the benefits of soreness

Photo credit {totally my arm, clearly}

A certain someone and I got into a little tiff over her declaration that she didn’t feel like she was getting a good work out unless she was sore. “That’s dumb” accidentally slipped out of my mouth, when instead I meant, “Hm. It’s interesting that you see it that way. I feel differently.”

But this difference of opinion got me interested- is either of us right? I hypothesized that the answer would be somewhere in the middle {isn’t it always?!} but decided to do some research to find some answers.

She said many people feel the same way she does, which explains the prevalence of the phrase “No pain, no gain.” For the sake of this discussion, let’s ignore the idea of pain and focus instead on soreness.

This concept of soreness after exercise is called DOMS- delayed onset muscle soreness. If I refer to DOMS, that’s what I mean!

One of the first things I stumbled upon was an article explaining why sore muscles after a work out doesn’t mean they’re growing faster. It explains that exercise can cause inflammation, which leads to soreness. It also says this: “However, muscle soreness is not generally a good indicator of exercise-induced damage. And a lack of muscle soreness doesn’t tell you whether or not exercise-induced muscle damage has been repaired.”

Likewise: “Muscle soreness is nothing more than a sign that you did something your body wasn’t used to, or performed an exercise that just so happens to trigger more soreness than others.”

Christina of Life Fitness Blog reiterates this idea: “Soreness does not mean you got a great workout, just a different one.”

So I think the bottom line is this: our bodies become accustomed to certain exercises and it is good to mix things up. However, just because these changes produce soreness does not make them inherently better than non-sore producing workouts.



throwing in the towel

I made a decision last night to give up on part of my week-long challenge. It was a tough decision given that ten whole dollars is on the line! Thinking of three things that I’m grateful for or take for granted every night is a piece of cake- I have so much in my life to appreciate. It’s the other part of the challenge that I’m struggling with:

Riding my bike to work twice this week. Sound easy, right? If you’re thinking “Wow, you gave up pretty darn easily,” you’re right. Here’s why I originally wanted to ride my bike:

  • To save money
  • To get exercise
  • To be more environmentally friendly
  • To have fun

And here’s what I realized:

  • My lifestyle isn’t conducive to bike riding- I have a busy schedule where I have to be places quickly. And often that schedule changes, so having a bike inhibits transitions. For example, I didn’t bike on Monday because it was raining; I didn’t bike on Tuesday because I had to bring a tray of whoopie pies for my sisters birthday; I didn’t bike today because I have to run home after work to get ready for Sara’s birthday dinner…There’s always a reason!
  • My work-out schedule is solid right now. I have tennis dates with my tennis partner, weight lifting and Pilates with my sister, and walks with my dog. Extra exercise is always great but not a necessity at this point
  • Ultimately, biking needs to be enjoyable for me to continue to do it. Forcing myself- especially in this freezing weather- is going to make me resent it
  • I pay a flat fee for parking, so I’m not saving any money on parking by biking. Additionally, my car ride to work costs approximately $.30 round trip. Not much of a financial burden

All of that being said, I really respect people who ride their bikes- I think it’s so cool! And I would absolutely love to take up bike riding, but I think I will save it for beautiful, breezy North Carolina spring. And I’m sure, with enough time, I would learn to adapt to all of the potential challenges of biking everywhere.

Do you bike? What do you think of the challenges I listed? How do you overcome them?

goal check-in + tad + this day last year

Whew, that’s a lot to cover in one blog post, huh? Here we go!

My goals for the week were:

  • At least one yoga or Pilates class– Didn’t manage this (too busy playing tennis!)
  • Two weight-lifting sessions– Did one at-home session
  • Continuing working on a certain someone’s birthday present (can’t use the actual verb because I don’t want to give it away- could be make, order, buy, rent…)– Woot woot
  • Set up an official referral program for The Raleigh Forum– In progress
  • Bring one more person into the bloggers’ group– More like five or six! So many people have sent me names of awesome local female bloggers!
  • Make one new soup recipe– I tried two! I made roasted pepper potato soup and a spiced tomato potato soup
If you’ve been following my blog since, say, October 12, 2010, you might recall Three A Day (TAD). This was my easy-to-remember phrase for writing down three things each day that I was thankful for. I thought it was a good idea to bring it back given my challenge for next week!

Yesterday’s TAD:
  • Having a dog whisperer for a sister! I was frustrated about Maddie’s behavior, but my sister showed me the benefits of a gentle leader (a miracle worker), as well as some easy tricks for making her tune into me and respond to my commands.
  • Having a nice, spacious apartment. I was overwhelmed by the amount of dishes and cleaning I had to do, but then I reminded myself that not everyone has a kitchen to clean (sorry for being so cheesy).
  • Having the support of an incredible organization like the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, who hosted an event at The Raleigh Forum yesterday. We have over 50 individuals attend, and I would say that it was a stellar success!
This Day Last Year: I was in the midst of the fall of my senior year and actively listing TADs each day! In my post, I recapped the day before, which included a date with one of my (still) best friends, a day of babysitting the baby that I still love and miss, and a lovely note from a GW Bites customer. That was an exciting fall because I had just begun GW Bites!

weekend + goals for the week

As promised, I took full advantage of my sick weekend to recuperate, refresh, and relax (was that too over the top?! Haha).

  • Most important announcement coming in my next post
  • Watched Erin Brockovich + Ocean’s Eleven + Ocean’s Twelve + Wedding Crashers
  • Worked on part of a special someone’s birthday present
  • Made roasted pepper potato soup based on this recipe (sans cream)
  • Ate lots of sushi and hot and sour soup

On Sunday I was feeling much better so I:

  • Got my car detailed
  • Enjoyed coffee with peppermint mocha creamer
  • Went to a yoga class
  • Had a lakeside photo session (and lesson!) with a friend

My goals for the week:

  • At least one yoga or Pilates class
  • Two weight-lifting sessions
  • Continuing working on a certain someone’s birthday present (can’t use the actual verb because I don’t want to give it away- could be make, order, buy, rent…)
  • Set up an official referral program for The Raleigh Forum
  • Bring one more person into the bloggers’ group
  • Make one new soup recipe

yoga makes me cheesy

Doing a challenging yoga class this morning has encouraged me to set intentions for the week in order to keep myself on track..and maintain my sanity during this incredibly exciting but stressful time (can’t share details on that YET but I will soon!).

  • Reach out to potential new friends & work out partners (just contacted 3 girls who posted for a exercise buddy on the board at the Y)
  • Work out (Pilates, yoga, tennis, running, biking, or anything else physical) at least 4 times a week
  • Water my new basil plant so that it thrives. Same for my big green plant in my “office”
  • Take on my work projects with gusto. Go above and beyond!
  • Remember that this is an incredibly thrilling time and that all of the stress is just minor bumps in the road that make me stronger and more adept at handling things that come my way
  • Take deep breaths throughout my day
  • Prepare simple and delicious meals that are good for me and give me energy throughout the day
  • Switch to decaf coffee
</end> cheesiness 🙂

    coffee cubes

    Just settling in for a morning of work with a post-run smoothie, a big bottle of cold water, and iced coffee. The temperature is supposed to be triple digits today, so hydrating is uber-important. I know coffee isn’t hydrating, but I’m trying to combat that with my other drinks 🙂 You know it’s hot when your window unit is set at 81 degrees and it feels like an icebox in comparison to outside!

    I thought I’d share a super simple summer tip- brew coffee, let cool, then pour into ice cube trays. When you’re ready to have your iced coffee, just drop in a few coffee cubes to make it cold without watering it down. And I just realized another perk this morning: when I leave the gym in the morning, my leftover coffee cubes have partially melted, leaving me with a delicious post-work out “coffee shot.” Refreshing 🙂

    my sophisticated philosophy on working out and eating healthy

    I had a pretty recent epiphany about my theory on healthy eating and working out. Bear with me as I explain my thinking, which may come as second nature to many of you.

    I used to be inconsistent about cooking at home, but then something clicked. I began buying fresh ingredients and making healthy, inexpensive meals at home. I would attempt to make the majority of meals at home, but I didn’t stress if I missed a meal or two. I knew I would be back in the kitchen soon enough. Eating my own creations at home was rewarding, but so was the occasional meal out.

    Yet, somehow, I haven’t been able to apply this philosophy to my work out schedule. Ideally, I would work out consistently, and a day or two off wouldn’t throw me off schedule. I would enjoy my work outs (I actually do- be it the treadmill, tennis, bike rides, hikes, etc), but I would appreciate my downtime as well. But somehow, even though I know all this, it doesn’t seem to connect in my head. I manage to convince myself that by missing one workout, I’ve irrevocably ruined my progress.

    So I know it, time to apply it! Wish me luck 🙂 And I hope this helps you convince yourself that one day (or two!) does not ruin all your hard work!

    the past week: cherry blossoms, life plans, & amazing visits!

    Oh my gosh, three whole days without blogging- this is unprecedented! 🙂

    Recap of the past week:

    • Wine night with a friend…we had so much to catch up on that we wrote out a post-it note with a “to talk about” list!
    • Delivery, couch, and Bethenny Ever After night with a different friend
    • Several great runs throughout DC
    • Am officially writing a guest post for BGSKCollege
    • Found out on Wednesday at 4pm that I had an exam on Thursday at 9:35am. Whoops!
    • Elaborate home-cooked meal for a friend
    • Discovered The Cookery, a kitchen incubator in Durham, NC! Perhaps it will be the new home of GW Bites (soon to be NCSU Bites as well?) come fall.
    • Put my name on a waiting list for an apartment in Raleigh
    • Am in the process of launching Harmonized Living
    • Weekend with my sister and her friend [Cherry Blossoms, brunch at Luna in Dupont, roof time, MK&A movie night haha, GW regatta at the Waterfront, Nooshi for dinner]. It was great introducing my sister’s friend to the obligatory DC things, but I think we all enjoyed our chill lounging time the most!

    After writing all of this, I realized that I never announced my final post-grad plans. I will officially (well, almost officially?) be moving to Raleigh to work virtually and pursue my ventures on the side.

    back to running

    I went to the gym today for the first time in…awhile! I’ve done some outside running but I’ve been very inconsistent.

    Some people hate the act of working out but love the end result. I love both.

    I love pushing myself. I love an excuse to read trashy tabloids on the treadmill. I love listening to long-lost songs on my iPod. I love seeing people I know at the gym. I love having to wipe away sweat. I love wearing cute gym clothes.

    I also love being able to say I’m a runner. The “runners’ high” I have for the rest of the day. The way I’m more conscious of my physical health overall. The way I feel more self-confident.

    My problem: I get into a good work out groove- a consistent schedule but not obsessive. But once I miss one or two days of working out, it’s nearly impossible to get me back on track.

    My solution:

    • Review this blog post frequently
    • Think of each work out as a way to improve my day (instead of focusing too heavily on future benefits)
    • Update my iPod so that I’m looking to hearing a special work out playlist
    • Save my Better Homes and Gardens magazine for gym days
    • Invest (every so often) in new well-fitting gym attire
    • Remember that all I have to do is put on my clothes. Once I’m in them, I know I’m going on a run

    Any other advice?