Surround Yourself…

advice and encouragement

This is a quote from Dave Ramsey who is the author of Financial Peace University and is a major force in learning how to get and live debt free. He is a guru in the financial field. But it’s tough love and not for the faint of heart…along with Gail Vaz-Oxlade, they are two of the best resources for applicable financial (and many life) lessons.

I find this quote so applicable to life in general. Have you ever had the experience of being in a great mood, then after spending time with “happiness suckers” feeling dragged down and tired. I’m still trying to find a way to be stronger than those people. Sometimes it’s easy – you just don’t hang around them. Other times it may be co-workers, family members or other people who you can’t avoid spending time with.

I think this is one of the reasons that I love exercise classes. More often than not you are with a group of like-minded people, and if you have a regular group you build relationships that encourage and support one another. You see each other grow and can support each other as you reach new physical, and often emotional, heights. You become accountable to one another when you haven’t shown up in a while. And possibly one of the greatest motivators is increasing the “happiness” factor! Exercise may wear you down and tire you out, but I have never met a person who wasn’t in a better mood post-workout then before they started.

If you aren’t finding that in your group class – branch out. See what other opportunities there are out there. Try a new exercise modality, join a running group, karate dojo, tai chi class, boot camp… The opportunities are there and they are worth it!

Happy June!

This morning my oldest daughter came to me and said, “I don’t know what it is about a new month, but I just love when I have a fresh calendar page!”. What can I say, the girl comes by it honestly. As I’ve talked about in the past I love the opportunity that a new month brings. Awhile back I recommended picking one thing to focus on each month. You can refresh your memory, or check it out for the first time in this post here.

For June I am focusing on planning and actually scheduling my workouts. As I’ve mentioned before I work shifts and now that I’m back to commuting my time is even more precious. I have big plans for the month of July so between that and life getting away from me some days, it is extra important that I make a plan. I was reviewing the goals I had set in a past post and things have been adjusted a little. But that needs to be part of our life. We have to be flexible and open to change, as long as that change isn’t one that completely derails us from a long-term plan.

Here is a picture of my calendar. Nothing fancy, it is written in pencil. I have my scheduled shifts written (the “D” and “N”s) and I’ve used Get Movin’s schedule for the next 8 weeks and picked the classes that best suit my schedule. I’ve also included my runs and TRX workouts.

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It’s written in pencil because on some days there are two options. With overtime shifts that pop up I have to be able to change things sometimes. For example – I can run on the treadmill at work and bring my TRX so those are an option depending on the workout I may miss. I also am being very conscious of my sleep requirements. There may be days when my “wellness” routine is actually sleeping instead of a workout. I work 14 hour night shifts with a 2+ hour round trip commute. Four of those in a row, means that my body can get fairly run down. I’ve suffered burn out before – without knowing it until it was in my rearview mirror. Now I know the signs and how to avoid it, and I will at all costs. It doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Just that I am more conscious of how I need to take care of myself. And what was it G.I. Joe always said: “Knowing is half the battle!”

I’ll also be planning our families meals for the month. Even more focused will be my own. We’ll be having our family sit-down tomorrow to discuss the month ahead. Perhaps I’ll share that later in the week!

Think about incorporating one simple thing into your month. Increasing your water, if you haven’t already done that. Checking out the seasonal fruits and veggies that will be starting to appear before long. Getting out and walking a new trail or going for a bike ride. Picking up a sketch book and pencil and sketching the flowers you find. There is nothing like drawing nature to make you focus on all the intricacies and fine details you will often miss in a hurried day.

Enjoy the sunshine and summer evenings that are here to stay….at least for a while!

Today I Hit the Big 5-0

Today I hit the big 50, yep I now have 50 kms under my belt. When I looked outside and saw the snow blowing sideways I did hesitate, but, like many of the runs this winter, I reminded myself that it was only 1 km. It’s kind of fun to be out there. It’s kind of fun to think that I have gotten outside every single day this year. Am I the only one, who has made it through one or more days without stepping outside? In the past that was known to happen. I’m exhilarated that this challenge I have made for myself, to run 1 km (at least) every day for 2013 has given me that gift that never even occurred to me when I started. Perhaps, if it had, I may have brushed the whole challenge aside. I mean honestly, if I had thought about running, even just one kilometer in some of the weather I have been out in, I may have checked out before I even started. Now on day 50 of 2013 I am pretty confident and excited to see what the next 315 runs will bring.

On that note, I think I’ll bookmark this post to check back on in July. I just may need a reminder of this winter enthusiasm when I’m running through the summer swelter!

Wednesday Workout #7

Seriously, we are already at week 7???

Here we go. This one looks easy. It’s not. Try it and you will be thinking (or cursing) Get Movin Tips the next day.

Pyramid form again. If you want to go from 10 down feel free, 7 down may be a good starting point, especially if you are including this as part of a workout and not doing it independently.

The exercises are:

  • Forward lunge on each leg, this is one
  • Forward lunge, side squat and back lunge with right leg leading
  • Forward lunge, side squat and back lunge with left leg leading

So, if you are not familiar with the Pyramid’s we do. Each exercise is repeated a set number of times before moving on to the next one. When all three are completed, you start again decreasing the number in the set by one rep. So if you are counting down from seven it looks like this:

  • 7 Forward lunges, alternating legs. One of each leg is a “rep” so it will be a total of 14 lunges
  • 7 Forward lunges, side squat and back lunge with right leg leading
  • 7 Forward lunges, side squat and back lunge with left leg leading;
  • 6 Forward lunges, alternating legs. One of each leg is a “rep” so it will be a total of 12 lunges
  • 6 Forward lunges, side squat and back lunge with right leg leading
  • 6 Forward lunges, side squat and back lunge with left leg leading;
  • 5 Forward lunges, alternating legs. One of each leg is a “rep” so it will be a total of 10 lunges
  • 5 Forward lunges, side squat and back lunge with right leg leading
  • 5 Forward lunges, side squat and back lunge with left leg leading;
  • continue this way with 4, 3, 2 then 1 rep of each exercise.

Turn up the music – this one is going to burn…but it’s all worth it!

Cold Weather Running Tips

The weather has been hit and miss this winter. On Wednesday evening I went for an absolutely balmy run, Thursday was bitter cold with a mean, mean windchill and Friday there was snow! Here are a few tips to keep in mind when running in cold weather:

  1. Dress in layers, generally aim for three. Your first layer which is closest to the body, your thermal layer and your exterior layer which is generally your wind break. Your body is heated by the air trapped between the layers. You want to keep in mind that you want to minimize sweat sticking to your body, so your first layer being of a wicking material is ideal.
  2. Cover all exposed skin. Keep in mind your ankles, wrists, neck and ears. Mitts are better than gloves. Also be aware of your face. You can use a lubricant like bodyglide or vaseline. I like Lansinoh. It is lanolin, and is great for protecting cheeks and especially lips from windburn. I’ve never seen it at a running store, usually in the baby section at WalMart or a drug store.
  3. Run in a loop, let your family know your route and if going for a long run try to have a phone and cab fare if applicable.
  4. If winds are strong, run into the wind for the start and with it at your back for the end.
  5. Don’t be a hero! If you’re looking at -20 or lower, especially with windchill, weigh the pros and cons. Consider your overall safety.
  6. Shorten your stride. This will give you more stability when running on surfaces that may be icy.
  7. Stay hydrated! Just because it’s cold is no reason not to hydrate. The same rules apply as for longer runs (anything over 25 mins). Keep your water bottle inside your jacket if possible to keep from freezing.
  8. Cold toes? There are great wool options available.
  9. If your running with a partner or group, be aware of each other’s conditions. People can react to extreme weather differently.
  10. Be hyper aware of vehicles. Drivers are often surprised to see people running in less than optimal conditions.
  11. Enjoy.

There are times when running in the winter is pure bliss. I love the feel of the air in my lungs. Big fluffy snowflakes. The stars can seem so crisp on a night run. I’m also learning to love running not just in the snow, but on snow-covered roads. It always used to make me nervous, but I am gaining confidence with experience. Gravel paths can be great when covered with snow, for a little more traction. I tend to avoid sidewalks unless they are completely cleared, or it’s a brand new fresh snowfall on what was dry sidewalks. That way I don’t have to be as concerned about snow covering an icy spot.

I’ve really discovered a kind of zen space when running in the winter. Are some days harder than others? Absolutely. How is it that the some days the wind can blow in my face as a run down my street, and be blowing in my face when I turn around at my halfway point to come home?!?! But most of the runs I have had in the last 33 days of this year have been exhilarating. And I have a feeling that I may be recalling this weather and imagining the snow falling all around me at least once while running in the middle of July this summer!

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My run February 1st, 2013

Wednesday Workout #4

Here’s a great, effective workout that doesn’t require any equipment. Your legs, butt and abs will thank you!

Using your stairs at home to warm up for 2 minutes, step up, up then down, down. If you don’t have access to stairs you can also use a sturdy step stool.

Now we are on to the fun:

  • Lunges: Forward lunge to a side squat to a back lunge. Use the same leg and repeat 10x then switch sides.
  • Abs: On the floor, laying down, keeping your legs together lift them straight up in the air. Reach up toward your feet, keeping your belly to the spine. Repeat this 10x
  • Remaining on the floor, keep your legs straight and together, draw the letters of the alphabet in the air with your legs. You will never be so happy to see “Z”!
  • Lay back and give your abs a good stretch
  • Roll over and stretch your quads by bringing your foot to your bum. You should feel this down the front of your thigh. Do this for each leg. Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds.

Happy Wednesday!!

Biggest Loser Inspired Workout (a.k.a. Wednesday Workout #3)

For our third Wednesday workout I was inspired by Bob Harper’s last chance workout on this past Monday’s episode of The Biggest Loser – season 14.

The idea is you take a deck of playing cards and each suit is assigned a specific exercise, the numbers on the card represent how many of each exercise.  Shuffle the deck and start pulling the cards. If you have kids let them get involved by turning over the cards and telling you whats next. I would eliminate the face cards but keep the Ace – it’s worth 11 🙂 If you want the extra challenge, keep them in – but that’s another 30 of each exercise!! I guess that’s why they call it a “last chance workout”!

So here are your exercises:

So if you pick a 3 of Clubs it will be 3 push ups, a 10 of Diamonds is 10 Burpees! Get the idea? Now find a deck, shuffle them up and have fun!

“Being healthy isn’t a chore, it’s a gift.”

Cate, The Biggest Loser contestant Season 14