Holiday Motivation: Maintain Don’t Gain (or lose sight of your goals!)

Holiday Motivation: Maintain Don’t Gain (or lose sight of your goals!)

Hi There! I took a small hiatus from blogging over the holiday, now I’m back with some new topics to share with you. Everyone knows the holiday season is upon us. For most people, that usually means more eating out, falling off of a workout routine, other seasonal stressors, and other ways to put health and fitness on the back burner. I myself, find it hard to juggle my workout schedule among a lot of things going on, especially during this time of year. SO, I’ve decided to share some motivation, tips on setting small goals for each workout, and why staying fit over the holidays matter.

Starting to feel that “dread” or “guilt” upon starting a workout or run or for not getting your workout in? I’m already there on some days honestly! #keepingitreal…LOL. Marathon training during this time of year has its pros and cons (burn off those christmas cookies right?) so I get it.

  • Motivation wise:
    • Get half of the workout done anyways. Thirty minutes or less? Make it hard, fast, intense. This goes for HIIT workouts and speed/tempo runs.
    • Holiday fun runs or a 5k—so many good reasons for a 5k! Holiday runs are especially fun since they’re seasonal and allow you dress up. Get a group together or your family.
    • Experiment with *healthy* holiday recipes–a lot are re-created with healthy substitutes. My mom does roasted brussel sprouts with cranberries. It a festive dish and its healthy.
    • Holiday Challenges—I’ve done a running streak (with clothes on–LOL!!) where you run a mile a day from Thanksgiving till the new year. Not into running? Try doing a set of ten push-ups, holding a plank, etc. every day till the New Year instead. Get your friends together and make it fun.
    • Out of the box ways to motivate yourself: make your phone screen something motivational, a good quote maybe? Seeing it often helps you focus on your goals.
  • Go in the gym with a plan…Okay, so you made to the gym. Now you’re trying to figure out what you wanna work on. You might be feeling that “dread” set in but you know you need to do something. Instead you wander around and might not be efficient with your time. Aside from just showing up, plan your workouts ahead of time (see post on using a planner). For example, know you’re gonna do an upper body HIIT workout. Its okay if you don’t have the exact plan in front of you  (sometimes I don’t) but knowing what you’re doing *somewhat* makes it easy to get it and get it done.
  • Staying fit matters…Yes, we like to indulge this time of year. We should!! Tasty, wonderful food and treats are among us. It’s special. Try not to completely let it go to the point you hate yourself for it. All those thirty minute or less workout/runs, walks, and push-up  challenges, etc matter. Healthy food choices count too. Starting the new year with maintaining your goals is much better then having to start all over again with everyone else at the packed gyms etc. That thought alone makes me cringe! #packedgyms.

No one is perfect, but its the moments you don’t want to do anything that count the most! Plan it out, get it done, feel great, repeat…all season long. 🙂

Advertisements
Been There, Done That…Now What?

Been There, Done That…Now What?

Even with the most experienced runners, we all tend to get “stuck in a rut.” It’s a normal part of any fitness routine. It usually means that either we hit a plateau, need fresh workout ideas, a change of scenery, a buddy a to run with, new music, the possibilities are endless. These are just a few things that help me break out of my routine.

As soon as I start getting bored thinking about a run (which doesn’t happen often, but recently with mileage it is becoming more so), I know something needs to change. I take it as an opportunity to learn something new or challenge myself. However, with training for a marathon, it is a whole other beast to say the least. It is a different kind of commitment for sure which takes a lot of time and patience. I find myself always looking for ways to break out of my rut, since I find myself either running alone (not so bad since its my preference) or in the same location most times since its convenient. Aside from location, music, even a new workout top or headband—I must say a new piece of workout clothing is quite motivating! It’s not always enough.

Below are some tips and thoughts that go through my mind that help distract me during a rough patch or get me to look forward to my next workout or run:

  • FOOD- YES! Of course many of us runners or anyone who likes a good sweat are foodies at heart—at least I AM!! 😛 I come up with what I look forward post run or workout that gives me the right fuel, is tasty, or something special that makes doing the workout worth doing in the first place. Dread six miles early morning on Saturday or a workout class you have to drive to? Make homemade pancakes for breakfast with all the fixings and let it be special or go out for breakfast after.
  • Break down the milage or time. Fourteen miles sounds long right? Yeah, that’s what I thought this past weekend. Instead I thought of seven miles out and seven back, plain and simple. I knew I was only doing seven one way, which after resting the day before sounded do-able. My mind was fresh and was more mentally strong knowing I broke it down into managable miles or making my workouts simply thirty minutes.
  • Music that PUMPS YOU UP! Find a song that triggers your inner BEAST and let yourself get excited knowing that song is perfect for speed or tempo day when you need to kick it up or slow and steady for long run. Playing it before your workout, as you’re getting ready and part of your warm-up are great ways to get your mind psyched for your workout ahead.
  • New Route, Same Location. Yes, I mentioned this earlier, but a new place does wonders. Either re-looping the same route or reversing it helps a lot. The night before mapping out on mapmyrun.com is good for keeping nearby as well as checking out other runner’s routes.
  • Find a Race! The excitement and enthusiasm of other runners in a race is great motivation. With that comes a new location in some cases, other people, a little friendly competition, and maybe a PR! 😉
  • Running Groups. These are all over the place now. Its a great way to meet people who already have the same interest as you. They offer socializing and weekly meetups which helps with motivation as well. Not just for running either, but biking, walking, and workout groups too! Best part is that they’re free (or a small fee)! Checkout meetup.com for local groups in your area.
Jumping Rope: An Oldie But Goodie

Jumping Rope: An Oldie But Goodie

HELLO! Over the past few weeks I’ve added some new cardio so my workouts. Lately, I’ve been all about quick effective workouts (see my last post on HIIT) and jumping rope has come to mind. I also recently read an article on Runner’s World and they had some interesting points on how jumping rope can help with running. Through that article as well as some research on my own, there are tons of benefits when including jump rope to your strength and cross training routine. Not only the obvious benefits including:

  • Can be done anywhere
  • Cheap
  • Easy storage
  • Good, fast way to get cardio in

BUT also adds components that enhance running performance as well. WHO KNEW?! Check out the benefits below!:

  • Aids in good posture 
    • During a race or run, rounded shoulders become more obvious as you fatigue. Training your upper body to stand tall as you jump keeps your form efficient.
  • Fast Footing
    • More efficient way to quicken your steps and stride leading to improved speed while keeping light on your feet.
  • Recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers 
    • Jumping without much break in between can help with explosiveness and power at the start of a run or race. 

Pretty short and sweet if you ask me! After learning these benefits, I love incorporating the jump rope! Who knew the such an oldie could reap awesome benefits in such a short time. To be honest, it is fatiguing. But my heart rate is up in no time and the added challenge is giving me something to work towards. To start, try to do 20-30 reps without stopping. Then add 5-10 more each time. I jump for time so I did 1 min when I added it to a workout. If a minute is tough, try 30 seconds and work up. Be sure your rope is not too long either. Hold the handles at your side and notice if the middle of rope touches the floor. If more than middle does, it’s too long, if not enough touches, it’s too short.

If not for enhancing performance, adding it to your cardio routine is a fun way to mix it up. You’ll be reap the benefits of an old school activity while gaining cardio health benefits along the way.

Activity vs. Exercise…What’s the Difference?

Activity vs. Exercise…What’s the Difference?

You probably read the first title of my post and thought, “aren’t activity and exercise the same?” YES, they both require some movement, however both have different mindsets. When you think of activity and exercise, what do you think of? Activities I think of are social, fun, minimal cost (sometimes), and something that interests you. Before, I thought of exercise as costly (gym membership), un-motivating, and usually done alone.  NOW, I’m a HUGE advocate of exercise (I have my B.S in Exercise Science), and this mindset is not mine at all today, but it once was before I got into running.

In my opinion, I think our population is so forced to exercise, that the “activity” idea goes out the window. Exercise to most people is considered a chore, not fun, and requires a gym membership. Exercise should be done because we love our bodies and want to move, not because we hate how we look. 

On the other hand, I know a lot of people who made the transition to becoming more active and have found an ACTIVITY that they love. Key word here is *activity.* What do you think about when you think of activity? I think of running (obviously :P), swimming, biking, rowing, rock climbing, hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, group fitness class, walking. etc. All these have a few things that include movement (a component of exercise), being social, having fun, some cost, interesting, motivating, rewarding, the list goes on! Point here is that I love running as much as I do because I don’t see it as a chore, work, or something that has to be done in a gym (although treadmills exist for that reason). I love it because it CAN be social, as interesting as I want (races, challenges, volunteering), fun, requires minimal costs which are optional (gear, race entries), as well as EXERCISE that doesn’t feel mundane or forced. This post is not about trying to sell you on running, but to find an activity you enjoy that doesn’t feel like exercise. Gyms and indoor cardio equipment have a place, but they don’t last as long as a life long interest in an activity does.

With an activity you can get the benefits of exercise, the cardio and calorie burn, but for our out-of-shape society today its a great first place to start. From there you build an enjoyment of it, and then before you know you’ll adding to it! I tell all my clients if you want to start an exercise routine, pick an activity and go from there. It may take a few times to figure out what you like and don’t, which will more than likely take patience and time and a gym membership if that’s what you’re into, but its worth knowing in the end! 

At the end of the day, I like to call this activity, whatever it is you choose, RECREATION (my minor) because that’s what it boils down to. This isn’t a guaranteed way to get fit fast, but this perspective will help jumpstart a new and continued fitness routine for years to come!