Are You Fit?

That’s a loaded question, right?

  • What is fitness?
  • How do you tell whether someone is or isn’t fit?
  • What does it mean to be healthy?
  • What are the components of fitness, of health and well being?

These just a few questions, we and the fitness industry continue to define and redefine. This term also means different things to different people/ cultures. Qualifications for “being fit” for the average human adult are different than those for the various military branches and for athletes (the vary based on sport) etc..


  • the condition of being physically fit and healthy
  • the quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task
  • an organism’s ability to survive and reproduce in a particular environment
  • CDC defines physical fitness as the ability to carry out daily tasks with vigor and alertness, without undue fatigue, and with ample energy to enjoy leisure-time pursuits and respond to emergencies


  • the state of being free from illness or injury
  • a person’s mental or physical condition
  • WHO defines health as the “State of complete physical, mental, and social well being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity,” as a dynamic condition resulting from a body’s constant adjustment & adaptation in response to stresses & changes in the environment for maintaining homeostasis

Common Components of Fitness: 

  1. Cardiorespiratory endurance – typically measured by how long / fast a person can perform an activity & impacts on HR and O2 consumption; ex: cooper run
  2. Muscular endurance – typically measured by how many reps of an exercise a person can perform; ex: push ups
  3. Muscular strength – typically measured by how much weight can be moved in relation to reps; ex: squats or bench press
  4. Muscular power – typically measured by how much force can be generated during an activity.
  5. Flexibility – typically measured by how far a muscle group can be stretched or joint can be moved; ex: sit & reach test
  6. Balance – typically measured by how long a particular position can be held with or without some type of activity being performed; ex: standing on one leg or standing on an unsteady object while trying to catch a ball
  7. Speed – typically measured by how quickly an individual can move from one point to another; ex: 40-yard dash
  8. Body composition – this is the amount of fat on the body versus other tissues such as muscle, bones and skin. Measured through a variety of tests and devices; simple tests use equations or calipers, advanced tests use underwater weighing. Ex: bioelectrical impedance

A closer look at weight lifting …

Olympic Weight Lifting = a registered sport incorporating the use of two independent lifts requiring the athlete to lift a loaded barbell from the floor to an overhead position in an explosive manner.

The ‘Clean & Jerk’ & the ‘Snatch’ are explosive movements; they require a combination of maximal strength and maximal speed.


Powerlifting = an individualized sport where competitors attempt to lift as much weight as possible for one repetition in the squat, bench press, and deadlift 

Since this is the weight lifting type I work with, I’ll stick to this category


Average Standard for an Adult Woman (I looked at Body Weights of 148-165#):  

Bench Press: 

  • Untrained = 75-80#
  • Novice (training for 3-9 months) = 90-95#
  • Intermediately Experienced (training for 1-2 years) = 105-115#
  • Advanced Lifter (training for 2+ years) = 135-145#
  • Elite (competes) = 165-185#
    • Jennifer Thompson, a 132# powerlifter, broke her bench press record and set a new record by bench pressing 300#, ~2.3 times her body weight


  • Untrained = 65-70#
  • Novice = 120-130#
  • Intermediately Experienced = 140-150#
  • Advanced Lifter = 185-200#
  • Elite female who competes = 230-255#






  • Untrained = 80-90#
  • Novice = 150-160#
  • Intermediately Experienced = 175-190#
  • Advanced Lifter = 240-260#
  • Elite female who competes = 295-320#

General Lifting: 1.25 x your body weight = You’re average.
1.5 x body weight = You’re pretty strong.
2 x body weight = You’re a beast!

Some Notes/Suggestions on Bench Pressing (can be applied to squats and deadlifts too):

  • Switching from 8-10 reps to 5 helps build endurance; with fewer reps you can add in more weights, so the muscles become stronger and bigger.
  • Lifting 3 sets of weight at 30% of your 1-rep maximum makes for more muscle gains than lifting at 80 percent of your maximum.
  • You can increase bench strength by bench pressing at least 2x/wk with a rest of 3-4 days in between.
    • Bench press warm-ups include initial lighter sets. Gradually add weight until you have reached the work weight. Recommended warm-up with an empty bar before bench pressing.
    • Having an improved bench press form increases its effectiveness. Weight lifting becomes easy when the bar moves the shortest distance from the chest. This enhances stability and prevents injuries. An improper form may cause impingement of the shoulder, wrist, elbow and lower back.
  • Micro-loading refers to addition of <5lb/2.5kg in each workout. It directly elevates the bench pressing by slowing the plateaus. Plateaus can be delayed by smaller increments, because it slows down your progression. Adding weight becomes easy when you bench press heavy.
  • It’s essential to rest for 5 minutes between each set of heavy bench press. Resting for a longer duration increases the ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which will make the rep harder.
  • Whether you are doing shallow, parallel or deep squats, and regardless of your weight placement, you want to make sure the weight you are squatting is challenging enough to complete 8-12 repetitions before feeling muscle fatigue.
    • When can easily complete more reps, gradually increase your weight by 5-10%
  • If you are training with bench, squats & deadlifts, then once a week 60min for each lift is very adequate. If you are not doing bench and squats, then you can deadlift for 60min – 3x/week. If you are adding squats, then train deadlift routines once a week.


Push-ups are also a way to measure muscle strength and endurance. According to The American College of Sports Medicine, here’s how many modified push-ups you should be able to do based on age:

Age            Push-Ups

20 -29          17-33

30-39           12-24

40-49           8-19

50-59           6-14

60+               3-4

For full push-ups with toes on the ground, not knees, the average would be lower, but, hopefully, you’re working towards doing full unmodified push-ups.

If you can do 8-10 unmodified push-ups, you’re doing better than the overwhelming majority of women. The ability to do push-ups is an excellent indicator of overall muscle strength and endurance.

VO2 max:

Defined as the max amount of oxygen your body can utilize during exercise.  It’s a combo of how much O2-rich blood your heart can pump, & the muscles efficiency in extracting & utilizing the oxygen. These are relative VO2max scores, in the units of mL’s of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute (

Suggested Strength Goals:


  • Bench press 75% bodyweight for 1 rep, or 85% of that number for 5 reps
  • Deadlift pull 150% bodyweight for a 1 rep, or 85% of that number for 5 reps
  • Barbell back squat 125% bodyweight
  • Standing Barbell Press at 60% of body weight – working up to a weekly 3-5 rep max on the standing barbell press then backing the weight down significantly & performing 4-5 sets of 8-12 reps.
  • Complete 10 Barbel hip thrusts at 1.5x bodyweight – pyramid sets, performing a set of 10, a set of 8, a set of 6, then a set of 15 reps
  • Perform 10 standard push ups
  • Complete 1 bodyweight chin up
  • Hold a plank for 2 min
  • Clear a 20″ box jump – strength (the ability to produce force) is very important, women should also focus on developing & maintaining power (how quickly and explosively strength is expressed).
    • If you’re new to jumps, start with a 12-inch-high surface, get your technique down, and then go from there. Try 3 sets of 3-5 jumps prior to your lower-body workouts, and try to progress the surface height every other workout

Fun Stuff…

Top 10 2012 CrossFit Open Men/Women:

Top 10 2014 CrossFit Open Men/Women:


There are many ways to look at fitness. It’s good to check out all the different qualifications of fitness and figure out for yourself what your goals are based on what it is your trying to accomplish. For myself, I’m looking for functionality – functional fitness. My motive for working out is to have a healthy and balanced life. I feel pretty good about where I’m at right now and where I stand strength wise. These numbers are a good way to track my success, set goals for myself and keep improving in the areas I need to!


2017 Fitness Recap

While I’ll focus on reviewing my overall fitness progress in this article I think looking back at / reviewing all aspects of your life each year is a good way to, see how far you’ve come and help set new (attainable) goals. Even though it’s been over a year since that SUV hit me, I’m still recovering (physically/ mentally/ emotionally) and it can be overwhelming at time. Fortunately I have a good support system in place and writing blog articles like this helps me keep me positive and encourages me to keep moving forward.

Anyway, here are the fitness stats…

Fitness: 1562.68 total miles that I biked, hiked, walked, and swam

  • January – 187.43 miles (biked), 11.8 hours/15 workouts (active 14 out of 31 days), ~8354 calories burned
  • February – 144.26 miles (biked), 9.3 hours/10 workouts (active 10 out of 28 days), ~5606 calories burned
  • March – 63.17 miles (biked & walked), 5.58 hours/21 workouts (active 16 out of 31 days), ~2744 calories burned
  • April – 50.68 miles (biked & walked), 10.85 hours/30 workouts (active 20 out of 30 days), ~2817 calories burned
  • May – 90 miles (biked & walked), 28.92 hours/36 workouts (active 19 out of 31 days), ~6066 calories burned

  • June – 97.5 miles (biked & walked), 22.42 hours/39 workouts (active 21 out of 30 days), ~7094 calories burned
  • July – 134.22 miles (biked, hiked & walked), 29.33 hours/52 workouts (active 26 out of 31 days), ~8527 calories burned
  • August – 84.14 miles (biked, hiked, walked & swam), 21.93 hours/42 workouts, (active 21 out of 30 days) ~6350 calories burned
  • September – 241.07 miles (biked & walked), 45.82 hours/62 workouts (active 27 out of 30 days), ~15679 calories burned
    • Note: this month, I started going to a gym
  • October – 170.56 miles (biked & walked), 38.3 hours/50 workouts (active 30 out of 31 days), ~14294 calories burned
  • November – 147.09 miles (biked & walked), 38.95 hours/49 workouts (active 26 out of 30 days), ~13536 calories burned
  • December – 155.56 miles (biked & walked), 41.57 hours/47 workouts (active 28 out of 31 days), ~14805 calories burned

Final assessment check in for the year: Weight: 155# BMI: 26.6

Measurements: final inch count 224″

  • Neck: 13″
  • Shoulders: 44″
  • Chest: 38″ (-1 inch from last month)
  • Biceps: 11″
  • Waist: 38″ (+4 inches from last month)
  • Hips: 42″
  • Thigh: 23″
  • Calf: 15″


Barbell Max Reps: 

  • Bench Press: 110#
  • Bent over Rows: 110# (best this year and 5# away from best PR)
  • Dead lift: 215# (New PR!)
  • Squat: 145#


Dumbbell Max Reps: 

  • Arm Curls: L30# R25#
  • Arm Extension: 45# (new PR!)
  • Shoulder Press: 45# (new PR!)
  • Shoulder Shrug: 85#
  • Lateral/Frontal Shoulder Raise: 15#


Stacked Machine Max Rep:

  • Leg Press (new machine): 260#
  • Calf Press (new machine): 295#
  • Leg Extension: 155#
  • Prone Leg Curls (new machine): 120#
  • Chest Press (new machine): 85#
  • Lateral Pull Down: 95#


As far as my inches go the gain of 16 inches from last year is 😦 but I only care about those of my bust/waist since that’s where health problems can occur. As far as my 1RM’s I am very pleased!

2018 Goals: 

  • Complete the 12-week Weight Loss Research Program I started with 23andMe
  • Good dietary habits – work on consistency
  • Continue the good exercise habits I have:
    • I’m walking everyday; goal = 10K steps; this goal is about getting up and moving more than it is about the actual steps
    • I’m biking 3-4 times a week mostly on my home trainer now & participating in biking-related events like mountain bike classes
    • I’m lifting 3-4 days a week
  • Continue to gain strength while maintaining muscular balance, joint flexibility and mobility
  • Once the weather fairs up again – do more exercising outside: trails, racing, camping, touring etc.


CAB Take on Taiwan: Adventure Time

This is WAY OVER DUE but here’s my recap/story on how a ragtag team of 14 college peeps Took on Taiwan! Days and dates may not match up due to the 12 hour time difference. We were 12 hours in to the future y’all!

DAY 1 – 04.28.16 – THURSDAY

All packed up, stayed over night in the Chatham apartments so I wouldn’t miss the shuttle. 4AM leaving Chatham and in route to the Pittsburgh airport. I have been up since 11am  yesterday, going almost 16 hrs strong with no sleep cause I’m so hyped!

About 30 or so minutes later we arrive at the airport and all meet up, check in, and wait for our plane to arrive. While waiting for the others to arrive and check in, I break out my old hacky sack in order to pass the time.

Time for some quick breakfast! Special Note: Do not parkour off a moving sidewalk at the airport! More importantly do not parkour off a moving sidewalk while holding your breakfast bagel and an iced coffee ‪#‎lifelessons‬

Time to line up to board the plane, quote while boarding the airplane in regards to this woman was looking at as weird and trying to break up our group in line: “We’re a group… We pop together” About 5 hours later and we have landed in San Francisco, CA.

First meal since leaving Pittsburgh/ the East Coast… pre-game for Taiwan… Veggie curry

Time to board our next flight! ’bout to be the longest flight I’ve ever been on – just shy of 13 hours!

DAY 2 – 04.29.16 – FRIDAY

I made it!!! I’m really here … in Taiwan… alive! Passing out tho cause early full day tomorrow + 12 hour time diff + been up since 11 am Wednesday !!

DAY 3 – 04.30.16 – SATURDAY

Day 1 and 2 (4.28 & 4.29) recap: traveling through time and space -> Pittsburgh to San Fran (-3 hr diff) to Taipei, Taiwan (-12 hr diff) -> ended up being up for a total of 50 hrs! 36 as a group!

Recap DAY 1 in Taiwan:  traveled back in time and lost a day but we’ll get it back later.

I’m already acclimated to the new time zone and new environment. We had an early morning toady; out by 8:30am, ate breakfast after walking through the hallways of some building to get to the place. We had an impromptu park visit with some parkour action.

Two trains and a bus ride later we arrive at the National Palace Museum then had some snacks with tea and coffee. Afterwards we explored the garden outside the museum and I parkour’d the heck out of some trees and rocks. 

Later on we had lunch then visited the Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines:

Followed by another impromptu park visit plus a sweet mini temple with some exercising action. 

Later that night we went to the night market for some shopping then had dinner. THEN Maryann Fix and I got left at market! Everyone was looking for each other for a couple but we kept missing each other. No worries though because we’re smart and resourceful. I remained calm, cool, and collected and was able to navigate our way back to the hostel. We got back well ahead of everyone else so we enjoyed some Bubble Tea!

Side note: even tho I got separated from my buddy Dee Clarke she knew what was up and that we’d be okay and make it back safely. I was bummed we missed the temple exploration but we were able to see it another day (turned out to not have been all that lol). Can’t wait to see what goes down over the next 11 days!

Foot Note: my phone is useless here and is just my camera now but I won’t be posting pics till after I return. Luckily I have my iPad so I can post updates and let y’all know I’m still alive.

DAY 4 – 05.01.16 – SUNDAY

Recap DAY 2 in Taiwan: Managed to go to bed around the same time and wake up the same time as day before. I had some super delicious breakfast this morning. It rained a bit more today (light rain yday) but was still super warm out.

I’m getting really good at oriented self each place we go and navigating around this city. Today we went to the Flower and Jade Markets. I got to see some real life haggling action and some cool plants. Can only look because we can’t take plants back with us.

Afterward we went to the Linsen Forest Park. We saw a cool, sustainability festival going on and learned about bears, bats, reptiles, oceanic animals, wild vs domestic cats. We saw a good amount of stray dogs just walking around and chilling.

We went to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial next and played a pick up game of soccer with the kids and parkour’d more. A festival or conference was going on so there were parts we weren’t allowed in. Saw a cool dance battle action go down though.

Later we went to the hot springs – Beitou public hot springs I think – this was SO nice and very relaxing after walking around all day.

For lunch I had a guava passion fruit smoothie (very Taiwan I’m told) with veggies, tofu and dumplings. We went to the night markets again – had more bubble tea, a bunch of super delicious, fresh fruit including mango, pineapple, watermelon, and this Taiwan fruit that looked/tasted like an asian pear.

Tomorrow will be our last day in Taipei, Tuesday we head off to Taichung.

DAY 5 – 05.02.16 – MONDAY

Recap DAY 3 in Taiwan: early morning, went to the same place from yesterday for breakfast (so good). Today we went up to the mountains; to Jiufen where the anime film Spirited Away was inspired by. While there we navigated through this long strip of markets – all kinds of food and shops, pretty much the whole town is a market place.  we ate lunch here and gathered up snacks for later. The view from this place was so beautiful! Just amazing!

Saw more stray dogs and some cats roaming around – the stray dogs tend to be medium sized or larger. Seems most people own smaller sized dogs or cats, which makes sense given the space capacity of Taiwan. 

I tried some stinky tofu and… NOPE! not for me lol. I’m not a fan of tofu to begin but I had to try this local fav and the locals get a laugh out of seeing foreigners try this dish. 

Went to Bai Sha Wan (White Sand Beach) and it starting turning dark when got there since the multiple bus rides ti get there were very long. It was very cool to step into the pacific ocean from a different country, across the globe.

Ate dinner after beach time and drank lots of juice then made a mad dash for the bus back to hostel! The server from the restaurant we ate at was so dope and held the bus for us, which was great since it was also the last bus of the night.

Everywhere we’ve been so far, our group has managed to get “scolded” for being to loud lol classic teenage Americans. I’ve also become the navigator and co-captain since I keep all the directions and location written down and no one is getting left or lost!

Tomorrow we are getting our assignments for the next part of this trip and checking out of Taipei Discovery Hostel then heading down to Taichung via the High Speed Rail.

DAY 6 – 05.03.16 – TUESDAY

Last day in Taipei and DAY 1 in Taichung:
Checked out of hostel. Glass door got busted (wasn’t me!) Had breakfast at this place that had the cutest lil restaurant owner ever … She was 4-5 yo
Road high speed rail (HSR) train = Super efficient
Took taxis to new hostel. Reservations were made late so our group got split up into two hostels – both nice but one was WAY nicer and fancy – shade was had.
Had some dinner then went out on some adventures. 

DAY 7 – 05.04.16 – WEDNESDAY

**I have totally lost track of the days and don’t really know what official day/time this is;  thought it was MON and it’s freaking WED**

Went to Dharma Drum Buddhist today and did a walking meditation. After the walk we checked out the Monks’s building. Enjoyed a really good lunch here and was very pleased everyone had to eat vegetarian meal.

Later on we went to a local middle/high school where we chilled and chatted with some of the students there. They who were so adorable and so excited to see us! Heard a lot of cool stories from the kids and got tons of food recommendations and took pics together.  I got to play hackie sack with one of the students (who plays soccer) and one of the teachers have some cool new friends now. Did some more wandering around the city after visiting the school then had dinner. Got back to hostel after going to the night markets here. Party on the roof top! Got lit with pals lol shared all the good stories.

DAY 8 – 05.05.16 – THURSDAY

DAY 8 aka the day after we all got hella lit on da rooftop! I slept in so hard even though my body wanted to wake up at 8 and I said no we will chill.

Breakfast/brunch/lunch included an assortment of bakery items and delicious milk tea from Diagon Alley!

Visited a local university and made some more awesome new friends! Got to eat this fruit, yogurt, ice cream thing that the school is famous for. They have their own dairy cows are right on the campus! It was really good.

We talked about our projects and food of course. We all went out to the night markets and basically ate everything on the recommendation list including these drinks we thought were called “mini coopers” turns out it’s not called that lol. The kids at the high school are amazing. I mean truly, amazing they are in school from 7:30a-5p then it’s off to cram school (required) until 9:30pm.

By the end of this trip I was pretty much covered in a sleeve of mosquito bites on each of my lower legs. I also finally got to ride on a moped. It was super fun. If I thought I wanted one before I def want one now!

DAY 9 – 05.06.16 – FRIDAY

I’m so sad we only have a few more days left! Today was a long day – we went to a lil ecohub place, which was this mostly outside deal with fans and some coverings for shade. Of course today happened to be the hottest day on our whole trip = 91°F!

We spent the whole day there then wandered around the town afterward. On our wondering travels we got beer from the locals – they traded 2 huge bottles of beer for a couple of photo ops with all of us.

 We also found a cat cafe like with real cats in it and it was the best!

DAY 10 – 05.07.16 – SATURDAY

Went to a Monastery today, took a tour; it was really cool and fancy. SO much money went into building this and for real one of those gold Buddha statues could pay for me for life. We weren’t allowed to take pictures once inside the grounds. We had lunch at a hotel restaurant deal by the Sun Moon Lake then went for a walk along the boardwalk tail. The water of this lake was so pretty, super blue and clear. We had ice cream. People got left and lost again on the way back to the bus. Found them at the local police station.

Headed out to the Tea Factory for a tour and some tea shopping.

We had dinner after this and some shopping around the local area. I got cool shirt with a bear that looks like Taiwan on a bike. Later on peeps were trying to go to a local club but it is really expensive (like what amounts to $20-30 cover) and super sexist (cater to men pretty much with servers that look like teen anime girls) plus these places are not too friendly to foreigners. There really much of a party scene so it’s mostly to make money of tourists and it is def a straight dude oriented club which means it is not gay friendly either. 

DAY 10 – 05.08.16 – SUNDAY

Only a couple more nights left in this beautiful country.

Day 11 – 05.09.16 – MONDAY? 

aka yday aka ilegitdevenk what day of the week it is anymore lol:
Up early again
Trip to Lukang with some new university pals

Explored the markets and local sites
Ate some food, had lots of treats
Got to see a pilgrimage parade and somehow ended up in the middle of it
There was SO much smoke everywhere from burning incense sticks and candles 

Day 12 – 05.10.16 – TUESDAY?

Today marks our last full day in Taiwan. It’s medical Monday so we’re visiting the Medical Universities and getting good stuff for my project. We had a good bit of free time this afternoon so of course we went out to buy all the things, eat more food and drink more bubble tea, get lit – the usual at this point.

DAY 13 – 05.11.16 – WEDNESDAY?

We leave Taiwan today, which is sad but cool we get a layover in Tokyo, Japan. After a few hours in Tokyo, some really good sushi and saki we head out for our long plane ride back state side.

About a 5 hour layover in Chicago and this landing was a lot smoother than the last one! Special note on airline food: the vegetarian (Asian) option is so good and way better than the chow hall food back at campus. Been up for a total of 30 hours at least with a good amount of that just flying.

DAY 14 – 05.12.16 – THURSDAY? 

Officially home in the 412.

Mosquito count: 146 count! known/visible/have been itching up a storm lol
RT arm = 26 count
LF arm = 6 count
RT leg = 54 count (including 4 on my tattoo = so disrespectful)
LF leg = 60 count

I definitely felt safer walking around in Taiwan at 3am than I do walking down Penn Ave during the afternoon in Pittsburgh, PA. I was also pleased that only after a couple weeks I was starting to pick up some Chinese – I could recognize some characters, speak a few common phrases to get around and understand some of what was spoken to me. I do also note that it was a privilege to be able to go on this trip and I was so fortunate to have had this experience.



2016 Recap

A lot has happened this past year…

Academics and some Life: I graduated with my bachelor’s in exercise science now I have the fun task of finding a job – one that is hopefully relevant to my recent studies but also one that pays well and ideally that I enjoy. School isn’t the only change happening, soon I’ll be moving and am dealing with the fun of apartment hunting as well! I also spent the last 6 months cat sitting two kitties – they have now returned to their mom and my own two have adjusted to it being just us again lol!

Back in August I was hit by an SUV while riding my bike, resulting in the injury of my knees (primarily the LF) and some continuous on/off pain. I have been in recovery since then, working to re-gain my health as well as any strength, speed, or agility etc. that I had lost as a result. Overall I am pleased with my fitness levels at the end of 2016 and am just as impressed with my fitness levels considering my injuries.

Fitness: total miles ran = 202.37, total miles biked = 1504.48

  • Jan 89.94 miles running, 15.46 miles biking (13 out of 31 days)
  • Feb 25.28 miles running, 37.08 miles biking (7 out of 29 days – happy leap year)
  • March 28.01 miles running (3 out of 31 days)
  • April 126.7 miles biking (10 out of 30 days)
  • May 6.74 miles running, 328.17 miles biking (20 out of 31 days)
  • June 246.89 miles biking (23 out of 30 days)
  • July 435.88 miles biking (31 out of 31 days)
  • Aug 233.6 miles biking (13 out of 31 days)
  • Sept 6.4 miles running, 42 miles biking (6 out of 30 days)
  • Oct 13.13 miles biking (3 out of 31 days)
  • Nov 31.8 miles running, 9.06 miles biking (7 out of 30 days)
  • Dec 20.6 miles running, 16.51 miles biking (6 out of 31 days)

Final fitness check in for the year: Weight: 145# BF: 29%

Measurements: final inch count = 208.5, which is a total loss of 5″ from the start of the year and only 2.5″ more than end of 2015.

  • Neck: 13″
  • Shoulders: 41″
  • Chest: 36″
  • Biceps: 10″
  • Waist: 33″
  • Hips: 39″
  • Thigh: 22″
  • Calf: 14.5″

Barbell Max Reps: I was able to regain and maintain baseline strength from before the accident

  • Bench Press: 95#
  • Bent Over Rows: 85#
  • Dead lift: 165#
  • Squat: 145# (a new PR! this was most surprising and amazing to hit since I had lost quite a bit of strength in this area)

Dumbbell Max Reps: likewise I was able to regain / maintain baseline strength from before the accident in these areas

  • Arm Curls: 25#
  • Arm Extension: 40#
  • Shoulder Press: 30#
  • Shoulder Shrug: 60#
  • Lateral/Frontal Shoulder Raise: 15#

Stacked Machine Max Rep: same here as well

  • Leg Press: 270# (190.9# at a 40° angle)
  • Calf Press: 585# (413.595# at a 40° angle)
  • Leg Extension: 170#
  • Seated Leg Curls: 135#
  • Chest Press: 85#
  • Lateral Pull Down: 85#

Goals for 2017: 

  • Run first ultra marathon, starting with a 50k (31.06 miles)
  • Bike first century (100 miles)
  • Bike the Pittsburgh marathon course followed by running it
  • Finish another triathlon (this time completing the swimming portion)
  • Reach ideal race weight = bonus goal
  • In general; more trail bike rides and runs, mud runs
  • Bike the rails to trails PGH to DC tour (I’ve done DC to PGH)

Suns Out, Guns Out

Summer time fitness check in:

It’s been a couple months since the spring semester has let out and since I’ve been back state side (more on my Taiwan trip to come, my bad for the delay!).

Here’s what I’ve been up to in my fitness game.

First up – Measurements:

  • Neck: 13″
  • Shoulders: 41″
  • Chest: 36″
  • Biceps: 11.5″
  • Waist: 32″
  • Hips: 39″
  • Thigh: 22″
  • Calf: 14.5″

Weight: 142.8# BF: 21%

Next up – 1RMs:


  • Bench Press: 100#
  • Bent Over Rows: 90#
  • Dead lift: 205# (new PR!)
  • Squat: 125#


  • Arm Curls: 25#
  • Arm Extension: 40#
  • Shoulder Press: 30#
  • Shoulder Shrug: 60#
  • Lateral/Frontal Shoulder Raise: 15#

Stacked Machines:

  • Leg Press: 315# (222.705# at a 40° angle)
  • Calf Press: 585# (413.595# at a 40° angle – another new PR!)
  • Leg Extension: 175#
  • Seated Leg Curls: 145#
  • Hip Abduction: maxed out
  • Hip Adduction: maxed out
  • Chest Press: 100#
  • Lateral Pull Down: 100#
  • Seated Rows: 100#

Haven’t done much running at all this year; missed the PGH Marathon (ran every year since 2010) due to being out of the country (which is a pretty cool reason) but I’ve been biking everywhere and doing my best to keep up with the National Bike Challenge (May – Sept). I’ve also been hitting the gym for some lifting time about 2-3x a week, keeping it casual with alternating upper/lower body focus days plus some abdominal work.

Upper body focus days:

  • Bench press
  • Lat pull downs
  • Bent rows
  • Biceps curls
  • Triceps extensions
  • Overhead press


  • Incline crunches
  • Incline Russian twists with medicine ball
  • Oblique bends with plate

Lower body focus days:

  • Squats – barbell, on bosu ball, free weights
  • Deadlifts – barbell
  • Leg / Calf press – hip sled
  • Lunges – weighted with plates or dumbbells, walking

Abdominals: variations of above list


  • 969.2 miles in 46 days
Year to date:
  • 1,359.7 miles in 82 days

January – 13 out of 31 days, 106.1 miles total

February – 7 out of 29 days, 62.5 miles total

March – 3 out of 31 days, 29.2 miles total

April – 13 out of 30 days, 192.8 miles total

May – 20 out of 31 days, 440.6 miles total

June – 25 out of 30 days, 509.6 miles total

July – just started

Aside from commuting I’ve been hitting up some trails and going on group rides at least once a week. Including: Steel City Roll (first Mon of each month – next ride 07.04.16), 412 Flock (third Fri of each month – next ride 07.15.16), PGH undies ride (last Thur of each month – just went on one last night 06.30.16, next ride 07.28.16) and random rides with friends around Pittsburgh, the #LunchLoop (new) with HealthyRidePGH and BikePGH (06.17.16, 07.14.16, and 08.23.16) as well as OpenStreetsPGH (last Sun of May, June, July – new route this month) again with with HealthyRidePGH and BikePGH. For those in the Pittsburgh area feel free to come out and join me for these monthly group rides!

Frigid Bitch 2016

Finally here’s the recap on the Third Annual Frigid Bitch! This is my second alleycat race and this year ended up being even colder than last. The week leading up got up into the 70’s and I wasn’t sure if it was going to be frigid at all. Alas mother nature had other plans and good thing too. We had wind speeds up to 25mph and the roads were covered in snow and ice. This year was so good! We ended up with over 40 riders this year!

frozen bikes 2

Race Day:

  • Check In 1-2pm
  • Race 2-4pm
  • Be back by 5pm
  • Prizes and After 6pm-???

Everyone rolls up to the House of Ragging Women, grabbed spoke cards, maps and manifestos, then began strategizing routes for completing the most checkpoints in the shortest amount of time. Winners are determined by who gets the most checkpoints followed by fastest time. Meaning if someone has a later check in time (and is in by 5pm) but more checkpoints they place above the person with a faster check in time and less checkpoints. You can ride solo or in teams (but who ever gets through the door and checks in first places higher).

There were 9 total checkpoints to try and get to.

Manned Checkpoints: (close at 4pm)

  1. The Abandon Barge (N Shore trail)
  2. Joncaire (Boundary in Panther Hallow)
  3. The Dead End of Romeo (S Oakland)
  4. The Intersections (Stanton @ McCandles)
  5. Commonplace Coffee (Buena Vista @ Jacksonia)
  6. Negley (@ Fifth)

Bonus Checkpoints: (snap pic of bike before 5pm)

  1. The Submarine (Carnegie Science Center)
  2. The Ruble of the Greenfield Bridge

Secret Checkpoint:

  1. whereabouts known only by the “Ricketts Boys” stationed at the Stanton & McCandles checkpoint

We toss on our gear and rolled out to the start line at Bruce St. On the mark, the whistle was blown and we were off!


At the end of Bruce, riders begin splitting off with some turning right and continuing down to Butler St. and others turning left then right.

1st checkpoint: Negley Ave at Fifth Ave

  • found our way from Bruce to Main st and crossed Penn. Continued on Main till became Liberty and continued on that till became S Aiken. Cut over to Negley and crossed Fifth to our first check in point
  • continued climbing Negley to finish the checkpoint, no one was happy about this! I ended up having to delayer at this point – I was so prepared!

middle finger to negley stop

2nd checkpoint: Bonus – The Ruble of the Greenfield Bridge 

  • rode through squirrel hill and over to greenfield/ schenley park to get to this checkpoint
  • I hit some black ice and slid a couple feet – luckily my layers were enough padding to escape any major injury and my panniers caught the fall allowing my bike to escape any major damage (slight readjustments to my saddle and my light holder were broken but that’s all)
  • I missed the first group pic and am not sure where the other pics are but here’s part of my crew (we also had a whiskey // vodka break)

bridge close bonus checkpoint

3rd checkpoint: Joncaire at Boundary St in Panther Hallow

  • we rode around Schenley and made our way past the Phipps Conservatory, through Oakland and down to panther hallow
  • this checkpoint required us to ride up hill on a cobblestone street, covered in snow and ice, sidewalks were not in much better conditions either then check into Iron City Bikes
  • I was able to bike up about half way before I had to dismount and walk up the rest of the way
  • good time for us to rehydrate


walking up to iron city bikes 2

Iron city 2

4th checkpoint: The Dead End of Romeo in South Oakland

  • we got a little lost trying to find this one, we ended up passing the street it was off of and had to circle back
  • enjoyed a nice fire and rehydration via water and booze plus fueling up on grilled faux hot dogs
  • very necessary as we then had to walk//carry our bikes down a long staircase to Bates St – we merged with some other riders

We rode down Bates and hopped on a bike trail (passing hot metal bridge) to downtown popping us out onto Grant St.

I started falling behind on the trail; my smaller//thin road tires were not up for the fresh snow and I could not power through as fast as the others. By the time I got to the corner of Grant where the GLCC is, I had lost sight of my group. Looking at the time I saw I 20-30 min left to get to any more check points. Meaning I could EITHER hustle over to the N Shore // N Side to get 1 maybe 2 more checkpoints but risk being late (and thus rendering that hustle wasted) OR head back with less checkpoints but guarantee I’d be on time. Ultimately, I made the decision to ride back to the HoRW.

This was doubly rewarding because not only did I check in on time but I also had time to ride over to my house, shower and change then come back for prizes and after party refreshed!

Checkpoints I missed:

  • The Abandoned Barge
  • The Intersections of Stanton & McCandless
  • Commonplace Coffee
  • The 2nd unmanned bonus checkpoint – The Submarine
  • and The secret checkpoint =>Espresso A Mano

The Swag: 

Needless to say, regardless of where you placed, everyone went home with swag!

swag and prize table

My Swag:

Podium Winners:

2016 FB winners

Veteran Bitches:

Podium of FB vets 1

This year was an absolute blast and I was so thrilled to see so many ladies that came out to race. Mad thanks to the volunteers who came out to support us with love, hand warmers, food and booze!

Fitness trackers: 16.28 miles

FB 2016 map

Screenshot 2016-06-19 18.52.42

FB elevation chart w grades

Additional footage:

CAB Take on Taiwan 2016: Preparations

In about 10 hours I’ll be heading out to the PGH Airport then in another 2 hours I will board a plane and begin my adventure to Taiwan. I’m super excited and grateful for this opportunity. Not only to visit and experience another country and their culture but to do so with some really good friends of mine. This opportunity is brought to you by Chatham University: study abroad program, special maymester edition. My group and I will be spending about 2 weeks in Taiwan!


April 28  4:15 AM: depart from Chatham chapel (shuttle bus to Pittsburgh International Airport); 5:15 AM: check in; 7 AM depart Pittsburgh airport (UA606 to San Francisco, UA871 to Taipei)

April 29 6:30 PM: arrive Taipei airport; ground transportation to Taipei Discover Hostel 台北發現青年旅舍!copy-of-/c1694 Address: 5F., No.21, Sec. 2, Mincyuan E. Rd., Jhongshan Dist., Taipei City 10470 Taiwan Tel: +886 2 2598 0209

April 30, May 1, 2: activities in Taipei and northern Taiwan

May 3: morning in Taipei, afternoon travel to Taichung; some will stay at Tunghai Land Youth House 東海藍學宿 (, others at T-Life Hostel T-Life Hostel / 踢‧生活背包客棧 (

Tunghai Youth Land: No. 17, Lane 25, Xinxing Rd, Longjing District, Taichung City, 434 Phone: +886 972225217

T-LIfe: No. 10, Lane 27, Xinxing Rd, Longjing District, Taichung City, 434 Phone: +886 989610980 Facebook:

May 4-10: activities at Tunghai, in Taichung, and in central Taiwan, including project report symposium with Tunghai University students

May 11 4 AM:  depart hostel; 8:45 AM depart Taipei airport (UA8744 to Tokyo, UA882 to Chicago, UA285 to Pittsburgh, arriving 11:44 PM)

While there we will be traveling along the northern/western part of Taiwan from T’aipei to T’aichung.


Travel light! 2 sets of everything + extra under garments.

  • 2 shorts
  • 2 pants
  • 2 tanks
  • 2 synthetic quick drying t’s
  • 1 Chatham shirt
  • 3 short-sleeved
  • 1 long-sleeved button ups
  • 2 sneakers
  • 2 flip flops (I’ll be wearing 1 pair)
  • 1 light-wt jacket
  • 1 towel + wash cloth
  • swim wear

Carry on essentials:

  • lots of snacks
  • reading materials
  • electronics + chargers
  • writing utensils
  • inflatable pillow
  • rain jacket
  • water bottle + camelbak (doubles as day pack)
  • mp3 player + earplugs
  • sunglasses

Weather Forecast:


Everything is light weight and mostly quick drying; it’ll be hot and we’ll be exploring a lot but we’re also expecting rain.

This trip is for college credit so we will each be completing a project while there and be  assigned a day to blog about.

You can follow here: which will be in more real time than I will be able to blog here.


That’s it for now …

See you on the other side!