Tag Archives | beginners fitness

Health & Your Relationship

When I read Rachel Wilkerson’s How CrossFit Has Helped My Relationship it got me thinking.

A lot.

Rachel said that by encouraging her boyfriend to take up a healthy hobby – in this instance CrossFit – their relationship ultimately benefited despite the fact that in the end it actually meant less alone time. I have no trouble at all believing this. In my experience, if there’s a substantial disconnect between how much two people value health & nutrition in their lives it can potentially lead to problems down the road.

I don’t believe that you need have all the same views, do the same workouts, or approach food the same way. But if only one person takes their health seriously and devotes time, energy, and effort to maintaining said health, the other individual may become resentful, jealous, threatened etc. Or things can go the other way around and as one person becomes healthier and more fit they begin to pity, worry about, and/or neglect their partner.

Take a look at this piece by the Primal Parent entitled When Good Health Destroys a Marriage. It’s written from the perspective of a woman who changed her diet and was feeling her best, while her husband was… Not. Ultimately their marriage couldn’t survive because she has a strong, well-tested belief in the importance of good health & nutrition, and refused to settle for someone who couldn’t – or wouldn’t – put forth the effort to investigate improving his own health.

Kyle

{Kyle & Rochelle – The authors of Eat Drink Paleo}

If you can find someone who shares your views, that’s fantastic – like my friend Kyle & his lady-love who write the oh-so-entertaining Eat. Drink. Paleo – Two foodies who fell in love and are now transitioning to a paleo lifestyle. But at a minimum you need to show an interest in the other’s routines and goals, and be able to talk about and share your successes and failures.

Take my relationship for example, on the surface my boyfriend and I have virtually opposite views on all facets of fitness and nutrition:

  • He eats an incredibly regimented high protein, low carb diet composed primarily of chicken, eggs, and vegetables which he tracks on a daily basis. I eat a mostly vegan, gluten-free, high raw diet.
  • He does intermittent fasting – meaning that he doesn’t eat until early afternoon & only eats three meals a day. While I eat at least every two hours after my 4am wakeup time.
  • He follows a lifting schedule & does CrossFit-style workouts that leave him wheezing, covered in bruises, scrapes, and rope burns, and stress his nervous system for days. I run, do circuit workouts & go to Pilates, martial arts & boxing classes.
  • His ultimate goal with his work outs and eating regime is to retain & increase strength while dropping body fat. I’m only interested in being healthy and not having daily back pain.

Pretty different, right? But the truth is that those are fairly superficial differences – underneath it all we’re both incredibly passionate about health and fitness, and that’s what really matters.

We love going for walks & hikes, cooking, eating, going to the farmer’s market, and planning our meals and workouts for the week, and most of all, we love debating our positions on these topics. If you looked through our emails, Facebook messages, Tweets, and text logs you’d find photos of our meals, new recipes to try, books to add to our Amazon basket, articles to read, great blogs we’ve found, documentaries & movies to add to our Netflix queue, and questions about what we’ve eaten, what workouts we’ve done, and how far we’ve walked that day.

Every day.

{Hers vs His}

It doesn’t matter that we’re not spending our days doing the same things, what matters is that we both approach our lives with a profound respect for our bodies, what we put them through, and how we fuel them. Yes, we debate topics like veganism versus paleo eating, different types of fat, which oils to use in cooking, fasting, detox programs & cleanses, and strength training. Yes, sometimes I question his sanity when he comes home with his hands shredded from doing hundreds of pull-ups or muscle-ups or toes-to-bars. But mostly, we just talk about it.

Our shared passion for health and nutrition was not what brought us together 12 years ago, nor is it what has kept up together, but it does give us something to talk about and share every single day. And because it’s important to us both, we appreciate the other’s routines and ambitions, even though they’re different.

Like Rachel said:

One more lovely side effect of the fitness revival: Eric and I are back to bonding through nerdy, fitness-related conversations. (We’re also bonding over our sore muscles.) I’m really enjoying little things like talking about our workouts and progress, discussing an article about diet or exercise, trying new healthy foods together, or going shoe shopping for new athletic shoes.

You don’t need to be 100% in sync with your partner, you just need to be with someone who has the same appreciation and respect for health and fitness as you do. Added bonus if it becomes something that you can share and bond over!

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How to Survive a CrossFit Meet

This past weekend was the 2012 LaLanne Fitness Garage Games Kickoff. An all-day CrossFit event Saturday at LaLanne Fitness in San Francisco and the first big competition of the season for my boyfriend and his teammates from American River CrossFit in Sacramento.

 

After last year’s introduction to the joys of CrossFit competitions – the Fittest of the Sierra’s in South Lake Tahoe was the 1st big competition I attended – I wanted to share my advice & lifesaving tips on how best to survive one of these high intensity, rowdy, crowded events.

(1) What To Bring:

  • Bring food – Lots of it. These kids can EAT, so pack unprocessed, lean meats, cheeses & nuts for snacking between workouts.
  • A close second on the must have list is booze. You’ll need it and so will they. Trust me. These are work hard, play hard types and blowing off steam immediately after a brutal competition is a MUST.
  • Water! I can promise you that a giant water bottle will come in handy. This weekend all three competitors ended up using my Nalgene which had to be refilled every 5 minutes.
  • Camera – The biggest issues that I’ve had photo-wise is that the athletes are moving so quickly that in some cases the pictures are blurry or the camera doesn’t reset quickly enough to capture the next shot. As much as I love my Canon, this season I invested in a little HD video camera that also takes stills. Success!

 

(2) What To Expect:

  • Lots of people – These are busy, crowded events and in addition to lots of competitors, you’ll be surrounded by members of the hosting team and tons of spectators. Expect to be bumped or asked to move to accommodate events.
  • No place to sit – In some cases events will be outdoors and you’ll have bleachers to sit on, but primarily the events are indoors and you’ll  be standing pressed against a wall, craning to see over the heads of the other spectators.
  • A fast-paced environment – With large numbers of competitors and a handful of workouts to get through, the organizers may  be rushing to get through the events. Some workouts can be “blink and you miss them” short so keep an eye on your competitor to make sure that you see everything. 
  • LOUD and offensively bad music. This weekend was bad. R&B bad. 

(3) What To Do Afterwards:

  • Plan to go out – You’d think everyone would be beyond exhausted after a day full of crazy workouts, but my experience has been that the adrenaline is still pumping and they have a few more hours of energy left in them.
  • Head straight to a restaurant, trust me when I say they’ll be ready for a big meal. And if they’re paleo-people I’d pick a restaurant in advance to make sure that the menu is acceptable.
  • Make sure that the restaurant you’re going to has a bar. Your competitors will definitely want a drink. Or two. Or three.

I can’t recommend checking out one of these events enough – they’re exciting and fun to watch, never a dull moment.

P.S. Ladies, in case you need some more incentive, the shirts come off about a fourth of the way through. I’m just saying.

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Gym Goddess – Part V

Welcome to How to be a Gym Goddess Part V, if you’re new to this series feel free to check out Part I, II, III & IV at your leisure.

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The goal of Week V was to increase Liz’s endurance further with longer cardio bursts, more HIIT and additional rounds & repetitions to lengthen the workouts.

 

*Note: Discuss changes to your fitness regime with a doctor in advance to avoid injuries.

 

Day 1: All HIIT, all the time.

10 minute cardio warm up

  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed
  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed

Repeat for 15 minutes of intervals

Change machines and do an additional 15 minutes of intervals (if possible you should use three different machines for the warm up, first 15 minutes and second 15 minutes, or you can jog in place or outdoors).

This ended up being the perfect start to the week, we were both suffering from a severe case of the Mondays and battling through headaches and knew that as awful as the gym sounded we’d be more well-adjusted individuals if we went. And we were!

Day 2: Play time! This workout was inspired by two articles that I read in Men’s Health (15 Minute Ski & Snowboard Workout and The Immortal Workout). What? My boyfriend just left it lying around… Couldn’t let it go to waste!

10 minute cardio warm-up

3 Rounds:

  • Bosu medicine-ball twists – 10 (one twist left + one twist right = 1 rep)
  • Bosu 180 jump – 10
  • Lateral medicine-ball hop – 10 (one left + one right = 1 rep)
  • Bosu Medicine-ball goblet squat – 10
  • Bosu medicine-ball swings – 10

10 minute cardio warm-down

This workout was really fun once Liz got the hang of the individual moves — I suggest that you take some time to play around with them after you check out the Men’s Health descriptions, it’s a perfect little warm up.

Day 3: Mini workout – The goal with these smaller workouts is to get your heart rate up, so head down to the gym even if you only have 20 extra minutes. You’ll thank me afterwards. Promise. (And if you have more holiday traveling to do, why not try airplane yoga?)

10 minute cardio warm up

5 Rounds:

  • 250M row
  • 15 squat jumps
  • 30 mountain climbers

10 minute cardio warm down

Stretching

 

Day 4: Shorter HIIT workout

5 minute warm up

  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed
  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed

Repeat for 15 minutes of intervals, change machines and do an additional 15 minutes of intervals

5 minute cool down (i.e. walking on a treadmill etc)

 

Weekend Goal: Before the weather gets too cold, get outside for some exercise. Go for a jog, take a long walk after dinner, walk to run your errands instead of driving, go for a hike. Do something outside and aim for at least an hour’s worth of exercise.

fave workouts

Looking for some new ways to spice up your workouts? Why not take a look at The Fitnessista’s Favorite Workouts of 2011 – From Bodyrock to fitness DVDs to dance classes, there’s something for everyone!

Need a little inspiration and entertainment before hitting the treadmill? Check out Modelinia’s Cardio Boot Camp with model Julie Henderson and trainer David Kirsch.

Happy almost Friday!

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Links You’ll Love

Fashion:

Want to try a new color combo this winter? Read what Beauty and the Budget has to say about Black & Brown.

Holiday decorating is upon us! Here are some tips for the experts on how to make your home festive: Harper’s Bazaar, Elle Decor, Real Simple & Vogue.

Marni for H&M! I’m excited, are you excited?

miranda kerr style, miranda kerr finn

Miranda Kerr’s street style looks these last few post-baby months have been downright phenomenal (exhibits A and B) and here’s yet another amazing one broken down by The Frugal Fashionista.

Not a dress girl? 5 Holiday Outfit Alternatives For the Anti-Dress Girl from FabSugar

Health/Fitness:

No More Excuses! The Hungry Hungry Hippie gives you tips & ideas for food prep for the weekend that will keep you well fed all week long.

NYT – Should We All Go Gluten-Free?

Gina from The Fitnessista shares her 2011 gift picks for everyone on your list and The Stylelist gives you the best Budgest Friendly Gifts. You can also check out the MCLV Gift Giving Guide here.

Five strength training exercises for beginners and five inner & outer thigh toning tips from FitSugar.

Skin care tips from Garance Dore here.

You may have heard me mention Brendan Brazier and his Thrive books in the past, I’m a really big fan of not only his written work but of his general approach to food and nutrition. The healthy food delivery system Fresh N’ Lean is now partnering with Brendan to develop a new line based on his recipes and healthy food principles called Thrive Foods Direct“Fresh ‘N Lean is not another quick fix or fad diet. We do not eliminate carbs or restrict calories. Our concept is really quite simple: prepare healthy, fresh, and delicious meals, without all the preservatives, additives, sodium, and sugar that Americans have come to accept as “normal,” and add the convenience of home/office delivery.”

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Gym Goddess – Part III

Welcome to week III of the How to Become a Gym Goddess series (if you need to catch up, here are Week 1 and Week 2).

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Note: Check with a doctor before beginning a few fitness routine to avoid injuries.

 

Day 1:

15 minutes of intervals on the elliptical (30 seconds as fast as you can, 1 minute 30 seconds at a fast but manageable pace, repeat for 15 minutes)

100 walking lunges (each knee touching the ground is 1 – try to keep moving for the whole 100 even if you do have to slow down)

20 burpees as quickly as possible (How To – Do level II or III if possible, there are also other variations on burpees that we’ll try later one)

3 x 20 mountain climbers

Stretching

Day 2: CORE!!!

1o minutes of cardio, any machine, moderate pace

5 rounds of:

  • 1 minute plank
  • 30 frog crunchies
  • 30 squat jumps (bend knees, touch ground, jump up, clap at top, repeat)
  • 30 leg lifts
  • Row 100 meters as fast as possible

* Rest for under 1 minute between each round

10 minutes of cardio – Warm down

Stretching

Day 3: HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) – Pick a machine and go-go-go

5 minute warm up

  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed
  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed

Repeat for 15 minutes of intervals

Switch machines and repeat for an additional 15 minutes

5 minute cool down (i.e. walking on a treadmill etc)

(Same) Weekend Mini Workout:

To be completed at any point Saturday or Sunday (***Bonus points if you get a workout buddy to join you and race!)

Sprint the length of the street, walk back to your starting point, 5 burpees (how to) – Repeat 10x

Starting w/ your feet together, jump as far as you can & repeat for the length of the street. To the end of the street and back to your starting point = 1, complete 5x

Results: This week wasn’t about change, it was about creating a consistent fitness routine and really trying to make time a couple of days a week to go to the gym even when you’re tired and/or busy. Squeezing in just a small workout can improve your mood and productivity, which is especially important as the holiday season is starting to gear up and your schedule will get more and more hectic.

How do you stay motivated for your workouts? Any tips that always work for you? I like to workout first thing in the morning because in addition to giving my metabolism a little burst, it sets a healthy tone for the day and encourages me to stay on track. I also have to have a great playlist to keep my workouts upbeat. My brother got me the Nano for Christmas last year which is great because it has a clip and it holds such a small number of songs that I update it at least once a week. As for long-term goals, I’ve found that it’s all about giving myself something to look forward to. Like, say, a weekend trip to the Lululemon on Union Square.  (Rachel agrees, clearly) Not only do the promise of Lulu’s keep me going, once I have them I’m doubly motivated to hit the gym because I can’t wait to show them off!

As your workouts are progressing and you’re beginning to feel (and see!) results, you should start thinking about your recovery time. We’ve talked about stretching and rest days to help you stay loose and prepare for your next workout, but your choice of foods immediately before and after a workout can also affect your performance (as, obviously, your food throughout the day can affect your fitness goals in general). Shape shares their tips here, Women’s Health shares their top fitness food picks here and fitness guru to the stars David Kirsch shares his post-workout recovery smoothie here. And if this topic interests you and you’re heading to a book store, definitely pick up any of Brendan Brazier’s Thrive books which discuss this in-depth.

Stay tuned for Week IV!

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