07-25-2014

Book Review Time

While I was away, I had a lot of time to read. I mean, travel/transit time alone to get from the U.S. to Paraguay was 24 hours. While we were there, we rarely used the WiFi because it was SO SLOW. So we read instead…which means I was able to read 3 books in 3 weeks! That was my goal before I left, and I’m glad I got to read because in my everyday life I definitely don’t read enough.

It felt nice to be disconnected from the online world and just be able to relax and read. For a few days after I got back, I didn’t even open my laptop because I was still enjoying being offline.

I wanted to write up book reviews of what I read, in case you’re curious and need a new book to read!

THE HUSBAND’S SECRET

The Husband's SecretThe Husband’s Secret
Amazon Summary: Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive…

Thoughts: I saw this book on another blogger’s reading list and was intrigued. The story follows various characters who are all somehow connected & their stories intertwine. Some parts were a bit slow but it definitely picked up towards the end.

Overall Grade: B+

INFERNO

Inferno

Inferno
Amazon Summary: In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon, is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.

Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered.

Thoughts: I loved this book. I have loved all of Dan Brown’s book and this one did not disappoint. It also gets you thinking about certain topics…

It was definitely a page turner and I couldn’t wait to get to the end. Some parts dragged a bit when it came to describing historical artwork and buildings, but if you’re into that kind of stuff then I’m sure it won’t drag for you!

Overall Grade: A

FIFTY SHADES FREED

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Fifty Shades Freed
Amazon Summary: Ana and Christian have it all—love, passion, intimacy, wealth, and a world of possibilities for their future. But Ana knows that loving her Fifty Shades will not be easy, and that being together will pose challenges that neither of them would anticipate. Ana must somehow learn to share Christian’s opulent lifestyle without sacrificing her own identity. And Christian must overcome his compulsion to control as he wrestles with the demons of a tormented past.

Thoughts: Okay, okay please don’t judge me…I only brought 2 books with me and this happened to be in my backpack so I figured why not. I had already read the first 2. It’s an easy read that is perfect for the beach or traveling! (yes I’ll keep telling myself that). No really though, it wasn’t all that bad. I actually liked this book the best I think out of all of them because there was a little mystery/thriller action going on. The writing isn’t the greatest. Honestly, some chapters I was thinking “A 5th grader could write these sentences.” But whatever…

Also, I’m kind of curious as to how they are going to turn these books into movies without them being……ya know….

Overall Grade: C+

So now that I read these, I’m onto some new books! My library was giving away advanced copies of books yesterday and I picked on up by Jodi Picoult that won’t be out until October. I’m excited to read it! I need to try to read more often as opposed to ending every night watching Netflix.

Do you make time to read?

Are you interested in seeing Fifty Shades Of Grey in theaters? ;)

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07-24-2014

Booty Burner Workout

I haven’t posted a workout in a while, and I thought why not focus on legs? I’m going to start half marathon training in the next week or two, so it’s time to make my legs stronger.

This leg workout includes some cardio in the form of burpees! Everyone’s favorite exercise ;) Check it out, and read on for instructions.

Booty Burner Workout

I love bulgarian split squats…they are killer, and you will feel it in your glutes and quads! This is an especially great exercise for athletes, since it’s a single leg exercise. You’ll be working on balance and core throughout the movement as well.

If you’re not familiar with them, take a look at this video:

The key thing to remember is to keep your chest up and shoulders back. Start with a lighter weight so you get the hang of it, and then increase.

Let me know if you try out the workout! I love hearing feedback

Have you used bulgarian split squats in your routine?

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07-23-2014

8 Ways To Reward Yourself For Working Hard

Sometimes, we all need a little extra motivation to push us towards our goals. For me, in a time where I’m not really training for anything, this is especially true! Or even if you are working towards something, a little treat always feels good.

I like to reward myself when I complete a goal, like finishing a marathon, or setting a PR. My favorite way to do so is adding in an extra rest day so I can truly relax ;) But here are 8 other ways you can reward yourself for working hard in the gym & out:

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Photo Credit: kaneda99 via Compfight cc

1. Buy new workout clothes, sneakers, etc. Who doesn’t love going to the gym in new gear? I love splurging on some items (hello lululemon), but also find great things regularly at T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s, Target and Old Navy. I think buying clothes is great for when you hit mini-goals…or basically, at any time ;)

2. Pamper yourself. If you’re like me, you don’t pamper yourself enough. I get manis and pedis occasionally but not that often. Whenever I do this, or get a new haircut, I always leave the salon feeling confident and well-manicured. Don’t get massages often? Save it for after your longest run ever, or after a tough race…what a great way to relax and work out those knots.

3. Save up. Pampering yourself costs money. A great idea I saw on Pinterest a while ago was to put $1 in a jar every time you hit the gym. If you go 5 days a week for a month, you’ll have about $20 at the end (thank you captain obvious, I know). $20 = two manicures! Or save up for a big workout clothes shopping spree…or a massage…or a blowout…or new running shoes (that’s what I splurge most on).

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4. Eat dinner somewhere new. We’ve all heard the saying “Don’t reward yourself with food, you’re not a dog.” That’s not what I mean. Find somewhere with a great, healthy selection and go out on a dinner date. Nothing better than a delicious salad or a good chicken dish after a hard workout.

5. Be a tourist in your own town. Visit a new museum, park, etc. in your town. I can name probably 10 places in my area that I haven’t been to in all the time I’ve been here. Hey, I’m 45 min outside of the city and I, myself, haven’t been to the Statue of Liberty yet. Also, check out your library for special coupons or deals. I just found out my library gives away passes/tickets to the Guggenheim Museum and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. I need to do this before the summer ends!

6. Take a new fitness class. After training for a race for months, I need a break from running. Same with lifting. Taking a new fitness can help reignite your passion for fitness, and you may also find your new favorite way to exercise. If you’re in a plateau, either physically or mentally, find a new class or club (like a running club), to try out.

7. Get someone else to reward you. Hey, massages are expensive…so why not get someone else to buy one for you ;) This is a good incentive for couples. Perhaps you and your significant other (or you could also do it with your best friend) make bets based on your goals…winner gets the reward! Who else is competitive? ;)

8. Buy something you’ve wanted for a while. Recently, I splurged on a pair of Ray Ban Wayfarers. I’ve wanted them for so long but never bought them because I rarely spend a lot on myself. I always tell myself that money is put to better use. Well, this time I got the sunglasses I’ve been wanting for years. I bought them to reward myself to getting new clients for my business, and you can do the same for any big goal you set and achieve.

What’s the last thing you splurged on for yourself?

Do you like to splurge or are you like me?

What would you add to this list? Leave a comment below!

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07-21-2014

Things I Learned In South America

I’m back in the USA!! I can’t explain how good it felt to be flying into JFK after 3 weeks away from home. While I love visiting family in Paraguay, 3 weeks is a long time to be away from your bed and pets! :) I was homesick towards the end and more than ready to come home.

I am grateful that my family got to go away for 3 weeks, and visit Rio De Janeiro while we were down there. It was all an amazing experience and I really want to go back to Rio…2016 Olympics anyone?

Before I get into a few things I learned about South America, I wanted to share a few pictures from my trip:

Me and my siblings at the top of Sugarloaf (Pao De Acucar) with Copacabana in the background

Me and my siblings at the top of Sugarloaf (Pao De Acucar) with Copacabana in the background

 

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Dinner in Copacabana…if you’re ever there check out Boteco Da Garrafa!

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FIFA Fan Fest on the beach in Copacabana for the Brazil vs. Colombia game

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Cousins in Paraguay :)

I’ll be posting all of my pictures in a Facebook album, so for those who want to see travel pics, I’ll link to it once I do.

Okay so here’s what I learned while on my trip about South America:

  • Ordering a coffee to them automatically means coffee with heated up milk (cafe con leche). Even when someone makes coffee for you in their home they heat up milk on the stove top to add to the coffee. I usually just add cold milk so my coffee isn’t too hot.
  • When saying hi and bye you need to kiss everyone on both cheeks…which makes for very long hellos and goodbyes.
  • Most younger people address older people by Tio or Tia (aunt or uncle) even if they aren’t related at all. This was weird for me because I would call someone by their name but my parents would insist I call them Tio or Tia.
  • In South America (except Chile from what I noticed in the airport), you don’t throw toilet paper in the toilet. You throw it into the garbage can next to the toilet. I’m sorry but I could not adjust to this! No clue why they do it like this…does not seem sanitary at all.
  • People in Rio are very nice and everyone says Bom Dia to you (good morning) as they pass you. They didn’t care that their city was overrun with tourists, they were still nice!

And the main thing I learned?

That I am grateful that my parents emigrated to the United States when I was 1. Going to another country, especially a third world country, makes you realize all the opportunities you have.

I realize the sacrifices my parents made by leaving their entire family and friends behind in Paraguay, and coming to the US to try to build a better life. Who knows where we would be had they not done that. They have some crazy stories from their earlier time here, which I’ll have to share at some point, because it really puts things into perspective.

Anyway, I’m happy to be back and am excited to get back to blogging and reading your posts as well!

Have you gone away for an extended period of time? Did you get homesick?

Are you going away this summer?

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07-09-2014

3 Ways to Get Faster

I’m back in Paraguay after 4 days in Rio De Janeiro/Copacabana! It was amazing and so beautiful. I definitely want to go back one day. Olympics 2016?? ;)

Today features another guest post by my running coach, Marc. He knows his stuff when it comes to getting faster and fitter. So check out how to get faster!

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Hi everyone! It’s Coach Marc and I’m taking over Patty’s blog while she’s on vacation.  I’m writing about Ways to Get Faster.

The first and most obvious way is to run more miles.  This should be done with careful consideration to your running history and your ability to add miles.  The more miles you run, and the more often you run them will lead to massive improvements in your racing.
 
The second way to get faster is to incorporate strength training into your weekly routine.  It won’t take much – 20-30 minutes 2 times a week is plenty – to add serious punch to your running.  Find any number of strength training routines to add and you’ll be sure to prevent possible injuries, get lean, and stay strong.  One example of a strength training routine you can do is linked here.

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The third, but possibly most important way to get faster is by hiring a coach.  A running specific coach can help you create a plan, keep you focused and honest in your training, and help you navigate the ups and downs of training for a race.  Whether you need a cheerleader or a sounding board, a coach has your best interest in mind.  Try a google search to find a coach that fits your style.  Don’t be afraid that your PR’s “aren’t good enough”.  Even the best of the best in the world have coaches to help them!

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For more workout ideas and running tips, make sure to follow Marc on Facebook, and on Twitter or visit his website.

Do you incorporate strength training into your running routine? How many days per week?

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07-04-2014

Happy 4th of July!

Just wanted to stop in and wish everyone a happy fourth of July! I may not be in the USA at the moment but still celebrating at heart ;)

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Enjoy a delicious cheeseburger and watch some fireworks for me!

I hope you have a fun and safe holiday weekend :-)

06-30-2014

3 Workouts For Beginner Runners

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Hey everyone! While I’m away in Paraguay, I wanted to let my running coach Marc take over a few posts for me. He’s really knowledgeable on all things running, so I figured why not let him write about some running tips. Enjoy!

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It’s Coach Marc and I’m taking over Patty’s blog while she’s on vacation!  Today, we are going to talk about 3 great workouts for (beginner) runners.

The first workout that all new runners should do is fartlek (Swedish for speed play).  Fartleks can be unstructured or structured – the choice is yours!  Unstructured fartleks work something like this…: Warm up with 10-20 minutes of easy running, then pick a place (parked car, tree, lamp post, etc) in the distance and run at a faster pace towards it; the recovery is the next object you choose.  Go in this fashion until you’ve decided you’ve had enough.  The structured fartlek is very much the same, however, in this case you can use a watch as your guide.  Say, for example, 3 minutes hard, 1 minute easy and repeat that for 10-15 times.  Either way, you’re getting in some faster running and taking a break in between each one.

Hills are another great workout for runners.  Whether the hills are long or short, steep or gradual, you can get a great workout in.  For early season, I suggest doing longer hills at a steady pace (think 10k to half marathon).  As you get into your season, you can switch from longer & steady to shorter & faster.  This will help generate power and speed that will propel you to faster times.

400s are another great workout because you can find a track anywhere and do anything from speed work to threshold & tempo runs around a track.  Below are the three main types of workouts you can do that are 400 meters in length.

For speed workouts, you’ll certainly want lots of recovery.  The amount of them you do should be based on the amount of miles you run in a week.  Typically speed workouts should be no longer than about 5-8% of your weekly mileage.  

Interval workouts should be done at 5k pace and require roughly the same amount of recovery as the repeat took.  For example, if you do a 400 in 80 seconds, you should recover (jog) between 70 and 90 seconds.  The amount of interval 400s you do, again depends on the amount of miles you run in a week with the general rule being no more than 8% of your weekly mileage.  

Threshold workouts are the primary workouts for marathoners and are done at a comfortably hard pace.  This pace is usually 10k though marathon pace.  With threshold, you don’t need a ton of recovery because the pace isn’t all that fast or taxing.  Typically a 5 minutes of threshold to 1 minute of recovery is the standard amount of work:recovery time.  As with speed and interval, threshold work should be done, but with no more than 10-15% of your weekly mileage.

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Whatever type of runner you are, fartleks, hills and 400s should always be a staple in your workout routine.  They are three great ways to build strength and stamina that will prepare you to run fast in your next race.

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For more workout ideas and running tips, make sure to follow Marc on Facebook, and on Twitter or visit his website.

Which of these workouts are your favorite? I love hill intervals and 400s :)

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06-29-2014

Vacation Updates

We made it safely to South America and today is Day 3. So far we are having fun and enjoying being with family! Our country is Paraguay, which is right in the middle of South America…sadly, no beaches =( Which is okay for now since it is winter time down here.

I thought I wouldn’t miss the heat of summer, but yesterday was pretty cold and rainy, and I was Skyping with Dan who told me it was sunny and in the 90s…jealous!

I thought of starting a travel blog site on Tumblr or something to document my journeys but it’d take too much work haha. I will post occasional updates here while I’m away for 3 weeks…and I also have some great guest posts by my running coach Marc Pelerin! So keep stopping by!

Here are a few pictures of our trip so far:

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The above picture is me and my sister with two of our cousins.

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Another group picture. I want to add more but WiFi is slow so I’m not able to send myself pictures from my phone and then post here…but I’ll try in another post!

We are staying with my aunt who has a little farm. So I’ve been being woken up by multiple roosters, who start crowing at 4 am! The first night I woke up and thought, “What is that??” But I guess it’s good to have a natural alarm clock right? ;)

I’ll post more later this week – just wanted to check in. Make sure to stay tuned for some great guest posts!

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06-25-2014

10 Minute AMRAP Workout

I finally posted a new video! I haven’t posted to my YouTube account in a while…making and editing videos takes a decent chunk of time which I haven’t had. But I always do love editing them and seeing the final product.

Today, I have a 10 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) workout that you can do at the gym. All you need are some boxes and a barbell. It’s total body, and includes some plyometric work too.

If you want to do this at home, you can modify by doing dumbbell rounds instead, and doing single box jumps or squat jumps.

Do as many rounds of each exercise for 10 minutes. Or you can do 3-4 rounds…whichever works best for you! Do each exercise for 12 reps.

Here’s the workout:

And here is a printable to take with you to the gym!

amrap-workout

Let me know what you think & if you try it out! I always love hearing your feedback.

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06-25-2014

Health & Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day (Travel Edition)

One more day and I’m outta here! I’m excited to be traveling to South America…though I’ll admit I will miss my cats ;) But at least my uncle will be home to take care of them. We were nervous we wouldn’t be able to find someone to watch over them. Yes, I have multiple cats…I swear I’m not a crazy cat lady! :)

Today’s links will be travel related for all of you who will be going on a vacation this summer. Found a lot of helpful information! A new thing I want to add to these health & fitness posts is a featured post:

Featured Post

15 Minute Hotel Workout

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Definitely doing this workout by Healthy Happier Bear while I’m away. I love timed workouts because it’s easy enough to do and all you need is a timer. Plus, 15 minutes? Perfect for when you don’t have time to dedicate to a longer workout – whether you’re on vacation or not!

Healthy Eating While Traveling

Fitness

What are some of your tips on how to stay healthy while on vacation? I’d love to hear them!

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