here’s what week 8 looked like:

Monday: Gaiam TV yoga
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 4.5 mile run
Thursday: Total body strength training workout – one of my favorites!
Friday: 5 mile run
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 10 mile run – first double digit run…dun dun dun!

I ran almost 20 miles this week.  Phew!  I felt strong all week long, especially during the 5 mile run.  Lots of positive emotions around this whole training thing.

Until Sunday…

…because my long run this week was the absolute worst!  My legs felt heavy the entire time.  And to top it off, my mental focus just wasn’t there either.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I did it!  I ran 10 miles and couldn’t be happier.  But the run itself was just so-so.

While the running part genuinely sucked, I didn’t feel tired at all afterwards.  I was absolutely exhausted after my 9 mile run the week before (to the point where I napped), but this week I grocery shopped, cleaned, cooked, etc.  Weird how that works.

Running to Lose Weight

I wanted to address the topic of running to lose weight because I’ve gotten a few questions about this over the past couple of weeks.  I’m no expert but have been running for a few years, so I naturally have some thoughts!  Just remember every body is different.  What works for me/doesn’t work for me may not be the same for you.

First of all, I partially attribute my initial weight loss in college to running.  I regularly started running my junior year and lost a lot of weight.  However, during this time, I didn’t make the best food decisions (re: under eating + lots of running).  Sadly, this habit continued for the next few years, and I was able to not only keep the weight off but lose a few more pounds.

I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS METHOD TO ANYONE!!!  Looking back, my behavior was stupid and dangerous.  I did so much harm to both my body and my mind during this time.

Fast forward to my first half marathon.  Overall, I was running more then than I am now, but I actually gained 3 ish pounds.  I attribute this to a little bit of overeating.  For example, after a Sunday long run, I went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant with my parents.  I ate chips, guac, salsa, an entire entree, and even some of my mom’s entree.  This was a regular thing.  Mentally, I thought I deserved huge amounts of food because…duh…I ran a lot!

I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS METHOD TO ANYONE EITHER!!!  And not because I gained weight. Three pounds is really nothing when you think about it.  I just wasn’t eating the right things during this time.  I ate a lot of junk food because I thought I deserved it.  Again, not good for the mind or the body.

[I honestly don’t remember much from my second half, so I’m going to skip that!]

Fast forward to this half marathon.  I’m running, doing a little bit of yoga and strength training, and taking two full rest days a week.  And…I haven’t gained or lost a single pound (on average of course).  Nada.  I attribute this to the fact that my focus is not weight loss.  Instead it’s been to fit in solid runs/workouts, remain injury free, listen to my body, and fuel properly.  By removing the “I deserve this or that” mentality, I no longer link my workouts to my meals.  And I can’t discount the fact that my eating habits are much…hmmm…cleaner now than they have ever been.

So, I’ve lost weight running…the wrong way.  I’ve also gained weight running…the wrong way.  And I’ve maintained my weight while running.

With all of that being said (this is turning out to be a wordy post!), I do think it’s possible to lose weight with running.  Shorter (maybe even faster) runs plus strength training, in my opinion and experience, is the best way to lose weight and/or lose inches.  I’m a huge proponent of strength training – helps reshape your body, is so good for your bones, etc.  And when paired with running (and good eating habits), it can be a huge catalyst for change.

In fact, this is exactly what I’m planning to do after my race at the end of January.  I want to strength train (hopefully) 3 days a week and run 2-3 days a week.  But my runs will only be 2-3 miles during the week and between 4-5 miles during the weekend.  This is the perfect balance for me.

So the (very) long and the short of it is that in my experience running can help you lose weight, but it really does depend on a bunch of other stuff.  If you’re really looking to change your body, pair moderate amounts of running with some form of strength training.

What are your thoughts about running and weight loss?  I’d love to hear them!

In case you’re interested, here are links to my weekly recaps:

Week 1 Half Marathon Training
Week 2 Half Marathon Training
Week 3 Half Marathon Training
Week 4 Half Marathon Training
Week 5 Half Marathon Training
Week 6 Half Marathon Training
Week 7 Half Marathon Training