Garmin Vivoactive HR Watch: The Perfect Gift For The Active Individual

Garmin Vivoactive HR Watch: The Perfect Gift For The Active Individual

My first blog post of the year! Hope everyone had a great first week of 2017. Looking back on 2016, there was a combination of both good and bad. Bad I feel isn’t a great word here, so I’m switching to “challenging.”

Challenges that were a lesson for growth and change. Plenty of tough real world situations, frustration, stress, and fear are a few of the characteristics I would describe tough spots this year. Even though negative at some points, I’ve gotten stronger and have learned what the real me is made of. Grateful for these experiences even though I wanted to jump out the window on a few occasions!

Good things: new friends, people, opportunities, growth, learning more about myself, and learning where I find my niche in the fitness industry. Continuing to trust myself, live independently in Tampa, and do what makes me happy are what I hope to continue in the New Year! One marathon, multiple races and miles, blogging, growing my personal training business and enhancing my group fitness skill set and classes, grad school this summer and fall, travel to Costa Rica, continue to live in sunny Tampa and meet the greatest guy, neighbor–turned boyfriend has been a few highlights of my year!

I’m not done with any of these yet, but every year I find myself getting a little bit closer to who I want to become. Big YAY!

OK. My year in review is recapped and I’m excited to share the purpose of post today!

My Garmin Vivoactive HR watch! 

I didn’t realize I would want this, but as soon as Harrison gifted it to me and I read about all it does, I was:

1.) Floored

2.) Excited to try it ASAP!

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I was in awe of such a generous and thoughtful gift, but also EVERYTHING this watch can do! Run, swim, bike, row, ski/snowboard (came in handy this Christmas in Steamboat), stand-up paddle board, golf (not really for me, but a possibility down the road!), as well indoor running, cycling, and strength training. I especially love the capability for strength training, especially during a HIIT workout or group fitness class!

It tracks heart rate as well, another component I thought was pretty sweet. Again, nothing I thought I would be sold on, but definitely a reminder to add that extra push and challenge myself during a run or cardio session. Although wearing a heart rate monitor around your rib cage is more accurate, which I still believe is, heart rate via your wrist is also fairly accurate compared to measuring my own manually.

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Sleep is also another feature I find fun to check! Again, nothing I monitor too closely since I’m a pretty sound sleeper, but seeing the amount of hours I slept, periods of deep and light sleep, movement, and awake time is handy. Sleep is a huge component of exercise performance, so knowing I’m sleeping well and sound and tracking it regularly is a feature that I’ve grown to like.

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Aside from the sport features, tracking steps, floors climbed, and intensity minutes are also recorded! All based around your profile you complete on the app, the watch determines your recommended steps per day, floors to climb (kind of tough at times), and intensity minutes for the week. It reminds you to move and congratulates you when you’ve achieved your goal! All good things to know throughout the day.

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Besides tracking fitness, the watch uses Bluetooth technology which syncs with your phone!!! Receiving calls and texts is easy and allows you to monitor notifications discreetly without the use of your phone. However, this is probably one draw back on this watch. I don’t care so much to see my texts and calls show up when I’m working out. My phone is away for a reason because I am busy! My workout time is my me time so I prefer to have that away. Luckily, this feature is not annoying and can be easily dismissed.

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I’m still get used to it, but I must say, it is easy to use and understand. Two buttons on the face, a large touch screen, and waterproof. Once set up, downloading the Garmin Connect App helps manage your stats via your phone. There you can go into details of your activity, sleep, calories burned, weight-loss tracking, and more. Did I mention you can sync it with myfitnesspal?! Too cool! I haven’t yet. Trying to decide if I want it connected or keep them separate. Will keep you posted! Pretty cool option knowing you can keep food logging and activity all on one app.

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Since there is SO many cool features, it can be easy to focus on numbers! Although numbers can be motivating, I try personally to not let them run my life.

I believe these activity trackers, whichever brand you buy, are a TOOL, not a measurement of success or failure. I feel that if I don’t track my sleep, I don’t get steps in, or my intensity minutes fall below the recommended amount, is not something to stress over. However, it is something to work on daily. Being reminded to move and take the stairs I feel are two very good features on this product–all of which doesn’t hurt any of us!

I do have my Garmin Forerunner 15 watch that is still my favorite and something I will continue to use! There’s something special about that watch–I think it has something to do with the races I’ve completed with it. In that case, I will be using it for my marathon and other races this year. General activity I will swap in with my Vivoactive HR watch for spin, walking, strength training, etc.! Overall, I highly recommend this watch since it plays a role in my active lifestyle that is more then just running! A perfect gift any time of year for the active individual in your life.

 

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Two Workouts To Beat Boredom on the Treadmill

Two Workouts To Beat Boredom on the Treadmill

Hi All! I’ve been a little MIA lately due to school, BUT I’m back in action after getting though a crazy busy last couple weeks. Between clients, internship, and having a test this past week, you can say I’ve been a little nuts. Marathon training has kept me sane through it all and has helped me prioritize my runs as much as it has my studying. Another reason why exercise is so good–boosts productivity! 😉

Even though I’m in Florida, it definitely isn’t feeling like fall. It’s still fairly hot and in some cases rainy in the afternoon. Kinda like summer weather. Florida needs to make up its mind! It’s either hot as hell or it’s either hot as hell. Florida, please choose neither and pick fall instead. 😉

With sporadic rain showers mixed with humidity or just being plain hot, speed work outside has been hit or miss. I definitely haven’t missed those workouts, but it’s either get wet outside or suck it up and run on dreadmill…I mean treadmill. Okay, it really isn’t that bad. It’s a last resort for me. It’s either I suck it up on the treadmill or it doesn’t happen plain and simple. If it is nice, then YES you bet I’m outside. With the past few times I have been on it compared and when I was training for Miami, I’ve played around with ways to keep me challenged but also distracted. First off, music is a no brainer. Gotta have music to keep you pumped and going. That’s pretty much it…besides a water and a towel. A nice view also helps!

So HOW would you say you beat boredom on the ‘mill? I’ve come up with two treadmill workouts that I’ve done in a pinch to get in some speed work when I can’t get outside. Because #noexcuses is a real thing especially with marathon training!

1.) Up The Pace

-Start out with a brisk walk on the flat surface for three to five minutes. Using either the distance you have set to run (most times for me) or time at .25 miles or three to five minutes. From there, up the speed half a speed at a time. For example, if you’re ending your warm-up around .25 miles, up your speed from 3.5 for 4.0 or as high as 4.5 mph for 2-4 minutes at a time. Continue to increase speed gradually until you reach the mile marker. At this point, you’re at fast pace/almost a sprint for the last 3/4 (.75) of the mile. That last bit is TOUGH! Once you reach the mile maker, drop back down to your start pace at the walk and repeat the gradual increase in speed until you’ve reached desired time or mileage.

2.) Tempo Sprints

-Start with a brisk walk for three to five minutes. When you’re ready, up the pace to speed of which you’re at an uncomfortable “push” type pace. Talking should be minimal and breathing heavy. Stay here for maximum minute and thirty seconds or minimum of thirty seconds. Drop to jog. Drop back down to brisk walk. Repeat picking up the pace faster each time. Work until you’ve reached desired time or mileage.

Anything helps when you’re on the ‘mill! These have really helped me and I’ve seen the benefits even though I’m inside. Of course outside is always best, but I like to think of it as it happens on the treadmill or not at all when it comes to days I’m stuck inside. Every time I’ve chosen to get it done with on the treadmill and remind myself I’m better for it. Then after the workout, I make a note to self the times it doesn’t rain and plan to go then. XP

Happy Friday!

 

Core & Plyo Workout Plus First Week of Marathon Training

Core & Plyo Workout Plus First Week of Marathon Training

So far so good with my marathon training and balancing life, school, teaching classes, training clients, boyfriend and social life, and internship…LOL. Really though, I am pleasantly surprised with how well I’m doing so far. *Knocks wood.* I am very busy, but if you know me, you know I LOVE that and wouldn’t want it any other way. This week in particular has been a whirlwind and I feel quite tired, but also invigorated. I saw a quote this week that said, “I am so exhausted today because I was busy being so awesome YESTERDAY.” That’s how I’ve felt lately. And it’s a good thing. I’m also really excited to sleep in tomorrow morning for this reason. It’s the little things that count.

This week I shared a cool new core move that I shared on my Instagram. Since I’ve been tired this week, I just wanted to get it all done in as little as one or two moves. I also wasn’t feeling totally creative, like I said up top, so combining total core with a burst of low abs sounded like a good challenge to me! Make sure you keep your core tight, pressing it into the ground. Try not to let your low back pop up as your legs come down for the flutter kick. As soon as you feel your low back arch, you’ve gone too far! Keep your core tight and neutral.

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Owning you, Monday!

This move works the entire core and gets you burning up in half the time!  I was like ‘what can I double up on that let’s me get everything done in one or two simple moves?’ –> then BOOM. This move was born. I was toast guys!!!! Seriously it was really good. I didn’t need to do another move because this one got it all. Can I get an AMEN? Core done: CHECK! I love when I surprise myself with my creativity on days I’m feeling meh.

As much as I love doing large muscle groups and finishing them with core, I was just into doing just core and cardio and that’s it this past week. I wanted to be done with it in thirty to forty minutes max (I can typically spend about an hour, hour and fifteen depending on what I’m doing). We all have places to go and things to do, so this is where this workout came in handy the most.

I’ve talked a little about plyometric (plyo) moves before and they’re making their way back to my workouts. Plyometrics are movements that involve power, speed, and high intensity cardio. They’re great for HIIT and workouts like this one. Fast, challenging, and powerful. I never used to like them because I felt uncoordinated and slow. But after reading about how they can benefit my running and overall cardiovascular system, I reluctantly decided to add them. From there, I’ve grown to LOVE them. I add them for high intensity and burst of cardio where space is limited or I’m short on time. I especially love them for my HEAT class I teach since it’s always a good challenge and doesn’t require equipment–another bonus!

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Checked out the new University of Tampa fitness center this week! Gorgeous facility.

Combined with marathon training, I’m still keeping my three times per strength training days. I’ve been at this for awhile and really like how it’s fit into my schedule. Especially with my training and upcoming milage, it’s so important to stay strong and injury-free. Twice a week total body plus a quick thirty to forty minutes of a workout like this one is a perfect way to get in strength workouts.

No equipment necessary for this! All you need is a mat/towel, a water bottle, and some motivation and that’s it. 😉 Get that core working and heart rate up and you’ll be done in no time.

Core + Plyo Workout

  • * using a weight. I used one twelve pound weight and had a ten pound nearby
  • Three-four times total for each round going from one exercise to the next
  • Rest at the end thirty seconds to one min before repeating
  • Start with each exercise doing forty-forty five seconds each and work up to a minute

 -Overhead crunch + flutter kick*

-Russian twist + bicycle crunch

-Scissor kick + leg lift*

-Lateral bounds + single leg hop

-Side shuffle burpees

*Repeat 3-4 times*

In terms of marathon training, I started last week. Again so far so good. Since having done one already, I feel confident about my training and what works and doesn’t work for me. Of course, there is always something to try and glitches to sort out which makes each training special. I’m following Hal Higdon’s Intermediate I program with a few new changes I’m throwing in. I’m adding two days of speed work and one bridge run. My race has two bridges and yes, I knew that when I signed up. My first race was flat so I figured it was time to add a new challenge. I’m tracking my food via MyFitnessPal. Strength training three times per week. Lastly, I’m adding hip and ankle mobility work since I’m as stiff as a board and am learning through my internship that I really do need to improve this. I’m determined NOT to break with my upcoming milage! My ultimate goal is finish in one piece and injury free and I feel adding the mobility work will really be a great addition! Keeping with minimal drinking and good sources of carbs, proteins, and healthy fats. Carbs are a forever friend when it comes to marathon training!

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Five miles done before the sun

One component I’m particularly excited about is to have my boyfriend, Harrison, be part of this training. He’s into being fit (mostly lifting upper body…I help gotta help with some lower body stuff) and running for health. He’s really supportive and is excited for me and the upcoming training! I’m hoping when he’s not studying, and when I’m not too, I can get him up early to ride his bike alongside me on my long runs. If anything he’s great at keeping me accountable. We both get up early so we text/call each other to make sure where up and moving. For me, I text him when I’m about to leave on a run and when I get back, especially when I run early in the morning. I told him a lot of carbs are in the near future so he said he would be down to keep me accountable with making sure I’m well fed. HAHA. My kinda guy. 😉

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Me & my dude, Harrison. 🙂
My Five Favorite Yoga Poses For Runners

My Five Favorite Yoga Poses For Runners

Hello! I’m really excited to share this week’s post (as I usually am), but am especially excited to share a few of my favorite yoga poses that I have found that have helped me as a runner.

Now, to be honest, I haven’t done a legit yoga class in a few months. *Cringes.* Yeah, it’s not my thing, fitness-wise. I think it’s great and I love how I feel after I’m done, but yoga doesn’t have the same amount of sweat involved as a run or strength training…sorry to any hardcore yogis reading this! 😛 I do enjoy the stillness and the series of movements to help open me up and help me relax. The music, the vibes of the class, and learning a new pose are all something I look forward to when I attend a class. Getting that challenge from stretches and new movements does intimidate me a little, but I have to constantly remind myself that just like anything else, it takes work and patience to see some improvement. Hence, why going to a class regularly like I should would be helpful!

I was going pretty regularly during my undergrad since I enjoyed one instructor in particular, the type of class she taught, and the day/time of the class. Plus it was our school gym so I basically walked across campus and I was there. Now real life has set in and I have to find a new place to go not a part of UT! This has been part of the issue of finding a studio to go to among other factors like instructor, timing, type of yoga, etc. I have learned to use YouTube in a pinch, which does help. Better then nothing right??

Post class, I feel a sense a re-newness while being aware of my being. I leave every time saying, “I forget how much I enjoy this.” Sometimes we forget what our body actually needs instead of what our mind wants. I try to remember the “post” feeling of something when I’m not at first interested in doing something. This happens most often with yoga, but simply reminding myself how good it is for me is enough to put in on my calendar and make it happen. Another thing that helps me prioritize, is knowing it helps benefit my running. Both those reasons combined and I make it happen. Yes, as a personal trainer, I’m following my own advice as a way of putting it on a calendar or in my schedule to make it a priority!

Okay so I’ve told you my thoughts on yoga and what works and what hasn’t for me. I love keeping it real and open here, especially since no one is perfect, even us personal trainers! Watch, after I finish writing this, I’ll look up a couple options for yoga YouTube videos I can do at home! Told ya it doesn’t take much. 😉

Anyways, yoga poses for runners. Tight hips, low back/core, and hamstrings are my tightest spots. I foam roll about three to four times per week but getting a good stretch is something completely different. Like I mentioned above, I enjoy the series of movements to gradually open up and relax me. You’ll find one of my favorites in last week’s post: the cat-cow! Great for low back and core.

Below are my five favorite yoga poses for runners. Add them to your post-run cool-down routine or add them to a morning or evening to start or end the day.

  • Runner’s Lunge (1)
    • Great for: tight hips
  • Pigeon Pose (2)
    • Great for: tight hips and glutes
  • Swan Dive to Downward Dog (3)
    • Great for: lengthening the upper body and hamstrings
  • Triangle Pose (4)
    • Great for: total body, especially inner thighs, hips, obliques
  • Child’s pose (5)
    • Great for: low back and core (I love finishing my stretches with this–helps me become centered in cool-down)

 

LET’S CHAT!

-Do you have a favorite yoga pose?

-Do you stretch post-run? What kind of stretches do you do?

-Do you do yoga?

How You Can Add Strength Training To Your Already Hectic Schedule

How You Can Add Strength Training To Your Already Hectic Schedule

Happy Friday!! Fridays have seemed like a good day to post new material so I’m getting excited about making this a more regular thing. With school, I’m able to post about once a week, if you haven’t already noticed. I’m excited to keep cranking out new posts despite the fact that school is in now happening.

Anyways, to the blog topic: Strength training! To be honest, not my favorite thing. Just like I mentioned last week recovery isn’t my favorite thing. I’ve been very real the past few posts, but its a good thing at times because no one is perfect! 😉 I really enjoy leg day, practicing my pull-ups, and bootcamp classes but nothing makes me happy as running. However, running doesn’t enhance my entire fitness. It’s cardio, comes with different benefits, and is only one part of my program.

Strength on the other hand, complements the cardio. You build specific muscles, prevent injury, and improve bone health to name a few benefits. Yes, cardio does some of that too, but strength is specific to weight bearing. Weight bearing or resistance training meaning anywhere from bodyweight, to resistance bands, dumbbells, etc. If you haven’t check it out, be sure to look at my Why Women Should Pump Iron post to get a good idea on key reasons to starting lifting!

“I know how great strength training is, but I don’t have time for a full hour of it!” –>I’ve heard a million times. No one says you have to do a full hour to get benefits! Recently I’ve changed some goals to where I switched over to doing 30-40 min workouts using smaller muscle groups that take less time. Think shoulders, arms, calves, etc. I’ve done the opposite too using big muscle groups like legs and back to hit a lot in a short amount of time to get more bang for my buck. I still enjoy a good leg day so I’ll keep one of my strength workouts closer to an hour because leg days are favorite–no other reason.

Still feeling unsure of how to tackle a short workout and getting similar benefits? View my tips below to see how to build a effective 30-40 workout!

  • Pick a muscle group: Upper body, Lower body, Core. Keep it simple!
  • Set an end time: How long do you plan on working out for? Need to be done by a certain time? Estimate a half hour to forty minutes from the current time and make an effort to get the workout done! Knowing you have a deadline makes you prioritize what needs to get done, from your rest between sets to how you order your exercises.
  • What’s available equipment-wise: In a hotel room, park, or stadium? Use the benches, stairs, or field to get a kick-ass cardio/hiit style workout in! If small weights are available add squats, overhead press, or bicep curls to the mix. The more options you have, the more complicated the workout becomes. Don’t overcomplicate anything though, use it to be creative and challenge yourself! Bonus points if you have it all set up ready to use instead of taking what you need as you go! Those extra steps back and forth add up to wasted time.
  • Make sure you build in a warm-up and cool-down before and after: This would ideally be included as part of your thirty to forty minutes of work. If you’ve been sitting for a bit, a longer warm-up might be necessary. If you’re like me and are always on the go teaching, training, running, etc. a few minutes might be enough. The key is to feel warm and ready to go. Not still stiff from sitting. Think five minutes of dynamic movement.
  • Best way to keep it at the thirty-forty minute mark–put it on your calendar!!! Book it like anything else in your life. I say time and time again that if you schedule your workout in a planner among your other commitments, you’re likely to stick with it. ‘Nuff said. 😉

Let’s Chat!

-What’s your favorite muscle group to work?

-Tips that you find helpful to fitting in your workouts each week?

-Any fun weekend plans?

My Fifteen Minute Foam Rolling Routine

My Fifteen Minute Foam Rolling Routine

Hey Everyone! Happy Friday!! Hope you all have had a productive and good week. I’m on my fourth week of grad school and so far so good, but is quite the challenge. I’m definitely being pushed out of my comfort zone with studying since it really is a whole new level of knowledge. I’m more then half way through my course, then I’ll have about a week and half or so off then return to my next six week course after the forth of July.

First off, what is foam rolling? Foam rolling is a recovery mechanism that releases adhesions, or knots in the muscle from repeated stress. It promotes blood flow to the affected area through rolling the muscle. Scientifically, this is called myofasical release, meaning ‘myo-‘ for muscle, ‘fasical-‘ referring to fascia meaning connective tissue, and ‘release’ from releasing tension on muscle.

With that being said, I figured I share my foam rolling routine and talk recovery since that is equally important too. I’m always go-g0-go. Constantly having a plan of action is my jam. For me, each week (even if its not set to a tee) has some kind of workout in it. It’s either just one workout of cardio, usually running or weights, either body weight or some kind of resistance. Twice a week I work out twice a day, usually in the morning then in the afternoon either a run then weights or weights then speed work.  Then I have a rest day or two. One thing that is weak in my own program is recovery. YEP, I said it. In fact, it’s probably my biggest weakness. Yep, I said it again. It really takes a lot out of me to focus on this. But I’ve learned over time that it is equally important in order to bounce back well from workouts. That doesn’t mean I get massages every week. I’m on a student on a budget, so that’s not happening! BUT I can do my own job of recovery instead and it starts with a foam roller.

Way back when I started running I was hurting a lot because of a lot of things like not strength training, stretching, and eating well (I ate Bud’s Chicken– a “nice” local fast food drive through post cross country and track meets). One big culprit (although all of them are significant), was foam rolling. I got to college and I had terrible IT Band Syndrome. It was so bad I could hardly walk AND on top of it I was training for my second half marathon. How I did that feeling like sh*t I don’t know but I ran it. Dealing with severe tightness, I learned from a professor I took a class with what foam rolling was. Thank you Exercise Science degree!! 😉 I was so tight and uncomfortable I hated it, but is showed me how much I really needed it and how it important it is to do regularly.

To this day, I’m not great at it, but I do it often enough now that I have my tightness under control and my IT Band Syndrome at bay. I’m still tight there from time to time, but it was WAY more manageable then when I wasn’t doing it at all! I was seriously like a grandma looking back now. How I went that far without rolling was my bad BIG TIME. Sometimes it takes a hard lesson to be reminded how important it is.

Okay, so fast forward to TODAY and I probably roll out two to three times per week. I could more, but I don’t always. I know. I can be better. It is something I struggle with and realize it is something to work on so I try to make it part of my routine somehow. So, I do it before bed as part of my bedtime routine. It takes about fifteen minutes, but it is well worth it. I especially love rolling while watching The Bachelorette or American Ninja Warrior. Roll and watch, it’s a good combination.

If you don’t have a roller and you workout, run, or train multiple days a week rolling is especially beneficial and definitely worth the investment. They come in all different kinds of firmness, treds vs. no treds, brand, etc. However, they are on the pricy side depending on what you’re looking for. I suggest starting with a softer roller (like a pool noodle type softness) and go from there. My favorite is Trigger Point brand recovery tools. They have a great variety for all types of recovery needs! Although I focus on legs, foam rolling can be for all over. If I roll out my whole body, it usually takes a half hour to forty five minutes. I find I have the most amount of time for this on the weekends. During the week I stick with  rolling for about fifteen minutes.

For my routine, this what I do two to three times each week. Starting easy from the bottom and working up or vice versa. Roll a little bit at time, about an inch more in one direction before go back to your starting point. If you feel a particularly tight or tender spot, hold there and breath. I broke it down here, but feel free to check out my video for a visual on Instagram to help get a better idea!

-Starting at the bottom of foot roll five to ten times up and down

-Foam roller under ankle, foot is resting on top, achilles tendon side down:

  • dorsiflex and plantar flex five times
  • circle the ankle in one direction and reverse
  • turn inside then outside ankle to roller and circle one direction and reverse

-Roll up shin to calf until back on knee (it’s safe with light pressure)

-Roll from bottom to top of hamstring up to the glutes

~Switch legs and repeat!~

All The Coffee: Enhance Your Endurance & Tampa Bay Coffee & Art Festival

All The Coffee: Enhance Your Endurance & Tampa Bay Coffee & Art Festival

*Disclaimer: Thanks to the Tampa Bay Bloggers I was able to attend the Tampa Bay Coffee & Art Festival with a friend for free in exchange for social media love and this post. All opinions are my own.*

This past Saturday, I was able to attend the Tampa Bay Coffee & Art Festival! As soon as I got word on this opportunity, I knew I had sign up! I mean it’s COFFEE plus tastings and demos, art, live music, and food, you can’t go wrong! A portion of the proceeds went to Bay Area Foundation for the Arts (BAFA), a organization that helps students and teachers further their knowledge in fine and performing arts. I brought a friend and we both had a great time. Great tastings and brews. It was from 6-9pm, first thought: “YES! Coffee!” and second thought: “Late night coffee?…not gonna stop me though.” Took on the brews like a champ and didn’t have *much of a problem sleeping* 😉 worth it though!

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It was inside at the Noise Box, a local venue in Brandon, FL . They had a variety of local vendors such as pottery, art, books, home decor, etc. They had a corner with baked goods to pair nicely with your brew too! All good looking options of course because what else would you pair it with? At each corner of the venue they had four tastings. All unique with different flavors. I tend to like medium roasts, so my favorite was the Colombian.

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They featured a local company, Zeal Coffee Roasters. My first time having their coffee and their cold brew was AMAZING! I don’t always go for the cold brew since it is a little strong for me, but their ‘s was heavenly with a little cream that made me melt–PUNS… get it cold brew, melt…okay I’m done. SO GOOD!

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After having walked around, tried the tastings and had our drinks, we were ready to head out. Since it was a three hour event, the event really took us an hour and half to get through because it was on the smaller side. I heard that it sold out, which I wasn’t surprised about considering a great turnout! However, there was only one roaster, which I feel wasn’t enough. Adding a second or even a third roaster each offering something unique would make it good to compare to. Overall, I would attend this event again because it offered great coffee culture, something I really enjoy and appreciate. Coffee really is an art!

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If you haven’t already noticed, I LOVE coffee. Hence, me jumping at this opportunity to blog about my experience! Aside from the tastings, demos, and info sessions, coffee has other benefits besides the caffeine kick. Although they’re are many benefits to your brew (a load of antioxidants, lowers your chances of certain types of cancer, fights depression) this reason is my favorite: Enhances endurance and improves workout performance! <— Can I get an HELL YEAH??

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For particularly tough workouts either running or a strength day (like a HIIT workout), I grab a cup a couple hour before if I can. Having that boost of energy before your workout puts that energy kick to work! When you have as little as eight ounces, the caffeine travels into your bloodstream and surpresses neurotransmitters in the brain. Once kicked in, the caffeine takes over and masks the effort you’re putting into your run or workout. Result, you can push longer and harder. Read more about it here.Who needs pre-workouts right? Pair coffee with some easy digestible carbs and a little fat and you have the perfect pre-workout snack! My favorite is pretzels and peanut butter and an 8 oz cup of plain coffee with a little stevia. During my marathon, I made sure my GU contained some amount of caffeine and I saw a noticeable difference in that, just as I did when I tried the ones without caffeine. LOL. Wasn’t quite on my A game during those training runs.

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I’ve noticed an equal kick in a grande latte from Starbucks too, so amount is dependent on you. Make sure you have water along that coffee though! Coffee is a dehydrator so I tend to double fist my Camelback thermos with water and coffee in the mornings.

Make sure you attend the Tampa Bay Coffee & Art Festival the next time, enjoy your coffee, then workout afterwards and kill three birds with one stone (or cup) ! 😉

Enjoy!

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Beat Plateaus with Cardio Post Strength Training

Beat Plateaus with Cardio Post Strength Training

Good morning! We’re officially half way through the week…YES! If you need to freshen up your fitness routine, check out my new workout idea. I wish I had done this combination of cardio post strength day sooner, since it really is a great way to see how well you perform on tired legs (or just a tired total body) while torching extra calories.

Have you ever warmed up with some light cardio or gotten it done first, then hit the weights, and finished with a cool down? Nothing wrong with that! Pretty standard and it works. But if you always do it that way, plateau is likely to set in sooner than later. A plateau is a period of maintenance where there is no decline or progress of fitness. You maintain and that’s it. This can either be seen as good or bad depending on the person and their goals. This can happen to anyone, from the elite to the average joe.

As we improve and progress, we become more fit with a need to be more mindful of new challenges/ways to make us stronger and more fit. For someone who is very fit (think of someone working out six days a week) constantly changing the stimulus pretty often is necessary to reach goals, whatever those are. For someone new to exercise/never exercised before and needs to lose weight, they may see results with this standard routine for a bit. Eventually after keeping up with their exercise routine, they could plateau later and need to adjust. Different timelines and goals for different people!

For those of you not really in a plateau right now (or just are good with where you are now) but just wanna add variety, this is just as good for you too! Especially those of you not really into losing weight, but wanna up your running game and have a race coming up. I tried this concept to switch up my running most of all: Running AFTER strength training! WHAT WHAT! yeah, it’s hard AF. But its great and really gets your body working. Running tired especially after a leg heavy strength day last Thursday was not really on my agenda, but I felt great so I figured why not. Although five miles was not on my list either, I really did enjoy that different kind of push. The first one to two miles were tough, then my legs kinda figured it out. The last mile was definitely tough though *insert fire and explosion emoijis.* I kinda wish I had done this more during my marathon training #MyOneRegret, but know I know for next one! 😉

If running five miles post strength seems to far too soon, stick to one to three miles and keep in tough or just above a conversational pace. See my post on pace runs to add the idea of an intense and short amount of cardio. I took it slower, and still felt I got a challenge out of it. If your legs feel like they’re gonna fall off, you’re doing it right! The point is keeping the cardio for after the weights, so regardless how fast or far you’re going, you can keep it easy or tough and still get benefits from it.

All ya gotta do is tack on the cardio at the end of your strength routine (whatever that is for you) and BOOM you will feel a huge difference! Even if running isn’t your thing, a bike ride, elliptical, walk, etc. works too! Keeping the heart rate going post weights is key!

YOUR TURN:

-Any new workout routines you’ve tried recently?

-What is your preferred form of cardio?

Squeeze in Speedwork with Pace Runs

Squeeze in Speedwork with Pace Runs

Hi Friends! Within the last few weeks, I changed up my speed work sessions since I needed a switch up from the usual tempo and interval runs. I’ve found myself kinda lazy at getting up to run, even though I still go–time change hasn’t helped that. Or I just don’t feel like running far. Both realities prompted me to push for harder, shorter, and more intense runs. I figured, get an extra half hour of sleep, not running as far, AND boost my speed? Can’t beat that!

Quick back story: I’ve not added speed work into my running routine because I never felt that I needed it. Silly I know. I always thought until my sophomore year of college, “why bother when my goal is just to finish?” I finally tried it until I heard after the upteenth time that it would be good to enhance speed, boost metabolism, become more efficient, burn more calories etc. That’s when I decided to use UT’s track for intervals. I sprinted the straightaways and walked the turns for two miles. After a few weeks of adding it twice a week, I experimented with longer intervals/shorter rests and tempo runs. Then I got my Garmin Forerunner 15 watch and have kept it up ever since! I made sure I added it to my marathon training as well since I was determined to complete it in less then four hours. Which I did! I truly believe speed work was my secret weapon in that race besides just the long runs. Read about my marathon journey and training here and here.

 I routinely added pace runs to my weekly running because of time, convenience, and benefits gained in such a short amount of time. What are pace runs? Runs that are thirty minutes or less, ideally twenty minutes, of intense effort without stopping. Think of a sprint, but controlled aka PACED. You should not be able to talk and should be huffing and puffing. If you’re reading this and are thinking WTF…you can see how twenty minutes is about all you can do! For me, that’s about two-two and a half miles. I’m pretty spent let me tell you haha. Guess what though, in twenty minutes you’re DONE! You’ve heard of “minimum thirty minutes of exercise a day” yes, this is true, but INTENSITY is where its at! Pace runs up the game because they incorporate this factor. Adding this along a HIIT workout pairs for a great strength and cardio combo!! BOOYAAA kill two birds with one stone. I did this on Easter last weekend to burn up those Reese’s eggs and chocolate bunnies I ate…definitely can say I put those to good work. Check out it out here

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Sunrises make pace runs worth getting up for or worth hitting snooze 😉 its all about the PACE

Before heading out for your pace runs, make sure you do a good warm-up. Although at times, I’m not the best at this, especially since I just wanna get going ASAP, I try to make sure I get as warm as I can before heading out the door. A easy jog around the block, jumping jacks, walking calf stretch, hamstring toe touches, squats, butt kicks, high knees etc. for a minimum of five minutes to get ready. Remember you’re GOING FAST for a continuous amount of time, so being properly warm is important. Sometimes I start warming up in my PJs if going in the morning, before even getting dressed to run LOL just so that I can hit the ground running literally, once I get outside.

If twenty minutes is too much at first, break it down by distance. Run one mile fast to start or try running hard for five to ten minutes. The point here is INTENSE meaning you can’t talk and may feel winded. Remember not too winded though that you could pass out…not THAT haha. You feel challenged and legs should be burning. In case you’re an exercise science nerd like me, you’re tapping into anaerobic respiration, a form of oxygen consumption that breaks down energy fast resulting in high lactic acid buildup. This buildup creates that “burning” sensation in your legs. You’re burning fat here at a more elevated rate as well. Another perk of pace runs especially if you’re running for weight loss.

Post run, just like a proper warm-up, make sure you get a get a good cool-down too. Walking around allowing for your heart rate to get back down and stretching well helps get you recovered. Foam rolling after these runs is important too! Adding pace runs starting once a week and working up to twice or even three times is ideal. GOOD LUCK!

YOUR TURN:

-Do you do speed work? What kind and how often?

-Do you hate to love speed? Is it your fav? Are you meh?

-Best music for speed?? I love anything with a fast beat and motivating lyrics. Specifically #thatPOWER by will.i.am

Gasparilla Race Weekend + Reward Yourself with a Customizable Decal

Gasparilla Race Weekend + Reward Yourself with a Customizable Decal

Hi Friends!! If you live in the Tampa Bay area and are a runner, you most likely have heard of the Gasparilla Distance Classic. A weekend usually in the second to last week in February starting on Saturday and ending on Sunday. If you’re a newbie to running or a veteran half marathoner, you’ve got a few different distances to pick from: 5k, 8k, 15k, and half marathon plus three challenges of multiple races throughout the weekend. Starting with a great expo on Friday and into Saturday, awesome looking medals for each distance including exclusive ones for each challenge, pre-race goodie bag, and a well-organized race in sunny Tampa and you have a great race weekend! This is one of my favorite weekends of the whole year and my favorite part of living in Tampa. Its so fun and local to this area, its hard not to run and/or spectate!

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Christina ran the 8k Saturday and Caitlyn cheered from finish! Glad to have kicked off race weekend with these two 🙂
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See ya at the finish, mom!

I’ve participated in the race weekend since starting school at the University of Tampa in 2011. My first half marathon was Gasparilla in 2012 and I participated in the Amber Challenge (5k, 15k, half) last year in 2015. Hard to believe that I’ve run the half marathon/participated in the race weekend for the past five years! Yet again, they did another great job putting the race weekend together. Unfortunately the races fall on the same weekend as the Disney Princess Half Marathon which I haven’t done yet (or any disney race for that matter) because I love this whole weekend that much! I basically walk out my front door and walk to the start, its my home running route, weather is great, and its a reasonable price (sorry disney). Not to say that I won’t do a disney race, I want to eventually, but right now this weekend is something I’ve participated in every year and I can’t break that!! 😉 Honestly though, I wanna run the Tower of Terror 10 miler in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Hopefully 2017 (when they re-open the race) it will work out then!

The week before the race, of course I felt I was overdoing it a little…smh :/ I was feeling some tightness in my right foot after my ten mile run and from that moment, I got back into some foot strengthening/maintenance exercises and made sure I foam rolled (both of these I’m not good at doing regularly) and for a week I took off running. I did this before my marathon too because of a similar issue, so I repeated it again before the half. I went to Soho Cycling, strength trained, did yoga, ate well, rested, etc. All that was left was awaiting for my Mom to show up for the weekend! Another reason this race is tradition is because it always falls on the weekend after my birthday. A good excuse for my mom or both my parents to come watch and spend the weekend with me. Who doesn’t love when you get personal cheerleaders AND they help you celebrate your birthday a little longer?! My mom arrived Saturday morning and we went shopping, had lunch/dinner our favorite places. Daily Eats is BOMB has a killer shredder bowl for pre-race fuel and Oxford Exchange is AHmazing for their Chicken Burger and sweet potato fries post race. I crave a burger and fries post race of almost any distance. I think its the ultimate cheat meal especially since I don’t typically make this kind of stuff for myself during the week. Isn’t that what a cheat meal is supposed to be?! YAS.

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Who doesn’t love local strawberries covered in chocolate??

The morning of the race was Sunday at 6am so I got up around 4-ish to eat, get myself prepped, and be ready to head out the door around 5:30am. I woke up and felt like I was hit by a truck…yeah. Not a way to start a half marathon. I remember thinking, “you can go back to bed and not run or you can suck it up and run.” I chose the latter. Sweating out whatever I had could be okay. I felt confident after having deciding and warming up so I was already feeling better mentally. I made it to the start and bang went the gun and off I went! Overall weather-wise it was great. I started slow, about 9-9:30 min/mile and soon made up time as I got to mile eight. Past eight, I started picking it up. I was feeling much better! The last five 5k I was up to 8 min/mile and felt amazing. All I used was my nuun and ended up not needing any of my gu. I finished strong with a time of 1:51:51! I was so happy and proud! I had PR-ed and cut four minutes off my time from last year! Although my marathon was about a month ago, it significantly helped me mentally and physically with my improvement in my time. By far it gave me a new appreciation of running half way! BEYOND GRATEFUL pretty much sums it up.

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Post race, my mom and I walked back and got ready for the rest of the day. We had brunch with LiveSweatSleep post race, got strawberries in Plant City, did some home improvement stuff like putting together the rest of my room and defrosting my fridge–fun stuff. That night I started feeling pretty tired and worn out. I was also starting to feel that “hit by a truck” feeling aka getting sick. My mom made me homemade chicken noodle soup and we just relaxed until she left the next morning!

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Caitlyn join in for post race brunch!

Overall, besides starting off the race not feeling so hot to the weekend overall being fun and memorable complete with my PR, it was great!! An awesome way to start year 23!

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Breakfast thanks for THE Columbia for a killer way to refuel post half!

SO…have YOU run any of the Gasparilla races yet?? Maybe you’re like me and run the same race every year or you just tackled a new distance? Maybe you ran disney or another race recently and want to reward yourself for your hard work? 🙂 I gotcha covered. Whatever the accomplishment, check out these custom made decals by ThisCrazyLifeofMine!! I saw them on LiveSweatSleep‘s car and thought how cute and clever AND get all distances covered in the same place.

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They’re awesome because they make great car bling, they’re a cute way to reward yourself and show off your accomplishments, and its completely customizable 😉 From the color of the hearts, the distances, and line at the bottom, you can make it uniquely YOU. Check out This Crazy Life of Mine for more info! Be sure to email crazylifeofmineblog@gmail.com for a $1 off when you mention AliGoesTheDistance.

YOUR TURN:

-What race have you done recently? Did you try a new distance or race altogether? How did it go??

-Any pre-race rituals? 😛