Category Archives: 30-Day Workout Challenges

My Postpartum Fitness Journey

Salut, mes amis!

How have you been?!

Spring is almost here! Even though it is still very cold here in Montreal, I am full of excitement. Spring is my favourite season. I love it because everything around starts to bud and blossom, coming back to life. I can’t wait to go for long walks again and finally start training for my first half marathon. I bet Sofia will have a blast in her stroller accompanying me!

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Throwback to fall

 

Many of you have asked about my fitness journey since giving birth in July. The truth is I had to, as they say, proceed with caution. Surprisingly, I was given very little guidelines at the hospital in regards to how to recover from having a cesarean. Naturally, I did have a few hiccups here and there when I would ‘push’myself too much without even knowing it and I would end up in a lot of pain that would prevent me from moving completely. I had to be cautious and patient, which, as you can only imagine, is not very easy for an active person like myself.

I started by taking short stroller walks around the block, then slowly increased the distance to 3 and eventually 5 km.

At about 8 weeks postpartum, I began a baby yoga class *read more here* with Sofia, 4 weeks later – a mama dance class. *More on that here.*

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Heading to our first baby yoga class

In October, the incision sight didn’t bother me as much. I thought it would be a perfect time to jump back into it by incorporating 30-day challenges into my daily routine *read more here*: I started with a squat challenge in October, then embarked on an ab challenge in November, and finally ended up with an  upper body challenge, which I found on Pinterest, in December.*Please, let me know if you have a good link for proper credit*.

30 day upper body challenge

In the beginning of January I knew I was ready for more, so I signed myself up not for one but for two challenges, both were totally free and could be done from the comfort of home.

One of them was a 30-day Yoga Camp by Adriene.

I’ve been following Adriene for close to 2 years now. I’m honestly in love with her videos! I totally think we could be best friends if I ever got to meet her. I love Adriene’s approach to yoga: Find What Feels Good. What was different about this yoga camp is that Adriene focused on mental well-being as well. I thoroughly enjoyed daily mantras and emails to go with it.

yoga challenge

If you wish, you can start Yoga Camp at any time by signing up here. *You will thank me later!*

Another challenge that I embarked on was an 8-week challenge by Tone It Up.

I admire Karena and Katerina so much. They are best friends in real life, great fitness role models and entrepreneurs. They were able to build a great online community, which I’ve been a part of for over a year now.You can opt in to get their nutritional plan and buy extra video workouts (which I did), but it is not necessary as there is always a free option available. I love their energy and continuous support through social media and emails.

resistance band

It never occurred to me that there is a big Tone It up community in Canada, including Montreal! To my surprise, I was recently ‘found’ through one of my hashtags I used on Instagram by one of the girls from Montreal community, so I am really looking forward to meeting them at the next meet up!

The next 8-week challenge starts within a few days. To hold myself accountable, I’d like to show you my progress from the previous challenge. There are no drastic changes as I haven’t made any changes to my diet. It is more important for me to be able to nurse my baby for as long as I can rather to lose an extra pound or two. That being said, I love how much stronger I have become in such a short period of time. It’s awesome to be in control of my body again!

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What was your fitness journey after having a baby?

*Haven’t read my birth story? Head over here!*

xoxo
Olena

 

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Filed under 30-Day Workout Challenges, Family, Fitness, Health, Weight Loss

Merry Christmas!

Hi friends!

A little late, but Merry Christmas to you all!

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I hope your day was filled with love and happiness in the company of friends and family just like it was for us! *Sofia had a blast tearing off the wrapping paper!*

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So many great things have happened this month! I will shortly write to you about my impromptu baby yoga challenge, but if you’d like you can have a sneak peak on my Instagram account.

Until then, enjoy your time with your loved ones and don’t forget to tell them how much you love and appreciate them!

xoxo
Olena

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My Addiction To 30-Day Challenges

Hey there!

It’s Friday! I know, I know, you may ask, “What difference does it make? Aren’t you on maternity leave, anyway?” *As a side note, in the province of Quebec, we are entitled up to 50 weeks off. Happy dance!* Yes, you are right, but I am super thrilled to have my hubby home for the weekend. It’s always great to hang out as a family. Plus, Sofia is super funny these days. For instance, I was over the phone with Justin yesterday and was mimicking his snoring the night before, when all of a sudden she started laughing at me. *These moments are so precious!*   

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Yesterday, I was hanging out with a friend and we started talking about exercising after having a baby. I was thrilled that finally I broke the 117 mark and I’m currently in 116-pound range. *That’s where Justin will sigh and shake his head lol!* No, I’m not obsessed with my weight. I’m not following any diets either because it’s more important for me to make sure that my baby gets enough milk and nutrients than it is to drop a pound or two. But it is nice to see that the short workouts I do on a daily basis make me fitter and leaner.

As you may know, when Sofia was about 8 weeks old, I joined a weekly yoga class with her. In October, we also joined a dance class. *I will do a separate blog post on a dance class shortly.*  However, even though I had lots of fun there, I was scared to add more activities because my C-section incision would swell up when I would even end up walking too much.

In the end of September, I came across 31 Days Away From a Banging Booty challenge, I was all for it.

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There’s something about having a schedule that makes it easy for me to commit. Moreover, I can focus on a specific body part. Squats was a simple choice because it didn’t engage my ab muscles (my main concern at that point of time) while keeping my core composed.

When November came around, I was ready to focus on my core! After a quick Google search, I came across the following 30-day challenge.

30 day challenge

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I’ve really enjoyed it because it gave me some sort of a gentle transition from not doing any ab exercises for over 9 months to actually feeling the change in my core strength.

See some of the previous challenges I participated in here:

At the same time, I find it’s important to mention that you have to do these kind of challenges in addition to your daily workouts. Otherwise, they are not as effective. Keeping your workouts balanced (cardio, strength & flexibility) is key to success.

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Putting up her first Christmas tree last night!

Now that December is just around the corner, I’d like to focus on my upper body strength. *I definitely have a head start constantly carrying around my ever-growing 15-pound baby. Haha!* I’m thinking a mix of push-ups, pull-ups and maybe adding some dumbbells to my workouts. Any suggestions?

Do you like incorporating 30-day challenges in your workout routine? Why?

xoxo
Olena

 

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Filed under 30-Day Workout Challenges, Cross-training, Fitness

Strengthen Your Core: Spartan 30-Day Bear Crawl Challenge

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY ONE AND ONLY HUBBY!!!

Sandals Antigua

Justin is my best friend. He is my everything. It’s kind of scary to think what my life would be like if a friend in common didn’t introduce us. Let me tell you this. It all started from me receiving a text message from her almost 5 years ago saying something across these lines, ‘Hey, are you single? I work with this guy and I think he’s a perfect match for you!’ How crazy, eh?!

The picture above was taken during our honeymoon last September at Sandals resort in Antigua. It was magical… Here is the view from our room.

view from our room Sandals Antigua

 

*Can you tell I’m nostalgic?!*

There is sooo many things I’d like to discuss today! But I think I’ll have to break it down in few posts in order not to overwhelm you.

So first on the agenda today, the Spartan Sprint is only 2 days away!!!! I CANNOT WAIT! Unlike the Spartan Super I ran about a month ago, this race is shorter: 3+ miles instead of 8+, also the number of obstacles is 15 instead of 21.

Yesterday, I was reading a post written by one of my fellow bloggers from Girl Runs Wild. She was doing a review of her recent adventure: Billy Bland Challenge, which involved climbing numerous peaks starting and finishing at the Moot Hall in Keswick. Her pictures were so beautiful that I couldn’t help but get even more anxious to run my race. The time can’t seem to go by fast enough. SERIOUSLY!

toil and sacrifice

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Speaking of the Spartan Race… June is almost over and it means… DRUM ROLL… the new 30-day Spartan challenge is about to begin: to be more precise, in 4 days!!! *Woop woop!!!* 

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And the July’s challenge is the ‘BEAR CRAWL’!!!

Start day: July 1
Challenge: Bear Crawls for 30 days

Have you even heard of Bear Crawls before?! *Haha!* Well, I haven’t. And it seems like I’ve been missing out!

Since you are on all fours and moving around, this exercise benefits ‘every muscle in your arms, shoulders, traps, neck, core, thighs, hamstrings, calves, wrists, hands, feet not to mention the anaerobic benefits’, according to WildmanTraining.com. Bear Crawls can be done anywhere, all you need is a little room to move around. *Perfect!*

Here’s how the Bear Crawl done properly:

Previous Spartan 30-day Challenges:

never give up

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What are your thoughts? Are you on board with me? Any races this weekend?

xoxo
Olena
 

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Filed under 30-Day Workout Challenges, Fitness, Health

Sweat, Smile & Repeat: 30-Day Spartan Abs Challenge

So you all may be wondering what’s different… Well, it’s June! Summer is here!!! *I know, I know, it officially starts on June 21, but I could care less… OOPS! #sorrynotsorry*

summer is here

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But what I am even more excited about is that a new Spartan 30-day challenge is here. *We’ve established my love for them, right?!* For those of you  who are new to these challenges, the goal is fairly simple: “To emerge from the 30/30 a better person on the way to a healthier lifestyle.”

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The task is to do 30 sit-ups for 30 days! It’s that simple!!!

Follow these steps: 

Step 1: Lie on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor or mat with your heels 1 foot from your tailbone. Put your fingertips behind your head or cross your arms on your chest.

Step 2: Squeezing your shoulder blades together, tighten your abs and curl up toward your bent knees until you’re in a seated position. Pause.

Step 3: Slowly lower yourself until your back is in contact with the floor. keeping your abs tight. Repeat!

If you find this too difficult you can modify the exercise by reaching your arms in front of you as you curl up.

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In addition I’d like to share you the following SEAL Fit Sit-Up Variation in case you’d like to switch it up and work different muscles.

Also, definitely don’t stop at 30 sit-ups per day. If you can do more, go for it! After all, who wouldn’t want to have sexy abs, especially when the summer is here. Make sure to try out this Spartan 500 Ab workout, if you still haven’t done so. You won’t regret it!

trying my hardest

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What are your favorite sit-up variations and workouts?

xoxo
Olena

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30-Day Spartan Team Workout Challenge + 5 Fun Partner Running Workouts

Hi friends!

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my one and only brother! At times, he’s a pain, but I love him very much and wish him the very best!!!

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A random funny fact: I just caught my pup, Bella, drinking my tea. My bad, I put it on the floor to cool down and totally forgot about it! Can you imagine?! *I guess, she does take this after her mommy! Not that I ever want this to happen again.* Obviously, my first reaction was to get the cup away and not to take a picture, but this is how she looked after the fact:

puppy caught red handed

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Back to business *lol!*, if you have been following my blog for a while, you know my deep love for the monthly Spartan challenges. Here are some I participated in before:

In my opinion, they are easily incorporated in any workout and are super fun!

This time around, I completely forgot to let you know about the new challenge, blame traveling for that! *Haha!*

30 days of team workouts

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All you have to do is to incorporate movements that require a partner to complete. That being said, if you prefer doing exercises on your own, you can simply motivate each other. Who doesn’t like being cheered on?!

Also, make sure to check out The Extreme Team Facebook page for their daily Spartan workout inspiration.

Here is an amazing partner workout by Fitness Blender.

– partner squat & row (14 reps)
– crunch + pass (15 reps)
– partner push plank (14 reps)
– partner sit + overhead pass (10 reps)
– partner hand push (30 reps)
– lunge + rotation (7 reps to each side)
– leg raise push down (14 reps)
– Russian twist pass (10 reps each direction)

Here is another cool *and somewhat funny* video to give you more ideas.

The amazing thing about partner workouts is they not only hold you accountable, competitive and motivated, they are fun.

Don’t forget about running with a partner either! I found a great article on Active.com with some interesting running workout suggestions. Here they are:

  1. Triple Fast Slow: Take turns implementing three speed surges at the pace and duration of your choice, recovering as much as needed. After these three repeats, your partner has the chance to take the lead.
  2. Adventure Run: Take turns plotting out a new route, make sure to point out all any interesting facts you know about it.
  3. Snap The Whip: It is very similar to the first workout, but here you are trying to ‘drop’ your partner with a quick burst of speed, by picking a really big hill, or perhaps using sustained tempo”. Make sure to set some ground rules. The article also suggests that “the leader should stop their work interval when the other person has “snapped” instead of building up a 1/4 of 1/2 gap.” 
  4. Track Relay Runs: “This is a great replacement for speedwork session that has intervals shorter than a mile. Best done on a track or a set loop, you and a partner can take turns running around the track; running is your work interval; the non-running is your recovery. Instead of doing 8 x 800 (1/2 mile) with 400 recovery on your own, you can now run 800, tag your partner, and then jog 400 while they run 800 so you are ready for them to tag you back. You can do this with all types of distances, simply do the math on where you need to stagger your recovery to be in the right place if you are running 600s or 1200s, etc.”
  5. Circuit Running: This is a run during which you can have some fun. Make sure to mix in some burpees, mountain climbers, push ups *check out my Sunday’s workout for inspiration*.

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Remember not to get overly competitive, you’re there to help each other grow. Your biggest competition is YOU!

start competing with yourself

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What are some of your favorite partner workouts? Who do you normally train with to stay motivated?

xoxo
Olena

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