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

My Saturday Morning Workout

Lately, I have been killing it at the gym and in my classes.  I have been expanding my horizons and trying all sorts of different exercises and techniques and really working on improving my form and overall fitness level.  I have totally upped the ante.

I’m a huge fan and supporter of body-weight exercises.  In fact, it’s what my boot camp classes are based on.  No equipment.  100% body weight.  My family fitness classes are similar, but often we will bring out some equipment to keep the younger participants keen (although, let me just say that the kids are LOVING this program, and if you don’t think your kids would be interested in fitness and exercises, try working out with them!).  In my family fitness classes I have used jump ropes, hula hoops, and a few balls.  And aside from gliders (which are TOTALLY body-weight exercises) that’s the only equipment I’ve ever used in any of my classes.

My gym workouts and my at-home workouts, however, are an entirely different story. I try and utilize as much equipment as I can at the gym – things I can’t use at home, like the rowing machine, the Smith machine (be still my beating heart), heavier weights, even a Bosu ball (for burpees – again, a body-weight exercise).

Until recently, a lot of my home workouts were body-weight based: doing some of my boot camp classes, or videos like any of the Insanity series, P90-X, Jillian Michaels, etc.  But since I got my dream boxing bag for Christmas, I’ve been using that a lot as part of my home exercise, and often incorporating weight-lifting, and running the stairs into the routine.

Today was a gorgeous day in Nova Scotia; it has been sunny and warm and it truly feels like the start of an early spring (we’re gearing up for some snow tomorrow though.  Bummer.), so I took advantage of the sunshine this morning and moved part of my workout outside – coming back inside for other parts of the workout that I wasn’t able to access in the fresh air.

A few years ago I found a bombdiggity weighted jump rope at a local store.  I loved it so much that I went back and bought the remaining ropes.  Seriously.  I have a small stock, just in case.  I also bought one for my boyfriend so that we can both take advantage of the awesomeness.

weighted-jump-rope

For my warm up I brought the rope outside and skipped away.  It was so wonderful to be able to warm up outside.

Oustide jump rope

This was basically me this morning. (via Yahoo)

Once warmed up I moved back inside so that I could do a boxing workout.  I boxed my butt off to some upbeat music, while doing burpees and squats in between.

boxingbag

Just call me Rocky Balboa

I also took advantage of my resistance bands and my newest obsession, my suspension training system.

Squat Row

Resistance bands are really just as good as weights – and certainly more mobile. (via Google)

I did a bunch of variations using the resistance bands – from squat rows to bicep curls to overhead extensions.  I did it all.

I took my suspension training system outside and channeled my inner Candace and inner Norman and performed different variations of exercises, such as: mountain climbers, chest press and fly, to the full body row (below), planks with a leg extension.

Suspension Candace

Candace Cameron Bure (and Kira Stokes) via Instragram

Norman Reedus Suspension

Norman Reedus via Men’s Fitness

I did circuits of all of these exercises, moving from inside to outside and enjoying every bit of it.

You don’t need a lot of money or a gym membership or even a lot of equipment to get in shape.  If you’re not into body-weight training – or want to move outside that realm for some of your workouts, invest in a few small pieces of fitness gear: resistance bands usually run between $10 and $30, smaller weights can be purchased fairly cheap at places like Canadian Tire and Walmart, weighted jump ropes can be picked up pretty much anywhere, including some discount and dollar stores.  Suspension Training Systems can be pricey.  Mine was an investment that I decided to go ahead with since I can use it personally and for my clients and, well, because #obsessed.  My boxing bag was a Christmas gift and something I’ve been wanting for many years.  It too was an investment (gifted to me), but you don’t necessarily need a boxing bag to enjoy a boxing workout.  There’s nothing wrong with shadow boxing or cardio boxing <- those will definitely get your heart pumping.

And all of the above (minus an actual boxing bag) are mobile items.  So you can move your workouts outside, or pack your gear when you’re vacationing, or even take with you to a friend’s house so that you can exercise together.

The ultimate goal would be to take advantage of both body-weight training and inexpensive workout gear.

~FB

Finding Inspiration

I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s.  And back then, we didn’t have cable at home.  And certainly, we didn’t have overwhelming channels that today’s folks have to choose from.  But, we had a few staple television shows that were watched – The Cosby Show, Who’s the Boss? (my favorite), Growing Pains, etc.  And I was obsessed with teeny-bopper magazines that showcased all my crushes (Kirk Cameron and Michael J. Fox), and potential best-friends (Alyssa Milano).  The famous were beautiful.

When Full House made its way to my television. I instantly was in awe of Candace Cameron.  Aside from the fact that she was Kirk Cameron’s little sister AND had had a small guest appearance on Who’s the Boss?, she was the first girl I’d seen on TV that looked like me: cute curls, a little chubby, and with the “Charlie Brown cheeks” that she referred to in a later episode*.  It was wonderful that I could finally identify with someone on TV and in magazines.  I was elated.

young-cc

How cute was she?

Although Candace said she never had an issue with her weight while filming early in the seasons, season 4 of Full House aired an episode called *”Shape Up”, in which DJ goes on a crash diet to slim down for a pool party.  This was an emotional episode for me for me to watch.  Although my eating disorders didn’t begin until a year or two later, I could completely relate to how DJ was feeling and could already see my own disordered eating and outlook.  (Note: While preparing this post, I re-watched the episode for the first time in likely 20 years and had the same emotional response I had the first time it aired.  To this day, it breaks my heart because I know the struggle and I know that most little girls have and will continue to have this struggle at some point in life.)

Later on, Ms. Cameron Bure declared she developed eating disorders a few years after the show had finished filming.  (Although, she states that it had less to do with her weight and more to do with where she was in her life, emotionally and physically.)

Since her days of self-destruction, Candace Cameron Bure has completely changed her body and her health.  She has an incredible workout regime, and one of the best (celebrity) trainers, Kira Stokes, as her own.  And I have found inspiration in them both.

These two have some of the best workouts I have seen.  As a trainer – and a trainee – I am often looking for ways to keep workouts fresh, innovative, and fun.  And these two ladies sometimes help me get there.

candace-and-kira

Candace Cameron Bure and trainer Kira Stokes (photo via Cameron Bure’s Instagram)

 Aside from gaining inspiration for my workouts, I have found inspiration in Candace  herself, from how she approaches fitness and clean eating and even spiritual health.  Three topics I already have in common with her.  Her approach to how she keeps her body lean and how she looks at her muscle and her strength is refreshing and it’s nice to actually see and hear a celebrity talk about it all and show how much dedication it takes her to keep her body in tip-top shape.  Especially when so many celebrities make the claim “I eat whatever I want and don’t work out.”  Pffftt!!

candace-cameron-3-times

Via US

Although Candace Cameron Bure is a celebrity and she has personal trainers and has appeared on Dancing with the Stars where she spent endless hours each day for endless months dancing non-stop, she is also a woman who has worked incredibly hard to get to get and keep a strong, toned, lean body.  Believe me – that takes work!  And, again, I find it inspiring that she has been so inclined to share her journeys with us, the public.  Through her books and her social media accounts and her television appearances, she has been delightful in showing us that if you set a  goal – and work for it – it can be reached.

And what’s even more delightful, and something I have found truly inspiring since I was a pre-teen, is that when she was a young actress and already a very public figure, she never had issue with her body – even, as it has been stated, when other people had. She was a great role model in childhood and continues to be a role model in adulthood.

I will continue to find inspiration from her.  Where do you find yours?

~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

Spring Challenges

fitneschallenge

For those of you who are looking for a little pre-summer toning workout ideas, I offer to you (again) the 30 Day Ab Challenge and the 30 Day Squat Challenge.

These are great little workouts and, if you combine them you’ll be working double time and double the muscle groups (which is great for burning more calories).

There are several options for doing these challenges: 1) Doing one or the other on its own 2) Doing one and incorporating it into your workout 3) Doing both Challenges together 4) Doing both Challenges and incorporating them into your workout. Whatever you choose to do is what’s BEST FOR YOU! Your body will let you know what it needs and what’s too much.

If you want to throw in a few other Challenges with these, simply go to the “Search” bar above and type in “Challenge” and you can pick your beast.

Have fun!

~Fit Bitch

Run, Run as Fast as You Can

If you can recall, a few months ago I posted about the Zombie Run that I stumbled across and really wanted to do but, alas, it was only available in the US.

Well, last week, I discovered a Zombie Trail Run here in Nova Scotia slated for this coming September…and OF COURSE I jumped on that bandwagon really fast! I just registered myself and my bestie (still working on the boyfriend) and seriously, I am giddy with excitement for this.

THIS IS HAPPENING!!
Zombie

September cannot come fast enough! Anyone else participating in a Zombie Run anywhere??

~Fit Bitch

1200 Calories

This is an EXCELLENT read!!

~Fit Bitch

Sophieologie

I don’t know why “1200” managed to be the magic number of calories women should consume if they want to lose weight.

I don’t even know how I know of this number. Only that I know it, and my friends know it, and my mom knows it. Somehow, somewhere along the road, I was taught that if I want to have a flat stomach and tight tushy, I need to limit my calories to 1200 a day and do cardio. I don’t know how it got in to all of our collective brains, but somehow it did (if any ladies remember how or when they first heard the 1200-calorie rule-of-thumb for losing weight, please let me know via comment box).

What I do know is that 1200 is the general number of calories health professionals say women cannot drop below without suffering negative health consequences.

Interesting, isn’t it? 1200 calories. The…

View original post 2,040 more words

She Did It (Now I Have To)

A few months ago I posted that my friend was going to run a 10k marathon and although I was unable to participate, I told her I would train with her and would match her run.  I’m proud to say that Sunday morning my girl Ames crossed the finish line in about 1 hr 20 mins.

running woman

So, although I’ve been running a few times each week and following (somewhat) her training schedule, the last 2 weeks I’ve been taking my time with my running because of the medical emergency I have been dealing with.  I’ve gotten a few really good runs this last week but I’ll have to make the effort to complete my 10k sometime soon.

I’m used to running as I’ve been an avid runner for quite a few years.  I loved getting outside as often as possible to go for a nice long stretch of my sneakers on the pavement.  It was last year that I had to cut out running for a time as I’d had eye surgery and wasn’t permitted to run.  And once I was relieved of my “walking duty” I really only ran outside a few times.  Most of my runs for the past year have been inside on a treadmill.  It’s just too dangerous for me to be on the road, out in public – I have no depth perception in one eye and the risk of falling, tripping, sliding, stumbling, etc. is so high that I’ve limited myself.  But now I have a reason to get my butt back outside.  I made a commitment to myself and to my friend and I’m going to follow through with it.   Sometime within the next few weeks I will have documented my 10k run.

~Fit Bitch

Marathon Training

dnews Marathon 10K raceEdit* Because one reader decided to post a rude comment questioning my intelligence on what a “marathon” is, I’m now taking it upon myself to articulate here that the marathon in question below is referred to as the Harvest Marathon in my community.  It is a big event that occurs on Sunday of Thanksgiving here in Canada.  This is why I referred to it as “a marathon.”  Now, that being said, I would like to point out (as I did to him) that although it may not technically be classified as a marathon, the 10k that my friend – and many others – ran in October was a very big feat for her and I’m incredibly proud of her, yet am annoyed that one such poster (who, BTW, blocked his information from the comment section) would attempt to take that away.  As I stated in my first post – Welcome! – I am not an expert.  I write about what I know and love – in addition to a full-time career and life.  I’m not looking for trolls on my site so if you have any negative comments please do not post them here.

I started running 6 or 7 years ago and fell in love with it. I ran a few times a week at first then added more days in. I had never thought of myself as a runner. I did a little track and field in school but it wasn’t until I started running for the sake of just running that I actually (finally) understood the “runner’s high.” Running is totally addictive. Sure, many people tote how bad running is for your body and yes, it may be hard on your knees and/or joints, but so is carrying around extra weight. Truth is, you risk an injury in most things you do, that’s just part of life. But running makes me happy and helps keep me fit so I’m not going to stop because of the potential dangers of it. I’ve made mistakes in the past with my runs but I now know my limits and I try not to push them.

Last week a friend asked me if I wanted to join her in her first 10k marathon. To be honest, I really don’t. Not because I’m lazy or that I don’t want to have to stop and use a port-a-potty in a crowd of hundreds of runners (okay, maybe that one a little), but because this marathon is held on Thanksgiving (in Canada) which is a pretty big family get together AND because it also happens to be my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. So, on top of already being Thanksgiving and having a hundred and one things to do that day, I’ll also being playing host/organizer/wino-trying-to-keep-it-together-when-there’s-so-much-going-on to family and friends. I don’t know if I’ll be in the mood (or state of mind) to run a 10k marathon. And since there is a fee for signing up for the marathon, this Fit Bitch isn’t committing to anything yet.)

Now, that being said, I did tell my friend that I will train with her (and I’ll make a decision on the Run later). So, she has worked out a schedule and I’ve committed to matching her training each week until the marathon. Since I’m already committed to at least 4 classes a week – in addition to my regular exercise regime – I will have to work around those classes and incorporate the training into my regular fitness program. Progress has already been made and I’m looking forward to this quest.

Has anyone ran a marathon? Have some tips? 🙂

~Fit Bitch

Bad Form

Cambio_Bad_Form

When I was in high school a girl I sort of knew started running.  She would run thru the town daily.  I’d see her all the time.  In fact, on occasion, I still see her out for her runs.  And to this day, many years later, she still has not lost any weight.  I’m certain that her lack of loss is due to her bad atrocious form.  Ugh.  It bothers me just thinking about it.  She has horrible posture, her arms flail out like a muppet on crack (tho she tries to keep her elbows tight to her sides – WTF?) and her head bobs around like a newborn baby.   And her legs.  No, don’t even get me started on her legs.  I can’t explain them or what they do….the entire package is just poor form.  I used to try to give her accolades but she looked so stupid.  I’d say “at least she’s moving.  At least she’s trying.”  But, to be honest, sometimes trying just isn’t enough.  BECAUSE bad form is dangerous.

Last night while at the gym I was in the weight area lifting and squating and working on my overall strength.  There was another woman there lifting weights and as I watched her I just shook my head and thought “That’s so pointless.”  This woman was swinging her weights.  Swinging them.  They were small 2 or 5 lb weights and she was all over the place with them.  If one of them had slipped from her hand there would have been a huge hole in the wall behind her – that’s how hard she was swinging them.  I tried not to judge her but she made it pretty easy to.

Bad form can not only be dangerous (especially if swinging weights go flying) and causes injuries, it can and will be detrimental to your workouts.

When I lift weights I am conscience of my posture and my all-over form and I usually try to lift in front of a mirror.  Many people think this is narcissistic but it’s not.  I want to ensure I am maintaining appropriate form and being visual certainly helps.

Being aware is most important when exercising.  If you’re doing squats, lunges, planks or lifting weights you MUST concentrate on maintaining good form and posture.  Any slight misform can cause a serious injury.  (I find it especially important to watch form when doing planks or crunches or exercise that affects your back and/or neck.  Neck and back injuries can be severe and are difficult to overcome.  Often, once injured, injured for life.)

It would be wise to see a trainer or coach if you’re at the gym.  That’s what those people are there for.  They get paid to help you and to teach you.  If a trainer (or the gym) is not attainable then one should be looking at other forms of instruction: YouTube or other online sources, magazines, books.  And if you’re able to, have someone spot you for the first little bit of your workouts.  Or, try recording yourself and checking out your form in playback.

Also, Click Here to check out 5 exercises you may be doing wrong.

Please be safe.  Fit Bitch cares about you.

Form~Fit Bitch