what’s in my gym bag and a boo update

After last week’s craziness, I am more than happy to report that the Boo is back in action. ¬†Sure, she’s on a ton of drugs and doing some really funny things (ie. wedging herself in between furniture to sleep, sneaking in to her food and getting her head stuck in the bag), but I’d much rather have her home and this way than in the hospital and ill 100 times over.

 

little Boo with a frog on her head and an IV in her arm ūüė¶

So, we’re back to semi-normalcy over here and I couldn’t be happier about it. ¬†It was especially scary when we took Boo to her regular vet to get her blood work done as a precaution following her hospital stay and have the doctor look at her chart and tell us how high her numbers actually were. ¬†Very happy to have my nugget back in good spirits even if the medicine she’s on makes me take her out three separate times throughout the night. ¬†The things I do for the love of this pooch.

 

Anyway, in other areas of my life I’m slowly but surely getting back into my running and I’m elated. ¬†I did 7 miles on Saturday and I have a lovely little blood blister on my foot to prove it. ¬†Ah, running, you glamorous little activity, you. ¬†I’m actually straight up shocked that my fitness is where it is right now. ¬†I haven’t run consistently since April and to be back at it with a 7 mile run and really feeling good is something I’m pretty proud of. ¬†Sure, my speed is about 15-30 seconds slower than I would like, but I’ll get back there. ¬†Right now, it’s all about slowly increasing mileage to prevent injury and to get back in fighting shape.

running watch

 

 

But all of that fun recap business isn’t the main purpose of this post. ¬†The other day, one of my Insta-friends reached out to me and asked me if I wanted to join a group of other bloggers for a “What’s in my gym bag” post! ¬†I had to say yes for two reasons 1) I love reading other people’s blogs and supporting like-minded women 2) I’m genuinely curious what other people bring with them to the gym haha! ¬†I’ve teamed up with Taylor Cartee, TeachersGoneStrong, Samantha Rose Fitness, and Running with Strength. ¬†If you haven’t given these girl’s blogs a read, you’re honestly missing out. ¬†They are genuinely some of the most informative, interesting blogs I’ve read in a long time. ¬†Plus, on top of being so knowledgable, they are all kick-ass athletes that I am just in awe of.

So without further ado, welcome to my lovely little gym bag.


I tend to only bring a bag with me when I am doing an activity that requires me to switch shoes, which is happening more and more often now with Spinning.

I keep everything I bring to the gym in this silly drawstring I got at the admitted students weekend before I enrolled in college at Rice University. ¬†Yep, that’s right, this thing is 7 years old. ¬†It serves its purpose and always has, so I can’t complain.

In my gym bag, I also keep a protein snack of some sort. ¬†I usually am a little hungry before my workouts, so I’ll break off a piece of a Quest Bar and eat it on the way to the gym and then have some more to refuel after.

I also keep a towel in my bag at all times because I am a sweaty monster and I never want to be caught at the gym without one. ¬†I swear just walking into the gym signals my body to start sweating. ¬†Praise the lord that sweat towels are a thing that exist because I would be a very sad sight without one. ¬†I also use it to cover up the timer on any cardio machine I’m using unless I’m doing specific intervals. ¬†This allows me to not obsess about numbers and just go on feel and I think it makes my runs/ellipticals/bikes a million times more enjoyable.

I am obsessed with my Bluetooth headphones and these are the best pair I have ever owned and I have owned a lot. ¬†I tend to lose headphones pretty often, so I don’t like to spend a lot of money on them. ¬†After losing or breaking 5 pairs in the last couple of months, I got these and I’m never looking back. ¬†Sound quality: on point. ¬†Ease of use: 100%. ¬†Cool color: A+.

Then there are my spin shoes. ¬†I love these and got them on Zappos for about $100, which is cheaper than most pairs. ¬†They honestly make such a difference. ¬†Not only do they allow me to bring more power into my spinning, they allow for better, more efficient form. ¬†Fun fact: the cages that are on most bikes are meant for Men’s Size 11 shoes, which means your toes should not touch the end of cage. ¬†Instead, the ball of your foot should be on the pedal with the majority of your foot off of it. ¬†I guarantee this is not the positioning you’re used to, but the more you know.

When I practice my spin classes, I always carry a little notebook with me. ¬†It takes a beating, that’s for sure, but it’s a great place for me to jot down notes when I’m making a spin class or to write down a workout I come up with when my mind is wandering. ¬†When I’m making a class, I usually start out with a couple songs that I know I want on the playlist and then listen to the beat and pick when moves I think compliment that song best. ¬†I then kind of just go exploring through spotify and end up with a list that I feel confident about. ¬†Then, when I get home later, I’ll reference my notes and rearrange the songs to be in a more cohesive, challenging workout pattern. ¬†It’s honestly a whole lot of fun, I’m not going to lie.

The last thing I keep in my gym bag is my actual gym shoes. ¬†Well my running shoes in this case. ¬†If I’m doing plyo or leg work, I wear a pair of flatter nikes, but for runs I’m all about my Brooks Ghost right now. ¬†Also, I have exceptionally high arches, so I like to wear custom inserts in my shoes to make them a little more comfortable. ¬†I wear these shoes to death, so I’m willing to splurge a little bit for extra comfort.

And there you have it.  My gym bag in all of its glory.  Sure, there are days when I pack way more or way less, but this is pretty much what it is and it works for me.  What do you keep in your gym bag?

-sj

 

working out and the mental game. plus, a killer climbing spin workout.

spin class climb

This week has been all over the place. ¬†I feel like everything is slowly falling into place while simultaneously falling apart and it is a very unsettling feeling. ¬†It’s been a time full of successes in terms of recovery for my injury and full of just straight up sadness. ¬†We’ll start with a flashback over the past couple of days.

On Saturday, my boyfriend’s parents came into town to spend some time with us and it was a lot of fun. ¬†We ate and ate and ate some more and then got a little bowling action in which was wicked fun. ¬†While we were out and about, my pup, Boo, who I so very often feature on this lovely blog got into some prescription medication, which was no bueno.¬†Long story short, we ended up taking her to the 24 hour animal hospital because she was acting very strange and had thrown up. ¬†It turns out that the medication had a whole ton of Vitamin D and Calcium in it, which was causing issues with her kidneys. ¬†They let us know that this could go one of two ways a) she could get better with treatment over the next couple of days and that would be that b) or she could get worse. ¬†I had to sign some forms I really did not want to sign before we left her overnight to be monitored. ¬†I visited her again today and she’s doing much better and the doctor said she’s on the up and up so yay! ¬†But things can still change. ¬†The doctor did say she was cautiously optimistic, so here’s to hoping.

All this to say, my workout yesterday was a little…scattered.

Working out is my stress reliever. ¬†It is my calming agent. ¬†It is my way of letting it all out. ¬†So, when I’m met with situations like this, I turn to the gym. ¬†I woke up this morning in a bit of a daze. ¬†I got up, got out of bed, threw on my workout clothes, and drove mindlessly to the gym. ¬†I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, but running felt like the best option. ¬†Yes, I am coming off of injury and I ran 6 miles on Saturday, but running is the best way for me to get my feelings out through motion. ¬†I plugged in my headphones and turned on anything that would take my mind away from Boo and get me moving. ¬†I ended up running 2 and a half miles and then stopped. ¬†I just stood there and decided that I wasn’t just going to throw away this day. ¬†I was going to test myself. ¬†My ankle felt good, my lungs felt good, and I wanted to play with speed.

So, I ran. ¬†I ran and I ran and I ran. ¬†I finished the mile in 6:47, which is something I haven’t done since the very beginning of my half marathon training. ¬†I didn’t really focus on speed like I used to and now I’m excited to get back at it. ¬†Being able to push myself like that made me realize how mental of a game working out is. ¬†I had no time to think about anything else that was plaguing my brain when I was narrowing in on keeping my breathing steady, watching my foot turnover, and just focusing on moving. ¬†Paying attention to my body and what it can do took over and didn’t leave any room for worry. ¬†It was cathartic and just what I needed.

After I left, I felt level headed and much more present than I had in the morning. ¬†The day was still hard with out my little buddy around, don’t get me wrong, but I was in a much better space than when I had woken up. ¬†It offered me the same sensation I get when I get stressed at work and go and take a walk. ¬†I can unplug my mind and just go.

I get the same unplugged feeling when I’m teaching spin. ¬†I’m so focused on paying attention to the students and giving a good class that I just black out and black back in at the end. ¬†I am a naturally high-strung person, so any opportunity I get to just dial it down, I’ll take it and then some.

This week, I’m focusing on working climbs with my spin group. ¬†I like to start each class with a mindset for everyone to think through over 45 minutes. ¬†This class is “I Didn’t Come This Far Only To Come This Far”. ¬† That quote has gotten me thorough a lot these past couple of days. ¬†I didn’t wake up at the crack of dawn and get to the gym at 5:30 am just to phone it in. ¬†No, no I did not. ¬†That’s why I pushed myself for that speedy mile. ¬†That’s why I didn’t skip today. ¬†That’s why I show up and I put in effort every time.

spin class climb

 

-sj