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Gym Life

untitledI have to admit, I am really enjoying going to the gym. It took me awhile to get into a rhythm while there but now I really look forward to the burn I feel after. I am still looking for new workouts and new ways to change it up but the pattern stays the same. I do whatever focus I want then after I run. For example, I’ll do a lot of core workouts then run for a few miles. Leg day and run 1 mile, arms and run. Hence the pattern.

At first I wanted to do nothing but core workouts because I love it so much. Then I wanted to do core even on other days too. Now I realize I just can’t do that to myself and I need to give my body that rest. When I first started to switch it up I really felt a difference the next day. I was really surprised at how sore my muscles were from using them a different way. It made me really excited to know that it would improve my running. Just the other day while working my arms I received the best compliment. Someone tapped me on the shoulder and asked what workout I had just done and what body part it worked. I was so flattered that someone was asking me for workout tips. I must be doing something right. I know I’m no expert but it was still nice to be noticed.

On a side note, possibly relating to pushing myself into a rhythm. I ran a 5K a few weeks ago and it was absolutely freezing. It was a night race that involved glow sticks and a very windy course. When I got there I thought to myself ‘What the heck was I thinking?’ But once I started running I was surprised at how my body was adjusting to the temperature and the wind. My time was a little slower but nothing that wouldn’t be normal in those conditions. I was actually very happy with my results considering the conditions. I cant wait until the weather warms up and I can really see how the hard work in the gym will pay off on the outdoor trail.

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Baby, its cold outside

Happy 2015! If you are like me, you are likely still asleep (you have to love a good scheduling tool). Typically, blog posts around this time do one of two things; talk about goals or reflect about the previous year but I’m not going to either of those. I have already written a blog about goals and this past year was a bit of a mix bagged.
Instead, let us talk a little bit of subject that has been hitting me hard this week that is running in the cold. By hitting hard, I mean the high was 14 degrees yesterday. I know many of you would scoff and consider this warm but I was born and raised below the Mason Dixon line. Let me put it this way, I own only four pairs of tights. I had no idea fleece lined tights existed until this year.

ColdoutsideWith that being said, cold weather has a negative effect on my running. Mainly, I don’t hydrate enough and I don’t want to run in the cold. I’ve been able to tackle the hydration issue pretty easily but drinking lots of tea. There is nothing quite like a warm cup of tea after a cold run or even during the day. I have also discovered the NUUN makes a pretty warm drink. I stick to the caffeine free teas. I have found that I drink more tea than I did water.

The issue of going out to run in the cold hasn’t exactly been resolved. For Christmas, I asked for lots of layers and warm athletic gear which helps. I also purchased a cheap (like $3.00) drawstring toboggan that allows me to wear it around my nose (see pic). I also received a white reflective vest and a head lamp that helps me navigate night run (will also make Beer Chasers Wednesday night group run heck of a lot nicer). If I’m really not motivated, I stick a few dollars in my pocket to purchase a hot drink on the way home. I will admit I do wimp out sometimes and use the indoor track at the gym. Miles are miles.

What do you do to help your running in the cold months?
I hope everyone is having a great new year! I’m looking forward to getting married and running my first half with a new last name in May.
Cara

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Praise the Progress

Praise the progress has never proven more true during my recent challenge. I knew when I started this 30 day challenge it was going to be tough. Each day I pushed myself as far as I could push it and each day I went farther then I did the day before. It amazed me how on one day I struggled to complete the number for that day but then the very next day I went farther. And then the next day I went even farther. Then after a week I was well ahead of where I started. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get to a 5 minute plank, but I was able to get to 160 crunches and 64 leg raises. Not completing the plank portion of my challenge is where praising the progress comes into play. Everyone and every body is at different fitness levels. I’m not going to give up. I know that I will get to that 5 minute plank and I will continue to be proud of the steps and milestones along the way.

On a side note I ran my first 5k after running the half marathon and my first in the cold weather.

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I was nervous. Period. I don’t know why, it’s not like I hadn’t run what feels like gazillions 5k’s before. Maybe because I didn’t know how my lungs would like the cold air. Or maybe because this was my first time attending a race by myself. Regardless, I was very happy and surprised by my results. I realized two things that morning.

1. Running in cold weather isn’t that bad

2. Even though my time isn’t where I would like it to be, I know I will get there. Not because I will keep training but because I won’t give up.

So remember, when you feel like you had a bad work out day or when you feel discouraged, you are farther then you were the day before. Feel proud of how far you’ve come and how far you will go.

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Gravity has taken better women than me

This is not a blog about falling or inertia. No, this is about cross-training. So to understand me a bit better let me get one fact out of the way, I have no hand/foot eye coordination. I was fast but never great at ball sports so when it comes to cross training I tend to like to stick to cardio classes. Spin class is my go to cross training activity in the winter and cycling when the weather is nicer. The second fact you should know is that I have little to none upper body strength. I despised weight room days in college and was by far the worst part of track.

But when I looked through the classes that University of Idaho offers, I was drawn to the class “gravity” mostly due to the name. I secretly hoped that it would be Cirque du Soleil like. The description of the class is “Dynamic workout on the GTS, designed to provide group strength training that be individualized to each participants fitness levels-without sacrificing technique, variety, challenge & importantly ‘fun'”. This to me sounded like a class that I could do and not be over my head.

WP_20141118_18_23_05_ProI will admit I was little nervous going to class especially when I saw the instructor who looked like he could lift two me over his head and the machine looked a bit like a torture device. As I settled in on the sliding board on the machine, I just prayed I could keep up. I had not nothing to be too nervous about, the class focused on glutes (which I have covered) and abs (also, I’m still pretty strong there). Luckily, the machine made it easy for you to use your own body weight which helped quite a bit. We did end up doing pull-ups and I’m super sore from it today. The instructor was much scarier looking than his personality. He was great with showing me how to adjust the machine. And I was only a little disappointed that it wasn’t like Cirque de Soleil.

I’m going to keep exploring classes in order to become stronger (though I am running tonight). What are some classes that help you with your running?

-Cara
@carabyrd

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Fitness goals

Well I have finally decided my next fitness goal. After months of training for the half marathon I took a much needed week break. After that week was over I was itching to get back at it. With the warmer weather (sadly) over I headed back to the gym. But I needed to make sure I had a plan. When I was training for the half everyday I knew how many miles I needed to get in. I didn’t want to walk into the gym and wander from machine to machine without concentrating on an area. After thinking about it on my week break I finally came to an decision….drum roll…

I am challenging myself to 2 of many 30 day fitness challenges.

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I figured it was a short yet rewarding goal to work on. While doing this challenge I will still continue to run and occasionally switch it up with some arm and leg workouts. After this is complete I may consider doing another one or maybe during this month I’ll think of something else. Having any goal is very important. It helps you focus and you get to see the hard work you’ve put in a result. Plus having this blog (and telling people in general) helps you accomplish those goals you set for yourself. By telling others, it encourages me to not let hem, or myself down. Following through on something you set out to do is one of the most rewarding things. And when you can share that with others, it is that much better.

I am most excited about the fact that this challenge will help my running game. (Besides the wash board abs I hope to gain) Increasing your core strength is a huge benefit for posture and speed. With only a few days into the challenge I can already feel an improvement. And I will also say I have missed the gym (but not the treadmill).

What fitness goals have you challenged yourself to?

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Mental Strength

Training is not just training your body but training your mind. Your mental game is the most important thing when it comes to physical health. Your mind is what tells you to start, keep going, and finish strong. The decisions you make effect the results you see physically. For me, the best way to train my mind is to set a goal. Setting a goal, and completing it gives me the positive reinforcement to do it again. It can be difficult after a long day of work to find the energy to workout. I overcome it by telling myself once I’m done then I have the rest of the night to myself. Plus I already have to change out of work clothes, might as well be into workout clothes.

Pintrest
UR Tribe

Mental strength helps push you when you feel like there is nothing left. There were many times after a race where I felt like I could have pushed myself more. I felt disappointed or upset with myself because I felt that I wasn’t giving 100% of what I knew my body could do. Now every time I constantly think to myself ‘do I have more left?’ The answer is always yes. I’ll end with a few quotes that I find very true and motivational:


 

‘The best way to become a mentally tough runner is to believe you’re mentally tough runner’ -Ryan hall

“Your fitness is 100% mental. You’re body won’t go where you mind doesn’t push it.”

“Once you control your mind you can conquer your body.”

 

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The Posture Predicament By Tiffany

Once an obscure meditative practice, yoga has become as mainstream as sports drinks in the last decade, and for good reason: Studies are showing that yoga can enhance your strength, flexibility and balance while relieving stress and even lowering your blood pressure! But before you roll out your mat and jump into a sun salutation, there are a few things you should know.

Like any exercise, yoga is a technical practice which must be done correctly in order to reap the benefits. As more and more people jump on the yoga wagon, doctors are seeing an increase in yoga-related injuries, mostly sprains from overstretching. Some common culprits are lotus pose, plow pose and pigeon pose but hyperextension at the elbows can also occur in upward facing dog. Proper warm up and alignment are critical to prevent muscle strains and sprains.

Do not do poses that are painful, especially for your back or knees. These are common injury sites since the tendons and ligaments around joints are susceptible to micro tears. Also talk to a doctor if you have medical conditions such as carpal tunnel, rotator cuff injuries, or a herniated disk. That being said, there are several ways to prevent yourself from winding up a yoga casualty.

First of all, find a teacher! Yoga videos are a great way of enjoying yoga on your time schedule but they are not the way to go if this is your first time. The best way to get the basics down is to attend a few beginner classes at a studio. A yoga instructor will be able to help with positioning and correct any postures you are doing incorrectly.

Next, do not compete! As an athlete, you probably spend a better part of your life pushing your limits. In yoga, this will land you in the waiting room. The point of yoga is to explore the movements of your own body, not to out-pose the girl on the mat next to you. So close your eyes and enjoy the process, your muscles will thank you.

Overall, the benefits of yoga far outweigh the risks, especially if done safely. Make sure that you are properly warmed up, listen to your body and start with the basics and yoga can be a great asset to compliment your training.

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Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga is awesome! The facility I used was located in Farmington Hills. They offer an introductory rate of 29 dollars for 30days type deal. That is just too good to pass up, in my book. You can go as many times as you like through those 30days. If you wanted to go to every single class for those 30 days… I am sure you catch my drift.

They tell you if you are planning on going to Bikram Yoga you need to bring a yoga mat, a bath towel, a hand towel and a big water bottle (for more information visit the website). You also want to make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. This is very important in exercise in general, and in Bikram Yoga specifically, because of the environment. When you walk into the Bikram Yoga room it is online australian casinos hot, 105 degrees to be exact. They tell you on your first day that you may just want to lay on your mat the entire class, and some people do. They are very cognizant that it is hot and are always checking the thermostat.

The class begins with a breathing exercise and it moves from there. You then proceed to do different yoga moves patented by Bikram himself. Every movement has a purpose or many purposes. They will explain them as you go through class. Each pose helps to benefit your strength, balance or flexibility, sometimes all three. They coordinate the poses so that some of them bring your heart rate up; then they will compliment it with a less vigorous pose. By the very end you are dripping, and feel like you just had the detox of your life.

I found that after these 30days I felt much better on my runs. I felt stronger and more flexible. My normally tight ham strings were feeling a lot looser. I also love to rock climb and I noticed a greatly improved flexible that I have never had before. Bikram Yoga also gives great toning, I staring noticing that I finally had defined abs, for the first time ever.

Byram Yoga, is great for all ages. Even if you can’t do all the exercises, you will eventually. It provides a feeling of accomplishment after every class and helps rid the body of the days stresses.