Finals Week: Brought To You in Part By Bread

Ohhhhh we’re halfway there.

WHO-OA bread is everywhe-ere.

I’m halfway through finals week, but since I don’t have any exams until Thursday (plus a research paper due tomorrow), I’m feel like I’m on study autopilot. Like, “meh, time to stuff more information into my brain today.” I’m not as overwhelmed as I’ve been in past finals weeks, which is great, but it’s a little weird too.

Fortunately, there have been pockets of fun amidst the stream of studying. Many of the fun things have involved BREAD (or a variation of it).

Pita chips with spinach artichoke dip two nights in a row.

Night 1: Last Thursday I stopped by the Admissions Ambassadors (aka campus tour guides) end of the year gala to mingle for a few minutes and eat some hors d’oeuvres. I was severely underdressed since I needed to study and wasn’t planning on staying long, but I just ate the fabulous spinach artichoke feta dip in the corner, took some pics, and ducked out.

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Night 2: A few friends and I went to the senior art exhibition by the fine arts students here at BU. I was also underdressed this night because I came from work/studying/walking in the rain all day, but the art was the focus of the night anyway.

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there is so much cheese under those crackers

Friday morning bagel run with so many friends.

My friend Sarah (the girl who has been getting me to run more recently) has been wanting to have a “bagel run” with people for the longest time, and her dreams finally came true.

First, Sarah and I ran ~2 miles together and then stopped at Bruegger’s Bagels to get 16 bagels + cream cheese for everyone coming to the bagel run. We individually packed them in Ziplocs because we’re the moms of the group.

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Then we met up with 15(!) of our friends to run 1.5 miles to a dock by the river to eat bagels!

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100% brought peanut butter to share

It was such a fun little event! There’s also an epic playground by the dock, so we obviously had to play there until a dad with his two little kids came, lol.

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Moves and grooves at their FINEST, I say. Thanks, Sarah, for organizing! And thanks, friends, for coming out on a Friday morning! ♥︎

Turkey, pepper jack cheese, and mustard between bread or with crackers.

I am so into this “after school snack” type of lunch right now. Doesn’t this remind you of something you’d find in your lunchbox as a kid??

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strawberries are in season and on sale, praaaaaise

Also, there were [vegan] chicken nuggets in the dining hall. They’re not the most amazing nuggets in the world, but that breading brings me back to the good ol’ days of frozen nuggets warmed up in a toaster oven.

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BBQ sauce all the way

Blueberry cobbler a la mode.

One of the best desserts in the d-hall in a while.

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Frozen nutella hot chocolate checked off the food bucket list with Rachel.

This isn’t bread-y, but I had to include it. This frozen nutella hot chocolate is from Paris Creperie, and it was delicious!

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The best way I can describe it is: nutella frosty.

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It was also so nice getting to catch up with Rachel — it had been a while!

Free cookie cake from the Google Allo cookie truck.

Basically, if three people downloaded the new Google Allo app and started a group chat on it, this random Google Allo cookie truck gave you a free cookie cake with personalized frosting.

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Free dessert sounded good to us, so Zoe, Sarah, and I took a study break to get one. We had them write “Regina Caeli” on it, which means “Queen of Heaven” (aka Mary). Because we’re Catholic and we were coming from the Catholic Center and we like Latin.

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That same night, Sarah, Domenica and Kelsey were wearing matching America socks. Look at how adorable they are!

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I also definitely brought my yoga mat and foam roller for everyone to use #finalsweek

Sunday morning French toast with Megan.

It has been one of our goals to make perfect French toast ever since we came back from Ireland, and Sunday was finally the day. I bought some quality brioche from Trader Joe’s + used some of my thick whole wheat bread to make, if we do say so ourselves, excellent French toast. We used this method!

Megan is a purist and drizzled hers with some maple syrup and powdered sugar. She’s also a stacker.

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I Alison-ified mine with peanut butter, caramelized bananas, and maple syrup.

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We each had 2.5 slices (so, yes, I ate all of that above) with a glass o’ milk on the side, and it was blissful.

Perfect avocado toast is BACK.

I hadn’t bought avocados for a while since they weren’t on sale, but Target had 4 for $4, so I jumped on that.

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one with avocado + sriracha, one with pepper jack cheese // carrots and hummus // strawberries and Pirate’s Booty at the end

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I ♥︎ pirate’s booty

Baking peanut butter banana bread / chocolate chip banana bread with PJ and Kelsey.

So I could have been hardcore studying last night, but PJ and Kelsey invited me to join in on some pb banana bread baking… A good study break, right?

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It was worth it. And I did get some studying done still because they took on the brunt of cleanup (thanks, friends!). I also winged a random cookie recipe because we had a butter/sugar/egg white mixture that was a mistake for the banana bread recipe, and this is what turned out.

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Kinda bready oatmeal cookies that tasted decent with peanut butter sauce on top.

Bread has been fueling studying and lots of moves and grooves.

I worked out with Ben again on Saturday morning and took us through this circuit workout:

2 rounds of each set, 30 sec on, 10 sec off

  • jumping jacks / air squats / mountain climbers / high knees
  • pushup to T / skaters / squat jumps / plank
  • side jump lunges / spiderman kick through right / spiderman kick through left / tuck jumps
  • one legged burpee right / one legged burpee left / ski jumps / tricep dips
  • broad jumps / plank jacks / side plank / burpees

On Sunday, Rachel, Sarah and I went on an easy run…

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…and stretched our calves at the foot of the stairs in the Catholic Center.

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Regina Caeli 🙂

Plus some other good workouts throughout the week at the gym.

And now it is time to eat lunch, fold laundry, and STUDY. I consider blogging a non-priority, but I still think it’s good to do during hectic weeks like this. There are many good things to stop and appreciate amidst the blur of life.

So tell me:

How are finals going for you, college friends!?

How do you eat your French toast?

What is the best bread-y thing you’ve eaten recently?

Two fun things about this past week!

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Everything You Would Want To Know About My Fitness Lately

Apparently being “on track” was a hot topic early this week!

I posted my thoughts on “getting back on track” after vacation on Monday. Paige posted “How to Bounce Back After Falling Off Track” on Monday. Colby posted “Staying On Track” on Sunday. (p.s. loved both of their posts! go check ’em out!)

Also hot this week? The TEMPERATURES.

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…for some people this is light cheese, but this is steamy for me.

These temperatures are making me feel perpetually sweaty. Not to mention how much my face sweats during my workouts, especially if I take them outdoors.

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I’m not a cat person, but this fella here is my spirit animal of the summer.

And that was the drawn-out transition to the real topic of today: how my fitness has been looking lately!

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed that I’ve been posting more fitness videos in the past few months, ever since I officially joined Fit University.

I could say, “A bunch of people have been asking me about my workouts,” but that would be a big, fat lie. I think only my aunt has actually asked, but I thought I’d give you all a detailed post about my fitness in case you were curious!


How often do I work out? 

Right now, 4-6 times per week. I try to move in some way or another every day, but complete rest days are definitely in there every week.

What is a typical week of workouts for me?

  • 2-4 days of HIIT workouts OR strength/conditioning
  • 2-4 active rest days/lower intensity workouts (yoga, pilates, skill work, etc.)
  • 1-2 full rest days

I rarely do solely strength days these days, mostly because I don’t have time, but I also don’t currently have access to a lot of good, heavy strength equipment (read: a squat rack). If I do strength, there’s always some cardio/circuit training involved.

For example, here are last week’s workouts:

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sorry for the weird formatting — these are all screenshots

How do I decide what to do?

My workout depends on:

  • how much time I have
  • what kind of equipment is available/if I get to the gym or not
  • what I’m feeling that day (the #1 factor)

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sometimes I feel like this before and/or after the gym

Sometimes I write my workouts the day before if I have an idea of what my body will want/what I would like to work on. More often than not though, I just go with the flow. I love to challenge myself in order to improve, but I don’t strictly hold myself to a certain workout/rep scheme/weight if I’m really not feelin’ it. I’ve really learned to embrace modification.

I also like to add a lot of compound movements (like burpees!) to my workouts. I don’t usually like to dedicate any more than one hour to a structured workout, so compound movements help me work a bunch of different muscle groups in a short period of time!

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rowing is the only cardio machine I like these days

Lastly, I draw inspiration from so many different people around the internet. My favorites:

I love to do their workouts, but for the most part, I’ve been writing my own workouts based on their formats. Or sometimes I just come up with something completely new.

P.S. Most of the time, I end with stretching.

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Do I have any fitness goals?

I’m mostly just aiming to be consistent and to continuously challenge myself, but if I had to point out specific goals (which I have not written down until now):

  • handstand walks
  • one arm handstand hold with my legs together (against a wall for now)
  • strict toes to bar
  • increase pull-up reps
  • explosiveness

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I need to get back to these stairs sometime soon too.

How do I get better at a skill/exercise?

Do it over and over and over again. Use progressions (!!!), do drills, and focus on good form, but just practice. Take good rest days and eat enough too!

How do I decide whether I want to work out or not?

I do not work out when:

  • I’m absolutely exhausted, to the point where walking is difficult and I know I need sleep.
  • I have other fun plans that I cannot pass up.
  • It’s been a while since I’ve taken a rest day.
  • I just don’t have time.

I might work out OR do an active rest day if:

  • I’m sore.
  • I’m really craving a stretch.
  • I just want to work on yoga, pilates, mobility or skills.
  • I’m sleepy.
  • Sweating a lot would be inconvenient.

I do work out (i.e. circuit/HIIT/strength) when none of the above apply.

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Why do I work out?

It makes me happy. (Don’t roll your eyes at me yet!)

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No, working out did not always make me happy in the past. Yes, workouts can totally suck while I’m doing them.

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me between every round of last Thursday’s workout

That’s why I’m such a proponent of working out depending on how you feel. It’s important to challenge yourself and push past comfort if you want to improve, this is true. But if you’re making yourself miserable day in and day out, you’re damaging your relationship with fitness (and probably damaging your body too).

I still get nervous before some of my workouts, because I know they’ll be difficult. I still think of giving up after the first round sometimes.

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It’s an awesome feeling to be 100% spent after completing a workout, but not every day!

The difference between now and the past (when I obsessively exercised in tandem with my disordered eating habits) is that I don’t lift a weight just because someone else lifted that weight. I appreciate the progress that I make, but realize that some days are better than others. I no longer work out with the pressure of burning a certain number of calories. I am no longer ashamed of modifying. I am no longer afraid to fail.

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throwback to when Sarah’s Cyc class absolutely kicked my ass

It took me a long time to be okay with those things, but time is a great healer. I thank God for the gift of movement and its healing/therapeutic/confidence-boosting powers. I guess that’s why physical therapy is so attractive to me!

How do I motivate myself to work out?

Before the workout: The more I listen to my body and allow myself to do the workout I’m craving, the more motivated I am. On harder workout days, it does take a little bit more mental effort, but knowing that there is an opportunity to move, improve, and take care of my body is enough to get me to at least start the workout.

During the workout: I used to think of badass athletes for motivation when I worked out, but ever since starting work at the rehab hospital, I actually think of the patients when I work out. In my head, I hear the therapists saying things like, “You said you couldn’t do one more step ten steps ago! One more, c’mon.” People who are fighting to walk inspire me to fight during my workouts, as cheeeeeeee-zeeeeee as that sounds.

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How do I know when to push through workouts/How do I push through?

It takes time to truly listen to your body. I think each individual has to find out how to do that through trial and error. I’ve learned some nuggets of wisdom from great fitness role models that have helped me though:

  • Complete a good warmup and see how you feel if you are on the fence about working out or not.
  • The beginning of the workout is always the hardest…
  • …BUT if your form is failing (on exercises that you can normally do well) and you feel miserable after the first round, you probably need to stop and take a day off OR modify. Working out can do more damage than good on some days.
  • Focus on one exercise at a time.
  • Form and safety are most important.
  • You don’t have to push to failure every time. I don’t even think you should push to failure every time.
  • BREATHE.
  • You can often do more than your mind initially thinks you can do. (And if your body can’t, then at least you tried!)

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So there ya have it! Everything about my fitness that you didn’t even ask for. 🙂 But seriously, I hope some of you found this helpful for your own fitness journeys. Please remember that these are all things that have worked for me personally through experience. Everyone is different! And although I do my best to learn from credible sources, I am not an expert in anything.


So tell me:

How do you like to move on a weekly basis?

Do you have any fitness goals?

How do you listen to your body when it comes to working out or not?

Five Minute Friday #16: Fitness is More Than Skills and Numbers

I just watched the US men’s gymnastics Olympic Trials, and I’m still speechless about it.

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I’m convinced that they’re not humans.

I’m also really sore from Wednesday’s workout as I type this, so anything that looks remotely strenuous sends pain waves to my brain.

4 rounds:
  • 10 squat cleans (55-65#)
  • 15 box jumps
 3 rounds each:
  • 12 curtsy lunges each leg (55#) ← died.
  • 25 plank jacks
  • 10 deadlifts (135#) ← died again. I don’t think I had deadlifted 135 in my life.
  • 20 jump lunges
Finisher: 5 min AMRAP
  • 16 alternating single arm DB swings (20#)
  • 15 goblet squats (15#)
  • 30 mountain climbers

On the food front, I was obsessed with this lunch salad this week:

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mixed greens, chopped Thai basil, mint, and cilantro, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, fish or chicken, peanut sauce

The fresh herbs are…

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^^^This photo is very obnoxious if you don’t understand the reference, I’m sorry. Actually, it’s obnoxious regardless.

Today I have a Five Minute Friday vlog! It’s been a hot minute. This week I’m talking about three lessons I’ve learned at work so far, including the lesson that fitness is more than skills and numbers.

Sure, competitive athletes measure fitness/performance based on race times, weight lifted, and reps accomplished (and I am a proponent of the attitude that what you can do > how you look when it comes to fitness), but let’s take it one step deeper…

link to the video in case it doesn’t work here!

Yes, there are baseline levels of fitness that we measure and need for health, but those little steps to get there are indispensable and worth celebrating! 

Happy weekend, friends! I’m going to be hanging out with a couple friends in NYC tomorrow, and I’m STOKED.

So tell me:

What are your thoughts on the “fitness journey”? What does it mean to you?

What is the best thing you ate for lunch this week?

Have you ever had a secretarial job?

What are you doing this weekend?

 

Don’t Let The Mirror Steal Your Joy

Real talk tiiiiiiime.

Last week, I completed a fun workout outside. I think it was this one:

5 rounds
  • run the cul-de-sac (~200m)
  • 60 sec squat jump with knee up twist (15#)
  • 60 sec v-ups
  • 60 sec down dog spiderman pushups
  • 60 sec reverse lunge with kick (30#)
  • 30 sec side plank right
  • 30 sec side plank left

It involved running, so you know I felt extra accomplished when I finished. I was hot and tired, but I also felt energized and strong.

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But then I looked in the mirror, and all of a sudden I didn’t feel as satisfied with my workout anymore. I honestly think I’d been watching too many Crossfit videos that weekend, so all I had been looking at were bodies like Stacie Tovar’s:

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I’m obviously not as fit as a Crossfit Games athlete (or almost any Crossfitter, for that matter), but when I looked in the mirror, I subconsciously compared my body to fitter, leaner bodies.

And that stole my joy.

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We’ve talked about the comparison trap 1000000 times on this blog, but it never seems to fade away (for me at least). Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe that I am in a healthier place than ever, mentally. But it’s still important to realize that aspiring for thinness OR fitness can be dangerous (← great article from Spoon University).

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In other words, aspiring for another person’s body (seeing someone else’s body as #goals) is denying yourself the opportunity to realize the amazing things about your body and what you can do.

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If I let myself define my workouts by how I look afterwards, I will end up miserable, and working out will become merely a means to an “end”— to have a certain physique (which is actually not an end because physical aesthetic alone is never fulfilling IMHO).

This doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t set goals, but I think there’s a difference between setting goals to be like someone else and setting goals to be the best version of yourself at this stage in your life.

Even with that perspective though, how can you tell what “your best” is? Am I not doing “my best” right now just because I’m not pushing myself to lift the heaviest weights possible, to run more, or to eat less sugar? Maybe. But I’m going to say that I am doing my best, because I have other priorities ahead of fitness (that is, fitness that goes above and beyond basic fitness for health) towards which I devote my time and energy as well.

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Since I’ve been working out when I feel like it and in a way that feels right for my body on each day, I’ve truly come to love working out. When I started this blog almost three years ago, I probably said that I loved working out, but I don’t think I truly did. I was still forcing myself to work out when I didn’t want to and to do workouts that were way too intense for what I needed that day.

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throwback to when I went to New York Sports Club in high school

This also doesn’t mean that you should never work out if just because you don’t feel like it. However, if there is one Pinterest quote I am willing to share over and over again, it’s this one:

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So cheers to moving and grooving…

…whether that’s running or walking…push-ups on your knees or clapping push-ups…air squats or heavy squats.

…whether you have a cut six-pack or a “muffin top” with those spandex capris…a perky butt or a cellulite-dimpled butt…biceps or no biceps (I happen to have the latter on all three of these)…

Don’t let the mirror steal your joy. Let exercise itself be your jam, not just “the body” (whatever that is to you).

So tell me:

Have you ever let the mirror steal your joy after a workout?

Other thoughts! 

Five Minute Friday #12: Fear of Failure

I woke up in the middle of the night doing sit-ups, I KID YOU NOT.

I think I was dreaming about doing the sit-up test in high school phys ed, and as I was waking up in my hazy state, I felt the need to continue cranking out the reps. Hahaha ew.

I’ve also been going to sleep and waking up pretty early this week — bed at 10:30 ish and wake up at 6:45 naturally. Oh what glory! The early sunrise and blue skies for the second half of this week have been making me so happy.

Other things making me happy this week:

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big breakfasts: two eggs scrambled with veggies + whole wheat french toast with almond butter and banana + glass o’ milk

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impromptu d-hall dinner with the roomie (and her provocative captions…we sleep in our own beds FYI)

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visiting chefs in the d-hall! calamari salad + chicken with veggies and polenta

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ice cream with sprinkles + mini cannoli

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last exercise phys lab with the coolest lab group

My first article on Fit University! It’s basically the story of my journey to fitness and health ➔ “There Was a Time When the Healthy Living Community Was Bad For Me.”

The last thing making me happy(ish) this week: Asking God to be humble me and getting exactly that. Yeesh, ask and you shall receive, am I right??

That last point kinda leads me to this week’s Five Minute Friday, which is about fear of FAILURE. I way cheated this week and made the vlog almost 7 minutes, mostly because my brain is a wee bit slow and I can’t form words quickly enough.

link to the video!

Three day weekend up ahead for us at BU for Marathon Monday/Patriots’ Day! Yeeeeeya. Hope you all have a fun weekend!

So tell me:

Are you afraid of failure? How do you deal with it?

Have you ever woken up doing something really weird?

What’s making you happy right now?

Know anyone running the Boston Marathon!?