First Run Back!

Last Saturday I ran for the first time since February! And obviously I didn’t ease back into things…

I spent last week on a La Vida wilderness excursion in the Adirondacks in NY with a group of my students. I chaperoned the trip and had two knowledgable and fun Sherpas to work with. We rock climbed, hiked, canoed, portaged and did other camp things.


On the final morning back at base camp, there is a tradition where participants are driven off site and run 9 miles back to base camp. I figured I would give it a shot and walk a while, then jog for a few minutes, then walk again.

Well obviously I’m horrible at pacing myself when it comes to these things. (Re: stress fracture).

One of my students who ran cross country for the first time this year paired up with me and we did fabulous together! We ran the entire 9 miles with only short walking and stretching breaks here and there! We finished in 1 hour and 50 minutes. I’m so shocked that I was able to:

  • Run
  • Run 9 miles
  • Run 9 miles without my knee swelling up
  • Run 9 miles at a ~10 minute pace

It’s definitely not where I was before, or where I want to be, but that is darn good for a first run back. I’m so happy! I enjoyed the post run muscle soreness and am pleased to say my lungs didn’t mind the exercise one bit. 

I wouldn’t say I’m free of the exercise bike completely, but I’m definitely getting back to running!

My La Vida crew!

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The Perks of Setting Up A Home Gym

My boyfriend’s house has a great outdoor garage space that we’ve converted into a gym. Aside from a little more cleaning to be done, and needing to use a space heater to warm it up on chilly days, it’s pretty awesome for a home gym!

There’s a mat floor, a bench, a rack for weights, barbells, plates, and a dumbbell set. We also have resistance bands, a physio ball, a weighted jumprope, and foam rollers.

We’ve both been capitalizing off of this space. It’s a great investment for so many reasons!

  • I love that it’s two steps from the house. How can you make an excuse over that commute?! 😉
  • I love that I never have to wait for someone to finish using the weights or equipment I need.
  • I don’t feel self conscious when trying new exercises or when sprawling on the floor to stretch.
  • I don’t feel people staring, as often happens in a crowded gym. Right ladies?
  • I love that I can blast my music over the speakers without anyone changing the tunes. 
  • I love that I can dance and sing along between sets and generally just have fun in this private space.
  • And I love that I really do get a complete workout in this home gym.

Not too shabby! Plus I’m saving $35 a month on a gym membership! Even though we had to buy some of the stuff, we found amazing prices on the floor mats, resistance bands, jumprope and physio ball online at Amazon & Walmart. So, what we spent there will pay for itself in just a couple of months now that we aren’t paying for a membership elsewhere.

The bench and racks were basically given to us when someone we know was going to toss them. They just needed a good cleaning and they get the job done just fine!

The best part of all is the accountability that comes along with this. When I pay for things myself, I tend to value it more. Having all this equipment is so exciting to me because it’s mine! Additionally, there is literally no excuse to skip the gym. The commute can’t stink since it’s in the backyard. It will never be crowded. It will never be closed for holiday hours. Etc, etc, etc.!

I’m extremely happy about this space as you can see …

  
 

Working Out With a Hectic Schedule

It’s been a month since my last post. I have all these blog topics I want to delve into and yet, I can’t seem to find the time.

Schools back in session, which means I’m busy from 7-5 most nights, sometimes later, as I’m still figuring out this lesson prep deal. Each week my time is split between work, coaching, family, relationships, friendships, caring for my dog, fellowship group, church, gym, etc, etc, etc.

Where do we find the time!?

I’m a routine person. I do best when I am in the groove of a routine. It’s so much easier to stick with all my commitments and keep my priorities in line. Transitioning from summer vacation to work again has left me completely outside my orderly routine.

That being said, I haven’t been blogging as much, I haven’t seen my friends as much, and worst of all, I haven’t been gymming hardly at all in the past month. There I said it. I’ve worked out twice in 5 weeks. I’m ashamed! But if you’re anything like me, when the going get busy, the busy don’t get to the gym. (Does that make sense?)

The gym or our workout time probably the worst thing we can cut from our routine. It starts an evil cycle that’s really hard to break and really easy to embrace.

You miss the gym.
You get more “stuff” done.
You feel tired.
You sleep more.
You still feel tired.
You eat more (bad) stuff.
You feel bad.
Your clothes feel bad.
You feel worse.
You feel too tired to get to the gym
And on and on and on…. It doesn’t end!

Once you’re out of your workout routine it’s SO HARD to get back in it because the cycle of bad eating and bad sleep habits keeps you “too tired” to go. (Read my article on sleep and see what this happens on a chemical level.)

So, I encourage you (and myself!) to get to the gym this week. It might only happen once, or maybe you’ll only get there for half of your normal gym session. That’s okay! Just get there.

Pack a bag ahead of time and go straight from work so you don’t have time to change your mind. Or make plans to meet a friend there so you’ll feel more obligated to go and not let them down. Sign up for a spot in an exercise class to make the commitment feel more real and less like you can make up an excuse to skip. Whatever you need to do to get there, do it!

Once you do, your mind will feel renewed and your body will thank you – even after just ONE session! Before you know it, you’ll remember why you value your time at the gym more than the time you spend in some other places, and you’ll be back in a good routine in no time, feeling more energized, healthier, and happier 🙂

Home Workout 4

Here’s another home workout you can do sans equipment! Just you and the comfort of your own home. No excuses! If you have questions on the exercises, leave a comment!

Perform each exercise for 12 reps or 40s where indicated*, straight through the set.
Rest as needed, or 2 min at end.
Repeat for 3 sets.

  • Single leg step ups (12 on each side) – use a chair or sturdy chest.
  • Inchworm – keep feet planted, walk hands out to straight arm plank, hold, walk feet back in towards hands and repeat.
  • Jumping jacks*
  • Forward lunges w arms up (12 on each side)
  • Push ups
  • Forearm plank

Good luck!

Running on the Beach

Let’s be honest, the only place we really want to be in the summer is on a beach. For you fitness freaks out there, that doesn’t mean you have to just lounge lazily in the sun and snack all day long. You can get a great workout by running in the sand, and it can be as relaxing or challenging as you want!

Running on the beach provides a couple of options for your workout. Running closer to the water’s edge, especially during low tide, offers wetter and more compact sand to run on. This makes it easier to navigate along your run and offers an enjoyable, smooth ride for you to enjoy on the ocean’s edge.

If you’re looking for more of a challenge, running in the softer, looser sand provides more resistance. In fact, it takes more energy and work to navigate through looser sand as your tendons and muscles adjust to the unnevennes of the terrain. Running in looser sand is a bit like running hills, requiring you to generate more force and work harder overall.

Running in sneakers versus running barefoot also allows you to control the intensity of your run. Running in shoes on the beach is perfectly fine, especially if you’ve had injuries like plantar fasciitis or achilles tendonitis. The sneakers will continue to provide your feet the support they need on the unpredictable terrain sand offers.

While running barefoot allows your feet to follow through their full range of motion, it can irritate the chronic conditions mentioned above, since the muscles are stretched more and are not being supported by the proper shoes. If you choose to go the no shoes route, beware of doing too much mileage, too soon. The harder surface could result in injury if you aren’t used to it. Additionally, beaches are typically littered with sharp shells and often times, glass or other litter. Beware of this risk if you decide to run barefoot.

Harder sand or softer sand, in sneakers or not – either way, if you’ve never run on a beach before, start slow. Begin with a short 15 minute jog and slowly increase your time as the weeks progress. Your legs and feet will need to adjust to the work they’ll be doing in the sand, and your body as a whole will have to adjust to the higher energy demands running on sand requires.

For me, running on the beach is the most relaxing workout there is. Waking up early before the crowd arrives while it’s still silent but for the sound of wind and waves is one of the most peaceful times to appreciate what your body can do. So give it a try! Go for a quick little jog on the coast and see how renewed you feel after running behind such a glorious canvas!

Get Back on the Bike

Today, I want you to go into your shed, garage, or other storage unit and wipe the dust off your old bicycle. Fill those old tires up with some air. Adjust the seat, because you’re not twelve anymore and probably have a few extra feet on your frame.

But just because you aren’t a kid anymore, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get back on the bicycle. In fact, this is one bandwagon you should definitely hop back on!

Bike riding is a phenomenal workout. And with the gorgeous summer weather here, there’s no reason you should be doing your boring cardio routines on a stationary machine in a stingy gym.’

Here’s why bike riding is so great.

First of all, there’s these things called bike lanes on most roads now. So, it’s not as dangerous as you think to be out cycling on the roads. If you’re at a busy intersection, just cross as a car and follow regular traffic rules. As a rule, I always wear a helmet too. This doubles as protection and a visor from the sun. Now, to the stuff you’re really interested in…

Why biking is so good for you.

You get a full body workout. Yes, you’re primarily working your legs to propel the bike, so your glutes, hamstrings, and calves will look great. But working the handlebars also gives tone to your arms. Plus overall, you’re burning tons of calories while riding – which contributes to fat loss and therefore, overall slimming and toning effects. Going for an hour bike ride, even at a slow or moderate pace, can burn hundreds of calories. And since you’re biking outside, taking in the changing scenery and paying attention to the roads and traffic, you’ll barely notice the time passing!

If you choose to incorporate some hills into your ride, you can up the intensity and overall workout you’ll get by standing and pedaling out of the saddle. This engages your arms even more as you grip the handlebars, as well as activates your core to keep you stable as you climb.

Additionally, biking gives your joints a break. Biking is considered a low impact form of cardio. Spare your knees for a change and switch from running, walking, hiking, etc., to biking. When you’re running, your knees are receiving the impact from hitting the ground, but since you’re smoothly cycling the pedals around instead, your joints are spared.

To make sure your knees won’t get sore or irritated from this low impact, albeit repetitive, movement, make sure your bike is fitted properly for your height. There should be just a slight bend in your knee when it’s fully extended on a downward pedal.

And finally, you’ll reap the usual benefits of doing cardio in general. Your heart will be stronger, you’ll reduce the risk of heart disease and other conditions. You’ll sleep better, have more energy, feel better about yourself and be more alert. You’ll de-stress by working out and you’ll get to enjoy the great outdoors. So do yourself a favor, and get back on the bike.

Bosu Exercises – Part 3 of 3

The bosu is one of my favorite pieces of exercise equipment. It’s so versatile that it allows you to get a full body workout at a variety of intensities. It really jazzes up exercises that can become mundane and boring on their own.

Below, I’ve listed and shown my favorite ARM exercises to do with a bosu. Try some out!

ARM EXERCISES

    1. Handwalk – This movement combines a straight arm plank with lateral movements to exercise your core and your arms all in one.
      *Put the bosu on the ground with the blue side facing up. Set yourself up in a straight arm plank on the blue surface. Begin the movement by moving one arm laterally onto the floor, then by bringing the other arm over as well. Now, move each arm back onto the blue surface of the bosu. Next, move each arm over the other side of the bosu. Continue moving across the bosu from side to side, lifting and placing just one arm at a time.
    2. Push Ups – Push ups are awesome to tone up your arms. Make them a little more difficult by doing them on your bosu.
      *Place the bosu on the ground with the black side facing up. Grasp the sides of the bosu and perform a regular push up. This exercise adds difficulty to the push up by forcing your core and stabilizing muscles to contract in order to help you maintain your balance throughout the movement.
    3. Chest Press – Don’t have dumbells at home? Don’t worry, you can still strengthen your chest and arms by performing a chest press with your bosu.
      *Lay on the floor and grip the bosu with both hands so the black side is facing you. Bring the bosu in towards your chest, then extend your arms up to push the bosu away from you. Repeat.

Have fun with this! If you have questions, leave a comment!