Tag Archives: Strength training

Swimming & Pregnancy

Hello beauties!

I hope you had a great weekend and spent Easter with your loved ones!

I think I mentioned to you recently that I was going to join a prenatal aqua class. Well… It finally happened! I had my first class yesterday, and I must admit, I had a blast!

First of all, it was nice to be for once surrounded by ladies pregnant just like me. *Call it sense of belonging! Haha!* All ladies I had a chance to talk to were super nice and fun. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to develop some new friendships with other mommies-to-be.

pregnant

I must admit, I rocked my 2-piece bathing suit with PRIDE. It’s my baby girl who is in there, after all, and not donuts. *Fine… Maybe a piece of cake or two! Wink, wink!* 

Finally, our instructor was very friendly and the class was super fun. I was pleasantly surprised that I got a chance to work on all major muscle groups: core, legs, arms, even my back. We even did some stretching exercises. In addition, I thoroughly enjoyed jumping in water. It didn’t even feel like I was 25 weeks along!

light as a feather

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There are plenty of benefits of swimming during pregnancy *or in general*:

  • A low-to-no-impact activity and a great cardio at the same time,
  • Reduced stress from lower back,
  • Lowered pressure on joints,
  • Resistance training: feel the burn!
  • A very enjoyable and fun workout option!

Last but not least, don’t forget to enter a chance to win you free canvas print from CanvasPop. *See details here.*

IG giveaway

All you have to do is follow this link: a Rafflecopter giveaway. You can have up to 8 entries to increase your chances of winning by fulfilling all of the options. *Just saying! Haha!*

What is your favorite aqua workout?

xoxo
Olena

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She Said What?! Only 3 Weeks Left Till Ottawa Spartan Beast

Hey y’all! I’ve missed you!

I know, it’s been only 3 days, but so many things have happened. I also promised you an extraordinary weekend… and I kind of lied… because it was EPIC!

On Saturday afternoon, Justin and I found ourselves at a very beautiful location, the national park of Mont Saint Bruno, not too far from where we live. This occasion on its own was magical. However, what if I told you it was even more perfect than that?! Yup, it’s possible indeed!

Mont Saint Bruno lake

We were on a mission… wait… let me correct myself… We were on a SECRET mission!

One of my best friends was getting proposed to!!! Imagine, how hard it was for me to know it and keep my mouth shut! It was definitely a challenge… Ah, imagine yourself not being able tell your bff about something like this!

When we got to the park, we met up with some other friends who were involved in the plot. We were all so excited and nervous for everything to go according to plans because there were a few misunderstandings as to when we have to come up from our hiding location.

under the tree Thankfully, everything went smoothly, and I witnessed my friend’s emotions going from very confused to overwhelmed and then to very VERY excited!

proposalShe said YES!!! I am so honored to have been there with her. Oh, and I AM A BRIDESMAID! For the first time EVER!!! How cool and precious is that?!

Sunday was also very special. My hubby and I had his family over for lunch and then we headed to a photo shoot. Initially, it was supposed to be ‘Revive the Dress’ photo session last fall that didn’t happen due to bad weather. This time around, I didn’t feel like wearing my wedding dress again because I wanted to keep the memory of my wedding day more special, so I opted for a casual shoot. Not surprisingly, it took place at yet another park. *I love nature!*

Here are some shots.

photo shoot 1As you can see, we still love each other on occasion after almost a year of being married. *Haha!*

photo shoot 2Ummm… Have I mentioned lots of PDA? No?! #sorrynotsorry

I really can’t wait to see the rest of the pictures. We even included Bella in some of the photos since she is a BIG part of our life!

On to more serious stuff…

Last week wasn’t as productive as I hoped to training-wise. I think my body needed some rest and I granted its wish. I mean, I still had pretty tough workouts but not much running happened in this part of the woods. That being said, I have less than 3 weeks left before the Spartan Beast in Ottawa.

final stretch

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My plan is to clean up my diet to get my body into the beast mode and push through some tougher workouts.

The workout today is as follows:

Strength + Cardio:    Diamonds are Forever!
Abs:                            Ab 500
Challenge:                30-day bear crawl Spartan challenge

life is a gift

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Have you ever witnessed a proposal? What changes do you make to your diets in the weeks leading up to a big race?

xoxo
Olena

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Beast Mode is ON: Happy Canada Day + Tough Double Workout To Celebrate It

Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians!

Happy Canada Day

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Words can’t express enough how much I love this country and how proud I am to call myself Canadian! I embrace its diversity and beauty. And I hope all of you can take some time today to celebrate Canadian awesomeness! *Hehe!*

Before I get any further, I’d like to thank you all for your unbelievable support throughout my training for the Spartan Trifecta! I honestly think that you’ve played a crucial role in my success so far. I am so humbled and honored to have you all in my life!!! (here & here)

you_are_awesome1Source

As you know, the Spartan Beast (20+ km and 25+ obstacles) is less than 4 weeks away and I am totally shaking in my boots. The BEAST MODE is officially on!!! And what could be better than celebrating Canada Day by logging a super intense and sweaty workout?!

Actually, when I saw this workout in the Spartan Guide, it made me laugh. Why? Because just yesterday I was telling to one of my fellow bloggers that  I’ve never done double runs. Little that I knew! I could probably complete the following workout in one setting, but, the truth is, I am still a bit sore after the race on Sunday.

beast mode is on

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Part 1

Strength: Diamonds are Forever!

Rest 30 seconds between sets and exercises.

  • Squats: Begin with feet closer together than shoulder width apart and hold both hands to your sides. Slowly squat down to 90 degrees and return to the start position. Repeat as desired. Hold dumbbells in your hands. Select a weight that you can only lift within the suggested range.
    Step 1: 10-12 reps, high intensity, steady tempo
    Step 2: repeat
  • Barbell overhead squat: Begin with feet wider than shoulder width apart and arms fully extended overhead, barbell in hands. Select a weight that you can only lift within the suggested range. Start by using a wooden dowel if necessary.
    Step 1: 10-12 reps, high intensity, steady tempo
    Step 2: repeat
  • Box alternating leg shuffle: Begin with one foot on the box and the other on the ground. Explode off the foot on the box and switch legs in air, landing with the opposite foot on the box.
    Step 1: 15 reps per leg
    Step 2: repeat
  • Kettlebell or dumbbell suitcase dead lift: Begin with feet shoulder width apart with the kettlebell in the right hand. Slowly squat down to 90 degrees, until the kettelbell is close to or touching the ground. Repeat reps as desired. Do for both sides, using a weight you can only lift within the suggested range.
    Step 1: 10-12 reps. Focus on form first, before increasing weight.
    Step 2: repeat
  • Barbell standing rows: Begin with feet shoulder width apart with a slight bend in the knees. Grasp the barbell with both hands with your hands facing out. Pull the barbell to your body. Repeat as desired. Select a weight you can only lift within the suggested range.
    Step 1: 10-12 reps, high intensity, steady tempo.
    Step 2: repeat
  • Box dips: Begin in a sitting position with hands facing forward on the box or bench and feet on the ground. Slowly extend your arms as far as they will go. Gently lower yourself and repeat as desired.
    Step 1: 10-12 reps, high intensity. Can be made easier by flexing your knees. Can be made more difficult by elevating extended legs. Can add resistance by placing a weight on your thighs.
    Step 2: repeat
  • Planks: Begin by lying face down on the ground with elbows flexed. Lift your chest and hips off of the floor so that your body is supported by your elbows and feet. Brace yourself and hold as long as possible.
    Step 1: hold for 30-120 seconds
    Step 2: repeat

Run 3 miles

fitspiration

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Part 2

Cross-train: Bingham 2

45-minute trail run; every 10 minutes find a rock or a log and lift it for 10 reps, performing arm curls, shoulder presses, and squats. Add 5 reps each time so that you finish your last set with 25 reps for each exercise.

Source: A Spartan Guide To The Sport Of Obstacle Racing by Joe De Sena

enthusiasm

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How are you celebrating Canada Day?

xoxo
Olena

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Week Of Hundreds, Honey Oatmeal Facial Mask & Intense Spartan Workout

Hey you, guys! Do you know something? You rock!!!

This week is the week of, what it seems, hundreds. A little bit confused? No worries, I’d be too! *Haha!*

It really wasn’t planned, but the stars somehow aligned. *Okay, fine, enough with suspense!* The thing is, over the past couple of days, the following happened:

If you still haven’t followed me on my social media accounts, do so. This way you will be able to have a sneak pic into my life, get some daily motivation, and of stay up-to-date with my blog posts.

you are awesome

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I’d like to thank you by sharing a fantastic recipe for a home-made honey and oatmeal facial mask which will make your skin feel silky smooth, glowing and healthy.

honey oatmeal facial mask

All you need is:

– 3 tbs honey
– 2 tbs oatmeal
– 1 tbs resh lemon juice

Grind oatmeal and mix ingredients together. Apply for 10-15 minutes and thank me later! *Haha!*

facial mask

Just a tiny suggestion: You might want to lie down on a towel. *In fact, I strongly recommend it, unless you want the mask to apply itself on your other body parts. Haha!*

My workout yesterday looked not that bad on paper, but once I started with it, I was on fire! *Burning!*

Here is what I did.

Warm up

5-min jog 

25 yards each:

high-knee walk
high-knee jog
butt-kickers
lateral shuffle
straight leg march
skip
straight leg skip
cross-over step
carioca
duck walk

Then, I did Dreamweaver 2 & Ab 500 workouts.

cross-train & strength Spartan workout

How’s your week going so far? How do you treat your skin from time to time? How did you incorporate a team workout today?

xoxo
Olena

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Weight Training 101 & Arnold Strength Workout: Act Like A Lady, Lift Like A Boss

The truth is, weight lifting has intimidated me for the longest time. It might have been all that iron or maybe all those bulk guys in the ‘guys section’ of the gym.

my arms are kind of big deal

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You know what I mean! But then, I thought to myself, enough is enough! The Spartan Race training calls for strength training, so I’ve got to put my big girl pants on and suck it up. And what’s awesome is that nowadays there are more and more girls who lift. And I’ve got to admit, they look totally bad@ss!

Lifting for womenSource 

But then, on the other hand, you see all these ridiculous behaviors there! Grunting, loud noises, swearing! Gosh, guys looooove to show off. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine to show off your skills. However, very often all you see is bad forms of people who have no idea what they are doing *Yes, even with my uneducated eyes! Imagine!* , and the only thought on your mind is, please don’t hurt yourself, please don’t hurt yourself! Haha!

bad form

 

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Clearly, I don’t want to be one of them! Why get hurt because of lack of knowledge, especially that there’s so much information out there?!

I found some great rules of lifting etiquette and a few common mistakes to avoid at Bodybuilding.com. Here they are.

A FEW RULES OF LIFTING ETIQUETTE

  • To start, always bring a towel and be kind enough to wipe off the machines, benches and equipment you use.
  • Be sure to re-rack all the weight and replace all the dumbbells or barbells that are used.
  • Don’t rest for extended periods of time on a machine that someone is waiting for; if possible work in with them between sets, most people are more than willing to share when asked nicely.
  • Finally, please, leave your cell phone in your locker or car; nothing is more distracting than listening to another person’s conversation, unwillingly.

COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID

  • Using too much weight, too soon; always start lower than your expected ability and work your way up that first workout. If your form suffers, you are swinging the weight, or using momentum, this indicates you may be using too much weight. Greater momentum increases the potential for injury and reduces the effectiveness to the muscle group being targeted.
  • Not using enough weight; always play it safe, but if you can perform 30 reps with a certain weight, it’s likely time to increase it a bit. Tip: Increase the weight no more than about 5% at a time.
  • Moving through repetitions too quickly, going too fast; there is nothing gained by lifting weights ‘fast’ some of the perks of lifting weight in a slow and controlled manner, include more total muscle tension and force produced, more muscle fiber activation both slow and fast twitch fibers, and less tissue trauma. *Remember, a joint is only as strong as the muscles that cross it; if you haven’t lifted in a long time, or ever, be careful what you ask of your joints.
  • Not resting long enough, or resting far too long; both can be a workout killer. Tip: The recommended rest period is between 30-90 seconds, for overall fitness.

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act like a lady lift like a boss

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As you have probably noticed, my workout for today is called Arnold. *The Spartan Guide is very creative when it comes to workout names!*

According to the training guide, some may say that this isn’t functional, but Arnold says. “you’ll be back,” for this change of pace! Repeat this 3 times, using a weight you can lift within the desired range.

10-15 reps each:

Alternating backward barbell lunge
Alternating dumbbell chest press with overhand grip
Alternating incline dumbbell row with neutral grip
Back extension on machine with arms across chest
Cable lat pull-down with underhand grip
Alternating dumbbell shoulder front raise
Barbell wrist curl with arms on bench
Barbell wrist extension
Alternating dumbbell bicep curl with neutral grip
Seated 1-arm dumbbell tricep extension
Bridge and leg curl on stability ball
Bicycle
Dead bug
Leg raise with flutter kick on incline bench or floor

*For dead bug and flutter kick make sure the lower back stays neutral.

+ 30 push ups for 30 days challenge!!!

I'm just strong

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Now I’d like to hear from you, my weight-lifting friends! What are the most valuable lessons you learned while lifting? What are the errors I should avoid? Any tips or tricks?

xoxo
Olena

 

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Unbreakable Strength Plus Run Spartan Workout

O M G! Guys, yesterday’s yoga flexibility routine was FANTASTIC! The majority of stretches were hip stretches, and believe you me, it was EXACTLY what I needed after my disastrous Monday 10 km run. You should definitely give it a try too!

This was me in the end of the workout.

yoga

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Today is strength training *you can also read it as one of Olena’s biggest opportunities haha!*. This kid makes it look so easy though!!!

baby-pushups

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*HOW CUTE THIS PICTURE ISSSS?! I’m dying!!!*

Anyhow, back to serious business! I mean, everything is serious about training for the Spartan Race 🙂

Repeat four times (taken from the Spartan training guide):

– Dumbbell Lunge 30 seconds each leg

– Split Lunge Jumps 30 seconds

– Plank Walk 45 seconds

– Shoulder taps 45 seconds

** 3-minute rest between sets

Run 20 minutes with heart rate in zone 3. (+ 30 squats for 30 days Spartan challenge!!!)

funeral for fat

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How do you challenge yourself? Any plans to participate in an obstacle course this year? If so, which one?

xoxo
Olena

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The Benefits Of Stair-Climbing For Runners & Arnold Strength Workout

It probably won’t sound like a big secret, but GOSH, I’m fed up with this snow… and winter… and cold! Despite living all my life in countries with cold winters, I don’t think I will ever accept it or get used to it. Yesterday, on the way home with my hubby from work, I kept on daydreaming. I was like, so one day when we are rich we’ll move to a warm country. But Justin bluntly cut me off, he said he’d rather take winters than hurricanes, tornadoes, wild fires or earthquakes. What’s your take on that?

Now-I-remember-why-I-hate-winter

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On second thought, I think my hubby forgot about having to deal with my cold feet every night… I might have a chance! haha!

As you know, lately I’ve been looking for different ways to strengthen my legs to improve on speed during my runs. There is a StairMaster at my gym; however, I don’t use it. I don’t even know why. Most likely because I just feel so comfortable with my routine. I guess it’s time for change because there are many benefits of stair-climbing for runners.

stairmaster

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According to this article posted on http://www.canada.com, the benefits are as follows:

  • ability to increase your cardiovascular fitness;
  • burn more calories;
  • improve muscle conditioning in your legs and buttocks;
  • improve balance

Pretty sweet, don’t you think?

Burn baby burn

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Then, I came across a great article on Runner’s World: Why Stair-Climbing Is Good for Runners. The article proposed these 3 amazing stair workouts:

  1. Run Up Like… A Competitor: “After a 10-minute warmup, run hard up stairs for 20 to 30 seconds, then walk back down. Repeat for 20 to 30 minutes. Or run stairs for 10 minutes after a long run to help your body build endurance and learn to push through fatigue.”
  2. Run Up Like… November Project: “Warm up for 10 minutes. Then climb 20 to 30 seconds up the stairs at a tempo effort—slowing as needed to keep your ascending pace consistent—and without pausing, run back down. Repeat the cycle for 30 minutes. If you’re in a stadium, run from section to section at the tops or bottoms of flights, maintaining tempo effort.”
  3. Run Up Like… A Gym Rat: “After a 10-minute warmup, crank up the incline *on a treadmill* (slowing your pace as necessary) to 15 percent (or whatever the machine’s maximum incline is—the higher, the better). Do one minute at the hardest pace you can manage, then reduce the incline to zero and recover for one minute. Follow with two minutes at maximum incline and two minutes of recovery, working your way up, minute by minute, to five minutes of each. Then work your way back down to end with one minute hard and one minute recovery.” 

turn intentions into actions

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I am really looking forward to trying them out over the next couple of weeks. As for today, I have Arnold Strength training according the training guide.

Repeat this 3 times, using a weight you can lift within the desired range, 10-15 reps each:

** For dead bug and flutter kick, make sure the lower back stays neutral.

good things come to those who sweat

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Now I’d like to hear from you! How often do you incorporate StairMaster in your workout? What is your favorite way to break some sweat apart from running?

xoxo
Olena

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