Fitness

Five Things Friday – Magazine articles, moving and muscles

sportsbraarticle2Happy Friday, friends!

I have random pieces of news to share that you may or may not be interested in, so what better way put it out there than with a Five Things Friday post?

  1. My profile is finally up on Get Out There Magazine’s website, so all (50? 60?) of my articles are linked at last. I’ve been writing for them on a regular basis since 2015, from general fitness articles to web promotions to content for other event sites they manage. Even though it takes up a good chunk of my time, writing consistently helps to keep my skills sharp and builds my writing resume. Plus, it’s fun to research Canadian-based endurance events and activities, such as wine runs, food runs and naked yoga classes, haha.

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My post-marathon spring fitness program

At Caesar's Palace on our Vegas vacay

At Caesar’s Palace on our Vegas vacay

Now that the Phoenix Marathon and my winter vacation has come and gone, I sat down over the weekend to plan out my soring fitness program – essentially my workouts and meal planning from now until the summer. I finally went for a short run on Sunday, two weeks after the Phoenix race, and it was a total slog. Nothing hurt, which was great, but my legs felt like lead. It probably didn’t help that I jumped right into strength training this week and was feeling a bit sore.

Although there’s a small part of me that wants to sign up for the BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 1st to attempt to qualify for Boston again this year, I know my body (and mind) needs a break from those epically long Sunday runs. I could probably train without increasing my mileage too much, but I really miss feeling strong and fit from those four-day-a-week strength training sessions. So, I’ve decided to forgo the BMO Vancouver Marathon and to set my sights on the Goodlife Victoria Marathon again as a qualifying race this fall. Yes, that means I won’t achieve one of the goals I set for myself in January (well, just the year that I get to run Boston – I still could technically qualify this year). And I’m okay with that. I feel like this year will be a year where a lot of things may change and goals will shift accordingly. I’ve already experienced several big changes so far this year that will probably affect my 2016 goals that I’ll share at some point on the blog (don’t worry, it’s in a good way!). (more…)

How I prepared for a fitness magazine photoshoot

IMG_7660This past Sunday I did a photoshoot for an article I’m working on for an upcoming issue of IMPACT Magazine.

Of course, the article has to be about sports bras and of course the photoshoot has to happen in the middle of winter. As a chronically cold person with Raynaud’s disease, I seriously had to psyche myself for this photoshoot. And not just because of the cold — I was going to be photographed running around in JUST a sports bra and shorts; something I don’t feel comfortable doing even in the summer months. Lying around in a bikini in the sun at the beach, sure — but things jiggle when you run. And since I’m right in the middle of marathon training and my fast-twitch muscle fibres — the ones that get more defined with resistance training — are taking a back seat to my less defined slow-twitch muscle fibres, I’m a bit squishy at the moment. Marathon training hanger hasn’t really helped, either. (more…)

The neurology of behaviour change: How personal trainers can use brain science to help clients achieve their health and fitness goals

The neurology of behaviour changeWhen someone tells you to do something you don’t particularly want to do, what’s your immediate response?

Do you think about it for a moment before making up an excuse not to do it or just immediately say no? Do you act defiant until you realize it’s not a criticism and perhaps a good idea after all? Or are you open to the possibility of the action and agree after briefly thinking it through?

I have to try really hard not to act defiant when someone tells me to do something I only mildly despise, so I can’t imagine how some of my personal training clients feel when I give them an exercise plan. “On Monday, do this strength workout for 45 minutes”. Ugggh, they must think, especially if they’ve been told they need to lose weight by their doctor and exercising is something they have to do. They may want to have a strong and fit body, but aren’t looking forward to the work it’s going to take to make that happen. It also doesn’t help that the human brain values immediate rewards more highly than future rewards, so an hour spent on the couch watching Netflix will easily trump an hour spent squatting and sweating any day of the week.

If that wasn’t enough to contend with, there’s also something else going on in the brain that works against your best interests when someone tries to help you with their well-meaning fitness and health advice. (more…)

Is akrasia getting in the way of your health and fitness goals? Here’s how you can stop it

akrasiaFirst off, you might be thinking, akrasia? Is this some new sensitivity associated with gluten? Is it slowing down my metabolism so I can’t lose weight? Is it causing leaky gut syndrome so I’m retaining water and feel bloated all the time? Is it altering my thyroid and messing with my hormones?

Here’s the definition of akrasia from the Oxford Dictionary:

a·kra·sia
əˈkrāZH(ē)ə/
noun: Philosophy
noun: akrasia; noun: acrasia

  1. The state of mind in which someone acts against their better judgment through weakness of will.

So, in other words, this state of mind:

I think I’ll sleep in rather than get up and go for that run I planned to do because my bed is cozy and warm and it’s cold and gross outside, even though I know running will make me fitter and boost my mood.

Or

Might as well eat this whole bar of chocolate/extra piece of pizza/bag of chips because it’s delicious and I’m feeling stressed, and this helps make me feel better right now… even though I’m trying to cut back on sugar/salt/fat to try to lose weight so I can be healthier and have more energy to play with my kids. (more…)

My three goals for 2016

My goals for 2016Welcome to another edition of my annual non-New Year’s resolution blog post, where I list my top three goals for the year to come: one fitness-related, one professional, and one personal.

I started publicly sharing my goals back in 2012 as a way to keep myself accountable, but also so I could look back and see where I was at the time fitness-wise, professionally and personally.

My 2012 and 2013 years were tough professionally and personally, as I was leaving one long-term relationship and moving into another, and transitioning from a tough contract job into a government position. In 2011 I completed my first triathlon and was a running machine, signing up for almost every local race I could afford. But in 2013 my focus shifted, and for some reason I made it my goal to “have abs” in 2013. I’m glad I decided to run my first ultra instead. That’s a much more bad-ass goal.

In 2014, I actually achieved all the goals I set out for myself, which I was super proud of — especially getting published (and featured!) in a print magazine and qualifying for Boston. Last year I did okay, but as I explained in this post, I was having another “transition” year, as I like to call it — where a lot more stuff was going on than what was shared on this blog.

So for this coming year — considering all things that have happened this past year — here are my three goals for 2016. (more…)

The best combination exercises to supercharge your supersets

supercharged superset workout teaserNormally at this time of year I’m working on hypertrophy (building muscle) and improving strength with a four-day-a-week upper/lower split resistance training plan, plus two days a week of 8-10 km runs to maintain my cardio over the winter months. But since I’m training for the Phoenix Marathon at the end of February, I’m keeping my resistance training workouts short and sweet — right now I’m doing three 30-40-minute circuit-type resistance training workouts and three to four runs per week, with Sunday being my long run day.

I love circuit training with supersets (where you perform a set of exercises that engages different muscle groups back-to-back) because not only does it keep heart rate elevated (so you get a bit of a cardio workout and calorie-burning boost), but also you get all the benefits of resistance training in a shorter amount of time.

When programming my marathon training plan this year, I used Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove‘s fabulous The New Rules of Lifting: Supercharged book to get ideas for building a solid resistance training program that would compliment my marathon training. (If you’re looking to build your own plan, I highly recommend that book or any of the The New Rules of Lifting books.) (more…)

Year-end check in: Did I achieve my 2015 goals?

The start of my consistent yoga practice this January

The start of my consistent yoga practice this January

In January of this year, I shared three goals I hoped to achieve by December 31, 2015: master some variation of the scorpion pose and hold it for 10 seconds, grow my client base at Koru Personal Training, and get a consistent meditation practice going.

Before I get into how I did this year, I’m kicking myself now for not adding GET INTO THE BOSTON MARATHON as one of my 2015 goals. Although I achieved my 2014 goal of qualifying in October last year, I missed getting in by 1 minute and 25 seconds. Not that it was in my control, but you better believe I’m going to be much more specific with my 2016 goals (more on those to come next week).

So how did I do this year?

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Improve your health, fitness level and nutrition knowledge in Koru Personal Training’s January 2016 challenge group!

practice makes purpose challangeIf you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know I don’t like New Year’s resolutions or diving in head-first to some new diet trend or fitness program and giving up all your vices cold turkey. Most of us are back to our old ways by February, and feel crappy that we failed our resolutions yet again.

I’m more a fan of setting goals or intentions for the year, and then setting smaller SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) goals to help get me there. If one of your goals is to improve your health, fitness level, mindfulness practice and nutrition knowledge this year, I’m hosting a month-long online health challenge over on Koru Personal Training’s Facebook page for the super reasonable price of $20! (more…)

How to quit your day job, move to Costa Rica and pursue your passion for fitness: An interview with Carey Adam of RunningMoms.com

How to quit your day job, move to Costa Rica and pursue your passion for fitness: An interview with Carey Adam of RunningMoms.comHow many of you have dreamed about what it would be like to quit your 9-to-5, pack up your whole family and move to paradise so you can pursue your true passion — be it blogging, fitness coaching, writing or otherwise — all while being able to stay home to spend time with your kids?

According to Carey Adam of RunningMoms.com, not impossible. You just need to discover your true passion, define your goals, seek guidance and support, and make a plan A — with no plan B option — to make it happen.

Instead of your typical guest post, I decided it would be fun to Skype call Carey and record the conversation to share with you guys. Carey used to live in my hometown of Victoria, BC, so I was curious about why she decided to move to Costa Rica, how she made the jump from working a 9-to-5 day job to launching her online run coaching business, and what it’s like working, living and running in Costa Rica, a place I’ve always wanted to visit. (more…)

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