My Strength Training Workouts - Weight Room

I recently posted a shoutout for blog post ideas on IG stories (PS if we aren't IG friends, we should be!) and I had a few requests come in for workout-related posts! 

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If you've been reading for awhile, you'll probably remember that I've been really active since high school (dance, long-distance running, etc.) and then started prepping for a fitness competition in my late 20s, which was all fun and games...until it wasn't anymore. I've worked with trainers, coaches, and nutritionists, and feel like I have a pretty good grasp on what I need to do and what I need to eat to stay healthy, strong, and fit.

Also, it's worth noting that the most important key to hitting your fitness goals is NUTRITION and that you can't out-train a bad diet. I'll do a post in the future on fitness-related nutrition -- let me know in the comments if there's anything specific you'd like me to cover.

My body type leans more towards that of an ectomorph, meaning it takes a lot of effort for me to put on muscle. Lots of protein, heavy weights, and most importantly -- consistency. Gone are the days of working out 7 days a week with some of those being two-a-days; these days I like to strength train three days per week, go for a walk outside whenever it's nice out, and do some cardio 1-2 times per week. 

I typically split my strength training up by muscle groups, so each day is a different combo of muscles. I love doing this because it allows me to work out every other day without being too sore since I'm using different muscles.

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Below is a typical routine of mine -- I switch things up every couple months or so to keep my body guessing, and if the weights start feeling too easy, I tack on another 5-10 pounds. I usually do three sets of eight reps for each exercise (unless specified otherwise below) because I'd rather lift HEAVY than do 12 reps with a lighter load. When I was a workout maniac, I used to split leg day into two days but now I just smash them all together into one because I want to stick to three workouts per week.

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These workouts are for a weight room at a gym (free weights + the machines) -- I'll do another post on dumbbell / circuit style workouts that are more HIIT style.

SHOULDERS + CHEST + TRICEPS (aka my favorite muscles to train!)
Overhead press
Shrugs
Chest fly
Tricep Dips
Lateral delt raises
Reverse fly
Skull crushers
Bench press
I also do a ton of random exercises on the cable machines for shoulders -- some I've made up, others are legit. :)

BACK + BICEPS + ABS
Lat pull-downs (wide grip and then close grip)
Back rows
Dumbell / EZ bar curls
Back extensions
Pull-ups + chin-ups
Pendlay rows
V-sits (3 sets of 30 reps)
Reverse crunches
Oblique bends on the back extension bench

LEGS (glutes + quads + hamstrings + calves)*
Traditional squats (I like to do these on the Smith machine)
Sumo squats
Weighted walking lunges
Quad extensions
Weighted calf raises (3 sets of 30 reps)
Hamstring curls
Glute kickbacks
Seated leg press

*Most people do deadlifts as part of their leg workouts, but they never feel good to me -- I've met with trainers multiple times to check form, and I'm just not a fan so I prefer to train my hamstrings using other exercises.

Videos / diagrams of these exercises can be found simply by googling the name, but let me know if you have any questions! Bodybuilding.com is usually my go-to resource for new exercises or videos! 

What types of workouts do you like to do?
Any nutrition questions / topics you'd like me to cover?

How to Always Have New Books to Read

I'm sure you've picked up on it by now that I LOVE to read! Each month, I post a recap of the books that I read and I've also written a post on how to read multiple books each month.

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I definitely go in spurts with reading (I tend to read more in summer (by the pool) and winter (when it's too cold to leave the house), but I've found one thing that has helped me remain consistent with reading: reading good books.

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There's nothing worse than trying to power through a book that is super boring -- in fact, I usually give myself permission to give up on it if it doesn't hook me within the first 100 pages or so.

In order to always have good books to read, I've developed a proactive approach that has worked so well for me!

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1. I Utilize My Library's Online Request System
My library is in a county that is connected to lots of other libraries, which means there are more books available than what is currently on the shelves of our local branch. Once I request a book, my library either pulls it off the shelf and puts it on my "requests" shelf, or if they don't have it in stock, they will have it sent from another library in the county. This is SO slick, because I never have to travel further than down the street to my local library to pick up new books.

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It's also important to point out that I always have about 30 books on request at one time; this way I always have new books coming in and therefore am never without a new book to read. Sometimes when I request a book, I'm first in line but other times I'm #32 in line (especially if it's a popular book). By having many requests out at once, the books keep shuffling through the line until it's my turn.

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2. I'm Always on the Lookout for New Books
I visit bookstores often and snap photos of books I'm interested in and then request them from the library. I'll also take screenshots on my phone if I see a book that sounds interesting on a blog or social media.

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3. I Read Both Traditional Books and eBooks
My library offers ebooks and audiobooks in addition to traditional printed books. This makes it so easy to download books directly onto my iPad and then all I have to do is click "return" to send them back! By being open to both ebooks and audiobooks, I'm able to get some titles sooner than I would if I had waited for the printed version to become available. I definitely utilize ebooks more than audiobooks, but once in awhile I enjoy an audiobook for my commute -- I'm more of a visual learner than an auditory one, so sometimes it's a challenge for me to stay focused on audiobooks.

Now, I will say that sometimes this plan backfires on me, and I'll have multiple books that were on hold all come in at once, but I can usually power through and read them within the month, and if not, I'll just renew them for another three weeks.

Do you use your local library?
Where do you find new books to read?

Favorite Eyeshadow Palettes

I've got a roundup of my favorite eyeshadow palettes today -- I use these four palettes on the regular and love the hues! I have blue eyes and feel like these work really well for both my eye and skin color.

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1. Naked Ultimate Basics // Urban Decay
Hands-down, this is my favorite palette! I love the collection of matte eyeshadows and it's so perfect for creating an everyday look. I tend to lean towards the browns in this collection, but once in awhile will add in the plum-colored hues for a pop of color! Also, this one is currently on sale for 50% off!

2. Naked2 // Urban Decay
This was my first Urban Decay palette and I purchased it using birthday money many years ago. I used to use this one daily, but then after trying the Naked Basics palette (listed below), I realized that I tend to lean more towards matte eyeshadows rather than shimmery ones. This one is great for special occasion makeup -- I love using it for holidays and events since all of the colors have a pretty sheen to them! 

3. Naked Basics // Urban Decay
This is the PERFECT mini palette for tossing in your purse, gym bag, or carry-on! These matte neutrals can be mixed and matched for an easy every day look or for a dramatic smokey eye. 

4. Warm Neutral Palette // MAC
This palette was recommended to me a few years ago when I scheduled a makeup consult at the MAC store at the Mall of America. I was a little hesitant about all of the rosy hues, but I ended up using those up way faster than the browns and golds! Will definitely purchase this one again in the near future since my favorite colors are almost all used up.

Also, I love to use this eyeshadow primer before applying any eyeshadows -- it keeps things crease-free all day, even in the summer humidity! 

Click here to read more of my beauty posts! 

P.S. Old Navy's athletic wear is currently 50% off (ends today). I scooped up a pair of these shorts (in black), this tank (in seafoam and and in black), and this tank (in both pocket full of posy  and winter plum).

What are your favorite eyeshadow palettes? 
What are your plans for the 4th of July?

A Week in the Life

I just always love these types of posts -- ones that allow a little peek into someone's everyday life. I've done "A Day in the Life" post in the past, and thought I'd switch things up a bit and do "A Week in the Life" today. The week being recapped is from a couple weeks ago, but it was a good one! I'm only recapping what I did in the evenings because during the day is just work. :)

I'm an extrovert and love having a full schedule -- until I don't. Over the past couple years, I've finally found a system that works for me -- I've come to realize that I can go-go-go all week long with something going on each night, but also need one night of ZERO plans.

Typically, I hit the gym two evenings or so during the work week and then on both Saturday and Sunday. Since this particular week involved other commitments, I only made it to the gym one of the nights. It's all about balance, right? :)

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MONDAY
Hit the gym after work -- ran 3 miles and then walked for a bit while reading my book. Afterwards, I sat in the steam room for 10 minutes before taking a shower and heading home. Upon arriving home, I typically catch up with Andy, pack my lunch for the next day, and watch an episode of something before bed. Don't judge, but right now I'm watching an episode of Full House each night to unwind. ;) I used to LOVE that show and it feels very nostalgic to be watching it again!

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TUESDAY
I had a dinner date with my auntie on the calendar, so I headed over to The Galleria and wandered around for a bit since I had some time to kill. There was some sort of event or something going on which resulted in fresh flowers absolutely everywhere -- they were so pretty and had me itching for Spring! 

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I ended up finding some Easter goodies for my little nieces, so I purchased those and then headed to Good Earth for dinner. We chatted for a couple of hours while enjoying dinner and then went our separate ways. 

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WEDNESDAY
This was my evening with no plans -- I swung by Ulta on the way home to grab some makeup, browsed through J. Crew Mercantile for a few minutes, and then was on my way. 

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I didn't feel like making anything for dinner, so I popped into our neighborhood grocery store to pick something up. Salad bar always sounds good, so I filled a container and then headed home to relax. Upon arriving home, I worked on a blog post for a bit and then caught up on a couple shows from the week since Andy was at the gym.

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THURSDAY
Andy got us tickets for the MN Opera, which was performing at The Ordway in downtown St. Paul. I hadn't been in St. Paul since Allie's wedding, but it's definitely one of my favorite areas! 

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I was so pumped to see Rigoletto, because it was a favorite childhood movie of mine; however, I quickly realized that the movie I remember as a kid and this opera were definitely not the same. 

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We still had a great time though! The opera went until 10:30pm and I was more than ready for bed by the time we got home! I'm not a night owl by any means!

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FRIDAY
After work, I headed to Target to grab a few things for Easter but first sat in the parking lot of the store for 40 minutes while talking to my mom on the phone.

What's your after-work routine look like?
Do you prefer to make plans or stay home in the evenings?

What's In My Desk Drawers

I don't know about you, but I just love these types of posts -- there's just something so intriguing about random aspects of people's day to day lives. If you're interested in similar posts, I wrote one about what I keep in my work bag and what I keep in my purse.

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Top drawer contains my favorite headphones to wear while designing, nail polish, the BEST top coat, hand cream, washi tapes, my favorite planner, a couple notebooks, my gratitude journal, and rulers.

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The second drawer are all of my "office supplies" -- markers, a measuring tape, pens + pencils, post-its, and scissors.

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I like to keep my snack drawer stocked with a good variety of items. I almost always have some sort of snack bar, candy, soup, and tea in there.

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This last drawer is where I keep all of my personal items that I might need on any given day. Items such as Tylenol, cold medicine, vitamin-C packets, my favorite deodorant, hand sanitizer, hair spray, dry shampoo, toothpaste + toothbrush, floss, concealer, hair ties, etc. are stored in here -- this drawer has saved me on multiple occasions already! 

PS I'm linking up for Tuesday Talk today! 

What are three items you keep in your desk drawers?
Do you have a snack drawer at work?