{Five Things Friday} 5 kinds of protein and energy bars that kept me fueled this week

five things fridayHappy Friday, friends! I’m finally feeling back to normal after my pre- and post-marathon illness and got back into the gym this week to do some light circuit training and short treadmill runs. I’d say my body is about 80% recovered and I’m actually itching to start running again, which isn’t usually the case after a hard marathon.

The only good part about being home for most of last week (well, aside from resting and taking the time to get better) was that I was around to receive a few protein bar samples that came my way in the mail to try.

Here are a few new protein bars I tried this week, as well as three of my trusty go-to bars I keep on hand when I need an afternoon snack at work or something quick after a workout.  (more…)

A runner’s review of the FitBit Charge 2 Heart Rate Plus

gear-review_-the-fitbit-charge-2-heart-rateAbout a month ago, my FitBit Charge HR got a random crack in the display so I contacted FitBit support to see if I could get a replacement as it was still under warranty. They offered to send me another one free of charge (which was awesome because I relied on it daily as a watch, silent alarm clock and easy way to track my workouts), but since the Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate Plus was coming out soon I asked if I could have a discount off a new purchase instead. They agreed, and I got my snazzy new FitBit several weeks later.

How the FitBit Charge 2 compares to the FitBit Charge

The display is bigger, but not too big. I love being able to see two activity stats (that you are able to choose) along with the time when I tilt my wrist up to check my FitBit. To see more stats, such as distance travelled, calories burner, steps taken and heart rate, you just have to tap the watch face to scroll through. I also love that it’s roughly the same size as the Charge, so it’s still very comfortable to sleep with.

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There are more ways to track workouts. When you press the single button on the side of your FitBit Charge 2, you can scroll through to the workout function that gives you several kinds of workouts to track by tapping the watch face. You can select a run, treadmill, elliptical, bike, weights, workout or interval workout, which actually has a built in timer to vibrate every 30 seconds so you know when to go hard and when to rest. The run function shows your time and distance on the main display, or you can tap through to get your pace, heart rate, average pace, steps and calorie burn. The only workout functions I haven’t tried yet are bike and elliptical, so I’m not sure if those have any unique features to them. I wish it had a yoga function!

FitBit Charge 2 vs. a Garmin 235

FitBit Charge 2 vs. a Garmin 235

You can see and do more things from your wrist. Since the display is bigger, you don’t have to tap through as much to see your stats. You are also able to set and turn off alarms from your wrist and check your pace, heart rate, resting heart rate and other stats while working out instead of relying on the FitBit phone app to see everything.

There’s a breathing tracker. The FitBit Charge 2 has a function that can track your breathing and guide you through a slow breathing exercise for two or five minutes. You can do it all from your wrist, which is handy.

The wrist bands are replaceable/interchangeable. I had to replace my previous FitBit Charge because the wrist band broke, so I was super happy to find out the FitBit Charge 2 bands are replaceable and interchangeable. Finally, no more plain boring black all the time!

Things I don’t like about the FitBit Charge 2

The breathing tracker isn’t very helpful. I tried the breathing exercise a few times but didn’t find it very relaxing to hold up my wrist to stare at it to follow along. What would be really helpful is an alert that tells you when you’re breathing too shallow and remind you to stop and take a deep breath. I feel like I need that!

It still doesn’t track runs as well as a Garmin, even when using the GPS on your phone. The FitBit Charge without the GPS is still slightly off when it comes to tracking runs. It’s good for a generally distance, but if you’re training for a race I’d suggest using something more accurate.

Verdict: Overall, I love the Fitbit Charge 2 even more than the original and it’s totally worth the $200 price tag if you’re a regular fitness tracker wearer.

Do you wear an activity tracker? What’s your favourite type?
What are your “must-haves” for a fitness tracker?
What features do you like/dislike most about the FitBit?

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Disclaimer: This post contain Amazon affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

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Linking up with the lovely:

Annmarie at The Fit Foodie Mama, Nicole at Fitful Focus, Michelle at Fruition Fitness and Jen at Pretty Little Grub

Hustle smushustle: Why it’s okay not to always have goals

havegoalsThis past week — save for one day when I made it in to work and one day where I worked from home — I struggled simultaneously with recovering from a marathon, a head cold and the worst fever blisters I’ve ever had all at once, and being productive with my downtime. Normally I would have had several freelance articles on to go I could have worked on, a few blog posts to write and some strength training plans that I could have completed in my time at home and felt satisfied that I used my sick time wisely and productively.

But I didn’t have anything I “needed” to do. I wrote two blog posts and one strength plan in half a day, then started to stress out. I have time at home and can’t workout, which is rare — I need to be working on something!

Instead of relaxing with a book or a bowl of popcorn and Netflix like any normal person would on a sick day, I started researching all sorts of things I should be doing. Writing more blog posts. Brainstorming a book proposal. Looking into more ad networks. Planning my next training cycle. Reading other fitness blogs. Figuring out what I want to do with Koru Personal Training next (marketing? A downloadable guide? Online groups?).

In my frantic search for something I should be doing to better myself or my side businesses, I came across this article on Brainpickings.org and let out a deep breath after reading the following quote: (more…)

My post-marathon recovery plan and why runners need a post-season

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In the pain cave at the 2016 VIctoria Marathon

So far I’m having a fairly typical post-marathon recovery.

My legs are incredibly sore and I’m walking like a zombie. The head cold I got just before my race is still kicking around (because I ran a marathon instead of resting like a normal person). My underarms are still sore and chafed, so I’m applying lotion liberally and not wearing scratchy sweaters. My marathon hanger has subsided, and I’m ensuring I take in lots of protein to aid in muscle repair and recovery. And as usual, I totally compromised my immune system by running hard and have the worst fever blister ever covering 75% of my nose and a bit of my chin. It’s so bad I actually had to work from home today — I look like quasimodo with my poor nose and shuffle-limp. I’m currently locked away in the bell tower hunched over my computer, only lumbering downstairs occasionally for tea and snacks. (more…)

Goodlife Victoria Marathon race recap: A tough race with lots of lessons learned

Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon

At the starting line for the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon

You didn’t train enough. You didn’t run your tempo runs fast enough. You should have gone up to 36K in training. You should have focused more on running and cut back on strength training. You should have tried harder to be at your racing weight. You went out too fast.

These were all the things swirling around in my head at kilometre 33 of yesterday’s Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon. I was having a good race up until that point, deciding to run by feel instead of constantly watching my pace. My quads were burning at about the 25K mark, but I was able to push through to find a comfortable pace again and feel confident about my race. It wasn’t raining, the sun came out, my head cold was almost gone, and I wasn’t injured going into the race. Conditions were seemingly perfect.

It was at the dreaded 30K mark when things fell apart for me. The 3:30 pace group, which I’d been just in front of for the majority of the race, passed me and I couldn’t keep up. There’s a yucky, twisty incline after the 30K mark that goes on for about 5K that usually slows me down, and even though I pumped my arms and legs as hard as I could, I just couldn’t stick with the group. As the shiny, sparkly 3:30 pace sign bobbed out of sight, I started to beat myself about everything I thought I did wrong during training. “If I’m not going to make 3:30, why bother?” I told myself. That’s when my legs and mind threw in the towel and I starting plodding along, walking through aid stations and looking back behind me expecting to see the 3:35 group hot on my heels, ready to overtake me and crush my BQ dreams altogether. (more…)

Fitness Friday: With 3 days to go until the Victoria Marathon, guess who gets sick?

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Well… I almost made it.

I’ve been feeling off for the last week or so since my half marathon PR race, and have being taking it easy with lots of rest aside from my scheduled workouts to help prevent whatever I seemed to be fighting from turning into illness.

I felt like I was winning until late Wednesday when I got a headache after lunch that stuck around until the evening. I felt a bit stuffy and “off”, but nothing I didn’t think a good sleep might fix. I went to bed at 9 pm, and as soon as my head hit the pillow, one sinus plugged up 🙁

I felt like I had a head cold when I woke up but slightly better after a shower, so I went into work. My symptoms progressively got worse (sneezing, stuffy and runny nose, headache) as the day went on, so I went home. I felt bad for my coworkers since I was lecturing everybody for the past few weeks at work about how you should stay home when you’re sick so you don’t spread germs around the office and how I have a race coming up and don’t want to be sick… then I get sick and come in anyways. Sorry, everyone!

My plan for the rest of the week is to just rest, stay hydrated and get better for Sunday. If things improve by Saturday, I might attempt a short run, but honestly, at this point, running will do more harm than good. I’ve been here before (getting sick days before a race) and know that rest is best.

Here’s how my last week of marathon taper went:

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Recipe: Pumpkin lemon walnut freezer oatmeal

pumpkin lemon walnut oatmealWe all know and love the tastiness and convenience of overnight oats for breakfast (served in a mason jar, of course, for optimal Instagramification). But have you ever tried freezer oats?

They may not be as pretty as overnight oats layered with berries and nuts in a mason jar, but they’re super convenient and just as delicious—simply grab a pre-made oat cake out of the freezer, pop one or two in a bowl and microwave for a few minutes. You can eat it as-is, or mix in a bit of yogurt, almond butter or coconut milk, and topped with your favourite oatmeal topping, such as nuts, chia seeds and berries. You can also add berries and nuts to your oat cakes before you freeze them.

And the best part of all? You can make a whole two weeks’ worth of grab-and-go breakfasts at once.

Here’s a recipe I tried inspired by my friend and chef Laura who came up with the pumpkin lemon oatmeal combo. You could take my word for it that it tastes AMAZING, or you could make it yourself! (more…)

October Goals

So here’s the thing.

I totally forgot to post my goals for September on the blog, even though I recapped August and said I would put some thought into my September goals and post them on the blog the following week.

I suppose it’s best that I forgot, because I think it’s safe to say that September was a FAIL.

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And it kind of was in all aspects except for fitness. I’ve been hitting 95% of my workouts, had a great half marathon tune-up race, and am in the last week of taper before the Victoria Marathon next weekend. (more…)

Fitness Friday: Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon training week 12 recap

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I need to stay healthy, injury free and well rested for at least the next nine days.

I always seem to have something come up just days before a goal race, which probably has something to do with the time of year I like to run marathons (fall, when flu season hits), how hard I run my last long run or if I do a tune-up race near the end of training at a tempo pace (my immune system gets knocked down a bit), and how much sleep I get in the two weeks leading up to the race.

Because I’ve been feeling yucky since Monday (headache, stomach ache, generally blah-ness), I’ve been taking it easy this week on workouts and runs. I usually like to do shorter duration, higher intensity runs in the last two weeks leading up to a marathon, but I think I’m good for speed since I nailed my half marathon race pace two weeks ago. This week and next I plan to focus on some easy runs with a few pick-ups near the end, yoga and foam rolling.

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{thinking out loud Thursday} The weirdest search terms that have led people to my blog this year

“Old man eating spaghetti painting”.

Why someone would need to look that up, I don’t know… but how that term led someone to my blog a few years ago is a real head-scratcher.

I love looking at analytics and finding out how people came across my blog. Not only do these insights help me understand where my readers are coming from, what they’re interested in and what questions they want answered, but also help me to optimize my posts so they’re a bit more discoverable on the interwebz.
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So honour of Thinking Out Loud Thursday, I thought it would be fun to share some of the weirdest search terms that have led people to my blog this year.

Before I get to the weird stuff, some of the most common search terms people have used this year that led them to my blog are anything to do with the FitBit: how it calculates calories burned, how it tracks your calories and if it’s accurate or not. That probably has something to do with this post, this post and this post (a new FitBit Charge HR 2 review will be coming soon!).

But sometimes, much to my delight, I get a totally random phrase show up in my site stats and wonder how in the world that term led someone to a blog about running, lifting and yoga. Most of the time I can figure out what post they stumbled upon, but sometimes… I just don’t know. So without further ado, here are some of the most unusual search terms that have led people to my blog this year and my response to whomever was looking for that kind of information. (more…)

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