Weekend Five – 5 Running Tips for Beginners

A while ago I was telling you here and here that I’d like to start running this summer, and by late summer / early fall to be able to easily run a 5K race. So I’m still researching, buying running clothing and accessories. While searching for the best training plan, I also found lots of tips and tricks for beginner runners from experienced runners – this kind of tips & tricks are my favorite, because it’s based on experience.

Running seems so easy, but I am sure it’s not. Takes time, patience, perseverance and dedication, like in all things you care about and want to make the best out of it. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, tenth, or last. What’s really important is being able to say ‘I’ve finished’.

For the weeks to come, I am thinking on starting a 8 week series called Gone Running – I’d love to have bloggers who run as guest posting their experience with running from the day 1 until present and where I will be sharing my own progress on running. 🙂 I would love to hear your story and be a guest of my blog! If this idea appeals to you, please send me an email at hiitmom[at]gmail[dot]com.

Weekend Five Running Tips for Beginners

And now, the list of great tips and tricks I found most interesting and real:

  1. Set a goal and make a plan
    I just can’t work out without a goal – that’s why I started the year with a topnotch resolution and  that’s why I plan to run a 5K in late summer. I really need to see the progress, as this gives me the a great satisfaction.
  2. Try to avoid of the terrible ‘too’s – too fast too soon
    I have to admit I feel ready now to run at least 2.5 km (~1.5 miles) right from the start. And I am sure I’d be able to. It just seems that it’s not really good for your body to increase your mileage too quickly, because it can lead to injury. The max recommended mileage increase per week is 10%, so take the time to adjust each week. This means that I’ll be following my training schedule to determine how much I should be running. If I’ll feel like doing more, I’ll supplement my running with cross-training exercises such as biking back home. 🙂
  3. Get the right running gear
    Cotton is not a good fabric for running clothes, because it dries really slowly. Try instead running outfits made out of synthetic fabrics such as spandex and polyester, which are so much better than cotton at wicking away sweat. And, of course, you want to feel comfortable while training and running for your race, which means getting a running shoe that fit best. On this topic, I found a great post where Zelana Montminy give some tips for buying the perfect pair of running shoes for your feet.
  4. Listen to your body
    This one I already know it, but it’s always a good idea to keep it in mind when starting a new sport or activity. Your body is always trying to tell you where you are. Check how you’re feeling, check your morning pulse rate (if it’s up 10 or more beats above your average, it means that you haven’t recovered from the previous day’s training), check your healing injuries and take time off until everything returns to normal.
  5. Warm up, then stretch
    Warming up is really important, so light jogging or just brisk walking is always a good idea. As for stretching , it seems it’s better to stretch after the run, as stretching cold muscles can cause more harm than good.

How often do you run during a week? How do you cross train?

When was your first 5K and how quickly were you able to run a race?

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Weekend Five – 5 Gadgets I can’t live without

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today is my dad’s 55th birthday and words just can’t express how blessed I am by the parents I’ve been given! Miss I. and I made him homemade birthday cards, because they are better than the store bought ones. And we’ve just started a new tradition: making a happy birthday video of Miss I. singing Happy Birthday and presenting or explaining the gift she made – you know there’s always a trick or a twist. 😉 I can’t wait for my dad to see it!

My dad is all about gadgets – you name one and most certainly he owns it or gives you a reason why he didn’t buy that gadget, but another. Of course, our birthday present is a gadget that I’m sure he’ll love. So while I was looking for the perfect gift for my father, I found myself thinking the list of things I couldn’t live without. Weekend Five Gadgets

1. Smartphone wallet/case

ardium_smartphone_wallet_v2 I love this little wallet for my iPhone. Sometimes I don’t want to bring my entire purse with me but I always need my phone. This enables you to carry your driver’s license, credit card, cash, etc. within your phone case. I also like that it covers my phone face so that when text messages pop up curious onlookers aren’t tempted to read my messages.

2. Polar FT4

polar_ft4_bronze_topI bought my Polar FT4 Heart Monitor watch back in 2012, and I have been using it ever since for each workout I did. So after 2 and a half years of regular use, it works perfectly and gives me an accurate overview of my calories burned and keeps me on track when my heart rate gets higher than the value I set up as a safe max. I absolutely love this watch! You should try it too.

3. Nexus 7

tech-specs-n7I love my Nexus 7! There is no better alternative on the market for a 7 inch tablet, that you can just pick up and carry around with you, easily throw it in a purse or bag (no matter the size), and know it’s there when you need it. I love it for its size, great screen, affordable price and its loooong battery life.

4. Portable smartphone / tablet battery charger

htc-battery-bar-slide-01 If you are on-the-go a lot during the day using your phone or tablet, then definitely you need one of these! I plug my phone into the battery charger using a micro-USB cable and it fully charges my phone and adds more than 50% battery life to my tablet. It’s a great gadget to have around when traveling, or to carry around in your purse for just in case situations.

5. FlipCam Ultra HD Camera

33637213-2-440-OVR-1 FlipCam is so easy to use – just power on and press record to start capturing up to 2 hours of incredible HD video. When you’re done recording, just connect the flip-out USB arm to a PC or Mac and download your videos. Unfortunately Cisco exited the Flip business April 2011, but I am really happy I still have this mini-camera! I’m sure you would have loved it too!

What are your favorite gadgets? 

My First Guest Post is Published!

I’m more than thrilled that my first ever guest post has been published on ForTwoFitness‘s blog! For those of you who don’t know yet, ForTwo Fitness was founded by a fitness-oriented expecting mom, who discovered that there was a major lack of stylish maternity active-wear. The brand encourages women to keep fit and healthy during their pregnancy, while staying stylish and comfy. Even though TwoFor Fitness is serving customers in over 175 countries, it’s still a family-owned and operated business. All I can say is great job, and I hope I’ll be ordering maternity clothing really soon! This time, I’ll be celebrating my bump in style. 😉

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Today’s guest blogger was me, with a post about How To’s of a Fit  Baby Bump. I hope you’ll be following the link and read my blog post, along with the other great posts that have already been published on ForTwo Fitness blog.

Thank you, ForTwo Fitness!

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Do you remember the first time your guest post was published? 🙂

Sexy Legs Workout & Fresh Fruit and Yogurt Popsicles

It’s leg day. And I’m not in the best workout mood. But my 30th birthday and vacation to the sea side are coming up soon, so there’s no cheating – there are only 2 weeks left. For those of you who don’t know this yet, one of my New Year’s resolutions is a 101 challenge with myself – to get in the best shape of my life before turning 30. So far so good – I am by far the most fit I’ve ever been; but why stop here? I feel I can do more and I like it now more than ever, because during all this regular training, I managed to know my body really well. I know now when it’s OK to push a little bit harder, when to skip the workout (without remorse) and when to I need to give myself a little incentive to do upstairs and “hit the gym”. Like today.

Do you know that legs have the biggest muscles in your body? And do you know if you want to lose weight or tone your body you have to train them really hard? You see, big muscles burn more energy, so the bigger they are, the more kcal you’re gonna burn. Always works for me to get me there and be workout ready. 🙂

So here it is – I tried to avoid pistol squats, because not everybody can do them, and the most important thing is to do an exercise with the proper form. I also didn’t include calf raises, because if you’re doing the jumping jacks with the legs really wide, you’ll also be training those calves.
Summer Legs

 

Try not to take breaks between exercises. Push through the burn, but if you really have to stop, then stop for a couple of seconds and then continue.

After this workout I was craving for something sweet… Sooo badly!… I am still on my 100 Days of Summer challenge and it begins to be a real challenge, especially when I’m out. Anyway, yesterday I made 8 fresh fruit and yogurt pops, and I didn’t have the chance to taste them yet. I was pretty warmed up after the legs workout, so this treat felt like heaven. It was also my dinner, as it contained pretty much everything:

2 cups oats
2 cups yogurt
1 cup hazelnut milk
2 cups raspberries, strawberries,  blackberries,

sliced bananas and cherries

I didn’t add any other sweetener like maple syrup, Stevie or agave nectar, because both strawberries and cherries were really sweet. The cookies next to my Popsicle are made also homemade and the filling is plum jam, 100% plums, no sugar added or any other sweetener, no preservatives or any other flavors. Here it’s called majun.

Popsicle

What’s your leg day schedule? How often do you have leg day training?

What’s your favorite Popsicle recipe?

Armpit SOS & my Homemade Deodorant Recipe

For 5 months now I’m experiencing the same recurrent issue – after each waxing of the armpit area, my skin develops some red and painful areas that appear 1-2 hours after waxing and last about 3 to 4 days. I’ve seen several dermatologists and all said I need to cut down the number of times I wax that area; it seems my condition is caused by the snatching of the roots that became too traumatic for the armpit skin.

During those 3-4 days I can barely keep my arms together because of the pain. Each time I apply a store bought deodorant the issue increases in intensity and the redness and the pain grew. So I had no choice but to go deodorant-free for that days. Which for me is really stressful, because I sweat quite easily and a lot.

But then I remembered that some years ago (while breastfeeding) I used to make my own deodorant, out of all those healthy ingredients, and which was really effective.

So I decided to try again and do my costumed homemade deodorant, with all the ingredients that will soothe my armpit skin, and help recovery while keeping me dry most of the day.

Making a deodorant at home is really easy, but you’ll need some ingredients and tools to make sure everything will work out just fine – a thermometer, a set of stainless steel mini-mixer, a double boiler and some deodorant containers.

How to make

Home Deodorant with watermark

 

Prepare a double boiler or a bain-marie on the stove and turn on the heat. When the water starts to a boil, add the coconut oil, the Shea butter and the beeswax, mix with a spoon and let them melt. Once the composition is almost melted, turn on the mini-mixer and mix the composition really well. Once mixture is homogenized, take the double boiler away from the burner, and let it cool until the composition reaches about 37-38 Celsius degrees (98.6-100 F degrees).

Then gradually add the baking soda, corn starch, and alum stone powder. Make sure you stir slowly to avoid lumps in the composition. Immediately after incorporating all powders, add vitamin E. Before cool completely, add the essential oils and mix well.

If you have deodorant containers, pour the mixture into containers. Refrigerate for around 2 hours to completely harden before using.

Tip: If you’re using a deodorant container like this one, when preparing to fill the deodorant container, please make sure you keep the container upside down (with the cap on, of course), and pour the mixture though the deodorant pushing up wheel’s hole. Allow to cool in this position.

Yield: 3 deodorants valid for 1 month. Keep this homemade deodorant in cool places and away from direct sunlight. I used to make this quantity because also my husband and my sister were using it, but feel free to adjust the quantities of the recipe to your needs.

Note: If you want your deodorant to last longer than a month, you can always add some preservative.

And you’re done! 🙂 It’s that easy!

It’s really-really effective (like no bad odors after a full day at work and a workout later), and easy to make. Best thing is that you can play with the essential oils, so each time you make a new batch you can opt for new odors or improve the ones you liked.

The knock-out combination of backing soda, corn starch and alum powder will really help you stay dry – all three ingredients have astringent and antibacterial properties.

I can’t believe it’s June already and I am proud to say that I am taking Helly’s challenge really serious – 100 days without sugar. 🙂 3 days down, 97 to go. Up till now I am OK, no cravings, no cheating. Hopefully will be this easy all the way!

No Sugar with watermark

Have you ever experience a similar issue with mines after waxing?

Would you like to try to make a homemade deodorant?

 

I’m Closing in on 30

In less than a month and a half, I will no longer be in the 20s league. And I feel really good about it – not that it hadn’t been so much fun, but I look forward to my 30s. I actually don’t feel like 30 at all. If I think back, when I was a child, I always imagined 30 year old people to be so serious, so grown up, so not young anymore. 🙂

In my opinion, 30s bring with them another youth period – the age when you finally accepted who you are, the age when you finally pretty much know what you’re talking about, when you’re not shy any more, when you know how and when to ask for what you want. So yes, it’s another young period in so many ways… Instead of drunken party photos, your Facebook friends are all about weddings, and baby pics. It’s the time when you decide to make healthy changes in your lifestyle, decide to run a 5K, a 10K, or even a half-marathon.

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(photo credit to digialart)

Speaking of healthy changes, the other days I came across an article in Women’s Heath Magazine about the 15 fitness habits need to be established in your 20s. So I read the article and checked / left unchecked the habits. Here’s what I managed so far… but I still 1 more month to go so, I’ve got lots of time. 🙂

  1. [checked] Fall in love with strength training
    It’s true I prefer bodyweight strength training, rather than weight lifting, but I learned the lesson – this type of workout increases lean muscle mass => boosts metabolism + torches calories & sheds stubborn fat
  2. [checked] Drink more water
    I usually drink between 2.6 – 3.3 l of water. But I didn’t used to drink this much water… It was hard to turn it into a habit and I still have my water log app to keep me on track. I don’t need it anymore to remind me to drink my water, but I like it because I’ve got all my records in there and I can see from where I started.
  3. [checked] Vary it up
    Leaving plateaus aside, it gets pretty boring to train in the same manner over and over again. So I love to vary my trainings, from bike rides to yoga, from playing with the dogs in the backyard to jumping on the trampoline. Besides, it really helps with #15. 😉
  4. [checked] Embrace the rest day
    Oh, rest day(s), how I love you! I must confess I tend to have 2 rest days / week. Sundays are a given rest day, but I also don’t work out one day during the week. It’s not always the same day, as it depends on my schedule. But I feel good about my rest days and each time I work out after a rest day I train harder because I feel my body it there for me, there to support me reach my goals.
  5. [checked] Learn proper form, and don’t cheat
    This is something I neglected at first, until I realized that I wasn’t getting much out of my workout that way – it’s always better to do fewer reps within the given time with proper form!
  6. Switch up your running shoes
    What running shoes? 🙂 I don’t run, but I’d like to start. I’m even thinking on running a 5K in fall, so I’ll sign up for the fall 5K race.
  7. [checked] Refuel properly post-workout
    This one was also really hard to make it as a habit, because after working out, my body is so tired, I don’t feel like eating anything at all. But thanks to smoothies, I managed to refuel myself after really intense workouts.
  8. Go to random gym classes
    I’d like to go to any class by that matter. But I work out at home, and I don’t have anyone to leave Miss I. with while I’d be away to a gym class. Therefore, I try to do random workouts from Pilates to HIIT, from gymball to resistance bands workouts and so on. The workouts I’d absolutely love to try are TRX and CrossFit.
  9. [checked] Stretch before and after you exercise
    That needs no clarification. It’s a must!
  10. [checked] Make your workout a part of your day
    It’s the best thing you can do for your body and mind! It’s my me time, that I really enjoy sweating in pink (literally – I’ve got the pinkest top ever 🙂 ).
  11. [checked] Be mindful
    Easy – just pay attention to what it’s trying to tell you and you’ll be more than ok. For instance, while working out, I often get the feeling that that doesn’t feel right; and it usually doesn’t so I stop for a moment to figure it out what’s the matter. 
  12. Invest in good workout clothes
    As I work out at home, I work out in my most comfortable clothes, even though they aren’t necessary fitness clothes.
  13. [checked] Do either Yoga or Pilates
    I mainly do it to prevent back pain. I sit a lot in front of the computer, so I really don’t want to feel the pains I experienced years ago, before starting to work out on a regular basis.
  14. [checked] Choose your friends wisely
    I do – I work out alone. 😛 Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends, but I can’t train at my best capacity if I work out with a friend. We always always end up talking, not concentrating on the exercise and not getting much out of it.
  15. [checked] Have fun!
    Well… Having a kid and two dogs it’s already a recipe for having fun each day. Besides, life’s fun when you feel good about yourself and about how you look!

Did you turn 30 yet? If yes, when did you incorporated within your lifestyle these fitness habits? If you’re still in your 20s, what’s your score so far?

Aside

Bikini Body Link-Up | My Imperfect Fit Body

On Sunday morning I was reading an incredible journey of weight loss. One of the GGS Ambassadors, Brooke Birmingham (you can find her here) lost over 170 pounds – meaning more than 77 kg. The weight she lost is impressive, but the most important and impressive thing is that she did it in the most healthy way – working out and good nutrition. As her blog states, she is not on a diet. She just made good life changing choices and sticked to them. She now looks amazing. Check out the before and after pictures here.

Her incredible journey of healthy weight loss reached SHAPE Magazine, who approached Brooke to feature her story on their site.

Many of you must know already that massive weight loss will always cause hanging skin. This is because even though skin is elastic, the stretching and shrinking process is slow.  So Brooke ended up with loose skin on her tummy. After having the interview, they asked her to send them a picture of herself to include in her SHAPE Success Story. The picture Brooke choose to send was not approved for publication, and SHAPE asked her to send a new one, with a shirt on.

Why would they do that!? Yes, the after picture is real, it’s what you end up with after losing so much weight. But why refuse to publish this without a shirt?! Why not to show women all over the world that losing weight comes with good and  bad side effects, why not tell the real story?!

I was so inspired by Brooke’s attitude when SHAPE Magazine asked her to send a different picture, one with a shirt on, I really felt I should appreciate my body more – not to be so self-conscious, to accept it and love it the way it is – it’s not perfect, but imperfect in a very fit way. I am no top model, I don’t earn my existence based on my perfect looks,  so I don’t have to hate my body and feel that I am not enough.

I am enough – my husband loves me and always compliments me and my body, he recognizes the effort I put in being fit, healthy and applying this in every aspect of our lives; my daughter sees me as the most beautiful woman on the earth… This should be enough. And it finally is – I accepted by body as a whole – with good and bad, with toned muscles and with cellulite, with weak wrists that impedes me from doing a full push-up, with some armpit fat, and with great curly hair that always looks good.

Please don’t let your self-esteem be crushed by magazines like SHAPE. After this incident, I will  no longer believe one picture posted by them! Must certainly will not reflect the reality, but the best improved version of it.

Laura Williams, executive editor of Girls Gone Sporty, is running a bikini body beauties link up, designed as a celebration of all types bikini bodies. I will therefore adhere to this link up, and do something I’ve never done before in public: share my only pictures of me in a bikini from last year. Here’s my not so perfect but fit body, which I am proud of, and for which I train very hard.

Bikini Body 1 and 2

Note: I don’t known how to blur images with using Paint, so I did my best to cover Miss I.’s face, as I don’t want her exposed on the internet.

Yes, I do work out. Yes, I am fit.  And yes, I don’t have a perfect body. But I am proud of how I look, how I feel, and what I’ve achieved. How do you feel about your body?

What’s your opinion about SHAPE Magazine’s attitude towards Brooke’s picture? What would you have preferred SHAPE to publish: real picture or picture with a shirt?