Category Archives: Cross-training

How Yoga Has Helped My Running Game

Hi friends!

Before I get into today’s topic, here is how Week 2 of my half-marathon training looks like:

Monday – rest day
Tuesday – 3 miles
Wednesday – cross train for 30-40 minutes
Thursday – 3 miles
Friday – cross train for 30-40 minutes
Saturday – 5 miles
Sunday – rest day

*You can see Week 1 plan here.*

A few days ago I got a question on Instagram: How has yoga helped my running game?

To be honest with you, I never really thought about it. I love yoga and enjoy running very much, so I simply have been doing the two things that bring a smile to my face and make me feel good. However, the question prompted me to think. There is definitely an undeniable complimentary relationship between the two.

Yoga 1

Injury prevention

There is a reason why we need to do warm-up and cool down stretches before going for a run. Yoga stretches ultimately lengthen the muscles that get tight during running. It is especially useful for those with very tight hips and hamstrings. Yoga can also help with soreness after the run.

yoga 2

Proper Breathing

It is detrimental to breathe properly when you do yoga in order to reap all of the benefits of any given pose. Better breathing during running allows a larger delivery of oxygen to the muscles, consequently increasing performance.

I find that I learned various breathing techniques while practicing yoga. A lot of people underestimate savasana, or a corpse pose, because you’re ‘simply’ lying on the floor. However, it is one of the best way to learn how to breathe properly:

  • Lie down comfortably on your back on a yoga mat,
  • Become aware of your natural breath and its rhythm,
  • Focus on raising your belly as you inhale through your nose,
  • Lower your belly as you exhale though your mouth.

yoga 3

I paid closer attention to my breathing over my last few runs. And you know what? I definitely noticed a big difference compared to how I was breathing only a couple of years ago. My breath control has improved drastically and I don’t find myself panting all the time, unless I’m giving it my all as I sprint.

Core Strength

The poses held in yoga strengthen the core, hip flexors, quads and hamstrings. Strong core translates into a good running posture which helps with your speed and endurance. It is easier to run.

yoga 5

Mindfulness

Yoga teaches us of how to stay inthe present moment, how to be mindful. In my opinion, mindfulness is extremely important when you run. It is so much easier to run when you focus on your breathing and stop thinking about how much more you’ve got to go!

On a separate note, I feel like a lot of runners don’t do yoga because they are intimidated by elaborate poses they see on the Internet…

But you should definitely give it a go. Try this awesome yoga for runners routine!

Or if you don’t have 30 minutes, give a try to this sequence.

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Source

Recently, I came across the following quote and fell in love with it.

admire someone else's beauty

In my opinion, it refers to much more than outward beauty.

It’s in our nature to compare ourselves to others. Unfortunately, instead of being inspired by their success, we, often times, get discouraged by thinking that we aren’t good enough.
The reality is, there will always be someone who is stronger, faster, more flexible, more successful, you name it, than us, but you can’t let this hinder your personal progress and growth.

To avoid this, accept your status as novice, if that’s the case. Accept where you are today, be proud of your accomplishments so far. Celebrate success of others and let it motivate you to reach for new heights. Never underestimate yourself and what you are capable of. Self-doubt is your biggest enemy. Always aim to be the best version of yourself. You are unique and you deserve to love yourself.

handstand with Sofia - large.jpg

Do you practice yoga? How has it helped you?

Want to read more on yoga?

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Cardio, Cross-training, Half-Marathon Training, Running

Being in Charge of Your Destiny & Half-Marathon Training

Hi loves!

I hope you have an excellent week so far!

It’s been a somewhat different week in our household. Justin FINALLY had surgery on his shoulder this Monday. *I’m not being sarcastic… wait… actually, I am.* It only took over three and a half years to have it done…

Before the surgery

Justin dislocated his shoulder during a canoe camping accident when his canoe fell off a waterfall right before our wedding. *Dear nature lovers, please, check a map in advance, so this doesn’t happen to you!* It had been popping out ever since. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an easy fix. Doctors had to put two screws to strengthen the joint. Justin was hoping to return to work in a week. But from what it looks like, he has to stay home for at least three weeks and wear a sling for the next month even at night. Obviously, it sucks, but I’m happy to have him home.

After the surgery

My hubby is handsome even after a general anesthesia! I’m one lucky girl.

On a side note, if you have any shoulder problems yourself, this guide might save you a lot of pain and trouble.

I’ve also being reflecting quite a bit lately. And then I came across the following quote from Maya Angelou.

Maya Angelou - If you don't like something, change it.

It really resonated with me. The quote reinforces the idea that we are responsible for our own happiness. I’m not unhappy by any means. But i think now that I’m a mother figure, I want so much more to be the best version of myself. For baby Sofia, for my hubby, for ME!  I don’t want some silly reservations to prevent me from springing into action, to make things happen for me and my family. Whatever I do, I have to make it really count.I’m full of energy and determination. I know, I’m on the right path. I’ll make it happen.

Speaking of springing into action… Yesterday I’ve officially started training for my first half-marathon!

She's a dreamer

Baby Sofia was my ‘co-pilot’, peacefully sleeping in a stroller *more on running with a stroller shortly*, while I pushed it against the wind. Otherwise, it was a very pleasant short 5 km run.

Even though the race is only in the end of September, I embarked on a 12-week training schedule. It includes 3 runs/week and 2 cross training sessions. This way I’ll be able to rebuild my base by July and then focus more on a speed work and getting faster. Or at least that’s the plan.

Here’s what my plan for this week looks like.

Monday – rest day
Tuesday – 3 miles
Wednesday – 30-40 minutes cross training
Thursday – 3 miles
Friday – 30-40 minutes cross training
Saturday – 4 miles
Sunday – rest day

*I had to slightly change it to accommodate for Justin’s surgery.*

What races are you training for this year?

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Cardio, Cross-training, Half-Marathon Training

Social Fitness: ReboundFit

Good morning, loves!

I’m a big lover of at home and outdoor workouts. For some reason, gym machines never failed to intimidate me. The only things I would normally use were a treadmill, StairMaster and an elliptical. Even at that, I prefer to run outside to take in my surroundings and to feel a gentle *or not so gentle* breeze on my face. So, generally, a gym membership is a waste of money for me, especially that I’ve got my main fitness necessities, such as dumbbells, pull-up bar, jumping rope, etc. at home. There is, however, one thing that I do miss. What would it be, you’ll say. I miss group classes!

There is something magical about having to workout with other people. You get to meet other fitness junkies, be inspired and even be held accountable by them, not to forget having to de-stress and share quite a few uncontrollable laughs. All of that while getting a great sweat session on! Don’t you find there is something incredibly empowering about that?

TIU Girls at Reboundfit

Recently, I mentioned to you that I have discovered *or was rather discovered by* a Tone It Up community of girls here in Montreal. I was thrilled to have someone who could share my love for fitness. So when they organized a meet up, I was jumping from excitement! Little did I know, that I would be literally bouncing to get my sweat on at a ReboundFit class!

If you are not sure what ReboundFit class is all about, don’t worry, you are not alone! In fact, I loved the class so much that I decided to interview the owner of the studio, Narcisa. And she agreed! I feel that people need to be aware of awesome local fitness studios like this one!

ReboundFit - Narcisa

Before getting to serious business, a few fun questions to get to know you, Narcisa.

Guilty pleasure: French fries
Go-to snack: lately, tangerines
Favourite workout: ReboundFit, of course!
Fitness tip: Whatever you choose to do, find a way to make it fun! The more fun something is, the more likely you are to stick with it.

Now that we got this out of the way, could you, please, tell us more about yourself and your fitness background?

Well first and foremost Olena, I want to thank you for this lovely opportunity. I am very happy to be sitting here with you today to speak about this passion project of mine. Also, you were amazing on the trampoline, congrats on completing and surviving your very first ReboundFit workout! You are now officially a Rebound Babe (laughs)!

As for me, I have always been an active girl for as long as I can remember. And I even have the scars to prove it! I was a Track and Field athlete for 4 years back in New York, where I competed in local and state competitions as a sprinter and short distance runner. When I moved to Montreal I shifted my focus away from the competitive fitness world and focused on my studies. But that did not last for too long as deep down inside of me I felt a strong urge to bounce back into the world of health and fitness, pun intended! And that’s the thing with a passion right? It always finds its way back into our life no matter what. It is then our job to either make something of it or keep ignoring it. Well, long story short, I decided to make something of it and here we are today!

Trampolines at ReboundFit

How was ReboundFit born?

ReboundFit was literally conceived out of my apartment. I remember spending countless hours reading books and watching videos on anything health related. Why? Simply because I am passionate about the subject. I would leave work, stop by the book store, get a book on health or well-being, go home and enjoy the read. I derived an immense pleasure from educating myself on the subjects of health, fitness and well-being. Throughout all this ‘’research”, I kept stumbling upon rebounding and its amazing health benefits. I became intrigued. I wanted to experience these benefits for myself. I phoned all the gyms and health studios in Montreal but none offered this sport. I was baffled that despite the countless studies and research done on the subject of rebounding that the gyms had not caught on yet. Even NASA had done studies on this amazing sport and confirmed its amazing health benefits back in the 1980s. The business woman in me then had an idea! Using my background in fitness (by then I was already teaching fitness classes at the YMCA), along with my creative workout style, I carefully designed the ReboundFit workout! If I had to describe it in 3 words it would be FUN, EFFICIENT and SAFE. My focus was on getting the maximum benefit from exercise with the least possible risk of injury, while having a great time!

ReboundFit - punch

Your workouts are really intense! I can attest to that awesome shaky after workout feeling and sweat glow. I could feel every single muscle by the end of the class! Can you tell us more about the science behind ReboundFit workouts? What sets you apart from other fitness classes out there?

That is a great question Olena! ReboundFit is very unique in that it works every single cell in your body at the same time, which makes it the ultimate whole body workout! How does it do that? See, when you lift weights, the corresponding muscles get stronger by resisting the force that is applied to it. The more force your muscles resist, the stronger they will get. In the same way, as your body bounces up and down the trampoline, every single cell in your body is subjected to the increased gravitational pull experienced at the bottom of the bounce as your feet reach the mat. When you are walking, the gravitational pull on your body is constant. The moment you start moving in the vertical field (i.e. jumping) you increase the gravitational pull experienced by every single cell in your body at the bottom of every jump. The higher you jump, the more the gravitational force at the bottom of the bounce. Every single cell in your body adapts to this increased force by getting stronger.

And that is not all; at the top of every bounce, for a split second, you are weightless. All the cells of your body decompress and relax as a result of this weightlessness and at this very moment your body responds by releasing endorphins, the feel-good hormones. This is why a lot of people report feeling happier and less stressed immediately after a ReboundFit workout. It is a natural antidepressant!

So as I was saying, at the top of every bounce your cells experience zero gravitational pull and for that split second they are completely relaxed. By the time you reach the mat, the gravitational pull is increased due to the acceleration and your cells react by contracting, and releasing toxins out of the cell in the process. It is thus a great detox tool!

ReboundFit - cardio

And of course, let’s not forget about the lymphatic system, the garbage collector of the body. It is the system in your body that collects and gets rid of all your toxins. Unlike the circulatory system which has a pump to move the blood throughout the body, the lymphatic system does not have a pump and relies on muscle contraction to get the job done. The up and down movement during a ReboundFit workout causes a constant opening and closing of the lymphatic valves which allow for the most efficient circulation of the lymphatic fluid throughout the body. Toxins are thus eliminated out of your body at an accelerated pace.

You know, I could go on and on about the amazing health benefits of this workout, but people can just go on our website to read more on this. I just wanted to point out the main things that set us apart from other workouts which is manly the fact that it is a workout done in the vertical field.

before ReboundFit class

I really enjoyed kicking and punching that was involved! Also using weights and even resistance bands while on a trampoline?! Wow! I definitely didn’t see that coming. Where do you find inspiration for your moves?

Thank you! I get inspiration from dance, ballet, kickboxing, yoga, pilates and all the other workouts that I do. You can always find a little bit of your favorite workout in ReboundFit!

Obviously, there are many people out there who have various health issues such as bad ankles, runner knees. Could they still have fun in your class?

Absolutely! The workout can be adapted to almost any age and any physical condition. The one you did was an intermediate level. We also offer beginner classes and advanced classes. We have also just started a ReboundFit BootCamp style class which will make its full debut very soon!

ReboundFit - stretch

How about people with poor coordination? Why should everyone try a ReboundFit class at least once in their lives?

A ReboundFit workout will actually improve your coordination! It improves your brain’s responsiveness to the vestibular apparatus in your inner ear, which improves both balance and coordination

What are your goals for this coming year?

The ultimate goal is to get every single person ON THE REBOUND! (laughs)

Finally, any fun stories you’d be able to share with us? I am sure you have quite a few laughs with your members during the class.

Not sure I can discuss the type of fun the Rebound Babes have in class. Hehehe!

Thank you very much for your time and an awesome workout, Narcisa!

Thank YOU, Olena! It was a pleasure having you in the class and doing this interview with you!

ReboundFit in action

I would definitely recommend this class to everyone who lives in the Montreal area or comes here for a vacation! If you hurry, you’ll be able to take advantage of a free trial class by entering code freetrial when booking. It’s available only for a limited time, so if it’s something you are curious about – don’t hesitate or procrastinate, just go for it. To book your class and find all other necessary information head to http://www.reboundfit.com/schedule-booking/.

And if you live elsewhere, see if a class like this is available in your area. You’ll have the time of your life!

Have you ever tried a trampoline class? What did you think?

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Cardio, Cross-training, Fitness, Social Fitness, Uncategorized, Weight Loss

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!*   

IMG_7654 edit.jpg

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.

Lorna-Jane-MNB-Squat-Challenge-Downloadable1

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

Source

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.

IMG_7693

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

Cross-Training & Running: Get Faster, Leaner, And More Flexible

Hi there, beauties!

It’s a HUMP day! And isn’t it a good enough reason to be all happy and excited? Well… It is for ME, despite a super charged day that lays ahead of me at work! Life is too short to complain anyway, so as well I can smile instead. *Hehe!*

life is too short

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As you know, I’ve been trying to switch up my routine lately to bring in more newness and excitement. Yesterday was the first day of the 30-day EMPOWER challenge from Yoga by Adriene. I’m loving it! She is sooo good and fun. I also love her simplicity: Adriene’s moto is “Find What Feels Good”. I couldn’t agree more!

find what feels good

*As you can see, Bella is on the same page too! LOL!*

Additionally, I started reading Run or Die by Kilian Jornet, a book gifted to me by my lovely fellow Canadian blogger-friend Ursula. If you still haven’t had a chance to ‘meet’ her, you should definitely stop what you’re doing right and head over to her super adorable blog called Northern Ambitions.

Run or Die

Anyhow, back to the book… It’s written so beautifully, I am really impressed. Don’t take it in any wrong way, but sometimes it sounds like an addict speaking about his greatest addiction *which, after all, IS true*. That being said, Jornet’s excitement and ambition is extremely contageous: All I want to do is to get changed and go for a super long hardcore run until I can’t feel my legs anymore. Yes, the book is THAT powerful! *Haha!*

Bring-it-On

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Do you see how all these things seem to happen when I needed the the most? You’d be surprised but I’ve got more.
I was reading the most recent issue of Runner’s World magazine and came across a very interesting article in MIND + BODY section. The writer, Ted Spiker, suggests that by switching up your running routine with some proper cross-training, you can get faster, leaner and more flexible. Care to know more? Here are some highlights:

To train hard: Try pool running.

pool running

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HOW: ‘Wear a pool belt to help you keep afloat and vertical in the deep end of the pool. Simply run using the same motion you do on the road, maintaining a good posture while pumping your arms, and keeping a high cadence. Trying to take slow strides in the water could cause you to overextend your legs, which could irritate your hamstrings. Aim to do once a week from 45 minutes to an hour. You can pool-run at a steady pace, or try short sprints (go fast for 15 to 30 seconds, recover, repeat) and long sprints (go at moderate intensity for 5 to 10 minutes, recover, repeat).’

To Nail a PR: Try weights.

weight training

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HOW: ‘If you are new to resistance training, start with a light weight, one that allows you to do about 12 reps of your chosen exercise comfortably. Gradually increase the weight and reduce reps over time (while always maintaining good form). Your ultimate goal is to pick a weight that makes it a challenge to eke out six reps. For a runner-friendly routine, see runnersworld.com/lifting.’

To finish strong: Try rowing.

rowing

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HOW: ‘Will Kirousis, the codirector of Tri-Hard Endurance Sports Coaching and a USA Triathlon-certified coach and strength specialist in Leominster, Massachusetts, recommends the following workout for runners. Rowing intervals: 5-minute warm-up, going from easy to moderate effort; 8 minutes of alternating 20 seconds at very intense effort and then 10 seconds at easy effort; 2 minutes easy effort. Do that 8-minute set two more times; finish with a 5-minute cool-down.’

To prep for a hilly race: Try cycling.

spinning

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HOW: ‘To get the most out of an outdoor cycling workout, try to find rolling terrain where you can power up incline, pedal fast when it flattens, and then charge up another incline. Colavecchio says that a Spin class or stationary bike is also a good option, since it allows you to better control your workout – and not coast downhills too much. Create your own ride: After a warm-up, do 6 sets of 3 minutes at hard resistance with 1 minute of light resistance in between. Finish with 2 minutes of a fast pace at medium resistance to simulate the end of a race, when your legs are fried but you need to finish strong.’

To get flexible: Try yoga.

yoga

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HOW: ‘Find a style that’s appropriate for your level of experience and works well with your training schedule. During a period of demanding running, opt for a more relaxing yoga practice, like hatha, Rountree says. But in an off-season when your mileage is less intense, you could do a more challenging session, like Ashtanga. You can also find yoga-for-runners routines at runnersworld.com/beginners-yoga-for-runners.’

why you started

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What are your thoughts? How do you include cross-training in your routine?

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Cardio, Cross-training, Fitness, Health

Having Fun Working Out At Magical Locations

You know what? You are the most amazing bunch of people I’ve ever met. I am totally smitten by your outpouring love, support and continuous encouragement. I am truly blessed to have you all in my life. I wish I had words to express how loved I feel. Thank you!

you are the best

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Maybe you remember, last weekend I wanted to go hiking with my family. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen because it was raining quite a bit on Friday and my hubby’s heel didn’t feel up to par. Being a creative lady I am *right?!*, I convinced him to at least go check out a park nearby: to spend some time outside and treat Bella to a nice long walk. I accidentally came across it last year when I was planning a running route. It is only about 5 km away from our home. However, back then, 10 km run wasn’t realistic, so I forgot all about it… well… until now that is!

IMG_3810

I am so so soooo glad we went there! Not only it was a fun, relaxing and refreshing outing with my two loves, we were blown away by the natural beauty of the park.

parc de la cité

Look who else we saw there!

geese at parc de la cité

Aren’t those little things ADORABLE?! *I’m pretty sure it’s a proud papa-goose on a lookout there haha!*

What I found pretty awesome is a great variety of training stations such as pull-up bars, benches of various sizes for jumping, and even a climbing rope evenly spaced out in the park. It’s a PERFECT place to train for the Spartan Race! *It was meant to be! It also happens to be a magical location where my first 15 km run took place last Sunday.*

pull up bars at parc de la cité

Speaking of fun workouts suitable for this location! That’s what is awaiting for me later on today.

Dynamic Warm-Up

Cross-train

Run 2 miles to warm up

25 push-ups
25 squats
20 mountain climbers

Run 1/2 mile at high intensity, but pace yourself so you don’t have to walk

10 squat jumps
50-yard lunge walk
10 lunge jumps
20 flutter kicks
10 side-to-side hops

Run 1 mile at high intensity

25 push-ups
25 squats
20 mountain climbers

Run 1/2 mile at high intensity

10 squat jumps
50-yard lunge walk
10 lunge jumps
20 flutter kicks
10 side-to-side hops

Run 1 mile to cool down.

AB 500 as a part of the Spartan 30-day sit-up challenge

have fun working out

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What is your ‘magical’ location for the most fun workouts?

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Cross-training, Fitness, Health