Endless Summer and Weekly Workouts

Hello! It only Tuesday and I am already exhausted! This weekend was full of fun nights out, beach days and laying out by the pool. It is still hot hot hot in Florida which basically means we celebrate endless summer.

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But before I get to that, let’s talk workouts! Last week I stuck to a consistent schedule and dominated my workouts. Here’s what my workouts looked like last week and yesterday (9/30-10/7):

Monday- Rest Day

Tuesday- Sprints Outside (Had planned on a full-body workout but the gym was PACKED at 6PM. I was so mad that I started sprinting down the street! 2 all-out sprints later and I was a new woman :-))

Wednesday- 45 min. Biking Outside, Yoga

Thursday- Push Workout (Front squats with a 45lb. kettlebell were KILLER, in a good way)

Friday- Pull Workout (Challenging myself to deadlift more than 110lbs., it’s a mental thing right now)

Saturday- Rest Day (Does walking on the beach count?)

Sunday-  Orange Theory Class (Endurance-based workout which I OWNED. 26 minutes in orange zone, 6 minutes in red zone, 700 calories burned, felt like a badass)

Monday- 30 min. Steady State Biking, Pull-Up Progression Exercises (Scapular Pull-ups, Isometric Holds, Negatives, I am generally following this guideline)

I feel really good (except for my crazy sore armpits haha!) and have all this awesome energy. Recently, people have commented on my physique and say that I look very fit. This only solidifies how I feel both inside and out. Looking good is just a plus and I intend to stay focused on performance while eating well. Yes, I am eating a lot! Overall I feel so much stronger and energetic than I did in Malaysia and feel more like myself. I only hope to stay this consistent with workouts back in Shanghai!

Today I feel pretty depleted so it will most likely be a rest day. I guess it’s a date with Vampire Diaries Season 4! Obsessed. Now for pictures from the weekend!

Friday

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My sister, her boyfriend and I attended a high school Homecoming Football game at our former middle school. Peter and I are still close friends with many of alumni and it was great to see them again. Although I attended high school somewhere else, it was cool to see how much the school has grown. Also, high school kids look like babies!

After feeling decidedly old, we went downtown for some First Friday action. We ate delicious bbq food, drank delicious beers and listened to live bluegrass down at the Ale and the Witch. It was a lot of fun hanging out with my sister and flexing our guns. I think I won…

Saturday

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With nothing on the agenda, I was surprised when Carina called and said she was headed to Clearwater Beach… now! I quickly gathered my beach gear and drove 45 minutes north to meet her and her friend from Orlando. It was a perfect day with plenty of sunshine, cool ocean water and a nice breeze. I was so happy to see this lovely lady!

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After swimming, sunbathing and strolling along the beach, we were hungry for some food! Frenchy’s is the best seafood spot in Clearwater Beach and was the obvious place to go. We enjoyed conch fritters, fish tacos, grouper sandwiches and ice cold beer at this amazing beachside restaurant. I loooveee Frenchy’s.

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After dinner, Carina and her friend left to get a head start on their 2 hour drive back to Orlando. I decided to stay and watch the sunset. I ended up chatting with this Haitian guy flying a kite. This was no ordinary kite which screamed through the air and tumbled through quick twists and turns. It definitely added some “oomph” to the sunset.

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I love impromptu beach days with friends. Thanks for the surprise Carina!

Sunday

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Upon waking, I booked it to Orange Theory class and kicked some serious butt. My face was bright red but I was smiling! The workout wiped me out so I spent the afternoon lounging by pool after coaching a client over the phone. There is really nothing better than alternating soaking in a hot tub and a cold pool after a tough workout.

If you didn’t see before, I am deep into Season 4 of the Vampire Diaries which basically takes up my free time. Can’t stop wont stop. Just like summer in Florida.

It is an endless summer and I am enjoying it to the fullest. When’s the next surprise beach day? 

Day 331 and 332: Navigating the Streets of Shanghai and My Last Netball Practice

Tuesday, November 27th

Another hazy day in Shanghai. As much as I enjoy living in a big city, I hate the environment. The air is always polluted and the sun is perpetually shrouded in a blanket of filmy haze.

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There is always a layer of smog that separates me from some good Vitamin D and fills my lungs with icky congestion which you see splattered on the streets. The locals are used to this and are definitely not shy to hock loogies on the street and clear their throats with a sound that could stop time.

The streets of Shanghai are like an obstacle course of spit, motorbikes, and an endless stream of people who never bother to make space for an oncoming passerby. Sometimes I get lucky if the short wall of dark hair looks up in time to notice the blonde haired giant approaching with long limbs and a grim expression. With startled looks and open-mouthed stares they quickly create a small lane of space.

It is impossible to blend into this city. However, perpetually standing out is a blessing in disguise for this self-condoned wallflower.

You are allowed to bloom

I had an article published in Spirit Magazine about this topic regarding the benefits of standing out in China. I hope to share it on the blog soon.

But let me continue with this day’s events which included my last netball practice! I was so excited to join the team at Regis International School and meet some really great ladies. Due to scheduling conflicts we were not able to play a game in the first semester which is a bummer since I found out I am moving to Malaysia. Although I may never play in an actual netball game, I learned so much about the sport and about myself.

In fact, I am not too bad at netball! Like in most team sports, I am very fast but have pretty terrible hand/eye/feet coordination. I can run around like a crazy person and create space on the field but fumble when I actually get the ball. I mean over the course of netball practices, I was hit in the face with the ball about 5 times and tripped over my feet countless times. Totally embarrassing. But sometimes I could shoot really well!

Team sports are a humbling experience. I learned that I can’t always be the best on the field but can work with my team to bring out our individual strengths. It is a beautiful thing to experience. I will miss netball but hope to find another team in Malaysia!

After netball I was still pretty energetic and loose so I decided to bust out the Turkey Burn Workout from Fit2Flex.It had been a week since my last workout so I was ready to feel the burn. I finished this awesome at-home-workout in 37 minutes. Holy triceps. They were smoked.

Great workout!

Wednesday, November 28th

I woke up extremely sore and very chilled. It was finally cold outside! So I bundled up in a sweater and scarf and made my way to my favorite Starbucks to bust out some work.

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There is nothing like a hot cup of coffee and sweater weather to make me a productive human being.

It also helps when you are too sore to stand up. Thank you netball and jumping squats!

 

Day 358-360: Christmas Recap and Italy Bound

Hello friends. Tomorrow we leave for Italy! We will be skiing in the Alps and celebrating the new year on the slopes. We will also visit the hometown of Peter’s grandmother. I love Italy! It is one of my favorite countries and I can’t believe it has been almost 5 years since I was last there. Wish me a safe flight!

This will be my last post till January 7th and then it will be a frantic posting of the 365 project!! WOW IT HAS BEEN A YEAR. Cool.

Monday, December 24th 

Monday afternoon my mom’s side of the family came over to our house for Christmas supper. These family gatherings are always epic. This year was no exception.

Even my uncle’s dog, Okie, participated in the festivities.

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She is cute but no substitute for Holly. We missed her this Christmas.

Before the family gathering, I made sure to make it to the gym for a pre-feast workout. Got to put all that stuffing and pie to good use. Fuel for my muscles! I found this ski-ready workout from GPP  and was excited to give it a go.

WOD

25 Ski Squats- 32lbs.

25 V Ups

25 Squat Box Jumps

25 Power Cleans- 25lbs.

250m Row

4RFT

I was sleepy and unmotivated so my time sucked. I finished in 33.39. Meh. Next time I want to really work on going faster. I know I can! My legs are still sore and ready for the slopes! Hopefully…

Tuesday, December 25th

Christmas Day was very low key at our house and included our traditional egg and bacon brunch and present opening. It was a good year of gift giving and receiving. The afternoon was then spent with Peter’s mom. Of course I just had to test out my new kicks.

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They are so awesome and bright. I have never owned Asics before and they rock! So comfy and neon. There was little time to workout so I made up a quick WOD on the spot.

WOD

5 Pull Ups

10 Push Ups

15 OH Lunges- 25lb. plate

6RFT

I really pushed hard and finished in 11.08. Whew! It was a perfect workout, quick and invigorating. Plus my feet felt great.

It was then a rush to get ready for family movie time to see…. LES MISERABLES. Holy crap I love Les Miz. I was in our highschool production of Les Miz (chorus baby!) and just fell in love with the story, music, and characters. It was great to watch it on the screen. Ann Hathaway is going to get some mad awards. Just go see the movie. I’m listening to the soundtrack as I write this… yeah…

Wednesday, December 26th 

Today was a day full of errands and then dinner with my family at Havana Cafe.

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The restaurant was good and we enjoyed our time together. Who knows when we will all be together again :-(. Maybe in my new country of residence! Oh have I not shared the news??? You will have to wait just a little longer… but it is very good news :-).

As of now my bags are packed and the night grows darker. It is time for bed. Italy tomorrow!

Ciao! 

Day 354-357: Quick Holiday Workouts

Gotta post these photos of the day fast! I will continue to post my recent WODs. Try them out! They are awesome.

OH and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20th 

You know it is the holidays when…

You spot Santa at the gym.

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This workout was a tough one. I got a call and had to leave at the beginning of the last round which definitely made me move faster!

WOD

50 Air Squats

9 Push Press- 25 lb. dumbbells

12 Pull Up-kipping

15 Sit Up

4RFT

I finished this WOD in 18.02, almost a minute faster than my last attempt!

Squats still suck. A lot. However, push presses are really fun and they almost made up for the squats. Then of course pull ups kill me. When I’m tired I can only string together 3 pull ups at a time. It takes forever. It would be helpful if my hands stopped ripping open, making it painful to hold the bar.

They never said Crossfit was easy.

Friday, December 21st

Friday was a rest day. We had a holiday party in the evening. Holiday parties call for pearls.

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It is all class over here.

Saturday, December 22nd 

Saturday was still kind of cold which meant outside was the place to be. The weather was perfect for a bike ride.

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Then I warmed up even more with a quick WOD.

WOD

10 Superman

10 Hollow Rock

10 Push Up

10 Pull Up

6RFT

I finished in 14.36 and really wished I had not opted for another WOD with pull ups. 60 pull ups is a lot! Especially when there are lots of vacationers at the gym giving you odd looks as you kip up a bar. Honestly, it feels pretty cool.

They were jealous.

Sunday, December 23rd

Sunday was a beautiful starry night.

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Meeting up with old friends always makes the season brighter.

And also really makes you happy that you moved away from your hometown.

I’m just sayin’.

Merry Christmas!

 

Day 323 and 324: My Last Day of Crossfit in Shanghai

Time is a flying! Christmas is coming up quickly so I am running around like a crazy person. However I am trying to slow down and enjoy this time here at home with my family during the best time of the year. I am grateful!

Now let’s get back to these China posts. It seems so long ago…

Monday, November 19th

It was Peter’s birthday (Happy Birthday baby!) but I had committed to a lunch date with some new friends. I met two nice American girls my age and had a blast connecting with them on many different levels. It was so nice to meet other unmarried American girls who are focused on travel, new experiences, and a career in Shanghai. I felt… normal!

Afterwards I went to Crossfit for my last WOD in Shanghai! My one month membership ended the next day :-(.

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It was definitely a WOD to remember.

WOD

Run 500m

40 OH Squat- 20kg

40 Box Jump

40 Pull Up-jumping

40 Push Up-knees

40 Wall Ball- 6kg

40 Burpee

Run 500m

Holy crap this workout was tough. I finished in 28.59. Pushups were impossible for me so I stayed on my knees. However, I plowed through all 40 burpees on my toes. Weird. Overhead squats are still really movement for me which tells me that I need to improve my ankle flexibility (duh) and core strength!

I couldn’t believe it was my last day at Crossfit. I was so sad to leave. I love Iron Dragon Crossfit! I love the gym, the trainers, and the people who workout with me. They are all awesome, supportive, and like-minded fitness people who are seriously hard to find in Shanghai. Where else in China can you find people who actually enjoy pushing themselves to the limits?

As sad as it is to leave my Crossfit community behind, I am so grateful for everything that I learned. Crossfit has truly changed my life. It has changed the way I view exercise, my body, and people. We are capable of so much more than we think.

I will definitely take Crossfit with me wherever I go next in life.

Tuesday, November 20th

My Crossfit depression was slightly lifted the next day at netball practice. We have a fun group of girls and we are actually not too terrible! We have been working hard and have improved our game by leaps and bounds. I forgot how fun team sports can be. They are an OK substitution for Crossfit.

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Although I may not be able to join another Crossfit box, there are other ways I can incorporate a little competition and fun into my workouts.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Day 351 and 352: How Crossfit Transformed My Relationship With My Body

Monday, December 17th 

Monday I worked at the office all day then went back to Chorus! I went to just pick up our CD we recorded last year but ended up staying and singing and then going to dinner with everybody. It was great! It felt good to sing again. It also felt good to hear our CD!

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We worked so hard it this past spring. It was nice to hear the fruits of our labor!

Tuesday, December 19th

Peter flew in from China at 5:30pm so I made sure to shop at my favorite health food store and get in a good workout before picking him up at the airport. Even though I hated my first Kombucha experienced, I saw it on the shelf and decided to give it another go. This time I went with ginger, my favorite flavor.

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It was actually good! I don’t think I’ll be chugging these on a regular basis but they are tasty enough to be enjoyed every once and awhile. They help your gut too which is a plus.

At the gym I chose another random WOD from The Traveling WOD and got to work.

WOD

50 Situps

40 Side Step Squats

30 4 Count Flutter Kicks

20 Push Ups

30 4 Count Flutter Kicks

40 Side Step Squats

50 Push Ups

This WOD was pretty fun and I finished in 12.09. I was excited to do some side stepping squats in preparation for our ski trip! I hope my legs and feet are strong enough to withstand all that action on the slopes! 

Now I want to talk about some recent revelations I’ve had about fitness, body image, and of course, Crossfit.

How Crossfit transformed my relationship with my body:

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already see all the photos on my blog! Sorry about that. And you probably also saw me post this picture:

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I don’t take too many body selfies mostly because I don’t think they help me or my followers. Why should I compare myself to others?

Sometimes I get bombarded by pictures of strong, fit, and beautiful women who are constantly tracking their progress of fat loss, muscle hypertrophy, etc. with pictures and then stating they want to look tighter, bigger, smaller, and so on and so forth. While I applaud these women on their fit lifestyle and goals, this type of tracking and intense body scrutiny is just not for me.

I also have to ask, is there an end? Unless you are working towards a figure competition, why is there so much focus on improving your appearance by whatever standards you are setting for yourself?

I realize now that Crossfit has transformed my relationship with my body. Before Crossfit, I was fixated on fat loss and growing certain muscles for aesthetic reasons. Each lifting session, treadmill run, and spin class were a means of reaching the goals I had set for the appearance of my body. It was a depressing cycle that left me tired, injured, and not seeing the results I craved. You know why? Because I was fixated on seeing results.

With Crossfit, I am working out like I used to do in gymnastics. I am swinging from bars, rolling around on the floor, ripping my hands, and lifting some seriously heavy weights. During each WOD I focus on my performance. How fast can I go? How heavy can I lift? How many burpees can I do in a row? (not many! yet!). At the end of the WOD I record my time and any modifications I made.

After 2 months of Crossfit, I can feel results. I feel how much stronger I am. I feel that I can do much more, much faster without my lungs bursting out of my chest. I can do push ups on my toes. I can do kipping pull ups. I can deadlift 180 pounds! I feel my body more and more able to do anything I put my mind to. Best of all, I am down to 4-6 workouts a week instead of 5-6 and I actually rest on rest days. Funny concept right?

And amazingly, the physical results that I can see have followed suit. When I took the picture above I was shocked at how strong, lean, and fit I looked! This realization came out of nowhere. Now I am in no way super lean and cut because that would take too much diet restriction. I do not feel my best restricting my food intake. I love food too much!

But now I understand that in order to look your best, you must first feel your best. Fitness is about the journey and not the destination. My goal on this life-long journey of fitness is to feel comfortable, strong, and beautiful in my own skin.

A hot bod is just a plus ;-)

Day 349 and 350: Weekend WODs and Winter Sunsets

Saturday, December 15th

Starbucks certainly knows their way to my heart. I mean I spent almost two months using their lovely (sometimes loud and crowded) shop in Shanghai as an office so of course they know how to pull me in. First it was the seasonal drinks. Nope, no pumpkin spice latte in China but toffee nut latte?? Yes please.

Now it is the adorable snowman cookies. I mean how cute is this?

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It was so cute that I promptly ate it Saturday morning. Nom. Determined to put all that sugar into good use, I hit the gym a few hours later for a quick WOD. My mom and I had plans to see the movie Argo that afternoon so I had only an hour to spare. Good thing The Traveling WOD provides an arsenal of WODs ranging from simple to complex and short to long. I chose short and simple with an emphasis on core work today:

WOD

10 Superman

10 Hollow Rock

10 Push Up

10 Sit Up 

6RFT

After a quick warm-up I busted this WOD out in 12.12. It was perfect! I really should focus on strengthening my core a bit more so I can improve on my big lifts. Maybe a strong core will make squats suck a little less. Eh, I doubt it but it’s worth a try.

As for seeing Argo, we made it just in time and absolutely loved the movie! We were on the edge of our seats the entire time.

Sunday, December 16th

Sunday I spent the morning and most of the afternoon wrapping presents while catching up on Once Upon a Time. I was a bit distracted which made wrapping go pretty slowly but it made for a more enjoyable experience.

Before the sun set I made sure to take my bike out for another ride to the gym. It is my favorite time of the day to go biking. This is why:

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Winter sunsets are always the most beautiful. I was in absolute awe. As a result, I was in a great mood and decided to tackle my nemesis… squats!

Strength

Squats- 5×5- 100 lbs.

Tricep Cable Extensions- 3×10- 32lbs. 

I even did my squats on the Smith machine (which I hate) with a lot of people in the gym (feeling awkward). However I was so glad I pushed through and did them anyway. Sometimes we hate certain lifts or movements in the gym because they are our weakness. That is a perfect reason why we should do them more!

WOD

Plate Ground to Overhead- 25lbs.

Burpee

K2E

32, 24, 16, 8 

I did this killer WOD in 27.46. Lordy, this was really hard. I did this same WOD plus a 600meter run back when I first started Crossfit  (read my post here) and had a similar time. However, this time I did only full burpees!! Success! Back when I started I had to modify with burpees on my knees because my chest was too weak. I am stronger!

The best thing about Crossfit is that you can really track your improvements. It is so motivating. A little bit of competition with yourself is always a good thing. Next time I know I can finish in an even better time. I find it really challenging to push through burpees so they always take me forever.

Next time I will be better! Just wait and see.

Day 347: Missing China

Thursday, December 14th

Are you in the holiday spirit yet? I am! I am! A cold front has finally graced our presence here in Florida and I am jumping for joy (and warmth). Although it looks tropical and green outside, it feels otherwise.

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Yesterday I worked most of the day and attended a business luncheon. The speaker at the luncheon is the president of the East-West Shriners Game which is coming to Tropicana this January. It is an college football all-star game that raises money for the Shriners Hospitals for Children. The president told amazing stories about his career coaching football and got us all excited for the 2nd annual game!

At 5:30pm I headed to the gym to meet Peter’s mom for a workout. My lower back was crazy sore from deadlifts so I worked on shoulder presses for strength. Still lifting those 30lb. dumbbells and feeling good!

Strength

Shoulder Press- 5×5, 30 lb. dumbbells

Then I modified a WOD from The Traveling WOD website. There’s no running for this girl!

WOD

4 Push Press (30lb. dumbbells)

8 Pull Up (kipping)

12 Dive Bomber

16 Jump Squat

20 Plate Pull Over (25lbs.)

5RFT

My upper body was really challenged with the combination of push presses, pull ups, and dive bombers. By round 2 I was shaking like a leaf. I finished in 21.17 and felt a little nauseous at the end. I had to sit down for a bit and let the dizziness pass. At this time it was 7:30pm and I hadn’t eaten since 3pm. It was time to chow down!

Peter’s mom and I went to our favorite Thai restaurant and talked for hours. When our waitress brought out tea I was *this close* to saying “xie xie”. Whoops! She was Asian but definitely not Chinese! I guess my mind is still in China. I even used chopsticks to eat. It felt so natural!

Maybe I miss China. Just a little bit.

Day 346: Ancient

Wednesday, December 12th 

Did you know it was 12/12/12? You probably did. I did not until we started watching the 12/12/12/ concert for Sandy relief on television. There was more rock and roll and a very scary old and skinny Mick Jagger. Yikes. I mean he still sings and moves like a young man but looks scary. More so than Steven Tyler. I should know.

We watched the concert at a holiday dinner party at our neighbors house. Guess what else we did.

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We totally decorated another Christmas tree. Now I’m up to 3 trees decorated this week. I’m ready to light a Menorah and call it a holiday.

Daily Workout

Before dinner I headed to the gym for a more inspired workout than Monday. I thought I made it early enough to beat the after work crowd but it turns out 4:30pm is a popular time for college kids home for the holidays. Which is cool except when there are maybe 10 of them spread out across the entire gym making any sort of Crossfit inspired workout difficult and awkward. Slightly ticked off, I took a deep breath and did some strength exercises in limited space.

Strength

Deadlift- 5×5- 120lbs.

Single Arm Rows- 3×15- 20lb. dumbbells

Split Leg Lunges- 3×15 each leg- 30 lbs.

Upright Row- 3×15- 15lb. dumbbells

Finally, a corner of the gym opened up so I quickly claimed my space and started a WOD.

WOD

30 Air Squats

20 Sit Ups

10 Pullups (kipping)

3RFT

My time was 9.17 and I felt good but extremely awkward. There’s really no inconspicuous way to do kipping pullups. Especially in front of gaping college kids who, by the way, look like babies. It is weird to think that I am 6 years older than college freshmen. WHOAH.

Just wait till I turn 25. I’ll be ancient (like Mick Jagger).

Day 344: Office Style

Monday, December 10th

It was back in the office Monday for this girl. And let me tell you, it was as if nothing had changed. I was back in my office with the dying orchid formatting emails and maneuvering paperwork. It was also back to fashion pictures in the bathroom.

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I can’t help myself!

I wore blue cropped pants, white button up shirt, black sandals, and a new gold layered necklace from Target! Only 10 bucks.

Although it was great to see my coworkers again and actually talk in person about some projects, eventually I got bored and tired. I definitely do not miss the office environment. At all.

Thankfully I have been able to continue working part-time for the company while living abroad. However this is only temporary until my personal training and nutritional counseling business is up and running. There have been a few setbacks to this endeavor so for now I am grateful for the work. A couple boring months in the office can’t be too bad.

Daily Workout

After work my dad and I headed to the gym at 7pm. I was feeling super sore and unmotivated so I kind of wandered around the weight room doing random sets of heavy lifts.

Upright Cable Rows- 3×15, 32lbs.

Bench Press- 4×8, 30 lb. dumbbells 

Lateral Shoulder Raise – 4×8, 15 lb. dumbbells

Plank-2x1min. hold

Wall Sit- 2min. hold

It felt good to get in a good muscle burn without going crazy. Sometimes it’s good to just take it easy. Next time I’ll be ready for a heart pumping Crossfit WOD. Can’t wait!