“Discipline equals freedom.”

pray.

I first saw the above phrase on my new friend @rebecca.rouse ‘s instagram. The idea is that choosing to do what is good, even if it is dang hard in the moment, will ultimately make you free to be the best version of yourself and to be able to serve others well (or at least, that’s my interpretation of the phrase). It can be applied to fitness (Rebecca is an absolute B E A S T) of course, but I’ve actually been praying with the phrase a lot, as I think it can apply to all areas of life — physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

Recently, the decision to be more disciplined in several different areas in my life has been brewing in my heart.

  1. Less time on social media. I started this year with a 15 minute time limit on Facebook + Instagram but quickly realized that I kept plowing through that time limit and pressing “ignore time limit for 15 more minutes.” But even a 1 hour time limit went by pretty quickly once I gave myself more leniency… It’s not that social media has been toxic for me (as it may have been in the past), but I still feel attached to it. I thoroughly enjoy sharing my moves and grooves on there, but I felt myself caring a bit too much about the whole shebang. I also found myself browsing through mindlessly at night to drown out my stress from my work day, which is not entirely how I want to fill myself up at the end of the day. Now, I do love that I got to meet my new Kettlebell Gains family through Instagram, and I am very grateful for them. But at this time, I think I will focus my attention on other avenues through which I can connect with loved ones and truly restore myself when I need a break from stress.
  2. More time in silence. I’ve talked about silence on here many a time, and for good reason. Silence is something so uncomfortable but necessary in order to actually be with God and also to confront the messes that are inside of me. For only then can those messes be cleaned up and transformed into new, productive, and fruitful things as I move into the next day. No built up junk in the heart, please!
  3. Morning prayer. UGHHH getting up 20 minutes earlier to pray is so good but also so hard for a night owl like me. But I gotta do it. Praying is my life source.
  4. Awareness of emotions + eating, especially at night. Ooooof stress eating is real. Even if my emotional eating is not severe by any means, I still catch myself snacking quite mindlessly and then being aware that I am stressed and chomping on extra crackers because of it… Again, I am grateful that I can be aware of this and stop at a reasonable point, but it’s something to work on. Working on this couples well with the silence piece ^^^

Hopefully this will all make more space for meaningful conversations, learning, blogging, writing letters, and tbh cleaning the floors and ironing my work shirts.

eat.

I made these pumpkin cookies with brown butter frosting last night for an All Saints’ Day celebratory dessert (also #fall), and they were fantastic. Mine turned out not nearly as pretty as Jess’ cookies because I don’t have an ice cream scooper to make them all uniform.

My friend said my unfrosted cookies looked like fried chicken and he is 100% accurate LOL. And then my brown butter frosting just looked like mashed potato schmeared on the fried chicken.

BUT THEY TASTED GREAT.

move.

I get < 10,000 steps per day during the work week because a) there is limited time to go on longer walks because of work; b) it’s cold and dark for most of the time when I can go on walks; c) I choose to not devote my energies just to hit that step count these days. I miss the days when I could easily get 15K+ every day in Boston, but ’tis the season of life. I am uber grateful that I get to be on my feet and moving all day at work though, so that is a blessing.

Otherwise, workouts have been short, sweet (or not), and as efficient as possible. Despite that, I feel stronger than ever, mostly thanks to the kettlebell crew! Up until yesterday, I have been posting my workouts on my Instagram stories (which are now on my highlights!), so you can see what’s been going down on there. I’m also up to 7 consecutive wide grip pull-ups now! Goal is 10 by the end of 2020.

groove.

It was so heartwarming to see all the ways my neighbors made halloween happen for the kiddos in a COVID-safe way. Many people put out individual baggies of candy on a table outside, but I also saw one neighbor stick candies on their garage door with masking tape so people could just pull the candy right off.

Creativity amidst the challenges.

For my PT clinic’s team costume, we dressed up as the Cobra Kai cast. I wore a blonde wig because I somehow chose to be Johnny from the show/movie… People loved it but also couldn’t recognize me. It’s the most I’ve ever committed to a Halloween costume.

Thanks for stopping by, as always! Hope you all have a wonderful week ahead. Happy All Souls’ Day, and happy nOvEmBeR whaaaaat!?

So tell me:

Do you like the phrase, “Discipline equals freedom”? Why or why not?

Have you made any pumpkin things yet this fall?

Did your neighborhood participate in any halloween festivities?

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?

I’m Happier Without Instagram

SNOW DAY!!!

It’s been two years since our last snow day here at BU. The last time this happened, we were experiencing snowpocalypse and had 5 snow days on almost every Monday of the week from January-February.

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#tbt

Someone noted that the Patriots won the Super Bowl that year also…

Yesterday it was sunny and warm, except for the morning when I got to ice skate to dance class. This is actual footage of me walking  perilously penguin shuffling across the frozen-over bridge.

I have never more greatly appreciated the function of salt on the sidewalks.

From salt and snow to INSTAGRAM. (#NoSegueNoProblem #BloggerLife)

I’ve been on a break from (what used to be) my favorite social media platform for over a month now. I miss it sometimes as I’m not “in the loop” with health living bloggers and friends as much anymore, but I can’t say that I truly miss it. In fact, I dare say that I am much happier without Instagram.

The main reason for which I am happier is that Instagram was a comparison trap for me, whether I liked to admit it or not, and now I’ve finally cut it out of my life. This mostly applies to fitness. I am much more content with my workouts (vs. thinking about the workout that someone else posted on Instagram today), and I’m less concerned about what my body looks like on a day to day basis.

The temptation to obsess over comments, likes, followers and notifications is gone.

I feel incredibly liberated in not having any social media icons on my phone. I don’t mindlessly pick up my phone to check notifications anymore. My right thumb also feels less fatigued due to less scrolling (true story).

My attention span has probably improved.

I don’t crave noise as much anymore. In fact, I find myself craving silence, which never used to happen.

I take fewer photos, which might be more of an advantage for my friends/family than it is for me.

I just have more brain space without Instagram.

Disclaimers: I do still have Facebook, because it’s a practical way to stay in touch with people and organize school events. Plus, the temptation to scroll on FB isn’t as great as it is on Instagram. Also, I’m not at all saying that everyone will be happier without Instagram. I just know for myself that Instagram has more negative than positive effects on my life.

I’m only a little bit sad to be admitting all of this. I did enjoy sharing workouts and tidbits of life, but I don’t need it, and others don’t need my Instagram presence. I’d say a personal blog is enough of me in the world wide web.

Other scenes from the week:

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an evening with the brachial plexus

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check out this pristine sky on the day I gave my first campus tour in 8 months!

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one thing I like + one thing I like substantially less

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banana bread baked oatmeal with pb + glass o’ milk

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Thrive Market delivery! 

Some moves and grooves I was diggin’ these past two weeks:

// Lower Body Supersets //

  • 3×10 squats
  • 3×20 jump squats
  • 3×10 deadlifts
  • 3×30 side jump lunges
  • 3×3 wall walks
  • 3×10 box jumps

// Hillary’s 400 Heavy Rep Workout //

// 45 Minute Fightmaster Vinyasa Yoga //

// AMRAP and EMOM //

12 min AMRAP (as many rounds as possible):

  • 6 pistol squats each leg
  • 10 burpees
  • 10 situps

10 min EMOM (every minute, on the minute):

10 min EMOM:

  • Even: 20 hamstring ball curls
  • Odd: 20 KB swings

// Fitness Blender 20 Minute Abs and Obliques Workout //

// 16 Minute Workout //

4 rounds, 30 seconds work, 10 seconds rest

Stay safe and warm if you’re in the snow storm! Enjoy your pre-Friday, friends ♥︎

So tell me:

Have you ever taken a break from social media and discovered that you’re happier?

Is it snowing where you live?

Three things about your week!

Your favorite way you’ve moved this week.

Someone Just Send Me to My Room For Bedtime, Please

I have never been so grateful for clean drinking water that is so readily available to me.

The weather here in New York has been tropical this summer! Hot (well, duh), raining in random patches, and always pretty humid. Needless to say, it has been a sweat fest here and I’ve been guzzling water all the livelong day.

Walking, running, standing, sitting — always sweating. Especially this weekend! Here’s what went down.

(Oh, and thank you all for your sweet words on the blog anniversary post! ♥︎)

Friday

I had never been so exhausted from work. Friday was only a little bit more physically demanding than any other work day, but MAN. I was honestly a tiny bit afraid of falling asleep on my drive back home (I knew I could make it though, don’t worry Mom and Dad). I think I ate enough. Maybe it was lack of sleep (thanks, Olympics).

I planned on working out after work, but nay to that. I sat on the couch and quasi-napped for three hours when I got home. Then I got a second wind at 10 pm thanks to a snack, watching track and field at the Olympics, and a spontaneous FaceTime with Rachel. Then I went to bed at almost midnight..yet again.

Someone needs to send me to my room to just read and go to sleep. I need disciplining like an 8-year-old, help.

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this almond and peanut butter with dried fruits and seeds (“Mad River Mojo”) from Stowe, VT is magical

Saturday

I did a quick 12 minute workout (12 Minute Athlete style) in the morning before showering and eating breakfast. I had a NYC date with two college friends that day!

3 rounds (30 seconds work, 10 seconds rest):

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banana bread baked oatmeal with peanut butter and Greek yogurt

I got to Grand Central and walked to Penn Station to meet my friend, Dana. It was a brisk 22 minute walk in the city heat, so going from that to standing in the oven subway station, I was soaked.

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So happy to see Dana! Not happy that our subway was delayed for almost half an hour though.

We finally made it to the Governors Island ferry station, where our friend Cassandra was patiently waiting for an hour. So sorry, girlfran. It was also down-pouring when we got there, which shocked Dana and me as we emerged from underground (that makes us sound like Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog).

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But one quick ferry ride over to Governors Island…

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…and we met clear-ish skies once again!

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As soon as we stepped foot onto the island, Dana asked, “Can we get lunch?” Praaaaise.

We walked around to explore our options, and we found a fun food truck hub.

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I chose Yaki Taco for three tacos: curry beef, chicken, and panko fried fish, which were all messy and delicious.

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“Don’t bother me. I’m eating.” ← name that old commercial slogan!

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they all look identical, but the meats are hidden under the slaw and “yum yum sauce”

Cassandra shared some of her cheese fries with us too. Ooooo, baby.

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you know it’s America when the cheese is more yellow than the Asian-Americans eating them the water bottle in the background

I knew I had to get some of this overpriced, organic ice cream from the Blue Marble stand.

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I got “The Governor” flavor, which the lady told me was a vanilla base with Grape Nuts oat clusters, caramel, and “white velvet” cake pieces. White velvet? You mean…vanilla cake?

#marketing

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it was still tasty, so I won’t hold it over her

With happy bellies, it was time to explore the island!

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peep Lady Liberty in the background

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After a few hours, we took the ferry back to Manhattan, where we parted ways. I walked back to Penn station while they went off to Brooklyn Bridge, since I wanted to make it back home in time for Mass with the fam, even though I probably reeked of sweat and city grime.

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I loved hanging out with Cassandra and Dana! Thanks, ladies, for a great time catching up and exploring the city (and for loving food as much as I do).

If you’re ever looking for a cheap but lovely and family-friendly NYC pit stop, check out Governors Island! I loved it.

After Mass, the family wanted to go to our favorite local Mexican restaurant. More tacos? Why not?

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maragarrrrrrita for the big man

I actually passed on more tacos and got the restaurant’s special salad and shared a good portion of mom’s rice (I ♥︎ Mexican rice).

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Also, can we look at the whole farm that was smashed between Ben’s cemita (sandwich on sesame seed bun)?

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in the words of Pop: “there’s like a whole flank steak on that”

Later at home, I ate half a giant peach (where’s James at??) + two warmed up oatmeal dried fruit cookies (from Christmas still!).

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And since I am so bad at going to sleep at a reasonable time, I also snacked on Wheat Thins, the world’s most underrated cracker.

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I went to sleep past 2 am.

Sunday

I “slept in” until 9:30, which isn’t sleeping in that much given the time I went to bed.

At least I did something productive the night before— prepping this overnight oatmeal smoothie inspired by Kath’s peach dough boy smoothie. I added a spoonful of peanut butter + half a large frozen banana and spinach in the morning.

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the fluffiest I’ve had in a long time!!

After doing some computer work and cleaning, I geared up for outdoor moves and grooves.

I’ve been wanting to do hill sprints for a while now, so I finally had the time and energy to do them yesterday. BUT HOLY FREAKING COW FLYING OVER THE MOON.

My lungs were not ready for the annihilation. It was also hot out!

After one sprint, I was literally saying to myself repeatedly, “I’m dying.” But I also kept telling myself, “I can do this. I know I can.”

I thought about Allyson Felix, Usain Bolt, my track star friends from high school, and Jesus Christ for inspiration.

The workout:

5-4-3-2-1 hill sprints (approx. 125 m) with the following circuit between each set:

  • 10 curb burpees
  • 20 Russian twists each side
  • 30 mountain climbers each leg
  • 20 air squats
  • 10 pushups

It took me almost an hour to finish, because I needed to take a break and double over to breathe many times.

It sucked but it was…fun? Is that what athletes feel?

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immediate post workout snack

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late lunch sandwich: greens, Madre’s homemade pickled carrots and radishes, turkey, swiss, mustard, and sriracha + unpictured carrots and artichoke hummus

The rest of the evening involved showering, typing this blog post, and talking on the phone with Apple Support for my temperamental keyboard. The problem seems to be fixed for now though!

I’m also listening to old Hannah Montana music for kicks. I used to be obsessed.

I better go pack for Ireland and do important things before the Rio closing ceremonies comes on. Lord knows I will want to stay up for those.

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banana bread mug cake with Greek yogurt for a late night snack after dinner

Hope you guys have a sweet week! This one’s my last week of work at the rehab hospital already!

So tell me:

Are you good about getting to bed at a regular time? 

Have you ever done hill sprints? Did you die?

What is your guilty pleasure music from the past?

Sports and Faith

I thought I could consider myself an athlete.

Until I watched the Olympics.

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But then I saw the Ford (?) commercial about how “we are all athletes” and was like, well, fine, if you insist.

In all seriousness, check out Krista’s post about how you know you’re an athlete. Anyone can be an athlete. You don’t have to have 21 gold medals like someone.

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I watched the #PhelpsFace shenanigans live on TV, and it was the most appalling and hilarious thing I’ve seen all year.

Anyway, we all know that Olympic athletes are downright inspirational. I was a little girl who always strived to be athletic in her younger years but never had natural athletic ability. However, I have really taken off in a burst of confidence these past couple of years as I’ve grown to love fitness.

Although I don’t participate in organized sports right now, and I definitely don’t even train like a middle school athlete, I am proud of how far I’ve come just dabbling with new feats at home. In some of my harder workouts and accomplishments, I feel like I’ve finally gotten a minuscule taste of the drive of a great athlete.

I’m sure you agree that it would be SO COOL to be an Olympics athlete (p.s. my blog/fellow BU Terrier pal, Gemma, is running track for Ghana in Rio this year!!! check out her guest post WIAW from last year here). I have glimmers of hope inside me that I could at least be a competitive athlete again if I really wanted to.

But I don’t want to. There are many ways to achieve your purpose in life, and sports are probably not my way. If you asked me, “What is your purpose in life?” I’d say something about doing God’s will and bringing others to Him.

That being said, there are so many parallels in the journey of an elite athlete and the journey of finding your purpose in life, whatever that may be. In my case, I’ve found that I can draw major inspiration from athletes for my own faith journey.

1) It’s difficult to start.

It takes a very special breed to say as a beginner, “I can’t wait to do that workout that will set my lungs and muscles on fire.” Likewise, I never said, “I can’t wait to go to church!” until maybe a year ago (read: 15+ years into being taught about and teaching the Catholic faith).

It’s a choice to start doing what will make you better every day, whether you’re in training or you’re trying to grow closer to God.

2) You have good days and bad days.

Pretty self-explanatory. Athletes get tired, sore, probably hungover every now and then. They don’t break records every day and they don’t get better every single day. But they use those off days to get better overall, and that’s how it is with the faith.

There are days when I am welling up with enthusiasm for prayer and good works. And there are just as many days when I don’t want to think of God or I don’t feel like He’s there.

The only way to get through those bad days is…to get through those bad days, with a constant reminder of the end goal and a reflection of how you can learn from the trial.

3) It’s easier with a community.

CrossFit raves about the community of support all the time, which I think is why it is such a success as a sport and an industry.

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I’ve talked about how my faith has grown leaps and bounds thanks to the incredible community of men and women at BU’s Catholic Center.

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You push others, they push you, everyone falls over, and that’s the end.

This is where I say, “just kidding, you help each other back up and move forward.” 😉

4) It hurts.

There is so much we don’t see elite athletes experience “behind the scenes.” The sacrifice, the pain, the internal turbulence and pressure… But they know that those are necessary experiences in order to become a resilient and freaking amazing athlete.

There is so much we don’t see in people who are faithful, joyful, and unbelievably at peace. Maybe they did have a great life, but maybe they didn’t. There is sacrifice, pain, and internal turbulence behind the most peaceful and joyful people I know. Getting through those trials is what makes them resilient and freaking amazing human beings.

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^^^One of my favorite quotes ever.

5) It’s worth the blood, sweat, and tears.

Watch Aly Raisman’s documentary and see how difficult her training was before London 2012. Now look at this chick—3 Olympic gold medals (and counting?). Seems worth it.final-five-medal-ceremony_ap

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The end goal at the end of this journey called “life” is eternity with our Creator, which I think seems preeeeeeetty worth it. And He told us it would be hard. And it is hard, but…

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In all honesty, publishing this post is hard. I know my audience, and I know this doesn’t cater to everyone, but my slogan up top there is “pray. eat. move. groove.” Pray comes first. Faith comes first. God comes first. And I wouldn’t be sharing this if I didn’t believe in the depths of my heart that you could possibly feel the same about Him, some way, somehow.

Whatever your creed is, I like to believe that people have goodness in their hearts to want to help others and spread joy in their lives, which is never easy. So here’s to using athletes as inspiration!!

(pretty terrible flow of paragraphs at the end there, but guatever, I need to go to sleep.)

So tell me:

How do great athletes to inspire you (if they do)?

What would you say is your purpose in life? Have I asked this before?