Tag Archives: core

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

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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Filed under 30-Day Workout Challenges, Fitness, Health

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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Filed under Fitness, Health

Pull Ups 101: Red Bull Doesn’t Give You Wings… Pull Ups Do!

Yesterday I was reading one of my favorite blogs Run For The Pizza by Emmeline. She came up with a super duper idea to have a contest: All you have to do is to train to do as many push-ups and pull-ups as possible. Now, it really works out perfectly for me! Why? Because I literally SUCK at doing both of these exercises!!!

Oh well, at least I’m not alone…

1106-bieber-pullups-akm-gsi-3

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*Okay there, Justin Bieber’s fans, calm down! This picture IS funny! Haha!*

However, in all seriousness *hmmm… not sure if I could really be serious after that picture…*, I could really benefit from this challenge, since I have to strengthen my arms and core big time to successfully complete the Spartan Trifecta this year.

I actually was really good at doing pull ups when I was 10-11 years old. I remember how impressed some older boys looked at me when I would go for a set of pull ups or ‘walk’ the entire curved monkey bars back and forth. *Ah, good old days!* Imagine my shock, when I asked my hubby to put up his chin up bar and tried to do a couple of them… It was a BIG FAIL!

 
big fail

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*Believe me, this what your reaction would look like if you saw me doing them! I SWEAR!*

I must admit though, Justin was very supportive and even told me I was doing great… *Yup! I guess that’s what they call a great husband. LOL!*

Anyhow, back to the subject. There are many benefits of pull ups:

  • Strengthen fingers, arms, shoulders, back, and core;
  • Can be done pretty much anywhere;
  • There are many variations of pull ups; thus, the intensity of the exercise can be adjusted easily;
  • Get your heart rate up = make that fat sweat!

pull up your big girl pants

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*LITERALLY!*

My commitments is to be able to do at least 30+ push ups and 15 pull ups in a row by summer. I think, it’s doable. What do you think? In any case, I’ll have to videotape it, so now my pride is on the line too! Haha!

I was trying to look online for some guidance on how to get this thing started and came across this great post by another blog that I love, The Art Of Manliness. Here is what Brett suggests.

“So if you’re ready to start cranking out pull-ups, here’s your routine.

If you currently can only do one pull-up, start out by doing 12 sets of 1 pull-up with a 45 second break between sets. Do the routine two times a week. Once you can do two pull-ups, begin this routine:

Week 1: 6 sets of 2 reps. 45 second break in between sets. Twice a week.

Week 2: 5 sets of 3 reps. Twice a week.

Week 3: 4 Sets of 4 reps. Twice a week.

Week 4: 3 Sets of 6 reps. Twice a week. If you’re able to do more, go ahead. Like I said, by this time I was able to increase my reps to 10.

When you get to the point that you’re able to do more than 12, it’s time to start adding weight to your pull-up routine.”

In my opinion, it sounds like a reasonable plan. Does it?

progress vs perfection

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Need some motivation? According to the Guinness World Records, here are some EXTRAORDINARY achievements:

  • Most pull ups in 1 minute: 41
  • Most pull ups in 1 hour: 1,009
  • Most pull ups in 6 hours: 3,288
  • Most pull ups in 12 hours: 4,020
  • Most pull ups in 24 hours: 4,030

Anyone dares to compete with any of these? Haha! Well, let’s start from a baby pull up first!

baby-pull-up

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What are you focusing on right now? Are there any exercises you’d like to improve on? 

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Fitness, Health

A Great Ab Workout & Why It Is So Important For Runners

The importance of changing up workouts and targeting different groups of muscles is not a secret. Doing this helps you to gain muscle faster without unnecessary injuries. So it was not a surprise when yesterday I decided to work on my abs after a long Sunday run.

OKAY, I will admit, it wasn’t the only reason. I slacked and hadn’t run for the past 3 weeks, so my legs were super sore after a 10 km run. Yes! You heard it right! I’m not perfect and there is nothing wrong with taking breaks! *Oh, excuses, excuses!*

All jokes aside though, ab workouts are super important for any fitness enthusiast, especially for runners. According to this source: ‘At any given point during a typical run, your body weight rests entirely on one leg or the other. That means the muscles in the core (abdominal) area of your body must remain contracted in order to help you keep your balance. A weak core means other muscles, like those in your back and neck, must pick up the slack, which can lead to aches, pains and even serious injury. At the very least, weak abs compromise your running performance, making you slower and causing you to tire faster.’ 

This means, not only that you have to suffer because your stomach is not as appealing as you’d like it to be, but also that you are slower than other runners AND in pain! How crazy is that?!?! This alone is enough to motivate anyone like me! Therefore, now when someone is talking to me about an ab workout, all I hear is this:

  1. I’m gonna show off my sexy stomach at the beach this summer! Woop woop!
  2. I’m gonna run at the front of the pack and think *SUCKERS!!!*
  3. Next time I go for a massage, it’ll be for my own pleasure and not to work on my ‘problematic’ a.k.a. painful areas.

Also:

Benefits of Working Out Abs for Runners

The following workout is really great. It is very effective, even though it’s only 8 minutes long. Personally, I really enjoyed it. My puppy also participated in the exercise by pulling on my ponytail from time to time. She is a true team player as you can see!

Please, don’t be afraid if you don’t speak any French, there is not much talking involved, and the counting is done in English. Simply follow the robot! REALLY! You’ll see what I mean! HAHA!

How did you like it? What are your favorite ab workouts?

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Fitness, Motivation