Tag Archives: diet

Back To Basics: Working Out For The FUN Of It

Hi loves!

First of all, congratulations to Germany for winning the 2014 FIFA World Cup!

germany

What a beautiful goal it was!

Also, I apologize for disappearing on you for the second half of last week. The truth is, I’ve been having somewhat of a workout mental block that started right after the Spartan Sprint. Not that I didn’t want or feel like working out, I was too exhausted to do anything. To make things worse, my knee felt weird. I couldn’t help but feel discouraged: the Spartan Beast is only 2 weeks away and I pretty much haven’t run over the past 2 weeks.

you don't workout

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It is easy to get overwhelmed by a demanding training schedule. Oftentimes, routine becomes too routine, and the novelty of it goes away. At some point I even got scared that I was losing my love for running… And believe me, I don’t want this to happen… EVER! So  I dug deeper to find the real root of the problem. Over the past week, instead of centering my mind on the upcoming race and being harsh on myself, I decided to focus on the following basics:

1. Getting enough sleep: In my opinion, this was the biggest issue. It seems like 6-7 hours is not enough for me. I feel best when I get closer to 8 hours of sleep. So I made a conscious effort to get to bed earlier. After all, it’s all about prioritizing, and my top priority is TO FEEL GOOD. *Read more on how to sleep better here.*

getting enough sleep

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2. Eating clean: Nobody likes to feel heavy. I’m no exception. This being said, I couldn’t help myself but feel bloated all the time. The fix was quite simple: I cut down on the amount of meat and alcohol, increased the intake of fruits and vegetables, and started controlling my portions more. The result was almost instantaneous: I FEEL AWESOME!

Here is a picture of some cherries and gooseberries from my parents backyard. They’ve got pretty much everything in there: white, red and black gooseberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, grapes, not to mention a wide variety vegetables and plants! *Can’t wait to have my own little garden too!*

berries

In addition, I recently discovered Freekeh. This grain is packed with fiber, vitamins and nutrients. And it tastes delicious. I added it to my salad instead of quinoa, and it was a nice change!

Freekeh

3. Staying hydrated: This one is pretty much self explanatory. I make it a point to drink more water throughout the day by having a water bottle next to me at all times. *Read more here to learn about dangers of dehydration, and here – to find 4 delicious favored water recipes.*

4. Relaxing: I needed it  more than I realized. So I treated myself to a nice bubble bath with candles…

bath time

Learning more about running…

reading

And, of course, treating myself to a dessert!

cupcake

5. Doing exercises that make me feel good: Yoga has been one of those things that made me feel exceptionally energized and alive recently. I won’t lie, I am sore after my yoga workouts. They make me feel strong and determined. It is an energy and confidence boost I needed.

I took it even a step further and registered myself for the EMPOWER challenge from Yoga With Adriene. *If you are interested in subscribing, you’ll have to hurry and reserve your spot by July 15, watch the video below for more information.* Can you tell I’m hooked?! *Haha!*

6. Thinking of workouts as ME-time not Jeez-I’ve-Got-To-Do-This-Again: This point is the MOST important. At least to me. Somehow we get so caught up in training for a race, competition, achieving a new PR, that we forget the initial reason why we started this fitness journey all together. Go ahead, and I ask yourself this question, ‘WHY?!’

Unfortunately, I can’t answer for you, but I can for myself. I love how being active makes me feel strong, unstoppable and healthy. It makes me feel alive. So why not go back to these basics and focus on them? It helped me!

So forget about timing yourself, tracking the distance, and just run… FOR THE FUN OF IT!

change the way you look at things

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What do you do to bring excitement back into your workouts?

xoxo
Olena

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Hydration In Summer: Making It Fun & Tasty With These 4 Flavored Water Recipes

Hydration is important. *Duh!* You don’t need to have a high IQ to know that, even little kids know it!

i'm thirsty

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Now that summer is almost here and the days are getting hotter, it is very important to stay properly hydrated. It wouldn’t come as a surprise that we lose a lot of water, especially during a high intensity workout. Not only dehydration can have a considerable impact on the level of performance, it could pose danger to your health such as heat strokes, cramps and exhaustion.

According to Stop Sports Injuries, the following are some of the symptoms of heat illness:

  • chills,
  • dark colored urine,
  • dizziness,
  • dry mouth,
  • headaches,
  • thirst,
  • weakness

Ladies, I know what you are all thinking! Of course, I am aware, we never sweat. *Wink, wink* 

a lady doesn't sweat

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If you find difficulty drinking more water throughout the day, make sure to read one of my previous posts, Hydration 101, for more tips.

Today, I’d like to talk about hydration in a more pleasant and tasteful light! *It is indeed possible!* All it takes is a little bit of creativity, and maybe just a few minutes of your precious time. *Pinky swear!* 

Recently, I came across four fun infused water recipes on Greatist. They seem super fun, and I can’t wait to share them with you. You’ll need a 1L water bottle, water, wooden spoon and an optional sweetener of your choice *be careful not to needlessly overdo on sugar*.

Minty Cucumber Lime

Minty cucumber lime water

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1/2 cucumber, sliced
1/2 lime, sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves 

Strawberry-Lemon with Basil

Strawberry-Lemon Basil Water

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1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 a lemon, sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

Watermelon Mint Water

Watermelon mint water

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1 cup cubed watermelon
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

Pineapple-Orange with Ginger

Pineapple-Orange Ginger water

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1/2 cup cubed pineapple
1/2 an orange, sliced
1 tablespoon freshly-grated ginger

Directions from Greatist:

  1. Choose which recipe you’re making — or come up with your own combination — and gather all of the ingredients.
  2. Place the fruit, herbs, and/or spices in the bottom of one of the glass jars, and muddle with a wooden spoon. *That basically means mash up the fruit in the bottom of the jar to release some of the flavor-filled juices.*
  3. Fill the jar with water and give it a taste. *You can also fill the jar with seltzer water for a fizzy treat.* If you’d like something a bit sweeter, try adding some agave (and mix until dissolved).
  4. Enjoy as-is or refrigerate overnight for maximum flavor.

do it for you

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What is your favorite way to drink water to change it up?

xoxo
Olena

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18 Smoothie Recipes That Will Make You Feel & Look FITilicious!

Tuesday was a beautiful day in Montreal! You know that awesome feeling when you take a breath of fresh air and all you can feel is SPRING?! Love, love, love it!

Dog_in_the_car_by_blaineyson

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To me, spring is a time of rebirth, starting fresh and refocusing on things that do matter. It is also the time of the year when the temperature finally starts to climb up. It may sound weird, but when it is warm outside, I lose appetite. I am simply not hungry. Therefore, the idea of getting all necessary nutrients in becomes so much more important. And what could be more exciting than fueling with smoothies?! *Please, be careful here, I am in no way encouraging anyone to replace any meals with smoothies. Your diet should be well-balanced and carefully composed according to the level of your physical activity.* 

smoothie-recipes

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If you’d like to know the exact recipes to the mentioned above smoothies, check out Super Skinny Me for more details.

How about you? Does your appetite vary from one season to another? What is your favorite smoothie recipe?

xoxo
Olena

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26 Low-Calorie Snacks To Keep You Looking Slim & To Fuel You For A Run

I think I will sound fairly reasonable if I say that pretty much all of us at some point of our lives made this huge nutritional mistake. You wonder which one exactly I am referring to? Well, it’s actually not that hard to guess. Do you remember that horrible period of your life when you decided to limit your food intake in order to shed a few pounds. Not only that the effects of doing this were temporary and unhealthy, it made you feel weak, and, let’s be frank here, miserable.

dieting

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From a very young age, we are constantly reminded about the importance of having 3 full meals a day. And it is very true! However, very often we forget how important it is to SNACK in between meals.

There are many health benefits of snacking *snacking HEALTHY! just in case, haha!*:

  • Prevent overeating
  • Proper fueling = fit extra nutrients in your diet
  • Curb your cravings
  • Weight control
  • Sustain energy levels
  • Healthy recovery

just because

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It is important to remember that your snacks will vary depending on your fitness activity. I found an excellent article at Runner’s World *suprise, surprise* called 25 Great Snacks for Runners. Some of them are: bananas, carrots, chocolate milk, cottage cheese, apricots, rice cakes with peanut butter, string cheese. You see? Snacking CAN be fun!

Since not all of the readers of my blog are runners, I decided to look for some interesting ideas that could be of help to the general public. I found the following Infographic which I really really liked!

final infographic

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Can I snack instead of having my meals?!?! *JUST KIDDING!*  But really though, those are some yummy options, wouldn’t you agree?

What are your favorite snacks? How often do you snack?

xoxo
Olena

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The Dangers Of Sleep Deprivation And Unbreakable Strength & Fat Burning Cardio Workout

Happy Hump day my dear friends! We’ve made it so far! Wooohooooo! I don’t know how about you, but once Wednesday comes around, I am a happy person again haha!

You know what else can make me happy? When I get a decent amount of sleep! However, I think, I’ve got a real problem: On work days when I have to wake up at 6.30 am, I could EASILY sleep until 9-10 am *or at least that’s how my body feels*; yet, on a weekend, when I actually can sleep in, I can’t!!! Like, WHAT IN THE WORLD IS WRONG WITH ME?!

I can't sleep

I definitely don’t suffer from sleep deprivation because I always get at least 7 hours of sleep, but I do remember how I would pull all nighters when I was still at school. I mean, I definitely didn’t feel my best on those days, but I really didn’t think of it much. However, there are some serious problems that could stem from sleep deprivation. Take a look at it!

The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation

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That’s some serious stuff! I found some good tips on how to sleep better here, but this is a quick summary:

  1. Keep a regular sleep schedule: set a regular bedtime, be smart about napping
  2. Naturally regulate your sleep-wake cycle: increase light exposure during day time, turn off TV & computer at night (record your favorite late shows), change your bright light bulbs
  3. Create a relaxing bedtime routine: keep noise levels down, keep your room cool, make sure your bed is comfortable, create bedtime relaxing rituals (read a book or magazine, take a bath, listen to soft music)
  4. Eat right and get regular exercise: stay away from big meals at night, avoid alcohol before bed, cut down on caffeine, quit smoking 
  5. Get  anxiety and stress in check: deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, practice yoga

counting sheep

Let’s move on to my planned workout for today. According to my 12-week plan, this is what I gotta do:

Unbreakable Strength Plus Run

Repeat four times (3-minute rest between sets):

Run 20 minutes with heart rate in zone 3. However, since I won’t be able to make it to the gym today, I decided to do the following Fat Burning Cardio workout instead of the run.

What does your workout look like today? Also what are your secrets to getting a proper amount of sleep? 

xoxo
Olena

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