Tag Archives: abs

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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Moving Past Mountains: Your Attitude Is The Key

It’s HUMP day, mi amores, and I couldn’t be happier!

hump day

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I’d like to share some Spartan wisdom with you today. Truth is, I’ve been letting a work stress get over my life lately a tad too much. Not only I became grumpy, my ‘complaining levels’ have also gone up… And I’m not liking that too much… Why would I? Wasting my life in a bad mood is definitely not what I envision for myself.

grumpy cat

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*Yah, thanks, but no thanks! Haha!*

I know I’ve been bringing up Spartan Up! quite often lately, but it’s just too good not to want to apply it to your life *and I promise, nobody paid me for this!*. 

In one of the chapters, Joe de Sena was trying to explain why the Spartan Race involves so much running in the mountains, and I couldn’t agree any more with him: “Life is much the same way. Poor genetics is a mountain. School is a mountain. Heartbreak is a mountain. Divorce is a mountain. Obesity is a mountain. Layoffs are a mountain. A blown disc in your spine is a mountain. The death of parents is a mountain. Chemotherapy is a mountain. Multiple sclerosis is a mountain. They come at us one after the other. Some seduce us slowly, some scare the shit of us immediately, but they never stop coming. That’s why every Spartan race demands that you climb hills and overcome obstacles – because life does this to each of us.”

quote___overcoming_obstacles_by_rabidbribri-d62uwci

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His suggestion on how to overcome obstacles is to change attitude: “The way to improve your attitude is to push through adversity. Once you have seen the dark side, you push through until the dark phase comes to an end, and everything after that appears brighter, more hopeful. I have a saying I use whenever I’m uncomfortable: ‘It could be worse. I could be freezing in Alaska or surrounded by sharks.’ whatever is bothering you in that moment suddenly doesn’t seem so bad. This too shall pass.” Genius, simply GENIUS!

think like a proton always positive

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My solution to this tiny hiccup?

Here it goes!

Cross-train: Dynamic Warm-Up

5-minute general warm up

25 yards each:

High-knee walk
High-knee jog
Butt-kickers
Lateral shuffle
Straight leg march
Skip
Straight leg skip
Cross-over step
Carioca
Duck walk

Cross: Mr. Clean

Repeat 3 times:

Swiss ball knee-tucks for 45 seconds
Push-ups for 30 seconds
Swiss ball triceps-dips for 45 seconds
Plank for 45 seconds

Run: Super Spartan Tempo Run

Warm up 2 miles with heart rate in zone 2;
Run 4 miles with heart rate in zone 4;
Cool down 2 miles with heart rate in zone 2.

Ab 500/ as a part of 30 sit-ups for 30 days challenge

I was obviously tired, but FELT ABSOLUTELY AH-MAZING!!!!!!

i feel good

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How do you deal with work-related stress in the after work hours?

xoxo
Olena

 

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Fitness & Massage: Your Body Deserves It

I can’t believe it’s Wednesday already! And you can call me a spoiled brat, but that’s what I am going to be doing tonight…

relaxation massage

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Okay, let the truth be told… I don’t look that glamorous when I’m getting a massage… Most of the time I’m on the verge of falling asleep… It’s important to highlight… On the verge… Why? Because most of the times I come back to reality from realization that I am about to drool… Yah… You got it right… But hey, no judgement here! *Haha!*

Also most of the times I feel like this.

Is_this_too_much_pressure

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I’m exaggerating here, of course. I actually like when a masseuse has strong hands. But you know that moment when they are trying to work your shoulder blades? Well, every single time, I think that something is about to crack. And yet, when they ask me if everything is okay, I say.

i__m_fine_by_destinyblue-d4e1b9e

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Am I normal? *Haha!*

In all seriousness though, I love Swedish massage. It appears that this kind of massage not only helps relaxation, but is also “exceptionally beneficial for increasing the level of oxygen in the blood, decreasing muscle toxins, improving circulation and flexibility while easing tension”, according to Massage Envy Spa.

However, to reap all benefits of a massage, you have to do a bit of ‘homework’ too. Remember to:

  • Drink lots of water, especially for the next 24-48 hours: This will help toxins to leave your body. *Check out these tips to stay hydrated.*
  • Take a warm shower or a nice bath with salts. Doing this will improve your blood circulation and bring relaxation to a whole new level.
  • Do some static stretching: hold your favorite yoga pose for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.Stretches will reducce post-massage soreness.I actually came across a cool image on one of my favorite blogs, Peanut Butter Fingers, today. You can use it for inspiration if you’d like.

Yoga-Poses-Hold-each-pose-for-30-seconds_thumb

  • Have a small snack to boost electrolytes in your body. Oh, I can’t believe I almost forgot to mention you about my favorite post-massage treat!

chocolate_covered_strawberries_recipe_plate_of_chocolate_covered_strawberries

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At the spa I go to, they serve chocolate covered strawberries in their relaxation area. Let me tell you, after I have 2 of them, I’m in heaven. *True story!*

Back to planet Earth… *Hehe!*

This is how my cross-train workout yesterday looked like.

Repeat 5 times:

10 push-ups
10 burpees
5 pull-ups
30-second sprint
1 minute rest

Then, with something heavy, repeat 4 times:

15 squats
Lunge walk 50 meters
10 chest-passes
10 underhand toss
1 minute rest

Strength: Ab 500 *This surely covers the 30 sit ups for 30 days challenge! See previous post.*

fitness-inspiration

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What is your favorite type of massage? How often do you treat yourself to one?

xoxo
Olena

 

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

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

summer is here

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

Spartan_Sit-ups_NAS

 

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

Follow these steps: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

trying my hardest

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What are your favorite sit-up variations and workouts?

xoxo
Olena

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Getting Rid Of Love Handles: Because There is Always Place For Love But Not For Handles

Good morning darlings!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Mine was really awesome, here are some pictures for you.

Walk with Bella in the park

Bella 4.5 months - German Shepherd

Bella 4.5 months - German Shepherd 2

This week I have to really get cracking on my training for the first 13+km race of the Spartan Trifecta this year. I can’t believe that only 9 weeks is left. I am so pumped! Check out this year’s official video.

The topic that I’d love to bring up today is LOVE HANDLES. Why? Because true Spartans don’t have any! That being said, it doesn’t mean that someone with them cannot become a true Spartan. And that’s great news.

Losing weight around the waist area is one of the most challenging tasks for many people out there. Did you know that not only love handles don’t look very appealing, excessive weight around your waist can actually hurt your health?! According to Forbes, “Those individuals who are at their normal weight, but who have concentrated “central” obesity were more than 50% likely to die from all causes compared to those who were obese, according to results of a 14 year study recently presented at the European Society of Cardiology on August 27, 2012.” If you ask me, there is absolutely nothing lovely about it.

No to muffin top

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First of all, it is important to remember that proper diet plays a big role in getting rid of the excess weight in the mid section. No, you don’t need to starve yourself, but you do need to “avoid sugars, salts and unhealthy fats, and add fresh fruits, vegetables, good fats (like raw seeds or avocado) and lean clean proteins to your diet instead”, according to Kyla Gagnon in her interview with Huffington Post.

Doing planks, burpees and mountain climbers is an excellent way to get started. I personally got really excited when I came across the Spiderman Push Ups.

bootcamp-spiderman-pushup

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And the side crunches!

the-side-crunch

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Oh, and this new type of crunch!

abs-obliques-move-david-barton-400x400

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Wooooo! I can feel the burn already!!!

My workout today will consist of a 6-mile run, AB 500 workout and a 30 squats for 30 days Spartan Challenge. Let’s make that fat cry!!!

keep calm and make your fat cry

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What are your favorite exercises to keep your waist trim?

xoxo
Olena

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How I Jinxed Spring, Stability Ball Training 101 & 11 Super Effective Exercises For Your Core

So… um… I jinxed the weather! It went from nice and warm to a snow storm and 15 cm of snow. Winter, I am so over you!

I'm tired of winter

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Therefore, when it came to asking a question: gym or no gym? My answer was a strong: I don’t think so!

I don't think so

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Especially, that I’ve got a great alternative! How about a workout with a stability ball that I purchased about a month ago for situations just like this one?! BINGO!

First of all, benefits:

  • Inexpensive
  • Effective and low-impact core workout
  • Improve posture & stability
  • Muscle balance
  • Increase flexibility
  • Must-have if you have back or spine problems
  • Great rehabilitation from back, hip and knee injuries
  • Strengthen abdominal muscles

Second, I wasn’t aware *most likely beacause I am a dum-dum*, but there are actually guidelines as to how to choose the right ball! According to ACE Fit, when you’re sitting on the ball, your knees and hips should align at a 90-degree angle. You can find the following guide extremely helpful:

correct ball sizing

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Here is my take on 11 FANTABULUOUS stability ball exercises:

2 Push Up variations

Ball Pass

Standing Side-Splits with a Ball

Standing Side-Splits with a Ball

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Frog Jump

2 types of Roll-Outs

Plank Shoulder Taps

plank shoulder taps

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Back Extensions

Standing Plank

Hamstring Curls

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

SONY DSC

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Do you like trying out new exercises? What was the last time you tried something new? What’s your favorite stability ball exercise?

xoxo
Olena

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A Super Intense 60-Minute HIIT/Tabata Cardio, Abs & Obliques Workout

Please, don’t laugh, but yesterday was the first time I tried a Tabata workout. I know, it’s kind of shameful given that I’m a fitness enthusiast, but hey, at least I FINALLY know what it is. And let me tell you, I love various HIIT workouts, but Tabata is something else!

Exercise Motivation

A little bit of history. It was founded in Japan by Izumi Tabata. What he found out is that high intensity interval training had more of an impact on the aerobic and anaerobic systems as opposed to moderate high intensity training.

So how does it work?

You can incorporate pretty much any type of exercise into the Tabata training; however, the following rules have to be followed:

  • 4 minutes long
  • 20 seconds of intense training
  • 10 seconds of rest
  • Total of 8 sessions/rounds

Sounds simple, right? But believe me, you’re going to be SOAKING WET after this workout. WORD!

It consists of:

  • 6-minute cardio warm up
  • 48-minute HIIT/Tabata & abs routine
  • 6 minute cool down & stretch session

By the way, you’ll be glad you did the plank workout and the core building routine with me last week!

I think this picture describes the best how I felt right after the workout.

sweat

Let me know what you think, but also tell me know about your favorite Tabata routine.

xoxo
Olena

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