5 awesome (and free!) fitness and health podcasts to listen to during your long run

fkgolfcourseWhen I was training for the Squamish 50K last year, I started listening to podcasts to pass the time on my long training runs. Since I was running trails for 3-plus hours at a fairly slow pace, I wanted something I could focus on instead of how tired I was feeling and how much my feet hurt. Not only did those long runs feel like they went by much faster while listening to podcasts, but also I learned a ton of stuff; everything from what the latest research and trends are in strength and conditioning world to how to start a fitness business to what it’s like to go vegan and complete an ultraman.

If you’re tired of music blaring in your ears during your long runs or just want something informative and interesting to listen to on your commute to work, I highly recommend checking out these awesome (and free!) fitness and health podcasts. (more…)

Gym #selfie challenge: Quit posing and show us what hard work really looks

gymselfie1Confession: I’m sick and tired of your #gymselfies.

I get it. You’re all sweaty and the lighting is awesome, making you look like you have “delts for dayz”. You want to inspire others with your “fitspirational” Instagram photo. You pop your arm back to get that skinny-arm look and flex your abs. You snap a few pics, apply a filter that highlights those muscles even more. You write something like “No excuses, got it done #demgainz #sweatfest #fitness #fitspiration” and hit share. You’re proud of your body, and you should be. I can see you’ve put in a lot of work.

But that’s not what I want to see all the time. And that’s not what we should see all the time. (more…)

Is your FitBit making you gain weight?

Photo(1)According to this article on Today.com, countless FitBit users are taking to online forums and social networks to find out if other users are packing on the pounds instead of losing them, and wondering “what lifestyle changes or electronic tweaks they can make so their wristbands work for them.”

(I can tell you right now why “it’s not working”, but just wait and see where the article goes with this.)

The Today article then goes on to provide a few anecdotes from users who gained weight when using the FitBit, some of whom decided to get one to help them break through a plateau after they’d successfully lost weight. (more…)

How to fit strength training into your marathon training plan

Celebrating our fastest half marathon times!

As runners, we all know we should be doing it. It should be as much a part of our training as speed drills and the long, slow run.

No, I’m not talking about stretching (even though we should do that, too).

I’m talking about strength training.

A few weeks ago, Lululemon reposted this article on their blog from Jason Fitzgerald, a running coach at StrengthRunning.com, which promotes the benefits of strength training for runners. While Fitzgerald does a pretty good job of explaining why runners should incorporate strength training into their training plans and what they should be doing, he doesn’t really explain how.
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Can meditation make you a faster runner?

The Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson uses it with his players to prepare for NBA games. Top mixed martial arts fighters like Georges St-Pierre and Diego Sanchez use it to calm the mind and enhance focus before fights. Even the U.S. Army uses it to increase mental toughness.

Since endurance sports takes a whole lot of mental focus, pain management and rumination avoidance, you’d think meditation and running would go together like CrossFit and the Paleo Diet. (more…)

15 simple steps to help start your weight-loss journey

My long-term goal: Doing a triathlon. When I signed up, I didn't even know how to swim.

My long-term goal: Doing a triathlon. When I signed up, I didn’t even know how to swim.

I know what you’re probably thinking.

15 simple steps? Losing weight isn’t easy like that.

You’re absolutely right. Changing your body composition is not easy. Losing body fat and gaining muscle; getting stronger, faster and more flexible; and changing your habits to get there is HARD. And it can be even harder to know where to start.

No matter where you’re starting from in your weight-loss journey (or body re-composition, as I prefer to call it) here are 15 steps you need to work through before you even buy that gym pass or start counting your calories.

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Going for the BQ: 2014 goal update and my Boston-bound marathon training plan

IMG_3542It’s been six months since I declared my 2014 personal and fitness-related goals for this year: become a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), get published in a print publication, and qualify for the Boston Marathon.

So how’s that all going, you ask? (more…)

Sunday Runday: Francis/King Regional Park trails

Beautiful old growth trees

Beautiful old growth trees

I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to explore this park.

Francis/King Park is only about 15 minutes from downtown Victoria, just off Munn Road near Prospect Lake. There’s a nice little trail system within the park that connects to Thetis Lake Regional Park in the Highlands, so you could easily make this run longer than the one hour-ish run Debbie and I did.

Though lacking vistas, Francis/King certainly has some beautiful single-track trails that twist and turn through old growth cedars and lush, green marshland. This would be a great place to go if you’re a trail running newbie as the trail is neither that steep nor technical. (more…)

Recipe: Healthy chocolate peanut butter protein balls

ballsIf there’s anything better than chocolate and peanut butter, I have yet to discover it. (Okay, wine is pretty great, too).

I’ve been tweaking this recipe for about three weeks now, and I think I’ve found the perfect flavour/consistency for these bad boys! If you want to make them really low calorie, you can omit the peanut butter — but really, why would you do that.

I even calculated the calories and macros for all you IIFYM people. It takes less than 10 minutes to prep, and only 12 minutes to bake. Stop wasting your money on those amazingly tasty Quest bars and make these instead! (more…)

Recipe: Vegan black bean and sweet potato veggie burgers

veggiebrgersThese are seriously amazing.

I was looking for a good veggie burger recipe last week, as I realized that buying Green Cuisine tempeh burger patties was not only getting expensive, but also that I should probably cut down on my consumption of processed food and make something fresh to take for lunch. I used to have turkey slices, spinach and cream cheese in a Greek-style pita for lunch (creature of habit), but since there are a lot of preservatives in said turkey slices (even though they’re the “natural” ones) and nasty-sounding ingredients in cream cheese (vegan cream cheese does not taste good), I switched to veggie burger and tempeh patties to go in the pita.

Aside from some day-in-advance prep, these are super easy to make. I made a variation using this wonderful recipe from Treble in the Kitchen. I doubled the ingredients as I wanted to make a bigger batch to freeze, added more sweet potato and also added in zucchini and carrots to up the vegetable quota. (more…)

Gowlland Tod 10 km point-to-point trail run: Squally Reach, Joceyln Hill and Caleb Pike

Beautiful views on the trail

Beautiful views on the trail

Confession: I haven’t spent a whole lot of time running on trails lately, partly due to my crazy work and study schedule, and partly because I’ve actually been enjoying my urban runs and strength training workouts at home. Granted those urban runs are alongside the ocean in beautiful downtown Victoria, so they aren’t quite as mundane as your average pavement run, but I digress.

After Squamish, I didn’t hit the trails again for a long while. I wasn’t really sure if I’d even want to do an ultra again… but lately I’ve been really missing those long days out on the trails: the quiet serenity of the forest; the quad-busting, chest-burning climbs; the semi-controlled falls on technical downhills… (more…)

Recipe: Healthy, homemade dairy-free ice cream

icecream3Frozen bananas + food processor = ice cream.

How did I not discover this sooner?

With summer now well underway, nothing is as delicious as a big bowl of cold, sweet, creamy ice cream after dinner. Unfortunately for me, and for many others who can’t tolerate dairy, a big bowl of ice cream = writhing in pain in the fetal position a few hours later. It’s just not worth it.

Luckily, there’s a delicious alternative you can whip up in no time with all those black frozen bananas in your fridge you were going to use to make banana bread. We both know you’re not going to make banana bread, so why don’t you make this chocolate peanut butter banana “ice cream” instead? (more…)

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