How to maintain your fitness (and recover properly) when injured

Getting sidelined with an injury sucks. Photo credit: Will Winter Photography

Getting sidelined with an injury sucks.
Photo credit: Will Winter Photography

You’ve finally found your exercise groove and are just starting to notice a change in your body when BAM — you get sidelined with an injury. As frustrating as it may be, especially if you were training for a race or other event, getting injured doesn’t mean all your hard work for the past few months was for nothing. Though rest for proper repair is crucial, there are some things you can do during the latter stages of recovery to help you bounce back quicker.

In general, it takes about two to six weeks for muscles to atrophy (meaning you lose some of the gains in strength and size you’ve acquired from your training). However, when you return to training, the rate of strength reattainment is high, meaning your muscles will “remember” their previous state and will bounce back quicker. Although you may be tempted to start training as soon as the pain stops, it’s important to follow instructions from your doctor or physical therapist in regards to when you can start light activity again. If you were an athlete on a team and I was your strength coach, your doctor or athletic therapist would give me a form with your indications (what you can do) and contraindications (what you need to avoid) on it so I can best help you return to training. (more…)

#FitFashion Friday: Run Lift Yoga Wear

A few weeks ago I ask you to help me design a t-shirt for my personal training business. The slogan Run. Lift. Yoga. was the winner, but I loved all the suggestions so I opened a store at spreadshirt.ca!

I created a whole bunch of men’s and women’s t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, leggings and tank tops for all you fitness-loving, weight lifting runner yogis out there. Most are performance shirts so you can get your sweat on in them. There are also several eco-friendly options available. If there is something in particular you want (a specific design on a specific shirt), let me know and I’ll make one for you!

You can order any of the shirts in sizes small to extra large and in the colour of your choice from runliftyoga.spreadshirt.ca.

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1 simple tool to help you stay motivated and on-track with your health and fitness goals

Though a fitness partner can help, this tool works well, too.

Though a fitness partner can help, this tool works well, too.

Trying to break bad habits and implement new, healthy ones is no simple task. Not only does it take an excruciatingly long time for a new behaviour to become a habit, but it may also feel like a constant uphill battle to get where you want to be.

For example, you may want to lose weight and get fit, but in order to do so, you will need to make a variety of changes — both small and large — to reach your goal. Doing one small thing, such as cutting out pop or skipping dessert twice a week, is definitely a good start; but you know that if you want to achieve the “get fit” part of your goal, you will need to add in more exercise at some point as well. Sometimes when you take a step back and think about all the things you need to do to reach your goal, you feel overwhelmed and hopeless, which can lead to roadblocks and speed bumps along your path to health and wellness.

Luckily, you don’t have to focus on all those goals and tasks at once to stay motivated. Forget “keeping your eyes on the prize” — simply keep your eye on one or two small things each day to stayed focused and motivated. (more…)

Taper time: How to properly taper for a marathon in three weeks

36Thirty-six kilometres.

It felt really good to cross that run off the marathon training plan I have posted on my fridge.

The Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon, the race I’m going to attempt to BQ at, is now just three weeks away. No more packing gels and filling water bottles and heading out the door early on a Sunday morning when I’d rather be drinking coffee in bed.

Until race day, of course.

But for now, it’s taper time. And though some runners say they get all squirrely during this time, I actually look forward to it. I know I’ve put in the work, my legs have carried me over great distances, and I’m ready to rest up for race day. (more…)

That time I actually raced a stranger while out for a run

Just running like a girl.

Just running like a girl.

You know when you’re on a treadmill at the gym and someone chooses to take the one right next to you, even though there are plenty other treadmills available? And then you assume, naturally, that they want to race and you set your speed just a little bit higher than theirs?

No?

Must be a runner thing, then.

Anyway, I find that if someone passes you outside during a training run, you feel less compelled to hold your own. Maybe you pick up the pace for a minute, then realize they’re just going at a pace that’s comfortable for them and you should probably stick to what pace you planned to do that day.

Unless, of course, the person who passes you decides to give you a cheeky thumbs up and laughs as they run by. (more…)

#FitFashion Friday: Lux looks from British designer Charli Cohen

From SS14: The VIS Collection

From SS14: The VIS Collection

I first discovered personal trainer and British designer Charli Cohen’s stylish athletic apparel through a Kickstarter campaign. Charli was raising funds to help launch a pop-up store in London over the holidays to showcase her first collection, SS14: The VIS Collection. I was on the hunt for a pair of leggings for winter runner and absolutely loved the look of her Laser Leggings — but not the $250 price tag. After reading her story and following her on social media, I decided to support the campaign to help launch her first collection, even though the coveted leggings weren’t really in my budget. I bought the more affordable Dynamo Bra, which came with a super soft organic cotton workout tank top, a nice thank-you card and a healthy holiday recipe ebook. I love the sports bra and tank top, which not only look super chic but also perform well during a workout. The fabric stays light even when it gets soaked in sweat, and the sports bra doesn’t chafe or feel restrictive. (more…)

Workout Wednesday: 30-minute total body workout

rdHappy #WorkoutWednesday! Looking for a short strength training workout that targets all your major muscle groups AND gets the heart rate up? Try this five-set circuit. All you need is a yoga mat and a set of dumbbells.

1) Romanian deadlift into dumbbell bent-over row
2) Squat to overhead dumbbell press
3) Anterior lateral lunge with low-reach dumbbells
4) Push up / bent-over lateral raise (perform as superset)
5) Bird dog / reverse crunch (perform as superset)

Perform each set three times with 8-10 reps per set. Rest for 30 seconds in between each set before moving to the next set. Click here for video instructions and here for a handy print-out.

10 easy, healthy snack ideas for the desk dweller

My all-time favourite snack.

My all-time favourite snack.

Raise your hand if your morning routine goes a little something like this:

Crap, I’m already running late for work because the kids are fighting/my hair is just NOT working today/I have nothing to wear/I lost 10 minutes of my life to Facebook/the dog just puked all over the carpet. *Looks in fridge* I guess I’ll just take this leftover spaghetti from last week to eat for lunch because I have no time to make anything else. *Opens container, notices something growing on it* Never mind, I’ll buy lunch.

And then similarly, your work day goes something like this:

It’s only 10 a.m. and I’m starving. Ohhh sweet, someone bought a box of doughnuts to the office! *Chows down on a Boston cream and gets back to work* How is it 1 p.m. already? I have so much to do, I really don’t have time to grab lunch. I’ll just see what’s in the vending machine/snack shack. *Buys a frozen Lean Cuisine* I guess this is healthy enough, it says ‘”lean” on it… and that looks like a piece of broccoli in there. *Unwraps and heats up Lean Cuisine, eats it at desk* Ugh, it’s only 3 p.m.! I’m starving. *Heads to vending machine and buys a bag of chips and a chocolate granola bar* Hopefully this will tide me over until dinner! *Gets home, feels ravenous. Eats cereal from the box while deciding what to make for dinner* (more…)

#FitFashion Friday: Oiselle

mestandingThough it might not be obvious to those who see me day-to-day, I love fashion and they way clothes look on the body — but not in the sitting-at-a-desk, walking-to-the-car or just-standing-there kind of way. I like the look of clothes on bodies in motion, hence why my wardrobe is 80% workout gear, 10% office attire and 10% casual clothes and dresses. I don’t bat an eye at $110 workout pants, yet struggle to spend more than $40 on a pair of pants for work. I own three pairs of heels, and 20 pairs of running shoes. Laundry day is hell because all that spandex and sweat-wicking material is hang-to-dry. Some people call it lazy fashion, but I don’t like to think of it like that. I’d rather be spending my day in motion instead of sitting in an office, so why not spend the money on the clothes you know you’ll get the most out of? Plus, I think we can all agree spandex is more comfortable than a structured cotton pencil skirt.

That said, I’m going to start a new Friday feature on my blog highlighting some of my favourite functional workout gear and things I’m coveting at the moment. (more…)

The 3 biggest roadblocks to weight loss and how to break through them

timber8Sometimes you find inspiration for blog posts in the most unlikely places and situations.

I just finished an intensive three-day change management course for my real job as a corporate communications advisor. I had to participate in several break-out sessions, give a presentation, and write an exam. Along with all the notes I jotted down pertaining to work projects and organizational change management over the three days, I wrote down this blog post title on a sticky note.

A strength and conditioning coach is kind of like a change manager. We help our clients work through a change to achieve their desired outcomes or goals. In the case of business, this is usually financial success. In the case of fitness, this is usually weight loss, an improvement in aesthetics or an improvement in overall health and wellness. (more…)

6 tips to help keep you lean during marathon training

Gunner Shaw 15Now that you aspiring long distance runners know there’s a chance you could gain some weight during training, I definitely don’t want that to be a discouraging factor in your decision to run a marathon or ultra. First of all, it shouldn’t really matter if you gain a few pounds. Your body is doing what it needs to do to prepare to run for four-plus hours straight. That’s a pretty big energy demand on your body. Yes you get hungrier than normal, and yes you crave carbs, because they are the preferred energy source for your body. That said, if you want to run a marathon — or maybe lots of marathons in the future — and really want to maintain or improve your physique, there are a few things you can do to prevent weight gain during training.

Before I give you some tips, I need to get all science-y about nutrition for a moment. (more…)

Race Review: MEC Victoria Race #4 – 15K distance

The start/finish line.

The start/finish line.

With the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon about a month away, I decided to throw a speedy, long-ish distance race into my training plan at the last minute. The MEC Race #4 event, which happened on Sunday, September 7, offered three race distances (a 5K, 10K and 15K) along a route I’m very familiar with, as it’s just steps from my front door. I signed up for the 15K race, and decided to run it at my tempo run pace (about 4:30) for as long as I could as a pre-marathon tune-up.

The MEC races are fairly small in terms of the number of participants, which is great if you’re looking to run fast. I found myself trying to keep up with the speedy women in the front, whereas at a larger race I probably wouldn’t have pushed myself as hard. The price is also incredibility reasonable: For only $15, you get a timed race, post-race snacks, a free 15-minute massage, David’s Tea, coffee and medals for the top three men and women overall. (more…)

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