Friday, November 22, 2013

'Twas the Night Before Competition...

So, it would be super cute if I created some rhyming poem that mimics the Christmas poem, but a blog post title is the best I'm doing.

This is what I do the night before a competition:

Try desperately hard NOT to think about the competition.
Foam Roll.
Wonder if I'm, in fact, ready for this competition.
Try desperately hard NOT to think about the competition.
Stand in my cool pool to (hopefully) promote healing in my tight quad/tendon.
Try not to stuff my face because of nervous energy.
Try desperately hard NOT to think about the competition.
Troll Facebook looking for words/posts of inspiration from friends and various fitness pages.
Watch this week's episode of Survivor.
Write a somewhat non-sensical blog post about the competition that I'm trying not to think about.
Try to figure out the best dinner to eat for optimal performance.
Wonder if I should've planned dinner a little earlier than 30 minutes before dinner time.
Try HARD not to think about the competition.
Eat a moderately carbed dinner packed with veggies and protein.
Foam roll.
Frozen lacrosse ball roll.
Chill on the couch in front of the t.v.
Take some Advil pm.
Try desperately hard not to THINK about the competition as I'm praying myself to sleep.

Beast Mode Battle Competition recap coming soon!
So, I'm doing a CrossFit competition, not a race, but I love this quote.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

For the Beginner

“Though no one can go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand-new ending.” ― Carl Bard

I've had people say to me that they want to do this or that, but they just don't know where to start. So, this blog is for you, Newbie to physical fitness. If your only experience in working out has been in high school gym class, this post is for you. Just know, I celebrate you! Don't get frustrated and never give up on yourself. You are beginning a journey that will change you not just physically, but mentally as well.

I'm listing some of my favorite exercises that require little to no equipment. Youtube is a great resource; there you will find demos of all of these exercises. Always use good form. If possible, hire a good personal trainer who will teach you proper form and technique. And most importantly, see your doctor for a physical first to be sure you are healthy enough to start a fitness program.

Exercises for legs
Body weight squats-- sit back and keep your weight in your heels as you squat and go LOW
Lunges-- always make sure your knee doesn't go past your toe as you lunge
Step ups-- use a chair and, well, step up
Stairs-- you guessed it, up and down
Straight leg dead lifts--  booty out, bend at waist and feel the stretch

Exercises for back
Pull ups-- you can get a bar that hooks onto a door frame for @ 20 bucks. Give yourself a boost by hopping off the floor.
One arm row-- right hand, right knee on a chair, bench or couch, bend at waist and pull dumbbell off the floor with left hand (motion is similar to pull starting a lawn mower)
Super man-- lying face down on floor, arms stretched overhead, raise arms and legs off the floor and hold

Exercises for chest
Push ups-- hands should be directly under your shoulders; keep your booty down and back flat
Diamond push ups-- forefingers and thumbs touch on the floor, forming a diamond shape
Moving push ups-- do a pushup, then "side-step" with your right hand and foot, do an equal number to the right and left

Exercises for shoulders
Shoulder presses-- hold a dumbbell in each hand and press them from your shoulders straight up to overhead
Dumbbell shoulder flys-- arms straight, lift them out to the side and up to shoulder height

Exercises for core
Sit ups-- be sure to use your abs to pull your upper body off the ground. Don't strain with your neck.
Crunches-- a half sit up
4 count flutter kicks-- lie on your back, heels six inches off the floor, legs straight, flutter your feet
Windshield wipers-- same starting position as above, but feet stay together and "wipe" from side to side; heels never touch the ground.
Rocket ups-- same starting position as above,  legs straight out, and then brought to a 90 degree angle, heels then push straight up to the sky
Planks-- body in  the push up position, but with forearms on the ground. Hold.
Side planks-- push up starting position, but rotate to one side so that 1 arm is holding your body weight

Exercises for arms
Biceps curls-- dumbbell in each hand, palms facing forward and curl the weight up
Hammer curls-- hold dumbbells at sides, palms facing in and curl the weight straight up
Concentration curls-- while seated, prop right elbow against right knee and curl
Triceps extension-- holding a weight in both hands overhead, bend elbows to lower weight behind head, keeping elbows close to your ears
Triceps kickbacks-- youtube this one-- correct form is important and hard to explain

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Help! I'm Traveling-- How do I Eat Clean and Train Hard?

I don't do much traveling. I enjoy traveling sometimes, but I really enjoy being at home-- having my routine, planning workouts and meals for the week on Sundays. I travel for work only about once a year and go on a few short vacations. So, mostly travel doesn't affect my training. However, I just returned from a four day trip last week, and it really made me consider the challenge it brings to healthy eating and training. So, here's my advice for staying focused while traveling:

  1. Have a plan. Look, you're traveling-- you plan everything else about the trip. Why not plan your eating and exercise? If this is a vacation, it's ok NOT to workout. This summer, while on vacation, I took the entire week off (click here for that post). 
Actually, that's it. Everything that I was going to say falls under "Have a plan." Before you go:
  • Check out the hotel gym or gyms nearby. Check out local parks or map out areas where you can run safely. If you're not familiar with the area, call a local running store to ask about group runs or use social media (facebook groups or forums on to inquire about safe running routes. **NEVER give out specific information on where and when you will be outside alone!** 
  • Pack your gym! If your time or resources mentioned above are limited, pack your workout DVDs. Buy and pack exercise bands-- they can provide some great resistance for training. 
  • Pack your pantry! I took my carry on backpack full of food. Really. I embarrassed myself on this one. I had oatmeal packs, protein powder, a few apples, little packets of Justin's Almond butter, dried green beans, protein bars, almonds, beef jerky, green tea, and stevia packets. A little overkill, but on this trip, someone else planned the itinerary and the transportation. I had no idea ahead of time what and when meals would be. I could have survived the trip if they had locked me in a hotel room with my backpack. 
  • Use your time wisely. On the travel days, I planned workouts at home before and after leaving for the airport. For this trip, mandatory breakfast was at 7am. We were to arrive back at the hotel at 5pm, and depart for dinner at 6:30. I knew that if we were running late at all, a pre-dinner workout would be really short, so I made sure I was up early to run the first day and lift the second day day. As it turns out, all went as planned the first day, so while most of my traveling companions retired to their rooms for a nap or t.v. before dinner, I headed to the hotel gym for a lift. On the second day, we were running behind schedule, but once again instead of sitting in my room and reading, watching t.v. or napping, I hit the gym for some cardio. 
Traveling does not mean that you have to throw your healthy lifestyle out the window. It doesn't mean that you have to be perfect, either. Allow yourself a "cheat meal" or two, but balance that with continuing to train hard. Or take a few rest days, but balance that with clean eating. If you "have your cake and eat it too" you risk a slide back into unhealthy lifestyle patterns, and it's much harder to get yourself back on track.

How about you? What works for you when traveling?