Fur Buddies – Why Working Out with Dogs is the Best

One of my favorite things to do on a weekend morning is go for a hike with the one creature in my household that may rival me for my love of the outdoors.

I’ll admit, a big reason why I’m a dog fan is they keep me active. Olive can get rather, um, destructive with one’s personal property if she’s not regularly exercised.

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Clearly I didn’t need that.

It is another commitment to my already-packed schedule, but Olive is pretty good about giving me hints that she’s ready for a walk. And by hints, I mean she doesn’t leave me alone until the leash is in hand and we’re walking out the door. Now I know where the idiom “being hounded” originated. But going for walks and hikes is something I enjoy doing on the regular, and I probably wouldn’t get out as much if it wasn’t for Olive’s insistence. It’s good for her, and it’s good for me! Plus, nothing beats a pooped pooch after a long, rambling hike through the hills.

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For more info on the benefits of exercising with your best four-legged buddy, here’s a cool infographic from the canine lovers at PuppySpot (and can we just take a moment to appreciate that dog yoga is a thing? I may have unintentionally practiced this! What a great time to be alive):

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While Olive is a rescue dog and your local animal shelter has many animals that would make great pets, I recognize that not everyone is up to the task of adopting and caring for a rescue, and may have different needs when selecting a new pet. PuppySpot is a great alternative to bringing a new fur-member to your family. PuppySpot is a service committed to helping responsible breeders place their puppies with caring individuals and families. They are a community of dog lovers whose mission is to make lives better by placing healthy puppies into happy homes.

And even if you’re not in the market for a new puppy, it is a worthwhile effort to check out their website just for the cute puppy pictures. Cute puppy pictures are scientifically proven to brighten your day. Okay, maybe not really, but that’s the kind of science I would totally sign up to be a test subject. You now, for posterity.

If you have a dog, what kinds of activities does your dog enjoy? And if you have a cat, do they even do anything? (<–Okay that last question was so my sister can be annoyed that this post was only about dogs.)

Go make it a great day!

 

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This Week’s Workouts and Hold My Calls

I almost missed posting today. For a good reason.

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It’s here! My “Food Freedom Forever” book arrived yesterday, and I’ve been curled up with a mug of tea devouring – nay, savoring – it the moment I had all of the Life Responsibility stuff tucked away. Which means I blasted home from work, threw pizza at the kids, told Hulk to pretend I’m not home, and locked myself in my room. Obviously.

Last week I was feeling run down, so I took it easy, sleeping in a little and going a little lighter on workouts. I had anticipated to hit it hard this week, but what is it with me and taking a week off where I have the hardest time firing up the motivation engine again? I know I love to go to CrossFit, I feel fabulous when I’m there, but getting the shoes on and getting out the door. I’d rather stay home and read in bed. So this week has seen more general lifting and hiking and less CrossFit.

Friday – rest day, I think. I can’t remember

Saturday – Saturday WOD:

  • Partner WOD for time,
    • Complete 300 double-unders,
    • THEN:
  • Complete the following in sets of 21 – 15 – 9 -15 – 21:
    • Pull-ups (I did ring rows)
    • Dumbbell Squat Cleans (I used 20# dumbbells)

Hulk and I took the kids to the gym together, so we partnered up for the WOD, which was great for me because I love double under practice and he’s really been nailing the kipping pull-ups lately. We cranked through the full workout in about 20 minutes, but I was getting a bit … “wifey” with Hulk. I was trying to be all focused and super serious, while he was just there to get a sweat on and have a good time. He would be, “what rep are we on?” and I would scold him back, “We’re on 8 of 15! You need to keep track on this!” What didn’t help is Buttercup’s cries from the kids’ area, where I could only see from my vantage point that she wasn’t wearing pants. I couldn’t tell if the diaper was off as well or not, so my only focus was to get the workout done so I could run over there and check to make sure she didn’t discard a poopy diaper in the play area (as she sometimes does if we don’t catch a dirty diaper fast enough for her comfort). Note to self: next time, put Buttercup in a dress. There are no pants to take off when you’re wearing a dress.

Sunday – home gym workout:

  • “Death by weight” back squats at 5 reps per set:
    • Start with the bar and increase 10 lbs per set

I made it to 125 lbs and only squeaked out 3 reps, so that was 10 sets total. And now the garage is clean enough to work out in again!

Monday – Strength class:

  • Anderson back squats, 5×3 at 60-70% max (I used 35kg)
  • Russian kettlebell swings, 5×8 (I used 53 lbs kettlebells)
  • Weighted belt squats, 4×15 (I used 53 lbs kettlebells)
  • Farmers’ carry, 5×200 yd resting every 1 min between sets (I used 53 lb kettlebells)

I’ve been wanting to try some of the strength and oly lifting classes at the gym, and Monday was a good opportunity for me to finally get to one. Hulk wanted to do the WOD at the same time, so we packed up the kiddos, he did the CrossFit class and I took the strength class. Mostly I wanted to check out the class format so I can do more stuff at home.

The Anderson back squats were a trip. They’re designed to help you work out of “the hole”, so you rack the bar at the bottom of your squat, using arms or other props. Then you get under the bar, position yourself in your squat, then stand up and bring it back down, sort of the reverse of a standing squat where you go down and come back up. I thought they were really fun, and can’t wait to try this at home.

The weighted belts were fun too, I’ve never used one before. It’s a weightlifting belt with a long chain in the front so you can clip weights (we used kettlebells) to it to add bodyweight. We then stood on boxes to provide clearance for the weight when we squatted, and cranked them out. It’s supposed to work your core and stability, because as you move the kettlebell starts to swing and you have to keep yourself tight to not fall over. I’m filing this one in “stupid human tricks.”

Tuesday – hike with Olive

Olive and I set out on the ridge trail at like 5:30 in the morning, so it was dark the whole time. I forgot my headlamp, but the trail is on an open ridge, and there was plenty ambient city lights to see. Olive loved it.

Wednesday – hike with Squish

I started to get ready to go to CrossFit when I went to pick up Squish from preschool, but on my way there I felt like I’d rather be out in nature with trees instead of the gym. So I asked Squish if he would prefer going to the gym with me or going on the ridge trail for a hike. He choose hike, and I was glad. When we got there, they had a huge herd of goats grazing the dry grass.

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I’d seen them from afar working on the other hills, but this time they were right over the trail. I delighted in being so close to them, watching them munch the grass and casually saunter away from us. Squish wanted to pet them (of course) but I told them that the goats were working and couldn’t be disturbed. So he settled on talking to them. It was a delightful walk to remember. Oh, and he also found a stick.

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It’s his “special stick”. I’m sure Olive will find it special to chew on at some point.

That’s all from me for now. How did you move this week?

Go make it a great day!

Rough Week

It’s been a bit of a rough week over here. Life stuff is rolling along smoothly as usual, but the news lately has been wretched. Along with the National stories of horror (eff you too, all news from Florida) I’ve found out quite a few people have passed away recently. Some I knew personally, some were family and friends of friends, and some were community leaders who inspired me. Then the Warriors lost game 6 of the playoffs. The bad news just kept rolling in all week.

So when I woke up before my alarm this morning, I knew a bit of self care was in order before I headed to work. I knocked off a session of Headspace meditation, then once I saw what a beautiful, sunny day it was, I took Olive to our favorite trail.

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I started writing a bit more about my thoughts on this week’s events, but it got super deep and woo-ish super fast, so we’ll keep it light by saying it’s the weekend, yay! Let’s go out and do cool stuff. Play a game, get dirty, laugh hard. Ponder life’s mysteries, give really good hugs, and frolic. Live life the way it was meant to be lived. That’s the best legacy and memory we can make for anyone. And go make it a great day.

The Workit30, Days 1 & 2

While I’ve been feeling pretty good about life in general, I’ve noticed that a lot of healthy habits have been slipping. Despite constantly thinking about what I need to do, I’ve only been working out about once a week on average, and I may have had corn dogs for breakfast the other morning in a rush to get out the door. Darn adulty things and poor planning keep getting in the way.

I know I don’t have it in me to do a Whole30 yet. With the rabid Holiday season upon us now, I have some even to go to or host every weekend until New Year’s, including both of my kids’ birthdays.

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That’s right, bitchez. I’m almost a toddler now!

I know I need to do something to pull my healthy habits back on track. I’ve been listening to the audiobook version of Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin on my commute to try and inspire me, and decided a challenge with some at-home support sounded like a good idea. So Hulk and I cobbled together what I’m calling a Workit30 (in homage to the Whole30), a 30 day challenge to work out every day.

Here are the rules:

  1. Exercise every day for at least 30 minutes
  2. Any moderate to high intensity exercise counts – running, weights, power or flow yoga, HIIT drills, etc
  3. Low-impact stuff like walking only counts as a recovery day, and must be preceeded and followed by a moderately or high intense workout day
  4. Warm-up, mobility work, and stretching/light yoga are encouraged, but don’t count towards the 30 minute minimum time

We started on November 5th. I went on a 2 mile run/walk using my Couch to 5k app. I have literally been doing a couch to 5k for ten months now, because I never finish the program, and when I want to get back into it I just restart at Day 1.

This morning I threw some weights around in the home gym. Olive participated by selecting random trash bits on the floor to chew up in her favorite garage spot, the trampoline.

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You weren’t using this piece of cable, right?
  • Squats 3×10 @ 45lb
  • Bench press 3×10 @ 45lb
  • Assisted pull ups, 1×8
  •  deadlift, 3×10 @ 45lb
  • Kettlebell swings, 1×10 @ 35 lb

I’m hoping by the end of the 30 days I’ll have more of a rhythm going when it comes to working out, and maybe get a bit of my strength back. Let me know if you want to join in, or if you’re doing a similar challenge right now.

Go make it a great day!

Suburban Paradise

What is up? It’s just another beautiful day over here in suburban paradise.

  
I have too many updates to keep this post any sort of organized. I guess that’s what happens when you take several unplanned, non-consecutive weeks off from blogging. I guess I grossly underestimated how much time getting a puppy and moving across the bay would take on top of regular life stuff.

The good news is that life is slowly normalizing. I find that I do better with a consistent routine that takes out decision making. For some reason this is way easier to do commuting from the ‘burbs. I guess there’s just fewer distractions? 

  
Okay, now updates. Everyone is doing great. The end.

  
Olive caught a bear the other day. Security is not just a hobby, but one of her passions.

It was Hulk’s birthday this week. We managed to not burn the place down with birthday candles.

  
Squish went nuts over the whole birthday thing, especially with cake development. He “helped” me make the classic chocolate birthday cake (absolutely not paleo-fied, I have to draw the line somewhere), and when I broke out the chocolate powder he gushed, “ooh, I’m going to LOVE it!”

  
Can’t even. His chocolate love is only rivaled by mine.

Other things coming up: our garage gym is in progress. I’m commuting these days with an all-electric car, which is pretty geek-tastic. We are super close to some really nice hiking/biking trails, so I’m getting a ton of long walks in nature done these days. All in all, not bad.

That’s all I have for now. Go make it a great weekend!

All In

We have been super busy over here moving into our new home!

  
  
  
Olive is “helping.”

I had a “Farewell, San Francisco” post planned, but I never sat down to make it happen. I’ll probably put it together months later and never get around to posting it, similar to Buttercup’s birth story.

 
We’re six months old and think mirrors are awesome!

It’s been tricky trying to figure out a new normal as quickly as possible. I miss the gym, but we’re just 10 minutes away from a Lake Chabot Park trailhead. I’ve been finishing up my Couch-to-5k runs there.

  

I am so amped to start trail running again. Hooray, nature! 

I also started another Whole30 yesterday. Since I didn’t do a proper reintroduction period after my last one (and never got around to the wrap-up post on that, either) I thought it would be good to do another one to sort of settle into the new kitchen and establish some good habits right away. I’m a little bit nervous about adding all the food prep and planning on top of the unpacking and figuring out a new lifestyle. But the more I make Whole30 eating the rule and not the exception, I think it’ll help set good food habits up going forward. Because let’s be honest, when is life not going to be crazy?

That’s the update around here. What’s happening in your neck of the woods?

Make it a great day!

Meet Olive

In the latest of our “bad decisions make good stories” adventures, we adopted a puppy last week. Meet Olive!

  
Olive is a three month old lab mix we stumbled upon at the local shelter. Our last dog Duke was adopted when he was full grown and already trained, so this is a bit of a new world for us.

  
Whatever. Squish is just over the moon with having a puppy. He’s already declared her as “my best friend.” 

  
It is absolutely worth everything to see those two play together. Squish gets to exercise his bossy side with her, and I think Olive sees him as another giant, hairless puppy to play with.

  
Anyway, new baby, new house, and now a new dog. I hope Olive’s cool with new owners that are just a bit nuts.

  
“Nah, we’re cool. All I need is pets and noms.”

Make it a furry day!