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Getting back into routine after…digressing

10 Jul

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It happens.  We gain some, we lose some.  Sometimes the pounds or inches creep up without us realizing and sometimes we get some well-earned pounds or inches.  Either way, once you catch it, you can make the needed changes to your fitness routines or diet and keep moving forward.  Travel and vacations are when I tend to gain pounds and inches. I do consistently workout when traveling, however my eating habits completely shift to more carbohydrates and sugars.  My most recent vacation was no exception and now I am faced with the challenge of getting back to my routines and back to feeling healthy.

Whether you are not feeling good because you are out of routine or because you have not had a well-balanced routine for a while, accept the challenge to make some changes and move forward.  Even if you have minimal time to focus on yourself during the day, start with making simple nutritional changes in your diet and start moving more.  You will begin to see and feel changes which will motivate you even further.

Best,

Shana

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Optimizing Treadmill Time

22 Mar

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If using a treadmill is part of your training routine, it is important to maximize your time on it.  Whether you run, walk or jog, using a treadmill can be a safe and effective way for cardio training as well as improving lower body muscle strength and endurance.

Here are a few general pointers:

-Always warm up.  You can warm up and do active stretching on the treadmill. This video will show some warm up movements and active stretches that will prepare the body for your workout.  The warm up should include lower body, core, and upper body movements.

-Be sure to stretch your arms up and back behind you to elongate your posture and ensure that your shoulders are not rounded forward while you workout.

-Keep an erect posture while you run.  If you feel your shoulders rounding, slow down and repeat the stretch stated above.

-Always cool down. Ease off your workout slowly.  Slow your pace down and/or reduce the incline slowly to zero.

-You can stretch while still moving slowly on the treadmill and you can stretch on the treadmill when it is stopped as seen in the video.

-Your workout can be completed within 20-40 minutes (not including warm up and cool down) depending on the intensity of your treadmill routine.  I recommend using a heart rate monitor to ensure that you are staying within your target heart rate zone.  If you are working in the higher end of your THR zone, then decrease the amount of time of your workout.  If you are working out on the lower end of your THR zone, then increase the amount of time of your workout.

HOW TO VARY YOUR TREADMILL ROUTINES: Overuse injuries are injuries that occur due to repetitive movements.  Overuse injuries may include joint/bone injuries, muscle or ligament injuries. These are quite common in runners because, well, running is repetitive and jarring on the joints.  Therefore, be sure to vary your treadmill routine (or your outdoor running routine) to prevent overuse injuries.  Here are some samples of various treadmill routines:

-Do an endurance run.  Here you run a comfortable pace, without changing the incline or the speed, for 20-40 minutes (less time if your intensity/speed is high and more time if your intensity is lower/speed is slower).

-Do hill drills.  Find a pace that is comfortable and go back in forth between incline and no incline.  You can slow down your pace as needed when you do your inclines.

-Do a gradual uphill.  Start out by jogging and then gradually and slowly create a higher and higher incline.  Each time you incline you may need to reduce your speed.  By the end it may be a slow walk with a steep incline.

-Do speed drills.  Find a speed that is slower than your average running pace and start there.  Then kick it up to a speed that is higher than your running pace.  Go back and forth between the two as it feels right–this is called fartlek training or speed-play.  When using fartlek drills you do not have to think about time/duration of the drills.  You can also do speed drills using pre-selected time intervals.  This is called traditional interval training.

**Remember: If you are a runner, it is crucial to continue to cross train (do other forms of cardio) and strength train.  Cross training and strength training will prepare muscles to enable you to run more efficiently and prevent muscle imbalances.**

Happy Treadmilling!

Kettlebell – 30 minutes

4 Aug

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Vamping back up into my pre-pregnancy KB routines.  My son is almost 9 months now. My body is not as lean as it was pre-pregnancy and therefore I am still a few sizes larger.  However I feel good and strong and I am focused on re-gaining muscle.  It truly is a challenge to attain ones fitness level postpartum.  I now understand this more than ever and I want to tell the moms out there I understand and it is completely normal.  Instead of being frustrated about it, remember that although you may have some extra pounds now, you also have an amazing little human.  Love the body that gave you this gift and that will lead you the right direction.

To those who wish to improve their fitness level this message applies to you as well.  Perhaps you are just setting out on your road to fitness, or maybe you are post-surgery or injury, or maybe you are trying to re-gain the health and fitness you once had–STAY FOCUSED and BE PATIENT.  Your goal is a great one and it will be reached in time.  There are no quick fixes, only lifestyle changes over time that will lead you there.

Best,

Shana

Postpartum Workout – Kickboxing – 35 minutes

22 Jul

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Over the past year my entire life has changed.  Almost one year ago I moved from New York City to Kansas City.  I left my job, my friends, and my home of 16 years.  Soon after I moved, I gave birth to my son.  He is 8 months old now and he is truly amazing.

I left an entire identity in New York. My new identity is still evolving as I have yet to find my place is in this new world of mine.   Yes, clearly I’m a mom.  That is most important.  So finding the ‘me’ somewhere in that mom-hood is taking some time.  This includes finding outlets for me to focus on my personal passions that will, in turn, make me a better mom.    One of my passions is working out-pushing things, pulling things, and swinging things.  So I continue to make every effort to take anywhere from 20- 40 minutes on most days of the week to get my workouts in.  It clears my mind and hopefully this clarity will enable me to find…well…me!

I encourage you to find what it is that makes you feel great.  Make time to do it, even if it is a few minutes per day.  It makes a world of difference.  I’ll be here to support you!

Postpartum Workout – Med Ball – 20 Min

18 Dec

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Maintaining a workout routine during pregnancy did allow me to stay physically fit and it enabled me to recover from pregnancy quicker.  Pregnancy changed my body in so many ways.  First, it changed my center of gravity, so my muscles and movements altered to accomodate my pregnancy center of balance.  Because of this, I find myself getting off balance during my current workouts.  It will take some time to get use to my new center of gravity and find my balance again.  Additionally, my legs and glutes became stronger during pregnancy due to carrying the extra weight and working out with that extra weight.  I am finding it hard to maintain that leg strength now after pregnancy as I am not carrying that weight around with me at all times! Also, my already ‘hour glass’ shape became even more, well, accentuated!  My core muscles can no longer been seen nor found.  Because of this, I have to be careful when doing movements that require core strength.  As my core gets stronger, I will be able to increase the weights/resistance I use and ease into doing my core-dominated exercises that I was doing pre-pregnancy.

As I mentioned in a prior post, I have decreased my workout intensity postpartum in order to slowly, safely, and carefully become physically fit again.  You will notice as time goes by that the intensity of my workouts will increase. In the meantime, here is a lower intensity medicine ball workout routine.  Please pardon the appearance of my workout space.  It is a total mess due to the work we are currently doing on our home.

It is important to follow your doctor’s orders about when and how you can begin your fitness routine postpartum.  Your body requires time to heal and beginning a workout routine too early can hinder that and cause larger problems.

Postpartum Workouts

11 Dec

11/12/12Sweetest faceI am back!  As you know, I worked out throughout my entire pregnancy.  I had such an easy pregnancy and I felt great the entire time.  I hoped that keeping fit through my pregnancy would make for an easier labor and delivery as well.  Unfortunately it did not.  This baby did not want to come out and play so I had to be induced at 42 weeks.  I was in labor for 24 hours.  I finally delivered a healthy and handsome baby boy and was beaming.  Some complications with me ensued next and I needed a bit more recovery time than I had expected.

What I have learned from it all is that working out through pregnancy does help to ease common pregnancy aches and pains.  However, it does not necesarrily make for an easy labor and delivery!  On the upside, staying fit through my pregnancy did enable me to recover more quickly and allowed me to ease back into a fitness routine postpartum.

I began with very slow walking, then about 2 weeks postpartum I was walking more briskly, then by 3 weeks I was doing light workouts intended to move my joints in their full range of motion again, then by 4 weeks I was using equipment again.  Now I am gradually increasing the resistance and the intensity of my workouts.  Most of my time is spent caring for my adorable son, so due to time constraints my workouts have generally been 20 minutes on most days.  Because workouts are shorter, I have to workout more frequently and I have to have very focused workouts in order to see results.

During pregnancy I gained about 32 pounds.  One week post partum I had dropped about 20 as most of the weight was ‘baby weight’ and water weight.  My plan is to slowly and healthfully lose the last 12 pounds over the next several months.  We will see how that goes!

Please come back to view my postpartum workout videos which should be up in the next few days!

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Finally some video clips for you!

7 Oct

So finally, here it is.  I apologize for the length of this video…fast forward through it and you’ll get the idea:)  I attempted to compile various workouts into one video and after I completed it I realized it was a bit lengthy.  Take from it what you may and I look forward to reconnecting with you!

Please note: The exercises seen here are specific to my fitness level, my doctor recommendations, and my pregnancy health.  It is not recommended to pursue a pregnancy fitness routine without approval from your physician.  Please be advised that there are general guidelines for all pregnant women to follow when considering a pregnancy fitness program (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pregnancy-and-exercise/PR00096).

Following guidelines and following what your doctor tells you are the first steps in determining your pregnancy fitness routine.  From there you have to listen to your body, watch your heart rate, and go for it!

When you are pregnant, your fitness goal is different than before.  Your goal is to maintain your health and wellness during pregnancy in order to minimize discomforts related to pregnancy, to prepare your body for labor, and most importantly to have a healthy baby.

A few things I have learned along the way:

you can not predict how you will feel during your planned workout, so go with the flow and alter it as needed

your heart rate will be more elevated, so you will have to decrease intensity of your workouts and increase rest periods

It is important to decrease resistance (weight) and decrease duration of workouts to accommodate the energy that is already being expended by all that is already happening in your body

you must must hydrate before, during and after

you must change your stance and body movements to accommodate for your changing body

you will be off balance, therefore a wider stance is necessary

never push it.  your body is already working overtime to create life

If your too tired, just rest and drop the workout

A brisk 20 minute walk as a workout does great things

I am here, I am pregnant, and I am still going at it…

1 Oct

I am still here and I am still working out!  The last post I made was in March and I was in my first trimester of pregnancy then.  Now I am in my 3rd trimester and I am still at it.  I intended to do some blogging of my experiences with working out throughout my pregnancy, however life got in the way.

Not only have I been growing this little person inside of me, I have also moved.  Packing up to move across the country while working full-time and pregnant has been quite feat.  But, I have finally moved and am beginning to settle in my new home.  I am happy to be back to some sort of normal routine.

I have learned so much about what the body is capable of during my pregnancy.  Pregnancy is amazing.  Each woman experiences pregnancy differently and must follow what their body and their doctor is telling them.  There is no one correct pregnancy fitness routine.  For this reason, I had not been recording my routines throughout my pregnancy as my fitness routine is personalized to my fitness level, health, body changes, doctor advice, and how I am feeling as I go.  I have decided to begin recording some of pregnancy workouts and share some of my experiences in hopes to re-connect with you and possibly to motivate. These videos will be posted soon!

Are you a runner?

11 Jan

Nope, not really!  I don’t really know what categorizes someone as a ‘runner’ but I would not place myself in that category. To me a runner  is someone whose main fitness routine is running or doing sport specific training to enhance their running.  Often ‘runners’ are training for marathons and running in marathons.  I like and sometimes love running, but I do not consider it a huge part of my fitness routines.

Are you an athlete? No, not really.  To me an athlete has a specific sport that they compete in or play on a regular basis.  An athlete does sport specific training to enhance their skills in their sport.  Unfortunately, I never got into playing any specific organized team sport as I could never remember nor follow the rules:)

Are you a Girya lifter (competitor in Kettlebell/Girevoy Sport)? Nope, I am not quite that either!  In the past I did train to compete in Girevoy Sport lifting, but not anymore.  Now I prefer to integrate Girevoy sport lifting into my workout routines.

Martial Artist? Although I have trained with martial artists and I have studied various martial arts, I am not quite that either.  I would LOVE to get back into it on a competitive level though.  But I may be past my prime:)

So what am I? A cross-trainer.  I cross train for the purpose of lifelong health and well-being.  I train an average of 4-5 times a week anywhere from 20-50 minutes.  What do I do?  I use various equipment, body weight, or obstacles to push, to pull and to swing! I monitor my heart rate for all activities to ensure that I make good use of my training time.  Generally I keep my heart rate between 65-85% of my heart rate max.  Because I work out at a higher intensity I can keep my workouts under 50 minutes. If I am working out at a lower intensity, I will workout for a longer amount of time and if I am working out at a higher intensity, I will workout for a shorter amount of time.

So there you have it.  My goal is simple: to train for lifelong health and wellness.  My method is to push, to pull and to swing! So whatever it is that you are, whatever it is that you train in, whatever your goal is–just get out there and do it!

Cold Weather Running

31 Dec

I love it–most of the time.  And I am sure many of you runners out there do also.  The key, for me at least, was finding the right clothing.  Once I had clothing that, although not so attractive, kept my body heat in and the sweat off of me I was able to truly enjoy cold weather running.  I definitely have days when I look outside into the freezing cold and I have to convince myself that I gotta do it.  Often this includes talking aloud to myself, “it’s no big deal, it’s just 30something degrees…there are people who run marathons in colder weather”.  I usually put the running gear on before I am even committed to going for the run.  Then once the gear is on, I figure I may as well warm up. Then, before I know it I am running. Often (not always), once I am running I feel great.

I am visiting family in Canada and my winter running experience here is a quite different from what I am accustomed to–different weather conditions, unfamiliar route, no music because I forgot my iPod, etc– so it has been hard for me to get into the runs in the beginning but after about a mile, I have been able to get into the rhythm of it.

Overall, my cold weather runs this winter have been pretty successful.  I know that not all of them will be that way, but for now, I say don’t let the cold weather deter you from your outdoor runs or workouts.  Just put your gear on and go for it.