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Big Changes Are Coming, Y’all

Photo by Ashley Caroline Photography

If you follow along on social media it is no secret that Mike and I are Charleston obsessed. We vacationed there almost 3 years ago and I totally fell in love (he had been before for baseball tournaments but this was my first time). During that trip we loved it so much that we went around to all different islands/areas/neighborhoods to see which we liked the most and then looked at a few homes. Not too seriously, just to give ourselves an idea of what was on the market. We knew that when the time came we wanted to buy down south. Not only is it cheaper than living in the CT/NY area but it’s a different way of life down there. People are so genuine and kind, EVERYTHING is pretty (seriously, I take a billion pics any time we go down), the weather is awesome, beaches are beautiful, food is so good and there’s a big emphasis on enjoying the smaller, simpler things in life.

From our wedding which I’ll hang in our house! Photo by Caroline Ro

Fast forward to currently: We’ve been to Charleston a bunch since my first time down, got married there, have looked at lots of homes and we found OURS. Ok, it’s not ours until the keys are in our hands but we are under contract and are set to close the beginning of July! I can’t even believe it! We are so happy, nervous, excited…. basically all the feels.

That being said, we’ve got a lot of shit to do. Likeeeeee whoa. New business proposals, selling stuff in our current apartment so we don’t have to move much down, figuring out how we’re going to get things down there including 2 crazy dogs (one of which hates the car), getting new furniture, doing a few things to the house and the list goes on and on and on. It’s super exciting but stressful AF.

And all I can think about is decorating. I’m becoming obsessed.

I’ve always liked that sorta thing but never did much of it, our current apartment is basically a bunch of mis-matched furniture and decor from mine and Mike’s previous places. A new home that is ours is a big clean slate for me and I can’t wait to get in there and do my thang. Or try to at least, we won’t really know if I’m any good at this until we see a finished product. *Fingers crossed*.

My life is very much about health and fitness. I love helping others achieve goals of losing fat and getting stronger. I love creating simple yet healthy recipes (which I can do so much more of once we have a kitchen with counter space!). I love coaching clients on how to do an exercise properly to prevent injury and make workouts more efficient. It’s what I’ve been doing for 10 years. But it isn’t my whole life. And sometimes I feel that when I blog or post on social media I have to hide other parts of my life because they aren’t health or fitness related.

Well, that ends here. Coach Cait will be getting an overhaul in the next few months (once I figure out how the heck to build a new website!). I may even change my biz name. But I’m telling you this because I want to share more with you, I want to make this a lifestyle blog that encompasses my everyday life, activities and interests.

You betcha real life involves champagne. Photo by Ashley Caroline Photography

Of course there will be tons of content on wellness, nutrition, fitness, recipes (all gluten free, duh) and motivation. That is a huge part of who I am and it’s not going anywhere. In addition to the healthy sections you may begin to see some wedding stuff (because how the heck have I not posted about our southern wedding yet?!). You’ll also start to see some home and design inspiration. When we move you’ll  join me in the process of fixing some stuff up, decorating, seeing what type of organic mattress we end up buying (yes, that is super important!). I’ll be posting different guides for Charleston as far as gluten free restaurants, best hotels, cool spots for drinks etc. because you all need to come visit at some point. Seriously, it’s just the most amazing place.

Basically, you’re gonna get the ins and outs of life with the McDonnells. And maybe you want to stay up to speed on everything or you might just like the workout stuff or are only interested in our house hunting journey. That’s cool too. Blogs are so easy to navigate giving you the ability to look up what you want and leave the other stuff behind. No biggie to me, as long as I’m contributing something helpful/inspirational/or just entertaining you.

This ride is certainly not going to be perfect. But I can promise you that I’ll be honest and transparent with you. You’ll get to see the beautiful mess that moving forward in life creates. You’ll also get to see me freak out when my OCD goes a little cray and there are a billion boxes and no furniture in our new home. That’ll be entertaining to say the least.

Please continue to share feedback on what I’m posting here and email me if you have anything you’d like me to write about. As always, thank you for reading and taking part in this with me. It’s my sweet little group of followers who keep me going and motivate me to create more content and not give up on this new lil’ business of mine. <3 <3 <3

Weekly Workouts

This week was a little subpar with workouts. There were one or two days where I really MEANT to get to the gym, but didn’t go. It happens to all of us right? I said I’d go after sessions but then I was too hungry so I’d go after lunch instead, but then the dogs needed to be taken out and I had to answer emails and program for clients. Then it was time to make dinner and the thought of going to workout was not appealing. 

Luckily on days like this I can go for a nice long walk with the dogs and still get moving. It’s also important to understand that if you don’t exercise, you don’t need to eat as much on those days and so I keep that in mind. It’s all good and lesson learned: If the workout isn’t written down in the schedule, it very well may not get done. So write that ish down! 

Sunday:

Long dog walk

Monday:

Rest

Tuesday:

BB reverse lunge 3×8 ea
KB OH press 3×8 ea
Ab wheel 3×8
Lat pulldown 3×8 ea
THEN:
Stairclimber 20 min

Wednesday:

Rest (unintentionally)

Thursday:

Long doggy walk

Friday:

Barbell sumo squat 5×5
Chin ups 5x 1-2
Single arm plank 5x 15-20 sec
THEN:
Ski erg 5x 20 sec
90/90 stretch 5×1 min

Saturday:

Bench press 5x 8/6/6/3/1
REST, THEN:
Pallof press 3×10 ea
OH tricep rope extension 3×10
DB lateral raises 3×10

 

5 Tips on How to Plan Effective Workouts

You’ve got your workout clothes on, sneakers laced up and your new playlist ready to go. Yet somehow you don’t feel all too comfortable leaving the locker room and stepping out onto that gym floor. The machines, free weights, cardio equipment..they’re all intimidating. There are a million and one possible exercises, how are we supposed to know which to do?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions I get in my inbox: “How do I choose which exercises to do in the gym?” We start to feel intimidated not only by the overwhelming amount of equipment around us but also the other people in there. What if we do something incorrectly and look stupid? That would be an epic fail, right? (Nah, because more than half of people in the gym do movements without any rhyme or reason behind them.) But imagine if we came into the gym with a plan; exercises written down with rep schemes that matched our goals. That would be a game changer. We’d feel motivated to get there because we’d know our workout has a purpose. Movement that matters is the very best kind, physically, emotionally and mentally.

So how does someone who isn’t a personal trainer plan an effective workout? Here are my top 5 tips for you. Keep in mind these will vary depending on your goal. If you still aren’t up for the task of writing your own workouts after reading these then head over to Complete Coaching with Cait, my 1 on 1 online training program.

  1. Choose movements that incorporate a lot of muscles at one time. These are typically called “complex movements.” An exercise like a squat  is much more complex than the leg extension machine, for instance. The more muscles we can recruit at one time the higher our heart rates will get, increasing our metabolic rate and burning more calories. Some of my favorites are squats, deadlifts, push-ups, chin-ups (with assistance is fine!), walking lunges and rows.
  2. Lift heavy, please. When selecting weights for an exercise go with as heavy as you can while maintaining proper form. If you’re doing 3×10 for a movement and can easily do another 5 after you’ve reached 10 reps, you aren’t challenging yourself enough. The 10th rep should be hard enough so you can’t do another 1 or 2 afterward. There are a ton of benefits to lifting heavy: Strength correlates to the release of fat burning hormones in both men and women. The stronger you are the faster your metabolism will be. Reduced risk of osteoporosis, muscle hypertrophy and being a badass are also positives that come from lifting heavy. 
  3. Design your workouts with a combination of full body exercises. A program template can look something like this:
    Circuit 1: Lower body movement, upper body push, upper body pull, core
    Circuit 2: Lower body movement, upper body push, upper body pull, core
    You can even add a quick metabolic sprint after the core if you’re looking to spike your heart rate.
  4. Rest as needed between sets, but only as needed. I see this one a lot. We do a set and then go on our phones or talk to a friend for 5+ minutes. What happens then is we lose momentum and our heart rates lower a lot. A general rule of thumb for someone looking to burn fat during a workout is to rest as much as needed in order to go back and give maximal effort to those exercises again. For some this may be 30 seconds and for others 3 minutes. Remember, you want to keep the intensity up throughout the workout (always while maintaining proper form).
  5. Add in 1-2 days of high intensity cardio into your workout program. Pick a piece of cardio equipment you enjoy and work your butt off for 20 minutes. Sprint for 30 seconds and rest for 1:30, repeating for a total of 20 minutes. You can do this on a treadmill, elliptical, rowing machine etc. All that matters is you’re working as hard as you possibly can for those 30 seconds and then going nice and slow allowing your heart rate to come down for 1:30. This can be done all on it’s own so you’ll have your sprint days and then your lifting days, or if needed you can do them right after your lifting workout but I prefer the former so you have more energy.

The gym can be an intimidating place but it doesn’t have to be. Take a moment to jot down a program for the week. This will not only motivate you but also hold you accountable.

*If you feel like you still need help with planning workouts, nutrition and accountability fill out this contact form to get in touch with me about Complete Coaching with Cait, a personalized 1 on 1 online training program.