Burnout

burnout0A while back I wrote a piece on my over-training syndrome and addiction to exercise and how it attributed to weight gain and other health issues (including adrenal fatigue).  Once I realized had confirmation that my glutenous exercising was taking a toll on my health, I pulled back the reigns somewhat and began to let go of my addiction.  Although still maintaining a fairly strict exercise regime, I let go of the idea that I absolutely needed to work out every single day and became more lax.  And I think cardio was killing me.

This past year, as you may have read, I have changed up my fitness goals and have been concentrating on strength training and lifting, spending most of my gym time in the weight room and venturing into territory that, though I have always maintained some strength training, has been on the up-and-up with me.  Power lifting and such has become somewhat of a (new) passion and I’m really excited about it and look forward to the days I can get to the gym.  Which, of late, seems to be more and more frequently.  With classes at least three times per week, I have been making efforts to hit the gym the other 3 to 4 days each week.  The other day someone referred to me as a “gym Nazi”.

On top of classes and gym time, the last few months I’ve gotten more and more into hiking – mostly on weekends or sometimes on the off-days from working out.  And I have been walking every day on my lunch break for the full hour, and several days before work for anywhere between 20 to 40 minutes.

This week, I had some pretty insane workouts – including lifting the highest amount of weight I’d ever lifted (impressing even myself), and Thursday I totally overdid it.  Like, completely.  I did two major walks – 40 minutes before work and an hour at lunch and in the evening I did my regular Thursday night gym routine, spending nearly two and a half hours in the gym, and ending the evening with a Zumba class.  (Thursday is my favorite night of the week!)

Lift Exhaustion

Although during my exercised-fueled endorphin rush I felt awesome and energetic and like I could take on the world, by late Thursday evening I was zonked and actually nodded off on my couch.  I never fall asleep on my couch.

Friday morning I awoke with not a lick of energy.  I was literally physically exhausted and drained.  The entire day I felt like I got hit by a truck.  A big-ass truck!  I was barely functioning at work and felt like no amount of caffeine would be able to help me.  I was relieved when the work day ended.

Out of Order

This is how I felt Friday…keep knocking…there’s no one home.

However, I am a moron determined and decided that I still wanted to ensure I got another workout in, since it was cold and raining on Friday and I barely got a walk in (short one in the morning and shorter one in the afternoon – resulting in very wet pant-legs) and I headed to the gym once again.  It’s really all I could think about Friday and I really was happy to get there.  I spent way too long there Friday night working out (about an hour and 40 minutes), lifting and finishing with a little cardio.  I felt like I could conquer the world and could keep going but, sometimes I have to say “enough’s enough”.

Although I ventured back to the gym yesterday for what turned out to be a great workout with a buddy, I felt like I didn’t or couldn’t put all I had into my workout.  And although I slept wayyyy too long Friday night into Saturday, I was still very tired and needed to push myself.

I made the decision to definitely take today off.  Even though I was invited to participate in a fun-run for Apple Blossom festivities, I was happy when the invitee texted to say that she was declining as well.  Thank goodness.

I have spent most of today and last night recovering from last week and I am determined  to not let myself get to that point again.  The point of physical exhaustion and burnout.  I don’t think I’ve ever really experienced exercise burnout before.  It’s definitely different than the over-training syndrome and adrenal fatigue I experienced a few years ago.  I’ve also decided this week to opt out of any FitBit challenges that I’ve been invited to as I feel like I’ve been too competitive lately and that has been fueling me a little more than it should.  I am not Monica Geller.

And, let’s face it, I know better.  I wasn’t trying to get to this point on purpose.  Exhaustion is NOT a status symbol.  I know the effects of over-training and risks exhaustion can pose. Up until the end of this past week I wasn’t feeling the effects of my workouts.  And perhaps this is a one time occurrence, but I will be more careful as I go into a new week.  I will not attempt more than I can handle.  My body is my temple and as such, I shall treat it like one and show it more respect.

~FB

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

Safe Running

I just returned from a spectacular vacation in Florida with my family.  We had beautiful weather, days full of activities (hello Disney!), and tons (and tons and tons) walking/hiking.  In fact, we walked, on average, about 15 kilometers each day.  My FitBit loved it.

In addition to all the walking and activities, I, of course, had to venture out for a few runs.

My first trip running while in Florida happened around 9 pm.  We’d returned to our hotel from a very long day but I felt like I needed something more.  Plus, it was just so gorgeous that I couldn’t wait to slip on my sneakers and get trekking.

I left my hotel room and headed out on a paved trail around the lake adjacent our resort property.  A few minutes into my run I realized I may be a bit insane (or paranoid).  Here I was in a different country, in the evening, by myself, on a path surrounded by trees and a lake (with signs warning to watch out for alligators and snakes, mind you).  I swiftly turned myself around and headed right back to the resort.

Instead of putting myself at risk of danger, injury, psychopaths, or death by alligator, I decided to stay right on the resort, making my way up the stairs to the top floor of each hotel, running around that floor, back down the stairs to the next floor, and continuing  that cycle until I was finished the bottom floor.  Then I would move on to the next hotel.  It turned out to be a really great run/workout!  And there were security cameras and people everywhere – including kids (it was a family resort), so I felt safe the entire time.  I don’t know if I would do the same thing at other hotels, perhaps if the atmosphere was the same.

Anyway, when I returned the other day from this vacation and saw that November is National Running Safety Month AND that the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series recently made a stop in Las Vegas, I figured it perfectly coincided with my vacation runs.  In addition, Vegas.com will be posting tips on their site on how runners can stay safe while running in Vegas (and, pretty much anywhere you happen to be).

With all that being said, here are my tips for safe running while in Vegas (or just on vacation):

las-vegas

visit Vegas.com  🙂

Tip #1 – ANNOUNCE YOUR RUN

Okay, so you don’t have to hop onto the loud speaker or anything, but ALWAYS let someone know where you’re going.  Even if you’re traveling alone be certain to tell someone what you’re up to.  You can advise the hotel staff that you’re heading out  for a run on your own and your ETA will be 45 minutes.  Or you can phone or Facebook a friend/family member advising that you’re at whatever hotel, heading out for a run at whatever time, expecting to be however long, and you will touch base upon your return.  (I actually do this all the time when I’m heading out for a run by myself – either from work or from home, or from wherever.  Even if I’m taking my phone, I still let people know I’m heading out.)

Tip #2 – RUN WITH A BUDDY

Obviously, running with a friend or in a group would be ideal when it comes to safety, especially when you’re away from home (like in Vegas, baby!), but that’s not always an option.  As noted above, some people travel alone….and then sometimes you’re traveling with people who have no desire to run with you (been there!).  But, if you are fortunate enough to be on vacation with someone else – who happens to also run – definitely take advantage of it and get out for a buddy/group run.  There is safety in numbers.

Tip #3 – TAKE YOUR PHONE

Cell phones are a basic staple for most people these days, so bringing yours on your run isn’t a bad idea.  Not only can you listen to your playlist while your feet are hitting the pavement, you can “check in” to places when you pass by them.  I’ll be completely honest – I’ve never checked in anywhere and am not completely sure how it works, but it’s worth looking into if you’re venturing out on your own.  This will leave a trail of breadcrumbs on social media of where you’ve been.

Tip #4 – MAP OUT A ROUTE

map-my-run

Usually for narcissists….this time for safety. 😉

Normally, I’m not a fan of mapping out a route.  Maybe it’s because most of the people I know who map out a route simply do it so they can post it to social media and wait for accolades.  It drives me nuts!  Fitness should be for you – NOT for how much applause you can get from posting about it.  But, in this case, when it’s for safety purposes then it wouldn’t be a bad idea to map out a route for your run when you’re out of town (and, I mean, if you’re taking your phone anyway….).  Especially, if you’re heading down the Vegas strip.  I still wouldn’t venture down any blind alleys or anything, but if you’re making your route public to those back home then you should be able to relax a teensy bit more when you’re heading out.  It’s still not a bad idea to touch base when you’re safely back in your hotel room.

Tip #5 – STAY HYDRATED

hydrated

We think of this one as a no-brainer – water is important.  I usually drink several liters a day.  But, let me tell you that while I was in Florida, I did not drink as much water as I normally do, or what’s required.  I was a little dehydrated on this trip.  It happens.  We’re out of town, we get busy, we’re having fun…the idea of drinking more water often leaves us.  Therefore, we have to become more aware and alert of how much water we’re drinking, especially if we’re going to be running in the Vegas heat.

Tip #6 -UTILIZE THE FITNESS ROOM

hotel-fitness-room

I love a good hotel fitness room!

I almost always check out the fitness room in any hotel I stay in.  Working out is important to me and my fitness routine and health need not suffer just because I’m away from home or on vacation.  Especially when I’m training for races, I do not want to get out of my running routine.  And, to be perfectly honest, I don’t always want to hit the streets for my runs. That’s when the hotel fitness room can be a game changer.  Jumping on the treadmill and hitting the incline can often be the way to go. Get it over with and move on to the fun stuff.  Aside from running, there are other ways to stay fit and in training mode in the fitness room (strength training, stability training, other cardio machines).  Step out of place and change it up once or twice.  In addition to the fitness room, you can make up a program (or YouTube one) in the privacy of your hotel room – or,  you can do like I did in Florida and race around the floors of the hotel.  Of course, when I did it I was going around the outside perimeter of the resort blocks, but, if you’re quiet enough you might be able to get away with running in the halls of your hotel.  Look into some awesome Vegas hotel deals here!

Tip #7 -STAY ALERT

We often let our guard down, especially if we’re relaxed, or exercising, or having fun or on vacation – especially in a place like Las Vegas – so we have to work harder at being alert.  It’s the same as with what I mentioned about staying hydrated….we simply forget or become so consumed with what we’re doing that we don’t think about it.  So, for your safety, think about it….THINK ABOUT YOUR SAFETY!  Stay alert, check your surroundings, be safe.

~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