Travel: Hiking at Devil’s Lake State Park

Last Sunday I traveled to Devil’s Lake State Park with one of my friends to go hiking. This was one of the top 5 things that I wanted to do this summer. I have been wanting to go to Devil’s Lake for several years but haven’t been able to fit it in my schedule, so we decided to go late Sunday afternoon. We were extra happy when we found out that it was free state parks weekend!

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Close to the beginning of our adventure. I was surprised by how difficult it was to walk up the trail! I workout regularly and still found it to be very intense.

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I promise I complained a lot about this IRL stair master.

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I was very excited to find a cave halfway along the way.

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This was my first time seeing this view in years, I had forgotten how pretty it is.

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Love this view and this woman.

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This was one of my favorite parts of the hike. The water was pretty, but I love the hills and green.

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Look at that little baby moon.

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An important part of a trip to Devil’s Lake is a ride on the Merrimac Ferry afterwards. My mom always brought us this way and it is a ton of fun. If you haven’t been on the ferry, you need to try it out! It’s free and there is a delicious ice cream stand.

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The ice cream is definitely one of the perks of taking the ferry.

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The beautiful view is pretty wonderful, too.

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We had an amazing trip. Do you think you’ll make it to Devil’s Lake this summer?

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Weekly Exercise: May 15 – 21, 2017

On Monday I had the joy of taking my cousin to his very first spin class. My favorite spin instructor adjusted her schedule and is taking over Monday classes for the remainder of the month. The class itself was intense – the room was way too hot and she had us working hard which led to a lot of sweating. My cousin was in a little over his head but I enjoyed myself.

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I was excited to have my new FitBit. I had wondered if my FitBit Charge had been tracking my heart rate appropriately during classes and using my new FitBit Alta HR showed me that I was right. I was in the peak heart rate zone much longer than I was with my old FitBit, so I like that this one seems to be more accurate. I also need to figure out what I can do to get my heart rate more under control – I don’t think it’s right that it’s at the max for as long as it is.

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On Wednesday I went to spin again. I wasn’t super in the mood to be there but I did the work and made it through. It’s interesting to compare the data on the FitBit because you can clearly see that I wasn’t as interested.

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This was another lazy week for exercise although I’m glad I made it in twice. I may or may not go to the gym on Sunday, but I’m thinking that I should and that weights would be a good idea.

Goals for next week include three trips to the gym during the work week and calorie tracking.

Did you do anything fun for exercise this week?

Weekly Exercise May 1 – May 7, 2017

I didn’t post a weekly exercise update last week as I was not in the mood.

This last week I was similarly not in the mood to exercise. I was very stressed out with work and other general life issues, and decided not to force myself to go to the gym when I didn’t want to.

I did make it to the gym twice during the week.

Wednesday: I took my dogs to the dog park and had a wonderful afternoon with the two of them. My little dog has gotten significantly more blind since last year and was refusing to get out of the car. I had to fight with him and he is very bitey, so I ended up doing a fancy maneuver. I didn’t take any leashes with me, so I took out my key chain, looped it around his collar, and pulled him out of the car with it. After I got him out of the car he was very excited to park, but I think I might need to stick to the small dog area with him or keep him on a leash.

My big dog was the total opposite. She completely lost interest in running/chasing balls and would just keep walking whenever I tried to get her attention. Then when we got to the end of the park she decided she was a puppy again and went running into the lake. I was pissed because I don’t like soaking wet dogs riding in my expensive car but she was so adorable and happy to be in the water that I let it slide. I ended up throwing the ball for her and she would swim out to catch it. Baby’s still got it!

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It was nice to get out and do some walking with my doggos. After the park I went to spin class. It was not the most difficult class and I only ended up burning 500 calories or so. I didn’t push myself, but I did enjoy the gym session and I felt much better about life afterwards. Anna and I went in the sauna and did some extreme sweating.

On Sunday I was able to take a longer walk than usual while babysitting, and I enjoyed the time outdoors.

After nannying I went to the gym for spin class, but had not realized that the gym had moved to the summer schedule. No more Sunday spin. I was a little heartbroken and decided to do weights instead. I realized when I was doing weights that I have plateaued at my highest lifts for everything but not because I can’t build more muscle. I have plateaued because I do not life consistently. I definitely want to lift more regularly so that I can actually build strength rather than maintain.

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I had dropped a few pounds by Wednesday but was back up to normal weight by Sunday. Mostly not surprising considering that I was not eating well, especially while nannying.

My goals for this week are to plan meals, eat healthy, and track calories AND to make it to the gym three times. My boyfriend is graduating this weekend so healthy eating and gym time will be sparse.

What are you proud of from this past week?

Weekly Exercise: April 10-16, 2017

Monday

Today I went to a the bootcamp class at my gym.

BOOT CAMP: This class delivers a comprehensive and balanced approach for the intense & motivated fitness enthusiast! Designed to challenge your entire body with muscle conditioning exercises, athletic and cardio drills that will challenge your muscular endurance and anaerobic capacity.”

The description of the class is accurate – it totally kicks your ass. We started by running laps around the gym and then moved onto mat exercises. On the mats we did four different exercises for 45 seconds each, repeated three times followed by suicides. After the suicides, we returned to the mats and repeated, but with different mat exercises.

During the first half of the class I wanted to die. I felt really awful and had black fuzzy spots around my field of vision. My stomach also didn’t feel great (and I had been sick all weekend) so I took a break during the first set of suicides and rested. After the break I felt much better and tried my best to keep up with the class. I was VERY happy when the class ended.

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  • Squats 5×5 95lbs
  • OH Press 5×5 45lbs
  • Deadlift 1×5 95lbs

That went super well – I was happy with my body for being back up to 95 lbs on the second day of lifting. I sweat buckets but finished the program and headed home.

At the end of the day I had 4,110 steps and 103 active minutes. These were all from the gym because I left my Fitbit at home during the day.

Tuesday

Each Tuesday I have a small group workout class with a personal trainer. I really enjoy working out with the group – it has been nice to get to know the people and talk openly about our fitness goals / motivations / general reasons for joining the class. All together we have lost over 100 pounds in just over two months, which is pretty impressive.

This week we did a routine that was similar to the routine that we did the first week of class. I remember the first week being pretty difficult. This week didn’t seem to be too difficult, but I’m not sure if it was because I wasn’t super motivated or because I’ve actually improved my fitness level.

We did a rotation that included – walking around the gym with a 15lb ball held up over our heads, squats, pushups, supermans, crunches with a ball, arm presses, and a wall sit. I don’t remember everything but I did enjoy the workout for the most part.

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We only have two weeks left of this class so I’m excited to put my best foot forward and see what I can do before the end of the month.

I did hang around and get 5×5 of 100lb squats in as well as 55lb bench press

At the end of the day I had 12,741 steps and 103 active minutes.

Thursday

On Thursday I went to spin class. It was my first spin class in weeks. It was hell, but wonderful. I kept thinking, “I love spin class almost as much as I hate exercise.” It’s a pretty accurate quote, spin class is fun and empowering and leaves you with a sense of accomplishment. It would just be really nice to not do the actual spinning.

The class that I attended was 1 hr 15 min. We did cycles – one minute sitting, one minute standing, one minute of jumps (up and down).. Then two minutes.. Then three minutes.. Then we restarted but used a higher resistance. By the end of the class I was drenched with sweat and completely exhausted, but I felt great.

At the end of the day I had 12,005 steps and 123 active minutes.

Also.. I had a surprise this week! Yay!

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Fitness: Self-Created Workout

Happy Thursday! I recently joined “The Biggest Loser” at my home gym – it’s a three month long training program where we get to work with a personal trainer and small group while trying to meet our fitness and weight loss goals.

I joined the group because I have been working out regularly for the last year and half but my weight has stayed the same. I have a really hard time maintaining healthy eating habits for more than a few days, and my gym trips are the first thing I cancel when I’m not feeling great.

I haven’t lost weight during the group (for a number of reasons, mostly celebratory) but I haven’t gained any either. I have also forced myself to attend every session and have upped my gym attendance overall.

This week, our “homework” for the class is to make a gym routine for ourselves. The routine needs to include cardio, three arm exercises, three core exercises, and three leg exercises. I added a small warm-up into mine.

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This is a mixture of activities that I enjoy doing, and activities that I’ve learned over the last couple of months. I tend to ignore my core, so I like that we were required to include core exercises in our workouts.

A couple of notes about the different activities:

Walking warm-up: I like to go on the treadmill and set the speed to 3.3. I tend to walk a lot faster on the treadmill than I do on the track at the gym.

Arms
Biceps curls: I like to do alternating reps with 10-12 pound weights.
Rowing: I prefer to use the weighted rowing machine set to the correct weight.
Triceps dips: I usually do these on a workout bench or other chair height surface with no added weight. I weight enough 😉

Core
Crunches: You can do your preferred type of crunch. I prefer standard crunches or bicycle, but there are so many different options available.
Decline crunch: I threw this one in there because I was having a hard time coming up with core exercises. Decline crunches are one of those exercises that look really hard but feel great once you get started.
Plank: The dreaded p-word! I have found that it really helps me to lower one knee at a time if I am having a hard time holding the position. Don’t forget to keep your butt down!

Legs
Squats:
Do your preferred squat. This is a good number of squats for unweighted or lightly weighted. For 3 sets of 25, I would likely grab a 10 pound kettlebell.
Weighted lunges: These are MY ABSOLUTE NIGHTMARE. Whenever I do weighted lunges, my legs hurt for days. However, I suppose its the “good” hurt. I usually grab a 5-10lb kettlebell for each leg and go around the track until it hurts too much.
Standing calf raises: You can do these with/without a machine. Just don’t ignore your little calves!

Cardio
Stair Master:
15 minutes might feel like forever on the stair master but it is definitely doable. If you can’t do it all at once, try breaking it up into three 5 minute sessions or two 7.5 minute sessions.

If you try out this workout, let me know!

Water Aerobics for Dummies

Last night I tried water aerobics for the first time. I have a goal of doing cardio three times a week and lifting four times a week during the month of August. I was in a cardio mood yesterday and wanted to swim laps, but water aerobics class was taking place during that time.

I got to the gym early and did a little bit of bicep work, then went into the pool to swim laps. I met up with A, who wasn’t super excited to swim but did it anyway because I begged. I started with the first day of my swim a mile warm-up program (10x25m) and then floated around for a few minutes while waiting for class to start.

Water Power: This is a high intensity total body conditioning class. This class includes cardiovascular moves that help strengthen the body by using the properties of the water. Buoyant and resistant equipment is utilized to increase strength, endurance and flexibility

Once the class got going, I was immediately into it. We did warm up “jogging” under water, which worked really well for my body. I have old injuries on both legs that make it hard to jog IRL, so that was a really nice experience. We did walking lunges, underwater jumping jacks, and a variety of other moves to get our hearts pumping.

I struggled with two parts: coordination and crunches. I am not a coordinated person, and moving my arm in the same direction of my opposite leg was very very tricky. We did that a lot, and I kept having to pause and reorient myself. We also did an interesting version of crunches which literally killed me. We floated on our backs, crossed our legs in front of us, and moved up and down (toward the legs) in a way that set my abs on fire. It was fabulous in a terrible way. I told the instructor I was dying and she told me to stop complaining. Touche instructor, touche.

All in all I completely loved the class and would absolutely go again. I didn’t get the normal “I’m not fit enough for this!!!” anxiety feelings that I get during other gym classes and the class vibes were fabulous. Also, we jumped around in a swimming pool while listening to ABBA for an hour, which is literally my happy place materialized.

10/10 aqua fitness, will attend again.

Lifting for Dummies

This week I lifted for the first, second and third times. It was quite the experience.

Day 1: After attending my first pilates class, I ventured into the women’s only gym to try out lifting. I was disappointed that the Princeton Club does not have a bar/weight lifting equipment for women, and ended up using barbells. I went through everything with between 25-50 pounds and enjoyed it, but realized that I was going to need to lift somewhere else and probably find someone to lift with.

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The next day I went on reddit to seek out a lifting buddy at my gym. I got a message from another woman who is my age, and we made plans to meet up Thursday after work. I was really happy with the responses to the thread (though most were through private message) and its cool to know that there are other people at my gym who are looking for workout buddies!

Day 2: I got SUPER nervous when it was time to meet up with the woman from Reddit! I have met a ton of people from the internet but I still get nervous every time. I psyched myself up and finally send the, “I’m in the bright green shirt” text and she came to find me. Fortunately, she was super nice and normal and in AMAZING shape. I was totally impress with her thighs. I have genuinely never seen muscles like that in real life.

We went to a rack (I didn’t even know a rack was a thing at this point – super newb) and did squats, overhead press, and dead lifts. It was a lot of learning. I definitely have a hard time not hunching my shoulders, likely due to my boob weight drawing them forward for years. I am going to need to do some separate exercises to strengthen my back muscles.

We had a great time, I learned a lot, and I’m definitely looking forward to working out with her in the future.

Day 3: I planned to make it to yoga class and then to a cardio class, and then come back to do weights in the afternoon. Unfortunately I slept through yoga, woke up in time for cardio but remembered that no one usually shows up for it. I decided to do some warm-up cardio and lifting instead. I had a really hard time because the rack that we used the other day was taken, so I had to wander through the gym looking for equipment. I felt really nervous and uncomfortable, especially since everyone else was super buff and clearly knew what they were doing / what equipment to use. I managed to get everything done (squats, bench press, front row) but realized later that I did the squats with the bar in front instead of on my shoulders. Oh well.

I did take this really great picture of my boobs that I’m in love with.

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Conclusion: I like weight lifting. I’m a bit sore and apparently there are muscles in my butt that I never knew about, but I already feel stronger and healthier, and I feel like my posture has improved. I’m excited to get back to the gym on Monday with my new workout buddy and work on my form.

Fitness

The fitness tag will be for items related to my fitness journey.

I will post about my experiences with:
-Fitness Apps
-Fitness programs
-Different types of fitness classes
-Fitness equipment
-Fitness apparel

Let me know if there is anything specific that you would like to hear about or anything that I can elaborate on!