Tag Archives: quick workout

My Addiction To 30-Day Challenges

Hey there!

It’s Friday! I know, I know, you may ask, “What difference does it make? Aren’t you on maternity leave, anyway?” *As a side note, in the province of Quebec, we are entitled up to 50 weeks off. Happy dance!* Yes, you are right, but I am super thrilled to have my hubby home for the weekend. It’s always great to hang out as a family. Plus, Sofia is super funny these days. For instance, I was over the phone with Justin yesterday and was mimicking his snoring the night before, when all of a sudden she started laughing at me. *These moments are so precious!*   

IMG_7654 edit.jpg

Yesterday, I was hanging out with a friend and we started talking about exercising after having a baby. I was thrilled that finally I broke the 117 mark and I’m currently in 116-pound range. *That’s where Justin will sigh and shake his head lol!* No, I’m not obsessed with my weight. I’m not following any diets either because it’s more important for me to make sure that my baby gets enough milk and nutrients than it is to drop a pound or two. But it is nice to see that the short workouts I do on a daily basis make me fitter and leaner.

As you may know, when Sofia was about 8 weeks old, I joined a weekly yoga class with her. In October, we also joined a dance class. *I will do a separate blog post on a dance class shortly.*  However, even though I had lots of fun there, I was scared to add more activities because my C-section incision would swell up when I would even end up walking too much.

In the end of September, I came across 31 Days Away From a Banging Booty challenge, I was all for it.

Lorna-Jane-MNB-Squat-Challenge-Downloadable1

There’s something about having a schedule that makes it easy for me to commit. Moreover, I can focus on a specific body part. Squats was a simple choice because it didn’t engage my ab muscles (my main concern at that point of time) while keeping my core composed.

When November came around, I was ready to focus on my core! After a quick Google search, I came across the following 30-day challenge.

30 day challenge

Source

I’ve really enjoyed it because it gave me some sort of a gentle transition from not doing any ab exercises for over 9 months to actually feeling the change in my core strength.

See some of the previous challenges I participated in here:

At the same time, I find it’s important to mention that you have to do these kind of challenges in addition to your daily workouts. Otherwise, they are not as effective. Keeping your workouts balanced (cardio, strength & flexibility) is key to success.

IMG_7693

Putting up her first Christmas tree last night!

Now that December is just around the corner, I’d like to focus on my upper body strength. *I definitely have a head start constantly carrying around my ever-growing 15-pound baby. Haha!* I’m thinking a mix of push-ups, pull-ups and maybe adding some dumbbells to my workouts. Any suggestions?

Do you like incorporating 30-day challenges in your workout routine? Why?

xoxo
Olena

 

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under 30-Day Workout Challenges, Cross-training, Fitness

Dealing With An Unforeseen Injury + A Great 20-Minute Total Arm Workout

Last week was really unsuccessful for me in terms of running and, to be honest, I was really looking forward to a 10 km weekend run. However, it wasn’t meant to happen.

Early Saturday, I decided to take my little German Shepherd pup Bella for a nice walk outside. My walk lasted a whole 2 seconds as I slipped off the top step of  our condo entrance with the little princess in my arms and flew down to the ground. To help you picture my grand fall, think of Kevin’s sleigh ride from a house stairway…

home alone

Just without a sleigh, on my back, and off this stairway:

Home Sweet Home

I know, I’m laughing it now, but it was really scary! There was  black ice on the stairs and the next moment all I saw was the sky. Anyhow, I’m glad that I didn’t hit my head as I was falling down and, thus, am still alive, and that my puppy didn’t get hurt either! Poor little thing!

As you can imagine, I really hurt my lower back and have to wait to run again for a couple of days, just to be safe. Oh well! I decided not to dwell too much on it and work on my arms meanwhile instead. *All I want is nice toned arms, is it too much to ask for? Haha!*

I started off my workout with this  Strong Arms, Back & Shoulders Yoga Routine from Tara Stiles for a warm up.

*I KNEW IT! You reaaaallyyyyy missed my recent plank workout! WINK WINK*

Then, since I don’t have any dumbbells at home, I grabbed two 1-litter jars of tomato sauce *That’s how you know I married an Italian!* and went ahead with the following Total Arm Workout.

Okay, I have to admit that I’ll probably have to invest in a set of dumbbells because doing Curl & Flip with JARS was somewhat *definitely an understatement!* challenging.

By the way, here is my *BY FAR* favorite ‘weight’!

Arm workout with Bella

What is your favorite arm workout? Also, how do you deal with injuries?

xoxo
Olena

10 Comments

Filed under Fitness

Your Body Will Plank You After This Core Workout

After reading my previous blog post, one of my fellow bloggers, Laura, pointed out to me that there is yet another great exercise to strengthen your core: the PLANK.

Usually I do include it in my regular workout; however, when I REALLY started thinking about it, I realized that I normally stick to a basic plank or a side plank. This is kind of silly, not because they are not good enough, but there is a great variety of planks that can benefit your body even more!

So what is the plank?

planking

Alright, maybe it’s not that simple, it’s a WORKOUT after all!

I know that it might sound too good to be true, but this exercise can pretty much tone your ENTIRE body. By doing different variations of this basic move, you can target your arms, back, core, legs, and booty. WHOA!

I found the following picture on Pinterest, which I think is pretty cool because you can see different types of a plank.

Plank you

Source

When doing variations of the basic plank, remember to:

  • make sure that your shoulders are stacked over your elbows and your body is in one straight line

When doing variations of the raised plank, don’t forget to:

  • lie flat on the floor, place your hands beneath your shoulders, and then push up
  • maintain a straight line between your toes and shoulders

When doing variations of the basic side plank, it’s important to:

  • lie on your side with your legs straight, then prop yourself up with your forearm so your body forms a diagonal line. Rest your other hand on your hip

This is what I did for my plank workout (repeat 2 or 3 times):

  1. Basic plank: 1 minute
  2. Basic plank with raised leg: each leg x 30 seconds
  3. Basic plank with raised arm: 5 reps each arm x 5 seconds
  4. Basic plank with both leg and arm raised: 5 reps each side x 5 seconds

And here is my take on a new type of plank: THE BELLA PLANK

Planking with Bella

*I knew you would love it!*

What are your favorite plank types? How do your incorporate the plank in your workout?

xoxo
Olena

32 Comments

Filed under Fitness

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also:

Benefits of Working Out Abs for Runners

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

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

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

xoxo
Olena

9 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Motivation