Category Archives: Uncategorized

5 Running Must Haves & Armpocket Review and Giveaway

Happy Hump Day y’all!

How fun was this Monday’s guest post, where coach Suz shared her 5 tips on  how to train for your first half?! A big THANK YOU to all of you who chirped in the conversation! There’s so much to learn.

First half-marathon training tips

The best part about running is that you don’t really need a gym membership or any fancy gear to get started. However, when you are new to the running world everything looks helpful. Sometimes it may get overwhelming and difficult to know what you actually need and what is superfluous. I would like to share some of my favorite running necessities that I can’t live without.

  1. Well-fitted running shoesI found some great tips on how to find perfect running shoes at Run Addicts, here are some of them:
    • Go to the store in the evening: ‘studies have shown feet tend to expand few millimeters up to 2 centimeters by the end of the day’.
    • Make sure to wear socks you normally run in.
    • There must be a finger-width space between your great toe and the shoe box and  a thumb width at the end of the shoe. ‘You will end up buying shoes that are bigger in size than what you normally wear but that’s perfectly OK.’ However, don’t exceed a finger-width span!
    • ‘NEVER wear a brand new running shoe for a race; make sure you already used them for 100 miles runs at minimum’.

    Here is some more.

    Running shoes infographic

    Source

    *Read more on this here.*

     

  2. Foam RollerI have a love-hate relationship with my foam roller. It hurts so much at first, but then feels soooooo good. If you have never foam rolled before, head over to one of my previous posts to find out how to do it as a pro!Benefits of Foam Rolling
  3. Proper Hydration

    I can’t stress enough the importance of staying hydrated not only when you go out for a run but also throughout the day. Why? Because it affects your performance and overall health!I personally like to use a water pack on longer runs *It was my life savior during the Spartan Beast race!*. I will also be soon trying out a Hydro Belt that I recently got as a gift from my parents.Regardless of what your preference is, take your water with you or simply stop at water fountains if it’s an option!
    Why dehydration is making you fat and sick

    Source

    For more hydration tips check out:
    Hydration 101 – 8 hydration myths busted & tips on how to stay hydrated this summer.
    4 Flavoured Water Recipes that will make you excited about drinking water.

  4. Hat & Sunscreen 

    Sunstroke is a real thing, so apply your sunscreen diligently and don’t forget your hat before you get outside.running away from the sun
    Source 

  5. Armpocket!

I was recently contacted by a representative from Armpocket to review their product. I was super excited about this opportunity because I use an app on my phone that tracks my runs, so I absolutely have to have it on me.

Armpocket 1

Previously I used a Flip Belt, which I still like very much. However, I always had to remove the case from my phone to be able to fit it in. *Our phones are getting bigger and bigger by the day! What’s up with that?* It worked, but it was challenging for me to take out my phone mid run. *Oh please, don’t you have to ABSOLUTELY take a picture of something? ‘Ahhh, that’s such a beautiful sunset!’, ‘Check out that beaver!’ LOL!* Also, when I run, I sweat… I won’t go too much in detail, but I think it’s a common knowledge that our phones are home to all kinds of bacteria as is.

So what is an Armpocket?

It is an armband that was engineered with many unique features that provides a comfortable and secure way of carrying their smart phones, keys, IDs and other ‘necessities’ for active people. It is weather and sweat proof. It has a touch-though screen, so you can freely use your apps. It’s moisture-wicking, anti-bacterial, natural bamboo rayon back and vented strap keep you cool and dry.

I was recommended to get Ultra i-35 based on the type and size of my phone. I picked it in Arctic Blue with a medium strap which is good for arm size 10″ to 15″.*It is available in 3 strap length.*

Ultra i-35 armpocket

Of course, I was a bit apprehensive since I’m not used to have anything bulky on my arms as I run. I also wasn’t sure if it would be comfortable and whether it would slip.

I was very pleasantly surprised! To be honest, I completely forgot that I even had it on my arm. I didn’t experience any discomfort: My Armpocket didn’t slip nor did it bounce. I also looooove that it has 3 little pockets inside, so my phone won’t get scratched!

I can assure you that you will be seeing it a lot in my pictures. It’s perfect for any workout or an afternoon hike!

Armpocket 2

My friends at Armpocket were super generous and let me do a giveaway for you guys! One lucky pal or gal will win an Armpocket of their choice. The giveaway is available only to the residents of the U.S. and Canada. All you’ve got to do to enter the draw is to participate in the Rafflecopter giveaway in the link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will be closed at 12am on April 26th (Eastern Time). I will contact the winner via email, so please make sure that you provide me with one.

Be sure to check out Armpocket Facebook, Instagram and Twitter too!

What are your must haves when you run?

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

xoxo
Olena

 

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Filed under Giveaway, Half-Marathon Training, Reviews, Running, Uncategorized

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

Happy New Year!

Can you believe it’s the last day of 2015?!

I can’t help but to reflect on what a wonderful year it has been.

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I have so much to be grateful for! Our baby Sofia and 4-legged baby Bella, our family and friends, old and new.

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And last but not least, my beloved husband.

I’ve definitely had some tough situations to deal with this year and he’s always been there for me. As they say, through thick and thin till death do us part. He is my best friend, and I still can’t fully grasp how lucky I am to have this man in my life and that two of us created our beautiful precious baby.

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I know it will probably sound absolutely crazy, but when I was pregnant, it seemed like a miracle that there was someone growing in my belly. And now, I am a mom. I LOVE being a mom! It is such a rewarding feeling.

being parents

I haven’t been much in the blog world this year. I guess, it’s mostly because I wanted to live my experiences and not to spend a lot of time writing about them. That being said, I am so grateful for my blog friends and readers. You are like an extended family to me and I value more than you can ever imagine!

I am so excited for 2016! It will be a year full of firsts for Sofia. It’s so inspiring to watch her push her boundaries each day. My aspiration for 2016 is to grow too. I want my little girl to be proud of her mommy.

Happy-New-Year-2016-Download-3D-Wallpapers-2

I am wishing you all a beautiful year ahead. Make it memorable. Make it count. Tell your family and friends how much you love them and appreciate them, don’t wait for special occasions to do so. Love. Create new memories. Share smiles. Don’t forget about people in need. Don’t be greedy. Get stronger day by day. Be healthy.Be happy. Explore new horizons. And be the best possible version of you not for everyone else but for YOU!

Happy 2016!

xoxo
Olena

 

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Filed under Family, Holidays, Uncategorized

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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Filed under 30-Day Workout Challenges, Uncategorized

CanvasPop Christmas Giveaway

Hi friends!!!!

Can you believe it’s December already?! It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And to celebrate, my friends at CanvasPop are giving you the chance to win your Christmas. *You may recall my collaboration with them last spring.*

WinYourChristmas_Header

Featuring prizes from VISA, Apt2B, Toys R Us, and Best Buy, CanvasPop has got the perfect prize pack to help you fill up your stockings with gifts for the whole family.

WinYourChristmas_Social3

Prize pack includes:
$1,000 VISA Gift Card
$200 Best Buy Gift Card
$200 Toys ‘R’ Us Gift Card
$400 Apt2B Gift Card
$500 CanvasPop Gift Card
Samsung 40” 1080p Smart TV

So what are you waiting for? Enter tomorrow to win this awesome prize pack and make this Christmas one to remember!

WinYourChristmas_CTA

Additional Contest Details:

The Win Your Christmas giveaway will run from December 2 – 11, 2015.
The giveaway will close on December 11 at 11:59PM (Pacific Time).
The winner will be notified via email on December 12.
The contest is open to residents of the US and Canada.
Individuals are limited to 1 entry per email address but may gain additional entries through entry methods specified on the giveaway landing page.

Good luck!!!

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Giveaway, Uncategorized

The Beauty of Motherhood & Maternity Photoshoot

Today is a very very special day in my family. It is my mommy’s 50th Birthday!

IMG_5879

Words can’t describe how much I love her! It will probably sound strange or maybe not at all, but I love her so much more after I became a mom myself. There is something truly magical about watching your parents interact with your own child. I mean, I’ve always known that they loved me very much, but seeing them in action with Sofia is heartwarming and nothing short of remarkable. As they say, eyes don’t lie. And all I can see is an endless ocean of love.

Today I reflect on my own childhood and my parents’ love for me and my brother… We are so blessed with so many great memories! And I am so happy that my parents are so young and full of energy and that we have so many more wonderful memories ahead of us!

On this note, I would like to wish my mommy, my hero, strong health, never ending happiness and laughter! I love you!

And since I’m feeling super generous today, here are a few pictures from my maternity photoshoot when I was about 7.5 months pregnant.

Olena's maternity session : : images by Danylo Bobyk Photography : : www.danylob.com

Olena's maternity session : : images by Danylo Bobyk Photography : : www.danylob.com

Olena's maternity session : : images by Danylo Bobyk Photography : : www.danylob.com

Olena's maternity session : : images by Danylo Bobyk Photography : : www.danylob.com

Olena's maternity session : : images by Danylo Bobyk Photography : : www.danylob.com

Olena's maternity session : : images by Danylo Bobyk Photography : : www.danylob.com

Olena's maternity session : : images by Danylo Bobyk Photography : : www.danylob.com

Olena's maternity session : : images by Danylo Bobyk Photography : : www.danylob.com

Olena's maternity session : : images by Danylo Bobyk Photography : : www.danylob.com

Olena's maternity session : : images by Danylo Bobyk Photography : : www.danylob.com

Olena's maternity session : : images by Danylo Bobyk Photography : : www.danylob.com

Olena's maternity session : : images by Danylo Bobyk Photography : : www.danylob.com

Happy Thanksgiving to all fellow Canadians! Enjoy this long weekend with your families and loved ones! There is so much to be thankful for.

xoxo
Olena

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Being Normal Gets Boring, So I Go Back To Being Me: Very Inspiring Blogger Award

TGIF, y’all! Also, Happy 4th of July to my my American friends!

I am so so ecstatic it’s finally Friday! This weekend is going to be extraordinary, but you’ll have to wait till Monday. #sorrynotsorry

Nevertheless, I have something super exciting to share with you. One of my favorite bloggers, Salt *wait… Her name is Lauren! wink wink!*, from Run Salt Run nominated me for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I love her blog and have a tremendous respect for her as an athlete and a mommy. I am so so honored that she even thought of me! *Pinky swear!* You should definitely head over to her blog if you still haven’t done so. She is AWESOME! ❤

veryinspiringblogger

 

There are a few rules I have to follow:

  • Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
  • List the rules and display the award.
  • Share seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  • Optional: display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

I came up with 7 FUN facts about me, so you have to promise that you won’t blackmail me with any of these! *I am serious! LOL!* 

1. When my husband asked me to marry him, I never actually said ‘Yes’.

will you marry me

That’s horrible, right?

It may sound strange, but I really had no clue he was going to propose to me that night. I should have known better because Justin even told me to pack a nice dress and a pair of high heels, when we went to Mont Tremblant for 2 days.

You’ll say it was evident. But listen to this, when we were having supper at this super fancy restaurant, he started asking me about how I would like him to propose to me, whether I’d want to ask my dad first, etc. Obviously, any suspicions that I may have had evaporated. So when Justin stood on his knee, it took me by surprise! I got all emotional and I pretty much forgot to answer the most important question of my life.

Fun fact: I am pretty sure that our waiter thought we broke up. Little does he know! *Haha!*

2. When I am scared something weird happens to my face…

Zip-lining

and body…

Jumping over the fire

First picture

It was the first ever time I went zip-lining. I am not scared of heights or anything, but what got me super worried is the wooden block that is supposed to make you stop. I was going so fast that I had no idea how hard I would hit it… It wasn’t that bad after all. *LOL!*

Second picture

This shot was taken this past weekend. I had it all planned out in my head and was supposed to jump over the fire holding hands with Justin, but it didn’t happen. I made sure to jump up high, smile and look all pretty. It seems that the camera man had another plan for me… He decided to take a shot at the moment I was landing and when my face was in the process of registering the heat from fire. Lesson learned: Keep smiling for 2 seconds after you jump over the fire no matter what it takes.

*PS. It’s okay to laugh at my unfortunate photographs… Go on! Don’t feel bad! LOL!* 

3. I almost destroyed someone’s house is Antigua.

ATV tour

On our honeymoon, we decided to go on ATV tour around the island. Two other couples joined in. From what I overheard, it wasn’t their first time driving ATVs. I got all courage I had and pretended to be a big girl who could do it too. Well… It didn’t last long… Not even a minute into it, my ATV swerved and I almost  hit somebody’s house. I am pretty sure that one of the walls would be gone if I indeed hit it!..

Or was it an excuse to hold on to my hubby for the next 3 hours? Hmmm… I guess, you’ll never know. *Wink, wink!*

4. I believe that Monopoly is EVIL.

funny-family-happy-Monopoly-angry

Once during holidays I was naive enough to agree to play Monopoly with Justin’s brother and sister… BIG MISTAKE! I will never play this game again! I swear… You see that girl crying in the corner? It was ME! And that little happy punk was Justin’s little sister who was 13 or 14 at the time… Yes, I was angry with a kid!!! And no, I don’t feel bad, she deserved it! * Love you, sissy!!! Haha!*

5. I was so scared/nervous to introduce my parents to Justin’s parents that I ran away and let them figure it out on their own!

graduation

Justin and I went to the same university (I majored in Finance & Justin – in Accounting), so our convocation took place on the same day; however, his ceremony was in the morning and mine – in the afternoon.

At that point of time, we’d been together for almost 2 years and had established great relationships with each other’s families. Justin’s parents wanted to stay to see me get my diploma too. It doesn’t take much to figure out, our families were bound to meet, which both of us were ready for. Well… kind of! Certainly, my nerves weren’t prepared for that…

What did I do? That’s how it went down: “Hi, mommy and daddy! You look great! Here is Justin with his parents and sister… These are my parents! Oh, so sorry! I already have to go to get ready for the ceremony. See you later! Have fun!!!”

Yup… I’m THAT bad! *Now judge me!*

6. I jumped out of a Jacuzzi and rolled in the snow on 3 different occasions just because someone said I wouldn’t do it.

Rolling in the snow

I was sober and cold. Why would I do this three times? Because whoever was taking pictures couldn’t get a decent shot. It was totally worth it though! Call me a daredevil! *Haha!* 

7. I make weird faces when I am bored. 

Bored

But don’t we all?!

Here are my nominations *who weren’t yet nominated by somebody else*:

  1. Stamped With a Heart
  2. Run For The Pizza
  3. Abs of Steel
  4. Must Love Jogs
  5. Fueled by LOLz
  6. Running on Healthy
  7. Northern Ambitions
  8. Liveng Proof
  9. Daydreams & Shoestrings
  10. The Gluten-Free Treadmill
  11. Fairytales & Fitness
  12. Life Between the Miles
  13. Runaway Bridal Planner
  14. Mar On the Run
  15. NY Life Supply

have a great day

Source

Here are some of my previous nominations:

Anyone else forgot to say ‘Yes’ to man of your dreams? Any horror Monopoly stories? Bad race shots? Spill it out! Haha!

xoxo
Olena

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Beast Mode is ON: Happy Canada Day + Tough Double Workout To Celebrate It

Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians!

Happy Canada Day

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Words can’t express enough how much I love this country and how proud I am to call myself Canadian! I embrace its diversity and beauty. And I hope all of you can take some time today to celebrate Canadian awesomeness! *Hehe!*

Before I get any further, I’d like to thank you all for your unbelievable support throughout my training for the Spartan Trifecta! I honestly think that you’ve played a crucial role in my success so far. I am so humbled and honored to have you all in my life!!! (here & here)

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As you know, the Spartan Beast (20+ km and 25+ obstacles) is less than 4 weeks away and I am totally shaking in my boots. The BEAST MODE is officially on!!! And what could be better than celebrating Canada Day by logging a super intense and sweaty workout?!

Actually, when I saw this workout in the Spartan Guide, it made me laugh. Why? Because just yesterday I was telling to one of my fellow bloggers that  I’ve never done double runs. Little that I knew! I could probably complete the following workout in one setting, but, the truth is, I am still a bit sore after the race on Sunday.

beast mode is on

Source

Part 1

Strength: Diamonds are Forever!

Rest 30 seconds between sets and exercises.

  • Squats: Begin with feet closer together than shoulder width apart and hold both hands to your sides. Slowly squat down to 90 degrees and return to the start position. Repeat as desired. Hold dumbbells in your hands. Select a weight that you can only lift within the suggested range.
    Step 1: 10-12 reps, high intensity, steady tempo
    Step 2: repeat
  • Barbell overhead squat: Begin with feet wider than shoulder width apart and arms fully extended overhead, barbell in hands. Select a weight that you can only lift within the suggested range. Start by using a wooden dowel if necessary.
    Step 1: 10-12 reps, high intensity, steady tempo
    Step 2: repeat
  • Box alternating leg shuffle: Begin with one foot on the box and the other on the ground. Explode off the foot on the box and switch legs in air, landing with the opposite foot on the box.
    Step 1: 15 reps per leg
    Step 2: repeat
  • Kettlebell or dumbbell suitcase dead lift: Begin with feet shoulder width apart with the kettlebell in the right hand. Slowly squat down to 90 degrees, until the kettelbell is close to or touching the ground. Repeat reps as desired. Do for both sides, using a weight you can only lift within the suggested range.
    Step 1: 10-12 reps. Focus on form first, before increasing weight.
    Step 2: repeat
  • Barbell standing rows: Begin with feet shoulder width apart with a slight bend in the knees. Grasp the barbell with both hands with your hands facing out. Pull the barbell to your body. Repeat as desired. Select a weight you can only lift within the suggested range.
    Step 1: 10-12 reps, high intensity, steady tempo.
    Step 2: repeat
  • Box dips: Begin in a sitting position with hands facing forward on the box or bench and feet on the ground. Slowly extend your arms as far as they will go. Gently lower yourself and repeat as desired.
    Step 1: 10-12 reps, high intensity. Can be made easier by flexing your knees. Can be made more difficult by elevating extended legs. Can add resistance by placing a weight on your thighs.
    Step 2: repeat
  • Planks: Begin by lying face down on the ground with elbows flexed. Lift your chest and hips off of the floor so that your body is supported by your elbows and feet. Brace yourself and hold as long as possible.
    Step 1: hold for 30-120 seconds
    Step 2: repeat

Run 3 miles

fitspiration

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Part 2

Cross-train: Bingham 2

45-minute trail run; every 10 minutes find a rock or a log and lift it for 10 reps, performing arm curls, shoulder presses, and squats. Add 5 reps each time so that you finish your last set with 25 reps for each exercise.

Source: A Spartan Guide To The Sport Of Obstacle Racing by Joe De Sena

enthusiasm

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How are you celebrating Canada Day?

xoxo
Olena

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Got Shin Splits? Have You Tried These Foot Stretches?

Can I be a meanie for a moment?! Just for a tiny little short moment… IT’S MY DAY OFF!!!

day off

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Today is a Saint-Jean-Baptiste day in Quebec. This obviously means that there’s no work. I couldn’t be happier to spend this day with two of my favorite munchkins and watch Italy vs. Uruguay FIFA game with some friends! *Go Italy Go!*

Yesterday was my sissy’s *sister-in-law* prom. She looked stunning, and I couldn’t be any prouder!

IMG_3868

*Do I look the youngest in this picture? Well, you are wrong! I am the oldest… I preserve well! Haha! Oh, and maybe, just MAYBE, I’d look a little more mature if I wore heels, but I was hiding my ugly toe nail… BUMMER!*

Continuing on to the foot subject. A few days ago I received an email from one of my readers. Here is the question he asked:

“I am wondering if you had to spend a lot of time doing the exercise in the picture I attached, and if so, was it as painful as it looks?”

toe exercise

Gosh… I never liked foot stretches! They were the death of me!

We indeed did quite a bit of them. This doesn’t come as a surprise, I hope. The ability to point your toes and show off your ‘arch’ is crucial to success of a rhythmic gymnast. Not only pointed feet look more aesthetically beautiful and impressive, a failure to point them enough could cost you a few points. *True story!*

Some of the girls I trained with had naturally flexible feet. My feet, however, always cramped up, no matter how many exercises I did.

toe stretches

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This paints a familiar picture of what was happening at the gym before a class began: Girls trying to warm up and stretch as much as possible. That being said, I’ve got to point out a small technical error in this image: Your heels should always touch each other, otherwise, this exercise is pointless because you are getting the stretch in all the wrong places.

Here is another good stretch.

Pointed-Foot-Stretch

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Did you know that foot stretches are important for runners too? Doing the mentioned above stretches on a regular basis can even help with shin splits. According to Coach Sommer, ‘… tight anterior tibialis (the muscle that runs up and down along the front of the shin), in combination with micro-traumas to the muscle’s attachment to the bone, are the primary cause of shin splints. As gymnasts, shin splints can occasionally be an issue for some athletes. Aggressively stretching the tibialis coupled with high-rep low-intensity sets of toe raises (where the toes are lifted off the ground, rather than the heel as in calf raises) will usually resolve shin splints in short order.’

Finally, I found a really great article at Runner’s World on how to strengthen your feet and ankles. Try doing the following exercises 3-4 times a week and you should see a difference pretty soon.

THE MONOPOLY GAME:
Put 10 small objects on the floor–like marbles or Monopoly pieces–and place a small cup nearby. Using your toes, pick up the pieces one at a time and put them in the cup. Do two sets of 10 with each foot.

 

THE DRUNK FLAMINGO:
Standing on stable ground, balance on one foot with your eyes open. Once you can do that for one minute, try it with your eyes closed. Master that and then move to an unstable surface–like a mini-trampoline, foam block, wobble board, or Bosu trainer. “Balancing helps strengthen your ankles and feet as well as your core,” Schneider says.

TOE TUG:
Loop one end of an exercise band around a sturdy table leg or bedpost. Sit with your legs straight in front of you, and loop the other end around the top part of one foot. The band should be anchored straight in front of you, and it should be taut when your foot is pointed away from you. Pull your toes toward you, keeping your leg straight. Go as far as your ankle will let you. Release slowly, returning to the starting position. Do two sets of 20 on each leg.

BENT-KNEE WALL STRETCH:
Runners often forget to stretch the soleus – a muscle deep in the calf that attaches to the Achilles. “Doing a calf stretch with a straight leg hits the gastrocnemius, but that’s only half the battle,” Schneider says. Here’s how to target the soleus: Stand with your palms against a wall, one leg forward, one leg back. Lower into a “seated” position with legs bent. Lean into the wall until you feel it in your back calf. Hold 30 to 45 seconds then switch legs.

NEGATIVE CALF RAISES:
Stand on a step with your toes on the edge and your heels hanging off. Push up with both feet into a calf raise. Lift one leg off the step, and lower your other leg so that your heel drops below the step. Take at least 10 seconds to lower it all the way down–that’s the eccentric part of the move and has been shown to help prevent Achilles tendinitis.

PLANTAR STRETCH:
Sit down barefoot and cross your right leg so that your ankle rests on your left thigh. Hold your toes and bend them back toward your shin, stretching the plantar fascia. A study showed that people suffering from plantar fasciitis had a 77 percent chance of returning to full activity within three to six months after performing this stretch. Researchers suggest that you do the stretch 10 times at least three times a day (once or twice a day doesn’t produce as strong of an effect).

Source

it hurts now

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Do you remember to warm up and stretch your feet before going for a run? What are your most favorite exercises?

xoxo
Olena

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Be Weird, Be Random, Be Who You Are Or 11 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

Good morning, darlings!

A quick follow up on yesterday’s run. It was somewhat tough because my legs were sore from my Sunday’s workout. However, I did manage to run 6.5 km in 37 minutes, which is okay. I SHALL NOT GIVE UP!

tough-runs

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Needless to say, my foam roller became my best friend yet again *read here for more foam rolling tips*! Today, thankfully is my rest day, so I will probably do some stretches, nothing major though.

As you most likely remember, I was nominated for the Liebster Award about a month ago. However, when I was nominated again last weekend by She Does Write, I was truly honored and couldn’t decline it. Not to repeat myself, I decided just to answer the questions. I find, it is a great way to provide give you with another glimpse into my life. *For some strange reason, I noticed that I don’t tend to talk about my private life in here that much.*

So there it goes.

1. What is your favorite word or phrase?

The first phrase that came to my mind is…

Be-the-change-You-Want-To-See-in-the-World-Gandhi

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2. Dogs, cats, or other–and why?

I am definitely a dog person. It might sound somewhat funny *and RIDICULOUS*, but I am actually scared of cats. Not that I want to run the moment I see one, but I am really afraid that it will scratch me. I think I’ll blame my grandma’s cat who is super cute and WILD at the same time! On the other hand, I’d love to own a tiger! *How confusing!*

As for the dogs, I am a German Shepherd lover. Meet my beloved Sanda who passed away last year.

German Shephed

And here is my little 4.5 months old pest and trouble-maker, Bella:

Bella

3. What was the best part of living where you grew up?

I was born in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Kyiv

When I was little (about 2-3 years old) my parents decided to move to my dad’s home city Cherkasy, where I ended up living for about 13 years of my life. My fondest memories of my childhood are the moments I spent with my family at the beach close to our house, where we would go quite often: in summer – to swim, play soccer and volleyball, and even camp, in winter – to skate and ski.

Dnipro

Dnipro 2
4. What’s the best part of living where you are now?

Montreal is one of the most beautiful cities in the entire world! I might be biased, but my heart belongs here.

The nature is breathtaking.

Montreal - Mont Royal

There are plenty of events happening all year long.

Jardins botaniques

And the architecture is beautiful, and yet not overwhelming: a mix of old and new.

downtown Montreal
5. What was your last dream about?

To be honest, I don’t really recall, but it was something in James Bond style, meaning me running away from someone to stay alive. All jokes aside, that’s how I felt. Haha!

Nightmares

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6. Have you ever pranked someone in an epic way?

Okay, so I don’t really remember pranking anybody recently, HOWEVER… I was pranked pretty badly about a year ago by a local show Les Détestables. It is a Montreal’s hidden camera comedy program, where elderly people say or do inappropriate things trying to get a reaction out of innocent people *me!* who do not suspect a thing!

Since the video is in French (Montreal is a bilingual city), here is the translation:

Elderly lady, ‘Excuse me, but I haven’t finished reading… Can you turn the page back?’
Me *clearly shocked*, ‘Excuse me?!?!’
Elderly lady *turning the page of my book*, ‘I stopped reading right here.’

You won’t believe, this encounter lasted for much longer, but they didn’t show it all on TV. What you need to know about me is that I am NOT a rude person. That being said, this situation gave me a pretty intense headache from conflicting emotions and feelings that I had experienced for the rest of the day! Haha!

7. If you could ask your future self anything, what would it be?

How was child labor?! Ahaha! *I am terrified!!! Not that I’m pregnant either! LOL!*

you pushed me out of your whatSource

8. How would you describe your personal style?

I am not sure I understand this question properly, but I am very determined and competitive. Definitely, a good friend and a family person.

9. Have you ever met a celebrity?

Multiple times! My problem though is that I don’t know who they are!

who are you againSource

10. What is your favorite thing to do in downtime?

I love to read, take pictures and edit them!

smelling books

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11. What is the last thing you photographed?

I actually took this picture of myself.

nomakeup selfie

Not that I’m one of those girls that loves to constantly take selfies, but I thought the idea behind it was really nice. #nomakeupselfie was done in order to show support and raise breast cancer awareness.

So tell me, do you like these posts where I give you some random facts about myself? What would you like to know about me?

xoxo
Olena

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