making it work and a look back at my week as a nomad.

Get on plane, get off plane, walk around new city, go to sleep, go to gym, get dressed up for meeting, go to meeting, repack suitcase, repeat.  Welcome to my life for the past 7 days.  Since last Sunday, I’ve been in North Carolina, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, and New Jersey.  So, you could say I was a little bit all over the place.  I spent about two days in any given location, over 7 hours in the air, over 12 hours in the car, and I’m done.  But, I’m very happy to get all of those meetings and visits out of the way in one solid chunk.  Was it stressful, you betcha, but it’s nice to only have to disrupt my work flow one time instead of five.

I see a lot of people struggle with workouts when their traveling and think that it is impossible, but I promise you it’s not.  You just have to be adaptable and want to do it.  Was I more tired than usual during some of these?  Yes.  But I went in with the mentality that something was better than nothing and that was all I needed.

In North Carolina, my hotel gym was teeny tiny.  Two treadmills, an elliptical, and a recumbent bike all surrounded by about enough space for one human to lie down and that was it.  I didn’t really want to run since I had run a lot over the weekend and my legs were tired, so I got to circuiting.  Circuit workouts are the PERFECT on the go workout.  You don’t need any equipment, they can be done anywhere, and they are EFFECTIVE.  Set a timer for 10 minutes and pick four or five exercises to do.  For example: 15 squats, 15 burpees, 15 push-ups, 20 mountain climbers, 20 high knees.  Repeat that sequence as many times as you can in that 10 minute window.  Rest for a minute and repeat.  The burn will be realllll.

In Atlanta, I was met with a whole other issue.  When I got to my hotel on Monday night, I realized that it was tiny, old, and there was no gym (along with many other issues, but that’s a post for a different day).  I kind of panicked when I realized this.  I had scheduled my rest day for later in the week and although I would have loved to do a circuit workout in my hotel room, I didn’t trust the stability of the establishment and worried I might jump my way through the floor.  That or REALLY aggravate the person underneath me.  Solution: sign-up for a workout class nearby.  I had heard a lot about Orange Theory Fitness from my friends and had always wanted to try a class.  Lucky for me, they’re pretty much everywhere.  I typed in the zip code of my hotel and at least 5 popped up within a 15 minute radius.  It was super easy to sign-up and I scheduled an Uber to come and get me at 5:50 because I knew it would be too dark to walk.

The class consisted of a .10 mile sprint, 250 meter row, and then a run for distance until you reached the 5 minute mark.  I know what you’re wondering and, yes, I did fall off of the rowing machine because I got to excited and pulled back without my seat following me.  And, yes, I have two nasty bruises on my buttocks to prove it.  The second circuit was a reverse: 250 meter row, .10 mile sprint, row for the rest of time.  We did each of these sets twice and then spent the second half of class working on weighted exercises off of the cardio equipment.  The class sped by and I walked away really feeling like I got a killer workout.  Disclaimer: they give you a heart rate monitor in the class and it told me I burned 500 calories LIESLIESLIES.  Always remember at gyms like this or places that give you heartrate monitors, it is in their best interest to make you think that you’ve burned a lot more calories than you actually have.  Never rely on those outputs.  #Polarforlyfe.

When I walked out of class feeling all sweaty and renewed, I was just going to call another Uber, but the closest one was 10 minutes away.  I was only 1.2 miles from my hotel and knowing that given how my legs were feeling it would probably take me 9 minutes to do that distance, I decided to jog on home.  I’m really glad I did this because I got to see a lot more of Atlanta and pushed myself just a little bit farther outside of my comfort zone.

Thursday was a workout at my parent’s gym and was really nice because it’s the gym I grew up with and has EVERYTHING you could ever want (vibration plates, steam room, five different kinds of treadmills, Bravo on the TVs).  I miss it already.

Friday, my dad and I were down in Bloomington, IN staying at a good ole Courtyard Marriott.  Friday’s have been my rest days lately, but knowing that I had an impending four hour car ride to look forward to following my meeting meant that I wanted to move just a little bit.  I hit the tiny gym and just walked on an incline for about 45 minutes.  I didn’t go at a particularly quick pace, but I got my legs moving and set myself up for a good day.  It was too dark outside and we didn’t seem to be in a particularly scenic area, so getting my walk on this way was just sufficient enough.  Big plus was that I got to help my Dad.  He loves to workout and I send him a workout plan every two weeks for him to follow.  I helped him with his form on some of the moves, but overall he was a champion and really crushed it.  I’m always proud of watching him work to be healthy.

There were a lot of times while I was away that I thought, “Maybe I’ll just sleep in today and rest”.  But that’s not me.  I genuinely feel better and more prepared for the day when I workout.  If that means I have to get up a little bit earlier to get it in, so be it.  I could have made a million excuses for not hitting the gym, but instead I was adaptable and made the scenarios I had placed in front of me work.  Whenever you think you don’t have time, don’t have space, or don’t want to, think through it again.  Ask yourself, will I feel better after I do this?  If the answer is yes, get off your butt and get to the gym.

 

-sj

 

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