Fitness

A seated upper-body workout for a lower-body injury

Seated upper-body teaserBeing injured sucks.

But it especially sucks if you’ve been training for an event, such as your first Boston Qualifying-attempt marathon, when a lower-body injury occurs just five days before your race.

If you’re lucky, it won’t be too serious and you can bounce back within an month. You may have to miss your race, but at least you can ease back into training sooner once you get the A-OK from your physiotherapist or doctor. Other times, you might be sidelined for 12 weeks or more, depending on the type of injury.

Being sidelined is hard, especially when running or exercising in general is your natural state. Although complete rest with physio and other rehab methods (such as IMS, massage or chiro) is best, you may be cleared to do some upper-body exercises if you happen to be dealing with a lower-body injury.

Because I am not an athletic therapist and because certain injuries require certain means of recovery and repair, I can’t tell you specifically what to do to help you return to training. But I can share some general injury recovery guidelines and a sample seated upper-body program you could bring to your physiotherapist or doctor and check to see if you’re clear to try something like it (but modified, of course, based on your injury).

This is a program I’m doing right now with one of my clients who has a severe knee injury. While this program was cleared and given the A-OK by his doctor, it might not be suitable for you. Please check with your doctor before starting any exercise program, especially when injured. (more…)

The small habits you should focus on to reach your health and fitness goals

focus on the steps that will lead you to the goal, not the goal itselfLast week I wrote about why we need to get obsessed with consistency and the actions that feed the goal instead of focusing so much on the final product when it comes health and fitness. So what are those little habits and actions we should be getting obsessed with in order to reach our goals?

Obviously this is going to vary from person to person based on your past histories and current habits. But here’s my attempt at coming up with a general list of habits to work on changing and how you can start to take the steps to do that, based on some of the barriers I’ve seen with clients and some I’ve encountered myself.

I’ve grouped them into three categories: exercise, nutrition and mental health, or what I like to call the Self-Care Trifecta. Getting a handle on these three things is a lifelong process, and sometimes I find we focus too much on one for too long while ignoring the others. Though balancing all three is a mighty challenge (and one I don’t think we’ll ever be able to do at the same time), having the Trifecta tip in three directions throughout your day, week or month is better than having it just topple over to one side completely.

Since trying to form too many new habits at once is overwhelming and generally doesn’t work, I would pick ONE habit out of all three of the categories to work on for a month. Then for the next month, continue your chosen habit (or take it up a level) and add in another habit from a different category. I’m going to be facilitating something similar to this using a habit changing worksheet with my Koru Personal Training January Facebook Challenge Group next year (sign up at the link if you’re interested!), but here’s a sample of just some of the things you can choose to focus on for 30 days: (more…)

The 3 biggest road blocks to weight loss and how to break through them

adkarI want to lose weight/run faster/get stronger, and generally I know what I need to do to achieve that goal (eat less, move more, lift weight, run fast), but I just don’t know how to make it happen with everything going on in my life.

Does that statement ring true for you at all?

If so, welcome to step three or four of Prosci’s ADKAR process for managing change!

In my other life (the one outside of fitness and health blogging and personal training), I’m an internal  communications and change manager professional for a large organization, and was thinking the other day how a model we use for managing change within the organization — called ADKAR — could totally be applied to fitness and health. (more…)

West coast fall and winter workout gear essentials

wcwwgeLiving on an island off the west coast of beautiful British Columbia definitely has its perks. The ocean surrounds us, the wilderness here is beautiful, there are plenty of places to explore for hours on end without seeing another human being, and the weather here is never too extreme. That means year-round outdoor adventures and not having to spend the winter cooped up in a gym to stay fit and healthy.

Even though we hardly get any snow here at sea level and the temperature rarely drops below -1°C, outdoor enthusiasts still have to consider the elements when exercising outside during the winter months. Here are a few key pieces of apparel us northern west-coasters should add to our workout wardrobe for winter: (more…)

{Friday Favourites} Best reads of the week in health, fitness and wellness

the best reads in health and wellnessHappy Friday, y’all!

How was your week? I’m almost recovered from the marathon and Thanksgiving food binge on Sunday. I had about two days of soreness and hobbling after the race before I felt normal again, though I’m clearly not quite recovered yet as I went for an easy 15-minute run yesterday and bailed on the sidewalk. Probably not the best idea to go for my post-marathon recovery run in the morning in the dark on uneven pavement. Other than a scraped elbow and torn glove I’m fine, and happy that I didn’t also tear my Lululemon running jacket.

I’m actually surprised I feel as good as I do after last weekend, which gives me hope for my upcoming marathon training plan. I’m going to go back to focusing on strength training for about a month until I start to ramp it up again for the Phoenix Marathon in February. (more…)

Friday Favourites: The best reads of the week in health, fitness and well-being

the best reads in health and wellnessHappy Friday, friends! How was your week?

Despite my bad news on Wednesday, I had a solid week of workouts, client training and program developing, freelance writing and actual work-work. Thank you all for your comments on yesterday’s post — though I’m disappointed I won’t be getting to experience Boston this year, I know I’ll get there eventually. I was kind of hoping to take a break from structured marathon training for awhile, but in order to attempt another BQ between now and September I’m going to aim for a March-May race. There’s the BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 1, a race I’ve done and really enjoyed, though I hear the full marathon route is rather hilly. I could also travel to a destination race, like the Phoenix Marathon in February, and combine it into some kind of a vacation. But I think I’d rather stay closer to home in a climate similar to what I’ll be training in.

Next weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving AND the Goodlife Victoria Marathon, of which I’m running the half. I haven’t trained much other than a few 15 km runs on the weekend since I’ve maintained a good level of fitness since the Finlayson Arm 28K. I almost considered signing up for the full just to see how fast I could run… but logic won. Ange is coming to stay with me for the weekend which will be super awesome as well.

Some other highlights from the week: (more…)

From couch to 5K: A weight-loss and run-love success story

Today I’d like to share the inspiring story of one of my clients, Ximena, who I’ve been providing online coaching services to since January of this year. She’s gone from nights at home on the couch seven days a week to strength training, yoga and running most days of the week, plus preparing healthy meals for her and her family. And this past weekend, she ran her first ever race – the Terry Fox 5 km in Vancouver. Her enthusiasm, determination and positive attitude is so inspiring, so I asked her to share her story on my blog. Here’s Ximena’s story, in her own words:  

terry fox run

Ximena at the Terry Fox 5K run in Vancouver this past weekend

I’m a 36-year-old mother of two girls. In late 2014, I was introduced to a wonderful lady who shared with me that she used to be as “big” as me (not in those exact words, but close) and that she had slowly started running to the point where she now runs marathons. I thought to myself, “If she can do it, maybe I can, too!” Looking at her current Barbie-doll waist was for sure a motivator. I had reached a stage in my life where I was thinking to myself, “Why bother trying to lose weight and get fit? Once your figure is gone it’s impossible to get it back…” Well, I can tell you now that is NOT TRUE!

This wonderful lady introduced me to Bri and the unbelievable journey began early this year. Slow and easy (but not painlessly… 10 squats can really burn if you are in the shape I was in). The initial goal was never to run a race, but rather to enjoy being off of the coach and as healthy as possible (the weight loss was just the icing on the cake!).

I started by walking for 20 minutes three times a week, and doing yoga and strength training at home two to three times a week. A funny thing happens when you start strength training: with each passing week you notice that your body feels better and stronger, you start to notice and feel muscles that weren’t “there” before, and people start complimenting you on how good you look. (more…)

Buddha was right: New study proves you’re not who you think you are

buddha-thoughtsAre you unhappy with your body? Do you wish you were faster, stronger, bigger or leaner? Do you long to be one of those neon-clad runners who pound the pavement at the crack of dawn and actually enjoy themselves while doing it? Do you wish you didn’t love ice cream, cheese, chocolate and salt-and-vinegar chips so much?

I’ve got good news for you.

Evan Thompson, a philosophy of mind professor at the University of British Columbia who recently published a neuroscience paper on the concept of what we perceive to be our ‘self’, has discovered that “the brain and body is constantly in flux. There’s nothing that corresponds to the sense that there’s an unchanging self.” Now, this doesn’t mean that one day you’ll spontaneously grow bigger bicep muscles and develop cravings for kale and wheatgrass smoothies – but it does verify what Buddhists have believed for ages; that our self is ever-changing and that we are not our thoughts.

“Buddhists argue that nothing is constant, everything changes through time, you have a constantly changing stream of consciousness,” Thompson explains in this article. He found evidence that “self-processing in the brain is not instantiated in a particular region or network, but rather extends to a broad range of fluctuating neural processes that do not appear to be self-specific.”

So what does this have to do with health and fitness?  (more…)

{Friday Favourites} The best health and fitness reads of the week

best-reads-teaserHappy Friday y’all! How was your week?

Mine started off fairly disappointing when I learned that it’s going to be even harder to get into Boston this year, thanks to 3,000 faster people registering before the five-minute-and-under qualifiers could 🙁 I knew I’d be cutting it close, since last year the time cut off was 1:02 (and I finished within 1:03 this year). Although I haven’t completely given up hope yet, I have a feeling this won’t be my year. I’m sad I will miss out on running it in 2016, but I’m still proud of myself for qualifying. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be, and I’ll need to run even faster next year to get in for 2017. I’m thinking I’ll need to run AT LEAST a 3:29 to guarantee myself a Boston bib. Sigh.

On the upside, all that money I was saving for a Boston trip can now go towards some other trip, perhaps a tropical vacation?? I got a few items in the mail this week from my cousin in New Zealand to entice me to come and explore NZ’s amazing trails. Maybe?? (more…)

#WorkoutWednesday: 1 simple tool to help you stay 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…)

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