Fitness Favorites

I was recently asked what my absolute must-haves are when it comes to working out – what items I can absolutely not live without when it comes to exercising.

WATER

Water

This girl needs to stay hydrated.  I usually go through a couple of bottles of water when I’m at the gym.  I’m constantly guzzling because I’m sweating so much (it’s super hot at my gym) and I’m always trying to quench my thirst and dry mouth.  I try not to drink too much at once to avoid stomach aches, but when I’m at the gym I’m usually there for a while and going all out and water is definitely a game changer.

COOL AIR

Fan

via Daily Mail

I cannot stand being hot when I am exercising.  I find that if I am overheating I am not crushing my workouts and just feel gross.  I tend to run hot when I exercise, so I like to ensure that I am being cooled down efficiently.  So, in addition to replenishing my water intake, I also like to ensure that I can keep cool – either with multiple fans, open windows, or air conditioning.  If I’m at the gym then I usually hog the oscillating fan(s) and also make sure the overhead fans are so (I’m nagging for air conditioning).  If I’m working out at home I usually have the windows open or the AC on (if it’s summertime).  And if I’m teaching a class I take advantage of what’s available (inside = fans or AC / outside = shade and hopefully a slight breeze).

MUSIC

iPod

I 100% need my iPod when I’m working out, especially if I’m running.  The right song can keep me going.  (My song of choice for my run lately has been Anyway You Want It by Journey.)  When I ran my first 10k a few years ago I ran along to Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen on repeat.  It kept my perfect pace.  If I’m strength training I will put on a random play list and let the iPod work its magic.

HAIR GEAR

hair ties

This includes hair ties, headbands, hats, and bobby pins.  I have naturally curly hair and a whole heckuva lot of it and it is constantly in my face.  It is my second biggest peeve when I’m working out – right behind being hot.  I can’t stand little fly-away hairs in my face so I try to make sure I have what’s necessary to keeping my Wookie-do out of my eyes.

FITBIT

FitBit

I totally had buyer’s remorse when I first purchased my FitBit, but now I am addicted to it.  I love being able to track my steps, my distances, and my heart rate when I’m working out.  I picked up the HR Charge specifically to keep track of my heart rate. Since I have a heart condition, I figured it would be interesting to track the pattern and BPM and anything else that would correlate.  I also love the step challenges – within a group or simply on my own.  I am very aware of how active I am throughout each day and honestly make more of an effort to get up and move – especially if I have been sedentary for too long.

APPs

Aaptiv

I’m really not an app-y person when it comes to my exercise routine.  I’m fairly rogue that way.  I’ve downloaded apps in the past and rarely utilized them.  But one great new app I’ve reviewed is Aaptiv.  Aaptiv is an on-demand audio fitness app that combines the guidance of a trainer with the perfect playlist.  If you are considering a fitness app as part of your routine, you should definitely check out Aaptiv.

Aside from proper footwear and a good sports bra, that about does it for my list of workout must-haves.  What are some of your favorites?

~FB

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I DID IT!!

MEDALYesterday I ran in the Harvest Marathon here in Nova Scotia.  It was my first time.

I didn’t realize how big this event was – or had become – but it was insane!  There were over 900 people registered in my category alone – and more than 3000 Nova Scotians registered for the entire marathon (not counting those from other provinces – or even countries, as there were a few).

I was excited, nervous, and anxious.  I was tired and sore (I think I pulled a hip flexor in class the other night), and was worried how my ankle (and bladder) would hold up.

It was an early morning with a BFF.  It was dark, dreary, and really cold.

But we did it.  All of us!

I ran alone (BFF was registered in a different category).  Plugged into Darius Rucker’s Wagon Wheel (it honestly helped me run), and pushed myself harder than I’ve pushed myself in a long time.

In fact, I pushed myself so hard I shaved 34 minutes off my time from Thursday night (just three days before).

My ankle is 100% okay – thankfully.  My hip flexor, on the other hand, is a different story – I have to tug on the toe of my sock to lift my leg – and my calves are tight today, but all in all I feel fantastic and proud.

And I’m proud of the other runners – and inspired by many!

This was an incredible experience and I am so elated to have finally been able to experience it.

~Fit Bitch