Tag Archives: 30-day challenge

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

She Said What?! Only 3 Weeks Left Till Ottawa Spartan Beast

Hey y’all! I’ve missed you!

I know, it’s been only 3 days, but so many things have happened. I also promised you an extraordinary weekend… and I kind of lied… because it was EPIC!

On Saturday afternoon, Justin and I found ourselves at a very beautiful location, the national park of Mont Saint Bruno, not too far from where we live. This occasion on its own was magical. However, what if I told you it was even more perfect than that?! Yup, it’s possible indeed!

Mont Saint Bruno lake

We were on a mission… wait… let me correct myself… We were on a SECRET mission!

One of my best friends was getting proposed to!!! Imagine, how hard it was for me to know it and keep my mouth shut! It was definitely a challenge… Ah, imagine yourself not being able tell your bff about something like this!

When we got to the park, we met up with some other friends who were involved in the plot. We were all so excited and nervous for everything to go according to plans because there were a few misunderstandings as to when we have to come up from our hiding location.

under the tree Thankfully, everything went smoothly, and I witnessed my friend’s emotions going from very confused to overwhelmed and then to very VERY excited!

proposalShe said YES!!! I am so honored to have been there with her. Oh, and I AM A BRIDESMAID! For the first time EVER!!! How cool and precious is that?!

Sunday was also very special. My hubby and I had his family over for lunch and then we headed to a photo shoot. Initially, it was supposed to be ‘Revive the Dress’ photo session last fall that didn’t happen due to bad weather. This time around, I didn’t feel like wearing my wedding dress again because I wanted to keep the memory of my wedding day more special, so I opted for a casual shoot. Not surprisingly, it took place at yet another park. *I love nature!*

Here are some shots.

photo shoot 1As you can see, we still love each other on occasion after almost a year of being married. *Haha!*

photo shoot 2Ummm… Have I mentioned lots of PDA? No?! #sorrynotsorry

I really can’t wait to see the rest of the pictures. We even included Bella in some of the photos since she is a BIG part of our life!

On to more serious stuff…

Last week wasn’t as productive as I hoped to training-wise. I think my body needed some rest and I granted its wish. I mean, I still had pretty tough workouts but not much running happened in this part of the woods. That being said, I have less than 3 weeks left before the Spartan Beast in Ottawa.

final stretch

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My plan is to clean up my diet to get my body into the beast mode and push through some tougher workouts.

The workout today is as follows:

Strength + Cardio:    Diamonds are Forever!
Abs:                            Ab 500
Challenge:                30-day bear crawl Spartan challenge

life is a gift

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Have you ever witnessed a proposal? What changes do you make to your diets in the weeks leading up to a big race?

xoxo
Olena

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Yoga During Lunch Break? Yes, Please!

Good morning, beauties!

Today’s post will be rather short and sweet. And here is my motivation:

yoga outside

Here is a back story.

Even though it was super hot and humid yesterday, I decided to go outside for my lunch break and read a book. I just love being outdoors and I’ll take heat over staying indoors from 8.30 am till 5 pm.

What you may not know is that I work in a very beautiful part of Montreal, Old Port. Needless to say, every walk is really a treat on its own. However, I didn’t have to walk far to see a large group of people doing yoga with an instructor, just like that. How awesome is this?!?! I was literally freaking out from jealousy. All I wanted to do is strip off my corporate outfit and dive into yoga with them. It’s be so awesome to go for a lunch break and do… YOGA! Outside! This is on my to do list now. I MUST FIND OUT! I mean, sign me up right this moment, HELLO?!?!

yes please

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Since today is my rest day, I decided to have a nice yoga workout… preferably outside. Hehe!

The following 20-minute Yoga flow for detox and digestion seems to be fitting as to what my body really needs and CRAVES right now.

And, of course, don’t forget the bear crawl challenge!!! *wink, wink*

Do you have possibility to take a fitness class or squeeze in a workout during your lunch break? How do you work around it?

xoxo
Olena

 

 

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Trip Recap: Paris Is Always A Good Idea (Part 2) + ElectroDash Promo Code

Good morning, lovies!

How did your Canada Day go? I’ve heard many of you had some great plans and workouts to celebrate. I wanna know every single little detail! *HA!*

Before I carry on with the recap of my trip to Paris (see Part 1 here), I’d like to save a few bucks for my fellow Canadians. Last night I finally registered for ElectroDash, the 5 km dance party, on August 29. I’ve been obsessed with this race ever since I saw it on last season of Bachelor. That night my hubby and I solemnly swore to each other that if ever we get a chance we’ll participate in it. *So dramatic, eh?*  

Since yesterday was Canada Day, organizers decided to throw in a promotion to celebrate the occasion. If you register before midnight on July 2 and enter a promo code CANADADAY1867, you’ll save 18.67%. *To those who wonder why the number is so strange, Confederation occurred in 1867. Now it all makes sense, doesn’t it? Haha!* Honestly, I CAN’T WAIT!!!

On a side note, a portion of the proceeds from ElectroDash Montreal benefits Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I know quite a few people who, unfortunately, were affected by this terrible decease, and I’m glad that my participation can make a difference, no matter how small it is.

Back to Paris…

As you may remember, I frooooooooze on the first day there. So when the second day came around, I didn’t care about fashion: I put my running shoes with a big smile on. All I cared about is being warm!

Notre Dame, Paris

*How cute?! Or maybe a fashion disaster? Haha!*

Louvre was first on our to-do list. However, once we got there, we saw a huge line up. We decided to instead explore the city since we had until 3 pm before having to head back to the airport to fly to Ukraine. Nevertheless, Louvre was beautiful on the outside too! *Haha!*

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My brother had a chance to go back there when I had to return to Canada. This is, hands down, the best picture someone ever took next to Mona Lisa!!!

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*He is GENIUS! Haha!*

Then, we headed to Notre Dame de Paris. On our way there, we enjoyed views of the Seine river and multiple bridges stretched over it.

Seine

When we came to the cathedral, I was BLOWN AWAY! Notre-Dame was so much more than I’d ever imagined! Every single statue and detail of the exterior is different. It is indeed a spectacular masterpiece with a long history!

Notre Dame de Paris

As my brother and I started getting away from historical landmarks, we dove in into little streets to get a real feel of Paris.

Paris

I was amazed how many pink chestnut trees were there! *I mean, I was born in the chestnut tree capital of the world, Kyiv, but they all bloom white there.* 

However, the more I enjoyed Parisian living, the more self conscious I became of my white running shoes… and then my stylish self rebelled, and I went and bought myself a better matching pair of shoes!!! *Hey! They were only 15 euros, it was a steal! Haha!*

shoes swap

*YES! It was that bad! I didn’t care to go in a shady ally just to change them! HAHA!*

Afterwards, I was a happy trooper!

Have you ever had a wardrobe malfunction when you traveled? How did the first day of Spartan bear crawl challenge go?

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Fitness, Health, Travel

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!!!* 

Spartan30_BearCrawl_Logo_NAS

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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

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!

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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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Hiking, Stupid Laws & Spartan Rhode Island Bucket Workout

It’s FRIDAY! Can you believe it?

It's friday

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What a week it’s been, but as they say ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’, right?! *Okay, okay! I’m totally exaggerating here*. It’s been busy and productive, just the way I like it.

It’s been raining here in Montreal these past couple of days. On the brighter side *literally*, it should clear out for the weekend. Yay! And you know what I’ve been planning? A nice hike with my hubby and our baby!!!

Hiking with Bella

*Look at those cute butts haha!*

This picture is from our hike a month ago. I’m embarrassed to say, but that was my first ever hiking experience. I have no idea why I had never done it before! It was such a great experience, I want to do it more and more.

But than listen to this. Shortly after the hike to the Black Mountain, I found out that dogs are not allowed in provincial parks of Quebec. I was (and still am) outraged. To me, this doesn’t make any sense. I would understand having to keep my pup on a leash, but not this. And in all honesty, I can’t imagine going for a hike on a weekend to enjoy myself knowing that my beloved Bella is locked up at home in her crate.

no dogs allowed

Anyhow, I was lucky enough to speak to one of my co-workers about my concern this week. He was brilliant enough to suggest to me to check out some skiing resorts a.k.a. private parks. *BINGO!* I was able to find a few really nice hiking places within an hour drive!!! All I have to hope for right now is that my husband’s heel doesn’t hurt as much, which he hurt during his soccer game last week. *Sad face… He kind of looks like a T-Rex when he walks, which is… kind of… well… absolutely HILARIOUS!* 

funny-T-Rex-hat-dinosaur

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*P.S. I just died laughing!!!!!*

Moving on to today’s training… As always, I use the Spartan guide, but today’s workout looks rather interesting. Oh, and it’s called: Rhode Island Bucket Workout! Not that it’s impossible to do, I just have to figure out HOW I can accomplish it successfully since I don’t have a membership at the gym. Well… Judge for yourself *and, please, let me know if you’ve got any ideas*!

Equipment needed:

2-5 gallon buckets with lids, filled with sand, water, rocks – some type of manageable weight – and a 5′ steel bar with hooks on both ends *YESSS! Any ideas?!*

Warm up:

Jog slowly in place for 1 minute
200 jumping jacks
Stretch

Conditioning:

Decline-bucket push-up – place your feet on the buckets and your hand on the ground. Adjusting the spacing of your hands for variation, do as many push-ups as possible.

Incline bucket push-up – place buckets 224-30 inches apart. Place hands on buckets and feet on ground. Do as many push-ups as possible, going between the buckets.

Bucket lunge – Hand the weighted buckets from each side of the steel bar. Place bar behind your head resting on your trapezius. Lunge for 50 yards.

Side jump – place buckets on ground with steel bar resting across them. Stand beside the bar, jump over the bar to the other side, and repeat 20 times.

Bucket curl shoulder press – use the steel bar with weighted buckets hanging from both ends. Begin by curling the bar up to your chest and then press the bar over your head. Slowly return to the starting position, and repeat.

Bucket high-step walk – hold a weighted bucket in each hand. Walk for 100 yards with high knees.

Cool down with a light jog, and stretch.

Spartan Bike

Warm up for 10 minutes in zone 2

Repeat 6 times:

Ride 3 minutes in zone 4.
Ride 1 minute in zone 2.

Cool down for 10 minutes.

+ 30 sit-ups for 30 days challenge

dedicated

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Are you a dog owner? What are your thoughts about this ‘No dogs allowed’ thing?

xoxo
Olena

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