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I Did It: Working Out on Vacation

12 Mar


Editor’s note: Sorry for the lack of posts over the past couple of weeks, but I was on vacation in Rio. I’ll be posting this week about what I learned on my trip, and hopefully entice you to take a break there. Trust me: it’s awesome!

Rio is such a beautiful city covered in mountains right next to the ocean. The people are lovely, the men are beautiful and the drinks are aplenty. So is the fried food.

While on my trip, I indulged in some of the local delicacies, one of which is called a pastel. It’s basically like an empanada. Because we were trying to be thrifty with our food spending, this fast-food dish showed up quite often on my plate. “That’s fine,” I told myself. “I’ll work it off eventually.”

Well, I was in Rio for almost a week and didn’t run once. Early on my last  morning, after a long night out, one of my travel buddies decided to go for a run on the beach and asked me if I’d like to go on a run with her. It was my last day and I needed to do something, so I agreed. “Yes!” she said, obviously more excited about this workout than I was.

me_and_joMeet Josephine. Jo and I met through our other travel buddy Willa, who did not decide to join us on our run (she had gone paddling the day before, so we gave her a pass). Jo is a bit of a fitness buff, and with good reason as she’s in incredible shape. While most of us will just lay out on the beach and soak up the sun, Jo had no time for that idleness decided to do some yoga in the sand. She’s kinda my workout hero.

The beach was on the other side of a park at the end of our block (we stayed in an Airbnb apartment) Josephine and I got dressed and walked down the block to the park. Once there, Jo took off running. I’ve said before that I’m not a fast runner, clocking in with about a 10-minute mile. Jo’s much faster. Because we had gone our the night before, I found myself getting quite winded in the beginning. But after a few minutes, I was able to get back to my own pace and enjoy the run on the beach.

me_runningRunning on the beach is not like what you’ve seen in the movies or on “Baywatch.” It’s difficult. Sand is not a sturdy surface. I won’t compare it to running in mud, because with that you can feel like your foots getting stuck. Running in dry sand is like running on squishy twigs: you can’t really get the proper footing and with one wrong move, you’ll twist your ankle. My advice is to get close to the water where the sand has compacted more from the water. It’s still not as hard as concrete or grass, but it’s definitely more ideal than the pits and divots of dry sand.

We ran for a little less than half an hour up and down the beach, then found a park off to the side that had some workout equipment. There were parallel bars (ain’t no way), pull-up bars (you must be joking) and sit-up benches (I guess so). We were able to do a few before adding some jumps, hip hikes and glute stretches. It was a light workout, but I felt better for it.


I highly recommend going on vacation (ha!). But seriously, if you don’t want to regret the bad things you did during your time off—and you know did some bad things—I suggest pulling a Josephine and squeezing in a few minutes of exercise during the down time. A few sit-ups here, a couple of squats there and you’ll be ready for all the alcohol you’ll have that night 🙂

What do you to stay fit during your vacation? Or do you just return to the grind when you get home?

I Did It: Self Magazine’s 23-Minute Lunchtime Workout

18 Nov

“I Did It” is a feature post running on I’m Skinny, Now What where I will tackle a new workout or diet and give you my opinion. Wish me luck, because I don’t like changing my routine.

I don’t know if I’ve told you this, but I work at a newspaper. Not just any paper, but one of the biggest papers in the world (no hyperbole). We cover everything, which can keep a chica busy. I usually like to work out in the mornings to keep my evenings free, but sometimes that’s not possible. Don’t blame me; blame my boyfriend pillow. With that, I decided to try this mid-afternoon workout routine, courtesy of Self magazine. I like to burn tons of calories in order to keep the weight off, but I need to do more strength training so my muscles don’t turn to sludge.

Workout breakdown

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Here’s me going through the circuits.

Minutes 1-7

Move1: Power Squat with dumbells
Move 2: Leg Press
Move 3: Plank Jump
one-minute breather

Minutes 8-15

Move 1: Air Lunge with dumbells
Move 2: Seated Cable Row
Move 3:  V-Up
one-minute breather

Minutes 16-23

Move 1: Curtsy & Curl with dumbbells
Move 2: Triceps Dip
Move 3: Ab-Blaster Push-up

Day 1

As with any new workout plan, there are kinks I need to work out, one of which is the triceps dip. That machine didn’t exist in my gym. There was a similar contraption that didn’t have the weight resistance. There was some contraption that said “triceps,” so I figured it would be a good cheat for day one until I actually talked to a trainer to help me find the proper alternative.

Something else I realized: I have absolutely no upper-body strength as evidenced by my pathetic push-ups in the above video. It was really sad. I had to go to an out-of-the-way corner so no one would see that I barely put a bend in my elbows to get that exercise done. But I did it, so there!

I definitely burned some calories, but I’m not sure how many. I don’t have one of those watch/calorie-counter thingies. I didn’t build of much of a sweat, which is new for me because I sweat like demon. The exercise circuit also lives up to its name of 23 minutes.  I did three sets of the first circuit and one each of the final two, but that was from not managing my time well. I should be able to do two sets of each.

I have to admit I didn’t study the workout plan. But from the couple of times I read it, it seemed doable. I should have checked to make sure my gym had all of the appropriate equipment. But that doesn’t mean this workout isn’t doable. Life’s all about adjustments, and that’s what I’m gonna do…tomorrow.

All told, I spent a little more than 5 minutes changing my clothes, 23 minutes on the workout and another 10 taking a shower and changing post-workout. I was gone from my desk for 45 minutes, a reasonable amount of time for any lunch break.

Day 2

My body was a little sore when I woke up on Day 2. Not so bad that I couldn’t move, only a little achy. The exercises got easier, though, which is to be expected. I was able to manage my time better and completed two sets in each seven-minute circuit.

One of the downsides to having to do this in a small gym is that all the equipment may not be available when you want it. Day 2’s lesson came from the rowing machine. Every time I’d finish one of the other two exercises, the rowing machine would be occupied. Since I didn’t know what machine would be the equivalent, I skipped it. Excuse me while I hang my head in shame.

Tomorrow I’ll be taking a day of rest because at the end of Day 2, I was really feeling the work I was putting in my body, especially my thighs. Those squats and lunges are no joke! Epsom salt bath, here I come.

Day 3

There’s nothing like a day of rest, especially if you’ve been beating your body with a new workout routine. My thighs were so tight that I almost slipped down the stairs a few times. And when you have an enthusiastic dog like mine who breaks off in a sprint at the first whiff of fresh air, it can be hard to maintain your balance while he’s tugging at you from his leash. Luckily, no permanent damage was done. I did remember that stretching is very helpful. I’ll have to remember that when I pick up the workout routine again tomorrow.

Day 4

The best thing about a recovery day is the rest you give your body. The worst thing about a recovery day is trying to wake that body back up. I was able to lounge around my house on Day 3. I didn’t have to worry about packing a gym bag or carve out time between meetings to get to the gym. Also, my muscles were still pretty tight.

I stretched out my hamstrings and glutes before starting, and that helped a lot. Also, the segments got even easier. I was able to do three sets of the first 7-minute stretch and two sets each of the other segments. However, my pride and joy of Day 4 was not looking as pathetic during my push-ups. I got a little more bend in my elbows and was able to do four before needing a breather in each round. Yay, me!

Day 5

Last day of the workout and I’m excited. I’ve been doing this routinely for a few days, so I should kick ass on the last day, right? Um, not so much. For some reason my enthusiasm outweighed my abilities. The lunges, which caused me the most thigh pain, were easy going. But those push-ups were like to be the death of me. I gave it an honest effort, but I was only able to do one final circuit.


I really need to incorporate more resistance and strength training in my workout routine. Sure, I’m shedding the fat but my muscles are really weak. My goal isn’t to get a hard body. I don’t want to be one of those small people who has to be rolled around, either. I think the exercise is doable and a little fun. You’re able to shake up your routine during your workout, which is fun. Just make sure some rowing snob isn’t hogging the machine.

Side note: A special thank you to my photographer/videographer Willa Plank, who took time out of her work day to watch me work out.

I Did It: Asics Treadmill Challenge

4 Nov

“I Did It” is a feature post running on I’m Skinny, Now What where I will tackle a new workout or diet and give you my opinion. Wish me luck, because I don’t like changing my routine.

The ING New York City Marathon was this weekend and the entire city was abuzz with action. One of the marathon’s sponsors is sportswear maker Asics, which also sponsors runner Ryan Hall. Ryan take about 4.8 minutes per mile, or about 12.5 miles per hour. I’ve never even thought of going that fast. I average at about 10 minutes per mile, or about 6 mph.

For the past week, Asics had a treadmill truck roaming about the city, challenging New Yorkers to keep pace. I knew I couldn’t keep up for long, but what really drew me in what the harness and bungee cord attached to the truck. When you run out of steam, you just sit back in the harness and kind of float off the treadmill. If anything it would just be fun to do.

So, I did it. I found the truck on its last day before the race and signed up. I was the first woman to participate. The announcer kept saying they needed more women, but I was the one who took the bait. The first guy to try it stayed in the treadmill for more than three minutes, the longest of anyone Asics had seen all week. The following guys all stayed on for about a minute.

A minute? Psssh, I can do that. Right?

Um, not so much. While I had the distinction of being the first woman, I had honor finishing in 22 seconds 😦

treadmill challenge

What I learned

I’ve never seen myself run; I’m usually outside when I do it. Imagine my surprise to see I run like a velociraptor. Also, I might want to start looking up. But the guy who strapped me in was super nice and supportive. He kept telling me to just keep running. He was like my Jenny. And, like I suspected, floating off the treadmill was all kinds of fun. If it comes back next year, I’ll definitely try it.