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Kaiser Half Marathon | Second Edition

I caught the racing bug two years ago, but unfortunately between a chronic back injury and foot issues, I’ve never been able to maintain a strict training schedule. But I don’t let either of those issues get in the way of my love of running, or the fun I have signing up for and tackling half marathon races.

For my first race of 2018 I decided on the Kaiser Half Marathon, which I ran last February as well. I enjoyed my first attempt at this course so it seemed like a good choice.

As it turned out, I found that I had to psych myself up for the race in a way that I have never had to before. Why? I got a PR last year on this course – Breaking my goal to get under 1:50 – And going into the race this year, I knew that I couldn’t push myself quite as hard. While I understood intellectually and rationally that my body wasn’t up for the same level of punishment, I had trouble taking my ego out of the equation.

Perhaps it’s my nature, perhaps it’s a byproduct of starting competitive athletics at a young age – But I am in it to win it. And my favorite opponent? Myself! I live for breaking my own records and shattering milestones that I’ve put in place for myself.

So I headed into this race with my mind in a war with itself. On one hand, I wanted a new PR! On the other hand, I really wanted to be able to walk after the race.

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{Lululemon Tight Stuff Running Tights // Lucy Racerback Tank Top // Brooks Ghost 10 Running Shoes // Long-sleeved Asics t-shirt}

  • Course: This course was just as beautiful as I remembered. I love the Golden Gate bridge views from the San Francisco Half and the Golden Gate Half, but this jaunt through the park and along the Great Highway/Highway 1 is simply stunning.
  • Organization: I had my bib delivered so I didn’t get a chance to see the race expo. Race day was quite organized though, with plenty of volunteers, a giant field full of porta potty facilities, and lots of water stations along the course. This race also starts on the late side – 8:10am – So it’s fully light and everything is easy to find.
  • Race Day Vibes: It might be the location or the late start, but there is always a MASSIVE crowd for this race. Families stand outside their apartments on the panhandle cheering with signs and bowls of orange slices. People are walking their dogs in the park and cheering from the paths near the race. And there are crowds lined up along the Great Highway jumping up and down and keeping everyone motivated and moving forward.
  • Personal Performance: Here’s where I have to separate out, as best I can, an objective overview of my performance versus my secret hopes for the race. My number one goal, as always, was to finish. Done. Next, I really wanted to try to listen to my body throughout the race and adjust as needed to ensure that I didn’t injure myself. Done. Finally, I really wanted to run the race in under 2 hours after hitting 02:02 at the SF Half over the Summer. Done. So, in terms of those goals, I succeeded. Also, I really enjoyed the race. So I’m going to chalk this up as a win!

Are YOU a runner? Would you sign up for a half marathon?

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Top Tips to Start Running

Running is an amazing workout and it’s an easy, no-equipment-needed type of activity, which is great for beginners. Anyone can run and all you really need are tennis shoes.

That being said, I hear people all the time complaining about not knowing where to start or what the first step is to becoming a “runner.”

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I love to run and initially started about 10 years ago, though I only fell in “can’t live without it” love about 3 years ago and just caught the racing bug over the last year.

  1. Outfit yourself – While shoes are really the only thing you need, you may also want a hat or visor and headphones. Head into a running shoe store and have yourself fitted for your beginner pair of sneakers.
  2. Find out how YOU like to run – This is actually a two-part equation. You need to decide if you like to run indoors or outdoors AND you need to figure out whether you’re a solo runner or a group runner. I’m one of those people who took up running just to get outside, so you’ll never find me on a treadmill. But you’ll have to do your own research and see what works best for you.
  3. Walk it Out – Start by walking and going for short jogs, and work your way up. You don’t become a “runner” overnight. Walk, jog, run-walk, run. You just gradually build up your distance at your own comfort level. That’s what’s great about running, you can do it at 100% your own pace.
  4. Intervals – One minute of running, two minutes of walking. One minute of running, one minute of walking. One minute of running, one minute of jogging. Then build up.
  5. Download – A fitness app, like Nike, or a Couch to 5k app, are a great way to track you runs and stay motivated. You can even create a running program for yourself and work each week to keep up on your schedule.

Are YOU a runner – How did you start? Any tips for a beginner? If you’re not – What’s holding YOU back?

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2018 | A Year of Challenge

Happy 2018! I hope everyone had a fun and safe New Years celebration this year and is ready to tackle 2018. I LOVE new years. I love a fresh start, a clean slate. It’s so… Freeing! And I also love thinking about what I want to achieve for the year and how I can challenge myself. Rather than write out resolutions or make huge plans that I’ll never keep, I’m going to challenge myself instead.

I really enjoy trying new things and mixing up my routines – From the kitchen to the gym to the medicine cabinet. So this year, I’m going to set up some challenges for myself and share the results.

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What kind of challenges? I’m so glad you asked!

From diets and ways to eating to workouts to beauty routines – I’m going to try out some of the popular or famous or new options out there and write about my experiences.

The first ones to look out for are going to be…

Drum roll please…

  • Intermittent Fasting – This is a way of eating that includes fasting for a set amount of time each day and consuming your food during a scheduled window
  • Water Challenge – Drinking one gallon of water a day to see how my energy, skin, health, and body feel
  • Sarah’s Day Sweat It To Shred It – An 8 week workout guide from Australian YouTuber Sarah’s Day
  • Whole 30 – A one month extremely clean eating paleo diet, I’ll be doing a variation for vegetarians to ensure that I get enough of all my micro and macronutrients
  • Holistic Beauty – I’ll be ditching my standard beauty, hair, and skin care routine for holistic, DIY, and eco-friendly products ONLY
  • No Waste – This is one that I’m nervous but excited for, creating ZERO WASTE for a week
  • Cell phone detox – Yes, I am going to give up my phone. GASP.

What challenge would YOU tackle? Anything I should add to my list?

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MNT Studio | #MNT10 Challenge

I absolutely love undertaking new challenges. I enjoy my workout routine, but it’s great to mix things up and really focus on something new for a short period of time. So when MNT Studio {check out their new studio launch here} reached out to see if I wanted to try their #MNT10 Challenge this Fall, I jumped at the opportunity.

And if I hadn’t been 100% in already, they have an on-staff nutritionist who would be offering recommendations on diet for the duration of the challenge!! I’m nothing short of a nutrition nerd and LOVE getting a chance to talk to knowledgeable professionals on the topic.


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The Challenge:

Take 10 classes in 14 days.

That type of commitment definitely involves some planning and reorganizing of your schedule this time of year. But not only did this challenge rock my body, it also gave me a great chance to get to know the instructors, explore the studio, and bond with other patrons.

The Classes:

During my last doctor’s appointment my orthopedic surgeon suggested that I needed more Pilates in my life. And while I may not always agree with doctors’ recommendations, that was one suggestion that I was happy to follow-up on.

I tried a handful of different classes during the 10 days, but was sure to load up on lots of Pilates!

  • Power Pilates: Ob-SESSED. Alison and Carly kicked my booty in these classes over the course of the challenge and I always left feeling like I should have a six-pack by the end of each class.
  • Barre: This class is a great combination of moves that tones the WHOLE body. The abs, arms, legs, and booty are all getting worked.
  • Reformer: I was really excited to try reformer and found it both challenging and fun. This is the class that I had the most concern about in terms of my back injury, but there were zero issues. I left feeling very strong and flexible, which is a great combo.

The Nutrition:

I tend to eat a fairly clean, healthy, whole food-based diet, so I wasn’t planning on making any huge shifts or changes to my day-to-day diet. But I do love trying new smoothie recipes and mixing things up ingredient-wise, so I headed into the cleanse excited to see how I would feel with the small shifts.

Stay tuned for a full blog post on the cleanse as well as an interview with the fabulous nutritionist Molly who works with MNT Studio!

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The Results:

Going from taking classes a few times a month to 12 classes in 14 days definitely took its toll. I was sore and exhausted.

The first week was especially hard, building up my endurance and retraining my muscles for Pilates, barre, and reformer, which I don’t take on a regular basis. But by the first weekend I was feeling strong enough to tackle two classes in a day – Pilates bootcamp and barre. I found week two to be remarkably easier, I was still sore, but more a pleasant “I had a great workout” sore, rather than a “I can’t walk, someone help me” kind of sore. 🙂

While I definitely loved these classes and really enjoyed tackling such a demanding challenge, I have to say that the best part of this two weeks was learning just what I am capable of.

I felt strong. I felt tough. I felt resilient.

Have YOU ever tried a challenge? If not, would you?

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5 Ways to Stay MOTIVATED

I’ve talked about motivation and inspiration and fitspiration a lot over the years here on Moi Contre La Vie. But since I always get questions from followers, friends, and family about how I stay motivated to lead a healthy lifestyle, I guess I’ll have to keep writing about this topic. Which is fine by me, because I think it’s an important obstacle that we’re faced with almost daily.

So, which that in mind, here are my top 5 ways to stay MOTIVATED:

Set Goals – I don’t know about you, but I’m competitive as all get out. Having a goal, and smashing that goal, is serious motivation for me to keep at it. Start small and work your way up to larger, more meaningful goals. Maybe start with working out twice a week, or going for a short walk after dinner. Then aim for 20 minutes of activity a day. You may find, that in a few months or a year, you can throw yourself into goals that you never thought possible like a fitness challenge program or running a race.

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Reward Yourself – I love setting and reaching goals. But I especially love it when reaching that goal means getting something that I’ve been looking forward. Like a new piece of activewear or a massage. Treating yourself to something nice is a great way to stay motived to reach your goals. {Check out my Rewarding Yourself post for more ideas!}Group Effort – Find a friend or a family member to help hold you accountable, or join a challenge or online community. It doesn’t matter whether that means downloading an app or texting back and forth or having a weekend running buddy. You will be amazed how inspirational it is to hear about everyone else’s progress, it really keeps you going.

Calendar It – Set a routine for yourself. Making fitness a part of your every day life, no matter what, will make it much easier. Try thinking about your workout like going to work – You just do it, even if you don’t want to. One trick that I’ve learned over the years is to block off the time on my work calendar so that I don’t schedule something else. I go to the gym every day at 11am, no matter what.

Remind Yourself WHY – If you can’t remember why you’re doing this, you won’t be able to sustain it. So hold on to the reason that you started this journey and when you feel your motivation flagging, pull that reason back up to the forefront. Are you trying to get healthier and avoid chronic disease? Are you trying to reach a goal for an event or birthday? Do you want to spend quality, healthy time with family or a significant other? Try to remember why this is important to you and how it will benefit your life.

J’Adore – If you LOVE your workout, you’re going to want to do it. So find something that you look forward to. Try different classes, or a personal training, or pick up a new active hobby. From boxing to running to zumba – There’s something out there that you’ll really truly enjoy. So go find it! 🙂

How do YOU stay inspired to lead a healthy life?

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