#BOSUstrong Challenge: Week 2-Stay Balanced

Week 2: 6 ways I stay balanced

Balance: 

  • the state of having your weight spread equally so that you do not fall
  • the ability to move or to remain in a position without losing control or falling
  • a state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance

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If you forgot to join me last week for the #BOSUStrong challenge or just weren’t up for the cardio, make sure you join me this week as it’s all about the balance! We’re standing on one leg, lunging, and BOSU squatting our way through the week. If you’re a mom like me then I am sure you know the importance of balance in your life.

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Balance means more than just being able to stand on one leg, it also means being able to do what you love while making healthy choices at the same time. It means putting in the work and still finding time for family. Or eating those well planned meals but balancing it out with the occasional piece of chocolate cake. Or using your BOSU (workout) and workout DVDs (workout) at home when you can’t make it to the gym.

The 6 Ways I Stay Balanced:

Here are the 6 ways I stay balanced – what are yours?

  • I make time for myself by squeezing in a lunchtime workout during the work week.
  • My favorite me time is going for a long run in the crisp fall air.
  • My rule when it comes to a balanced diet is allowing some flexibility.
  • I make fitness a priority by __making it part of my family-time___.
  • When I get stressed or overwhelmed, my go to is __meditation or a long hot bath___.
  • I do __my best to prepare healthy meals and be an example for healthy living__ to help my family stay balanced.

So I want to know – are you #BOSUStrong? Copy and paste the above, fill it in and make it your own and then tag me in it and share with your friends! Let’s all be #BOSUSTRONG.

The daily prompts are below. You can also follow along HERE.

Week 2, it’s all about that BALANCE (9/21-9/25):

(Make sure you tag @Bosu_Fitness on Instagram & @BosuFitness on Twitter):

  • Monday, 9/21: Happy Monday sweaties, this week we’re all about that balance. Let’s see you stand on one leg – ready, set, GO! #BosuStrong #SweatPink #FitFamily @Bosu_Fitness @FitApproach #ad
  • Bonus: Y’all know we love to #jumpjoymonday! Show us your BEST jump shot and tag @BOSU_Fitness @FitApproach #BOSUStrong #FitFamily #SweatPink #ad
  • Tuesday, 9/22: We want to see you #dropitlikeasquat…on your BOSU or perhaps one leg? #BosuStrong #SweatPink #FitFamily @Bosu_Fitness @FitApproach #ad
  • Bonus: It’s time for #treetuesday! Show us your best tree pose. @BOSU_Fitness @FitApproach #BOSUStrong #FitFamily #SweatPink #ad
  • Wednesday, 9/23: Let’s lunge it out sweaties! #BosuStrong #SweatPink #FitFamily @Bosu_Fitness @FitApproach #ad
  •  Bonus: #workitwednesday, show us how you’re workin’ it this Wednesday and tag #BOSUstrong #FitFamily #SweatPink @Bosu_Fitness @FitApproach #ad
  • Thursday, 9/24:  It’s #totalbodythursday. Show us your favorite total body balance  move! #BOSUstrong #FitFamily #SweatPink @Bosu_Fitness @FitApproach #ad
  • Bonus: Give us a #tbt of a time when you really challenged your balance (feel free to get creative!) #BOSUstrong #FitFamily #SweatPink @Bosu_Fitness @FitApproach #ad
  • Friday, 9/25: #FreeFriday. Show us your favorite way to get your balance on! #BOSUstrong #FitFamily #SweatPink @Bosu_Fitness @FitApproach #ad
    • Bonus: Happy #forearmfriday. Let’s forearm plank it out y’all! #BOSUstrong #FitFamily #SweatPink @Bosu_Fitness @FitApproach #ad

Notes: You do not need to own or have access to a BOSU to participate. By participating you will have a chance to win a BOSU and other fun prizes. And please, if you are using a BOSU throughout this challenge, never stand on your BOSU with the dome facing down (images or moves down on the BOSU incorrectly will not count during this challenge).

Disclaimer: this post was sponsored by BOSU but all opinions expressed are my own. I truly appreciate all of the brands that support the Fit Approach (Sweat Pink) community.

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Race Recap: Seneca7-77.7 Mile Relay Race 4/19/15

Back to back race weekends are not something I am used to and likely not something I would recommend. In short, my body and mind are exhausted, but it was so worth it.

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If you’re from the area and you are a runner chances are that you’ve heard of the Seneca7 relay race.  It’s fairly new (5 years old) and this is my second year participating in the fun.

Last year I was just on the mend from bronchitis by race day, this year I was facing a similar fate.  My cough was finally gone, but my body was still under-conditioned due to the 3 week hiatus and not quite ready for another long day of racing.  I was nervous and being runner 7 didn’t help calm my nerves.  I always get nervous before a big race (even if the outcome doesn’t matter) and I had to sit around and watch every other runner on my team complete their legs before I had a chance at my own.

Leg #7:  4.1 miles, 00:49:06, 12:01 pace

When it finally came time for leg#7 I was ready (or at least I thought I was).  I knew my distance was 4.1 miles, but I failed to fully checkout the elevation chart for that first leg.  Can you guess what it looked like??

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It was a lovely 4.1 miles of an uphill climb.  It wasn’t the worst of hills, but for someone like me who was still physically recovering from a hilly half, it was brutal. Not the way I envisioned starting out my long day of racing. Seeing my finish pace of 12min/mile was defeating.  How could I have slowed down so much since last year?  What was going on?

In short, hills suck.  They suck the life and energy out of every muscle in my body and are a literal pain in my ass.

Leg#14: 3.1 miles, 00:35:24, 11:26 pace

Leg 14 felt a lot better, but I still couldn’t get past the mental game that was going on in my head.  Why on earth was I still moving so slow?  Why were so many people passing me while looking so light on their feet?  Why couldn’t I push myself more? I’m used to being slow, but back to back weekends of getting slapped in the face with the slow stick was definitely starting to take its toll on my mind.

Leg #21: 3.7 miles, 00:43:13, 11:45 pace

My final leg was a relief, not because it was easier, but because I was that much closer to ending such a long day.  I was spent and all I wanted to do was drive home and get cozy with my bed and pillow.  Being the last runner was so much more challenging than I had anticipated.  Watching each of my teammates finish their final legs while I was still awaiting mine had me wishing I was runner 1.

I sucked it up and finished off as strong as I could.  By the time I reached the team reunification point I was running on E, but felt a final kick of power set in.  I picked up my pace for the last quarter mile and lead my team across the finish.  I was done.  We were done.  FINALLY.  Team Prepping For The Zombie Apocalypse had finished their last year with the namesake.  11149652_10204073362049783_2168526844668261403_o

 

 

 

Race Recap: Skunk Cabbage Classic Half Marathon, Ithaca NY 4/12/15

“…talent means nothing, while experience, acquired in humility and with hard work, means everything.”
Patrick Süskind, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

   

 

Well, I did it!  I finished my second racing half marathon!  It wasn’t at all as I had planned–this was supposed to be the race I would PR in and where I finally hit sub 2:30, but that didn’t happen and I am okay with it.

Training for this half was touch and go and there were times where I wasn’t sure if I should stick with it.  At the end of February shortly after a 10K training run I was hit with the worse case of flu/bronchitis that I’ve experienced since college.  It hit really hard and took me out of training mode for 3 weeks.  Three weeks might not seem like a huge chunk of time, but it was and it left me with just 4 weeks to retrain my body to run 13.1 miles.

I went in without high expectations and accepted the fact that this would not be the race I had initially hoped for.  What I didn’t account for was how mentally challenging it would be.  This race was probably one of the most difficult ones to date.  I was (and still am) fighting yet another cold with a cough and the medication I take does wonders, but it also dries me out.  By mile 4 I was regretting my decision to stick with the half–I kept wishing I had just downgraded to the 10k.  I was parched and my lungs burned as I sputtered out dry coughs.

The inner dialogue I had with myself was at times comical, but mostly I kept repeating, “FUCK! Why is this so hard?  What am I doing here.  Why didn’t I downgrade.  9 more miles?!  What in the actual fuck?  How will I make it through”.

I am a slow runner, but this is the first time I’ve truly experienced true back of the pack racing.  It adds to the mental challenge.  You find yourself racing solo and the walk breaks are so much more tempting.  The urge to quit is that much greater and every ounce of pain is magnified.  I had no music to distract me and no friends to push me forward.  It was hard.  I felt like I was failing.

The rolling hills didn’t feel like rolling hills, they felt more like a constant gradual incline with the occasional downhill.  With the steeper hills I found myself walking and fighting so hard not to lose momentum.  I’m not typically a run/walker–I would much rather keep a slow and steady pace than break and restart.  This is the first race (aside from the full marathon) where I continually needed to walk and it was frustrating.

Though I spent a lot of time running alone, I was sandwiched between a couple of runners, yellow shirt guy and neon shirt lady.  Both had pulled ahead of me at various points during the race and my goal was to stick with them.  I didn’t want to finish behind them so I did my best to conserve my energy for a strong finish.  I took advantage of the downward hills and used them to catch up, but they still remained ahead of me until mile 11-12.

Having the finish on one of my regular routes was definitely beneficial for my final stretch.  I knew after mile 12 that the remainder of the course was on a slight downhill.  I knew that I’ve run down that same path on Tower road and that I would always finish my lunch runs strong.  I knew that I already had 11 miles behind me and that giving up in the last mile would have been for someone weaker than myself.  I knew that my heavy legs still had some life in them.

I powered through and pulled ahead.  I passed both yellow shirt guy and neon shirt lady.  I know it probably didn’t mean much as far as boosting my finish time, but I dragged myself across the finish at 2:55:30.  It was 21 minutes past my PR and I was legit 592/598.  It almost embarrasses me to post that time and place, but what can I do?  Why be embarrassed?

It’s these moments of humility that strengthen us.  It’s these moments where we wanted to quit but didn’t that show us we are capable of greater things. I know I will do better and that this race doesn’t define me as runner.  If anything it has taught me a lesson about perseverance and pride.  Pride for those back of the pack runners.  No one knows true strength and determination until you’ve experienced running a race at the back of the pack.   It’s an experience every runner should feel.  I know it’s opened my eyes for appreciation of what our bodies and minds can achieve.

Did you race this past weekend?  Were you at Skunk Cabbage?  Have you ever experience a lesson in humility during one of your races?

Product & Workout Review: ActivMotion Bar

**This is a paid review, but my experiences and opinions are my own.  As a blogger and fitness enthusiast I do my best to provide true and honest accounts of fitness products and routines.  

 

A few weeks ago I was awarded the opportunity to review the new ActivMotion Bar.  Have you heard of it?

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What is an ActivMotion Bar?  Acting on the premise of stability training the bar is filled with rolling weights that move as you work to stabilize them all while engaging your core.  This action of engaging and disrupting movements is called Disruptive Training.

“Disruptive Training progresses people through three phases of training, with the end results being increased core strength, improved mind-muscle activation and awareness, and smart muscles that will protect and perform.”

The closest thing I’ve tried to this were fluid filled pvc pipes at a crossfit booth last summer.  I remember being thrown off-balance when I used the bar for the routine, the shift of weight made the overhead squats that much more of a challenge.  So when I learned about what this bar did it seemed like it would be a great way to boost my workouts.

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Upon initial receipt of the bar I was a little disappointed in the weight.  I like to consider myself a strong woman and figured that this 6 lb bar wouldn’t have much to offer in the form of challenging my body.  Let me tell you this, I was wrong.

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I had just started up with Body Beast and many of the exercises called for a standard weight bar (which I didn’t have).  After seeing Tony Horton use the bar in some of his routines I figured it would be just as easy to adapt it to my own program.

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It’s come in use the most during leg day and I’ve found it to be great for focusing on proper form during those hefty leg exercises.  I have weak knees so there is no need (or desire) for me to go heavy on the weights when lunging and squatting so the bar worked well to challenge my form.

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After using the bar to focus on form during my Body Beast workouts I decided to change things up and give it a go and test out some of the moves in the Movement Library.

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This bar is perfect for core work!  It’s something that I often neglect (unless it’s built into my routine) and I was glad to see moves geared towards building my core strength.

 

Moves that might otherwise seem simple were amplified when I added in the bar.  Hip bridges and heel touches never felt more challenging.  I stood corrected and was thoroughly impressed with the workout.

I’ve yet to get through every workout DVD that came with the bar, but liked what I have seen so far.  At home workouts are obviously not new to me so I have a lot to offer in comparison.

My only gripe with the workout DVDs that I’ve tried so far is that they are obviously low-budget production quality.  The first DVD I used had issues of blacking out a couple of times through the workout and there weren’t any bells and whistles.  This is not a deal breaker.  If you’re determined to get a good workout in, then these minor issues won’t bother you much.

I blame my bias for these DVDs on my overuse of Beachbody programs and the like.  I’ll admit, I always compare other workout DVDs to my BB collection and it’s a hard habit to break. I’ve been using their programs for so long and have become conditioned to the format.

I do however see the value of a great product and look forward to using this piece of equipment in the future and adapting it to my current Beachbody routines.
Screen shot 2015-02-03 at 8.57.53 AMFor more information on the bar and how to order your own be sure to visit http://www.activmotionbar.com to view their great selection of products.  The bar is available in various weight increments and there are great combination kits up for grabs.

 

 

 

 

Body Beast Lean Phase I (Build): Quick Review and Progress

It’s officially been three weeks since I started my journey with Body Beast.  One of my goals this year is to work on better reviewing and sharing the programs that I use.   My first program of the year is Body Beast (Lean) and I am LOVING it!

After a very gluttonous holiday, I need something to get me back on track.  Body Beast was the obvious option because I had been wanting to get back into weight training.

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The first few workouts were tough!  Mainly because I was not ready to accept that I had lost a lot of the strength I had gained from my days of using P90X and was a little scared when I felt so challenged.  Would I really be able to give this program my all?

Well, the glory of these programs and others like them is that you can modify some of the moves and you don’t need to go crazy with the amount of weights you are using (there were many times when I didn’t use weights at all).

This style of lifting is really focused on building those muscles.  It took me back to my days of rowing and the weight training that went along with it.  I used to love finding my 1 rep max to see how far I could push my body.  This program works on a similar premise and most of the sets build in weight as they go down in reps (15, 12, 8, 8).  The concept of drop sets, supersets, and progressive sets are a little new to me, but I can feel the results building under my skin.

If I had to pick the most challenging workout of the group it would have to be Build: Legs.  I’ve not done a leg day (aside from running hills) in ages.  My body was not happy with me in the days following and I felt rather disabled as I hobbled around and avoided bending over at all costs.

Overall, thus far I am very impressed with the program and am surprised with how challenging it is (even with low weights).  If you are thinking about trying this program I do warn that you will likely need a good variety of weights and will benefit from having a weight bench at your disposal.  I’ll also warn that during phase 1 you might go through a phase of feeling bigger.  I know that this is normal as you build muscle so I don’t mind the initial fluffy feeling. In fact, as every day goes by I am starting to feel leaner and much more toned.

I hope to put up a more thorough review of each workout soon so be sure to keep an eye out!


On Being A “Larger” Runner & Preventing Injuries

I’m not a small person and I don’t carry the (stereo)typical “runner” physique.  I’m still working towards my weight loss goals and my body isn’t light and lanky.  I have heavy, solid legs and curves.  My mommy tummy still shakes and jiggles when I run and I pound the pavement hard.

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Running at this weight might not be ideal, but it still feels pretty damned good!  I’m pushing 185-188lbs these days and on a good day can push a 10:10 pace for a 5K.  My long runs are much slower, but I can go for miles and miles without needing to rest.  Really though, none of that matters–I am a slow runner, I am a larger runner, I am a mother runner, I am a runner.

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It doesn’t matter which adjective I use to describe it, it all boils down to the fact that I am a runner.  I am strong and powerful and I can accomplish more than my mind knows.

BUT, that doesn’t mean that running larger doesn’t come with its challenges.  Having a heavier build often means that you’re exerting more wear and tear on your body. Pounding the pavement hard can take its toll on the body if you do not take the proper precautions.  Many of us larger runners take on running as a means to lose weight.  Eager to go hard and hit big goals, many new runners are faced with the dread that is a running injury.

Believe me, I’ve faced my share of running related injuries and I know what my body can and can’t handle.  Surprisingly, most of said injuries occurred before I even became a runner.  In college when I participated on the woman’s rowing team I faced multiple overuse injuries to my knees.  I had IT band issues and patellar tendonitis.  There really wasn’t a time where pain wasn’t present.  I resigned to the fact that I had bad knees and thus couldn’t be a runner.

Fast-forward to today.  I haven’t faced any real injuries (aside from the time I didn’t change shoes soon enough) since my running ventures began in 2013.  In the first weeks of running I did make the mistake of using my 2-year-old running shoes and soon enough I began to feel pain in my shin.  This is when I learned the importance of a good shoe and how easing into training is the best course of action.  So, I’ve decided to use my own experiences and compile them with additional tips for preventing injury as a larger runner.

PREVENTING INJURY AS A LARGER RUNNER (aka Clydesdale/Athena runners)

*Please Note:  I am not a running expert nor a physician.  These tips are based on my own experiences and research.

  1. Ease into your training.  If it hurts when you do it, then don’t do it!  I know this seems counterintuitive because running can “hurt” in a good way without causing injury, but what I’m saying is that you need to ease your body into running so that you don’t get injured.  If you try to go too fast or too hard too soon, your body will pay the price.  I strongly advise that you take a couple of weeks to build and develop strength in your legs.  I usedP90X as my foundation builder and I think it’s what helped me feel like I could actually be a runner.Having a proper base is a great way to prevent overuse injuries.  This can also be achieved by using one of the beginner runner programs like Couch to 5K.  Programs like this ease your body into running and it’s important to follow the program as advised, it is not the time to be an overachiever (which can actually set you back instead of push you further).
  2. Buy proper footwear.  Because we are built heavier, it’s very important to make sure we make the effort to get a proper shoe and to make sure we change our shoes when they lose their support. A good rule of thumb for bigger runners is to find a shoe with a strong midsole support system.  For me this just so happens to be Asics Gel Kayanos.  Every shoe’s life expectancy varies depending on the runner’s stride, the shoe type, and the conditions the shoes are run in (i.e. concrete running vs. trail running).  For myself I usually find the 300 mile range to be my sweet spot.  It’s all about listening to your body though!  If you start to feel aches and pains that weren’t there a few weeks ago it might be time for a new pair.
  3. Choose your running surfaces wisely.  Not all running surfaces are created equal!  Concrete is by far the worse surface to run on, it doesn’t offer any form of shock absorption so your body is faced with the brunt of it.  When possible it’s best to opt for softer surfaces–this is why you often see runners on the road when there is a perfectly good sidewalk next to them.  I’ve grown to love trail running for this particular reason. My stride is cushioned by the soft ground and the scenery and terrain change makes for a fun run.
  4. Listen to your body.  With any fitness routine it’s always important to listen to your body.  If you feel achy and it’s just sore muscles you won’t do too much damage by going out for a quick jog.  If you feel pinpoint pain that worsens upon running then you might want to cut back and let your body heal.  If you’re not sure what your body needs then you might want to consider seeing a doctor.  Persistent pain is a big red flag and ignoring it can lead to permanent injury that can derail your running completely.
  5. Go your own pace.  This goes hand in hand with easing into your training.  Group runs are fun, but running with others means that you might try to push yourself too hard.
  6. Fuel your body. With any new routine (even if weight loss is the goal) it’s important to fuel your body.   This is not the time to skimp on your diet.  Your body needs to be properly fueled and fed in order to prevent injury.  Malnourishment can lead to prolonged recovery and an increased risk of injury and illness.
  7. Dress the part.  Clothing attire might not be something that seems important, but for myself I think it helps!  Having the proper clothes can save you from jostling around with each stride and can help prevent chafing.
  8. Allow for rest and recovery.  If you’re just starting out running there is no reason to be running everyday.  Your body will need time to recover and repair those hard-working muscles.  Ignoring rest days can lead to fatigue and poor form which can cause long-term injuries.  As always it’s important to be mindful and listen to your body.

I know that a lot of these tips may seem like common sense, but as a once newbie runner I know that it’s not always so easy.  I didn’t know that running shoes weren’t one size fits all.  I didn’t know that running surfaces mattered and I didn’t know that a gradual build to running was best.  It’s still a learning experience for me, but I am eager to keep running and work on that speed.

Are you a larger runner?  What tips do you have to offer?  What have been your biggest obstacles?

 

2014 A Year In Review

This past year has been a whirlwind!  Let’s take a moment to look back to my Fit Goals of 2014 and see what I’ve accomplished!

2014 Fit Goals

  1. Run the entire Walt Disney World Marathon on January 12, 2014
  2. Sign-up for and complete either the Wineglass or Empire State Marathon.
  3. Sign-up and complete a Tough Mudder or similar obstacle race.
  4. Sign-up and PR in at least one Half-Marathon.
  5. Complete at least one unassisted pull-up.
  6. Run faster/more frequently (aim to triple mileage).
  7. Complete 1 round of p90x3.
  8. Sign-up for and complete a few 5k races.
  9. Eat cleaner!  I struggle with this one and often fall off into old habits.
  10. Start biking during the warm months.
  11. Sign-up for the 100 mile Ride for Life
  12. Lose the weight/lose inches–ideal weight=150lbs, size 6/8
  13. Sleep more!
  14. Blog more about fitness! (not really a fit goal, but related–I’d like to make sure to keep you updated on my progress and struggles)

I didn’t get through them all, but I am very proud of the goals that I did accomplish!!

Completing my first marathon is by far my biggest accomplishment of the year!  It wasn’t easy and I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, but I did it and was brave enough to sign up for this year’s marathon (which unfortunately I had to back out of in December).  It was a great year of increased mileage, strength, and fun races to boot!

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WDW Marathon 1/12/14

It wasn’t a Tough Mudder, but I did manage to run in 2 obstacle 5ks! Both were a blast and I’m definitely eager to try my hand at something a bit more challenging in 2015.

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Tough Turtle-Ithaca,NY
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5K Foam Fest-Batavia, NY

I also did fairly well at picking up my pace and increasing my mileage throughout the year (thanks to my months of ill-fated marathon training).  Longer runs became easier and shorter runs were faster.  I was also happy to have completed more 5ks than the prior year, but missed out on many races due to our hectic wedding schedule.

My favorite race of the year might have to be the Trick or Trot 5k because it was the first race that my little nugget ran.  I’ve been counting down the days until this little dude could run with me and it was ridiculously cute to see him wearing his first race bib.
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All in all, it’s been a great year! I didn’t complete as many goals as planned, but I didn’t gain back any of the weight I lost in 2013 so I feel proud and accomplished.  I do have big goals for 2015 and hope to keep moving forward with this healthy life and am grateful for all I’ve gained in 2014.

What did your 2014 look like?  Do you have big goals for 2015?