Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Faves and Raves

This week has just flown by.  And it has been quite fun on the fitness front… and that was the point.

We have been doing our current formal strength training program for 7 weeks, and I decided it was time to take a break from it.  I think it is good to change things up occasionally and just have some fun while being active and mindful of getting in some workout time.  And, for the month of April I am concentration on flexibility and stretching so I wanted to be aware of that as well.

  • Sunday we started the week with a 5km run before breakfast, followed by a good stretch.
  • Monday we did a 20 minute kettle bell workout followed by a stretch and then a round of push ups to finish it.  We also walked downtown and back after lunch… about an hour in all.
  • Tuesday we did a 20 minute yoga routine from the new DVD – a Beginner’s Flow that was way too fast for a beginner… but we did our best, and managed to complete it.
  • Wednesday we did an hour long walk after lunch.
  • Thursday we did a different 20 minute yoga routine from the same DVD that concentrated on abs. Wow!  I was very impressed that The Captain was able to follow it all the way through. Not me, but I did my best.  My first session with Rodney Yee, and I love his voice.
  • Friday, today, we are about to head out for a 5 km before breakfast and also do some walking later in the day.
  • Saturday?  Not sure what the afternoon will bring but I do plan to get outside so perhaps a hike and some stretching.

I won some CEP thermal compression socks on from a Facebook contest and they just arrived.  They are thick and warm and soft.

Apr 11 stuff 001

I picked up another yoga mat this week.  We have very hard oak floors in the apartment and I decided we both needed to be using 2 mats, for comfort sake.  This one is 1/4 inch thick and I used it Thursday and really liked it.  It also came with a little strap to keep it rolled up. Nice.

Apr 11 stuff 002

Here are some of the blog posts and articles that I really enjoyed this week… helpful and informative:

How is your week flowing?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

5 Ways to Shake Up Your Workout

I thrive on change… both mentally and physically.   I get bored doing the same things over and over.  That holds true for just about everything in my life, but especially in my workouts.  Here are 5 of my favorite ways to keep things interesting and challenging.

5 Ways to Shake Up Your Workout

1.  Take it outside

This is such an easy and satisfying way to vary your workout.  If you are a treadmill runner or walker, hit the track at the closest schoolyard, or take your run to the street or even the beach.  Throw down your yoga mat out on your deck or carry it into the park.  Do your stretching on your apartment balcony.  It is a wonderful to get outdoors into the sunshine and fresh air. 

March 31 TC run 001

2. Substitute one exercise for another that is similar

If you are strength training, try doing hammer curls instead of your regular bicep curls.  Change your plank to mountain climbers, or do your plank on your elbows instead of from our shoulders.  If you are running, vary your route.  I like to use a web site called Map My Run to create a new routes in my neighborhood.  If you normally walk, go for a hike instead.  Try a Body Flow class, which is a combination of Tai Chi, Pilates and Yoga, instead of your regular Flow Yoga class.

Feb 24 TC gear 003

3.  Add something new to your routine

Add some hill repeats to your run.  Waiting for a traffic light to change?  Do squats till the light turns green.  If you run past a park bench, stop and do 20 push ups on it.   Do walk/run intervals instead of just running.   Do a couple of yoga poses after your run instead of your regular hamstring and quad stretches.  Add finishers to your strength routine such as push ups or burpees.   Change the timing of your lifts.  If you normally lift your weights up and down, try lifting to a count of 1-2-3 and then down... or up 1-2 and down 1-2.  Makes them harder, believe me!  If you don’t already stretch after you workout, try it.  Get your body on a different plane… put your head down or your feet up.

Oct 30 exercise 005


4.  Try a new piece of gear or equipment

Get creative.  Get yourself a new yoga mat or add a block to your sessions.  Is anyone ever NOT inspired by new running shoes?  What a bout a new workout top or pair of capris?  Try a stability ball or some heavier dumb bells.  What about a kettle bell?  I am looking forward to getting out my new tennis racquet again soon.  You might be inspired by a new Garmin or even a Fit Bit.  How about counting steps with a pedometer?

May 1 Core Ball 001 (2)

5.  Try a different workout altogether

Do sprint intervals instead of your usual 5 km run.  Substitute a kick boxing workout for your STEP class.   Run with a group instead of alone, or vice versa.  Do a kettle bell workout in place of your strength training routine.  Go for a hike instead of a walk.    Take a Pilates class instead of yoga.  Crank up the music and just dance.  How about ditching the workout altogether and spending the day washing your car or your boat?  Remember The Karate Kid?  Wax on… wax off.  Enjoy an afternoon in your garden; take the kids to the park.   Go for a horseback ride or spend a day at the water park.

April 22 Earth Day 003

There is really never any reason to get bored!  Even small changes are so good for our heads and our bodies. 

And make it FUN!

How do you vary your routines and workouts to keep them interesting and challenging?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Faves and Raves

It has been quite a week!  Really busy on the fitness front and I am very happy about it and also very tired… in a good way!

My last group exercise class at the gym was on Wednesday. I walked for an hour with The Captain before heading into the gym and running sprint intervals on the treadmill for 10 minutes, and then walking around for a few minutes to bring my heart rate down before stretching, and then centering myself before the Flow Yoga began. It was really a tough workout, the poses zeroed in on lower body strength and flexibility.  Right up my alley for this month’s focus.

And I love that the leader reminded us to find an intention for the hour's practice.  Makes you feel like you have really accomplished something special.  I shall miss her guidance.  The only other class she teaches, outside this one at the gym, is for Moms and Babies... nope, won't be seeing here there either.

Then this morning, I put The Captain through his paces with a 40 minute strength workout.. my participation greatly reduced from normal due to a bad cut I got on my middle finger on my left hand yesterday at work by getting it caught between 2 tables.  I did the core work in our routine, but didn’t use any dumbbells for the upper and lower body exercises.  So, not really feeling like I had done much, I declared we should go out for a run!  It was short; only 3.5 km but it was great to be out in the sunshine.   All of the flowering trees here are showering pink petals and it looks like a pink blizzard when the breeze comes up from the Strait.  Very pretty but I can see why those with allergies are suffering.

Pink Trees

I have been enjoying a new and simple pre-run high protein drink lately… shared it on my food blog today.  If you want to read about it, just click on the picture.

My White Smoothie

I read some really good blog posts this week and wanted to share them with you.  These are a few that I found particularly helpful or interesting and thought you might like them too:

And just because I am loving them so much… here is one of my own posts about brownies!

What is on your favorites list this week?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Well… That’s a Wrap and Looking Forward to April

I just came home from my final group exercise class at the gym. My membership expires tomorrow and I work 2 shifts so I won’t be going to the gym at all.

I have really made the most of the last 2 days.

Yesterday I walked 20 minutes to the gym, ran for 25 hard minutes on the treadmill, stretched, huffed and puffed through a 65 minute Body Pump class and then walked home.  I was happy that I had pre-made my lunch and left it in the refrigerator because I was so hungry I would likely have just eaten a protein bar of some kind and not taken the time to make a proper lunch.  Afterwards, The Captain and I went for an hour long very brisk walk so I was pretty wiped out by day’s end.  But if felt great!  Do you ever over-do but really enjoy it anyway?  I love the way that I feel when I am physically exhausted from doing things I really enjoy.

Today I was looking forward to my final Flow Yoga class.  The Captain and I walked for an hour in the sunshine and then stopped at Stabuck’s for coffee before I headed to the gym and he carried on shopping and walking home.  Not all that many of the Starbuck’s locations here have good outside sunny seating so we took advantage of this downtown location today.  Just what I needed before heading into the gym and doing sprint intervals on the treadmill for 10 minutes, and then cooling down and stretching before Flow Yoga.  The leader put us through a very tough lower body workout today and it was brutal and wonderful.  It fit in so well with my desire to gain flexibility in my lower body, which is my April focus.

After the class was over, I took the opportunity to ask her about my making progress Pigeon Pose, and to thank her for her guidance and also to let her know it would be my last session with her for a while. My right hip/groin is so much tighter than my left and I wanted to see if I was doing the pose correctly for my ability, on that right side. She assured me that she had observed that as she walked around and that I am making the correct modification, and to continue and it will improve.  Hurray!

I have so enjoyed these classes, and I thought about starting my home practice with The Captain as I walked the 20 minutes home.

Yesterday, while on our walk I picked up a yoga DVD that I hope will be a good beginning for us.

April 2 yoga DVD 001

April 2 yoga DVD 002

I chose it for a many reasons:
  • I think GAIAM products are good quality overall
  • It has 5 different workouts on it that are each only 20 minutes long
  • I think 20 minutes is a good length of time for us to start with as it is not a huge time commitment
  • There is a beginner’s workout on it
  • The workouts are led by different instructors, one of whom is Rodney Yee and I have heard he is very good
  • And I thought it might be good for The Captain to have a male to work with occasionally so he can see that yoga is not ‘girly’ – he has not expressed that – I am projecting here
  • It was a  very small financial commitment… if it is horrible, I can give it away or toss it
  • I wanted a DVD so we can view on the large screen TV rather than having to follow a video on the the smaller computer screen… neither of our current laptops are capable of sending video to this TV. I am concerned about  this is for interest sake.  For myself I am committed enough to do videos on the computer, but for The Captain the TV is preferable.
So, goodbye to the gym… and hello to looking forward to continuing home work in April.  And now I need to get to work on a new schedule for us to start next week. 

Do you practice yoga at home with DVDs?  Any suggestions for newbies?

Monday, March 31, 2014

March… poof! Where has it gone?

Where has March gone?  It is hard to believe it is the end of the month already.

Because I have been strength training at home a couple of times a week, and going to group exercises classes at the gym 3 times a week, and getting out for lots of walks in between, running has taken a back seat.  Well, honestly, running has barely been in the car at all!

So last night when we went to bed I told The Captain that I was going for a 5km run this morning and he said he would like to go along.  This morning we both had a bit of coffee before drinking our pre-run smoothies and off we went. It was a bit breezy along the waterfront so I was glad I had worn my Tommie Copper beanie to keep my ears warm.  It was quite sunny though and I warmed up quickly. 

It was slow, I have to admit, and The Captain did walk a couple of times on uphill stretches so that he wasn’t running away from me! But It was great to be out and afterward, I enjoyed a long and leisurely stretch on the balcony in the sunshine.

W1 R37 @12/1 W4
stretch 5 minutes

March 31 TC run 001

March in Numbers:
  • 3 number of runs
  • 4 number each  of Body Pump, Flow Yoga, and Body Flow classes
  • 9 number of strength training sessions with The Captain
  • 12 number of treadmill runs that I did before group exercise classes ranging in time from 10 to 25 minutes, no keeping track of distance
  • 15 number of kilometres run

I am so looking forward to April… one more Body Pump class and one more Flow Yoga class before my gym membership expires and then the routine changes again.

I am gathering information about stretching hips and hip flexors, starting a home yoga practice, and looking for some beginners’ yoga workouts that I can share with The Captain.  I will be changing our workout schedule and the exercises in it as well.  

It is gonna be a fun month! 

Any special plans for April?