The Power of the Work Out

Sometimes it happens. You just have those amazing workouts where the stars align and you feel freaking phenomenal. That happened to me today, and it hadn’t happened in a while. I was feeling particularly anxious due to a couple of my favorite co-workers/actual real life friends at this point letting me know that they are leaving (*cries internally*) while also having my daily “I should have gotten a full-time job right when I got out of school” freak out. I was going to the gym no matter what, but for whatever reason I decided that today I was gonna take out all of my anxiety there. I ran my lil heart out on the tread for 10 mins as a warm-up, and then did a really great total-body strength circuit. I’ll put the circuit at the end of this post, but it’s basically just a hodge-podge of different workouts I’ve found over the years and put together today.

Anyway, nothing was different about today compared to any other day in recent history. I’ve had decent workouts and I’ve had sucky workouts. Today, it was all mental (plus a little help from Tay Tay’s new song, please tell me you’ve been jamming to Ready for it? as well!). I shifted my mindset from going to the gym “because I have to” to making it something that could help me release my anxiety. And you know what? It did. It truly did. I felt better about the co-worker sitch after. I know they have to move on, and I know that we will still be friends. These girls are awesome humans, I mean, we went to Vegas together and survived. As long as we make the effort, we will remain friends.

I’ve listened to this an embarrassing number of times

In keeping with my goals, I also met up with a friend who I haven’t seen in a while tonight. It was super last minute, and super necessary. I am trying to fill this gap year with activities and people, and today just got the ball rolling in the right direction.

As promised, here is my workout:

  • Warm up-10 mins cardio (I did the tread, you can do whatever suits your fancy)
  • Strength circuit: 10-12 reps per exercise, 3x through, adjust weights for what ya need
    • Lat pull down on machine (60#)
    • Low rows (20# dumbells)
    • Walking lunges w/ weights (20# dumbells)
    • Bicep curls (15# dumbells, though I did one round with 20#-ers but could only get through 8 reps)
    • Tricep extensions (one 25# dumbell)
    • Squat w/ press (15# dumbells)
  • 10 mins of abs at the end, honestly I don’t remember exactly what moves I did, but I have an interval timer app on my phone and set it for 10 sets w/ 50 secs on and 10 secs off and did a different ab move each round

*I’m not a personal trainer, I just feel like I should put that here???

Okay, but really. What got me through this workout with such a positive attitude? Was it a mindset shift? Was it Tay Tay’s crazy music magic?

BYEEEEE

Julie

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Aaaaand, We’re Back

Well, here I am. Don’t call it a comeback.

…but really, we can call it a comeback. My 10-person readership will be extremely happy to have me back (love y’all). Last I posted, it was May of 2016. I was posting about how I was struggling to find the balance and was way too skinny.

Well, I did it guys. I got fat. Kidding, kind of. I got a little to chubby for my liking. I’m going to chalk it up to not working out as intensely as I once was and engaging in some pretty major nighttime, secret binge eating tendencies for the better part of this year. Alas, to err is human, or whatever they say. I’m working on correcting the extra poundage without over-correcting and going back to being a string bean. I did somewhat get into lifting, and your girl’s gotta keep this booty (side note: one of my tables recently wrote on my slip that I have a nice butt, so it’s really a hot commodity).

Anywho, why am I back? Why now? Honestly, its more of a, “what else am I doing?” scenario. This blog somewhat held me accountable for doing fun activities and being healthy in the past, and I am in need of both of those right now. I finished up grad school in May, but I am taking a self-imposed “grad school gap year” to figure my life out a little bit (yes, I have a master’s degree, but I am terrified to use it). I want to travel and I need to figure out a few mental health issues I’ve got swirling around my head (okay, the same mental health issue I’ve always had, good ol’ anxiety!!). I’m 24, so I have a bit of time to be irresponsible before actually starting my career. Or, at least that’s what I’m telling myself to justify this period of nonsense. Just to update y’all, I’m a server, so I make decent enough money to pay the rent and the bills.

With all that being said, the best way to stay accountable (for me personally, at least) is to put my goals out there and have that added social pressure to get stuff done. I’m toying with the idea of putting out weekly or monthly goals and seeing what happens, but for now, here are just some random short and longer-term goals that are worth sharing:

GOALZ AF:

  • Go on AT LEAST one date per month (this was a New Years resolution of mine that I have semi-failed at. I hate dating and it gives me terrible anxiety. So I need to figure this one out stat because the thought of dying alone also gives me terrible anxiety.)
  • Lose 10 pounds. See above.
  • Find a therapist in Boston. I’m sure you saw that one coming.
  • TRAVEL. Such a cliche twenty-something. But whatever, there is a world out there that I’d like to see.
  • Strengthen relationships. I have a lot of friendly acquaintances in my life, and I am bad about reaching out and being like “hey! let’s hang!” I need to try to do more of that.
  • Blog regularly. I have no idea how much. Preferably more than the once every year and a half trajectory I’m currently on.

I probably have a million other goals, but this seems like a good start. If anyone is reading this, thanks for reading. Tell me about your goals. Give me advice on how I could achieve mine. Just say hi! It’s all welcome!

BYEEEEEE

Julie

Struggling to find the Healthy Balance

This is going to get weird. And by weird, I mean personal.

I just read this blog post by Monique at Ambitious Kitchen about finding a definition for “being healthy.” I’ve read countless similar posts, all ending in the same conclusion: being healthy is about “balance” and “listening to your body.” You know, eat salads most of the time, but eat a burger or the cookie when you’re craving it. Exercise, but don’t overdo it. I love the message, but I struggle with taking it to heart. In all honesty: I don’t know how to find my balance, and I am scared to try to find it. 

One of the first posts I ever wrote was about how I can’t track my calories/macros/whatever on things like My Fitness Pal because I get obsessive. Recently, I’ve been super into finding the balance. I desperately want to attain this picture of “balanced health.” Of being the person who eats intuitively, has no shame in choosing the burger or the salad, and will eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m done. I’ve read most of Intuitive Eating, and the authors advocate for people to completely give into their cravings, allowing themselves to eat cookies for breakfast if that’s what they so please, while honoring their hunger, and eventually things will work themselves out and a more nutritionally balanced diet is achieved.  Through following the intuitive eating principles, I’ll be at my natural weight, my body will want nutritious foods, and I will find “food freedom.”

The thing is, I’m scared to take the leap. I’m scared to lose control of what I am eating. I don’t trust that I will eventually even out. I am scared that my natural size is bigger than what I am now. I don’t want to buy new pants, nor do I want to gain weight. Every time I begin to relinquish control and I try to begin my intuitive eating journey, I freak. I start over-correcting and only eating healthy foods again, or turn to that darn My Fitness Pal to start counting macros or something. I honestly do love a good salad, so I just tell myself that’s what I want all the time after a weekend of pizza and beer or whatever. I’m also worried that my weird restrictive tendencies have left me with a lack of self-knowledge about my hunger levels.

Anyway, why am I even writing about this? Well, I need to get my thoughts out. I want to live this balanced life, I want to have “food freedom,” and I want to see if there are others who struggle with this or have any advice. I find the blog posts and articles about finding this illusive “balance” so powerful and inspiring, yet I cannot bring myself to embark on this journey. I know it will require work. I know I will probably gain a couple pounds. At the moment, I stand at 5’8-9ish (jury is still out on the real number), and I am around 125 pounds, which, according to that dingy old BMI standard is normal. But we all know BMI is pretty lame. Also, and this may be a little TMI, I haven’t gotten my period since going off birth control in January, and I’m a little freaked about amenorreah. Thus, I realize I will probably gain a few pounds in this journey, and I have to be okay with that. I tell people all the time that the scale has no bearing on their self worth, yet I cant bring myself to believe that.

Additionally, I begin marathon training soon. I want to be able to fuel my body properly for that. I do not want to lose steam because I am not eating enough. I have read enough blogs to know that my appetite is going to increase, and I want to be in the right mind-space to honor my larger appetite. Not just during marathon training, but after as well.

Basically, this is where I’m at now. I want to find balance, I want to get over my food issues, I am just afraid of what could happen. I’m sure this is a metaphor for my life, TBH. I’m an anxious person. I don’t take risks because I fear the negative consequences. I like having control, and letting go of some sort of control on my eating scares me. I have to trust that things will work out, that my body knows more than my mind does. I think I need to start this now. School is over, I am just going to be working all the time (your girl has gotta make dat paper) and taking a couple classes this summer, so I might as well make my ultimate summer goal to be to find the balance. Maybe I won’t completely attain it, but at least get closer to it. Stop shaming myself for eating “bad” foods. Stop even ascribing labels to food. Just be neutral. Food is food.

Thank you, lovely human, for reading this long, rambly post. I appreciate you. If you have any advice on where I should start, or feel like you’re in a similar situation, or have been in a similar situation, or just want to say hi, please do! I’m sure I will be interspersing posts about this stuff throughout the summer (yes, I am going to post regularly this summer…another goal of mine), and I welcome any help or kind words.

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I just felt like this pic of me eating a sandwich on top of a mountain fit well here

Other things that have inspired this post:

  • Cassey Ho’s (aka Blogilates) “How I healed from Metabolic Damage” video. (Full disclosure…I started tearing up while watching this…yup.)
  • The Real-Life RD’s blog. Robyn is an RD with a “more food” and “finding balance” approach that I really admire. I especially appreciate her WIAW posts.
  • Maddy Moon’s blog. This girl went from othrorexic fitness model to a beacon of food freedom hope. Super positive.
  • Fannetastic Food’s (and company, I just am a reader of Anne’s blog) new Joyful Eating program, which focuses on helping clients learn how to eat intuitively and find the joy, rather than the anxiety, that food brings. I am a strong believer in food being something that brings people together and is at the heart of a community, so the message really resonates with me. Unfortunately, I am the epitome of a broke ass bitch at the moment, so I don’t think I can actually be a part of the program. However, it is probably a great resource for someone who can afford the program and is in a similar situation as myself.
  • Sweet Tooth Sweet Life’s “How I’ve Changed” post about how she has found more of a balance in the 6 years she’s been blogging.
  • There are literally so many more inspiring posts, these are just what I’ve seen recently.

Again, thank you so much for reading.

-Julie

Linking up with Heather and Jill. Thanks ladies!

Hey, What’s Up, HELLO

I’m baaaaaaaaack 

Okay, but really, apologies for the 8ish month absence. Grad school started and this blog stopped. But you know what they say…absence makes the heart grow fonder. So right now I must be pretty darn fond of Julie and the Universe. Anyway, here’s what’s been happening for the past few months…

  • I ran TWO more half marathons!
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Harborside Half, classic post-race-beer-in-hand Julie.

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Double fisting because I PR-ed.

YUP, the first was the Harborside Half in Newburyport in November. I didn’t really train at all for it (though I typically do a 6-10 mile long run once a week anyway) and just wanted to do one more longer race before going into winter-race hibernation mode. I finished in about 2:09. Not my best, especially considering how flat the course was, but such is life. The second was yesterday, the Earth Run Rock Half Marathon in North Andover. Once again, I did not have a full-out training for this halfie (which I have begun affectionately referring to half marathons as), though I did make sure to build up to a final 12-mile training run over the few weeks leading up to it. My unofficial goal was to break two hours, but since I didn’t do much speed training and would have to break my previous halfie PR (2:07) by 8 minutes, I was not super optimistic. However, my pace has definitely gotten faster between last time I posted and now, so I didn’t think it was entirely impossible. In an effort to break 2 hours, I went out too fast and hit the wall hard at mile 10. Miraculously, I finished in 1 HOUR AND 56 MINUTES!!!!! I think I teared up when I saw the clock as I crossed the finish line. Even more impressive, I thought I was going at a snail’s pace by mile 12, and my slowest mile was still 9:15, which is pretty good in my book. This has also prompted me to finally want to invest in a Garmin or some sort of GPS running clock, please let me know of any suggestions.

  • I also ran a couple other races…

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The top picture was after a St. Patrick’s Day-themed 4-miler in March, and the bottom picture was after a 10k in October. My friend Alex never runs and ran that 10k with me (though she does hike a lot). She finished in like 1:05, which I’d say is pretty impressive for someone who doesn’t run. She’s gifted like that.

  • I went to Utah!
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Casual mountain views on the highway.

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Salt Lake: salty and pretty AF.

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Mountain chillin.

The aforementioned Alex worked at a ski resort in Utah over the winter (and is coming home today!!!!) so I visited in January. Basically, Utah was rad. Everyone is so NICE, which was super weird coming from Massachusetts (land of rude people in a hurry). It was absolutely beautiful. Also, I still can’t ski.

  • I cut my hair.
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I called it my “cool mom cut.”

2016: new me, new hair. I cut it on New Year’s Eve. I was bored with long hair. I go through this cycle every 2 years or so (cut hair…grow hair out…get bored…repeat). It was cute. Unsurprisingly, I’m growing it out now.

  • I am almost done my first year of grad school!

Too real.

In summary: first semester I was super anxious and felt like I had no friends and no business being there. Had a couple breakdowns. Slowly made friends, realized everyone felt overwhelmed, got good grades in the end. Second semester: totally slacking but getting it done. Making better connections with friends. Working at a school as a guidance intern once a week, it’s pretty good. Basically, grad school is a crap ton of work, but you’ll get it done. My final paper of the semester is due on May 13 and I cannot wait to submit it. Let me know if you’d be interested in a more extended grad school post!

  • And finally….I SIGNED UP TO RUN A MARATHON.

Yup, it’s happening.

The reason I really wanted to come back to blogging is to have an outlet to discuss marathon training. You all have super great running advice, and I want to hear it all! My 2015 goal was to run a halfie, which I did (twice…but who’s counting?), and my 2016 goal is to run a…fullie? Okay, we’re gonna scrap that nickname and call it a marathon for now. I am running the Baystate Marathon in October in good ol’ Lowell (where I went to college, Rock the Hawk yo). I don’t start training until June, and I am thinking of following Hal Hingdon’s Novice 2 plan. I’m not entirely sure yet. I want a plan that has no more than 4 days of running because I would like to continue keeping up strength training and yoga, and anything more than 4 days of running just isn’t great for me. I am nervous and excited and unsure of exactly how I’m going to fit in training with grad school, work, and my 3-day-a-week internship. But I’ve always been an act-now-plan-later type of gal, so we shall see what happens!

Anyway, that was a rambly, 8-month catch up post, but that’s where my life is at right now! What’s up with y’all?!

Questions for you lovely humans:

1. Any Garmin/GPS watch recommendations? I love Run Keeper, but I think I am ready for something a little more advanced. I don’t want to spend an arm and a leg, but I am willing to invest a bit.

2. Have you gone on any exciting trips recently? If you’re thinking of planning something, might I suggest Utah?

3. Have you run a marathon before? Are you going to run a marathon this year? Any advice?

BYEEEEEEE

Julie

Re-Sick: The Sick Daze Saga Continues

Okay, so, I’ve been a little MIA. I could totes blame work/school/homework, but instead I am going to blame my immune system. In my last post, I complained about being sick, and, well, I’m still sick 😭.

Honestly, I thought it was only a short little end-of-summer-beginning-of-fall cold. I had a sore throat and some sinus pressure for a couple days, and then it all kind of dissipated into a mild cough. By Monday, I was on the upswing and feeling way better. Enter: Tuesday. My cough got worse. I went for a run that I probably shouldn’t have. During my past week of sick, I continued working out, I went for 2 short (less than 4 miles) runs, but mostly stuck to strength-focused with little cardio Nike Training Club workouts. I always felt better after working out, but maybe it would have been better to just…not workout. At least for a couple days. Or just do yoga or something less strenuous than strength training. Ah, well, live and learn, right?

Since I am “re-sick” I finally took my ass to the doctor. He prescribed me an antibiotic and told me to get some nasal spray and Robutussin for my symptoms. Please work modern medicine, please.

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Rite Aid haul!!!!!!

The biggest issue with being sick is that it makes me want to do nothing. I don’t mean in the physical sense, obviously I was able to exercise, but in the mental sense. Working out requires very little thought, but homework requires a lot. Sinus pressure + piles of reading is not a good combination. Now that the sinus pressure is back, textbook reading once again feels like even more of a chore than normal.

I’ve also been making some food choices based on being sick. Obviously, Vitamin C is at the top of my list (even though the jury’s out on whether or not that’s helpful). So I’ve been munchin’ on some oranges. Honestly, fruit in general have been a go-to since it’s east to pack for snacks at school.

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I’ve also found myself eating more oatmeal in the past week. It’s filling, delicious, and doesn’t bother my throat (especially when it’s warm).

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Looks like death (kind of like how I feel), but it’s Chocolate PB overnight oats, so it tastes a lot better than death.

Smoothie bowls have also been consumed. Fruit nutrient power + smooth consistency + being relatively cold has been good on my throat as well.

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PB & J Smoothie bowl: 1/2 a frozen banana + 3/4 cup(ish) frozen mixed berries + 2 tbsp PB2 + 1/2 cup(ish) unsweetened vanilla almond milk + handful of baby spinach + 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Of course, I can’t live without salad, so those have been a staple as well. Plus, I’m telling myself all the nutrients in the vegetables have healing power. Not sure how accurate that is considering now I’m on antibiotics, but nothing comes between me and my salads.

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Salad power, heal me!!!!!

So hopefully with the addition of antibiotics I’ll be on the upswing. Definitely not going to exercise today, and I doubt I will tomorrow. Hopefully by Saturday I can ease back into it with yoga. My focus is on NOT BEING SICK anymore. Secondary focus: posting more often. Getting sick totally threw me out of my school/work routine that I really hadn’t even gotten into yet. Sigh. I love a routine so that really sucks.

Okay, I’ve complained enough. What’s up with you guys?

P.S. I’m linking up today’s post with Amanda from Running With Spoons. Thanks for hosting Thinking Out Loud Thursday!

Questions for you lovely humans:

1. Have you ever been “re-sick?”

2. What are your go-to sick foods?

3. How much time off from working out do you usually take when you’re sick?

BYEEEEE

Julie

Sick Dazeeee

*Cough* I’m sick.

Me RN, only for real (source)

I went to bed Tuesday night with a mildly sore throat, and by Wednesday the sick had hit. I was working a double and just felt worse and worse as the day wore on. I came home at 5:30, slept until 7:30, ate, and was back in bed (with NyQull) by 10:30.

Thursday was my day off and I was going to get SO MUCH DONE. A long run, fix my headlight (which has been out for longer that I’m willing to admit), and go to campus to get my student ID, pass in some health forms, and explore a little. Sigh, even the best layed plans…

Instead, Thursday was basically just napping interspersed with eating.

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S/O to oatmeal, egg scrambles, and smoothie bowls for not hurting my throat and apparently being “foods that are good to eat when you have a cold” according to Google.

I have been able to workout a bit, as post-workout is usually when I feel my best when I’m sick. Both yesterday and today I fit in some not super intense Nike Training Club workouts. Sadly, running/prolonged cardio was not happening.

Today, I was a double at work once again. After 7 hours, I hit the wall (and the DayQull had worn off, also I’ve never taken DayQull before and it’s pretty awesome while it lasts). I felt so bad asking to leave early once again, but there were more than enough people on takeout, so my boss was fine with me leaving. I’ve never actually called out sick before, but I still feel bad even for leaving a little early because I’m not feeling well. Meh.

So, basically, woe is me. I’m sick and I don’t like it. I have so many things to do, but being sick just makes me want to do absolutely none of it. Fingers crossed that a low-key night and lots of sleep for the next couple days will do the trick. Sadly, I’ll have to wake up for work, but I have to be ready for my first full week of balancing classes/work/homework/life next week.

Oh, and speaking of homework….I should probably get started on what I have right now…but my sick brain is telling me Netflix is more important. OY VEY.

Really, I just have a cold and I’m being a baby about it.

Have a great weekend everyone, don’t get sick!

Questions for you lovely readers:

1. Do you workout when you’re sick? I try to because it usually makes me feel better, but I always keep it pretty light, some easy strength work, yoga, or a nice walk is what I’m into.

2. How do you handle being sick? Are you a “grin and bear it, it’s not that bad” person (I envy your strength), or a bit more, um, sensitive, like me?

3. What is one fun thing you have planned for the weekend? Let me live vicariously through you!

BYEEEEE

Julie

First Day of Classes Jitters + Weekly Workouts

Greetings! Hope everyone had a FAB long weekend. While I spent most of my time working, I did go out in Boston for my friend Steph’s 22nd birthday on Saturday. They played 22 by Tay Tay at the bar for her, and obvi we were in all our glory dancing to her.

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Also, when I got home from Boston I was drunk-craving something salty (don’t worry, we had a DD, not trying to drink and drive). Sadly, there was no pizza in the fridge (probably for the best, TBH). So….I made a ham sandwich wrap? And then took a picture for this blog? I don’t know why but I just think it’s funny.

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For drunk me, making a ham sandwich is akin to making a gourmet holiday feast.

ANYWAY, today was my first day of actual, in-class grad school (cue Finding Nemo “first day of school! first day of school!”). I don’t think I’ve ever been so anxious for a first day of classes in my life. It was totally a combo of the annoying commute (I parked at a T station outside of Boston and took the T in, but I’m thinking I may just drive there from now on, we’ll see), being unfamiliar with the campus (I had only ever been there once before), and not knowing anyone who went there. Even on my first day of undergrad classes, I was already familiar with campus from living there for a few days, and I had friends I had made at school as well as familiar faces from high school.

Felt a bit like Cady Heron pre-plastics today (gif source).

Honestly, I can’t say it was the best first day. I was a little fried and felt gross because it was suuuuper hot out, and I was intimidated to really talk to anyone. My first class is a large Research Methods class that has a bunch of different counseling grad students in it. Luckily, my second class was a lot smaller and only had school counseling students in it. We did an icebreaker I didn’t actually hate (rare for those damn first day icebreaker games), and chatted with one of my classmates on part of my commute home on the T. The commute and being on campus just makes me want to move to Boston even more. Oy vey.

Also, I totes meant to take a picture of my first day OOTD (not that it was anything special/super trendy), but in all of my anxiety I completely forgot. I’m sure more school day OOTDs will be coming, especially as fall starts (which is by far the best season fashion-wise, IMO).

So to add to this hodge-podge post, I figure I’ll throw my weekly workouts in here as well!

WEEKLY WORKOUTS:

MONDAY: humid 3.8 mile run (9:31 pace) + Blogilates Natural Butt Lift and 10 Minute Abs videos

TUESDAY: Hot yoga

WEDNESDAY: Rest

THURSDAY: First post-half marathon long run! 7.8 miles (9:46 pace)

FRIDAY: Nike Training Club True Condition W/O + Blogilates 8 min Abs and Obliques video

SATURDAY: 3.8 mile run (9:26 pace) + Tone It Up Lift and Tone Booty Routine video + Blogilates Muffintop Massacre and Victoria’s Secret Model Ab W/O videos

SUNDAY: Total body strength at the gym

MONDAY: Random Blogilates abs and obliques day from the August calendar (side note: still haven’t received my September calendar password…I don’t really follow the calendar but I like having it for inspiration) + Yoga for Runners 30 minute routine on the Yoga Studio app

I’ve been liking my workout routine lately. I know Wednesday is going to be my rest day and Thursday is going to be my long run day. I also know that I want to fill the other days up with two shorter runs + a little bit of toning work after, two days of strength (at the gym or at home on the NTC app or something), and one day of yoga (preferably hot yoga). I kind of base this part around my schedule and how I am feeling each day. It’s the perfect amount of structure and freedom.

QUESTIONS FOR Y’ALL:

1. When was your most nerve racking/anxiety-ridden first day of school?

2. Do you schedule out all of your workouts for the week in advance, or do it a little more loosey-goosey? I suppose I fall somewhere in the middle.

3. What is the weirdest drunk-food (or drunchie) you’ve eaten? Considering my go-to drunchie is leftover pizza or, like, something super easy like cereal, the fact that I made a ham wrap is pretty impressive.

BYEEEEE

Julie