Monday, November 24, 2014

Motivation Monday: November 24

How is it possible that this is the last week of November. And that next Monday will be the last month of the year. And then it will be 2015?! Time flies. 

This is the part of the year where so so so many holiday parties start popping up, people hide from the cold in their kitchens baking up a storm, and there is always an excuse for that gingerbread cookie and eggnog latte. It is one of the best times of the year, and we shouldn't feel guilty about enjoying it. Moderation and consistent exercise are where it's at, plus I always have some #MondayMotivation to get your week started on the right foot!

For some reason this week was full of amazing stories and awesome internet wonderfulness. I laughed harder, cried harder, and was inspired more than ever by some of this amazing stuff. 

  • Grab your Kleenex. A whole box. This girl is amazing. She has MS and when she runs her body temperature rises and the symptoms of MS start to appear and she can't feel her legs anymore. Her coach literally catches her at the end of each race because she can't walk. She runs because it makes her happy and she doesn't know how many years she will be able to do it. THIS IS INCREDIBLE.

  • Now keep that Kleenex but use it to wipe your happy tears. I sent this story to as many people as possible because it was one of the funniest things I had read all week. A woman dragged her fiancĂ© to Barre class and he wrote about it. I think the title says it all. You can find it HERE… and cue laughter. 

  • THIS is sure to get you in the Christmas mood… and the running mood, which is likely the best combination ever. It is called 'Twas the Night Before Race Day and it is everything you want it to be from the blog It's a Marathon and a Sprint.
  • A friend sent me THIS link, and I have also seen it floating around on Facebook and other social media. It is an infographic depicting the "cost" of getting lean. It ranges from an unhealthy overweight to an unhealthy underweight and explains what each body fat % means for health benefits AND the costs of getting to that range. Super interesting.

  • Oh, and when all else fails… THIS.

Make this week AMAZING! 

What is motivating YOU this Monday?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Weekly Workout Recap: Sunday runday and comfort food.

After 8 hours of work yesterday, which involved mostly sitting and very little activity, my legs felt ready to run this morning. I didn't have a friend meeting me for a treadmill date so the miles went by a little slower than last weekend, hence why I only lasted 10 miles. I did have three episodes of Will & Grace to keep me entertained…. and lots of promos for Christmas movies that made me really excited for the holiday season. 

I managed 10 miles before I called it quits and cooled down. My average pace was about 9:16 min/mile which is basically my long run comfort pace. When I was done my run I did 10 minutes on the stationary bike to keep my legs moving while I cooled down. By the time I finished my cardio I was almost 2 hours in and had no motivation to do weights… there's always tomorrow ;)

It seems like everyone is decorating for Christmas early this year. The number of houses lit of for Christmas every night seems crazy for this time of year, but I love Christmas so I am 105% OK with it. My mom even got out our Christmas decorations today so our family wouldn't be left behind, even though we don't typically decorate until December. On Friday I even wore a new reindeer sweater I bought! (You can find it HERE, it is super comfy and really cute!)

When I got home from the gym this morning it was so sunny and beautiful out. A chilly -12 degrees Celsius so I don't regret my treadmill run in shorts and a tank, but the sky was bluer than blue. I have been craving waffles ever since writing THIS post and describing them as one of my favourite foods, and I just couldn't get them off of my mind so I HAD to make them!

I used an adaptation of THIS pancake recipe (for one… #singleforever) and just didn't add quite as much milk as it said so I could pour it into the waffle iron. I cooked them to perfection, obviously, and they came out fluffy, crispy on the outside and deliciously warm and soft in the centre. The peanut butter was the perfect topping because it melted all over and filled the waffle nooks and crannies… and the cracks of my heart. 

My 10 mile run topped off a pretty low mileage running week. I ran four times but did a lot more strength training than normal which was fun! It's so tough to balance workouts when I want to just DO IT ALL, but I realize that is totally unrealistic and ridiculous so simply picking what I want to do on a day-to-day basis has kind of been my strategy this off-season. It makes me feel really relaxed doing that because there is no pressure to do a certain number of spin classes a week or "X" number of miles!

Only ONE WEEK LEFT in November, which means I have 7 days to complete my November challenge. I had a goal to try three new things this month and I have only tried ONE! I have some work to do this week!!

Have you started decorating for Christmas yet?

Is anyone training for a race/event right now?? Which one?!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Everything triceps.

This morning I hit up the gym for a good ol' combination of cardio and strength. I did a 4.0 mile progression run on the treadmill (from 9:26 to 8:13 min/mile) that was just "meh." I wasn't stoked on life and riding the endorphin high while running but I also wasn't hating it. I was watching the most random TV shows on the treadmill, including "Danger Flights" on Discovery. It made me appreciate the safety of commercial flying compared to what those crazy guys were doing. It was pretty warm in the gym so even when I had only done 4 miles I was super sweaty!

I was indecisive as to what I wanted to do for strength but I started with the leg press to stretch out my hamstrings (I highly recommend this after EVERY run, it does wonders for tight hamstrings), and then figured I would work mainly on triceps, with some hamstrings and calves thrown in to give my arms a break between sets. 

I started with hamstring curls (70lbs.) and triceps push-downs (35lbs). 

Dumbbell tricep kickbacks on the bench (I use 15 lb. dumbbells… or 17.5 lb. if there is a hot guy next to me). This is a great move to focus on form. You are really only working that one area so you can focus on doing it right. I did alternating sets of this kickback and calf raises (90lbs.).

Horizontal tricep extensions (20lb barbell), alternated with sets of leg press (using calves only) of 120lbs. 

Tricep dip off of the bench (body weight), coupled with sets of standing calf raises (50lbs.). I love watching myself in the mirror when I do this one because not only do I really like to make sure I am doing it right but I like that I can actually see my triceps muscles working when I drop down and press up. Sometimes I put my feet on a second bench and drop below my feet but all benches were occupied this morning!

Finally, I did assisted triceps dips using a machine. This is where you set the counter weight and the machine uses that weight to help you if you can't entirely lift your body weight. Instead of alternating this move with a leg move I did chin-ups… well I "tried" assisted chin-ups for the alternating sets. 

My triceps were burning and my calves were totally done even though I only did a few strength moves with them! I was ready to drive slide all the way home and have some breakfast!! Usually on the weekends I have a banana before I go to the gym because it is often later in the day when I get there (compared to 5:30am) and I need a little something in my stomach to tide me over but this morning I didn't feel like anything when I was leaving the house so I was hungry!

I usually make oatmeal with egg whites cooked in, but this morning I went back to an oldie but a goodie, the egg white and oatmeal protein pancake. Same ingredients, different ratio. I really get crazy and adventurous on weekends. Oh, and obviously there was peanut butter. 

After struggling to think of what kind of strength workout I wanted to do after running on the treadmill, I ended up getting a good one in! It took me about 30 minutes to complete and I got a good mix of legs and arms even though my "focus" was triceps. There is absolutely no way to spot train and even though I did a lot of "triceps moves" today, it felt like a total arm workout when I was done!

If you were to focus on one muscle group to train in your next workout, what would it be?

What is your favourite total body workout?