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Week 4 – Plan for Chaos

This week has been different. My work schedule has changed a bit, Blair and I have been super adventurous in the snow causing my activity levels to be up in the beginning of the week. Then activity levels took a plummet as the highways got real shitty and I’ve been forced to stay in a hotel for 2 days. I’ll talk about how I adjusted to all this.

Intensity: This week workouts are the same as last week but due to the added activity earlier in the week, I have been pushing and finding my workouts harder while doing them. Surprisingly though, I have been less sore about a 4/10 this week. Couple reasons why this may be. 

1- My muscles are adapting to the workouts. Muscles become familiar with certain movements (muscle memory) and this is why progressive overload is so important. It is also important to switch up your workouts from time to time, introducing new exercises to target different areas of the muscle. I prefer to switch my workouts up every 6 weeks with an increase in overall intensity (reps, weights, tempo etc) every 2 weeks.

2- Ive been stretching gooooood. After every exercise whether it be a run, hike, or workout I’ve been stretching! Stretching brings the blood flow back to those muscles which were deprived of the oxygen during exercise. This can help with lactic acid build up causing those sore muscles.

Having noted all this extra activity at the beginning of the week I made sure to plan for some adequate rest for my body and will talk more about my strategic planning for this chaotic week.

Motivation: The previous three weeks I didn’t lack any motivation and was excited to work out. This week I hit a motivation roadblock – hotel room. When I have to stay in a hotel after my night shifts the last thing I want to do is workout… I just want to sleep, eat, watch TV repeat, especially when it’s a full moon and my shift is off the freakin rails lol. I allowed myself a really good rest-day on day one of my stay in the hotel but I knew I would benefit from moving my body during day two of my stay. Benefits of movement are both mental and physical and I’m more than aware of this. This lack of motivation with a roadblock is the big lesson this week.

Getting my workout in the hotel

Lessons: Life happens, weather happens, appointments pop up, things unexpectedly change ALL the time. If you always threw your fitness goals or workout program to the side anytime anything changed, you will never achieve consistency which is the name of the game in a healthy lifestyle.

So you’re going to have to push yourself sometimes. Just remember something is better than nothing at all. Five minutes even, is better than nothing! You might have a shitty workout but you did it, that’s self integrity, keeping promises to yourself or keeping yourself accountable. Sometimes it will take every ounce of energy to get your ass off the couch but sometimes these moments turn into the best workouts and an amazing energy shift, it happens to me, not every time, but occasionally. Regardless if the workout was amazing or not so much, I’m ALWAYS proud I did it. Bottom line is you will NEVER regret a workout, only the ones you failed to do.

I talk a lot about planning and I think this is also a really important concept. When I sat down last weekend to plan my week I knew I signed up for four nights in a row rather than two. I always have it in the back of my head the possibility of the roads being shitty and me having to stay. So I’m glad I took the time to plan for all this. This is how I organized my week:

  1. Recognized my schedule for the week
  2. Pencilled in my workouts and cardio on my days off
  3. Pencilled in the workouts I’ll have to do on work days and when I could get them done 
  4. Pulled out my body weight workout to have on hand in case I had to get er done in the hotel
  5. Meal prepped healthy food and snacks to bring to work

Overall planning really helps with consistency and will get you that much closer to achieving your goals and living a healthy life. But like I said before life happens, and shit happens. So when plans don’t work out, find a way to stay consistent. It may even help to identify possible roadblocks or barriers to achieving the success you desire and prepare for chaos in advance.

Here are some great questions to ask yourself:

What are my motivation roadblocks? 

What things in the past have come up and stopped me from getting my workout in? 

If said roadblock or barrier pops up what is plan B?

Who can I reach out to as an accountability partner?

In closing please remember when you put yourself and your health first and you’ll have so much more to give back:)

Have a great week everyone!

Frecklefit

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Train With Me

Week 3 – Pushing Through Walls

Another week in the books and I am feeling hella strong and learning a ton!

Motivation: This week I found that I used food a lot as motivation. I’ll admit this isn’t always the healthiest practice for some people. I find for me it makes me a little food obsessed. Because I am aware of how it effects me mentally, I can work on shifting to tap into a new type of motivation for next week. Now on the flip side it can be used as a great tool as well (when it doesn’t become obsessive). The way you use it as a tool is:

1-Thinking of food as fuel

When I’m deciding between eating a snack or working out I picture what that snack will do for me AFTER the workout. A snack consisting of protein and a complex carb after a workout will refuel my tank. It will help my muscles recover by getting the protein there to repair the work that I have done (this is the process of building muscle). A snack post workout is very positive, in fact it is important to eat within 30 minutes of any resistance training session.

2-Picturing how you can enjoy your meals the most

The second way I use food as motivation is picturing how much better a snack would taste after having earned it with a great workout. How much mentally better I would feel eating after my workout, rather than not exercising at all (which in itself is a mood booster). So you decide whether you can use food as a motivational tool without letting it consume your thoughts to an obsessive amount.

Intensity: So this week I moved into my 3rd microcycle which means it was time to increase the intensity of my workouts. Without having extra weights at home and with primarily training for muscular endurance, this means adding extra reps to my exercises. Now I didn’t go too overboard again progressing at a slow pace is important to give yourself room to progress and to prevent injuries. So for increased intensity I increased my reps for almost every exercise by 2 reps only. Now this doesn’t seem like a lot but I definitely felt it! You would be surprised how much adding little increases, weight, reps can do. My overall soreness level was actually at a 7 this week and it was the perfect kind of sore:)

Lessons: This week my biggest lesson was during a cardio session. I started out my run at a pretty good pace and half way through the run was feeling fatigued. These are the times where it’s important to use self talk. Do NOT judge yourself for self talk in fact I encourage you all to do it and do it right. The way that we talk to ourselves has a MASSIVE impact on achieving goals, becoming successful, how we treat others, how we treat ourselves and our confidence.

So when I started to feel fatigued I recognized that idea was going through my mind and I started to switch it. I started thinking to myself that I have pushed through fatigue before and have been successful. I started imagining myself actually in the triathlon and what I would do on race day, how I would push through. I focused on my running form to give me more power (balls of the feet, knees turned more out than in, squeeze the core, BREATH, utilize the arms and keep them straight).

It’s usually in these moments when you feel yourself pushing through that wall, that you get that “runners high” and this happened for me. I kept trekking at a good pace and kept calling myself “a well oiled machine” in my head lol Don’t judge me, try it for yourself! There is nothing better than a runners high, than a hit of dopamine, it is an amazing feeling. I finished this 5 km run in about 30 minutes which I am extremely happy with at this stage in the game.

I will break down how to push through these walls into workable steps:

  1. Recognize when the self talk becomes negative
  2. Change the thought into a positive one
  3. Imagine how it would feel to break through the wall
  4. Focus on form
  5. Repeat a self affirmation ex: “I am a tank” “I got this shit” “I am an athlete” “Hard as fuck”

Most importantly celebrate the success when you’ve pushed through. Soak in the pride, write down your new record or number, journal the experience, tell a friend or trainer who would be so proud. You are worth celebrating!

Another lesson I learned just in the last couple days here is the importance of creating alternatives rather than making excuses. Life happens, injuries happen, snow happens, gyms close, things sometimes don’t go according to your plan. Rather than making excuses as to why you can’t do your workout, do your daily yoga or movement, or whatever it is you set out to do, create an alternative.

Carving my own trail

My alternative this week was to do a power snow shoe cardio session as the roads were too snowy and unsafe for my cardio session. Although I didn’t get my heart rate up as much as I would running, I went hard and I got er done! That is what it’s all about!

Overall it’s been a very good week of training. By sticking with my plan, pushing through mental challenges, recognizing when my thoughts aren’t serving me, and taking action everyday, I am well on my way to achieving my fitness goal.

What do you do when your mental talk goes south? How do you talk to yourself on a daily basis? How do you push through your walls? What kinds of tools can you use as motivation?

I would love to hear your thoughts on these subjects, feel free to reach out by commenting on the blog or private message me on my instagram @frecklefithealth

Have a great week everybody!

Frecklefit

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Week 2 – Overcoming Injury

I’ve been itching to write this blog for a few days now! This is telling me that I am finding more of what I love to do and evolving this side hustle. Something I’ve learned about choosing a career, a side hustle, a new project, a new challenge, is that you gotta love the process MORE than you think you’re going to love the end result. Anyways…

Motivation: This week again I am feeling highly motivated. I am still in the beginning of this journey and like I said last week motivation in the beginning is easy and exciting because its fresh and new! (for me anyway)

Intensity: This week oddly enough with the workouts being the same as week 1, I felt them a bit more challenging. Maybe I pushed a bit harder this week to get those muscles firing, my overall muscle soreness for this week would be about a 5/10.

Lessons: Last week I talked about how it’s important not to push yourself right off the bat as this can result in an injury. Well it just so happens I almost suffered an injury this week! About 12 hours after one of my upper body workouts I couldn’t lift my right shoulder over my head it was SO sore. I thought I pulled something but turns out it was just extremely sore. So what did I learn from this?

First off as SOON as I started to feel this soreness come on I braced my arm in a comfortable position and limited use of that arm (this made ADLs (activities of daily living) a little challenging for a few days. Things such as shampooing my hair and putting dishes away was a little challenging but it’s not necessarily a bad thing to challenge your weak side every now and then. Along with rest, I iced it right away and rubbed some CBD muscle rub cream on it. I continued with the CBD and rest for a couple days and I am now fully recovered.

What I learned was to listen to my body. This is something I stress often. Aches and pains in the body are SIGNALS telling you something or a combination of things including:

  1. I am not okay with this motion
  2. I lack mobility to be able to perform this exercise
  3. That particular muscle is weak
  4. That particular muscle is tight
  5. I need to rest (how many of you have had an overuse injury?)

It’s also important to decipher muscle soreness and actual pain. The Best thing you can do if a soreness or pain pops up is to STOP and REST. Ice is a great tool as well. Once you’ve given that pain some time to settle then you’ll be able to decide the severity and adapt your exercises to either avoid the motion that caused the pain OR work on strengthening your weaknesses (working with a trainer is hugely beneficial).

The plan I had in place for my workouts this week were to avoid having to workout on the days I had to work night shift because I am often way too tired and do a TON of sleeping on these days. Here are some things to consider when planning your workouts for the week:

  1. Your work schedule
  2. Your habits and behaviours
  3. When you enjoy workout the most (morning vs.evening)
  4. Life and social events
  5. What has worked well in the past
  6. Giving the muscles worked 48 hours to recover (can workout other muscles the following day, this is why splitting lower and upper body workouts can allow for more training days in the week)

Why the heck ain’t I running my heart out?

Embracing them home workouts

Another thing I wanted to talk about in my blog today is the fact that I’m only doing TWO cardio days per week while training for a triathlon. Many of you probably think that if you’re doing a triathlon should you not be running, biking, and swimming all the time?

When your training for anything whether it be a marathon, a fitness competition, a CrossFit meet, or just training to meet a long time fitness goal of yours, you have to realize the impact of training on the body.

For the past three years I’ve been training my physique and body building for the sole purpose of building muscle. The techniques that I need to use to switch to an endurance and cardio heavy goal are going to be WAY different. When building muscle you want to focus on strength and power and heavy weights and lots of protein and carbs to refuel the muscles. For a triathlon after doing my research of course I need to work more on my muscular endurance (although I have learned that you do need an element of strength and power as well).

So before I start running 5 miles a day and going for long bike rides I need to get my muscle and joints ready for this feat. What I have planned for my training is to really focus on my muscle endurance for a good three to four months and introducing more and more cardio as the weeks role by and my muscles are ready for it. I am fortunate enough to have a good running and cardio background so I am not overly worried about getting this back quickly but am more concerned about over doing it when maybe my knees or ankles aren’t ready yet.

“Muscle pays for the party” – Jen Widerstrom

With every fitness goal there should always be a resistance training plan in place. Resistance training is how we build and maintain our muscle. Here are three really good reasons why having muscle is important:

  1. Muscle improves metabolism
  2. Muscle helps with weight control more specifically controls the amount of visceral fat we have (fat that surrounds our organs)
  3. Muscle helps prevent injuries especially to our joints (cushions our joints)

Overall it’s been a great week, despite the little shoulder set back. I am really enjoying the program I have made and excited to continue on this journey!

How have you all been doing with your goals? Can you name me a small win you had last week? How do you deal with setbacks?

Feel free to reach out for support or questions. I love this shit and am so very happy to help:)

Frecklefit

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Train With Me

Train With Me!

I truly believe that everyone has an athlete inside of them. It’s a matter of finding out 1 – What exercise you love, 2 – Your commitment to moving your body for health purposes 3 – Your mindset and BELIEF that you ARE an athlete, no matter what form of exercise you do.

I’d like to invite you all to follow along my training journey no matter what training you are doing yourself. In the end the main goal for performing any exercise or training is to keep ourselves healthy and happy.

Week 1:

Motivation: I felt very motivated like most do when they start out a new year, a new goal, or program, I find in the beginning it’s easy to take action.

Intensity: This week felt very easy and I found I had to constantly remind myself that if you come out of the gates sprinting and pushing yourself too hard this is where injuries take place. We also need room for progressive overload (to progress) so focus on good form in the beginning rather than more reps or weight. I followed my program with no add ons and much to my surprise I did feel quite sore at times due to introducing new unfamiliar exercises. I would rate overall muscle soreness this week 4/10.

Lessons: I felt this week was more about mental training and getting my mindset in a good place. I really had to practice self awareness with some of my old patterns and behaviours creeping in. After this week I feel like my next couple months are going to be all about mental training! But it’s all in the effort and practice to improve that headspace.

Stretching after a good run!

Something I listened to that really clicked on @beautyandthegeek podcast a couple weeks ago is that the reason why body building (which is what I’ve been practicing for the last 3 years) is so mentally tough is because you have to judge your progress based off of what you look like (your physique).

This has put in front of me many self realizations, self doubts, confidence struggles, poor eating behaviours etc. It really is much more of a mental game than it is about getting physically healthier. Kudos to all the amazing body builders and physique competitors out there, it really is a tough sport all around.

For this reason I am quite happy with my new goal of completing a triathlon. Because what I am going to be measuring now are times, kilometres, endurance, things that are OUTSIDE of what I have to judge in the mirror. I feel like this is really going to help with the mental struggles I have to constantly work on such as dysmorphia, food obsession, and imposter syndrome

Lifestyle hack: Set goals outside of weight, inches, and appearances. Focus on those measurable goals and track your progress by the improvements in your numbers! Examples: Set a time to beat for cardio, hit a really heavy lift tracking the weight on the bar, aim to hold a yoga pose for set amount of time or fine tune a pose, increase the amount of time you move your body in a day (set a goal number of steps to reach per day).

Another big lesson I learned this week is how to keep my mindset in check. This actually had nothing to do with my training but more about life in general. I have three mentors that are my go to for inspiration or new lessons on how to get my head straight. I follow @yourhealthyhedonista on instagram when I’m looking for grit, I’ve been practicing @wimhof method for breathing and cold exposure to help with my training, and I also turn to @drjoedispenza and read his books and use his research as guidance to help me continue to rewire my brain.

It is important to have mentors or follow people who help motivate and push you to follow your goals, dreams, and passions. I’ve been stuck in a couple mental ruts this week and learned, when in doubt look beyond your chaotic thoughts and outsource some information or help to get your head on straight, clear, and re find the joy!

Another point I wanted to talk about this week is the importance of having a plan, a program, and a goal. When you have a set program in front of you it really takes the brain work out of things. It can help with motivation because sometimes half the battle is deciding what exercise or workout you want to do, sometimes to the point where you just don’t do anything at all. When you have laid out in front of you exactly what you’re going to do then all you have to do is take action!

Lifestyle hack: Every Sunday take an hour to plan out your week. What days are you going to workout? What days are cardio only? What specific workouts are you going to do? Throughout the week TAKE ACTION. You have the plan now stick to it.

Overall I am happy with what I accomplished this week. I hope you guys follow along with my weekly blogs. Together we can crush our goals, talk about our setbacks, and grow as healthy and happy people!

Frecklefit