Fitness Update :)

Hello everyone!

Happy Monday 😀

After a completely insane weekend, with quite large amounts of alcohol – whoops…- today i do feel a little sluggish. But I have to say it was TOTALLY worth it! Haven’t had so much fun in a while!

I was totally obsessed with this ballon for the WHOLE night LOL!! They have little LEDs in them and I found this hilarious – or the tequila did 😉

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Brunching like champions on Sunday morning, because the best cure for a hang over is some more alcohol right!?!? #bloodymary

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So after this crazy weekend it’s time for me to (literally) pull myself together and get back to my routine which if I may say it has been pretty good the past 3-4 weeks.

Starting from the last week of December till last week I worked out 16/28 days and ate OK for most of those days, even did a few double workout days 🙂

 

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It felt really good to get back to it after all the time that I spent being sad and confused about my foot – you can see how my last run was a 7 miler on the 31st and then its all spin and strength. I am re-learning how to enjoy other types of exercise again after a long time of running being my key work out! 😀

So i decided after 4 weeks of nice and easy so and so routines to step up my game and push a little harder.

 

Weekly Goals #1

Strength training x 3 (BBG)

Spin x 3

WATEEEEEER

Cut down sugar – 3 cupcakes and a tiramisu in a weekend might be a little too much (LOL)

Oh, quite a few of you asked me last time what is the BBG. The BBG is the Bikini Body Guides from Greek-Australian fitness trainer Kayla Itsines (apparently now she also has an app which I have never tried). I got the guides a long time a go but never really gave the 12 week program a chance so now when I was looking for something new I thought I’d give it a shot. It is actually quite hard and I like it (I did skip the 4 weeks pre training though)! I am currently at BBG week 3 and I do quite like it. It has a structure that allows you to decide when to do what and I love that – i am not very good when people tell me what to do LOL!  (PS: i am in no way affiliated with the BBG program and this is not an advert, I just wanted to try it).

So happy Monday friends 😀

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My yoga #101 (total beginner) experience with WeTRAIN!

Hi friends 😀

Ok, I am sure you all know by now my opinion (or should I say my PAST opinion) on YOGA.

I tried (really hard if I may say) a few months ago to start a morning yoga practice routine. Oh what happened to that??? Well, it didn’t happen. That was such a ROYAL fail… No matter how hard I have tried I could never make myself enjoy yoga or even get it right… I would keep thinking to myself “this is not exercising”, “this is soooo boring”…Or I’d get intimidated by what people in the videos/IG accounts I was browsing could do… And I ‘d think to myself “jeeeez, I could NEVER do that or this”…

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Well there comes a time in everyones life where the stars align and things just happen. So my time was right about now. When these pretty awesome people from WeTRAIN ask if some of us would like to take a month and try all of their classes I jumped on the opportunity 🙂 So last weekend after my long run (11.2 miles) and while I was still riding the “high” from it, I set off to my very first yoga session – I justified it to myself as “It’ll be a great way to get a good stretch in”… Totally scared about it since faceplanting in front of another 4-5 people isn’t in my immediate aspirations list 😛

I even tried to make a side plaid (in one last attempt to even remotely resemble a yogi … I know laughable…!) Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 11.20.21.pngSo I get to the studio which was about 15 minutes away from my place by bike.

And Yvonne, my pretty awesome yoga instructor met me by the door politely saying that it will only be the two of us today – since her other students had a little too much fun the night before… She asked if I minded and I was SO HAPPY 😀 I thought at least I won’t make a fool of myself!

So after a small chat we started the session. I did tell Yvonne that I am a total newbie and that my main focus was to stretch after my run. She reassured me that we aren’t going to go faster than I was comfortable with.

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I TOTALLY LOVED IT! I obviously had a tough time with the breathing but I did try my best!

Yvonne also taught me how to do a crow!!! I know my jaw dropped to the floor when I saw the picture! After I did for the first time I excitedly yelled I did it and of course lost balance and graciously face-planted 😛 hahahaha….

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And of course… after THIS success I gathered up my courage and after Corey’s suggestion – who by the way is one awesome yogi herself !!! – I went along for yet another session with yoga instructor Katie, a few days later. It was a lot of fun and very relaxed! I totally enjoyed it and… learn how to do a pigeon pose!

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We were a pretty nice group of people! And the space was just amazing! 🙂 The picture obviously doesn’t do it any justice but the ceiling was beautiful!

I really think I will keep going to yoga session with WeTrain since I really loved it!! As a matter of fact I have another one on Saturday 🙂 so what did I learn from all this? If you fail once that doesn’t mean you should stop trying… Get back up on your feet and try again…and again… and again…

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4 tips to add cross training into your marathon training – WeTrain!

Hello everyone 🙂

Hope you are having a brilliant Wednesday so far!

It’s been 6 weeks since I started my (very first) marathon training cycle, and I have to admit, even with the expected (and unexpected) ups and downs the running part of my training has been going quite well and I am very satisfied with it 😀 Yes, I did say the “running part” and you are probably wondering what other part but running can there be in a MARATHON training cycle…

Well, as many of us know, cross training during marathon training is as important as running itself (same goes for stretching and foam rolling but I’ll get into this in another post). Quite a few options can be considered cross training: cycling, weight lifting, dancing, swimming, spinning… In general anything BUT running 😉

So, you ‘ve manage to run four times this week and you are very excited with your progress – feel like taking three or two days of rest instead of one?? Don’t! Don’t skip cross training because you feel good.. because you can feel EVEN BETTER!

Get those ab exercises in —> You need a strong core for better endurance during running

Get those squats in —> You need strong glutes for better support during running

So, since 1+1 = 2… All and all you need to work more muscle than the ones you are working when running  for your performance levels to increase… (Trust the scientist 😉 😛 )

My way of making sure I will NOT skip cross-training… It’s called WeTrain and it is rather brilliant if I may say so 🙂

But it all “sounds” great on paper right???? How do you make it happen when you are tired, busy and all you want to do is reward yourself with a glass of wine and some quality Netflix binging???

THIS is what I do!

*Arrange to workout with friends!

For me this a usual Tuesday evening workout with Elle from WeTrain! Knowing that someone is waiting for you is pretty much all the motivation most of us need to be kept accountable!

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*Get out of the gym!

As long as the weather permits it (especially when this is London we are talking about) you should GET OUT and have fun! I absolutely ❤ working out in the park! And WeTrain offers many sessions in local parks (around South London for all of you London based friends) which makes working out extra fun!

*Get a personal trainer (you can actually afford…..)

Sometimes a regular gym membership ain’t gonna cut it…Attending a class along with 15 or 20 more people is one thing, but attending a class with just you or another 5-7 people tops (and most of them your friends) it is taking your fitness to a totally other level! It is like having a personal trainer making sure that your form is right, motivating you, even yelling when necessary is TOTALLY all you need to get to your full potential. For me WeTrain was the only option (here in London) that I could actually (and happily) afford and really worked for my needs…

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*Make it a date!

It is the same thing I (usually) do for my long runs! Having something to look forward to works wonders for your motivation. For me that is french toast with bacon and maple syrup and a good cup of Joe. If that is along with great friends after a sweaty work out EVEN better 😀 Love the latest WeTrain Blog post about their pre-brunch workout and also all the local suggestions for a great brunch!

For all my London based friends check out their Webpage, Facebook or Instagram 🙂 and you should totally give it a go! They offer a wide range of sessions, from HIIT workout and bootcamp style classes to yoga and stretches, and they can be either outside in the park or in a studio/gym.

I am definitely trying their yoga class this weekend after my long run… My seriously stiff legs are in sore need of some stretching!

What do you do for cross-training? And how many times a week?

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*Disclaimer: I did receive a month of free workout sessions in order to try out and review this service, however this is, as ALWAYS, my OWN personal opinion.

How to break out of a fitness rut

We have all been there… You wake up in the morning and you think to yourself “I don’t feel like it, I ‘ll work out once I get back from work/later in the evening”. Then the evening rolls around and you find yourself on the couch binging on Netflix with a glass of wine after dinner… Then you say “Tomorrow for sure I’ll work out” and this is how the week goes by and this “tomorrow” never quite comes…

But what do you do when most of the stuff (good ol’ tricks) that we have all read before don’t help? You bought new work out clothes to motivate yourself but they are still there tag on tacked away in your drawer… You made a plan you have yet to follow since last week… You joined a FB support group but looking at other people’s progress only makes you feel more like a failure…

…NOW WHAT???

I am afraid there is no magic words, pills or tricks apart from pure effort and dedication. I have to admit I was in a rut for quite a while now, just going through the motions, and these are a few things that REALLY helped me to get back up and break out of this rut 🙂

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1.STOP saying I’ll start on Monday! Start NOW!

There will always be set backs and even though I am all about Mondays as new starts to a fresh week etc, stop waiting for Monday to make your move. Don’t give yourself this as an excuse to binge and eat all the crap you want since “I’ll start being healthy again on Monday”… I used to get into this loop ALL the time and then I realized there is no better time than now!

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2.Do something you enjoy! 

I know you want to run the marathon, I know want this PR but lets see it this way, a different work out is better than no workout!!! … If you don’t feel like exercising it is x100 more difficult to follow your marathon/triathlon etc training plan. It is OK to do something different as long as you keep moving! You don’t feel like speed work and the track today? Hop on the static bike. You don’t feel like strength training? Get out for a run and enjoy the sunshine 🙂

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3. It is suppose to be HARD!!!

Whoever said it is going to be easy they lied to you… Remember those times when you were 15-20 lbs lighter, your decline to alcohol and chocolate was a given and a morning run was second nature for you???? Well these times where THEN… What about NOW??? Now it’s been a while, your body is not in the same shape it used to be but most of all your mindset is not the same either! So take it easy, lower your expectations and celebrate your small victories! Work hard and commit to it and instead of beating yourself up about how you “used to feel“, how you “used to look like“, how fast/long you “used to run” think about how fast/long you actually run TODAY! Reset the clock and set new standards! No one wants to look back wards why do you????

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4.You fail to plan, You Plan to fail!

It is as simple as that… FOOD PREP! Unless you now for sure (like working from home)  that you will have time to cook EVERY single meal/snack of your day then you need to cook ahead! Not just have an idea of what you will cook for dinner, but have as much of it as you can prepared! It is more probable that you ‘ll decide on something easier and faster than your planned meal if you get home late and there is nothing ready or prepped! SO cook your chicken/fish etc on bulk, roast a lot of veggies, pre cut your veggies and pack your lunches! There are so many blog posts/articles out there on food prep and pinterest is FULL of ideas about it!

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5.Sign Up for a race ALONG with friends

First of all, signing up for a race (and spending the money LOL) will give you some extra motivation to get out the door… Also, if you sign up with some of your running buddies not only you can train together, but also a little bit of healthy competition or helping each other through will take you a long way!!

But most of all don’t forget to SMILE 😀 and be sure your are healthy and fit to exercise without pushing yourself to the limits (to avoid injuries…)

Happy Tuesday!

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Best stability ball exercises for a stronger core

Hi friends,

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There is one piece of exercising equipment that even though it is bulky and awkward and hard to store, I have always enjoyed using it so much, that I never cared whether I could fit it in my tiny room in NY or our even tinier apartment here in London. That would be this blue balloon looking like thingy behind our front door….  😀 Front door is on the left, bathroom door is on the right. Tight fit you say?!?!? Oh well maybe….Let’s just say that @mymamus isn’t exactly overjoyed with this arrangement, but it works… If you are not trying to get into the house with 3 huge grocery bags that is…. 😛

Anyhow, the stability ball is one of my favourites, especially for core exercises. And every runner out there knows how essential a strong core is for better performance!

So here are my favourite stability ball exercises. Yes, I am working out outside, in our (communal) back yard to be exact :O Well, you don’t get sunny days like that often around here so a girl has to make the most out of it. Right?!?!

  • Up & Downs – think they look easy? Think again after you ‘ve completed 3 sets of 20… oh did I say PER side 😉 Great for the oblique muscles.

Ups and downs

  • Makes the regular side leg raise a little easier only because your pelvis doesn’t get squashed against the hard floor/ yoga mat…

Side leg ups

  • Your gluteus maximus – aka butt! – would thank you with those! If you feel they are easy just increase the reps

Butt ups

  • A nice spin off to the traditional crunches

Crunch pass

  • Pull in planks! One of my worst nemesis but great for core strength! Make sure you have found your sweet spot stability wise before you pull in your knees. Otherwise you will fall side ways and this will increase the strain on your wrists… Oh it also hurts a little too… I would know 😉

Pull in plank

  • Traditional plank with a little something blue 😉 LOL!

Plank

  • Like the pull in planks make sure you have found your balance first before raising your legs!

Plank leg raise

  • Good ol’ cruches 🙂

Crunches

I hope you enjoy these exercise, and remember you can adjust the amounts of reps to fit your fitness level. It is not about competing with anyone but yourself from yesterday!

Do you guys have a stability ball? Favourite exercises? Also where do you store it if you live in small apartment/house?

Stay tuned for more exercises to come soon and check out my previous post on exercises such as resistance band exercises  and strength training for runners.

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Disclaimer: I am not a licensed personal trainer neither a sports specialist. Consult your physician if you are unsure as per your ability to undertake these exercises. I am JUST a fitness-nut that likes to share my workouts. 

How to motivate yourself :)

Hi friends 🙂

Anyone who will ever tell you that they ‘ve never felt sluggish and unmotivated, that they ‘ve never felt like they don’t want to move an inch from the coach much less go run 10 miles, they are big fat liars…!! Everyone has these days, where running or working out feels like such a chore.

So here is what I do when I feel like that 🙂

1. Look at my favourite IG feeds

A few of those are mileposts by Dorothy Beal, the runner beans by Charlie and of course run to the finish by one of my favourites Amanda Brooks! Trust me when I tell you , a little scroll down through any of those IG feeds and you ‘ll be lacing up in no time! I know it definetely works for me.

2. Look through your training journal

First of, if you don’t have one I recommend you absolutely get one!! This is my favourite, it has no dates but the space is equivalent to a year. Documenting your progress will definetely make you want to work harder! So looking through the pages and seeing all the hard work you ‘ve put in will definetely motivate you to get moving.

3. Visualise your goal

I asked my role model athlete Maria Polyzou how she gets motivated in days when she really doesn’t feel like running or working out. And this was her asnwer to me: “Even though exercising can always make you feel healthy and clear your mind, there are always days when you don’t feel like training or running at all. Despite that there is always a way to change your perception and the way you feel and be ready for your run/training. Sometimes that could be simply a few moments of peace and quiet, your favorite song, a movie that motivates you or your own dream of what you want to achieve. And finally what always motivates me is MY GOAL! And this is what can be one of the biggest sources for motivation. SET YOUR GOAL AND SEE IT EVERY DAY… THIS IS WHEN YOU’LL NEVER FEEL TIRED.”

4. Put on your running clothes and lace up

Tell yourself you ‘ll just get dress for a run but not necessarily go 😉 Working out clothes are comfy after all right…? Well I can guarantee you that 90% of the times you do that, you ‘ll be out the door 5-10 minutes later 😛 Trick your mind I say…

5. Look at favourite motivational quotes and pictures

You can make a folder in your computer, or upload them on your IG feed or even print out a few and put them up on the wall. Whatever works for you… The logo of the marathon you are training for, the fitness model/athlete you look up to, a quote that inspires you. This are a few that work for me 🙂

6. Listen to your favourite song

I have a playlist of my very favourite songs that really make me want to run! I only get to listen to them when i m running though and this is what makes it special 🙂 If you listen to just one of them when you feel unmotivated I am certain that you ll be out the door running even before the end of the song. I have a little story to share here 😉

There was a day where I really didn’t feel like running and decided on a strength workout instead. I put on my music and one of my “running” songs came up on the radio. Well guess what happened?!? I dropped the weights and I was out the door 30” later running and had a pretty enjoyable run 😛 Perspective… All about perspective!

I hope this tips help you get motivated in those blah days where you don’t feel like it! Have an awesome weekend everyone! I am off for a run now since i got super extra motivated after writing all this 😉

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Best Resistance Band exercises for runners!

Cover resistance band exercises

Hi Friends 🙂

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 15.23.20What most runners – myself included – forget is that not only your legs and feet are working very VERY hard during your run, but also your lower back. I realized how I had completely forgot about it the other day, when during my long run my lower back started to “pinch” me and hurt a little after about 10 miles… So in my little anatomy reminder over there we can see that there are a few muscles such as the Obliques and the Gluteus medius that even though they are quite small compare to the huge Gluteus maximus they are still very important during running. Obliques are responsible for stabilising your torso and reduce the stress from your hamstrings when you are running. So most of the exercises below not only focus on the big muscle groups such as the quads and the Gluteus maximus but they also strive to strengthen smaller muscles essential for running.

1

  • use a towel around your neck in order the band not to hurt you
  • do anywhere between 2-4 sets of 12-20 reps each depending on your physical condition.

2 Back pull

  • make sure you have enough slack to your band to be able to pull it up but not too much so it’ll be very easy. You can easily adjust how hard it will be to pull up by stepping on more or less band. Also ensure that your arms are straight.
  • do anywhere between 2-4 sets of 15-25 reps each depending on your physical condition.

3 squat

  • this is exactly like a regular squat with the addition of the band that makes it harder to pull up. Again, you can adjust the slack of the band to increase or decrease the difficulty of the exercise.
  • do anywhere between 2-4 sets of 15-25 reps each depending on your physical condition.

4 stand up

  • I have to confess this is one of the hardest exercises I have ever done. Getting up while sitting with only one leg is extremely challenging. In this exercise the band is used as a stability tool and also an aid to pull yourself upwards. It works magic on your balance and your quads will be on FIRE!!
  • do anywhere between 1-2 sets of 5-10 reps each depending on your physical condition. I can only do 1 set os 5 reps at a time right now, but i am working on it since I really -REALLY- like a good challenge.

5 calf press

  • this is a perfect exercise to strengthen and tone your calf muscles. These muscles get quite a beating during running, especially if you are a “heel-first stepping” runner like me. Getting them stronger results in better balance and faster paces.
  • do anywhere between 3-5 sets of 20-30 reps each depending on your physical condition.

6 glutes

  • good ol’ butt toning exercise. This is very similar to the “donkey kicks” with the addition of extra resistance from the band.
  • do anywhere between 2-4 sets of 15-25 reps each depending on your physical condition.

7 inner thigh

  • another good butt toning exercise, which also works wonders for your inner thighs as well as you quads.
  • do anywhere between 2-4 sets of 15-25 reps each depending on your physical condition.

When I do this kind of work out i like making it into a circuit 🙂 So I usually do 1 rep of each of the first four exercises, take a 30-60” break and then do another and then another and so on… Then I do the rest three as another circuit we I take a break 60”-90” between each rep. Remember, when you are working larger muscles they need a little more time to recover this is why it is better to take a slightly longer break.

Also never forget to stretch both before and after your work out, it is the best way to prevent injuries  🙂

I hope you all enjoy this workout ! Let me know what do you think 🙂 Do you like resistance bands workouts? Do you have any of them?

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Disclaimer: I am not a licensed personal trainer neither a sports specialist. Consult your physician if you are unsure as per your ability to undertake these exercises. I am JUST a fitness-nut that likes to share my workouts.