Time to Hop on the Interval Train

high-intensity-interval-training-your-cardio-weapon
Hey, hey, party people!
I am here to chat about your new best friend when it comes to cardio.
No, seriously!
I know people think cardio is some grueling task, and yes, it certain can be, but this is something that will go by in a breeze and leave you feeling exhausted in the best way.
If you haven’t heard of high intensity interval training, otherwise known as HIIT, you are missing out! Never fear, though. That’s why I’m here to spread the good word ; )
High intensity interval training is exactly what it sounds like – you work at your maximum for a short amount of time, followed by recovery. HIIT has been my BFF for the last couple weeks on the days where I do not want to run or do cardio for longer than twenty minutes.
Yes, all you need is 15-20 minutes to complete a HIIT work out. Super short, sweet, and sweaty.
Before I chat about what my personal HIIT workouts look like, here’s the benefits. That’s most important. WHY the hell should I do this?
– Kickstarts your metabolism and burns tons of calories in a shorter amount of time when compared to calories burned during a long run
– Effective at burning fat
– Strengthens your lungs, heart, and legs (especially if you kick up the incline – oooh mama)
– Promotes weight loss, not muscle loss
– Time efficient: no need to set aside an hour of your day since you can get it done in 20 minutes or less!
– You can pretty much do it anywhere. Inside, outside, in your living room, whatever!
img_5470
That moody morning gym light at 5:30am, pre-HIIT madness.
This is what I have been playing around for my intervals:
Warm up: 2 minutes
Easy run: 1 minute
SPRINT ALL OUT! 30 seconds
Walk to recover: 1 minute
Repeat for 15 or 20 minutes. You will work up a huge sweat, your heart will be pumping, and you will feel amazing after. Yes, it’s hard, but start wherever is comfortable for you. If you feel it’s better to have a longer warm up, do that. If you want more recovery time, do that. Hell, sometimes after sprinting my butt off I stand on the sides of the treadmill for a good twenty seconds before I even begin my walking recovery. It’s all up to you!
You can also mix up your intervals with jumping jacks, skipping rope, burpees, mix in strength training moves. Lots of options to keep you sweating!
Note: I like to do my intervals after so I conserve my energy for strength training, but do what works for you. Sometimes we only have 20 minutes to get a workout in, and HIIT is perfect for that!
Let me know in the comments what your favourite HIIT workout is, or if you are a lover of HIIT as well!

Healthy Morning Habits to Start Now

healthy-livingholly
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.

pilates2

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!

img_4884

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!

img_4591

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! 

Victoria Half Marathon: The Expo

While you are reading this I have already ran the Victoria Half Marathon. Stay tuned for my race recap tomorrow, but here is a little look inside the race expo held at the Victoria Conference Centre.

The race has four events, and for the last almost four years I believe I have ran this race. I enjoy the course (except for the end, but I’ll get to that tomorrow) as it is so scenic and pretty, and the crowds are always great. The expo is a great way to get energized and motivated for the race.

The expo is always on the smaller side – they changed the layout this year so the expo was more navigation friendly rather than being one big loop of vendors. There were all kinds of local sports companies, as well as stores such as Frontrunners, New Balance, and The Running Room there representing. Additionally, there were a few fresh juice and supplement companies there as well, so you could load up on post-race fuel and energy gels.
Unfortunately, I don’t usually see anything that catches my eye at this expo. Compared to some other races out there I feel like you are paying a higher registration fee just because it’s the Victoria Marathon, and not really getting a lot of bang for your buck. Example: the Lululemon SeaWheeze had SO MUCH to offer and was the same price as this run. Nevertheless, there were at least some free samples at the expo and also discounted prices on shirts from the previous years, if you were in the market for some new running tops. But I digress.
With that said, it didn’t take us too much time to mosey through the expo. We stopped at a few booths, but like I said before, there was nothing really that caught my eye or made me want to spend more time there. Perhaps if I wanted to buy some new shoes or new running gear than I would’ve spent more time looking at the gear offerings, but I mostly wanted to get in and out and carry on with the day. Plus, the weather was absolutely miserable on the drive into Victoria so I didn’t want to get stuck in the pouring rain on the Malahat when it got dark – nooo thank you!

Also, funny story: I thought I had registered for this race MONTHS ago. So, one day in September I randomly thought I better confirm my registration online. It turns out I didn’t register, and there were only four spots in the the half marathon left. Oh, well then. So, I got myself registered and of course there were only men’s XL shirts left. Just my luck! That’ll teach me to get on it early – and thank goodness there were at least a few spots left when I finally did check. Oopsies.
See you again tomorrow for the race recap! Wishing all my fellow Canadians a Happy Thanksgiving weekend – I’m off to have an extra serving of stuffing.