Finding Motivation In A Mobile World

Since I’ve made my New Year Resolution to blog everyday, I’ve tried to make posting as easy as possible for a lifestyle on the go. Luckily, I’ve found the wordpress app for my iPhone.

With the way technology and the internet has exploded, I wasn’t surprised that there was an app for blogging. I can now tweet, blog, and track all from my phone. It’s really quite crazy when you think about it. But, does this access distract us from what’s going on around us or enhance it?

I personally like to think it enhances my life. Since starting my twitter account @livefitandfree I’ve been able to meet some fantastic people, discover new recipes, hold myself accountable, and encourage others as well. Just yesterday it helped me get closer to my goals as I was encouraged to discard a bad food option (cake) and make protein pancakes instead (recipe at the bottom); they were healthy and still hit my sweet tooth. I was also able to share my recipe with another account.

I’ve also found that by using social networking health and fitness apps on my phone, like myfitnesspal, I’ve been able to share my accomplishments with the #fitfam and those that follow me, while also getting support when I hit speed bumps in my journey. I believe it’s been a big part in my relatively consistent health and fitness journey for the last two years.

Now with adding blogging to the mix I already know some people are thinking I’m spreading myself too thin. But I like to see it as enhancing my journey even more. Instead of tweeting just the surface, I now have a platform to go a little more in depth. I’m hoping it helps me look a little deeper myself but also get a little bit deeper feedback from my followers. As well, with some of the life changing events I’m about to embark on, I’m hoping to use this as a way to stay in touch and update some people from home.

In a technological world that’s mobile and instant with so much opportunity offered at fingertips, it’s a personal choice whether you want to capitalise on the possibilities it has to offer and I’m not going to let it pass me by. It’s also a personal choice whether you use technology to participate in positivity or negativity. It can be a slippery slope using the internet with so many different opinions and personalities able to freely post. To get the most out of it, I choose to ignore any negativity or bullying that comes my way and try to offer a positive outlook to all of my followers. Remember, you choose who you follow so there is no need to continue following an account that is bringing you down. Let’s all strive to support and motivate one another with kindness and positivity; I know that by participating in that sort of social networking I will only be making myself better!

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes:
1/2 c uncooked large flake oatmeal
1/3 c milk
2 egg whites or 1/4c liquid egg whites
1 tsp pumpkin spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 scoop whey protein powder or 3/4 scoop casein protein powder

Blend oatmeal, milk, and egg whites. I use a magic bullet.
After stir in pumpkin spice and cinnamon.
Lastly, slowly mix in protein until a smooth, batter-like mixture is made.
Cook on the stove like typical pancakes.
I serve with 1 tbsp peanut butter and syrup.

Advertisements

Magic Miles

This morning I woke up at 5:00am; I was wide awake, staring at the ceiling.  Don’t ask me how and don’t ask me why.  For the past week I’ve been setting my alarm for 6:00am to get some early exam studying in and I have slept through it everyday until 7:00am.  Now today, the day I do not set an alarm, my body decides to get up at 5:00.

After a half hour of staring at the ceiling, I finally decided to take control of the situation.  I hopped out of bed (the easiest time I’ve had doing that in months) and bundled up.  Layer upon layer, I dressed until I was ready to face the NEGATIVE 22 DEGREE CELSIUS temperatures outside.  Yes, you read that right, -22 degrees! And I decided to leave my cozy bed, before the sun had risen, to run in it.

Truth be told, making crazy choices like this regarding my fitness empowers me.  What other people see as psycho or impossible, I find strength in.  This morning I ended up running 8.5km in an hour.  A layer of 5cm thick snow covered the sidewalks as more fell from the sky.  It felt a lot like running on the beach in loose sand.  When I finished, I ran to the local Tim Hortons to enjoy my morning coffee.  My mum joined me just after 7:00am.  It was such a wonderful way to start the day.

Going forward, I felt so strong.  I was able to take control of my morning instead of frittering it away staring at the ceiling.  I was able to run outside in conditions that would make most people cringe.  

I write this blog post, besides enjoying the little bit of bragging about my accomplishment, to encourage you to allow yourself to make the choices that most people cringe away from.  Be willing to be that crazy person and do not limit yourself.  Because trust me, doing the crazy can feel so amazing.

On the Grind

Exams are over! What a wonderful feeling!

I have decided to redeem a free 30 day gym membership I was gifted to my local country club.  The club is stunning, equipped with tennis and racquet courts, a fully renovated weight room, cardio floor, and beautiful change rooms that include saunas and steam rooms.  Since I am not going back to school until February, I really want to go hard with my fitness for the next month.  I want to see the progress I can make if I put my entire mindset into it.  

I am still training for my marathon, albeit not as hard as I would like to be.  This winter in Canada has been pretty intense so far.  It’s now common to have -25 degree days with over a foot of snow sitting on the sidewalks.  It’s made running long distances hard as I have been catching a chill between the 8-10k mark that I can’t seem to shake.  Also, and let me know if anyone else has this, but my ass freezes!  Literally my backside turns numb and then I just want to cut my run short and have a hot bath.  I’ve tried layering up, buying special leggings for winter, and all that.  So, needless to say, my long runs haven’t been as long as they should be at this point in my training.  

So with all of that in perspective, I want to go hard in this next month.  I am going to try to really hit my running distances in these next two weeks and get the gym back into my routine.

Wish me luck and happy holidays everyone! Stay active! 

When Life Knocks You Down, How Do You Get Back Up?

It seems like this “sick season” really hit me hard.  After going through the flu in September, an unending cold throughout October, and then three weeks battling strep throat and an ear infection, I was able to acquire food poisoning last night.  This was my first time with food poisoning and if you’ve never had it before, count your blessings! It was the grossest night of my life that caused me to get 0 sleep and sprint to the bathroom not once, twice, but thirteen times in less than 10 hours.  I’ll stop there with the details but it has left me pretty weak and depleted.

I have been pondering why I have taken such a hit in the sickness department this year.  Normally I am able to resist the inevitable cough/cold/flu that everyone seems to get in the fall.  Many people have offered their advice: It’s because you eat meat again so you should go back to being vegetarian; it’s because you’re running too much so maybe you really should cut back the mileage; you go to a gym and those places are crawling in germs; you’re more susceptible to illness when you’re stressed so you need to relax.

While some of those ideas may be somewhat fallacious, they’ve made me think.  I am busy training for my marathon coming this January and have been diligently following my long runs every weekend, going the 20, 25, and 30km distances I’m called to do.  But, have the long runs been depleting my energy stores and inhibiting my body from fully recovering from my illnesses?  It’s a good theory and one my mum is currently standing behind.  She’s suggested that this weekend instead of running the 25 km I am scheduled to do on Saturday, to split it up over the weekend into a 10km and 15km run.  I’ve never changed my long runs up like this and it almost feels like I’ll be cheating a little bit, but would this be the smartest move for me in the current situation?

To be honest, I’m really not sure.  What do y’all think?   

Back to the Blog

Well, I have been thinking a lot about this blog lately and after some deliberation I have come to the conclusion that I want to start posting regularly again.  I’m not making this choice on a whim that will dissolve in the coming weeks but truly have thought about it and want to commit to it.  

I find myself in a great position to start blogging again as I’m just coming back from an injury and have goals that I’m setting for myself. It would be wonderful to be able to blog about my goals’ progress as I get myself back into a fit-minded lifestyle and back into the best shape of my life again.  I have a marathon coming up that I will be running with Team in Training this January and feel that throughout my journey I will have stories to share and progress to talk about.

As well, I know that when I blog about my journey, I am able to appreciate it more and stay consistent.  Even if no one ends up reading my posts, at least I’ll know that I was able to do something for myself and take time out of my day to help myself reach my goals.

 

Persistence Brings Progress

As the title suggests, today I experienced some improvement on my arm day exercises.  I was able to up my bench press!  This is particularly exciting news for me as it wasn’t too long ago (think beginning of this year) that I was unable to bench the bar (45 lbs).  Check out my routine below:

  • Warm Up: Erg 1000m 4:13 
  • Barbell Bench Press – 55 x 12, 60 x 12, 65 x 10
  • Cable Pressdown (Rope) – 20 x 8, 20 x 10, 20 x 8
  • Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise – 3 sets 10 x 10
  • Cable Curl – 30 x 12, 35 x 12, 35 x 8
  • Pull-Up – 3 sets of 8 with 100lb assist
  • Tricep Dips – 3 sets of 12 with 100lb assist
  • Cool Down: 5 minute ARC Trainer and Stretching

I’m thinking that next time I do pull-ups and tricep dips I will drop the assist a little bit.  I’ve currently now done them with 100lb assists three times.  This does intimidate me a little bit as I’m only able to pull out 8 pull-ups at a time but I think that it’s more of a mental block than a physical one.  

I can definitely feel my arms now afterwards, especially my triceps.  I recovered with a Vega Vanilla protein shake with rice milk (the store was sold out of both almond milk and coconut milk, grrr) and had turkey on rice cakes with avocado for lunch shortly after.  I am happy to announce that I’ve already drank two litres of water today and am well on my way to make it to my daily goal of 3 litres! 

My legs are feeling fully recovered from yesterday’s hill repeats and I feel more than well enough to perform my slated 4k tempo run tonight.  Tomorrow I plan on doing leg/back day for my lunchtime workout.

Just before I end off this post, I want to bring to your attention that I do track my food using my fitness pal (www.myfitnesspal.com) and you’re more than welcome to add me; my username is: livefitlivefree.  Also, I tweet a whole bunch.  Check out what I’m saying @lvefitandfree

That’s all for now anyways, live fit

The Ups & Downs of Running

Down, up, down, up, repeat, repeat, repeat.

Today was hill repeats and I performed them over my lunch break.  I upped the hills repeats to 4 this week (as opposed to 3 the previous week).  I started with a 500m flat warm up jog and then got to it.  Performing the repeats on a steep hill that lasts over 1 km in length, I used the bottom, steeper half of the hill adding on 100m flat surface at the bottom for my workout.  I ran down the hill and then back up halfway to run down again and then up halfway again, etc.  My repeats ended up being 500m on the hill and 100m flat for a total of 600m each way.  I travelled 5.5 km in total averaging a 5:54 pace.  The whole workout took just over 30 minutes.

It was a good workout but I was very lucky that today’s temperatures were unseasonably cold as if there was humidity I would have been in trouble.  By the last repeat I was in need of water so as I add on hill repeats and my workouts get longer I’ll have to arrange to bring water with me.  When I got back to the office I recovered using Vega Vanilla Performance Protein with a cup of oat milk. I use a SmartShake bottle to mix it and it works wonderfully (can be ordered from bodybuilding.com).  

Now it’s time for me to actually eat my lunch and I’ll be having turkey with avocado on rice cakes.  I’m finding that going gluten and dairy free have helped my digestion 100% and everyday I’m finding new meals to put together.  The only problem is I now do not know if it is the dairy or gluten or both that have been giving me digestion issues and I’m too chicken to bring one back into my diet to find out; for now I’ll keep going being both gluten and dairy free.

I am still off of coffee, but have now started drinking green tea like a fiend.  I’m slowly trying to replace the green tea with decaf herbal tea but it’s taking some time.  As for my energy, I am feeling good.  I would say that most days I do not feel the need for a nap but there is still a day or two a week where when 3 o’clock hits I find myself at my desk daydreaming about taking a siesta.  Let’s hope today isn’t one of those days.

Tomorrow the plan is to hit up arms and back at lunch with my coworkers and then after work go for a 4k tempo run. Hope y’all are excelling at your fitness goals! More later.

Leg Day Lovin’

Today was leg day and it just might be becoming my favourite day!  I was able to get new personal bests in my stiff leg deadlift, leg extension, and leg curl.  My routine included:

  • Smith Machine Squat – 95 x 12, 105 x 12, 115 x 12, 125 x 12
  • Stiff Leg Deadlift – 75 x 12, 85 x 12, 95 x 8
  • Leg Extension (machine) – 90 x 10 (twice), 70 x 12
  • Leg Curl (machine) – 80 x 10 (twice), 90 x 10
  • Barbell Standing Calf Raise – 45 x 20 (3 times)

This time I made sure to include a brief warmup and cool down to hopefully minimize DOMS later on.  I started with a 1000m erg that took 4:15 and ended with 5 minutes on the ARC trainer and a 5 minute stretch.  

Oh, and another one of my coworkers got a gym membership today to join in on the lunchtime workouts.  I guess the endorphins are contagious 🙂 Once again I recovered with a vanilla vega protein shake.  

My plan is to run hills tomorrow on my lunch break and then depending on how I’m feeling maybe hit up the gym after work for a little arm and ab session.  We shall see.  I will post more later! 

Need For Speed

Yesterday I managed to convince my sister to come run sprints with me.  After my progression 6k on Saturday, I still needed to make up the speed workout I missed the previous week.
My sister and I met up for a walk in the morning and after talk of how well HIIT workouts burn fat, I had her on board.  We ended up going to the waterfront path which runs relatively straight and flat and measured out 200m.  

Our workout consisted of 5 x 200m sprints with a 200m power walk in between (no rest).  It was good!  I knew I needed to fit in a speed workout this weekend and having someone join me on these workouts always helps me push that little bit extra at the end.

My sister kicked my butt in the first two, but after that my endurance training kicked into gear and for the last three I managed to knock out the same pace as my first.  We finished off with a 2km cool down run and a protein shake.  I’m hoping that incorporating sprints into my running schedule will help me come race day find that finishing kick.

My sister seemed to enjoy herself and I hope she’s willing to join me again for my next sprint workout.

Today is a rest from running but I did manage to fit in a 5k walk before work.  Today is leg day at the gym so we will see how that goes.  Hopefully I don’t have DOMS for 3 days after this time.

I’ll post my leg workout after lunch.

Mountain Trail Run

As I mentioned earlier, I was supposed to meet up with a couple friends tonight and go for a hike. Well, throughout the day a couple people bailed out and the hiking group ended up consisting of 4 other very active people: two gym-dwelling fitness guys, one tennis star, and another runner.  So long story short, our afternoon hike turned into a high-speed, high-intensity “trail” run.   I use trail for lack of a better word but most of the time we deviated off the trail and while keeping our eyes on the ground to ensure sure footing, maneuvered our way up and down the side of the mountain.

For the first half hour we hiked at a steady pace down the mountain and then for a good 45 minutes we ran at a decent pace (clocked 5:30/km on the flatter ground). The hike ended up lasting 1 hour 25 minutes and had us all panting by the end.  

This was an awesome way to hang out with friends and get a workout in.  One of the many reasons why I love summer is being able to be active in nature and this was the perfect afternoon.

If you have any sort of trail around your area I recommend taking a group of friends out for a hike, the energy from one another will fuel you up and down the hills faster than going alone.  Plus hiking with a group is always safer than by yourself; you just never know when an animal or rock will pose a threat.