Summer is the time of year that’s known for increased activity levels. There are trails to hike, lakes to swim, games to play and roads to be biked, but unfortunately it can also include hours of sitting on your backside. These days we just don’t tend to live close to all the summer activities we plan. The city or suburban dweller may have to travel 20 – 45 minutes before hitting a recreation area to enjoy or we may find that all the summer vacationing, road tripping, family reunion(ing) can include several days of “travel” before getting to the fun spot where we get to MOVE! So, what can we do to stay on track with our health goals and avoid losing momentum while hitting the open road? My answer?
Take Your Workouts “On the Road”
Do you ever wonder if all those exercise memes, quotes, and motivational posters about pushing through pain, leaving all excuses behind and giving it all you’ve got could be harmful? We’ve all seen them; we even share some here on our blog and other social media accounts at times. Most of these memes can be inspirational and uplifting when we’re ready to throw in the towel, give into flimsy excuses and let our goals go. Yet, are there memes that can set us up for disaster? Could those “encouraging” words sometimes encourage us to go a little too far in our training?
Maybe it just takes a certain type of personality to read those quotes andhear, ‘It’s not supposed to be easy, so keep going even if it hurts... a lot.’ ‘I’m a quitter if I stop before I finish this run or follow my training plan perfectly.’ ‘My small gains don’t matter if I don’t reach my goal in time.’ ‘You’re injured? Bear down, grit your teeth and push forward because pain is temporary.’ Well that is until... it isn’t.
Have you ever had a desire to try something different but the fear of the obstacles you may face or the fear of failure made you feel that maybe it wasn’t worth trying? Last year, I felt like I really needed to start expanding my knowledge about fitness and nutrition. Sure, I research information all the time, but other than the few courses I took in college (Body For Life, Weight Lifting, etc.) I haven’t had much “formal training”. I decided it was time to change that, but I was nervous. I did some asking around in different forums and decided on the NASM [National Academy of Sports Medicine] Certified Personal Trainer [CPT] program. Making that decision was exciting and scary at the same time.
Taking on this course required hours and hours of study, quizzes, tests and assignments. There were definitely times that I questioned my decision and wondered, “Have I lost too many brain cells as a Mom of three to retain all this information? Have I been out of school too long? Will I be good enough?” But, I kept at it. I poured over the fundamentals of human movement science (muscular skeletal, cardiorespiratory and nervous systems. I practiced assessments, training concepts and program design. I learned about flexibility training, nutrition, lifestyle modification and behavioral coaching.
Do you know what I love? Options. I love that getting and staying healthy doesn't have to be confined to the same exercises day after day after day. There are SO many ways to add activity to life. Who says that walking/jogging on the treadmill or a specific workout video is the ONLY way to get fit? People who don't mind being bored, that's who. I like to mix things up to avoid boredom at all costs because for me, boredom is shortly followed by inactivity. Trying new things helps me to stay motivated and have fun!
Training for triathlons has given me the opportunity to mix things up and rediscover my love of biking. I love getting outside, feeling the wind across my face, pedaling hard and going fast! Well, fast in relation to my running speed anyway. When biking, I feel like I'm really "getting somewhere". My favorite part of riding is getting outside of the city on my sweet ride and enjoying the views of the mountains and farmland. With the beautiful views, the crisp clean air and lack of stop lights, it just plain feels good. The only downside? I live in Idaho and outside is not always an option. The darn snow, ice and crazy wind for 4 - 6 months of the year tends to damper my training spirits a bit.
We've all seen those big, fun looking, bouncy balls at the gym, right? If you're like me you may have seen them but were too intimidated to actually DO anything with them or maybe you just thought they were a hoaky idea and didn't see the benefits of using them. Well....let me tell you, there are some definite benefits to using a stability ball in your workouts, particularly when just getting started, and I want to share a few with you!
You won't just engage a few of the core muscles, you'll engage lots of them. You'll be using the rectus abdominis (think 6-pack muscles), transversus abdominis (deep muscles essential for good posture) and the obliques (twisting/bending) as you perform those ball crunches as well as when performing other exercises such as ball bridge, ball cobra, ball push-ups, ball squats and more.
Living in Idaho, we have a solid 9 months of cold weather. That means unless you have lots of money and/or lots of time to spend in the mountains on the slopes (not me), you tend to spend most of the winter drudging through various indoor exercises. By the time summer finally rolls around I know I'm itching to ditch the gym and the pool workouts in search of fresh air and sunshine anywhere I can get it! Since Valerie and I began training for triathlons last year, I've had the opportunity to explore new adventures in the outdoors and also face a few lingering fears.
Fears? Oh yes, fears. I'm not just talking about the fears of competition. ie. "Am I good enough?" "Will I come in dead last?" "Do I have what it takes to finish?" "Do I look as ridiculous as I feel?". I'm referring to the fears found in the WATER!!
I made an amazing discovery the other day when trying to figure out a weight training plan for the my upcoming races this summer. It's called Fitivity. Have you heard of this yet? I'm probably the only who hadn't but from what I've seen so far it's kinda awesome. Okay, it's actually pretty darn awesome.
I am a PANSY when it comes to planks...and I REALLY wish I were exaggerating. I am literally intimidated by them and always cringe when I see them listed as part of a workout I'm trying. Why are they so incredibly hard? And why does it feel like time practically stands still the second I push "start" at the beginning of a 1 minute plank?? I'm aware that it's not "normal" to fear and loathe all things related to planking, but they hurt! And I don't particularly care to hurt...can you relate?
All this being said, I decided that with the end of a challenge fast approaching, I needed to combat my propensity to slack off during the break by not only facing my PLANK fear, but destroying it! I am starting a 30 Day Plank Challenge and would LOVE to have you join (and encourage) me. I'm going to need all the help I can get...AND to make it just a little bit more "FUN," I thought I'd throw in a 30 Day Squat Challenge as well. I mean, if you're going to go to the effort to put your workout clothes on, you might as well get sweaty, right? I guess you could probably plank in any clothes, but during a challenge break, I'm always on the lookout for a reason to put on my workout clothes and get to the gym. Hopefully, this will be just the inspiration I (and you) need. You know you don't want to undo all the hard work you've just put into these last 8 weeks, so print out the calendar and let's do this together!!!
We've all had crazy days, right? The kind of days that make you think of a MILLION excuses why exercise just has to go the sidelines and wait paitently for another day... That day, for me, was today. I had endless excuses...."I slept in..", "My daughter is feverish and we can't go to the gym", "My house is a disaster", "I have WAY too much work to do..", "I have a post to write...", "I'm exhausted..." the list just goes on and on and on...
Our local YMCA offers a Cross Fit class that I've been tempted to try for sometime. I conned my hubby into going and so a few weeks ago I finally gathered my courage and took off for a 6 am class in hopes that I would find a full class that I could hide out in the back for. I walked in 10 minutes late (it wasn't my finest morning), opened the door and found 3 people. Seriously, THREE, PEOPLE!! One of which was the instructor....sigh...all three? Male. Well, there went my grand plan to hide.
Valerie and I decided to get portions of our Fit Test done together last Thursday while at the gym. We knew it wouldn't take the whole 45 minutes so we needed a good workout to finish off the time and get a decent sweat. I volunteered to find one to test out. See how nice I am? I volunteered (possibly, slightly guilted) into picking the workout to celebrate Valerie's BIRTHDAY bright and early at 6:45 am!! In all honesty, I thought I was picking a fairly simple one from one of the many I've pinned on Pinterest, but I couldn't have been more wrong.