Cardio & Core

Day 009 and Day 010

Yesterday was a rest and homework day. My summer semester is coming to a close and that means final exams and final projects. 

Today was all cardio and a little core: 

  • 15 min run, 10 min cardio/squat intervals 
  • Stair master, 7 min 
  • My favorite BodyPump bicep track (“Crazy”) and bosu crunches. 


Family: The Ultimate Distraction

Day 004 – Day 006

Remember how I said things wouldn’t be perfect? It only took three days to get off track. However, I have a good reason: a funeral. Both of my grandmothers passed away this winter. One was in Denmark and my sister and I were unable to go with my parents to bury her, but the other was here in the states and we had a service for her in February and the burial this past weekend. That means that family from at least six different states descended upon my parents’ house here in Albuquerque for a few days. It was a lovely service and we got to


Sadly, I missed the opportunity to go hiking on the top of the Sandia Mountains because I didn’t wear the right shoes. Ballet flats and rocks really don’t mix. The tram ride up and down was lovely as always. I got a great time-lapse video of it that I’d post if it would just load…Maybe later.

So, workouts…didn’t really get any in while the family was here. Also probably didn’t eat as well as I should have and definitely drank more than normal. But, I got to see a lot of people who I don’t normally get to see and we got to honor a great woman so I think it all balanced out.

Day 007

All the family left on Sunday, which meant I finally got to hit the gym. I was a little burnt out on thinking and making decisions after all that family time, so I opted for BodyPump, a tried and true classic weightlifting group workout. Plus, I’m still technically certified to teach BodyPump, so I knew it would be a good workout. And it was.


BodyPump never fails to kick my butt. The instructors went “old school” and did release 78, one of my favorites. Some of the releases from around that time have really simple, but intense moves that really get the heart rate up. I’ve often thought about teaching somewhere again, but I’m really enjoying being a participant. There’s much less to think about and I can focus on my workout instead of everyone else’s. I must admit, it’s really nice.


I must be kind of crazy because I also agreed to go to a trampoline park with my 16-year-old cousin from Denmark who is a gymnastics champ. I learned that being able to tumble as a kid does not mean that you can tumble as an adult. Just a few minutes into jumping around and I was beat. I made it 45 minutes though before I had to bow out.

But seriously, this kid is awesome. I’m going to miss having him around.

Day 008 (a.k.a. today)

Today was a work day for me. I’ve got a final project due in a week, a statistics assignment due Thursday and the final exam due next week. Oh, and did I mention that I’m still totally beat from BodyPump and the trampoline place? Feeling my age today, that’s for sure. Tomorrow, back to the gym with my cousin for one more workout before he files home to Denmark.


New Mexico, New Car

Day 003

No workout today. Instead, I spent four hours at the car dealership buying a new car. My beloved 2006 Honda CR-V finally bit the dust. I always said I would drive it until it croaks, and this week it did. We took it in for a checkup and discovered it needed as many repairs as it was worth. And so, a new car I got.

She’s quite pretty, isn’t she?

I ended up with a 2014 Honda CR-V. I miss some of the design of the older models, but boy, that back-up camera sure is nice!

While the dealer did some maintenance on the car, my dad, cousin, and I went to get lunch and I finally got real New Mexican food. Blue corn enchiladas with Christmas chili (red and green) and sopapillas.

Omg. So good.

Tomorrow, though, I’ll be back to the gym. Family from 6 states is descending upon us tomorrow so that we can bury my grandmother, so I had better get in a workout before they arrive.

Nothing Fancy

Day 002 

Relatively simple workout today. Same cardio as yesterday followed by overhead presses, bicep curls, triceps presses, and some core work (bicycles, planks, and bird dogs). Nothing fancy, nothing flashy, but none-the-less effective. My shoulders are sore and I think I’ll be feeling it tomorrow. 

Forgot to have my Fitbit record the weight lifting, but it got my treadmill workout. I love the short burst workouts. Interval training has been proven to be as effective as longer, more steady cardio workouts. 

Goal for tomorrow is to get some starting measurements. I hate taking measurements. But, if you don’t know where you start, it’s really difficult to gauge how far you’ve come. So, measurements it is. 

What I Ate: 

Well, if we ignore the ice cream, today was a good food day. 

Protein and good fat

Late breakfast/early lunch was deli turkey, cheddar cheese, and an avocado. Tasty, satisfying, and savory. I’m really not one for sweet breakfasts. I’ll take eggs and bacon over pancakes any day. 

Dinner was equally satisfying: 

Sweet potatoes and corn. This one is going in my recipe file.

Sweet potato and roasted corn sautéed and steamed fish and onions. Pro tip: get the roasted corn from Trader Joe’s, the most magical grocery store on earth. Seriously, one of my living requirements has become proximity to Trader Joe’s, it’s that awesome. 

100 Days

Day 001:

I know it’s common for people to say “I’ll start my diet/workout routine/new life on Monday” and then never follow through. Well, today happens to be Monday and — sweeping declaration — today is the first day that I get serious about documenting the physical changes I’ve been wanting to make.

Actually, it IS this Monday.

It really helps that I’m visiting my parents in Albuquerque for almost three weeks right now. They live a rather healthy lifestyle and cook all their own food, like I usually do, and it has been helping me detox from my week and a half back in Lawrence, KS where I ate out for most of my meals (but with no regrets–it was all delicious), and didn’t exercise as much as I should have, with the exception of two cycling classes and the hottest game of kickball I’ve ever played.


So, to help keep myself accountable, I want to document 100 days of fitness, nutrition, and general wellness. But, documenting these next 100 days isn’t an attempt to be perfect. I won’t work out every day, I won’t eat well every day, and I won’t do something for my mental health every day. But, I will try to write about what I’ve done that day, or what I haven’t done. And how much wine I’ve had that day, because that’s not going away.

And so, we have Day 1. I’ve been granted a family pass at my parents’ gym, which has all the basic equipment and lots of classes. My 16 year old cousin and I have been trying to get the most out of our passes.

Today’s gym set included the following:

  • 20 minutes of interval cardio doing my new favorite thing: after a quick 3 minute warm up, run fast-ish (right now, that’s a 5.1 mph for me on the treadmill) for 1 minute, walk fast for 1 minute (3.5 mph), and then step on the sides of the treadmill and do squats for 1 minute. Because I used to teach BodyPump, I like to listen to the music for those classes and match my 1 minute of squats to the tempo of the songs (3/1, 2/2, 4/4, 1/1/2, etc). I repeat those three minutes until I get to 18 or 19 minutes and then cool down for a minute or two.
  • Heavy-ish weights – Lower body, core, pull-ups
    • Deadlifts, 100 lbs bar, 5 reps, 3 times with at least 1 min rest in between sets.
    • Single-leg deadlifts with 25 lb kettlebell, 5 reps each leg, 3 times each
    • Bosu 1 & 1/2 crunches, 50 total
    • Pull-ups, maxed out at 8 reps using 115 lbs on the assisted pull-up machine.

And, of course, it also included someone using the gym equipment for a very unintended purpose.

True story. I saw this happen.

The former trainer in me always cringes when I see people do stuff like this and I have to bury the urge to go say something, either to the gym user or the gym staff. It’s not my place anymore to correct anyone’s form, unless they are my workout partner. But still…it kind of hurts to watch…THEY HAVE MACHINES MEANT FOR THAT!!





Nutrition was kind of shit today. I had ice cream and chips for lunch and a whole bottle of wine during class tonight. And I only kind of regret it (not the wine–I almost never regret the wine). But, it’s all about the small steps. We wish that we could take these big, giant leaps, but really it’s the small steps that amount to those big leaps in the end. I have to keep reminding myself that even small steps backwards can lead up to the big, giant leap. Every day is a step.


Turning Points

It’s been a long time since I’ve written in this blog.  It’s been a long time since I’ve even thought about this blog. But in rediscovering it and my writings, I find that perhaps its time to resurrect it because I find myself in a similar place as when I started “Operation: Finish Line”.

My last post was about was about milestones. Things I had recently accomplished that deserved recognition. This post is about turning points. The turning points that I’ve experienced in the five years since last writing in this blog include some milestones, some accomplishments, some obstacles, good and bad decisions, and some heartbreak. And with all of this, here I am again, making big decisions to work on self-improvement, self-care, and self-confidence. As I said once before, putting it all out there holds you accountable–so here we go.

I’ve learned a lot about myself in the last five years. When I left my job at the gym, I learned that I have the courage to walk away from what’s comfortable and familiar. When I moved to California, I learned that what seems too good to be true, probably is. When I decided to pursue a degree in Library and Information Science, I finally found my true calling and I now know what I will do with the next significant part of my life. And when I recently experienced my first true heartbreak, I learned that I am capable of loving another person openly, honestly, and with my whole heart, despite having thought otherwise my entire life.

I have also learned that I do not take the proper care of myself that I deserve–physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The impetus for starting this blog was a weight-scare, when I was pushing 200 lbs and being more unhealthy than I had ever been in my life. I fixed a lot of that five years ago, but the habits that I created were circumstantial. Working in a health club, teaching classes, and training clients helped keep me on track. When I left all that, I left my habits too and it’s been taking its toll. Well, I’m fed up again. I’m now finding myself 20 lbs past my former breaking point and that’s after losing a quick 10 lbs post-breakup (turns out heartbreak is a great and totally unfortunate way to lose weight fast…). I think that big, emotional life events are often the incentive for change, and I suppose this is no different. When we go through something like heartbreak, we are forced to look at the deepest parts of ourselves. Emotionally, we are stripped naked and everything is exposed and raw. Rarely, we like what we see, and there are often two options: spiral further towards rock bottom, or make a big decision to change what we don’t like. These moments are the true turning points and this is mine.

And so, with the new iteration of this blog, the title “Operation: Finish Line” takes on a new meaning. In its original form, it was meant to represent my journey towards personal goals related to running and triathlon, and was primarily focused on fitness. The new “Operation: Finish Line” will have a fitness focus, but I’m hoping that it will also be a place for me to grow emotionally and maybe a little spiritually, and see if I can heal some of my wounds and reshape not just my body, but also the parts of my life that aren’t so focused.

To anyone who is reading–thanks for joining me. I think it will be a long journey, so buckle up.




Marking the Milestones

There are several defining moments in a girl’s life.  The majority of my recent ones relate to the fitness industry:

  • the decision to get healthy;
  • my first sub-30 5K race;
  • my first hellacious triathlon and the subsequent awesome second one;
  • my first 10K;
  • my first half marathon;
  •  the day I passed my BodyVive assessment;
  • and the day I decided to make a life-altering career change.   

Well, Friday’s milestone is a major follow-up to that last one.  I may have posted some time ago about how I would listen implicitly to my trainer, Sara.  She would say: “lift this weight” and I would say: “okay.”  She would say: “jump over this cone” and I would say “how high?”  She would say: “do two more sets” and I would say “how about three?”  (I don’t complain about my workouts.  Ever.  I’m there for a reason, and I see no need to try to get out of it.)  Then, one day, she said to me: “Kristina, you have really nice form.  Have you ever thought about becoming a trainer?”  and I said: “No.”  Because I truly hadn’t–and that was probably one of the few times I ever told Sara “no.”

At that point, I was contemplating going to culinary school because I enjoyed cooking and being creative, but Sara got me thinking–if I ever wanted to truly be healthy and fit, there was no way I could go to culinary school.  The kind of food I love to cook is the kind that made me unhealthy in the first place.  Sara told me about the small, professional school here in town that she went to for her certification.  I did my research, talked to my parents, and decided to enroll.  Classes started last October, and I’ve been going twice a week in the evenings, and the occasional weekend to learn everything I can about personal training, exercise science, nutrition, health, and fitness. And it’s way better than culinary school would ever have been 🙂

A couple of weeks ago our instructor told us that once we completed our Program Design course, we would be eligible to take our Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) exam.  So, yet again, the cogs in my brain started churning, and I decided to take my exam as soon as possible so that I would be forced to study–and, so I could start taking on new roles and responsibility at work as soon as possible.

I took my exam this past Friday. 

I passed 🙂

And now I am a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine.  This is a major milestone for me primarily because it signifies finally leaving the past behind and letting go of everything I worked towards in past years, and that is a very good thing for me.  And also, because it signals the next phase in my life–the phase where I get to help people be the best possible version of themselves while continuing to strive to be my own best self, and nothing makes me happier than that at this very moment.


On another, more light-hearted note, I sure am glad I passed my exam, or the 250 business cards I ordered with “NASM Certified Personal Trainer” on them would have been wasted!