Before I jump into a rather serious subject *chuckle*, I would like to remind you that my giveaway for Armpocket ends tonight at midnight. Make sure to enter your chance to win this amazing fitness gadget here.
Last Saturday, when I went for a 6-mile run, it dawned on me: I have been running without any music for the past month and a half! Somehow it just happened, which is somewhat crazy considering the fact that I was always dependent on my Ipod so much.
It goes back all the way to my Spartan training. *You can read more about races themselves here: Sprint, Super, Beast 1 & 2.* I remember thinking to myself: How am I gonna pull myself through without any music to pump me up when my energy runs low? But I managed without it. It was the first time, believe it or not, that I ran without any music. *Obviously, excluding the ‘unfortunate’ times when I was training and my battery died mid-run.*
And this got me thinking. It happens that in the past month and a half, my running has been the most enjoyable. I guess, at first I started out running with Sofia in a stroller and wanted to be aware of my surroundings for the safety of my daughter,so I didn’t listen to the music. Then I brought my dog, Bella, along with me and wanted to be aware of any people on bicycles, roller blades, etc. *Read more about how to run with you dog here.* And here I am, actually enjoying running without music. Who would have guessed?!
I turned to Google for help. According to Runners World’s poll, it appears that the majority of runners prefer to run with music:” 74% – say runners should listen to music while running, should they so choose. 8,354 voted yes, 2,974 voted no.”
I was not surprised to see that, especially that I was dependent on it as well. But then another question popped: What are the benefits of running with and without music? Here is the result of my brainstorming and research.
Reasons to run WITHOUT music:
I personally feel more in tune with my body. I find it easier to focus on my breathing and foot strike when there are no other distractions. I am able to be aware of my effort.
As I mentioned before, it is more safe. I can hear if a car is approaching. It is easier for me to react if I am in danger.
I am not sure if it is a direct result of not having music blasting in my ears, but I have been able to reflect much more than previously. Before, I struggled with my inability to’get lost in my thoughts’, but not anymore. I’m enjoying to have the opportunity to explore what’s happening in my head and to be in tune with myself. And because of this, my runs seem to fly by.
Finally, I truly started to enjoy my surroundings: The birds chirping, the breeze, the sound of my feet hitting the ground, Bella’s panting. It is incredible to be able to enjoy and to be in the moment.
Pro’s for running WITH music:
It’s easier for runners, especially beginners, to get distracted from running discomfort to make their runs more enjoyable and easier.
Music as an external stimuli can block of some of your fatigue and get you pumped. This can result in longer distances or even faster speed since a perception of your body’s limits is reduced.
Upbeat songs can elevate your mood and create excitement.
If you do it properly, music can create opportunity to change up paces.
It is definitely a life savior on a treadmill since music creates at least some entertainment in otherwise monotone workout.
I came across some advice some time ago, I think in Runners World, that it’s optimal to go for at least one run without music for every two times that you run with it. To me it makes sense, since there are many races in which headphones are forbidden.
What are your thoughts? Do you run with or without music?
Last weekend I had a brunch with a great friend of mine. We had a very interesting conversation. It had to do with what we are passionate about.
Before I had Sofia, I was really apprehensive about being on maternity leave for almost a year. I loved being surrounded by people, so the thought of being home all this time kind of scared me.
Fast forward 9 months. I’m loving it. Of course, I LOVE spending time with my daughter and seeing her grow. But what’s even more, I feel like I’ve never been so comfortable with myself. I’ve learned so much about myself.
This may sound selfish, but I really don’t think it is. We are normally so caught up with work, groceries, this and that, that we barely spend any time to think and reflect about who we are and what it is that truly makes us happy. Yes, it may seem pointless, but it is a truly rewarding process.
By knowing yourself better, you will be happier. When you are happy, your happiness passes onto others. It is the best gift you can give to yourself and others.
Yet… I can’t believe that our little chunky monkey turned 9 months old last week!
Over the past month Sofia has learned a lot! Now she crawls on all four as opposed to sliding on her stomach. Honestly, it’s the cutest thing! She knows her way around the house, so she moves ahead with determination. *If you know what I mean.*
She stands up everywhere. And I mean, EVERYWHERE! The most favourite place at the moment is my bookshelf. Sofia is fascinated by my books, and they MUST be pulled out if possible! *That’s how I know that she’s a mommy’s girl! Haha!* Also, our baby girl enjoys to walk with our help. I wouldn’t be surprised if she soon starts walking on her own.
And everything has to pass the taste test!
The funniest thing is when Sofia is in her stroller or on a swing *another favourite place to be*, she loves to hold on to it with one hand. Imagine you’re driving your car and stick one hand out. That’s how it looks! Too cute for words!
Obviously, she does a bunch of cute things like waving ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’, doing ‘high five’ and clapping her hands. We are head over heels in love with her!
Sofia now ways 17.8 pounds and measures 72 cm. That’s a lot of happiness right there!
If you’ve missed previous check-in’s, here they are:
The best part about running is that you don’t really need a gym membership or any fancy gear to get started. However, when you are new to the running world everything looks helpful. Sometimes it may get overwhelming and difficult to know what you actually need and what is superfluous. I would like to share some of my favorite running necessities that I can’t live without.
Well-fitted running shoesI found some great tips on how to find perfect running shoes at Run Addicts, here are some of them:
Go to the store in the evening: ‘studies have shown feet tend to expand few millimeters up to 2 centimeters by the end of the day’.
Make sure to wear socks you normally run in.
There must be a finger-width space between your great toe and the shoe box and a thumb width at the end of the shoe. ‘You will end up buying shoes that are bigger in size than what you normally wear but that’s perfectly OK.’ However, don’t exceed a finger-width span!
‘NEVER wear a brand new running shoe for a race; make sure you already used them for 100 miles runs at minimum’.
Foam RollerI have a love-hate relationship with my foam roller. It hurts so much at first, but then feels soooooo good. If you have never foam rolled before, head over to one of my previous posts to find out how to do it as a pro!
I can’t stress enough the importance of staying hydrated not only when you go out for a run but also throughout the day. Why? Because it affects your performance and overall health!I personally like to use a water pack on longer runs *It was my life savior during the Spartan Beast race!*. I will also be soon trying out a Hydro Belt that I recently got as a gift from my parents.Regardless of what your preference is, take your water with you or simply stop at water fountains if it’s an option!
For more hydration tips check out:
– Hydration 101 – 8 hydration myths busted & tips on how to stay hydrated this summer.
– 4 Flavoured Water Recipes that will make you excited about drinking water.
Hat & Sunscreen
Sunstroke is a real thing, so apply your sunscreen diligently and don’t forget your hat before you get outside. Source
I was recently contacted by a representative from Armpocket to review their product. I was super excited about this opportunity because I use an app on my phone that tracks my runs, so I absolutely have to have it on me.
Previously I used a Flip Belt, which I still like very much. However, I always had to remove the case from my phone to be able to fit it in. *Our phones are getting bigger and bigger by the day! What’s up with that?* It worked, but it was challenging for me to take out my phone mid run. *Oh please, don’t you have to ABSOLUTELY take a picture of something? ‘Ahhh, that’s such a beautiful sunset!’, ‘Check out that beaver!’ LOL!* Also, when I run, I sweat… I won’t go too much in detail, but I think it’s a common knowledge that our phones are home to all kinds of bacteria as is.
So what is an Armpocket?
It is an armband that was engineered with many unique features that provides a comfortable and secure way of carrying their smart phones, keys, IDs and other ‘necessities’ for active people. It is weather and sweat proof. It has a touch-though screen, so you can freely use your apps. It’s moisture-wicking, anti-bacterial, natural bamboo rayon back and vented strap keep you cool and dry.
I was recommended to get Ultra i-35 based on the type and size of my phone. I picked it in Arctic Blue with a medium strap which is good for arm size 10″ to 15″.*It is available in 3 strap length.*
Of course, I was a bit apprehensive since I’m not used to have anything bulky on my arms as I run. I also wasn’t sure if it would be comfortable and whether it would slip.
I was very pleasantly surprised! To be honest, I completely forgot that I even had it on my arm. I didn’t experience any discomfort: My Armpocket didn’t slip nor did it bounce. I also looooove that it has 3 little pockets inside, so my phone won’t get scratched!
I can assure you that you will be seeing it a lot in my pictures. It’s perfect for any workout or an afternoon hike!
My friends at Armpocket were super generous and let me do a giveaway for you guys! One lucky pal or gal will win an Armpocket of their choice. The giveaway is available only to the residents of the U.S. and Canada. All you’ve got to do to enter the draw is to participate in the Rafflecopter giveaway in the link below:
Today I decided to do something different. As most of you know, I’ve signed up to run my first half marathon this year. This is my 3rd week of training and I’m absolutely loving it! *By the way, so does Bella! If you missed my post on how to turn your pooch into an endurance animal, you can read it here.* I may not be super thrilled to get myself out of the door every single run, yet the runners high post-run is totally worth it. Add some yoga and foam rolling to it, and I’m in heaven! *Haha!*
Here’s my plan for this week:
Monday – 4 miles
Tuesday – 30-40 minutes of cross training
Wednesday – 4 miles
Thursday – 30-40 minuts of cross training
Friday – rest day
Saturday – 6 miles
Sunday – rest day
Anyhow, back to the subject. I asked one of my dearest blogger friends, Susie, to do a guest post for me on half-marathon training. She is a big inspiration to me not only when it comes to running, but in general. I’d love to pick her brain if I ever travel to Chicago and get to meet her in the flesh! Oh, and this girl is hilarious! And maybe, just maybe, you may have spotted her on Just Jillian episode during a mic malfunction in Chicago. *If you did, it was priceless!*
Without further ado, meet my beautiful friend Suz!
Hi Everyone! I am so chuffed to be here – I absolutely adore Olena and her gorgeous family, and I was so happy when she asked me to guest post on half marathon advice! For those who don’t know me, my name is Susie, and I claim the little slice of internet called Suzlyfe. Suzlyfe is a running, fitness, and healthy life blog written with the intention to educate, connect, and inspire readers to live beyond expectation! I am also an RRCA Certified Running Coach and NASM Certified Personal Trainer. Now, enough about me, let’s talk training!
So you’ve decided to run your first half marathon. The moment that you decide to embark on this adventure, you are going to hear advice, comments, and well (?) meaning suggestions from all sides. I am going to do you a solid and boil much of what you will be told to 5 pieces of advice that should guide your half marathon training. Here we go!
Treat recovery and rest days like you do long runs, cross training, and all your other training days: as necessary evils/pleasures. The mark of a great runner as opposed to a good runner is one that accepts rest and recovery as being as important to the plan as the biggest workouts! And as they are as important, learn how to nail your recovery days. This doesn’t mean spending them sitting on your biscuit and doing nothing. Check out my tips for optimal muscle recovery, and also make sure that you still get up and move around some on your days off.
Just because you are running a half marathon does not mean that you are going to run a marathon but know that you just might! Half marathons are kind of your make or break distance, in many ways. For a long time, I thought the half marathon was all I ever wanted to do; I had no interest in marathons. But I got curiouser and curiouser, as it were, and I decided that I would go for it (to be honest, the same thing happened with my blog writing!). And now, I’m a running coach. But to wit, remember that just because you are running a half does not mean that now you must run a full. Run a full when you want to, and the timing is best, if at all.
Get fitted for running shoes by an expert, and one month into training, go back and buy another pair of shoes (possibly different brand or model!). I say wait a month because you want to know that you really dig those shoes, and you will need that much time to get to the miles that will let you know that you like them and they fit properly. Blisters are not badges of honor. That is the sign of a bad fit–be it the shoes overall or just improper lacing. Once you have your two pairs of shoes, rotate them. This is how I rotate my shoes during training.
Do a taste test of fuels before you go out on the road/trail. Make sure that you can stomach what you are going to shove in your mouth however many miles in before you are out there and desperate. HUGE thing here: carbohydrates must be taken with water. Not lots of water, but at least 4 oz/125 mL. Otherwise? You won’t absorb the energy, and you might just revisit that carbohydrate. Not fun.
Half marathon training (and training in general) is going to test you physically, mentally, and emotionally, but if you go about it properly, you should not get burned out from running. That isn’t to say that every run will be perfect, but you shouldn’t curse running by the time of the race. Check out my post on avoiding marathon training burn out, and think critically about your schedule, training plan, and your approach, and make decisions for how to make training sustainable.
Because ultimately? I want you to love it so much that you come back for more.
There is so much more advice that I could give you, but for that, I urge you to check out my blog, contact me at Coach Suz Training for one-on-one running coach and personal training services, and start picking people’s brains! Have fun, stay injury free, and live beyond expectations!
Thank you so much for your amazing advice, Suz! *Isn’t she awesome?!* If you still haven’t, make sure to check out her blog for more advice and laughs. I can assure, you won’t be let down. I’ve been her fan ever since we ‘met’ in the blog world over 2 years ago.
Finally, don’t forget to check in with me this WEDNESDAY as I will be hosting a GIVEAWAY! *Hint: Fitness junkies, you will really love this one!*
Now it’s your turn!
Have you run or trained for a half- or even full-marathon? What is the biggest piece of advice you could share?
A few days ago I got a question on Instagram: How has yoga helped my running game?
To be honest with you, I never really thought about it. I love yoga and enjoy running very much, so I simply have been doing the two things that bring a smile to my face and make me feel good. However, the question prompted me to think. There is definitely an undeniable complimentary relationship between the two.
There is a reason why we need to do warm-up and cool down stretches before going for a run. Yoga stretches ultimately lengthen the muscles that get tight during running. It is especially useful for those with very tight hips and hamstrings. Yoga can also help with soreness after the run.
It is detrimental to breathe properly when you do yoga in order to reap all of the benefits of any given pose. Better breathing during running allows a larger delivery of oxygen to the muscles, consequently increasing performance.
I find that I learned various breathing techniques while practicing yoga. A lot of people underestimate savasana, or a corpse pose, because you’re ‘simply’ lying on the floor. However, it is one of the best way to learn how to breathe properly:
Lie down comfortably on your back on a yoga mat,
Become aware of your natural breath and its rhythm,
Focus on raising your belly as you inhale through your nose,
Lower your belly as you exhale though your mouth.
I paid closer attention to my breathing over my last few runs. And you know what? I definitely noticed a big difference compared to how I was breathing only a couple of years ago. My breath control has improved drastically and I don’t find myself panting all the time, unless I’m giving it my all as I sprint.
The poses held in yoga strengthen the core, hip flexors, quads and hamstrings. Strong core translates into a good running posture which helps with your speed and endurance. It is easier to run.
Yoga teaches us of how to stay inthe present moment, how to be mindful. In my opinion, mindfulness is extremely important when you run. It is so much easier to run when you focus on your breathing and stop thinking about how much more you’ve got to go!
On a separate note, I feel like a lot of runners don’t do yoga because they are intimidated by elaborate poses they see on the Internet…
But you should definitely give it a go. Try this awesome yoga for runners routine!
Or if you don’t have 30 minutes, give a try to this sequence.
Recently, I came across the following quote and fell in love with it.
In my opinion, it refers to much more than outward beauty.
It’s in our nature to compare ourselves to others. Unfortunately, instead of being inspired by their success, we, often times, get discouraged by thinking that we aren’t good enough.
The reality is, there will always be someone who is stronger, faster, more flexible, more successful, you name it, than us, but you can’t let this hinder your personal progress and growth.
To avoid this, accept your status as novice, if that’s the case. Accept where you are today, be proud of your accomplishments so far. Celebrate success of others and let it motivate you to reach for new heights. Never underestimate yourself and what you are capable of. Self-doubt is your biggest enemy. Always aim to be the best version of yourself. You are unique and you deserve to love yourself.
Guys, I can’t believe it’s already Week 2 of my half marathon training! Week 1 was fabulous. It feels sooo good to be running on a regular basis again. I love how running makes me feel inside and out. I can’t help but smile as I run. I feel happy, light and free!
Last week was a week of firsts too! It may be a bit shocking to some of you, but I started running with Bella just now. She is 2 years and 5 months old.
I was dying to take her for my jogs back in 2014 when I was training for Spartan Trifecta. However, she was too little. Yes, there’s such a thing for dogs. Puppies shouldn’t run with you until their bones stop developing, which can take up to 16 months in large breeds.
Week 1: Plan a 2- to 3-mile route at a mild to moderate pace 3 to 4 days this week. Make sure to pay attention that your dog is not winded and stays by your side at a comfortable pace.
Week 2: Add 0.5 mile or 10 minutes to your original distance during each of this week’s three runs. If your dog tolerates it well, try increasing your pace a bit. By the end of the week, you should be able to finish a 3- to 4-mile run.
Week 3: ‘Repeat week 2 and try to increase your average mile pace by 5 percent. The goal of this week is to consistently run 3 to 4 miles at a pace that is moderate for you and your pooch. This is a good week to solidify your dog’s running foundation and prep for adding more mileage.’
Week 4: ‘We are going to build distance again this week. Regardless of where you and your dog are with pace, I recommend increasing your distance by 0.5 to 1 mile 4 to 6 days this week. This will put most runners at a 4 to 5 mile/day regime. I strongly recommend at least one–if not two–days of rest for both you and your pooch.’
Week 5:‘If you both are tolerating a 4- to 5-mile run well at this point, try increasing your speed to a moderate tempo style run. Both you and your dog should feel tired afterward. I recommend repeating this 4 to 6 days a week with 1 to 2 days of rest. If your dog is still acclimating to the 4- to 5-mile distance, please do not add speed. In this scenario, repeat week 4 above.’
Week 6: ‘Add an additional 0.5 to 1 mile to your distance again this week. Most running teams should be at the 5 to 6 miles a day/5 to 6 days a week point. If you are not quite there yet, no problem! Repeat weeks 4 and 5 until you can achieve this goal.’
It is critical that you do a full warm up and cool down in order to prevent injury. It is no different for your four-legged buddy. Begin all her exercise sessions with a gentle warm-up, between 5 and 10 minutes long. It’s the best way to protect your dog from muscle strains and other pains by stretching the tendons and ligaments, and getting the blood to the muscles and nerves.
The same goes for a cool down. A leisurely saunter, followed by a couple of stretches, is the great way to finish your training session, according to Dr. Julie.
It’s not uncommon for dogs to push themselves too hard, just because they think you want them to. Therefore, it is important to use common sense, practice moderation, and watch for signs of fatigue or for difficulty in breathing. Avoid exercising your dog too vigorously in the heat of the day and keep her/him hydrated to prevent heatstroke.
It is easy for us to forget about our dogs’ paws. Unlike our feet, her paws are not protected. Take precautions against frostbite by not staying outside for too long when there is a big wind-chill. Also check for cracked pads.
Finally, be careful not to feed your dog right before or immediately after a strenuous workout. And don’t let her gulp lots of water either. Once she cooled down, you can give her a moderate amount of water.
Do you run with your dog? Do you have any other tips?
It’s been a somewhat different week in our household. Justin FINALLY had surgery on his shoulder this Monday. *I’m not being sarcastic… wait… actually, I am.* It only took over three and a half years to have it done…
Justin dislocated his shoulder during a canoe camping accident when his canoe fell off a waterfall right before our wedding. *Dear nature lovers, please, check a map in advance, so this doesn’t happen to you!* It had been popping out ever since. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an easy fix. Doctors had to put two screws to strengthen the joint. Justin was hoping to return to work in a week. But from what it looks like, he has to stay home for at least three weeks and wear a sling for the next month even at night. Obviously, it sucks, but I’m happy to have him home.
My hubby is handsome even after a general anesthesia! I’m one lucky girl.
On a side note, if you have any shoulder problems yourself, this guide might save you a lot of pain and trouble.
I’ve also being reflecting quite a bit lately. And then I came across the following quote from Maya Angelou.
It really resonated with me. The quote reinforces the idea that we are responsible for our own happiness. I’m not unhappy by any means. But i think now that I’m a mother figure, I want so much more to be the best version of myself. For baby Sofia, for my hubby, for ME! I don’t want some silly reservations to prevent me from springing into action, to make things happen for me and my family. Whatever I do, I have to make it really count.I’m full of energy and determination. I know, I’m on the right path. I’ll make it happen.
Baby Sofia was my ‘co-pilot’, peacefully sleeping in a stroller *more on running with a stroller shortly*, while I pushed it against the wind. Otherwise, it was a very pleasant short 5 km run.
Even though the race is only in the end of September, I embarked on a 12-week training schedule. It includes 3 runs/week and 2 cross training sessions. This way I’ll be able to rebuild my base by July and then focus more on a speed work and getting faster. Or at least that’s the plan.
Here’s what my plan for this week looks like.
Monday – rest day
Tuesday – 3 miles
Wednesday – 30-40 minutes cross training
Thursday – 3 miles
Friday – 30-40 minutes cross training
Saturday – 4 miles
Sunday – rest day
*I had to slightly change it to accommodate for Justin’s surgery.*
This post is so long overdue! Sofia and I did the Mother and Baby dance class from October to December last year. We started it just a couple of weeks later after a baby yoga class. *Read more about it here.* Needless to say, it was a blast!
Surprisingly, I had never heard about this kind of class before. And I am eternally grateful to a friend of mine who simply sent me a message to see if I would be interested to check it out. It didn’t take much convincing. I watched a video online and I was sold. This is the exact reason why I wanted to dedicate a post to this baby class. I wanted other moms to be aware of it. Not only it’s a great way for new moms and their babies to bond, but also have fun, relax, while socializing with others.
My instructor, Eryn Dace Trudell, was absolutely amazing. And even though I can’t call myself a great dancer, I felt right where I belong!
Sofia was only 10 weeks old when we started the class. She was really responsive to everything that was happening around her, especially at the beginning of the class when we snapped fingers and clapped to create our own ‘music’. In addition, she enjoyed being in my arms as we danced around and moved past other babies in a class. In the second part of the class, we put our babies in carriers. Sofia was asleep within the first few minutes, while I focused on learning new dancing styles and techniques.
I asked Eryn if she would do an interview with me because I wanted you, my dear readers, to get the most information out of it. And she kindly agreed.
Go-to music: For classes I use: Snatam Kaur, Oka, John Hughes, Ali Farka Favourite dance style: Contact Improvisation, Skinner Release Technique (of which I am a certified facilitator) Dancing tip: Breathe and let go
Eryn, could you tell us more about yourself and your fitness background?
I have a BFA from The Juilliard School, and so my original training is in classical ballet and modern dance. Since studying these classical forms, I began exploring new dance and post-modern dance techniques. I love the somatic approaches such as Alexander Technique, Body Mind Centering , Feldenkrais and all their developments. I am a certified facilitator of Skinner Releasing Technique and a practitioner of Contact Improvisation.
How did you come up with the idea of a Mother and Baby dance class?
I had the privilege of witnessing a professional dancer trying to present at a choreographic workshop while her child tried to upstage her. It was the most beautifully authentic dance I ever saw. She eventually brought the child on stage with her to continue the presentation.
As necessity is the mother of invention, when I became a single mother in 2006, MamaDances was the solution to finding a way to support my little family by applying my skills and experience. Sensitive to competition I wanted to create work for myself that would offer a complementary revenue source and demographic to the profession of dance.
Could you walk my readers through your everyday class? What can people who attend it expect?
We begin with rhythm and socialization studies to loosen up the intimidation factor and get to know each other. Next we do a floor warm-up including lower back release and abdominal strengthening. On the first day we move with our babies in our arms within a study called “ Soft feet”. Technically, we are learning to let go of holding patterns in the knees and the feet to allow fluidity to come into the body through the contact and dialogue from the floor through the skeletal structure to the head. The principal being taught is the idea of letting go into the direction of movement. This creates availability and a state of readiness to respond with suppleness. This exercise seems very simple but there is a lot going on.
What impact does music and dance have on a child’s development?
I am not specialized in this area of knowledge. I have no academic background in child development. In fact I am only beginning to embark on this area of research now. I only know from experience that the babies enjoy it. My own children who have been exposed to a musical and movement environment are very tuned in musically. My oldest daughter now plays several instruments and my younger daughter has an amazing ability to replicate a tone and sing musical phrases.
Sofia and I really enjoyed dancing with you! Can you tell us more about the philosophy behind dance classes for babies and moms? What sets you apart from other baby classes out there?
When I began MamaDances in 2007, there were very few activities for mothers and babies. I had heard about Salsa Babies, but there was only one class being offered in Montreal that I could see. Mom and Baby Yoga was just beginning. Cardio-Pousette [cardio with a stroller] was happening at Parc Lafontaine. Since, then many activities have been introduced to the market, particularly things like Music classes.
MamaDances merges many of the concepts you will find in other classes, such as music and rhythm awareness, and stimulation for the babies. Plus , stretching and strengthening like in yoga and pilates. And then the fitness comes in, when we realize we have been moving non-stop for 60-80 minutes without even noticing. The material is integrated in a way that the movement of the moms and the babies becomes a synergy of expression and connection.
Can moms with no previous dance experience still have fun in your class?
Yes. All the material is prepared to be equally beneficial for those with or without experience. That is one of the biggest challenges of creating material for a class. There is a huge range of ability and experience in a class.
Do you teach any other classes apart from Mother-Baby class?
I teach Contact Improvisation and Skinner Releasing Technique. I also have a Parent and Child Program which is a development of the Mom and Baby program.
What are your goals for this coming year?
I have a lot of inquiries about this method from people in other parts of the world. I am hoping to create an online teachers training program and to begin sharing and expanding MamaDances globally.
Finally, any fun stories you’d be able to share with us? I am sure you had quite a few laughs with your members during the class.
The obvious is that we are putting one of the most aesthetic practices, dance, together with the most fundamental, maternity. The dance of eternity. I love it when a mother finds something that her baby really loves and the babies start laughing and so Mama starts laughing and then it’s all quite funny. We can’t take ourselves too seriously, yet here we are now responsible for another human being in the world. It’s a wonderful dichotomy.
Thank you very much for your time and an incredible, one of a kind, dancing experience with my daughter!
If you are a new mom in Montreal area, definitely check out MamaDances website to register or to get additional information: www.mamadances.com. If not, see if you have similar classes where you live. You’ll have the time of your life with your little plus one!
*You can read more about my postpartum fitness journey here.*
Have you tried a dance class with your baby? What was your experience?
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I’m a big lover of at home and outdoor workouts. For some reason, gym machines never failed to intimidate me. The only things I would normally use were a treadmill, StairMaster and an elliptical. Even at that, I prefer to run outside to take in my surroundings and to feel a gentle *or not so gentle* breeze on my face. So, generally, a gym membership is a waste of money for me, especially that I’ve got my main fitness necessities, such as dumbbells, pull-up bar, jumping rope, etc. at home. There is, however, one thing that I do miss. What would it be, you’ll say. I miss group classes!
There is something magical about having to workout with other people. You get to meet other fitness junkies, be inspired and even be held accountable by them, not to forget having to de-stress and share quite a few uncontrollable laughs. All of that while getting a great sweat session on! Don’t you find there is something incredibly empowering about that?
Recently, I mentioned to you that I have discovered *or was rather discovered by* a Tone It Up community of girls here in Montreal. I was thrilled to have someone who could share my love for fitness. So when they organized a meet up, I was jumping from excitement! Little did I know, that I would be literally bouncing to get my sweat on at a ReboundFit class!
If you are not sure what ReboundFit class is all about, don’t worry, you are not alone! In fact, I loved the class so much that I decided to interview the owner of the studio, Narcisa. And she agreed! I feel that people need to be aware of awesome local fitness studios like this one!
Before getting to serious business, a few fun questions to get to know you, Narcisa.
Guilty pleasure: French fries Go-to snack: lately, tangerines Favourite workout: ReboundFit, of course! Fitness tip: Whatever you choose to do, find a way to make it fun! The more fun something is, the more likely you are to stick with it.
Now that we got this out of the way, could you, please, tell us more about yourself and your fitness background?
Well first and foremost Olena, I want to thank you for this lovely opportunity. I am very happy to be sitting here with you today to speak about this passion project of mine. Also, you were amazing on the trampoline, congrats on completing and surviving your very first ReboundFit workout! You are now officially a Rebound Babe (laughs)!
As for me, I have always been an active girl for as long as I can remember. And I even have the scars to prove it! I was a Track and Field athlete for 4 years back in New York, where I competed in local and state competitions as a sprinter and short distance runner. When I moved to Montreal I shifted my focus away from the competitive fitness world and focused on my studies. But that did not last for too long as deep down inside of me I felt a strong urge to bounce back into the world of health and fitness, pun intended! And that’s the thing with a passion right? It always finds its way back into our life no matter what. It is then our job to either make something of it or keep ignoring it. Well, long story short, I decided to make something of it and here we are today!
How was ReboundFit born?
ReboundFit was literally conceived out of my apartment. I remember spending countless hours reading books and watching videos on anything health related. Why? Simply because I am passionate about the subject. I would leave work, stop by the book store, get a book on health or well-being, go home and enjoy the read. I derived an immense pleasure from educating myself on the subjects of health, fitness and well-being. Throughout all this ‘’research”, I kept stumbling upon rebounding and its amazing health benefits. I became intrigued. I wanted to experience these benefits for myself. I phoned all the gyms and health studios in Montreal but none offered this sport. I was baffled that despite the countless studies and research done on the subject of rebounding that the gyms had not caught on yet. Even NASA had done studies on this amazing sport and confirmed its amazing health benefits back in the 1980s. The business woman in me then had an idea! Using my background in fitness (by then I was already teaching fitness classes at the YMCA), along with my creative workout style, I carefully designed the ReboundFit workout! If I had to describe it in 3 words it would be FUN, EFFICIENT and SAFE. My focus was on getting the maximum benefit from exercise with the least possible risk of injury, while having a great time!
Your workouts are really intense! I can attest to that awesome shaky after workout feeling and sweat glow. I could feel every single muscle by the end of the class! Can you tell us more about the science behind ReboundFit workouts? What sets you apart from other fitness classes out there?
That is a great question Olena! ReboundFit is very unique in that it works every single cell in your body at the same time, which makes it the ultimate whole body workout! How does it do that? See, when you lift weights, the corresponding muscles get stronger by resisting the force that is applied to it. The more force your muscles resist, the stronger they will get. In the same way, as your body bounces up and down the trampoline, every single cell in your body is subjected to the increased gravitational pull experienced at the bottom of the bounce as your feet reach the mat. When you are walking, the gravitational pull on your body is constant. The moment you start moving in the vertical field (i.e. jumping) you increase the gravitational pull experienced by every single cell in your body at the bottom of every jump. The higher you jump, the more the gravitational force at the bottom of the bounce. Every single cell in your body adapts to this increased force by getting stronger.
And that is not all; at the top of every bounce, for a split second, you are weightless. All the cells of your body decompress and relax as a result of this weightlessness and at this very moment your body responds by releasing endorphins, the feel-good hormones. This is why a lot of people report feeling happier and less stressed immediately after a ReboundFit workout. It is a natural antidepressant!
So as I was saying, at the top of every bounce your cells experience zero gravitational pull and for that split second they are completely relaxed. By the time you reach the mat, the gravitational pull is increased due to the acceleration and your cells react by contracting, and releasing toxins out of the cell in the process. It is thus a great detox tool!
And of course, let’s not forget about the lymphatic system, the garbage collector of the body. It is the system in your body that collects and gets rid of all your toxins. Unlike the circulatory system which has a pump to move the blood throughout the body, the lymphatic system does not have a pump and relies on muscle contraction to get the job done. The up and down movement during a ReboundFit workout causes a constant opening and closing of the lymphatic valves which allow for the most efficient circulation of the lymphatic fluid throughout the body. Toxins are thus eliminated out of your body at an accelerated pace.
You know, I could go on and on about the amazing health benefits of this workout, but people can just go on our website to read more on this. I just wanted to point out the main things that set us apart from other workouts which is manly the fact that it is a workout done in the vertical field.
I really enjoyed kicking and punching that was involved! Also using weights and even resistance bands while on a trampoline?! Wow! I definitely didn’t see that coming. Where do you find inspiration for your moves?
Thank you! I get inspiration from dance, ballet, kickboxing, yoga, pilates and all the other workouts that I do. You can always find a little bit of your favorite workout in ReboundFit!
Obviously, there are many people out there who have various health issues such as bad ankles, runner knees. Could they still have fun in your class?
Absolutely! The workout can be adapted to almost any age and any physical condition. The one you did was an intermediate level. We also offer beginner classes and advanced classes. We have also just started a ReboundFit BootCamp style class which will make its full debut very soon!
How about people with poor coordination? Why should everyone try a ReboundFit class at least once in their lives?
A ReboundFit workout will actually improve your coordination! It improves your brain’s responsiveness to the vestibular apparatus in your inner ear, which improves both balance and coordination
What are your goals for this coming year?
The ultimate goal is to get every single person ON THE REBOUND! (laughs)
Finally, any fun stories you’d be able to share with us? I am sure you have quite a few laughs with your members during the class.
Not sure I can discuss the type of fun the Rebound Babes have in class. Hehehe!
Thank you very much for your time and an awesome workout, Narcisa!
Thank YOU, Olena! It was a pleasure having you in the class and doing this interview with you!
I would definitely recommend this class to everyone who lives in the Montreal area or comes here for a vacation! If you hurry, you’ll be able to take advantage of a free trial class by entering code freetrialwhen booking. It’s available only for a limited time, so if it’s something you are curious about – don’t hesitate or procrastinate, just go for it. To book your class and find all other necessary information head to http://www.reboundfit.com/schedule-booking/.
And if you live elsewhere, see if a class like this is available in your area. You’ll have the time of your life!
Have you ever tried a trampoline class? What did you think?