An Easy and Weird Way to Make a "Chopped" Salad

Moves. This workout was quick and dirty, and it was one of my favorites in a while!

10 minutes EMOM (every minute on the minute)

~Rest for a few minutes~

10 minutes EMOM

It doesn’t look like much on paper, but if you go heavy enough on the kettlebell and high enough with the box jumps, it gets spicy.

If you’re not sure what EMOM entails… Set a timer for 10 minutes (+ a few seconds of countdown to get ready). At 10:00, start the “even” exercise, completing it as fast as possible with good form. Once you’ve completed the assigned reps, you get to rest for the remainder of the minute. At 9:00, start the “odd” exercise and do the same thing. Etc…

These are all pretty high intensity moves, so that remaining time in the minute should be much needed! If not, first check form, then increase weight/height of box, then increase reps if still too easy.

“Chopped” salad. One of the many weird things I do is make chopped salads by hacking at all the ingredients together in a large container (e.g., last night I used my rice cooker pot because it’s the largest vessel I have right now) with kitchen scissors.

If you’ve ever been to a bougie chopped salad bar, they’ll often pour out all the ingredients onto a giant cutting board and use a curved axe-saw type of thing to chop-chop the salad so that you have perfectly proportioned bites vs. large, stemmy leaves that are unflattering to eat.

Well I don’t have those tools, but I still want the chopped salad experience sometimes. I do have a large container, and I do have kitchen scissors. So last night’s super easy salad at 9pm was spinach, avocado, deli ham, homemade maple mustard vinaigrette ➔ dump into clean rice cooker pot ➔ hack at all of it with kitchen shears while occasionally tossing.

I’ll post a video example on my instagram story today if you’re interested. And yes, I ate my salad straight out of the rice cooker pot.

p.s. I definitely ate more food after my salad, so don’t go thinking I eat 300 calories for dinner.

a blurry throwback photo of a “chopped” salad a la scissor hacking

Avocado smoothie. Speaking of avocados, I went out to lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant with my friends on Sunday, and John ordered an avocado smoothie for us to share. It is literally just ice, avocado, and some condensed milk. I loved it. It was like a light, refreshing guacamole milkshake that had a subtle but sure taste of the beloved creamy fruit. I recommend it the next time you’re out eating pho!

So tell me:

Do you like to make “chopped” salads at home? If so, how? Have you/would you ever try the kitchen scissors+bowl method?

Have you ever done an EMOM workout? Do you like them?

Have you ever tried an avocado smoothie? Do you like to put avocados IN your smoothies?

Day in the Life {Third Clinical of DPT School}

Whoopsie, I didn’t mean to duck out of here for so long. No excuses to share!

To get back into the swing of things, I think it’s fine time for another “day in the life” post, given that I am over halfway through my third of four clinicals here in physical therapy school. February is also over halfway over, which is somethin’ to chew on. Lent is coming!!

I am currently working four 10-hour days (Mon-Thurs), and each day looks a little different after I leave work, but here is a typical Monday.

a super close up selfie of me on my very first day of clinical (6 weeks ago)

5:40am — Wake up. Kick a leg off the bed, then the other, then (sometimes literally) hit the floor to say a morning offering prayer. Go to the bathroom.

6:00am — Make bed, get changed, and put on a small bit of makeup. Get my lunch box packed.

6:15am — Leave apartment and walk to a farther train station than necessary to get the blood pumping. I like to breathe in the fresh morning air and say a rosary.

6:40am — Arrive at the train station and get on the train.

7:00am — Take a shuttle from the train station to work building.

7:15am — Arrive at work. Change my upper garments because I always sweat walking to the train station.

7:30am — Start pre-charting while eating breakfast. On Mondays, we technically start work at 8:00am, but I like to get there slightly earlier to have more time to chart review and plan for the day.

8:15am — The first slot for seeing a patient. Some days it’s filled, others it’s not.

Occasionally, I’ll scarf down a nut bar if we have a free moment and if I’m really hungry between breakfast and lunch.

12:00pm — Lunch break! Depending on how many notes I need to write, I’ll either stay in my cubicle documenting while eating lunch or take some time to go down to the cafeteria where there is 10x more light and warmth than in the office.

1:00pm — Back to work. Technically, our lunch break is 30 minutes, so half is for actual eating and relaxing. The other half is for documenting.

4:00-5:00 pm — Sometime in here I’ll likely have a snack for the final push of the work day.

5:30pm — No more patients seen after this time, but time to finish up notes and prepare for the next day!

6:30pm — Leave work (if all goes as planned). I’ve been walking from work to the train station instead of waiting for the shuttle, unless it’s already there. It’s another nice way to unwind from work and just enjoy the fresh air (if it’s not raining, that is).

7:00pm — Take the train to the gym. Usually I just sit and stare to let my mind rest. Often will say some prayers. Occasionally I’ll listen to a podcast. John suggested I read a book when I’m commuting, which seems obvious, but I have not done it yet!

7:30pm — Arrive at the gym, change, and do a quick workout. Usually, since it’s quite late already, I do a warmup + 20 minute HIIT workout.

It’s a victory in and of itself for me to get my butt to the gym after a long day, and that’s coming from someone who likes to work out. Holla at everyone who struggles getting to the gym after a long day of work. The gym does not open early enough for me to go before work… but I doubt I’d go at 5am anyway, even if it was open at that time.

The worst part about the gym at this time of day is that many college students are like me and don’t go to the gym before classes; they go AFTER classes are done for the day. So it’s a mad house. Utter mad house. The beauty of a HIIT workout though is that I need limited space, so I usually gather myself in a corner and get to work.

8:30pm — Arrive home and eat dinner! Try to not occupy my mind too much, but maybe FaceTime a friend, maybe text some people.

9:15pm — Shower.

9:30pm — Pack food for the next day.

10:00pm — Soooo…. what I should be doing at this time is winding down, praying, reading, etc. But I often will be texting people or busying myself with pointless things that are unproductive at this hour of the night. But the goal is to be in bed around this time and getting my snooze on.

Recently I’ve been getting to sleep closer to 10:30-10:40pm, for whatever reason. I need to work on cleaning up that nighttime routine, let me tell ya.

That’s about it though! Some variations include bible study on Tuesday nights instead of the gym. Mondays and Wednesdays I start at 8am, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30am. Some nights I get off earlier from work. Wednesdays I’m often tired and don’t make it to the gym. Thursdays I usually try to push through to work out since I have Fridays off. It’s all just a general routine with lots of flexibility, for which I am grateful.

I hope all those who have today off (President’s Day in America) have lots of fun and relaxation! For those like me who are working today, I hope it’s still lots of fun 🙂

So tell me:

What does your daily schedule look like generally?

What do you typically eat for breakfast?

Do you go to the gym before or after work?

Four Things I Pray For Every Work Day

Moves. The gift of movement is something for which I feel more grateful with each passing day. From the times when I don’t have the opportunity to work out to seeing the ways in which my patients struggle with movement, I see each step and workout as a blessed thing. Since it has been quite a few days since my last post, I will highlight only a few of my favorite workouts from this past week.

Last Thursday: Yoga online

Last Friday: Outdoor play time + rock climbing with Janice and a couple more friends!

Saturday: Lower body

  • Squats (warmup ➔ 1×8 at 135# ➔ 1×5 at 155# ➔ 3×3 at 165# ➔ 4×4 at 155#)
  • 3 rounds: 12 KBS + concentric to eccentric deadlift to squat jump x10

Monday: HIIT workout (30 sec work/30 sec rest x 4 rounds)

  • Dumbbell burpee to push press
  • Bent over dumbbell rows
  • Bear crawl plank to kick through
  • Wall balls
  • Plank jack climbers / crossing mountain climbers

Yesterday: Upper body

  • Pull-up practice with and without band // 15 second flexed arm hangs
  • 8 devil presses + 10-12 dumbbell chest press on ball
  • Wall walks focusing on weight shifting in handstand position
  • 10 TRX rows + 6-8 dips
  • 12 scorpion ball planks / 8 ball pike to pushup + 40 double unders

10 hours. That’s how much sleep I got last night because I have been terrible at getting at least 7 hours of sleep for the past couple weeks months. I went to sleep at 8pm like a baby, and oh how I wish I could do that every night.

Chipotle rice. Last Saturday a few friends and I helped out another friend with her high school retreat at the church where she is a youth minister. Most importantly, the theme was forgiveness, and it was beautiful to see so many high schoolers respond to God’s Mercy that night. Second most importantly, I discovered how much I really love Chipotle’s lime cilantro rice. I know it’s old news at this point, but DANG that is some buttery flavorful goodness. I took home some leftovers and enjoyed every last bite of it this week.

Brunch and generosity. Also last weekend, I grabbed brunch at Cafe Landwer with my friend Sabrina, and it was just lovely. I had shakshuka with halloumi cheese and the best bread. She had a breakfast platter that included tastes of lots of little dishes. We both didn’t know each other very well before the brunch, but we ended hoping to catch up again soon.

What struck me was her generosity in treating me to brunch (and an Uber from one crowded brunch place to another). She is a young, relatively new grad who could probably be frugal like the rest of us, but she realized her position of having a job and my position of still being a student with zero income, and she without a question treated me to brunch. It’s small and logical, but I felt that the gesture was filled with so much love and consideration. Thank you, Sabrina!

Four things. It’s been a busy but good week at clinical, but the current and impending challenges of becoming the best new grad PT I can be is a little daunting. Since my first clinical in summer of 2018, I have prayed for two things: honesty and humility. I wanted to be very honest in what I knew and did not know, in what I needed from my clinical instructor, and in who I was as a clinician and a person. All while being humble in accepting criticism and in failing at times.

Since the start of this third clinical, I have prayed for an additional two graces: clarity and competence. As I am approaching my doctorate, it’s not just about passing to the next step of my education; it’s about exceeding expectations to give my patients the very best care possible. I know I need to be clear and intentional about what I do for treatment and why, and it needs to be backed by solid evidence and clinical reasoning.

Honesty, humility, clarity, and competence. My H’s and C’s. It all seems obvious, but they don’t come easily all the time, so I pray for them.

So tell me:

What was your favorite workout this past week?

Do you like Chipotle rice?

What is a kind gesture that stood out to you this week?

Do you have a daily prayer / mantra to get you through the work week?

Life + Death

Moves. Sunday’s workout killed me. A pistol squat burpee ladder for the lower body and the cardiovascular system:

  • 10 pistol squats each leg
  • 10 burpees
  • 9 pistols each leg
  • 9 burpees
  • ….all the way down to 1 pistol squat each leg, 1 burpee

I didn’t do anything on Monday due to time constraints. On Tuesday after work though, I needed to move because I was going MAD. I’ve gotten better at “tolerating” lack of movement (whereas in the past I would need to get up ever 10 minutes to walk or squat or something), but sometimes after a long day ya girl just feels like she’s about to implode. So a 9pm trip to the gym for a 45-minute assault bike workout helped immensely. It helped that I was off work the next day too.

Yesterday I did an upper body workout involving:

  • 4 sets of pull-ups to failure (unassisted and assisted)
  • 3×10 dumbbell clean and press // 3×16 stability ball scorpions
  • 3×10-14 TRX rows // 3×10 TRX pike pushups
  • 2 sets of dips to failure
  • 3×35 double unders

Life. This past weekend I attended the March for Life in Washington, D.C.

My religious views are not a secret if you’ve been reading for a while or know me, and they inevitably and necessarily affect my political views as well. Politics aside though (I h a t e talking about politics), what I’ve reflected on personally this year during and after the march is that my chance to be pro-life is at every moment. On the one hand, to speak up for those who are the most vulnerable (e.g., the unborn, immigrants, victims of sex trafficking, people without homes, people who are non-verbal, to name a few) is a priority in the pro-life movement.

However, I do not think that anyone can be pro-life without putting in the physical, emotional, and spiritual work to love the most vulnerable people they encounter in their day-to-day. That may look different for every person depending on your job, geographic location, and circumstance in life. In essence though, my hope for every person at the March for Life, including myself, was that they were “walking the walk,” not just at the March for life (as important as that is) but for the person in front of them today.

Death. Rest in peace, Kobe Bryant, Gigi, and all others killed on the helicopter. BU’s chaplain, Fr. Barnes, had some beautiful words to say in light of the tragedy.

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“I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” John 6:51 . RIP Kobe & Gianna Bryant. 🙏🏼 May their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. . Kobe blessed and inspired so many people throughout his short life, on and off the court. The most loving thing you could possibly do in remembrance of him right now, is to continue to pray for the repose of his and Gianna’s soul (his daughter), and to continue lifting up in prayer, his wife and three girls who he leaves behind. . I’ve been weighed down by this terrible news all day. I think what got to me the most is thinking about his family. I have a wife and 4 kids... I can’t imagine what they’re experiencing right now. I also know that the truth is death will come for all of us some day. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. . So this tragic end to Kobe’s life is a blunt reminder for all of us to love God, family, and neighbor with that “mamba mentality” so that when it comes time for us to leave this life, we will be ready to meet God and give an account of our lives. Nothing is more important to prepare for than that moment. May he hear, and may we hear the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” Matt. 25:21 . #mementomori #ripkobe #ripgigi

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Meatballs. I bought and froze a pack of 80/20 (#FatIsPhat) ground beef the other week and put it to good use with this NYT meatball recipe that is superbly easy to execute. I was baking banana bread at the same time, so I decided to pan fry the meatballs instead, and that was a solid move.

Lunar New Year. Celebrated with lots of dim sum on Saturday with the fam and then hot pot with John and friends! It’s the year of the rat, and I was born in the year of the rat. Apparently in Chinese culture, that’s bad luck, but in Vietnamese culture, it’s good luck if it’s your year. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Italian cooking music. It’s a playlist on Spotify that my friend Ben is playing currently, and I am loving it. So sweet and chill. My dentist last week was also playing a tango playlist on Pandora, and that was also something fun to which I could see myself cooking/working.

Work Hard, Play Hard

Work hard, play hard. My friend makes fun of me for talking about how I can’t do much else except work Monday-Wednesday and how my fun and chores are done Thursday-Sunday, because, “everyone has a job, Alisonnnn.” But I’m new to this and I am TIRED by 8pm when I get home! My friend Zoe and I have also started a 90-ish-day fasting “program” (for lack of a better term) inspired by something called Fiat 90. It’s a list of sacrifices/fasts leading up to Lent and including Lent. It’s not solely focused on food fasting, but more so on life and prayer habits. Zoe and I are doing a ~modified~ Fiat 90 to more feasibly fit our current lives while still challenging ourselves.

(One snack per day means only one snack in addition to my normal three meals! And fasting on Friday is just Lenten fasting — one normal meal and two smaller meals that do not add up to the big meal. By no means is this fasting related to my health choices… I would not fast from food for any reason except for spiritual growth and intentionality.)

Also, we are allowing ourselves to break the fasts on Sundays — the Lord’s Day and a mini Easter every time.

So since we’re working hard and fasting hard during the week, we are playing hard on the weekends and feasting hard on Sundays 🙂 Here is how the weekend went.

Moves. It is difficult for me to work out at the end of my long work days Monday-Wednesday, so I relish the time I get to move and groove Thursday through Sunday.

Thursday: Upper body focused / functional training day

  • 3 pull-ups, 3×5 pull-up negatives
  • Circuit x3 (8 devil presses, 8 bent over dumbbell rows to deadlift, 10 wall balls, 30 sec double unders)
  • Circuit x3 (10 TRX pike pushups, 5 TRX rollouts + 5 TRX tricep extensions [x3], 5 toes to bar)
  • Circuit x3 (10 bent over curl bar rows, 10 bottoms up KB presses each arm, 10 lateral DB raises)
  • Row sprints as fast as possible! (20 sec on / 40 sec recovery x10)

Friday: BKBX Athletics Class. This class was more intense than I was expecting given the advertisement of this class being about “metabolic recovery.” It consisted of a lot timed circuits including variations on single leg deadlifts, dumbbell snatches, bear crawls, box jumps, split squats, dead hangs, and slider planks. Then FAST burpees between each circuit.

Saturday: Rest because my pecs and lats had never been so sore in my life (or so it seemed).

Sunday: Leggies!

  • Increasing weight back squats until 5×3 and then 1×3 and 4×5 1.5 squats (burrrrrn)
  • 5×3 pistol squats each leg
  • 3×10 kneel to squat jumps

Simple but took lots of rest and my legs were still SHAKING by the end.

Salsa dancing. My friends Celine and Domenica invited me to come salsa dancing with them on Friday night, and I thoroughly enjoyed the spicy moves and grooves as a fun social and physical activity. It was CROWDED, but we had a blast. Besides actually dancing, watching people who are better than us is really entertaining. Fun fact: I learned how to do several types of ballroom and Latin partner dances when I was in middle school when my parents attended lessons.

Perfect. Ben, Casey, John and I went to Yume Wo Katare for ramen and dream sharing. We all finished everything in our bowls, warranting a “perfect” score from the restaurant *bows*.

A truly restorative Sunday. Throughout school, I have been pretty terrible at actually resting on Sundays due to constant studying. But now that I have a little less work to do on weekends, I have more wiggle room to have a truly restorative Sunday, and for that I am very grateful. Yesterday included a workout, Mass, lunch and dessert with friends, hanging out by a fireplace, and drinking hot cocoa. It was a beautiful time that made me feel refreshed for the next few days of hard work again!

Happy Monday, friends! If you have MLK Day off in the United States, enjoy!

So tell me:

Do you find it difficult to have truly restorative weekends / days off? Why or why not?

What was the most fun thing you did this weekend?

Have you ever been to dance lessons/a dance club?