Birthdays and Getting Old

I love birthdays. I love the opportunity to spoil a friend or family member just because they are alive. Sure you can do that any day of their life but to get to celebrate the day they came into being and started living their lives is just so special to me.   Generally speaking I not 100% a fan of my own birthday but other people’s birthdays let me tell you I can definitely get behind that!

This year is a little different. I am ending another decade and unlike 20 this one feels like a bit of a bigger deal.  Sure 20 was a big deal I was no longer a teen and I was officially in my adult years, but let’s be honest I was still a teen for at least a couple years after that birthday. I didn’t have any major responsibilities other than showing up to work on time and getting those essays in on their due dates. Aside from that life was pretty easy.  Now there are all kinds of payments; mortgage, insurance, school, utilities, blah blah blah right?  Although I do think back every now and again about how easy life was before I turned into an “adult” I would seriously never go back.20140306-075901.jpgWhy wouldn’t I ever go back?  Well because my 20s were fun however there was so much learning and development, I mean I wouldn’t trade it for the world but why on earth would you ever want to do all of that again? Figuring out who I was, learning to be 100% responsible for myself, and trying to figure out what my life was going to be (still figuring that one out by the by) .  Aside from all that “have to do stuff” my 20s were fun, I met so many amazing people, many of whom are still in my life, but all the caring about what other people thought, gawd no thanks.  Not that I have become some sort of heartless beast just that I have learnt to “do me” and be unapologetic for who I am and what my beliefs are, that being said I have also become a lot more tolerant of others and their view points.

Besides me turning into a pretty different person than I was as a teen or in my early 20s I am not 100% how I am feeling about turning the big three-oh.  There are moments where I think “bah it is just a number” and then there are other moments that I stop and think “oh gawd I have to be a real adult now”.   All I know right now is I am excited for my birthday party and celebrations with my loved ones.  In the mean time I am going to mediate away my neurotic impulses to freak out and just enjoy the last 2 days of my 20s.

But enough about me getting older.  Here is a fun little quick sweat it out to keep you moving during this never ending winter.

birthday melt downHow was it for you when you hit a milestone birthday? Were you excited? Freaked out? Indifferent?

Happy Thursday!

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Holiday Melt Down

No I am not having a nervous breakdown, although I do realize that is definitely what the title to this blog post sounds like. I am actually having a fabulous time.  A cold time however a fabulous one.

I figured with this time of year being synonymous with stuffing our faces and maybe indulging in one to many spiked eggnog’s or perhaps a couple too many holiday beverages at our fifth holiday party of the week, it might be nice to share a quick and easy workout.  This can be done at home, all you need are some 8-12lbs weights.  If you don’t have weights and it is too cold to encourage yourself to go to the gym using your body weight is more than alright, this workout will have your heart pumping and your muscles hurting one way or another.

If you are just starting out, maybe getting a head start on that new years resolution, I recommend you stick to the 30seconds work to 10 seconds rest ratio, if you are looking for more of a challenge crank your work time up to 45-60 seconds depending on what your fitness level is.  Keep in mind you will be doing each round 2-3 times for a full workout.

So go and get your space set up, blast your music and get ready to get sweaty.  I hope you all enjoy!

photo 3 (2)Stay Warm!

Getting Sweaty – Lunch Time Workouts

I have been working on this little cardio number for a while now. I have been testing various combinations of exercises and lengths of time to find something that will be challenging, quick and accessible for people to try out when they don’t have an hour for a full workout. Finally, I came up with a great combination that will kick your butt and get you back to your busy life in no time.

Before starting this workout do about 5 minutes of warming up, I would recommend that your warm up is filled with some walking in place to get you moving, dynamic stretching to loosen you up, jumping jacks to slowly get your heart rate up. Just remember it is a warm up not the workout so don’t over exert yourself you just want to loosen yourself up and get warm before getting into everything.

dontSo now that you have warmed yourself up here is the Cardio Explosion workout! This work is an interval workout, each exercise is done 4 times for 20 seconds with a 10 second break in between. Besides the 10 second pause there are no additional breaks, the workout itself takes less than 20 minutes so push yourself and power through to get the most out of it. If you are feeling like an extra challenge or you have a bit extra time on your hands go ahead and do two rounds.

Let me know what you think. How do you normally workout when you are pressed for time?

Happy workout Thursday everyone!

*criss cross tuck jump is just a modified version of a tuck jump.  Before going into the tuck jump you hop your legs apart and then hop them towards the middle criss crossing your legs in front of each other and back to centre before doing the tuck jump. Switch up which leg goes in the front each time or each set, just make sure it is even**

 

Coconuts and Core

I would like to start off with saying Happy 4th of July to all of my American Pals out there! I hope your celebrations are filled with friends, fun and tasty foods!

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This morning I started my day off with a delicious smoothie make of kale, strawberries, apple and coconut water.  I initially bought some coconut water to make a refreshing watermelon beverage for Canada day. I figured it would be a great non-alcoholic option, and seeing how coconut water is full of electrolytes and we were all sitting in the sun for the afternoon I figured it couldn’t hurt. Since this success I have been obsessed with coconut water. Now I am not, I repeat not, a fan of the flavour of coconut water on its own. But once it is mixed into something, I find that it does a great job of taking on the flavours of whatever it is added to.

So I am not sure if you have guessed it yet, but yes I am going to give a rundown about why coconut water is so awesome!  There are loads of reasons why coconut water is so awesome (besides its flavour that is) but I have decided to pick just five.  So here it is, why coconut water is awesome!

canadabeaver

  1. Unlike coconut oil and coconut flesh, the water is naturally low in fat and calories. The water is actually sourced from young green coconuts and is just a clear liquid that lives in the middle of the coconut.
  2. Coconut water is filled with electrolytes! Commercial sports drinks are (in my opinion) gross. They are filled with sugars, salts, and various other colourings, flavourings and other weird processed wonderment. Whereas coconut water (as long as you are getting the delicious unsweetened organic stuff) is just, well, water from a coconut! Although there is some sugar it is naturally occurring and there aren’t mass amounts of it.
  3. It has as much potassium as eating FOUR bananas, and that well that is bananas. Potassium is great for brain function, muscle cramps, lowering blood pressure, ensuring healthy growth of muscles, helps your metabolism process things like fat, proteins and carbohydrates, and the list just keeps on going!
  4. If potassium wasn’t enough coconut water is full of nutrients, like complex B vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin and pyridoxine, and folates.
  5. It is also anti-viral and anti-bacterial, which means it is a good go to the next time you get sick.

Now that I have gotten that off my chest here is the workout I have been promising you all. I have been neglecting the cardio section of my workin’ it section so I figured it was about time for me to post dedicated to getting you super sweaty.   This one should do the trick and should give you that wonderful muscle ache in the core tomorrow.

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Be sure to take no longer than a minute rest between sets, the whole workout should take you about 25 minutes to complete.  For the skip rope if you don’t have one just mimic skipping rope it is just as effective. And if you are looking to kick it up a notch to the russian twists grab an 8-10lbs medicine ball or dumbbell and hold it in your hands while twisting from side to side.

Let me know what you think of the new workout in the comments below, and let me know if you have any other suggestions of areas you would like me to focus on in my next workout.

Happy Thursday Everyone!

Jello Legs – Running Hills

Lately my posts have been focused on the Gingersneezes Eats Clean challenge seeing how it is the big thing I have going on right now, but I don’t want to forget about our Run Club. The Gingersneezes Run Club has been going great, and remember it is never too late to join in! The club started as a learn to run and 10k training clinic and the women who joined are quickly becoming great strong runners, it is so exciting to see each and everyone of them excel week after week.

Now that I have gotten my gushing out of the way I figured I would do a bit of an informative post on hill training and why it is important to a balanced running program. There are other forms of training (tempo and interval) that are important too, but today I want to focus on hills because I personally think they are so very important to good form, strong legs, glutes and abs and good performance as a runner.

Yesterday because of my bum ankle instead of going on a 60 minute run of 5:1 intervals we (running partner and I) decided to take the group over to a magnificent hill. We figured at least everyone would still be getting in a good workout, and they wouldn’t be penalized by my bum ankle. It also gave me the chance to see everyone’s form and encourage the group from the bottom of the hill while Susan (my running buddy and co-leader of the group) ran the hills with the group to keep them moving.

Hills CollageThe hills maybe weren’t loved by everyone but it was a nice way to shake things up and a way to give the group a little taste of things to come as training progresses.

Why are hills so great for you as a runner? Besides me loving hills just because I personally find them challenging, they do a whole load of great things for you. One of the main things is that hills (either hilly runs or hill repeats) help remind you of your form. As runners we sometimes take our form for granted or we get a little stuck on what “perfect form” looks like. With hills you have no choice but to straighten up a bit and remind yourself of your abdominal and glute muscles so that you can power through each hill.

If you exercise poor form while running hills your body will let you know almost immediately, everything will feel much more challenging, and you are likely to become winded much more rapidly. But a quick reminder to engage your core and glutes will have you up right and taking on those hills in no time.

running form

Hills are great for your form, but are they great for anything else? The short answer is YES! The longer answer is that by doing hills and being mindful of engaging the appropriate muscles you are actually working those muscles out much more than you would be had you done the same run on a flat surface. Hill running allows you to build your running muscles (quads, calves and glutes primarily). Building these muscles helps you to avoid injury and to make you a faster stronger runner.

The run is shorter am I still burning enough calories? Hill running is awesome for torching calories. The high intensity of the hills challenges your body to rev it up, more than it would if you were just running on a flat surface. The quick bursts of energy are completely exhausting for a reason, you are burning up your fuel source like no one’s business and the steeper the hill the harder the workout.

Now that you are all super excited about running hills and are all itching to lace up and test it out yourself. I have a wonderful beginner’s exercise to share with you.

running hills

Test it out and let me know what you thought.

Happy Tuesday! The sun is peeking out. I am hopeful that it is warming up!

P.S. remember to be careful when running hills. It is important to watch your footing and to stay alert, you don’t want to slip and then stall your progress from an injury that could have been avoided.

Get Run Ready

Seeing that I have once again caught the running bug I thought it would be useful to do a little post about getting started. A lot of people who are just starting to run think that cardio stamina is pretty much the only important aspects of running and well this just isn’t true. Running is really an all of body kind of experience, I mean yes your legs (knees and hips included) are taking the brunt of the exercise but for a happy healthy run whole body strength is important.

I started running at a pretty young age participating in track competitions, cross country and just getting out on trails with my Dad on weekends. As a kid I never really thought of running as anything other than a fun time with friends and my Dad. However the more I ran the more weird pains started to occur. I was maybe 12 or 13 when my knees really just gave out, I was a bit on the chubbier side as a kid around that age and I am sure the additional weight didn’t help, but it also didn’t help that I hadn’t done any strength training, I mean really though why would I have running was just fun, I was never serious about it.

It took me until University for me to really start to attempt to run again, and I kept coming into the same issues, I would be fine for a couple of months and the second I upped my millage my knees would start raging out. So after years of trying to figure out what the heck was going on later I was informed it was due to some weak glute and core muscles. I also had some pretty intense pronation going on, which needed to be fixed with orthotics and strength work.

Back to why not only your legs are important to running. Let’s just think of it all logically for a second, you run standing up because there is no such thing as horizontal running.

If you are upright your body then needs to engage your core, legs, and upper body. Now I am not saying that you need to have a six pack to start running or selling tickets to the “gun show” but the stronger your upper body, core and legs are the easier running becomes and the less likely you will be to incur injuries.

Although you don’t have to turn yourself into some type of muscle machine I am suggesting that by incorporating some strength training into your regular fitness routine you will begin to see some pretty great improvements, in your running form, aches and pains, speed, and endurance. I personally have recently had the privilege of finding out the endless benefits of strength training and the biggest benefit for me by far is that I am able to run relatively pain free now.

Seeing how Gingersneezes is starting up a run club I thought it might be fun to start putting out some workouts that will help us all to strengthen our muscles and get ready from some Spring and Summer running. The series I am making will be smaller focused workouts that are created to be put at the end of a cardio routine (elliptical, a run, biking, rowing anything). You can of course do these workouts on their own, but they are only 15-30minutes long, and because you are working out your muscles it is very important that you warm up first, even if you just do a couple minutes of jumping jacks or skipping rope make sure you feel warm before going into the workouts.

So the first in this, let’s call it a, series was posted a couple weeks ago. It was an ab workoutthat will not disappoint. My goal is to come out with one a week so you all have enough mini workouts to circulate through during the week. So for this week please enjoy this killer leg workout.

Depending on your fitness level the above leg workout should be done 2-3 times. I hope you enjoy it, let me know what you think in the comments below.
I hope everyone is having a great hump day!

Are you looking for any particular type of workout? Where would you like to build up some strength?

What is Happening?!

What is happening? and I mean that in every positive way you could mean it. This morning my alarm set at 4:33am, went off and I said aloud “I am so freaking tired” and then thought to myself “oh hell no. There is no way I am going to the gym”. We all know what comes next after that, the rationalizing. “I can do a workout when I get home“, “maybe I can bring my gym clothing to work and just go on a run at lunch“, “I will just make sure to go to the gym tomorrow“.

And then something so strange happened. After about four minutes of laying in bed, and resetting my alarm clock, to go off with enough time to make my way to work, a feeling of “what are you doing?” set in. I couldn’t make myself stay in bed to get an extra hour of sleep, there was an overwhelming desire to stick to my commitment. I mean after all I had put in all that effort the night before. I had packed my lunch, picked out my clothes, packed my gym bag, everything was ready to go, what was I doing laying in bed?

So without anymore thought I begrudgingly dragged my butt out of bed, brushed my teeth, drank my glass of water and suited up for the gym. All while thinking “well you are going to make it there but we will see how hard you push yourself once you get there”. This is when the most magical thing ever happened (yes, more magical than actually getting out of bed at 4:37am), I decided enough of this negative talk and get your butt in gear for real. I mean really it is just logical sense, I made myself go all the way to the gym why waste it. I then proceeded to push my body to the limits for the duration of my work out, about 45minutes.

My workout today started with a 15minute run on the treadmill to wake my body up (which honestly started off slower than slow), followed by a strength building 30minute NTC workout that totally kicked my butt, and so I figured it might be nice for me to share. So here you go.

Strength

The workout had me sweating, but it also had me moving so much I wasn’t wondering when it would end, I was down on the ground stretching before I knew it. It was a wonderful way to start the day, and seeing I am not used to weights all that much I have a feeling my arms are going to be feeling it tomorrow.

All of this moving around early in the morning definitely had me hungry, and has left me that way for most of the day. So boy was I happy to have a delicious protein and complex carb meal ready for me to eat when lunch time rolled around.

I introduce you to Sweet Chili Lime Tofu. It was amazing, but definitely much better served freshly cooked, although it was still super tasty the next day.

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Hope everyone is having a wonderful day, and that you have had the chance to push yourself at least once today!