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Race Training for the Injured

As a long-time athlete, I’ve learned a lot about my body. For the most part, I can tell when I should sit something out, and when I can push myself. I’ve trained and competed while injured many times of the years. Broken collarbones {gymnastics}, dislocated shoulders {volleyball}, and spinal injuries {diving} haven’t done much to slow me down over the years. But what they have done is taught me how to listen to my body and how to train smarter instead of longer/harder.

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Leggings & Tank – Fabletics

Active Colorblock Windbreaker – Forever 21

Sneakers – Saucony

Here are a few things that I’ve learned to apply to my programming over the years:

  1. Rest when needed – No matter how careful you are with training, you will hit a wall at some point. You need to learn to listen to your body and realize when fatigue can’t be pushed through.
  2. Recovery is vital – Giving your body time to recover is important, but you also need to think about the foods that you put in your body which also impact your recovery.
  3. Fuel is everything – How you fuel your body before, during, and after training is imperative for keeping your body in top condition. All of your hard work will be wasted if you try to keep yourself going on Hot Pockets and Coke.
  4. Invest in your equipment – Whether that means a bike or running shoes, you want to research what will work best for your needs. Quality equipment can stave off injury as well as help you heal.

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So how have I applied these to my own training? With back and feet injuries, I realized that following a traditional half marathon training schedule wasn’t feasible. Attempting 2-3 runs a week left me in so much pain that I couldn’t get through all the runs and my cross-training.

What works for me is, like I spoke about in my Workout Schedule: Weight Training & Race Prep post, is one run a week. I do either a longer, somewhat slower run, or a shorter, faster run. From a cardiovascular standpoint I’m capable of running 13 miles if I manage my pace, so training is much more about preparing my body to take the intense physical beating. 3-7 miles once a week does just that – My joints and muscles stay in top shape, without being overworked to the point of increasing my pain levels.

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{Photography by Brad Wittke of Pacifica Gallery}

I’m sure by now some of you are thinking – Why do you keep running?

Because I love it!

I started running in my 20’s to get outside when I became utterly sick of the gym, and I quickly became addicted. And I just LOVE racing. I may not be fast, but the excitement and fun and rush of race day is a total blast.

I’d love to try a half triathlon in the future, but for now I’m stick to a few foot races a year. In the past year I ran five – The Guardsmen Presidio 10 Mile Race, the San Francisco Half Marathon, the Women’s Health 10k to benefit the Feed Project, the Golden Gate Half Marathon, and the Kaiser Half Marathon.

Have YOU ever trained for a race or competition while injured? Any tips?

Reminder: I’m not a doctor and I don’t have background on your specific injury/injuries. Please do not take this post as a personal recommendation to you for race training – Please speak to your doctor about what would work best for you.

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2017 Fitness Adventures: Avant Barre | Discount Code

I’m always glad to have a healthy start to the year and I’ve really been enjoying trying out some new studios and workouts recently. After a relaxing and rejuvenating visit to the Love Story Yoga studio in the Mission at the beginning of the year, today I’m here to share my experience at Avant Barre here in the SOMA district of San Francisco.

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The Low Down:

If you’ve never taken a barre class, the premise is that you use a ballet “barre” for an isometric strength training session. Which means that you focus on moving one muscle group at a time – Core, booty, arms, calves – Primarily focusing on bodyweight movements. Though some classes combine those movements with weights or balls.

Avant-Barre combines the traditional underlying barre techniques with fun music and beautiful dance-like moves for a full-body workout that really evokes a dance class.

No rhythm needed!

Thoughts:

I took the 45 minute Sculpt class and it was a great workout. You felt every muscle group being worked and were begging for mercy by the end of each set.

Especially the booty.

And the core.

The space is light and airy, right off of third street at Brannan in SOMA. They had a fully stocked changing room and plenty of lockers for storing your bag(s) during class. And the barre studio itself is bright with mirrors and windows – You feel like you’re in a ballet studio!

I really like mirrors during these types of workout since it offers you the ability to self-correct on form and notice when you start lagging towards the end of a set.

Recommendations:

If you love a super, super sweaty, gasping for air workout – Like Barry’s Bootcamp – Then you may not be drawn to this type of class. However, if you want a full body toning workout that allows you to safely push your boundaries, this is a great choice.

Bonus – It’s quite easy to customize if you have an injury or are new to the fitness game.

And I have to say that the low impact aspect also really appeals to me. With running, biking, and lifting as major parts of my weekly workout routine, I really need to add in a lower impact workout like this to help keep my joints healthy and happy.

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And I’m thrilled to say that my lovely readers will be getting a discount code to try Avant Barre. Use “mclv2017” for $10 off a single class! If you try it out – Let me know what you think.

Are YOU a fan of barre classes?

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Tone It Up | Look for Love Challenge

After finishing up the Brittany Dawn Fitness 60 Day Challenge during the end of 2016 – I was excited to grab some girlfriends and start the Tone It Up Look for Love Challenge in 2017.

What was great about the Brittany Dawn Fitness challenge was the weekly check-ins. I liked feeling accountable, and knowing that I was going to be taking a picture Monday midday helped me stay on track during weekend shenanigans.

So for 2017 I tried a new kind of accountability – I joined forces with my three best friends and we shared pictures, stories, recipes, and inspiration on a private Facebook page that we made for the challenge.

Not in the mood to workout? It just took one picture of the mother of #TwoUnderTwo working out on the living room floor next to a crib to get my booty to the gym.

Want some inspiration to try a new recipe? Another friend is genius at making tasty, quick vegetarian meals, all the while taking care of her two and half-year old.

And when I started feeling like I’d bitten off more than I could chew with my meditation and self-love resolutions? My friend shared pictures of her meditation and journaling space filled with crystals and good vibes. Knowing she was making the time and effort, while simultaneously juggling a toddler, school, and husband – Always kept me motivated.

And the best part? We’re in four different cities but it felt like we started the year off together! If you’re never tried tackling a challenge with your friends, I highly recommend it.

So how was the challenge itself?

AMAZING!

Tone It Up Perfect Fit Protein Smoothie Tone It Up Love Your Body FitLife Fitspo Vegan Gluten-Free Paleo Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Challenge

Bundle:

I decided to buy the bundle for this challenge to help get me in the mood. It included some gear, plus the Body Love Workouts, and the updated Nutrition plan.

The workouts and nutrition plan were great, more on them below, but I don’t know if I’d buy the bundle again. For $198 it included the workouts, nutrition plan, a jump rope, socks, towel, backpack, meal prep containers, and foot sliders.

Workouts:

I worked so hard during the Brittany Dawn Fitness challenge, which included weight lifting 5 days a week, that I wasn’t expecting to get my booty kicked.

But kicked it got!

Turns out, Karena and Katrina teamed up with none other than Jillian Michaels for the Body Love Challenge and they put together some seriously killer workouts. I loved all the compound moves and HIIT routines. They kept you challenged and engaged.

Note: The workouts were videos, so I had to watch them and transcribe the workouts so that I could take a piece of paper to the gym with me.

Tone It Up Perfect Fit Protein Smoothie Tone It Up Love Your Body FitLife Fitspo Vegan Gluten-Free Paleo Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Challenge Zoodles Sweet Potatoes Zucchini Veggie Bowl

Nutrition Plan:

While I didn’t spend a ton of time trying new recipes, this challenge really got me going on my food prep. I spent quality time drafting shopping lists, hitting the grocery store, and prepping meals to take to work each week. I kept things pretty simple with veggie frittatas for breakfast and protein pancakes for post-workout, combined with a protein smoothie and an afternoon snack, I was all set.

Overall it was a great challenge to undertake – I really enjoyed the workouts and the camaraderie, and I’m definitely going to keep up the meal prepping!!

Have YOU ever tried a Tone It Up challenge? Do you have a favorite online trainer or fitness blog that I should look at?

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Kaiser Half Marathon

I was excited to kick of 2017 on a healthy note by running the Kaiser Half Marathon on February 5th.

After getting the bug last year, I ended up running four races in 2016: The Guardsmen Presidio 10 Mile Run, The San Francisco Half Marathon, the Women’s Health Run 10 Feed 10, and the Golden Gate Half Marathon.

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Read on to see what I thought of this one and how it compared to last year’s races!

  • Course: I haven’t had a chance to do much running in Golden Gate Park {other than crossing the San Francisco Half Marathon’s finish line}, so it was really fun to get a change of scenery for this race. The first half of the course was around the park and then there was a stretch on the Great Highway with really breathtaking views. And – Bonus – This was without a doubt the flattest course I’ve ever run!
  • Organization: Very well run – No pun intended. Tons of staff to answer questions and hand out water cups and cheer for runners. And, I have to say, this is the first finisher shirt that I’m actually keeping. Usually the sleeves or the torso are too short, but this long-sleeved tee is perfect!
  • Race Day Vibes: It was a big crowd and everyone was packed in to hear the introduction and watch the 5K runners take off. The Half Marathon started with lots of excitement and the course was great since it offered a chance to see the leaders head back towards the finish line. It kept me going to see the top runners push themselves and getting cheered forward!
  • Personal Performance: Between the Golden Gate Half Marathon and this race, I moved from Telegraph Hill to South Beach. Which means that I started running exclusively on flat roads – Virtually no hills or trails. I was very curious to see how (or if) that would impact my race time. Luckily, there was only a little elevation for this race, so I was able to take nearly 10 minutes off my time.

Side note: I didn’t do extensive training to shave time off, I was just feeling the race day vibes at the start and kept pushing myself. When you’re running you need to be sure that you’re listening to your body and not pushing beyond your capabilities. Your body can take a lot of punishment, but you don’t want to cause injuries.

What’s YOUR first goal for 2017? What’s on the calendar for you this year?

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2017 Fitness Adventures: Love Story Yoga

After starting an ambitious new project last year called 2016 Fitness Adventures with fellow Bay Area healthy living blogger Jill from Champagne for Everyday, I’m thrilled to say that we’re back at it!

Welcome to the first post of our 2017 Fitness Adventures!

Today I’m here to share my thoughts on the new Love Story Yoga studio in the Mission. The studio was co-founded by Lululemon Global Yoga Ambassador Stephanie Snyder and is more than just a yoga studio – It’s a hub for San Francisco’s yoga community with classes, teacher training, events, and workshops.

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The Low Down:

I headed over to the studio on a Sunday morning – It’s on Valencia and 16th, a block from the 16th Street Mission BART station, and a ~30 minute fast walk from my new South Beach pad.

The studio itself is really spacious {especially for San Francisco!} with two floors of bright, loft-like space and a warm, welcoming seating area when you enter.

There’s also a changing area with lockers and showers downstairs for getting ready for class or cleaning up afterwards.

Thoughts:

I took the Vinyasa Flow Level 1/2 and it was just what I needed – Restorative and uplifting. The studio is heated just enough for a good sweat without being overpowering, and the instructor was sweet, helpful, and easy to follow. They offer various level classes, as well as teacher training, so you can find the one that’s a good fit for you.

I was two weeks out from a race and sore from running and cross training – The class offered the perfect amount of stretching and relaxing. I felt empowered and ready to tackle the day when I finished!

Love Story Yoga 2017 Fitness Adventures Champagne for Everyday San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger FitLife Yoga Pose

Recommendations:

While I haven’t given all the classes a try yet, I found the Level 1/2 Vinyasa Flow to be exactly what I needed. It was restorative for my body and the perfect mental escape to start off the day. The studio is easy to get to and welcoming, and you can rent mats and towels if you don’t feel like bringing anything with you or if you’re popping in after work.

Definitely a Must Try if you’re a Bay Area yoga lover!

Miss out on our 2016 Adventures? Check them out below:

What’s YOUR favorite Bay Area yoga studio? Any classes I should try?

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