Tag Archives: Fueling

Accomplishments, Support & Lessons Learnt Last Week

Today, I’d like to start off by saying how much you guys mean to me. You’ve inspired me, supported me and made me laugh when all I wanted to do was cry. I am so grateful for this online community and that one day when I finally got enough courage to start my own blog!

you are the best

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I’ve grown so much over the past 6 months! Take for example last week. It may sound like nothing to some seasoned runners out there, but I am proud nevertheless: Don’t forget that this time last year I could barely last 15 minutes on a treadmill. *Yup… I HATED everything about running!*

one day

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Last Wednesday I ran my first 13 km outside *I don’t count the Super Spartan Race last month*. I took it slowly in order not to overdo it, and it took me 1:31:51 to finish*deduct maybe 2-3 minutes for red lights* .

your only limit is you

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But… DRUMM ROLL… I didn’t stop there and went for my first ever 15 km run on Sunday! It felt amazing, nothing I thought it would feel like. I was tired, but I felt ALIVE! My time was 1:44:58. I feel like I could have done better, but considering that I had under 6 hours of sleep and ran on pretty much an empty stomach, I am super proud of my accomplishment!!! And I thank YOU for playing a big role in this fascinating adventure!

It’s crazy how you can LEARN to love something you disliked so much before! If you had told me this a year ago, I’d probably laugh in your face. *True story!* I still remember my first 5 km I ran on a treadmill last July, I felt light-headed… Who would have known?!

I am capable

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Last week also taught me that I have to keep learning about running; for instance, how to stay hydrated and how to fuel my longer runs among many other things. As you may remember, my Spartan Sprint (5+ km) is 2 weeks away, and the Spartan Beast (20+ km) is in 6 weeks already!!! *Time flies!*

First of all, on Sunday, I tried running with a Camelbak I got my hubby for his birthday last year *Oops!*. The strap in the middle really kept it from bouncing, which made me very happy. The only annoyance was the noise the water kept on making, but, as I can imagine, it’s a part of a deal regardless of a solution. Actually, it was sort of funny. Every single time I approached someone from behind, they would turn to see what the heck it was. *I promise, I didn’t breathe heavily!!!* That being said, I’ll rather take that than drink water from a river during my two upcoming races. *I think I forgot to mention about this tiny little detail that occurred during my Super Spartan race… YAH!.. But then, at that moment, I could care less, all I wanted was to drink. Haha!*

 

Also, last time I tried fueling with Gu Roctane (Srawberry-Kiwi & Pineapple), and it went well. I didn’t have any cramps or whatsoever. So the biggest task right now is to experiment with the timing, and maybe see if there is anything out there that works better for me. *Any suggestions are very welcome!*

Finally, I decided to try out a new kind of a protein bar *meaning, I’ve never tried it before*, I came across at Costco yesterday. I looked at the nutritional info and was quite impressed. The price also seemed to be reasonable as well. Normally, I have a peanut butter toast with a banana prior to my run, but I am curious to see see how it goes.

MLO Bio Protein Bars

What have you learnt about yourself recently?

xoxo
Olena

 

 

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Filed under Cardio, Fitness, Health, Motivation, Running

Training For A Spartan Beast & Managing Glycogen Levels

Hiyaa!

First of all, Happy Memorial Day to my dear American readers and fellow bloggers! I hope you’re enjoying the long weekend. I must admit, I’m slightly jealous just because long weekends rock. I know, I know, I had mine a week ago, but MORE long weekends never hurts, right?!

That being said, I had a wonderful weekend! I feel so refreshed and full of energy, and it’s a wonderful feeling.

happy Monday

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A little bit about my weekend…

Bella was probably the happiest doggy out there. She was super happy to be united with her mommy and daddy *a.k.a. us* and get all attention at her. Here is her playing at a doggy park.

at a doggy park

 

To make things better, I had a nice and easy Spartan workout in the park yesterday morning. Here is what it looked like.

Warm up: 2 km easy

25 push-ups
25 squats
20 mountain climbers

Run 1 km slightly faster

10 squat jumps
25-meter lunge walk
10 lunge jumps
20 flutter kicks
10 side-to-side hops

*had to run here some more but didn’t so as I can ease back into training*

25 push-ups
25 squats
20 mountain climbers

*another run that didn’t happen*

10 squat jumps
25-meter lunge walk
10 lunge jumps
20 flutter kicks
10 side-to-side hops

Cool down: Stretches

In the evening: 500 Ab workout

Cute little remark… Look who was snooping on me! He was clearly disturbed by all huffing and puffing that was going on under the scorching sun.

gopher
This little gopher looked so grumpy, I couldn’t help but laugh!

The workout felt great and I am motivated more than ever! The timing couldn’t be any better either because my big race is in July, and I really have to push myself harder than ever. *I decided to focus on training for the Spartan Beast> It should be enough to complete the Spartan Sprint in June.*

training for a Spartan Beast

Training requirements:

  • Running/hiking a minimum of 3 days/week,
  • Cross training and/or strength training 3 days/week,
  • Effective and well-established nutrition plan + refueling that works best for me,
  • Build up the stamina to tolerate at least 3-5 hours of intense physical activity

The Spartan training guide brings up the importance of understanding and managing glycogen.

glycogen

Folks who are training for marathons and ultramarathons are very familiar with this concept. If it’s the first time you hear about it, nothing to be worried about. It is fairly simple, as Runner’s World put it, When you run, your body burns a mixture of carbohydrate and fat. Your body stores carbohydrate as glycogen in your muscles and liver (the fitter you are the more you store), which is broken down to glucose as needed. The harder you run, the more carbohydrate you use. As your glycogen stores become progressively more depleted during a run, your body conserves what’s left by relying more on fat. Because fat is about 15 percent less efficient than carbohydrate as an energy source, when you run low on glycogen you slow down.

running

According to the guide, there are 2 strategies that can be used to fight glycogen depletion:

  1. Train Low, Compete High: involves training in a glycogen-depleted state (training on an empty stomach, performing HIT prior to a LSD workout, training on a chronically low carbohydrate diet). Advantage: improvement in fat metabolism during exercise. Disadvantage: the effectiveness of training may decrease. Suggestion: “If you decide to try this strategy, it is advisable to train in a glycogen-depleted state for less than 50% of your total training time.”
  2. Very low carbohydrate diet in 2 weeks leading up to a competition: “During the last three days of the two-week period, you would switch back to a high-carbohydrate diet which then will cause glycogen levels to rise 50% over normal levels.” Disadvantages: irritability, weakness ans immune system suppression.

to run or not to run

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What is your favorite strategy when you train for a long race?

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Fitness, Health, Motivation

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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Filed under Fitness, Health, Kitchen Adventures

From Getting Hair Pulled Out At Elementary School To A Cardio Kickboxing Workout To Burn Fat At Home

When I was about 8 years old, there was this boy in my class who kind of liked me. You might think it’s cute. But let me tell you! It was not. He had a very strange way of showing his attraction to me by constantly hurting me.

boys

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Yup… Not cute at all…

Anyhow, I remember how upset I was all the time. And then it happened… You can call it a father-daughter bonding moment. I kid you not, my dad taught me a few kickboxing tricks for self-defense. I SWEAR!!!! I even remember how my dad showed me how to throw someone over the shoulder. Now, mind you, I never did it, but being thrown over my dad’s shoulder was scary and fun at the same time. *How else do you think my dad could teach me? Of course, by example! Haha!*

One of my most favorite things, though, was kicking the glove. It was INTENSE!

kickboxing target

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*I totally imagined that boy’s face! Could you blame me?*

what doesn't kill you makes you stronger

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*Timing is everything! Haha!*

Back to the subject, somehow this got me thinking and I realized that I haven’t done any martial art workout since then, which is kinda silly. Why? Because there are so many benefits of kickboxing! Here are some of them:

  • Burn calories
  • Re-energize
  • Take out stress
  • Tone your body
  • Self-defense
  • Boost confidence
  • Improve coordination

You need to know the basic moves.

kickboxing basic moves

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*Fine, you don’t have to look THAT serious! Oh, and you can smile! In fact you SHOULD smile!*

Here is a pretty amazing kickboxing workout from Fitness Blender that I am planning on including in my routine tonight.

Please, remember to stay hydrated throughout the workout and to fuel properly before and after.

Are you a fan of martial workouts? What are your favorite moves?

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Fitness, Health

Vitamin Pills: Good or Bad? Also 25 Most Commonly Eaten Fruits & Their Benefits

Nutrition is one of the key aspects that is detrimental to success and well-being of any athlete. *I bet you didn’t know about it! Haha!* As someone who doesn’t have any nutritional background, every single time I walk into a grocery store I face a big dilemma. I always try to choose the healthiest, most nutrient-filled food from thousands of choices. Not that I can’t pick anything *Thankfully, I don’t suffer from indecisiveness! Fewhhh!*, but I always question whether all fruits and vegetables that I buy can indeed provide me with all vitamins and minerals that I need in order to properly fuel my body.

Normally, I would complement my diet with vitamin pills; however, as of recently, various (usually contradicting) health reports  made me question their effectiveness as well as their safety and potential harmful side effects on my health. I’m kind of worried since most of them are synthetically made.

Since I’m still looking into this issue, I figured I can as well educate myself a little bit more about nutritional benefits of various fruits and vegetables. *I mean, one doesn’t hurt another, right?!* 

I found this image.

periodic table of vitamins

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And this one.

Healthy Fruits & Their Benefits

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Despite the great benefits of the above mentioned products, we neglect to realize that very often we get only a fraction of them. Why? Because depending on the method of preparation (or incorrect cooking), the nutritional value is drastically decreased, if not wiped out completely. So how can we preserve vital nutrients in food?

  • Choose whole vegetables & fruits over pre-cut ones
  • Try to stick to seasonal & local food
  • Consider canning or freezing some food for winter
  • Cook gently: reduce cooking time, temperature & amount of water added
  • Cut fresh produce right before consumption
  • Avoid reheating at all cost
  • Give preference to a quick rinse as opposed to soaking whenever possible

What are your thoughts on vitamin supplements and pills? How do you preserve the nutritional value of your food?

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Fitness, Health