strength training

thinking out loud: Why I’m changing up my approach to exercise right now and a few exciting things!

Happy almost Friday!

Happy almost Friday!

First off, the exciting thing I alluded to in my two previous Friday posts is not happening ๐Ÿ™ Well, it will happen, but just not as planned. More to come on that in a few weeks! #vagueblogging

But there were two other exciting things that happened over the past two weeks: I wrote my first article for AskMen.com (yes, I know it’s called Ask Men, but they have female writers too), so check it out if you want to know which pieces of Bri-approved home gym equipment you should get that don’t take up a ton of space and are relatively affordable. The second exciting thing was that I finally became an official member of Oiselle Volรฉe!

volee

I’ve been a fan of their running apparel since the beginning (I have still have an original pair of shorts and sports bra) and everything they do for females in the sport of running, so I was more than happy to contribute to their athlete fund to get their awesome singlet and represent for real this time. (more…)

Workout Wednesday: A lazy, post-vacation (or post-illness) workout

Workout Wednesday_ A lazy, post-vacation (or post-illness) workoutYou know when you return from a week or more of vacation — that may or may not have included lots of relaxing, eating and drinking — and have a hard time getting back into your workout routine? Or when you’re out for a few days to a week with the flu and aren’t well enough to jump right back into your fitness routine?

Instead of putting off exercise for another day (or week), try this easy yet effective post-vacation/post-illness workout routine. You won’t be burning mega calories with this one, but it’s a great set of exercises to help get you back on track.

This will most likely be the workout I do in a few days after I recover from whatever illness I have at the moment (almost everyone at work has some kind of sickness, and I seem to have had a bad reaction to medication I took yesterday for something unrelated… ugh). (more…)

My top 5 posts of 2015 and a personal year in review

top blog posts of 2015 from Run. Lift. Yoga.Happy almost Christmas, friends! I have a feeling this may be my only post this week due to general holiday busyness and a whole pile of freelance work I’d like to finish before taking a much needed break with my family and friends for the rest of the week. My holiday plans consist of Christmas eve at my parents’ house with my brother, sis-in-law and niece and nephew followed by more festivities at a family friends’ house; Christmas day with Matt and his parents; Boxing Day at my parents’ house with the rest of my family; and the day after Boxing Day at Matt’s parents’ house for another holiday shindig. Somewhere in there I need to do a few strength sessions and tempo runs, as well as a long recovery run on Sunday. I ran a decent 28 km this past weekend in anticipation of a recovery week this week, before I plan to build my marathon training mileage back up again next week.

Although I’ve been pretty good with fueling and eating lots of nutritious food throughout December to help keep my body healthy, I’ve definitely indulged and enjoyed myself at various get-togethers that have occurred almost twice a week since the end of November. I’ve tried to plan my long runs around late nights, but sometimes a post-too-many-glasses-of-vino-and-food-that-my-stomach-can’t-handle-the-night-before run is inevitable. I’m proud of myself, though, for not missing a single training run so far. I knew training for a marathon throughout winter and the holiday season would be tough, and although I love the holiday season, Iโ€™ll be happy when I can get back to a normal routine.

I plan to do a 2016 goals blog sometime before the New Year, but I want to do a bit more reflecting back on this past year before it comes to an end. Iโ€™ve already shared how I did with my 2015 goals, and below Iโ€™ll be sharing my most-read posts of 2015. But I canโ€™t move forward without recognizing some of the challenges I faced this year and the incredible growth Iโ€™ve experienced that I had no idea was in the cards for me in 2015. (more…)

#WorkoutWednesday: 30-minute total body workout

Happy #WildWorkoutWednesday! 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.

30-minworkout

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 another handy print-out.

Strength training. You’re (probably) doing it wrong.

IMG_3505Before I became a certified strength and conditioning specialist, I thought I had pretty decent form when lifting weights andย  doing core exercises at the gym. I’d been studying the instructions in fitness magazines and following along carefully to workout DVDs for almost nine years, all the while thinking I was working the muscle groups I was trying to target.

Nope.

When I was studying for my CSCS exam, I got schooled by another trainer at a private gym where I was volunteering and job shadowing last summer. Turns out I have a wicked anterior pelvic tilt (meaning my hips tilt forward, like I’m trying to sit all the time), which made me botch up most of my core and hip exercises and was probably the reason to blame for my tight calves. (more…)

A very important part of your fitness program that most trainers fail to address

yogatreeWhen it comes to a client’s fitness program, most personal trainers and coaches take a single-field approach; they teach a client what they physically need to do to get the physical results they are after, whether that’s to gain more muscle, lose body fat, strengthen their bones or to move better. Unless you have a degree or proper training in another field, such as nutrition, physiotherapy or yoga, this is perfectly acceptable — you’re practicing within your scope of expertise. You can’t always be all things to all clients.

Yet the more I read and learn about health and wellness, the more I’m coming to realize a HUGE part of an individual’s health and fitness journey is tied to mental health and happiness. More often than not, if you don’t have those things in check before starting your journey (or if it’s not a part of your journey at all), no matter how much body fat you lose or muscle you build, you’re going to have a hard time finding contentment. I think that lack of self-love mixed with a focus on changing your physique can create a dangerous environment where disordered behaviours can arise. (more…)

Workout Wednesday: 20-minute dumbbell full body circuit

workoutwedsHave a pair of dumbbells and 20 minutes to spare? Work your whole body with this circuit from IDEA Fit. Though some of the moves are slightly more advanced, there are modifications in each video for beginners.

What you need:

  • Set of 5-10 lbs dumbbells, and an optional heavier set (15-30 lbs) for the squat and lunge movements
  • yoga mat

Warm up:

Warm up for 5-10 minutes with arm circles (10 rotations backwards and forwards), leg swings (8 reps front to back, as well as laterally), lateral lunges with a light weight (8 on each side), 10 spider lunges and 5 sun salutations. (more…)

Marathon training update (and more exciting announcements!)

Yesterday's long run.

Yesterday’s long run.

Seven weeks to go until the Victoria Marathon.

I’m finally into those long, grueling 30 km-plus marathon training runs now. Due to sickness and social events, I modified my BQ marathon training plan slightly throughout July and August, but am now back on track. I decided to add a 15 km race into the plan, as it’ll be a good tune up for race day… plus, the start/finish is just a few steps outside of my front door. How could I not?

I’ve been sticking close to my target training pace of 6 minutes per kilometre, which is pretty far off my target marathon pace but fast enough for me in this summer heat. So far I’ve gone 24, 27 and 30 km without issues. I’m now into high mileage/low mileage weeks (where one week is particularly hard and the other is a recovery week), so I did 26 km yesterday. My legs wanted to pick up the pace a bit, so yesterday I ran at about a 5:39 pace and felt good. I’ve been making time to stretch and foam roll afterwards, which has been helping with recovery. (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 explainingย why runners should incorporate strength training into their training plans and what they should be doing, he doesn’t really explain how.
(more…)

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…)

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