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The Exercise Rush (16)

Intensity: This week I’m going to rate my overall workout and cardio intensity an 8/10.

Motivation: I felt highly motivated this week to get my workouts done all in a row so I could rest more towards the end of the week. Don’t ask me why because I’ve never felt that way before. Usually I strategically plan my cardio and workouts to make sure I maintain energy and power throughout the week, but this week I almost left myself needing or wanting more at the end of the week.

Our motivations for things, ideals for habits, and willpower sometimes shifts and changes over time. I’ve always condoned a good ole trusty routine but the more my life has shifted and changed over time the more I have realized that sometimes strict routine is just not super realistic.

The being said one of my favourite routines is sitting down before the start of a new week and planning how you want to tackle the week ahead. Sometimes it’s different then the week before, it’s not always the same old thing, and that’s okay.

Listen to your intuition and do what is best for YOU and your lifestyle, your family and social life. It is possible to balance it all and lead a healthy life.

After that rabbit hole I will rate this week a 9/10 for motivation! Go me!

Lessons: This week I have learned that my fitness goals might be worth looking into and reconsidering. With my new work as a coach at a CrossFit gym, I am feeling super excited and inspired to maybe get back into it…

I lifted heavy for the first time in a LONG time and damnnnn did it feel good. The feeling of power, confidence, and strength that it gave me… it’s hard to describe but it’s something I feel like we all seek in a workout regime.

After having this feeling I went back and read the “why” that I wrote down a few years ago. “My Why”, is the reason why I take care of myself or do the things that I do to stay healthy and here was mine:

“Because I used to do a lot of things I didn’t want tot do, just to please other people. This made me feel weak, undignified, and ashamed. Once I changed my mindset and stopped looking for acceptance, my life changed. I started focusing on who I truly am and gained this amazing feeling of strength and confidence that I never want to lose.”

THIS is what lifting heavy made me feel like last week, I’ve come back to “my why”.

Think about all the times you have felt a huge rush of dopamine while exercising. Think of those moments you felt totally in control, powerful, confident, content. Was it when you were running? Was it during a Yin yoga session? Was it when you were pounding out laps in the local pool? Or was it when you hit your 1 rep max during a heavy squat?

We’ve all had this rush while exercising at some point or another. We all experience it through different exercise domains.

What totally lights your fire and gets you excited to exercise? It’s important to not focus on what somebody is saying is the best way to exercise and to focus on what gets you going!! What gets you pumped up! What gets you inspired and excited?

This is what exercise is all about, creating these amazing rushes and feelings of confidence, happiness, joy, and love of life. Exercise is ultimately there to help us feel good about ourselves and about life. An added bonus is that it keeps us healthy as well!

So think back to those times that you have been mid run/workout/swim/bike/hike whatever it might be for you, and get back into it and see how it makes you feel.

If it doesn’t feel right, try something new, mix it up. Find and do the things that make you feel your best and when that doesn’t work, try something else.

Don’t give up on exercise because it will be your best friend as you grow, age, and carry out your path in life.

At the end of the day “movement is medicine!”

Frecklefit

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What is Training? (15)

Intensity: I’ve been going very hard lately and I’m not stopping! Three weeks in a row with an intensity of 9/10. How I usually rate my weekly intensity is based on 3 questions:

  1. Did I get all my workouts in and complete them to the fullest?
  2. How hard each individual workout or cardio session was and get a average number on that.
  3. How sore I have felt over the past week and how I’m able to manage and continue my other projected workouts with the stiff and tight muscles I may be feeling.

I have yet to give myself a 10/10 for intensity and I think that is just because there is always 1 or 2 sessions, whether it be my workout or my cardio sessions, that didn’t feel 10/10 intense. Realistically if I were to rate a 10/10 week in the middle of my program then that would be a fault in my programming as the last two weeks should be the hardest and most intense! I will just be starting week 4 of 6 so it’ssss comingggg.

Motivation: This week I had to plan more around my work schedule then I normally do. I realized that the only way I was going to stay committed to my program was to have some early morning cardio sessions before work.

I haven’t had to do this in a while and needless to say I was not jumping out of bed and springing out the door and going for it. It definitely took me time to wake up and get a good pace going.

Of course thoughts of shutting my alarm off and turning over back to sleep crossed my mind as well. I find the key for when this happens is to NOT LINGER in the thought and GET UP before the thought really soaks in lol.

My motivation overall this week I would rate 6/10.

Lessons: The reason I have this lesson category in my weekly blogs is because I find that you learn so much when you train. You learn about yourself, how to push yourself, what works for you and what doesn’t.

I find you learn how to get through hurdles not only through exercise and taking care of your body but in life as well. Training can help clear your mind, it can help you process, it can make you burst into tears, and it can make you smile uncontrollable (especially when you crush a goal or milestone).

I try my best to spread the message that training can look like many different things for many different people. Maybe the word “training” is a little intimidating, but to me there is no difference in “training for a triathlon” or “training to improve your blood pressure”.

Training for me is having a goal in mind and implementing the small steps to reach that goal consistently.”

I’m hoping we will eventually see a world where people will realize the importance of training and exercising and working towards a healthier version of ourselves. That’s really what it’s all about, improving our health so that simultaneously our wellness will improve, our quality of life will improve, and our happiness and joy will improve.

We know now that training (or exercising) is the way to true happiness because in order to be internally happy, we need to put the work in to take care of ourselves inside and out.

A lot of you who know me know my obsession with the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. In Napolean’s book he defines “ill health” as 5 different things:

a. Overeating of foods not conducive to health

b.Wrong habits of thought; giving expression to the negative

c.Wrong use of, and over-indulgence in sex

d.Lack of proper physical exercise

e. An inadequate supply of fresh air, due to improper breathing

Since this books publication in the 1930s, low and behold these five things have been researched and are proven to be in fact the very things that need to be addressed to be a generally healthy human being.

So whether you want to call it exercise, intentional movement, or come to terms with yourself as a true athlete (we all are in some way) and call it training, realize the importance that it has in your life, and don’t give up!

xoxoxo

Frecklefit

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Perform Cardio Safely (14)

Intensity: I bought my bike!!! Seeing this coming, I knew it only meant one thing… a very intense week. I broke in my bike and did my three bike rides this week, along with my three runs, along with my four workouts… This weeks intensity was 9/10 for the second week in a row and I’m loving it.

Motivation: Obviously with the purchase of my new bike my motivation has been high. I’ve still felt really motivated to run and workout too which is great. That being said my motivation isn’t always this high as evidence by my weekly fluctuations in motivation. I am taking this great motivation and literally running with it. I have been a little nervous with how my body is going to respond to the added exercise, which brings me to my lesson for the week.

Lessons: Coming from a very minimal cardio background, I have been working my way slowly up to this point of endurance. The biggest take away when you are adding in different forms of exercise is, ease yourself in. This is ultimately going to prevent injuries from occurring.

Here is an example of how I progressed my cardio over the last 3 months:

1 – long walks or hikes 5x/week, resistance training

2 – 2-3km runs 3x/week, plus resistance training

3 – 3-5km runs 3x/week, plus resistance training

4 – 4-5km runs 4x/week, plus resistance training

5 – 5-7km runs 4x/week, plus resistance training

6 – 5-7km runs 3x/week, 7-9km bike rides 3x/week, plus resistance training

The biggest takeaway here and what a lot of people don’t realize when doing a lot of cardio is how important resistance training is. I know for endurance athletes it seems very daunting because now you have all these extra workouts or exercising you need to do, but it is well worth it (and doesn’t have to be dreadful either).

Here are the two main reasons why you need resistance training alongside cardio:

  1. When you are performing cardio (running in particular) you are putting a ton of strain on your joints. This is caused by the impact or hard surface on the ground accompanied by the repetitive motion of running, biking, or any endurance machine. For swimmers it is strictly the repetitive motion that can cause strain. Machines and biking also ease the impact that cardio has but can be hard on certain joints as well.

How you protect your joints from this impact is by building up and strengthening the connective tissue that support your joints including muscles, tendons, ligaments, and surrounding fascia. You build and strengthen connective tissue through resistance training. Connective tissue gives your joints the support it needs and kind of acts as a protective cushion against injuries.

With all this being said, a little resistance training can go along way. You don’t need to workout 5 days a week and lift really heavy and have super intense training sessions if it’s not something you enjoy. Three short resistance training sessions a week including balance and/or a couple bands or light equipment could do the trick.

2) Another reason to resistance train alongside cardio is to build and/or maintain muscle. If you are only ever doing cardio, you could be very well losing muscle simultaneously. Muscle is needed to keep unwanted fat off your body and your organs, it is needed to prevent injury, it improves balance and coordination, muscle also keeps your internal organs healthy.

No matter how much cardio you do, it is a good idea to keep your joints healthy not only to prevent injury, but to prevent aches and pains and improve overall quality of life as well!

There are so many places nowadays where you can get resistance training programs or workouts, online, apps, fitness centres, coaches. Just make sure that the training is aligned with your goals and that the workouts are safe for you. Hiring a fitness coach is your best bet in ensuring all these things:)

For personalized programs that fit your health and fitness goals e-mail frecklefithealth@gmail.com for more details!

Frecklefit

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Progressive Overload (13)

Let the outdoor workouts commence!!

Intensity: Started phase 3 of my 5 phase triathlon training this week!! Each phase is 6 weeks long. Starting any new training phase with new workouts and cardio regimes should be challenging and this week definitely was! Felt sooo good to be sore! Intensity was probably a 9/10 this week.

Motivation: I felt very motivated this week as well, despite travelling the other half of the country. I knew the long drives would stiffen me up so movement would be key. Cardio has been much better and reached a record running distance for this training so far – 7.5km. Getting real excited to buy my bike next week and start adding in my bike training:) I’ve changed my workout sessions to only 4 times per week and loved all of them! Feeling a great balance of workout to cardio for this phase.

Lessons: Last couple weeks I talked a lot about not feeling very sore after my workouts. I have talked about the reasons why this may be so, such as muscle memory and adaptation, and higher rep ranges. It was so nice to feel sore muscles this week after switching things up so I wanted to talk more about progressive overload which is basically “switching things up” and is important in any exercise program.

Just think about a time you got back into an exercise regime after taking some time off, remember how you couldn’t walk for two days after? And as you continued on the soreness dwindled as your muscles start remembering the movements AND you started getting stronger and able to handle more! This is the idea progressive overload, of challenging yourself, and continuing to grow and get strong and healthy.

When designing any program for an individual there are key concepts of progressive overload that I follow:

  1. Start where you are at: if you are new to working out, have taken a lot of time off, or consider yourself a beginner, don’t come flying out of the gates with super intense workouts or long daunting cardio sessions. Little exercise goes a long way when it’s something new because you are firing new muscles and putting your body through the unfamiliar. Sometimes with motivation high, we go a little too hard right off the bat and this can lead to unwanted injury. We also need room to progress so this is the great thing about just starting out, there will be tons of room for growth!
  2. Progress your volume every two weeks: Every two weeks you want to bump up the volume of your workouts whether that be heavier weight, increased reps, or increased sets. Don’t get too crazy with it, again you want room to continuously progress.
  3. Introduce new exercises or programs every six weeks: If you’re a heavy lifter there is great evidence in the benefits of doing a deload week every 6 weeks. Whether you are lifting weights, yoga, dance, swimming etc. Change the movements or exercises you are performing in that sport and challenge yourself about every six weeks. This could be in the form of new routines, new circuits, or new movements. By doing this you will continue to get stronger and grow in that sport, as long as you stay consistent.

Another concept I would like to mention on this topic is noticeable progress. Another great benefit of just starting out is that you usually see results a lot quicker. As you continue along your fitness journey your noticeable progress will dwindle. You will stop seeing “External results” but this does not mean that you are not benefitting yourself internally and mentally.

Don’t get so hung up on on seeing external results and be proud of accomplishing consistency in your programs, of taking care of yourself and your body, of developing resiliency, and of empowering others around you. Remember your “why” of continuing on in your health journey and the external results will not matter. Focus more on developing and working on that growth mindset and your quality of life will amplify!:)

If anyone is interested in an individualized fitness program with nutrition recommendations and mentality exercises (for a great price), contact me via e-mail (frecklefithealth@gmail.com) or DM on instagram (@frecklefithealth).

Frecklefit