Upper Body Routine

A few posts back I posted my leg day routine from when I had the week off from volleyball workouts. Well, that week I also did an upper body routine (weird, huh?) so I figured why not share that with you as well. I normally don’t like training upper body (except back/bis), but honestly this workout was killer and left me with a great pump and soreness for days. Gotta #train to #gain amiright?


1. Single and Double Bar Lat Pulldowns (3 x 10)

1 rep is pulling the right down solely, left down solely, then both together (normal lat pull down), repeat 10 times for 1 set. You may have to go lighter weight to be able to so do the single ones, but trust me, you will start to feel the burn from excess movement in  a set.

2. Single Arm Bench Press (3 x 6 each) SS with Skull Crushers (3 x 8)

I like switching it up to single arm to really engage core and just confuse my muscles. I do skull crushers with a dumbbell (esp. since I just use the same weight as I benched), but you could switch to a bar too. No rest between bench press and skullcrushers–feel the tricep burn!

3. Preacher Curl (3 x 6)

My gym had a little set-up for this, but if not just make sure your are sitting and your arms are resting so that you aren’t using the movement or momentum to curl the bar.

4. Tricep Pushdown (3 x 10)

I use the hook-on that has the separated rope things. Keep elbows tight to side, push down and then come back up to about past 90 degrees.

5. Shoulder  Press (3 x 8)

I used dumbbells here and did both arms at the same time for 8 reps.

6. Bent Over Bar Rows (3 x 10) SS with Upright BArbell Row (3 x 3-4 until failure)

Hinge at the waist and keep your knees slightly bent. Focus on engaging the back muscles as you row. Then, immediately go into upright barbell rows and do as many until failure (can’t lift it up).

7. Bar Shoulder Press (2 x 8)

This time I used a 45 pound bar. I did less too because my arms were just about dying by the end of this.

 

Finding Your Identity

This is a topic that has been on my mind the past few weeks from talks with people at work, posts on social media, and my own thoughts/reflections.

Lately between my full-time internship, coaching, workouts, and just personal stuff I’ve been feeling very busy–which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I love all the experiences and opportunities that I have. But, this also means that I’ve been caught up in trying to balance it and succeed in all areas at the same time, and this has led to many “failures” in my eyes. Feeling as if I’m not good enough for my job, stressing about eating in recovery yet not putting in the effort to ensure I hit my macros and calories every day so that I gain the healthy weight I need to, not being able to spend enough time as I would like on coaching…all these things and thoughts begin to pile up and overwhelm me. I understand this is all part of life, but when I start to see myself as successful or not by how well I do in all these areas, it becomes a problem. My identity is no longer found in where it should be, but rather in what I do and how well I do it–and that is not or should not be the case at all.

I recently got the chance to speak about this in-depth with someone at work and it was just an amazing conversation to be able to have. She and I are very similar and when she mentioned getting tied up in her work, being a perfectionist, and wanting to accomplish so many things, I instantly related. Feeling upset for the rest of the day if a business meeting went bad or I made a tiny mistake in my work; feeling pressure from myself to go above and beyond and succeed at work; struggling to find what I was passionate about and wanted to do with my future. All of these moments were times I put my identity and worth in the so-called “success” of myself, my work, and my actions. Instead I need to do something that I have both heard and known for a long time, but now I need to really work on connecting to and living my life around it: my identity is found in the Lord.

Whether or not you’re a believer or follower of Christ, I hope that you can find some peace in this message.My identity, who I am, is already set by the creator of the universe; I am to be a child of God, one that he loves so, so much. God doesn’t care if I bombed a work meeting, forgot to do something, know my future plans, failed to focus time on my recovery, etc. because he doesn’t see me as those things. He sees me as a child of God who he has already claimed as his even while knowing my past, present and future. Remembering this allows the pressure to be taken off of me in all these areas because all I can do is my best. Going in, I know that I am going to do my best that I can, but that I won’t be able to accomplish everything–it’s impossible. But with God, all things are possible. I’m not saying he will magically give you the energy and strength to do 30 hours of work in 24 hours, but I am saying that you don’t have to define yourself anymore by what you do or don’t get done, by what you “succeed” or “fail” at. Instead you can find your identity in Christ, and be at peace knowing that is enough. No matter what else you accomplish or don’t accomplish, simply being His is enough. You are enough in him.

When I try and handle everything on my own and take on an internship, side job, workouts, personal development, recovery, social time, etc. all on my own, I get worn out and feel weak at my inability to succeed at everything. But when I already know that my strength and help comes from the Lord and that in him I have peace, rest, and renewal–it isn’t a burden to bear. I don’t let it affect me because I am not defined by any of that. I simply do my best and am satisfied at that because God fills any and all voids or gaps of joy and satisfaction. When you stop letting things of this world define you–how you look, your athletic ability, your relationships or number of friends, money, job, success at work–you can start to see that you were made for so much more for a greater purpose.

I couldn’t balance or handle trying to be super successful at my internship, fully recovered (physically and mentally), the best and strongest athlete I could be, a top coach, a big social media presence, a daughter, friend, etc. No one can and in life there are bound to be moments of failure–even in Christ. But the difference is that I no longer let those moments (or any moments really) define me, who I am, my worth or my purpose because those are already set for me in Christ.

Finding your identity is a huge step of growth and development of who you are as a person and what you do. I am still an intern, a coach, an athlete, an ED soldier, a strong, healthy body, but my identity isn’t in those things, but in God. I am free to be me and live my life because I know that at the end of the day, no matter what I do or what happens, I am a daughter of the one true King. And for me, that is enough. I pray the same for you. Find your identity in the One who has already given you the identity of being loved, worthy, and simply enough–no matter what! Because I promise you, you are all of that and so much more.

Leg Day Routine

I love leg day. Like extra, super love. Well of course until my legs are shaking and feel like jello but hey it’s worth it. I love training legs for a few reasons: 1) I’m stronger in my lower body so I feel more powerful 2) I think leg exercises are more fun than upper body stuff, and 3) I can create lots of compound movements and supersets to get my heart rate and sweating UP so that I have an amazing workout.

When training for volleyball, i don’t get to do specific leg day focused lifts because our lifts are full-body 3 times a week with movements meant for volleyball players. But this past week, we had a rest week so I got to create my own leg day routine and kill it! It was seriously so great that I wanted to share it with you! Feel free to modify as needed.


Warmup

I did warm-up exercises with a band: side-step walk, donkey kicks, fire hydrants, and glute bridges. Also, did 2 x 4 each leg single leg bench squats to warm-up.

1. Squats (5 sets; 8, 6, 4, 2, 1)

I always start with squats when I can because it is such a big movement that I don’t want my legs to be tired from other stuff before doing this otherwise I won’t be able to do my best or get the most out of it. The sets and number of reps can be however much you want, I just decided to work up to do a 1 rep “max” as close to my actual max as possible (since I didn’t have any spot). I did a set of 8 at 105, 6 at 125, 4 at 135, 2 at 155, and 1 at 165 (max = 170).

2. Dumbbell RDL (4 x 10) SS with curtsy lunges (4 x 8 each)

Next up was dumbbell Romanian deadlifts (RDLs) supersetted (SS) with curtsy lunges on each leg. I used 25 pound dumbbells for the RDLs and then after finishing my 10, go straight into curtsy lunges (without dumbbells) on each leg. Then rest and repeat for 3 more sets. Not gonna lie, my legs almost gave out here, but the booty burn and work is GOOD!

3. Barbell Bulgarian Split Squats (3 x 6 each) SS with Banded Hip-Thrusts (3 x 8)

I used a 50 pound barbell for both. Using a box (I prefer using a bench, but all the ones at the gym were taken so I had to make-do), step one foot and back and do 6 split squats on one leg, then switch to the other. Next, go straight into banded hip-thrusts (can do w/o band too) laying on the box and really squeezing at the top. Repeat for 2 more sets and I promise you, your legs and butt will feel it!


I didn’t do a bunch of exercises; however, I really focused on targeting certain muscles, squeezing and really working it when I was doing each exercise. That’s also why I superset a lot of exercises because it allows for minimal rest, which means higher heart rate and a better workout for me. And that night and the next day, my hamstrings and booty were so sore so I promise you, keeping it simple with just a few exercises can really work.

Healthy Dessert Recipes/Ideas

I’ve never been a die-hard sweet tooth, but I still like to have a little sweet-treat, dessert every night to cap off my day. Sometimes this means ice-cream and such, but a lot of times I like to find healthier alternatives to make for dessert because A) it’s fun and B) I like filling my diet with mostly wholesome, nutritious foods. So, since I’ve found a few of those, I thought I would share them with you to give you some ideas and inspiration for your next dessert. Some of these will just be blanket ideas that you can then create to fit your own likes, wants, needs, etc. while some will be more recipe-type–but again, you are able to mix it up with things that you have or flavors you like. None of these are super fancy because I like to keep it simple and delicious…so let’s get started.

1. Mug Cake (218 Calories; 6.5 F, 16.5 C, 26 P)

There are tons of recipes out there for mug cakes, but this is one that I have found to be easy and delicious, and successful for once. Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 50-60 grams of banana, mashed (or an egg)
  • 1/2 cup of milk of choice
  • 1 tbsp. almond flour
  • Baking powder

In a mug mix together the protein powder (I use PEScience snickerdoodle), mashed banana, milk (I use unsweetened cashew milk), almond flour and a dash of baking powder. Microwave on high for 1 minute. **Keep an eye on it as it can sometimes overflow or “explode and make a mess** After 1 minute, check the consistency and continue microwaving for 30 second intervals, checking periodically until it is done to your liking. I like to add scoops of Enlightened or Halo Top ice cream to the top of mine…especially oatmeal cookie crunch on top of this cinnamon mug cake….straight fire!

2. Yogurt Bowls

These are probably my favorite healthy dessert and I have it almost every night. I love it because it’s so versatile so that I can always switch it up and never get bored–plus it packs in a protein-punch from the greek yogurt. You’re going to start off with a base of plain greek yogurt. (You can use flavored or just regular yogurt, but those often have tons of added sugars to them so I prefer the plain greek so that I can add my own flavors and keep it healthier.) Then, from there you literally add whatever you want to it. Here are some of my go-tos combinations:

  • Fruit and granola (pictured left)
  • Cereal (rice chex and lucky charms) with peanut butter
  • Fruit and peanut butter
  • Fruit, nut butter, and protein bar (pictured right)
  • Birthday cake muscle butter and vanilla cupcake goldfish grahams

3. Pancake Bowl

I got this inspiration from Lexi Deyoung on YouTube. Instead of making pancakes on the stove or griddle, you make a giant one in a bowl. Here’s the ingredients, although the amounts are up to you.

  • 1/2-1 serving Pancake Mix (I use Kodiak Cakes Protein Mix)
  • Protein powder (any desired amount, I used 10 grams)
  • 1/3-1/2 cup cashew milk (any milk will work)
  • 50-60 g banana, mashed (or 1 egg)

In a microwave-safe bowl, mix together the pancake mix, protein powder, milk, and bananas. Then, add water as needed for consistency (should be like normal pancake batter consistency). Microwave for 1-1.5 minutes (time could vary so check on it) until you have the consistency you like. I did it for 1 minute because I like  mine to be gooey in the middle still. Then, top with whatever you like. I did 2 tbsp. whipped cream cheese, 1 crumbled caramel rice cake, and Walden Farms sugar-free syrup. I also think I may add fruit next time. But, seriously, it’s so delicious, and versatile so try it out!

4. Dessert Pancakes

This was one of my best dessert discoveries yet! It’s so simple, but you may have never thought to put these things together…but you should! Just make pancakes how you normally would. I use Kodiak Cakes protein mix along with protein powder and water. Then, I add either Enlightened or Halo Top ice cream to the top. (wondering which one you should choose? Check out my ice cream review post!). My favorite combinations so far have been Enlightened cookie dough or oatmeal cookie crunch (pictured), but really any flavor would be delicious on top of the pancakes. I mean c’mon, pancakes for dessert…who doesn’t want that?

So there you have it-healthy dessert recipes and ideas! If you have any suggestions of your favorites or variations, I would love to hear them!