Tag Archives: Core strength

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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Mountain Climbers: Your Arms, Legs And Core Will Thank You! Also, A Great 500 Ab Workout

It’s very hard not to love high impact exercises that don’t require any equipment at all and can be done pretty much anywhere. Some of those exercises are: the burpee and the plank. It’s one of those love-hate relationships for me. However, today I’d like to talk about MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS. Not only it’s a plyometric exercise that tones your arms, legs and core, but it also strengthens the cardiovascular system. And no, you don’t have to climb a mountain to do them!

Seems simple enough, right?! But don’t be fooled! There are so many health benefits to this exercise:

  1. Core Strength
  2. Power Training: lower body
  3. Strengthen heart and lungs
  4. Burn calories *=FAT*

Not enough a challenge? Try placing hands on top of a medicine ball!

mountain climbers with a medicine ball

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According to the Spartan Race blog, “When the race course turns vertical, you’ll also appreciate the power you’ve generated with your time spent mountain climbing. While you’re down on the ground, you can also do a few 25′ bear crawls to better ready yourself for barbed wire obstacles.”

One of the ways to incorporate mountain climbers in your workout is to drop and perform 1 to 3 sets of 10-30 mountain climbers at the half way point during your routine run. Whatever gets your heart pumping, right?!

exercise

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I’m sorry! I couldn’t resist the temptation to post this picture. I mean, how ridiculously funny it is?!?! Haha!

Anyhow, moving on to today’s workout. This is what is going to happen (as per the Spartan race training guide).

Interval running

10 reps: 10-second hill (sprint), 10-second rest
5 reps: 20-second hill (very high intensity), 20-second rest
3 reps: 30-second hill (high intensity), 10-second rest

Do not stop until all 18 intervals are complete. Walk for 5 minutes to recover, and repeat for half the reps. Jog easy for 20 minutes.

AB 500 

25 crunches
50 bicycles
50 back-scratchers
50 rotating crunches
25 leg-lowers
50 scissor-kicks
50 side-crunches
50 bicycles
50 back-scratchers

** You can find how to do all of these exercises properly here.

Don't give up

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What are your favorite high impact exercises? How do you add them to your workouts?

xoxo
Olena

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Why You Should Not Ignore Running Downhill And How To Do So Properly

Hi there! I hope you had a terrific weekend! One thing I can tell you for sure, my weekend was absolutely AMAZING! Not only was spent with my little family and a company of our friends in the mountains, but… DRUMM ROLL… my cold is GONE! Which means that I can finally resume my training!!! YIPPEE  KI-YAY!!! *Yup, I am this happy!*

Here are a few pictures from the weekend.

At the chalet up north

The air was super fresh and the nature breathtaking!

Snow and trees

And obviously Bella was ecstatic to jump in the snow and run around. *Isn’t she beauty?!*

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I LOVE the feeling of being fresh, healthy and full of energy! But then, who doesn’t?! Haha!

Last week, I mentioned the importance of running downhill while training for the Spartan Trifecta. To be honest with you, I’ve never thought much of it. I’ve always focused on training running UPHILL like everybody else. Even though running downhill seems to be a much easier task than running uphill, it’s very simple to get injured (especially, quads) if you don’t train properly.

just run

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I found some great advice on how to avoid downhill disasters on Runner’s World. Here is a quick summary:

  1. Prepare your body: Peripheral conditioning (“mild lunges, negative or reverse squats, light plyometric work (in which you absorb eccentric shock), hopping and bounding so your muscles get used to the eccentric contractions”).
  2. Run downhill: Long runs with significant amounts of downhills.
  3. Run uphill: To take some of the load off your quads when you run downhills by strengthening hamstrings and glutes.
  4. Work on your form: As a surface slopes downward, you need to adjust your body position with a forward lean to keep you from hard heel striking, McGee says. Step down to the surface with each stride instead of stepping out to avoid overstriding and excessive impacts. Also, try to reduce upward oscillation (or bounding) and run softly with short strides and a high cadence.When you’re running downhill workouts of any speed, concentrate on your form to make sure you’re not overstriding or hitting the ground with too much impact, McGee says. “Think about trying to quickly cycle your legs under your pelvis,” he adds. “The duration of each footstrike should be very short and very light. With higher turnover and shorter, more frequent steps, you’re absorbing less shock per footstrike.”

Don't limit your challenges. Challenge your limits.

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Here you can find another excellent article with tips for excelling on declines from Runner’s World.

Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait on my running downhill until it gets warmer. Too bad they haven’t come up with a reverse incline on a treadmill! Please, do let me know if someone did! Haha!

As to my today’s workout, I’m going to cross train. According to the guide, some may find this workout difficult to swallow. *Gulp!*

Repeat 5 times:

  • 20 push-ups
  • 20 burpees
  • 10 pull-ups
  • 1 minute sprint
  • 1 minute rest

Finish with a steady state 4 miles run: run in zone 2 and low end of zone 3.

How was your weekend? Have you ever trained to run downhill? If so, what are your tips on training in winter?

xoxo
Olena

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