WORKOUT! Upper Body Blast Workout

Good morning!
So, home workouts. I love them, how about you guys? I actually have not been to the actual gym in months, because I have been doing my own thing at home. Home workouts are super convenient, and a huge bonus is that you do not have to purchase a gym membership! I’m all about saving that cash money.
If you are looking for a good upper body workout then I would highly recommend giving this one a shot! Added bonus: you only need a pair of free-weights (or dumbbells). I have been adding this into my routine about two times per week after my shorter runs, or I will sneak it in after work. It doesn’t take all day, and the minimal equipment is a plus, too!

Modify the exercises if you need to. I took a 30 second to one minute break in between each exercise before moving onto the next one. Once all exercises are completed, take a water break and do ’em again!

I hope you enjoy the workout! Let me know in the comments what YOUR current favourite workout is right now : )

Ladies: 5 Reasons Why You Should Lift

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There seems to be this old tale that women who lift weights are manly and will have ginormous muscles. Well, today I wanted to chat about WHY it is important for women to lift weights, and more importantly, lift heavier than they think they can lift.
There are so many benefits to weight lifting. We will get into that, and also chat about how to get started.
So, you’re ready to start lifting but have no idea where to go? If you plan on attending a gym, it may be worth booking an appointment with a personal trainer to at least get familiar with the strength training area. At my gym they have it separated by cardio equipment, strength training machines/dumb bells, and another room with another rack of dumb bells and things like yoga mats, foam rollers, resistance bands/tubes, and kettle bells. Having someone show you around the gym will not only answer any questions you may have about the facility, but make you feel more comfortable. Being comfortable is HUGE in starting a strength training journey (or any health journey for that matter), as you will be more inclined to stick to it if you don’t feel awkward or out of place.
That’s not to say that feeling awkward won’t happen, because I can guarantee that it will happen! However, getting your bearings will help make things easier in the long run.
To get started means to simply put on your work out gear and get going. If buying a new exercise outfit will motivate you to take the first steps, then by all means, do what you need to do. That being said, in order to begin a program you just have to START, so start now, whatever that may look like for you!
When it comes to strength training, having a plan will allow you to visually see what you need to do in the gym. A plan tailored to your specific needs will also alleviate that, “OMG what do I do today!?” feeling that can arise. Start small to start – say two times per week – and build up as you start to feel stronger in the gym. Soon enough, you will have a work out split (another word for plan) that can target multiple parts of your body.
For me, my workout split looks something like this:
Legs twice per week, shoulders/triceps twice per week, and one day for back and biceps. Occasionally I will mix in some back/biceps on my shoulder days, but it is completely up to you. Every 4-6 weeks I switch things up (providing I am seeing results), and I mix some cardio in there as well because I love me some running! : )
Again, your first steps into strength training may be at-home YouTube videos, and that’s okay, too! Do what works for you and what makes your body feel good.
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So, WHY should women strength train?
I’ll tell you why I personally do it. I strength train for mental clarity, for challenging my body, so I can withstand day to day activities with ease, so I can age gracefully (or so I am hoping anyway), and so I can be a better me.
You can tell when I haven’t worked out because I am grouchy, irritable, and I won’t be as in tune with my body or my mood. This is important to me as I want to be present and mindful in my interactions out there in the world, so working out can set the tone for a great day.
However, some other reasons why women should strength train are listed below.
1. You will burn more fat. Strength training builds muscle, and muscle burns more calories and fat while resting. Sure, you burn calories after a run, but not nearly as many as you would after a good strength training session!
2. You will practice the art of mental strength. Yep, you can do one more rep. Yep, you can lift a little bit heavier. Yep, you can do one more squat. Strength training (and athletic training in general) helps train your mind in that whole, “mind-over-matter” sense, which can translate to so many other areas of your life.
3. You’ll strengthen your bones, as strength training helps your muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons adapt under pressure. Your bones will become stronger and more dense, which will help stave off age related degeneration.
4. You will lean out. Yes, weight lifting (combined with a clean diet, OF COURSE) will help your jeans feel looser and make your shirt less tight. This is because muscle takes up less space than fat. Sure, a pound is a pound, but a pound of fat is more voluminous than a pound of muscle. So while you may still weigh the same weight (which I don’t recommend going by the number on the scale anyway), you probably look a little slimmer since your body is increasing muscle and decreasing fat.
5. Your HEART will seriously thank you. Strength training and cardiovascular exercise is a God-send for your heart. As you get into better shape, your heart actually doesn’t have to work as hard to send blood throughout your body. Exercise reduces blood pressure, and we all know high blood pressure ain’t cute.
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If you are a woman who has a strength training routine, what does this look like for you? Let me know in the comments! Any AMAZING moves I should try in the gym!?

Healthy Morning Habits to Start Now

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Does anyone else LOVE mornings? I especially love them on a Sunday or Monday when I have the whole day to myself. Easing into the morning can set the tone for a happier day. Whether you are a late riser or an early riser, I hope you can find a few takeaways from today’s post to help create some more healthy habits. Of course, you don’t have to do these just in the morning. They are all great no matter what time of day they occur! However, some of them are especially effective the morning to get the day started when your body is freshly awake. Let me know in the comments if there are any morning habits you like to do!

1. Hold the phone. One thing that is important in the morning is allowing yourself to wake up on your own terms, without being inundated with social media first thing. I know how tempting it can be to check your phone right away. Trust me, been there all too often! However, I wait until I’ve been up for an hour (give or take) before I finally check social media. It can be so overwhelming for me in the morning to be bombarded with what everyone else is doing, so keeping my phone aside while I am going about my morning business helps me feel more engaged in what I am feeling and doing to get my day started

2. Lemon water, lemon water, lemon water. I LOVE lemon water so much. Lemon water in the morning (especially with warm water) is a gentle way to “detox” your body and flush out any toxins in your system. It kickstarts the digestive system, rehydrates the body, and can help energize you for the day ahead. BUT – that doesn’t mean ditch the coffee. Drink your lemon water first, girl! Hydrate before you caffeinate is my rule of thumb.

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3. Get moving – or not. Some people love to exercise in the morning. I am one of those people who enjoy working out in the morning to get my sweat-sesh out of the way, though at the same time I also enjoy working out in the evening to sweat out the day’s stress. That being said, exercising in the morning can help wake you up and aid in better dietary choices throughout the day. On the other hand, some people love starting their morning on a more quiet note: meditation. Meditation doesn’t have to be sitting on your yoga mat for an hour saying “Omm” one hundred times. I ain’t got time (or the patience) for that. However, even meditating for five minutes can be beneficial at calming your nervous system, clearing your mind, and setting positive intentions for your day. Find what works for you and go with it!

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4. Journal or read. I am a book lover at heart (maybe that’s why I enjoy blogging so much!) and whether you are reading a biography, a fantasty novel (Harry Potter say heyyyy whaaat), or writing in your journal, the act of reading and writing can not only be therapeutic, but it can also help reinvigorate your mind. Waking up with an interesting article is a nice way to pass time as you’re having your morning lemon water, too!

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5. Eat breakfast. If you aren’t a big fan of breakfast foods, eat something. If you think about it, you wouldn’t drive your car without putting gas in it, right? So why would you start your day without fueling your body? My go-to breakfast is oatmeal, though I have been switching it up lately with eggs and berries a few times per week when I want some more protein in the morning. Not interested in cooking in the morning? There are tons of yummy recipes out there for healthy breakfast cookies and muffins, that way you can grab, go, and be on your way. Alternatively, a smoothie is another great way to get some nutrients into the system! Having breakfast ensures that your brain and body have the nutrients required to perform at it’s best.

Now, off to get my coffee! Have a fantastic day everyone : )

Race Recap: 2016 Victoria Half Marathon

Good morning, party people!
I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving Sunday yesterday. I ate a lot, drank a bit, and had a merry ol’ time with family. Yep, an extra serving of stuffing happened because it is what I look forward to the most when it comes to the Thanksgiving dinner spread.
Let’s back up and chat about yesterday’s half marathon. It is actually my fifth year running this race (not that I counted the medals when I got home or anything..) and the course did not disappoint.
My alarm went off shortly after 5am on Sunday morning. Ew, right? That is an awful time to wake up anyway, especially on a Sunday. I went to bed around 9:30pm the night before after a simple spaghetti dinner, and was carbed up and ready to run.
Pre-race my breakfast was some instant oatmeal. I find this sits better in my stomach than slow cooking oats and peanut butter toast with banana. PB toast used to be my go-to, but I find that it is harder on my digestive system and kind of sits like a rock as I run, you know? Anyway, I felt fueled up and ready on our drive to Victoria. Bless Ryan’s kind heart for always driving me so early at the ass crack of dawn to these events. I’m kinda psycho in that way, I suppose.
Runners heading towards the start line.

The Parliament buildings looking pretty! It was about 7:20am at this point and just starting to get lighter outside.

The start line! The half marathon was sold out, and the street was bustling with that race day excitement. It always helps pump me up when there is a good vibe on race day! How can it not be good, though? You’re about to kill 21.1km! When 7:30am hit, the race began, and the crowd moved up until we were over the start line and runnin’.
I experimented a little bit during this run not only with a new running belt that holds a water bottle, but with a new running method too. Generally I just RUN and hope I don’t die or fall or smash face first into the ground (note: this has never happened, well, aside from tripping and falling during the Oak Bay half in 2013 I think it was. Oops), BUT. This time I tested out the “run 10 minutes, walk 1 minute method.” Doing this gave me time to drink my own water (bypassing water stations is a beautiful thing) and get ready for the next 10 minute segment of running. Eventually I will be in better shape to just run the whole thing as I have done in the past, but this was a great way to mentally break it up. The water belt was a game changer too. Definitely worth the $43.
The Victoria Half has some rolling hills, but nothing that I haven’t come up against before. Compared to Kelowna, it was smooth sailing! I carried one gel in my water belt (I am a big fan of the Honey Stinger gels in fruit smoothie flavour, as they are all natural and don’t make my tummy feel weird) and took half at about the 13km mark and then the rest around the 15km mark. One thing I thought to myself as I was running along Dallas Rd is how much I truly enjoy this course. While the expo is meh, the race itself is WOW! Nothing better than running along the ocean and in beautiful Victoria!
What worked well for me: having my own water and being able to have a drink anytime I wanted to. Ever since the Kelowna half I thought about purchasing a water belt, but I just never got around to it. Bless the Running Room for having a 20% off coupon on Saturday! I also wore a new pair of pants that I had never worn in a half marathon before that were FANTASTIC. I will post about my favourite running gear later on this month, but just know that they are life changing. And Lululemon. Shocking, right? : )
Was I waving? Or pretending to high five Ryan through the fence? Or just posing like a cheese ball? One will never know. Oh yeah, this shirt was the jam too as I never felt too hot or too cold during the whole race. Win, win.

Ooh paparazzi. Enough with the glamour shots. 
Another one done and dusted! We headed to White Spot after the race for some breakfast, and then home to shower and RELAX! Oh, and I foam rolled too. I’m so good at this post-race recovery thing! Hint hint, post about that coming soon too ; )
All in all it was a great run and a wonderful Thanksgiving Sunday. See ya again next year, Victoria half!