Butt and Gut 30 Day Challenge

I am really bad with posting challenges at the start of the month.  But then again, a healthy lifestyle change doesn’t (have to) wait til the start of the month so, I guess I’m letting myself off the hook.  I think any day is a good day to start a workout practice or healthy eating program (not diet!!).  In fact, I’m gearing up to start another Whole 30 on Monday – no point in waiting til the start of August when I can feel so much better sooner?

So, with that being said, below is a 30 Day Butt and Gut Challenge to get you going.  Even if you’re new to exercising, this little challenge is totally doable.  And it’s a great complement to your regular fitness practice if you already have one.

And me, I’m a little nuts and completely in love with squats and lunges and planks and crunches.  And pretty much all of it…except push-ups….I hate push-ups! (The result of a serious back injury.)

This Challenge is so great because it’s only four moves but pretty much works your entire body that you can do right in your home!  It also mixes cardio and strength and will definitely get your heart rate going.  And, you get rest days.  TAKE YOUR REST DAYS!  :)

I love this Challenge so much I’m going to do it along with my regular workouts.  Why not?  Like I said, it can be a great complement to an established fitness regime.

Give it a try and see how you feel in a month’s time.

Cheers.

Butt and Gutt

~Fit Bitch

Vacation Workouts

I just got back from a mini-vacation with my beau.  We spent four days travelling and visiting and having a fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants adventure. It was glorious.

And as much as I was on vacation, I wanted to remain as much on-par with my fitness – especially since we had some less than healthy foods on our trip (although I did plan ahead of time and prepared some healthy-ish meals for the road, as well as a lot of fresh fruit and berries).

If you recall, a few years ago I wrote an article for Vegas.com on Staying Fit While Travelling and I cued up a few of those ideas.

Our first night away we were visiting my beau’s family.  We had a gorgeous sunny day and had planned on hitting the beach but instead got hit with an impromptu thunder and lightening storm so, instead we ended up spending the afternoon binge watching Stranger Things on Netflix.  I don’t usually recommend that much TV but, meh, we were on vacation and it was pouring.  Once the rain cleared up we were out and spent a good part of the evening walking up and down the streets of his hometown.

The next day we headed to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. We were planning to travel around the Cabot Trail.  (Google it.  Seriously….the photos really can’t even do it justice.  It’s so beautiful.) but the first night in Cape Breton we stayed at a little French (Acadian – my roots!) village and toured that.  We walked the board walk and the streets and even walked to the restaurant.  And after dinner (I had lobster) we had planned to go running, but once again we got hit with rain so I worked out in the motel room.  I put together a mini bootcamp class and got my sweat on with a mix of cardio and strength.  Near the end of my workout my boyfriend wanted me to keep going so he was yelling out (dictating) exercises for me:  “burpees”, “flying squats”, “lunges”, “chair dips”.  Such a commando.

The following morning we were headed to the Cabot Trail.  We were really excited to get some hiking  in so as we climbed higher and higher into the mountains we finally reached the Skyline Trail.

Skyline-Trail-ns-boardwalk

Skyline Trail

This is a 7.5 kilometer hike that ends up on the edge of cliff.  It has been groomed for the tourists and hikers and eventually there is a boardwalk and steps that lead all the way down to the point.  It’s insane.  It’s about 1,6oo feet high – which seems a whole lot higher when you’re looking down and imagining yourself plummeting to your death.

Walking down those stairs was work enough, but walking back up them….*whew* Beau said to me as we hauled our asses back up that our heart rates would for sure be up.  Later on, for fun, I checked my FitBit’s heart rate monitor and sure enough my heart rate had spiked to the moon at the time we were climbing.

As if that hike wasn’t enough, I went for another walk that evening.  After being stuck in the car for so long (the Cabot Trail takes a few hours to go around) I was happy to get my legs moving again.

On our last day of our vacation Beau and I were up early and trekked into Town for coffee.  When we were headed back we took a different route and ended up walking another 4.5 k (mostly) up hill and checking out the scene.

Finally, once home and unpacked I felt like I had to get some more strength in as most of the exercise on my trip had been cardio.

Overall, it was a great little vacation and I am satisfied with the exercise I was able to incorporate into my time away.  As noted in my bit for Vegas.com, there are always ways to stay fit and on track when you’re traveling.

~Fit Bitch

On the Road Again-ish

Last week I decided, while in my gym routine, to try a run.  I hadn’t been running in about a month or so since my tarsal tunnel flared up and we discovered I have tendonitis on top of it.  But I figured I’d given them enough rest to try a run again.  I ran a mile on the treadmill and carried on with the rest of my workout.

The run wasn’t too bad, although my ankles were tingly afterward, I expected much more pain than what I had.  So, this week I decided to try a run again.  I ran two miles before carrying on with the rest of my gym routine.

That was Thursday night.  By Friday night, not only were my ankles completely puffy (although, the puffiness seems like it has found a permanent place in my feet), they were bruised on the inside once again.

What the heck is going on??

When I saw my doctor a few weeks back my biggest concern was the bruising and hers was the swelling.  I’m wondering now if she’d be more concerned with the bruising.

My ankles feel splintery; like shards of bone are being pulled away on the inside.  I can feel my bones clanking together where my leg meets the top of my foot.

Foot Description

Basically, we’re talking with the fibula meets the talus. *clank clank clank*

And so, it looks like running will have to be put on hold once again.  My BFF -slash – running buddy and I have a race weekend away planned for this upcoming weekend but it looks, too, like that is out of the question.

I am devastated by all of this.  Running is so important to me.  It’s something I have done, albeit off and on, for so long and to not be able to do it not only makes me sad but also terrifies me.  I’m not certain of the damage, if any, that is being done inside my legs and feet, and I know that I have to heal, but I feel defeated by not being able to pursue something that I have loved for so long.  At least for the time being.

So for now I make the choice to sit this one out – that may include this whole season, or just this race.  I don’t want to push myself to the point that I’m damaged goods for life.  Although it pains me, I need to be sensible and do what’s right for my body in order to keep it in its best form for as long as I can.

In a few weeks’ time I will attempt another mile and see how it goes.  I’m looking forward to getting back on the road again.

~FB

Positivity

Positivity

I saw this little quote today and instantly loved it.  And it’s very fitting tonight.

I taught my boot camp class tonight.  It was a small class, however, I had a newbie.  A first-timer.  She did great!  She kept the sarcasm coming (which I adored), she modified when she needed to, and she kicked butt!

At first, though, she made a few small comments about how she shouldn’t be standing by this person and shouldn’t be looking at that person because she felt she was way behind.  Maybe it was the self-consciousness talking, maybe it was fear of feeling inadequate, maybe she was just being an arse.  But I had to stop her.  I told her not to let herself take away from what she was accomplishing, she was there and she was doing a great job and she should own it.

From then on she accepted it.  She was positive and she we all had a great workout.  She hung onto that positivity and I expect to see her again at the next class.

When I got home and was getting ready to jump in the shower, I caught a glimpse of myself in the hall mirror, half clothed.  I don’t normally admire myself but tonight I was caught off-guard and what I saw was “Damn, I look pretty good!”  It felt good to own that moment and see the positive in my appearance instead of gagging over my arm skin or thighs or tummy.  I’m liking the positivity today.

I try to have a positive outlook as often as possible.  Sometimes I can be a nagging Nelly or a freakish bitch, but honestly, these days I can see what matters and what doesn’t.  I’m finding the positive in each encounter.  I’m embracing it all.  I’m owing it.  You should too.

Stay light, stay positive.

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy (Compliant) Cookies

I have a little more left to go on my current Whole 30 and I have to say, this one has been easy.  Eating healthy, whole foods and eliminating sugar and processed food from my diet is like breathing these days.  I have not had any cravings this round (although, I am very much looking forward to some sushi in a few weeks).

Last night, however, I decided to make some cookies.  These cookies were amazeballs!  They are 100% healthy and 100% Whole 30 compliant so they’re even better.

And – they’re super simple to make.

  • 1 and a half mashed banana
  • 1 tablespoon of raw cocoa
  • 1 handful of unsweetened coconut (shredded)
  • 1 tablespoon of hemp seeds (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of raisins* (optional)

After the banana is mashed, mix in the rest of the ingredients.  Then spoon onto a greased or lined baking sheet (I dabbed some coconut oil on mine) and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Cookie 1

Last night I made my them with raisins.  They were good but I don’t know if I’d add the raisins again – they made the cookies a little too sweet for me.  The next batch I’m going to eliminate the raisins or substitute them for raw cocoa nibs.  Or even try mixing some sunflower seed butter into the batter.  There are so many options for these yummy little treats.

Try them, and make them your own.

#yum

~Fit Bitch

 

Sacrifices

Three weeks ago I aggravated my tarsal tunnel syndrome to the worst it’s ever been.  For the last 21 days I have been living in agony while my ankles have vibrated, ached, pained, splintered, and I have been barely been able to walk.

I’ve had to put on hold my running (ACK!!) and have had to go down in weight while lifting.  Thankfully, my classes have been over the last 2.5 weeks – although new boot camp classes start this week.

I’ve had some massage therapy – and I’ve got a great boyfriend who’s been wonderfully massaging my ankles while we’re home.  But there’s a lot of puffiness and bruising – which was concerning.

I finally got into the doctor today and she confirmed the tarsal tunnel aggravation and says there’s likely some tendonitis in there as well.  Although, she too is concerned about the swelling and bruising.  (My colleague told me I had a case of “O.L.D.” – but the doctor said I was still young -ha!)

Needless to say, it’s been a tough couple of weeks.  Not being able to run (or walk, for that matter) it’s race season!! -, having to go down in weight when strength training, etc.  I have had to make some decisions and some sacrifices.  It sucked, but it had to be done.  This is the worst flare of tarsal tunnel I’ve ever had and I need it to go away. Fortunately, it has been subsiding the last few days, but my joints are still very tender to the touch.

I will continue to take it easier – although with the start up of teaching my classes again this week my “easy” is a bit limited.  I have to doctor’s go-ahead, but with the orders to “go light” and ice when finished.

My biggest annoyance is not being able to run.  This is the longest hiatus from running I’ve taken in about a year and a half.  I’m hoping to get back into it very soon.  I have a race in June, dammit!!

I have an ankle massage scheduled for tomorrow and I’ll be icing them tonight.  Hopefully this will pass soon and I can get back into it (semi) full throttle.

~FB

 

Raise the Bar

Twinkle

The other night I had a new personal training client.  She’d never been in a gym before (other than the previous week when she picked up her key) and wanted me to show her around.  As I was giving her a tutorial on the cardio equipment I asked her what her thoughts were on strength training.  She admitted that she was nervous about it and didn’t want to “bulk up”.

I explained to her the importance of strength training and showed her around the weight room and demonstrated some workouts with the weights and got her going with a small routine to incorporate into her workouts.

The following we day she sent me the following note:  “Thank you for your help.  When you emailed the other day saying you were going to make me look like a rock star, I thought “she’s funny”.  Now, I want to look like a rock star!”

It was so nice of her to send me a message but what made me really happy is that she was excited to start her workout program AND start training with weights.

Try not to be intimidated by a workout.  Go into your exercise program excited and open to new ideas.  Don’t be afraid to raise the bar.

~FB

Healthy Eats

Happy Sunday!  Actually, it’s mid-Sunday evening and back to the grind tomorrow, so some of you might not be so happy.  But, you know what?  It was a beautiful day, I had a great workout this morning, I visited a friend at her new digs, had a date with my nephews, completed two articles, got a bunch clothing donations ready for the Red Cross (#fortmcmurray) and I made a delicious, healthy dinner, and just threw a pan of healthy brownies in the oven!  The day has been great.

Seriously, whoever said that healthy eating is gross or boring obviously was just looking for excuses.

First up I made this gorgeous summer vegetable dish:

Veggies

I found this dish on Pinterest a long time ago and have been wanting to try it.  I finally got around to it today.  It was so good.  And cheap.  And easy.  And other than a little added cheese, it’s completely healthy.

I got the recipe here: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2011/08/summer-vegetable-tian/.  The only change I made was I swapped out white potato for sweet potato – simply because I could only find bags of white potatoes and I only wanted one.  I was able to buy a single sweet potato so that’s what I went with.

I added some spices too.  The next time I make it I’ll likely avoid the cheese.  I don’t normally have cheese in the house and I wanted to use up what I have because I’m starting another Whole 30 again soon and wanted to use some of it – the less I have to waste.

The reason I’m heading back to a Whole 30 again, aside from I love how I feel when I’m on it, is  that my sugar cravings have been outrageous lately.  And that’s the thing with sugar.  The more you have, the more you crave.  The purpose of the Whole 30 program is to eliminate those cravings (and rid your body of systemic inflammation).  I look forward to my 30 and I don’t miss the sugar when I’m on.  AND, I love eating whole foods: fruits and vegetables and lean meats.  My body really does thank me when I’m on the program.

But, because I’m not ready for my 30 yet (you really have to be ready) and I’m craving chocolate like it’s going out of style, I decided to make a pan of healthy black bean brownies.  Yep, you heard me, black.bean.brownies.

peanut-butter-chocolate-protein-bars_3

via Chocolate Covered Katie

I have made these brownies several times in the past and they are soooo good.

I get the recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie (http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2016/01/06/homemade-protein-bars-chocolate-peanut-butter-vegan/).  Katie is a healthy food blogger I’ve been following for years.  She makes incredibly delicious and drool-worthy healthy recipes.  I’ve tried a ton of them (including her crispy avocado fries…you.must.try!).

I don’t follow Katie’s recipe 100%.  I omit the sugar.  I amped up the vanilla. And I added more coconut milk (unsweetened) to make them extra moist and gooey.  And I use dark chocolate bits and organic hazelnut almond butter.

OMG YUM!!

The brownies are currently still in the oven but I’m bunkering down to watch The Walking Dead so I’m sure I’ll have one (or two!) later.  The rest of them are going to be individually wrapped as pre-workout snacks.

Now….doesn’t all that make you want to go out and try a new recipe – something with fresh produce or a healthy alternative to your favorite treat?

~Fit Bitch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Race Season

Race season has started and charity and fun runs are popping up all over the place.

Next weekend is the Bluenose Marathon here in Nova Scotia (http://bluenosemarathon.com/).  It’s a bit of a big deal here and it’s a race that I’ve thought about/wanted to do the last couple of years but, in all honesty, I can never remember to sign up for it.  I’m clearly a dough-head.

I have managed to participate in several races over the years.

My favorite – and by far the most fun – race is the Zombie Run (http://www.zombietrailrun.ca/).  Of course there are variations of this fun run all over the place (http://www.zombierun.com/, https://zombiesurvivor.ca/index.php, http://www.the5kzombierun.com/ <– Seriously, just Google “zombie races” and I’m sure you’ll find one in near your area).  I’ve already participated in this race twice and my bff/race buddy and I have already pre-registered for September’s run again.  It’s something to look forward to.

Zombie Run2

Last year I messed up and ended up rolling my ankle on the trail (https://nsfitbitch.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/zombie-run-2015/and ended up with a good sprain.  Good as in bad.  Ugh.  The worst part of last year’s mishap was that it happened two weeks before the Harvest Marathon and I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to participate.

But I worked through the sprain. I did take it easy for a bit but as soon as I really thought I was able, I continued my training so that I could complete the Harvest.

The Valley Harvest Marathon (http://www.valleyharvestmarathon.com/) is a pretty incredible event.  The Harvest is for serious runners.  And, although it certainly isn’t classified as a “fun run”, it is definitely a huge deal and an accomplishment.  When I completed my run last October I was elated (and tired!).

In fact, my most memorable moment from any race was probably fighting to cross that finish line last year.  I had to pee so bad (I refused to use a Port-a-Potty) and my hip had kinked up part-way through the race and I was in pain.  I really had wanted to stop and walk but I kept pushing and when I got to the track to circle it and make my way to the finish I kicked ‘er into high gear and gave it everything I had left.  I felt incredible.

And, one of the best thing about running in Nova Scotia in the fall is that it looks like this:

FALL RACES

Seriously – one of my favorite running paths looks like this in October.  I love fall in Nova Scotia❤

There are so many races I’d love to participate in but they add up so I try to choose wisely.  My BFF/race buddy and I are checking out some fun runs in the US to participate in.  There are a few in Maine and New York that we’re looking at that seem like they’d be a lot of fun.  And it would give us a reason for a girls’ weekend/road trip.

When I am gearing up for a race here are some tips I follow:

  1. I run at least a few times a week.  Inside and out.  Although I prefer to run outside, sometimes the only option is to hit the treadmill.  And when that happens I definitely increase the incline and the resistance.  I need my practice runs to be similar to the terrain I’ll be racing on.
  2. I increase my strength training.  Although I’m a big pusher of strength training anyway, when I’m approaching race season I try to bring it just a little bit more for the few months preceding the race.  Strength training is important for structural fitness (the ability of your bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles to withstand the impact of running), it aids in injury prevention, and it helps you run faster.  Strength training also strengthens your bones.
  3. I try to do a “run thru” of the run.  Not the exact course, but a run thru of the distance of the upcoming run.
  4. I find the “right” tune and make it my racing buddy.  Over the last two years my two favorite training tunes have been “Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker (please don’t judge me – that’s a really good song) and “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen.  These two songs have basically been playing on repeat while I’ve been training and running.  They keep me at a good pace so I can count my steps and not overdo it, ensuring that I don’t burn out fast.  In fact, when I was running in the Harvest last year, Wagon Wheel was my running bitch.  I had the song playing continuously through and I kept my pace down so that I could keep my cardio up and finish the race in a decent time.
  5. Carb up – but don’t overdo it.  As you know, carbohydrate is the fuel for your body.  I’ve made the mistake of not eating properly before workouts and runs before and nearly killed myself.  Nowadays I know better and I’m careful what I put in my body so that I can make the most out of a workout or a run.  I want to ensure I have enough fuel to last me through the entire race too.

I really love running.  And the races I participate in give me a goal to work toward.  I would encourage anyone to check out runs in and around their specific area.  Or look at runs in other areas and make a mini-vacation out of it.

Charity runs are something I have participated in and plan to participate in again, likely this season.  It’s great to get out and support a great cause, show some community spirit, and have a great run.

Check out cool websites like Eventbrite (https://www.eventbrite.ca/) to search for upcoming races, or, to create your own https://www.eventbrite.ca/l/event-management-software/.

Ready.Set.RUN!

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 Day Arm Challenge

I’ve always been a little paranoid about my arm skin.  I never thought about my arm skin until I read an article with Drew Barrymore in US Magazine when I was 14 or 15.  Drew was complaining about her arms being chubby.  (See:  Even celebrities are body obsessed.)  Since that day I’ve been obsessed with my arms.

A few years ago my arms were pretty awesome. It was after I’d lost a ton of weight and was working out and running more.  My arms seemed to be bombdiggity to me.  But now that I’m older – and since I gained weight resulting from my exercise addiction (read more about that here:  https://nsfitbitch.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/confessions/) – I seem to be even more “obsessed” and have a hard time losing the arm pudge.

Over the last few months I’ve been lifting like a beast – focusing more on my strength routine and adding weight.  And it seems to be paying off some.  But there’s much more we can do to strengthen our arms and upper body.  (I do a lot of strength training in my classes and with my clients.)

That’s why when I came across this 30 Day Arm Challenge recently I was ecstatic.  The workouts contain just a few moves but will build muscle and strengthen your arms and core.

ARM CHALLENGE

I think this challenge is great for everyone – especially those who aren’t able to get to the gym or don’t have a lot of (if any) equipment to work out with.  I am a firm believer in body weight workouts.

Try this challenge for the next 30 days and see your strength improve.

~FB

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