Summer Series: Horse calves or lean legs

Summer time calls for short shorts and airy skirts.

I assume most women want long, lean legs. If I were taller, I’m sure I would also want long, lean legs, but my legs will never be long. I have come to accept this eternal fact.

Stinkin’ shortness… (Maybe I haven’t completely accepted by genetically determined height.)

Because I am so short and will never have long legs, I want my horse calves and my big quads back so I can power through the greatest exercise in fitness.

The squat.

Why is the squat the greatest exercise in the world?

Squats are the single best exercise to strengthen calves, quads, hamstrings and glutes, but the benefits of performing the squat do not stop at your legs.

Squats move the body the way the body is supposed to move, and they protect the body from potential injury caused by sitting around at work and home and school.

I love squats… I hate lunges and refuse to do them… but I love, love, love squats! And I will perform squat after squat to build my horse calves and big quads.

I’ll show them off, too, in my short shorts and airy skirts.

Bam.

Summer Series: Arm workouts

I am less than two weeks away from spending my Saturdays and Sundays enjoying the sunshine by my grandparents’ pool.

Less than two weeks away from taking afternoon walks.

Less than two weeks away from not worrying about school so I have time to enjoy sunshine and take afternoon walks.

And to show of my sexy summer arms!

Sexy summer arms take work! And, if I want to wear my go-to summer outfit –jeans, a ribbed tank and flip-flops –then I need to start building my biceps and toning my triceps.

Get your arms and shoulders ready for baring them to the summer sun –don’t forget the sunscreen –with these weight-bearing arm workouts.

An added benefit to building upper body strength is becoming a better runner. Runners with strong arms and shoulders better maintain speed through their races.

I want to run in the Prairie Fire 5K in October. I might consider running the half if I’m ready… and if have enough confidence to complete the 13.1-mile race.

My legs are stronger than my arms, and I need to work my arms harder, but I’m not completely weak.

Poker at my house plays for push-ups. I lost 15 last weekend and pumped out my push-ups like a big girl.

The best food for runners: Eggs!

Husband recently discovered the deliciousness of runny egg yolks.

I swear he’s behind on the times. I’ve known runny egg yolks were delicious since the beginning of time.

Not only are runny egg yolks amazing, especially on toast or bagels and YUM, but egg yolks are also good for you!

Seriously!

Luckily, they (whoever they are) changed the rules about eggs.

In fact, because of the easy-absorbing egg protein, the egg is one of the best foods for runners.

According to Runner’s World, eggs are good for losing weight, protecting your heart, fighting inflammation, maintaining bone strength and maintaining vision.

Sounds good to me!

Since February 17, when I received my comprehensive exam questions, I have gained four pounds. I plan to eat eggs every morning to improve weight loss and protein-muscle repair, and, of course, to enjoy eggs. (I also plan to go to the gym again… after comps.)

Plus, my heart is under constant stress. I am such a paranoid hypochondriac hot mess that I’m surprised the poor thing just hasn’t quit on me. Keep goin’, baby! I will feed you egg!

I’m already blind as a bat so I doubt eggs will really help me vision. I already eat tons of carrots! (Or are those just good for eye health?)

Husband and I have eaten commercial and cage-free eggs and found the taste is about the same. As it turns out, the nutritional value is the same, too. When I can, I’ll buy cage-free because it’s good for the chickens, but no way until I can afford that extra $1.20. (I know. It’s only $1.20.)

The article on Runner’s World features four recipes, but I only liked the sound of the 20-minute skillet dinner. I love eggs and greens, and tomatoes make my soul happy. I think I’ll have to make some tomato soup soon…

What’s your favorite egg dishI made a frittata once, and it was amazing. Like an egg cake!

Athletic strength building exercises

Husband likes to lift weight with his workouts.

Of course, he doesn’t lift nearly as much as he used to. Jiu-Jitsu is his workout of choice, and, to compete, he has to maintain a certain weight. Muscle weighs too much to be building big ones! (The muscles he has are lean.)

I want lean muscles, and I’d like my quad and calf muscles to regain their horse-like size and appearance. I don’t care if that sounds weird. I used to have super legs.

Muscle building for athletic strength relies on just three moves –so says a bodybuilder blogger. (I tend to believe people who work out for a living. His name is Jeremy.)

Pull-ups

Pull-ups work the body’s “pulling” muscles.

The bane of my existence in grade school was the President’s Fitness Test. Apparently, the president believed I, as a grade school child, should be able to perform a pull-up.

WT… No.

However, since I was a grade school girl, all I had to do was hang there. Apparently, the president did not know of my mad monkey bar skills or he would have had me do something harder.

In grade school, I just hung on a bar. Now, I use a chair to perform a pull-up, since I still cannot do one on my own.

Well done “Presidential Fitness Test.” I learned a lot. Well done.

Husband can do substantially more pull-ups than I can. Show off.

Push-ups

With push-ups, on the other hand, I am proficient. (I do not have to be on my knees anymore! Triumph!)

Push-ups work the body’s “pushing” muscles, which are quite different from the pulling ones, I’m sure.

I do push-ups every day at work during my lunch (and squats).

Deadlifts

According to the blog, deadlifts work every muscle in the body, much like running, and are what Jeremy considers the best move for athletic strength building.

When I was in high school, I did a lot of deadlifts. I deadlifted the bar, and I honestly didn’t try too hard.

I believe it is about time to strengthen my upper body, especially since upper body strength is so important for running and running form.

Plyometrics key to stronger, faster runs

Husband completed Tony Horton’s P90X, a 90-day workout program by Beachbody, the year before we got married. P90X was a good program for him, and it worked, but he didn’t enjoy every workout.

His least favorite day of the week was Plyo Day. During my Insanity sessions, I absolutely hated Plyo Day. (Well, I hated every day.)

Plyometrics are drills designed to increase muscular power. For example, “burpees” are plyometric moves that emphasize exploding from a static position.

BODYROCK.tv workouts add push-ups to their burpees:

…crazies.

I may hate them, but plyometric drills are a key component to stronger, faster and longer runs.

Olympic runner Adam Tenforde told Runner’s World that plyometric drills were key to why his running times decreased.

“Plyo is a big part of why my times have come down so far,” says Tenforde, “and it has also improved my closing speed, flexibility, and injury resistance.”

I want to be a better runner so I will add at least three moves to my workout that I generally avoid.

  • Vertical jumps
  • Split jumps
  • Ankle hops (We called these “Ankle Pops” in Shocker Fitness.)
  • (Or, you can try Irish Dancing. I hear it works better if you do it wrong.)

Vertical jumps and split jumps were moves used in Insanity as well as squat jumps (a.k.a. The Most Awful Exercise Ever). P90X featured spinning jumping squats, which I highly enjoyed watching my husband do in our tiny living room.

Oh, plyo. Here I go!

(Not much of a) cardio-yoga routine

I sure appreciate it when a women’s health magazine features a workout combining two types of exercise to fit my super busy schedule while, at the same time, questions my time management skills.

Makes me feel real good.

Women’s Health Magazine featured a workout combining cardio and yoga.

I appreciate and plan to try the moves, but ladies, next time use better intro text. OK?

The WHM routine claims to strengthen the body and mind through four moves that increase your heart rate and put you in your zen place. I question the zen-ness of these moves.

Now, we’re even.

Women's Health Magazine Yoga Routine

No Sun Salutations. No Downward Dog. Four moves, one of which looks like a breathing technique used to induce labor. (Guess.)

I doubt people are getting very zen from this routine. Move 1, perhaps, could induce feelings of zen in me if allowed to imagine that I am punching annoying people. And the routine instructs people to repeat the pattern four times without rest. In yoga, patterns are repeated in threes.

Shame. Shame. Shame.

(Note: It’s probably a good routine, but it’s not yoga.)

I do, however, like it when other bloggers tell me what to read. I have 60 new blogs to choose from!

Post-run beers from Runner’s World

When I am wrong, I admit I am wrong (unless I’m wrong about something Husband was right about, then I’m still right).

Well, folks, I was wrong about drinking alcohol after a workout.

I said that I preferred a cold glass of water and a shower, not grabbing a light beer or meeting the girls for cosmos. But I might have to have a beer after my next long run.

Why?

Runner’s World posted a slide show featuring 7 Tasty Post-Run Beers that can boost your energy and rehydrate your body.

And I trust Runner’s World as a source of information for runners… and drinkers, apparently.

Now, I plan on hunting down the Smuttynose Old Brown Dog and drinking it when I’m dog-tired after a good long run this summer.

Wish me luck.