Current Fitness Routine

Lately, a lot of my friends have been asking for my fitness routine. I don’t know what spurred it but it did make me realize I’ve never shared a detailed fitness regimen on any iteration of my blog.

Before I explain how I workout, I would like to preface this with the fact that my body is a result of many years of competitive swimming with training layered on top after I stopped swimming. Additionally, I change my routine every few months, this just happens to be what I currently do. Furthermore, I am not a professional trainer or nutritionist and don’t necessarily recommend my routine for anything other than general fitness maintenance.

Also, something you will note below, is that I rarely warm up. I don’t recommend this, especially if you’re starting out. For some reason, it has worked for me so far to go into these particular workouts without a warm up, but in most cases I would recommend a quick jog or some jumping jacks/jump rope, to get the body warm.

I also only stretch after my workouts because my muscles are warmer and more forgiving to stretching. Stretching cold muscles always hurts and seems pointless to me so I never stretch before a workout either.

Alright, everyone! Here is what I do to stay in shape!

Monday: Pyramid Interval Sprints, Ab Circuit, Stretch

The first day of the week deserves some sprints. The Pyramid Sprints consist of 30 seconds sprint, 30 seconds walking, then 1-minute sprint, then a minute walk, then 1.5 minutes, and so on until 2.5 minutes. Then you come back down the pyramid.

The Ab Circuit consists of eight ab exercises (12x Burpees, 12x Exercise ball extensions, 25x full leg raises, 25x flat crunch, 25x oblique crunch right, 25x oblique crunch left, 24x full bicycle, 1 minute plank). I will repeat this circuit three times.

Especially on days when I run, I try and make sure I stretch really well afterwards, so I usually have about 10-15 minutes of basic stretching after the workout.

Tuesday: Upper body Day

Currently, I only devote one day to upper body. I know some people might scoff at this, but it’s all I need to maintain my muscle there. I make sure I cover all the major muscle areas in five supersets. However, you will notice that there is not one exercise below that specifically targets biceps and this is because biceps are worked indirectly in so many of these exercises that I don’t feel the need to isolate them. In each super set, I use weights that are moderately heavy (for me) and do every single exercise for 15 reps and 4 sets (This workout is a total of 20 sets, and takes about an hour)

Super set 1: Dumbell Shoulder Press & Lat Pull Down

Super set 2: Dumbell Chest Press & Seated Rows

Super set 3: Weighted Tricep Dips & One armed Row

Super set 4: Chest Flies & Tricep Extensions

Super set 5: Shoulder Flies & Standard Push- Ups

 

Wednesday: Long Run, Ab Circuit, Stretch

This day is pretty straightforward. If I’m able, I will take this day to have a long run outside, but usually, I will have to do it on a treadmill since I live in the city. I will run 4 or 5 miles depending on the day and I am currently holding a 9-minute mile, but always trying to improve that pace.

Afterward, I do the same ab circuit from Monday and make sure I stretch really well.

 

Thursday: Leg Day

Ah, everyone’s favorite day. I know I run a lot, but it’s not enough to build the muscle I’m looking for without some lifting. The exercises below are especially geared towards hamstring and glute building since that is what I’m after right now. Any place where Right & Left is listed in parentheses means that the exercise only uses one leg at a time and I do 15 reps for each leg for each exercise. Once again, I use weights that are moderately difficult for me. This workout consists of two circuits, with five exercises a piece. I one circuit four times, then the other circuit four times, then stretch.

Circuit 1: 30x X-Jumps, 15x Weighted Side Leg Raise (Right & Left), 15x Weighted Donkey Kicks (Right & Left), 15x Weighted One-Legged Hip Thrust (Right & Left), 15x Weighted Single Leg Deadlift (Right & Left)

Circuit 2: 15x Split Squat Jumps, 15x Single Leg Leg Press (Right & Left), 15x Weighted Hip Thrust with both legs, 15x Weighted Lunges (Right & Left), Weighted 15x Calf Raises (Right & Left)
Friday: Full Body Workout

Friday’s are different because I like to do a full body workout that doesn’t have a consistency to it. I especially like to try out new workouts on Friday’s. If I can, I’ll find a class to go to, or find a routine online that I haven’t tried and see if I like it. Two staples I use if I want to a great workout but haven’t planned for anything new: Britney Spears’ Drenched Workout (Link Here), Or Kayla Itsines’ BBG1 Week 6 or 7 full body workouts. I won’t post it because it won’t be fair to her product, but it basically consists of some burpees, some ab work, and some pushups. It’s not hard to create a circuit out of that.

Saturday: REST DAY!

Rest is super important to a fitness regimen because your body needs time to recover. Now, I’m not working hard enough where these are absolutely crucial, BUT, rest is still important. Saturdays, I usually try and spend outdoors, whether I’m at the beach, or seeing a friend, or even hiking. I will try and make sure I still get some walking in so I’m not just a loaf all day, but I don’t focus on it for exercises’ sake.

Sunday: Foam Roll/Stretch Day.

Whereas Saturday is a complete rest day if I want, I try and take a little bit of time on Sundays to have a full body stretch and workout any kinks in my body. I honestly should be foam rolling and stretching every single day, but I haven’t gotten there yet, so I use Sunday as a catch-all day. Sometimes I will do a quick yoga circuit and then spend time rolling or I will just do my normal stretches, but deeper and for longer.

And there you have it! This is what I currently do to stay in shape. I hardly every spend more than an hour in the gym on any one of these workouts which is the perfect amount of time for me to spend in the gym. Once again, I’m not a professional, but I have been focused on my own fitness for quite some time, so if you have any questions I’d love to answer them!

fitness1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peru Travel Guide: Lima & TIPS

If you haven’t read the first two parts of my Peruvian adventure (INCLUDING MACCHU PICCHU!!), then click here or here!

limafeature

At last, we have reached the conclusion of the reminiscence of my Peru trip. Because we bought round trip tickets from LAX to Lima, we obviously had to conclude our trip in the Peruvian capital city. Although there are many museums and churches to see, we decided to keep our last two relaxed and stayed in the surprisingly beautiful, beachside area called Miraflores.

We were told that parts of Lima can be a bit unsavory but that Miraflores tends to be where all the expatriates live and is the safest area. We stayed in a private room in a cute little hostel minutes from the main square and spent much of the day just walking around. The first day we went to the LARCOMAR mall which looks out over the ocean and consists of beautiful restaurants and high-end shops.

The second day, we walked all the way along the coastline to the next neighborhood called Barranco, to stroll through the colorful houses and visit the Bridge of Sighs. Unfortunately, my travel partner had some food poisoning so we couldn’t push too hard during our stay, but honestly, a couple relaxing days were the perfect way to end an incredible vacation.

limabuilding

Now for some TIPS on traveling in Peru!

  1. In Cusco, most places speak English. In Lima, it is much less common, even in the touristy areas, so brush up on the basics if you plan on spending a lot of time there. (If nothing else, learn how to ask for the bathroom!)
  2. Peruvian currency is the Sol. One Sol equals about 30 cents in the US.
  3. For food, make sure to try the ceviche, the Lomo Saltado, the cuy, and alpaca meat.

limalarcomarlunch

4. You can negotiate for EVERYTHING. My boyfriend even got five soles off a cappuccino at a restaurant. Just go for it.

5. The water is not potable in Peru so make sure you buy bottled water from the small shops.

6. If you want traditional Peruvian chocolate or Coffee, buy it from the supermarket, not the tourist market, it will be WAY cheaper.

7. To get actual alpaca material, go to either a textile store OR a real alpaca shop. The street vendors will tell you their material is alpaca but it is not! REAL alpaca has a lot of weight to it and feels cool to the touch.

limabuilding

8. The weather can be super volatile in Peru since the geography changes so drastically between places. Make sure you have a warm jacket, and a rain jacket just in case.

9. Some longer trips can be amazing, like the Salkantay Trek or Rainbow mountain, but they take a whole day or multiple days and require some advance planning. So do some research beforehand to make sure you get to do the excursions you want!

limapier

10. When doing an excursion (like Macchu Picchu) where you have to leave early in the morning, discuss breakfast arrangements with your hostel. Many hostels realize that tourists must get up super early for these events and are willing to pack you a breakfast! Don’t miss out!

Overall, our time in Peru was amazing! All the different places we visited had their own attributes and the sites we visited had unparalleled energy — you just can’t beat Macchu Picchu! This was our first time in South America and of course, we were nervous, but Peru truly exceeded our expectations and now we can’t wait to go back!

larcomarsun

Peru Travel Guide: Macchu Picchu

Alright! Now for the good stuff. Peru is best known for the sacred Incan ruins of Macchu Picchu, and I, like everyone else was drawn to Peru for this bucket list location.

ollantaytamboruins
Ollantaytambo Fortress Ruins

There are a couple ways to do Macchu Picchu, including the famed four-day hike, but we did NOT have time for that. If you don’t hike, you have to somehow make your way to the town of Aguas Calientes which is the jumping off point to get to the ruins. From Cusco, you can take a train or cab all the way to Aguas Calientes OR you can get a cab/bus to the town of Ollantaytambo first and take the train from there. We opted for the latter since Ollantaytambo had some ruins to explore as well. Definitely grateful for that decision because some of our best days were in this little town. There are amazing terraced ruins built into surrounding mountains and we had one of our favorite meals at Apu Veronica, just outside the main ruins.

 

ollantaytamboruins2
Ollantaytambo Ruins

From Ollantaytambo, we took the VistaDome train to Aguas Calientes. There are a couple train options between the two locations, and we opted for the VistaDome since it has huge windows all along the sides and the roof of the train for viewing the insane jungle and mountain scenery as you approach Aguas Calientes.

 

aguascalientesjunglescenery
Scenery from the Hot Springs site

 

Once in Aguas Calientes, don’t expect too much. It is a total tourist trap and everyone knows it. Every restaurant serves the same food and every shop is selling the same trinkets. However, the scenery is INCREDIBLE so if you have some extra time, I recommend hitting up the hot springs that the town is named for (Aguas Calentes=Hot Waters) or getting a cafe con leche and people watching against the gorgeous backdrop.

When the day of reckoning is upon you, you’ll need to get up at about 4 am to get in line for the buses up to Macchu Picchu. The first bus leaves the station at 6 am, but since everyone wants to get up there for the sunrise, the line is outrageously long! We arrived at 5 am, and there were already hundreds of people in front of us. Luckily the tourism industry in Peru is prepared for this, and they run the buses pretty much one right after the other to accommodate the crowds. Getting up for the sunrise is WORTH IT. We got super lucky with the weather and the mist was clearing up as soon as we got to the top, the sun came out and we had the most AMAZING view of the ruins! There are honestly no words to describe how spectacular it is to be up there before the crowds with the ruins almost to yourself to admire in the morning light.

 

macchupicchupromo
Macchu FREAKING Picchu!

 

It is easy and relatively cheap to book a tour guide to accompany you at the ruins, but we chose not to get one since we are stingy as fuck, and also so we could move at our own pace. Make sure you do the entire site — walk down below where the remains of buildings were and go all the way behind to where the Sungate view is (There are arrows and guides to help you out). You can also pay for an additional hike when you book your Macchu Picchu ticket for either Macchu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu. If you want to do Huayna Picchu (the mountain present in all the typical photos of the site), you’ll need to book it far in advance. Macchu Picchu Mountain, however, is less popular but offers a higher vantage point. We ended up purchasing that one and it was a brutal hike, so be warned! And bring TONS of water!

 

macchupicchulowerruins2
Macchu Picchu Lower Ruins

 

We spent a full seven hours up at the site exploring and we covered every inch of the ruins. Macchu Picchu is a Wonder of the World and we wanted to make sure we took full advantage! The pictures speak for themselves, and I honestly cannot recommend making this trip enough. We should’ve saved this site for last, but alas, our pocketbooks and logistics dictated that we return to Lima for a short stop before returning home. Stay tuned for the next post where I review Lima and offer tips for traveling in Peru! If you missed my review on Cusco, click here!

 

macchupicchulowerruins
Macchu Picchu Lower Ruins
macchupicchumain
The dawn breaking over Macchu Picchu

 

 

Peru Travel Guide: DRINK THE TEA

Even though Peru falls within the time zones of the U.S. the trip down there is still enormously tiring. We booked a nine-hour nonstop flight from LAX to Lima and then had booked a flight a few hours after landing to go straight to Cusco.

Cusco is HIGH. Literally. Cusco proper sits at some 11,100 feet of elevation, and let me tell you, coming from the ocean village of Los Angeles, it can be a shock to your system. It is definitely harder to breathe and you will be able to feel your heart beating harder in order to pump blood to your oxygen deprived extremities.

The easiest way to get from the Cusco airport to wherever you need to go is by taxi. Of course, be wary of the taxi drivers in case of scams or safety concerns, but feel free to negotiate with them. A taxi from the airport to the main square should cost you between 20 and 30 soles (Between $6-10 USD). Agree upon the fare BEFORE getting in the taxi as the fares are not metered and you don’t want to arrive at your destination to find out that you’re being charged double.

In Cusco, I recommend staying at the Wild Rover Backpacker’s hostel, it has amazing views of the whole city, free breakfast, great wifi, and the best common areas (ping pong tables!). Furthermore, there is a bar on the property for any late night shenanigans, but it also keeps the party out of the room for anyone [ME] who prefers to sleep. They also have free Coca tea which helps a ton with adjusting to the altitude. I had at least two cups a day (along with liters of water) and the altitude never bothered me again after that first day.

 

Cuscoview (2)
The view from the hostel…

 

Cusco is the ultimate jumping off point for most of the tourist sites Peru has to offer. It was the epicenter of the Incan empire and has the history to prove it. There are tons of travel agencies all over the city offering day trips and tours to all the different sites. Michael and I ended up doing two relatively low-key ones.

sacsayhuaman
Sacsayhuaman – This huge stone behind me weighs over 128 tons!

The first was the Cusco City tour (you can find this one anywhere so I’m not even going to bother recommending a travel agency). It costs thirty soles per person (a little less than $10 USD), and contrary to the name, this tour actually takes you around the archaeological sites closest to Cusco, not around the city itself (there are other tours for that). We covered the ancient fortress site of Sacsayhuaman (sounds like “sexy woman” if you say it too fast) which is a prime example of Incan building strategies. The site consists of huge stones, we’re talking over 100 tons, cut to fit perfectly together; the site took over 77 years to build with over 30,000 laborers! The tour includes Quenqo which is the site of the ancient Incan calendar and a ritual site for actual animal and human sacrifice. We also covered Puku Pukara, a small ancient rest stop, and Tambomochay or the “Incan Baths” a picturesque waterfall site.

Tomobochay
Tambomochay

The second tour was covered a little bit more area. We wanted to do the Maras — Moray tour. Although this tour also was a half day, it took us much farther outside the city limits of Cusco. Moray is an ancient agricultural testing site made up of terraced concentric circles. The Incans used it to try out different crops and created over 3000 different strains of potato! (Why anyone needs that many different potatoes is beyond me…). Maras, on the other hand, is a small town that leads into the Salineras salt flats which have been producing salt since before the Incan empire. The water that feeds the flats is 70% salt and 30% water, and the flats produce black, pink, and white salt. We didn’t get to spend much time here but it was honestly one of the highlights of the whole trip.

 

salineras
The salt flats at Salineras

 

Within Cusco itself, there are also plenty of sites to see. The main square alone has two cathedrals that are worth a peek inside, one is actually a museum, and through ambling along the tourist districts, you should be able to find many other little churches and squares. The San Pedro market should also be at the top of any Cusco visitor’s list as one can do literally all of their shopping at this market. Not only do they sell blankets, socks, jewelry and the like, they also sell coffee, chocolate, and have an indoor eating area with many different vendors selling their specialty at an incredibly cheap price (between $2-6 USD).

 

cuscocathedral
The cathedral in the Plaza de Mayor

 

As far as food is concerned though, I only recommend eating at the market once because there are some far better options outside the market. First off, get your hands on some street meat. There will be ladies on the street selling enormous skewers of all different kinds of meat. We preferred the alpaca and because each skewer has a whole potato on the end of it, you can eat an entire meal for five soles! ($1.50 USD). If you’re looking for something more formal, our favorite breakfast spot was Jack’s Cafe. They have great Western and Peruvian breakfast options for a very good price and they give you tons of food! For dinner, we cannot recommend Pacha Papa highly enough. I had the roasted trout, Michael had the lamb shoulder, and we shared the whole roasted Guinea Pig and a traditional Peruvian Quinoa dessert. Everything here was AMAZING! It is so good, in fact, that you actually might want to make a reservation to make sure you get a table! On the other hand, there is a ton of Italian food in Peru, especially in Cusco, and I cannot stress enough that you SHOULD NOT try any of it. We tried to get Italian (pasta, pizza) a few times and each time it was awful. I’m a terrible cook and I could’ve made better pasta than these places, so beware. On the whole, the Peruvian dish ‘Lomo Saltado’ was my favorite. I got this a few times in Cusco and elsewhere in Peru and it is solid. It consists of marinated beef with red onions and tomatoes served with french fries and rice. Delicious every single time.

pachapapacuy
The Roasted Guinea Pig!

Michael and I spent the bulk of our trip in Cusco and it was definitely worth the extra time. The people here are helpful and kind, and for the most part, speak English! You’re able to negotiate for everything you buy and there is so much history to experience within the city and beyond. If you are interested in ancient empires or ancient architecture, Cusco is a MUST. However, everyone knows the real reason tourists flock to Peru each year. The best parts of the trip are yet to come, so stay tuned for Part 2!

macchupicchupromo

 

How to Travel as a Couple without Killing Eachother

I recently went to Peru with my amazing boyfriend (travel guides coming soon!) and I have to confess, I was a little nervous to travel with him. We had met while traveling separately but we had never really done a trip together as a couple and this was an important step for me. Traveling to new places is a passion of mine and I knew I couldn’t be with somebody who was a terrible travel partner (not that I’m a saint but you know what I mean). However, after doing this trip I realized that there are some lessons we BOTH learned about traveling together that make things a lot easier.

If you’re bringing drugs, bring lots: It is not unlikely to feel under the weather or even get sick while traveling. If you know you always get indigestion, for example, and bring medication for it, bring twice as much because you never know if you’re significant other will need some. This came in handy multiple times throughout our Peru trip. I knew I would need Alka-Seltzer for my stomach but I brought a lot and lo and behold, my boyfriend ended up getting food poisoning towards the end of the trip and needed something to calm his stomach. Likewise, my boyfriend gets headaches so he brought a lot of Advil, and I ended up needing a few for an untimely sprained ankle.

Recognize each other’s limits: Each of you will have different capabilities and limits when it comes to traveling and it is important to not push your partner too hard, and also to be vocal if something is too much for you. My boyfriend and I were pretty good at this but only because we were both outspoken about when we were struggling. For example, I cannot sleep on airplanes or in airports and my boyfriend can sleep anywhere. So after traveling for over twenty-four hours, my boyfriend knew I was zonked and we took it easy that day. On the flip side, while we were hiking Macchu Picchu Mountain we ran out of the water and it hit my boyfriend way harder than it hit me so I knew to be quick about pictures and get him water as soon as possible. It is extremely important to be aware of what your partner is feeling so you can make sure you both can enjoy yourselves.

 

coupleperu
Macchu Picchu of course – this day took a lot of prep and compromise

 

Be Decisive: There will be endless decisions to make on a trip, even once you’ve already planned it. Where should we eat? Should we go to those ruins today or tomorrow? How should we get there? Is this too expensive? And on and on and on. Nothing wastes precious travel time like being indecisive. We ran into this issue a couple times, especially where food was concerned. Tourist towns often have a million different restaurants that all serve the same thing. This should make it easier to choose, right? WRONG. My boyfriend and I would go back and forth with the whole ‘I don’t care where we eat…actually no not this place…’ type dialogue until one of us [ME] snapped because they were so hungry they couldn’t take it anymore. We had to actively have a conversation about when we actually mean we’re indifferent to certain decisions as opposed to speaking out immediately if we have a preference. This smoothed things out considerably for the rest of the trip.

Be open-minded: This one should go without saying, and most people who are love traveling in the first place possess this quality, but every so often you end up traveling with someone who sticks their nose up at everything and would rather order room service than go exploring a new place. This person SUCKS to travel with. Don’t be that person, don’t date that person, and don’t go on a trip with them if you can help it. If you’re enamored with traveling and experiencing new things, this person will kill your vibe SO FAST. Neither my boyfriend nor I are like this, so it wasn’t a problem for us, but we witnessed other couples with this dynamic. The worst kind of travel partner is the one that says ‘no’ too often. When you travel you should open yourself up to what that place can teach you, and those with a bad attitude have no interest in learning and you should not let them ruin your fun!

 

Ultimately, traveling with another person, especially a romantic partner, should be tons of fun. However, in order to make it an amazing trip all around, you both have to go into it with open eyes and a willingness to compromise. Sure you can plan down to every last detail if you want, but I can assure you that attitude will EITHER kill the energy of the whole trip, OR something will go wrong and your plans will have been for naught and you’ll have to work together anyways. And to be really frank, if your trip sucks, maybe you just aren’t right for each other. Awk. (Luckily my boyfriend and I rocked it and realized we are more perfect for each other than ever! Sickening, I know.)

 

coupleperu1
Exploring Sacsayhuaman