VLOG: A Day Off in St. Louis

Greetings!

Long time, no vlog. Not gonna lie, I filmed this vlog almost a month ago, and somehow I had not gotten around to editing and publishing it until today. However, a day off still looks quite like this one anyway.

Enjoy!

So tell me:

Do you like runny egg yolks?

What is your favorite meat marinade?

What are you grateful for today?

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Summer in St. Louis

On this Memorial Day, we remember all the men and women who sacrificed their lives for our country.


Summa timeeeeee (almost officially)!!

Meanwhile, I’m still listening to my “winter grooves 2019” playlist on Spotify.

After finishing up the semester, I spent a week at home in NY with the family for Mother’s Day and couch time down time. My body probably needs 10 hours of sleep per night to make up for my lack of sleep this semester, but anything >7.5 hours is a MIRACLE, because this brain of mine can’t shut down for much longer than that. I’ve been a fan of using a blindfold to sleep at night so the light doesn’t wake me.

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despite our insistence, she is still washing dishes in her beautiful red dress as we speak 🤦🏻‍♀️ happy Mother’s Day, @yeungvictoria500 I love you very much and am so grateful for your life of self-sacrificial love —————————— a prayer for mothers (adapted from a prayer at Mass today): For all our mothers - for those who are joyful and those who are mourning; for those who are strong and those who are weak; for those who are loved and those who are unloved - thank You, O Lord for the gift of mothers who share in the gift and the power of creation. Bring them closer to the Immaculate Heart of our Blessed Virgin Mother and to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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Moves and grooves have been happening, just a little less intensely and less frequently these days. I’m just pooped. I’ll probably write a post about fitness/food life these days, since it’s been a minute since we have discussed!

But I still love getting in some good ol’ burpees. Forever and always ♥︎

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“be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:9) has been the theme this week - in final exams, maintaining prayer life, choosing the good, exercising, sleeping after watching a scary movie (#regrets; still traumatized). aka normal things. but I’ve found that I need the most strength and courage for the most mundane and small things in life, because I’m a naturally lazy, procrastinating, fearful person. the Lord, our God is with us always though, so be not afraid!! hop to it! 🐰 —————————— 3 rounds (I took lots of breaks) • 10 tuck jump burpees • 10 squat cleans • 10 strict presses • 10 triple lunge jump kicks • 10 inclined clapping pushups (you can see I took a break halfway thru) • 10 prisoner squat jumps (#ouch) #moveandgroove

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So the situation for summer: I’m doing my second PT clinical in St. Louis!! I’ve completed my first week already, and I am grateful to say that I am loving it so far. I am here with three other friends from my program, which has made the transition a lot more enjoyable and comforting. You can see the Boston University crew on the top right corner of this nifty collage.

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The scrubs lifestyle is superior to all work attire. No question. Except for the fact that we also have to wear a lab coat with pulse oximeters and gait belts in the pockets too, so it’s a hefty uniform.

The gym that is affiliated with our hospital is LIT. It has a sled (see bottom right of collage), pull-up resistance bands, free fitness classes, a tire, and TOWEL SERVICE INCLUDED. I actually have only used the towels once so far, but there is something bougie about having the option, I feel. The student rate is also great!

Speaking of fitness, I did a Tough Mudder Classic Race with one of my uncles (who lives in STL) last weekend. It was a relatively impulsive, last-minute decision, but it was on sale via Groupon and my uncle kindly treated me to it as an early birthday gift (thanks, Uncle P!!). I figured it would just be for fun, and since I am missing the Spartan Race in Boston this year with my friend, Ben, I thought this would suffice as a substitute, despite not being trained at all…

It was a blast!! It’s less of an athletic race than the Spartan Race, IMO. The obstacles overall require less strength and conditioning, but if you’re claustrophobic or afraid of heights / cold water / electric shock, the Tough Mudder helps ya get over those real quick, haha! I would do it again with friends!

I got to hang out with my uncle, aunt, and cousins before starting clinical, which was fantastic. These kids are so fun and fit, man.

We even did a tabata together!

Throwback to our first tabata together ever (before their 4th child was even born!):

In other news, there was a big tornado watch in STL last week, as some of you might know. It seemed legit enough that we moved from the third floor of our apartment building to the first floor lobby entrance with our plates full of dinner (see far left second row)…priorities, ya know? Girls gotta eat. Thanks be to God, we were all okay in our area. Praying for those who were not as fortunate.

I’m actually standing in LaGuardia airport right now because after my first week of clinical, I already got a four day weekend (#spoiled). I took that opportunity to join my family and relatives in Maryland to witness my uncle being ordained a deacon! I flew into NY and then drove down to Maryland with my family on Friday. Then we drove back up to NY Saturday night after the long day of festivities and now I’m headed back to STL. Good grief.

But GOOD > grief. What an incredible, blessed weekend to be with the whole family, especially those who I had not seen in ages, to witness my uncle’s ordination. My uncle who was ordained, as well as his family, were beaming the whole weekend. There were lots of happy tears shed. It’s difficult to explain what his ordination means to each of my family members, including myself, but the best I can say for now is that we are all filled with deep joy and gratitude.

That’s the update for now! Keep an eye out for more posts this summer; I’m hoping to do a day in the life and some chats about recent fitness/body image thoughts soon!

Hope you are doing well 🙂 Thanks for reading along.

(I almost just signed, “Best, Alison” lol.)

So tell me:

Have you ever been to STL? Tips on what to do / where to eat / how to stay safe (jk but not really)? 

Have you ever done a Tough Mudder? What about a Spartan Race? Both (if so, which do you like more and why)?

What are you up to this MDW, Americans?

A highlight of your weekend otherwise!

 

 

I Have a Dream + Lately

I posted this yesterday morning, but for some reason, some readers only saw half the post while others saw the whole post. So I took it down and here I am re-posting it!


This post is not about Martin Luther King, Jr.

(Although he is obviously a character to be revered and happens to be a Boston University alumnus #holla. And may we also remember his courage especially during this time of the events in Charlottesville and Burkina Faso. Let us pray for the souls lost, those who are injured, all those affected and those who have hurt others.)

This post is about a dream that I have that was prompted by a bowl of ramen. Allow me to explain.

Last Saturday, I went to a quasi-famous little ramen place called Yume Wo Katare with my friend Justin, and the experience was fantastic, in the truest sense of the word. There was a line of people waiting outside before it opened for dinner, and we got to see the staff’s pre-opening ritual (perhaps?), which involved shouting things in a circle, jumping up and down and getting FIRED UP.

So they bring you into their little shack of a restaurant, which is made up of an open kitchen and three rows of 6 seats each, all facing the chefs. Our host gave us a rundown of what the restaurant is all about — good food (ramen) and good people who share their dreams and support others’ dreams.

The bowl of ramen is symbolic of your dream (could be a short term or long term dream). Eating the bowl of ramen is symbolic of you achieving your dream. Why? Because there will be people, doubts and circumstances that will try to get in the way of your dream, but you have to just push through the obstacles to achieve your dream.

peep the fatty broth, the fat rim on the pork, and the FAT SPRINKLE ON TOP WHAT THE FRICK

The bowl of ramen is similar in that the fattiness and saltiness of this epic bowl of ramen will try to slow you down and keep you from finishing it all, but you just have to persevere and try to get to the bottom of that bowl.

There are three sizes: regular (a lot of food), buta (translates to “pig”, means bigger sized bowl with more pork belly), and extra large (for the insane). I got a regular and Justin got a buta because he’s one of those metabolic machines (read: a young man).

So you wanna reach your dream by finishing the bowl of ramen, right? If you finish everything, including the broth, the staff shouts, “PERFECT!” If you finish everything but the broth, they shout, “GOOD JOB!” If you leave some solid food and broth, they say, “Almooooost.” If you leave a lot of food left, they say, “Next tiiiiime.”

I got a “GOOD JOB!” and got cramps afterwards, but it was a glorious bowl of ramen. The noodles were my favorite part.

But before they grade your ramen bowl, they give you the option of stating your dream to the other 17 customers + staff in the room. I didn’t know what I wanted to say as my dream, but I decided I would say something anyway.

I ended up saying:

My dream is to make everyone I meet in life know how much they are loved.

That is some of the mushiest cheese that I have ever spoken, but it’s true. As a nomad of life and an indecisive person, I have no specific professional or personal dreams, but making everyone feel genuinely loved is very important to me.

I can only say this because I have been genuinely loved by other souls throughout my life, even (and sometimes especially) when I don’t deserve the love. “To whom much is given, much will be expected.” – Someone Wise

And now for some updates on life! I’ve missed blogging so much. Finals were kicking my DERRIÈRE, but WE ARE DONE AS OF TODAY!! For two weeks at least.

Colby (← her new website is BOSS) finished her summer in Boston a couple weeks ago 😦 As a “see ya later” send-off, we went to a Power Stryde class at MyStryde in Boston’s North End, because moving and grooving together is what we do best. It was a fun class!

can’t wait to see your face again, Colby ♥︎

We followed that with a trip to Boston Public Market (my first time there after living here for three years?)!

I bought brown sugar blueberry bread from Jennifer Lee’s allergen-free bakery.

I thoroughly enjoyed this delicious bread for dessert/study reward the next three nights. Served a la mode with peanut butter, of course.

On one night a couple weeks ago, it was raining, I desperately needed to go grocery shopping, and Target decided it was a good time to switch over to paper bags. Ergo…

But now I don’t live so far away from campus, so this doesn’t have to happen anymore! I moved from Christie’s place to an apartment closer to campus with Rachel and our friend Lauren, which has been great. I’m tolerated a decent amount of disaster in my half-unpacked room as finals finished up, but now I can start fixing up this crib.

It’s an off-campus apartment, so I get to stay put for a WHOLE. YEAR. HALLELUJAH.

the lighting is nice in the living room too, just saying

Before I left Christie’s place, I had one last night with her dog, Koga, and boy did we have a memorable night together! Koga is a really good dog, but he apparently had way too much water to drink that day, so the poor thing peed inside while I was alone at home with him.

How could you be mad at this face though?

Moving was a (relative) breeze thanks to Christie and Andrew, who helped me move and drive all my stuff to the new place, and my parents, who came up to deliver my bed frame and mattress last weekend. Blessed.

Another #blessed moment was when Rachel spotted a curbed dresser a block away from our apartment and convinced me to take it for my room, since I have practically zero furniture. But when we quickly discovered that the dresser was absurdly heavy, a knight in shining armor kind and burly man sitting on his deck offered to help us move it into my room. It was still a ridiculously sweaty and difficult task with the three of us, but the man’s strength and chivalry was SO appreciated.

I’m baking him cookies sometime this week.

My legs get more attractive by the day, lemme tell you.

(bruises from moving the dresser)

Studying for four exams within 7 days has been…a lot. But some bonafide pray, eat, move and groove action has made it all beautiful.

still doing workouts with Spartan buddy (feat. “the best chocolate milk in the world” – Ben)

getting peer pressured into going to Tasty Burger with friends on Sunday night instead of going straight to studying *shrugs* – worth it

banana pancakes!

chicken enchiladas with homemade sauce (← so much easier than I imagined)

5.3(!!) mile run with Janice and Justin (they definitely slowed down for me, but I think we all enjoyed it!)

Elayne made us a healthy skillet cookie one night before an exam ♥︎ 

study snackage

our friend Joy made blueberry cheesecake that night too, and it was phenomenal (we had some for breakfast the next day too heh)

chatting, studying and sharing a giant blueberry muffin with my girl Janice = happiness

Lastly, this happened before 10 am Sunday:

Rachel and I went to MET Back Bay for brunch, since their Croque Madame was on our food bucket list. LOOK AT IT. The photo does not do the cheese weight and deliciousness justice. The fries with crispy sage and garlic dipping sauce were also ridiculous. We split that and the California Hen House Hash…

…which was a deep skillet of potatoes, chicken, onions, peppers, 10 more pounds of cheese, avocado and two eggs.

Just as we needed to put our forks down before finishing that monstrously epic meal, I need to put my fingers to rest with this freaking long post.

Hope you all have a blessed week! You are so loved. Promise.

So tell me:

What is your dream (short term or long term)?

Three things that have made you smile this past week!

Best thing you’ve eaten recently. I am so spoiled and can’t even choose. Probably the croque madame though.

Ice Cream Sundays + Start of Grad School

Two very different yet equally important things.

I’ve been meaning to post this for the past two days, but here we are on a Wednesday. Now that I have to fill my days and nights with studying, blogging will probably be reduced to once a week again. C’est la vie.

It’s been a blessed past five days though!

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even my pineapple was smiling at me! (but this was a terrible pineapple)

Friday

Friday was my last day of work as a gross anatomy teaching assistant, and I must say that I had a great time working that job. (Definitely a better time than the students were having. What troopers.)

I kicked off the weekend with Colby! We picked up our pottery that we painted last weekend, and they turned out so well.

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Afterwards we walked over to Shawarma King for some Mediterranean goods.

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I got the falafel wrap, which totally hit the spot.

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Then we went to Paris Creperie for dessert, necessarily. I got the petite sized bear claw crepe (cinnamon and cookie butter), which was not really worth the price (I was hoping they’d have vanilla ice cream to top it with – negative) but tasty nonetheless.

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As always, time with Colby was the best part 🙂

Later in the night, I joined some friends at Rachel’s place for a Princess Diaries movie night. If it were any other movie, I would have gone to bed instead, but the original Princess Diaries is so worth it.

Saturday

I was suuuuuper tired getting up early Saturday morning, but I was still so happy to go to a 7:30am “Cardio Core Fusion” class at Exhale Back Bay with my friend Elayne!

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She had told me that ClassPass (a membership that gives you discounted prices for fitness classes throughout the city) was having a 4 classes for $4 deal for their 4th anniversary, so we jumped on it. This Cardio Core Fusion was a great, involving lots of planks and punches and fun beats, but my body was NOT having it after a week of less-than-ideal amounts of sleep.

But any opportunity to move and groove with friends is a good time!

I made sure not to book anything else for Saturday so that I could nap (for 2.5 hours thankyouverymuch), clean the apartment, do laundry, pray, cook, FaceTime with the fam, and go to sleep early-ish. I hadn’t forced myself to have a (nearly) commitment-free day in a long time, but after Saturday, I was reminded of how valuable those kinds of days are.

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meatloaf + arugula salad

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banana bread mug cake + greek yogurt while FaceTiming the fam

Sunday

…started off with THE BEST smoothie ever. On Saturday night I threw together in a bowl:

  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. greek yogurt
  • 1/2 c. oats
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • big spoonful of peanut butter

On Sunday morning, I poured the whole mixture into a blender with a little more milk and about 2/3-3/4 of a frozen banana. And voila! The thickest, most luscious pb banana smoothie of all time.

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I miss it.

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I walked to a church downtown for confession afterwards and then met up with Ben for a workout on the esplanade. It was a hot and beautiful day, so it seemed like all of Boston’s humans and domestic and wild animals were playing outside.

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We utilized the equipment and came up with this fun workout that also made me feel like I was working out on top of a stove. The rubber flooring of this thing is a heat sponge.

3 rounds:

  • 20 tricep dips
  • 15 goblet squats (with a random cement block we found there)
  • 20 decline situps
  • 10 burpee bench jumpovers
  • 10 step up hops each leg
  • 10 side to side uneven pushups
  • 10 lateral hopover burpees
  • 25 double unders
  • 20 reverse rows

We drank oh so much agua afterwards and walked over to a different park to hang out with more friends!

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We picnicked, frisbee’d, read, jumped rope, and made fun of each other. Quality friend time ♥︎

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I packed and ate this sandwich for the park – pepper jack, ham, arugula, bacon, sriracha mayo *squeal*

After playing outside for a few hours, I walked back home while FaceTiming my friend Briana. Then I showered, ate meatloaf and veggies in record speed, and rushed back out the door for Mass back on campus.

My friends and I have unofficially decided that we now have a post-Sunday-Mass ice cream ritual. I really just kept bugging people about ice cream all day, but who was gonna say no? We went to White Mountain Creamery last Sunday, so it seems like it’s “ice cream Sundays” should be a thing now.

This week we went to Emack and Bolio’s, which has been known to just be “meh,” and for me it was still just that, but it was ice cream. It was also my fault for ordering too chocolatey of a flavor for my taste.

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chocolate salted peanut butter cup + bananas foster (the latter was delicious though!)

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some of my favorite humans

Rachel invited us over to her place to hang out/watch the Cardinals v. Pirates baseball game, but I was there for the hanging out, popcorn and beer. The baseball was nice white noise.

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Monday

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I’ve been having overnight oats 5/7 days per week probably, and I am never mad about it.

I worked through the morning at my side job and then headed to the gym for a very short but efficient workout (read: my legs were jello by the end).

Supersets (3x)

  • 10 pistols each leg + 20 KB swings (12kg)
  • 15 weighted jump squats (10#) + 20 hamstring ball curls + 20 jump lunges

I warmed up before and stretched afterwards, but this was IT.

Sidenote: I was fueled by this bomb sandwich I packed with me.

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avocado, arugula, two eggs, bacon, sriracha *angels singing*

Sandwiches make the world go ’round.

After the gym, I went to the bookstore to pick up a textbook for my class and then headed home to cook, eat and FaceTime with my dear friend Emma for THREE hours! There was apparently a lot on our hearts that needed to be said. Praise God for wonderful friends.

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dinner – more meatloaf with brown rice and veggies sautéed in sesame oil and rice vinegar

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post dinner – leftover green pancakes from the freezer, warmed up and topped with pb and maple syrup

I ate this dinner and snack kind of early (finished at 6pm) but ate a chicken drumstick at around 9pm after FaceTiming Emma. So I was full going to bed, but for some odd reason, I woke up starving at 3:30am. I hesitate to use the word starving for fear of overdramatizing my hunger, but I really was hungry to the bone and felt like I could have eaten a large burger with fries and milkshake in the middle of the night.

Of course, I got up and ate bread with pb&j. But when I went back to bed, I was still so hungry and ate half a frozen banana with yogurt. And then third times the charm, I got up again and ate several handfuls of sunflower seeds.

It was a very odd occurrence that I did not like at all, but I just honestly, inadvertently didn’t eat enough before going to bed. Happens…but I’d prefer if it didn’t.

Tuesday

First day of PT school!!!

We had orientation at 8am, followed by class from 9-12 and 1-3. Five hours of classes in one day is not my cuppa tea, but alas, summer school is here.

After our long first day of Functional Anatomy, our program directors kindly set up a fun social event for all of the post-bacs and continuing undergraduates (like me) to mingle and meet one another. We bonded over bowling and lots of delicious food (praaaaaaise)!IMG_9250

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I helped myself to half a ham sandwich, chips, salsa, egg rolls, chicken wings, fried mac and cheese(!!!!), lemonade, and, like, a couple veggies.

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new and old friends! (shoutout to Erin who always hypes up my blog around new people haha ♥︎)

Now I have things like homework to do at night, so I think I’m going to read a textbook, pray, EAT A FREAKING HEFTY SNACK, and hit the hay.

Hope you are all having a marvelous week!

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So tell me:

Do you have a fun weekly or monthly “ritual” of any sort?

Two things you did this weekend!

Do you ever schedule in a full day off? 

Reinforcing Lessons About Exercise

There is currently a fly buzzing around the kitchen, which makes me equal parts mad and sad. Mad because it wants to get at my banana bread mug cake. Sad because flies are gross.

Alright, I have some foodie talk this morning before we get into the meat of the post.

First of all, I ate classic overnight oats in a sunflower seed butter jar (with 2+ tbsp left in the jar) for breakfast yesterday! It might be one of my all-time favorite breakfasts. I enjoyed it in my backyard since it was such a gorgeous and mild morning. Very few things could have made it more perfect.

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Secondly, I think pita bread needs to be on people’s grocery lists more often. That’s right, I’m asserting my opinion over your grocery list. *smiling purple devil emoji* For good reason though! Pita bread takes sandwiches to a new level. The fluffy, doughy factor is superb, AND you can fit more oddly shaped foods inside.

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inside the pita: avocado, pork souvlaki, mint yogurt sauce, tomatoes, and sriracha added later

Let me know if you buy some pita bread now. If you do, I’ll look into marketing and advertising as a side job.

Speaking of jobs, I want to talk about some lessons that my physical therapy internship has taught me/reinforced. There is very little doubt in my mind that physical therapy is what I want to continue pursuing as a career, and it’s thanks to my summer internship experience and what it has taught me!

Besides everything I’ve learned about anatomy, diseases, and therapy techniques, I’ve sort of re-learned a lot of lessons about taking care of our bodies through movement.

Health Lessons Reinforced Through My Physical Therapy Internship

  • Do not dismiss seemingly easy exercises. Go back to the basics and re-check your form/range of motion. Try an exercise that you’ve never done before, even if it looks easy. You’d be very surprised how well certain exercises can work those smaller (yet still very important!) muscles.

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like these…they kill those smaller glute muscles you never knew you had

  • Flexibility is essential. This doesn’t mean you have to be able to bend backwards until your head is through your legs, but flexibility is certainly important for your overall health and fitness. A full range of motion will help you in your fitness endeavors as well as in injury prevention.
    • P.S. Hold a stretch for at least 30 seconds. That is the minimum for lengthening to actually occur. You can hold it longer, but it won’t make any difference. 30 seconds is the magic number!
  • Almost every injury or anatomical issue can be aided by core strengthening. Planks, y’all. Your core protects your back, promotes good posture (which also protects your back), supports your legs, and helps with balance.

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speaking of form…

  • Form is everything. I’m sure you all knew this already, but this is just to reiterate. Don’t go for another rep or for the advanced variation of an exercise if your form is off. Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Oh, unless…DON’T DO IT. I’m guilty of bad form, and I have indeed injured myself as a result.
    • Also, make sure to learn proper form before performing an exercise. I’m guilty of this as well, and guess what. I hurt myself because I didn’t know what I was doing.
  • Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. This is especially for people recovering from injury or getting back into an exercise routine after some time off. You might feel great when exercising, so it is easy to over-do it and agitate your body. You have to think about how your body might respond later. 
  • It’s all about progressThe looks on patients’ faces when they can walk without a limp or raise their arms completely overhead for the first time in months— it is the best part of the job. Exercise and movement is about YOUR progress. You will be filled with so much more joy if you just concern yourself with that rather than everyone else’s abilities.

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even if it’s literally one step at a time up a mountain

  • Be thankful for the ability to move. Exercise is nourishing for our bodies (in healthy amounts, of course). Whatever you do to move, keep safety first and rest when you need to. Exercise doesn’t have to be about getting big, getting skinny, or hitting PRs. It can just be about joy. It can just be about necessity for health. In any case, be thankful for movement and don’t disregard the “easy” stuff. Every form of exercise has its place.

With all that said, my PT internship has helped encourage me realize that there are so many ways I can move my body and improve its fitness without pushing it too hard. I can work on flexibility/mobility, balance, and strengthening those smaller muscles.

Kayyyy I’m done talking…typing…whatever. Hope you all have a grand ol’ day!

So tell me:

Do you like pita bread? What would you put inside?

What is one way you’ve progressed with your exercise/fitness recently? Resting more counts 🙂 

{Disclaimer: All information I learned is from two physical therapists with their doctorate in physical therapy. One is also a certified personal trainer.}