Tag Archives: motivation

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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Filed under Fitness, Health, Kitchen Adventures, Motivation

What If ‘Plan A’ Didn’t Work?!

Good morning, lovelies!

What do you do when things don’t go as planned?

Plan B

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Take my weekend as an example.

Planned:

Workouts – 2
Birthday party – 1
Photo shoot – 1

Actual:
Workouts – 0
Birthday party – 0
Photo shoot – 0

*** A little disclosure: I think I’m getting old, the birthday party, turns out, was always supposed to be in a week from now. MY BAD!  Haha!

my bad

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Of course, I  could have let this ruin my weekend. But then, why would I do this to myself?! Instead, my hubby and I had a BLAST and:

  • spent time with a friend of mine visiting from Toronto,
  • had friends over for supper *with their puppy, so Bella had a blast too!*
  • had an awesome Sunday with my family-in-law *they are a funny bunch!*

In other words, I wouldn’t change a thing!

Here are some pictures.

First tanning of the season

*We got to tan! YAY!*

Bella with Mishka

*Bella with her new friend, Mishka. They were hilarious! Look at that flip. No one got hurt. Haha!*

Unfortunately, this is not always a case. Somehow, we do let an unexpected change in plans affect our mood, like a workout that didn’t go according to our expectations. However, if you think about it, this is the worst thing we can do to ourselves. Not only that something didn’t go as we wanted, we let it affect us. But then, we don’t pay attention to little things that can actually make our days unforgettable! Don’t you find this a bit ridiculous?

don't let it get to you

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A few days ago, I was reading a post of my fellow blogger, Stephanie from Crowned in Victory. She listed 16 simple *yet GENIUS* steps to happiness *please, make sure to stop by her blog and give her some loving!!!*. Here they are:

  • Get up before the rest of the world.
  • Fall asleep earlier.
  • Eliminate processed food from your diet.
  • Cook yourself a beautiful breakfast.
  • Stretch.
  • Buy a 1L water bottle.
  • Write down everything in a beautiful diary.
  • Strip your bed of sheets and empty your underwear drawer into the washing machine.
  • Organize your home.
  • Treat yourself, have a luxurious shower with your favorite music playing.
  • Go for a walk more often.
  • Be random and message your old friends with personal jokes.
  • Challenge yourself not to ridicule anyone for an entire day, then two, then a week.
  • Think long and hard about what interests you. Develop those hobbies.
  • Become a person you would ideally fall in love with.
  • Lie in the sunshine and dream about the life you would lead if failure wasn’t possible. Now, act on it!

life is beautiful

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What are the little things that can make your day awesome? How’s your Spartan 30-day ab challenge going?

xoxo
Olena

 

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Fitness & Happiness: Bringing The Kid Back Out Found Within

Good morning beauties… and beautifuls *LOL!*

As you can see, I am in a great mood, and my trip to the spa yesterday is largely responsible for that!

Spa Diva

I got a 50-minute Swedish massage and it felt great! The masseuse had strong hands *just the way I like it!* and really worked on my shoulders and legs. I was in heaven!

Plus what could be better than a date with a friend that you haven’t seen in a WHILE at the spa?! Girl’s time at its finest!

Everyone deserves a treat every now and then. Even Bella!

Bella's addiction to carrots

Guys!!! She is crazyyyyy about carrots! She’ll do anything for them!

There is something I’d like to discuss with you today. I’ve got a question: What happens to us when we grow up?

Last summer, as I was sitting outside in a square during my lunch break. I saw these two kids. They where having the time of their lives!

be a kid from within

Do you remember being a worry-free kid running and jumping around all day long, climbing trees, falling down, scraping knees and yet getting up laughing and continuing to run? Somehow throughout the years, we tend to lose this ability. Running and jumping becomes a chore or a to-do thing on our daily list. When we ‘fall’, we fall hard. When we get hurt, we tend to shut ourselves off as a defense mechanism.

How about going back to basics and being a kid within again? Not only will this bring in happiness  and enjoyment back into our lives, but also health and success.

i'm too blessed to be stressed

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My workout today, as per the Spartan guide, is as follows.

Cross-train: Do this outside.

Jump rope for 10 minutes.
15 walking lunges on each leg
15 push-ups
15 stone deadlifts
Belly-crawl 10 yards
10 stone squat chest-pass (hold the at chest height, squat the stone, then chest pass it as far as possible. Pick up the stone and repeat 10 times)

Repeat the cycle twice.

Super Spartan Run: 4-mile trail tempo run

Warm up 2 miles with a heart rate in zone 2;
Run 4 miles with heart rate in zone 4;
Cool down 2 miles with heart rate in zone 2.

30 sit-ups for 30 days Spartan challenge

fitness happy drug

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How do you bring your kid out from within?

xoxo
Olena

 

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The Cookie Experiment: Are You Gritty? Instant Reward VS. Delayed Gratification

Good morning, beauties!

I can’t believe it’s Friday already! It’s time to finish this week off strong and plan a fun weekend.

bulldog-1

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I’m pretty satisfied with the way this week is going. Yesterday I had a nice easy pace 10 km evening jog, and it felt a-freaking-mazing. I feel like a whole new person!

10 km jog

Today I’d like to go over something that I read in Spartan Up! by Joe De Sena. It kind of struck a cord.

In one of the chapters, the author and the founder of the Spartan Race mentioned ‘the cookie experiment’. This experiment was very simple. A Stanford researcher, Walter Mischel, decided to give to kids their favorite treat. Then he offered them a choice, if they would wait for another 15 minutes, they could eat 2 treats instead of one. The outcome was pretty awesome. It seems like the kids who refused the first cookie became more successful as adults.

child-marshmallow-plate-lg

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If you think about it, here is the answer to many problems that our society faces today. Everyone wants everything now: money, spotless relationship, perfect body, big house, expensive car, the list goes on.I am definitely not saying that desiring those things is a bad choice. Not at all! The problem with it, however, is that many of us do not want to actually work to achieve these results, everyone prefers to find a miraculous shortcut. Think of countless quick fixes that are being advertised on TV, radio and in magazines around us. That’s pretty insane!

According to the book, ‘Science has found that the most successful people are not the most intelligent or the most talented but rather the ones who tough it out.’ And that’s great news! It means that average people, like you and I, can be very successful. There is no secret to it, all we have to do it to stick to our plan, be persistent, consistent, and not to be discouraged by ‘failures’.

success

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Do you want more. Try out the following steps that Joe De Sena suggested in his book Spartan Up!:

  1. Write down your plan.
  2. Share it with someone who can offer you some constructive criticism while being supportive at the same time.
  3. Eliminate distractions.
  4. Keep a journal of your successes and failures. Reward yourself.
  5. Make adjustments if needed without jeopardizing your goal.
  6. DON’T EVER GIVE UP!!!

Don’t-give-up

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No one ever said that this will be easy; however, think of the ultimate reward. It is soooo worth it!

What are your thoughts?

xoxo
Olena

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30-Day Spartan Team Workout Challenge + 5 Fun Partner Running Workouts

Hi friends!

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my one and only brother! At times, he’s a pain, but I love him very much and wish him the very best!!!

DCIM102GOPRO

A random funny fact: I just caught my pup, Bella, drinking my tea. My bad, I put it on the floor to cool down and totally forgot about it! Can you imagine?! *I guess, she does take this after her mommy! Not that I ever want this to happen again.* Obviously, my first reaction was to get the cup away and not to take a picture, but this is how she looked after the fact:

puppy caught red handed

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Back to business *lol!*, if you have been following my blog for a while, you know my deep love for the monthly Spartan challenges. Here are some I participated in before:

In my opinion, they are easily incorporated in any workout and are super fun!

This time around, I completely forgot to let you know about the new challenge, blame traveling for that! *Haha!*

30 days of team workouts

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All you have to do is to incorporate movements that require a partner to complete. That being said, if you prefer doing exercises on your own, you can simply motivate each other. Who doesn’t like being cheered on?!

Also, make sure to check out The Extreme Team Facebook page for their daily Spartan workout inspiration.

Here is an amazing partner workout by Fitness Blender.

– partner squat & row (14 reps)
– crunch + pass (15 reps)
– partner push plank (14 reps)
– partner sit + overhead pass (10 reps)
– partner hand push (30 reps)
– lunge + rotation (7 reps to each side)
– leg raise push down (14 reps)
– Russian twist pass (10 reps each direction)

Here is another cool *and somewhat funny* video to give you more ideas.

The amazing thing about partner workouts is they not only hold you accountable, competitive and motivated, they are fun.

Don’t forget about running with a partner either! I found a great article on Active.com with some interesting running workout suggestions. Here they are:

  1. Triple Fast Slow: Take turns implementing three speed surges at the pace and duration of your choice, recovering as much as needed. After these three repeats, your partner has the chance to take the lead.
  2. Adventure Run: Take turns plotting out a new route, make sure to point out all any interesting facts you know about it.
  3. Snap The Whip: It is very similar to the first workout, but here you are trying to ‘drop’ your partner with a quick burst of speed, by picking a really big hill, or perhaps using sustained tempo”. Make sure to set some ground rules. The article also suggests that “the leader should stop their work interval when the other person has “snapped” instead of building up a 1/4 of 1/2 gap.” 
  4. Track Relay Runs: “This is a great replacement for speedwork session that has intervals shorter than a mile. Best done on a track or a set loop, you and a partner can take turns running around the track; running is your work interval; the non-running is your recovery. Instead of doing 8 x 800 (1/2 mile) with 400 recovery on your own, you can now run 800, tag your partner, and then jog 400 while they run 800 so you are ready for them to tag you back. You can do this with all types of distances, simply do the math on where you need to stagger your recovery to be in the right place if you are running 600s or 1200s, etc.”
  5. Circuit Running: This is a run during which you can have some fun. Make sure to mix in some burpees, mountain climbers, push ups *check out my Sunday’s workout for inspiration*.

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Remember not to get overly competitive, you’re there to help each other grow. Your biggest competition is YOU!

start competing with yourself

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What are some of your favorite partner workouts? Who do you normally train with to stay motivated?

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under 30-Day Workout Challenges, Fitness, Health

The Success Indicator: Setbacks & How To Deal With Them

Happy Tuesday y’all! *In my mind Southern accent = warm = Summer!!! Could you tell I’m fed up with cold?!* It’s April Fool’s Day, so beware! Haha!

Today, I’d like to write about something that each and every one of us stumbles upon at some point of our lives: SETBACKS. The reason why I decided to bring this subject up is because one of my fellow bloggers, Laura from The Gluten-Free Treadmill, who is my big inspiration, attempted to run an ultra marathon this past weekend. It was super windy and as a result Laura was able to complete 75 out of 100 km. It’s not really surprising that she was feeling upset, frustrated and disappointed.

one defeat

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Obviously, running 75 km is a HUGE accomplishment in itself, and Laura definitely should not feel this way. That being said, it’s very easy to be a bystander and give advice on how to feel or not feel. However, let’s just think for a moment of how many expectations we have of ourselves. It is important to have goals and dreams. The problem is, however, when those dreams and expectations fail to motivate us and on the contrary make us doubt our abilities and alter our progress.

giving up on your goal

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So how do we move on from setbacks? According to Huffington Post, there are a few things we can do:

  1. Put it into perspective.successSource
  2. Evaluate: What is the lesson learned from this situation?

    strengthSource

  3. Do something differently: ‘Do you want to try again to achieve the same goal or relationship or career change with a different tactic? Or maybe you want to achieve something totally different the next time. Whether you want the same thing or something else, you need to take what you discovered in tip number two and figure out how you are going to approach working towards the goal differently this time. And although you cannot plan out all of life and its obstacles, you can decide to try something new such as taking on a new attitude, or being more flexible to changing course sooner, or being more open to whatever comes your way.’

    do something you've never doneSource

  4. Commit to self-integrity: ‘Hold yourself up to not repeating the patterns that are stopping you from getting what you want, and follow through on the new ways that you have committed to doing things. Making this commitment is important for two reasons: First, it builds confidence because you learn that you can have some control over the direction of your life, and second, it stops you from backsliding and repeating the past experience (and then saying “see, I knew this would never work”).’

    commitmentSource

  5. Be all over the place: Change it up, spread your possible options.

    possibilitiesSource

  6. Always be your best friend: Don’t beat yourself up. It’s okay to have setbacks. What’s most important is how you come back up.

    love yourselfSource

In other words, it’s okay to be upset, but just for a little bit. Be proud of your accomplishments and your journey. Don’t let any setbacks get you off the road to success and happiness! *Love you, Laura!!!!!*

My workout for today is Bourbon on the Rocks (cross-training) and Ab 500 (strength). Also, do not forget that today is the first day of the Spartan 30 push ups for 30 days challenge!!! *Woop woop!*

successful people

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How do you deal with setbacks? Have you ever had a roadblock that you weren’t sure you could overcome?

xoxo
Olena

 

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Nuts For Health? The Ultimate Guide To Nuts & Bourbon On The Rocks Cross-Train Workout

I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that majority of us, fitness bloggers and health addicts, are totally nuts when it comes to NUTS! Haha! And why wouldn’t we? Nuts are a great snack because they’re loaded with nutrients and are super filling. But how much do we actually know about their diversity and health benefits? Personally, probably not enough. To fix this little issue, I decided to look for more information. Look what I found!

the-ultimate-guide-to-nuts

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Pretty crazy, huh?!

useless fact about nuts

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According to Health Me Up, there are multiple ways you can add nuts to your diet:

  • Add them to salads: I personally love adding sliced almonds, cashews and sunflower seeds.
  • Add nuts to curries‘Try peanuts with stir-fried cabbage. Walnuts with gentle fish curries. Or almonds with spicy chicken curries. Very soon, you’ll find that you end up loving the new taste of these nutty curries.’
  • Add them to your pastas and sauces: ‘Pastas cooked with spinach, broccoli and other greens go beautifully with thinly sliced almonds.’
  • Add powdered nuts in soups and casseroles as thickening agents: ‘They thicken low-fat milk and yogurt quite wonderfully and add there own distinct flavor to the mix.’
  • Add nuts to fruit or other natural food desserts: ‘The trick here is to stick to portion sizes. So if you’re looking at filling a small bowl with a fruit dessert, then take your daily recommended dose of nuts and sprinkle them on top. In fact, chopped bananas with clove honey, sprinkled with sliced almonds and walnuts, and topped with a dash of powdered cinnamon is an exquisite and healthy dessert.’

Quotation-Penn-Jillette-love-humor-inspirational-Meetville-Quotes-108370

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It’s time for some cross training and strength. I love the name of my workout today: Bourbon on the Rocks. Sounds… FANCY?! Haha! According to the Spartan Guide, some may find this difficult to swallow though. Here is how it goes.

10 push-ups
10 burpees
5 pull-ups
30-second sprint
1-minute rest
Repeat 5 times.

Then, with a rock *ummm, in my case with dumbbells and a medicine ball haha!*

15 squats
Lunge-walk 50 yards
10 chest-passes
10 underhand toss
Repeat 4 times, resting for 1 minute between each circuit.

AB 500 + 30 squats for 30 days challenge

Strength

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How nuts are you for nuts? How do you ‘spice up’ your dishes by adding nuts? How’s your Spartan 30 squats for 30 days coming along?

xoxo
Olena

 

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Morning Yoga: Cute Bunnies & All Other Great Benefits That Come With It

It’s FUH-ridayyyyyyy! I guess, it’s needless to say but…

I love Fridays

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So ummmmm, about that workout I did on Wednesday….. my behind still hurts!!!! Ahahaha! Those damn lunges, so good and so painful! Has this ever happened to you? I mean, I REALLY underestimated the routine! Today I was really in no shape to complete a 30-minute run yesterday.

no-pain-no-gain

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I am super happy today is the rest day. My body could definitely use a break. Therefore, the only thing I really have planned is a short morning yoga routine. But then, who would say no to these super adorable bunnies?!

morning yoga

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It’s a very short routine, but I can guarantee you that you’ll be full of energy and positivity for the rest of the day, once you complete it.

According to Urban Nirvana, there are 7 benefits to practicing yoga in the morning:

  1. Yogic breathing stimulates your body and mind. *Save on coffee!* 
  2. Improves your self-esteem. *Who doesn’t like feeling accomplished?!*
  3. You will be peaceful, all day long! *Imagine! ON FRIDAY!*
  4. Get a healthy glow. *Just in time for Friday night HA!*
  5. Speeds up metabolism. *Buh-byeeee extra weight!* 
  6. Helps to build a healthy, consistent workout routine.
  7. Regulates your sleep rhythm.

for-the-love-of-yoga-620w

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Now, that’s how my weekend workout looks like.

Saturday 

– Super Spartan Trail Run: On trails (in my case, on the treadmill), run in zone 2 and the low end of zone 3 for 4 miles.
– AB 500

Sunday

Spartan Bike

Warm up for 10 minutes in zone 2.
Repeat 6 times:
– Ride 3 minutes in zone 4.
– Ride 1 minute in zone 2.
Cool down for 10 minutes.

workout motivation tip

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What are your plans for the weekend? How do you recharge your ‘batteries’?

xoxo
Olena

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Dealing With Tough Runs, Also Deep Stretches For Flexibility & Active Rest

So there it goes. Yesterday’s 10 km run was brutal. I am not really surprised since I took a few weeks break from running due to my extreme work overload and fatigue that came with it. But I didn’t expect it to be THIS hard.

passion

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That being said, I must admit, I am proud of myself. Proud for not giving up, and proud for sticking through it! After all, it is normal to have highs and lows, but what’s more important is how we go about it. All it takes is a little bit of extra effort, willingness and dedication. The feeling of accomplishment when you are done is SOOO worth it!

determination

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Today is my rest day. However, I thought it would be a good idea to have an active rest day instead.

it's okay to go both waysSource

And what could be better than doing some yoga?! (+ don’t forget about the Spartan 30 squats for 30 days challenge!)

Plus, I am really overdue on some good stretching!!!

How do you deal with tough runs? What are your favorite ways to have an active rest when it’s still cold outside?

xoxo
Olena

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Why You Should Include Laughter In Your Workout Routine & A Closer Look At Heart Rate And Energy Zones During A Tempo Run

Did you know that laughter is good for your health? Of course, you did! But did you know to what extent? Check this out for yourself.

How Laughter Impacts Your Health Infographic

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It seems so easy to include laughter in your daily life; however, according to Psychology Today, ‘The average four-year-old laughs 300 times a day, a 40-year-old, only four.’

I know that it sounds kind of silly, but how can we laugh more often? Here are some ideas:

  • Surround yourself with people with a great sense of humor
  • Follow a blog that makes you smile: I personally love *LOVE, LOVE, LOVE* my girl from Perpetual Plot Hole. She is ridiculously funny & I adooooore her sketches! You should definitely check her out ❤
  • Laugh at the small stuff *WHY NOT?!*
  • Don’t forget to laugh at yourself when something silly happens
  • Have friends over more often *Yes, indeed! There is communication BEYOND Facebook! Haha!*
  • Watch your favorite shows and comedies every now & then

laughter

You get the point! The last time I REALLY REALLY laughed *to the point of crying & unintentionally hitting my head on a desk as I was trying not to die* was when I read a review of Haribo Gummy Candy, Sugarless Gummy Bears, 5-pound bag (the very first one called: Just don’t. Unless it’s a gift for someone you hate). Just a quick heads up, don’t, I mean, DON’T, read this review if you are at work right now because you could get fired for an uncontrollable fit of laughter. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you!

Moving on to the workout planned for today. According to the 12-week plan, it’s a 2 Mile Trail Tempo Run with a total duration of 1 hour:

  • Warm up 2 miles with a heart rate in zone 2.
  • Run 2 miles with a heart rate in zone 4.
  • Cool down 2 miles with heart rate in zone 2.

Heart rate and energy zones

So when was the last time you laughed until your stomach started hurting? Feel free to share links, let’s spread the happiness and laughter on this wintry day!

xoxo
Olena

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