Fitness

Mud Run Tips: How To Keep Your Sneakers From Falling Off!

If you follow me on social media you already know that last weekend I took to the mud and participated in Mud Hero 2016 at Ski Martock here in Nova Scotia. This was the third mud/obstacle race for me, and while I want to give you a bit of a recap of the day, I also wanted to share with you some important advise on how to keep your shoes on your feet while trudging through mud and muck. There isn’t much worse during a mud run than losing one of your shoes – especially since you may not be able to find it again!

Learn how to tie your sneakers to keep them from falling off during a mud run.

So let’s talk about your shoes before I head into my recap shall we? Keeping your sneakers in your feet is all about how you tie them, and it is easier than you think. What I’m going to show you is called a lace lock, or heel lock.

Have you ever noticed that second hole at the top of your laces? You know, the one you probably have never used and never understood why it existed? We are about to use it!

Step 1: Start with your sneaker on your foot, laced but untied.

Step 2: Loop the end of your lace and thread it through that top hole, making a a loop on the outside of  your sneaker. Repeat on the other side.

Step 3: cross your laces and thread the end of each lace through the hole on the outside on the opposite side.

Step 4: Pull the loose end of your laces downwards to start to tighten the lock.

Step 5: Pull up on the loose end of your laces and continue moving them up and down until you get your desired tightness.

Step 6: Tie your laces. I like to first knot them to ensure they don’t come untied, but that is optional.

The lace lock keeps the top of your sneaker tight around your ankle so that your foot won’t slip out, but you are able to keep the rest of your laces/sneakers a bit more lose so you don’t feel constricted while walking or running making losing your shoe one less thing to worry about on race day!

Now let’s move on to my re-cap!

I wasn’t planning on participating in Mud Hero this year, but a few weeks back I was contacted by Columbia Sportswear (who is one of the main event sponsors) to see if I was interested in participating as one of their influencers. Well I’m a sucker for punishment so I jumped at the chance to have a little fun in the mud!

Because I’m taking a break from running this year, I knew I wasn’t going to try and “race” the event, instead I was going to walk the course and have fun completing the obstacles, so I recruited my friend Catherine to come along with me and keep me company.

As a Columbia Influencer, I was sent an AMAZING package of gear to choose from when it came to the day of the race.

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As the day drew near, the weather forecast was a bit up in the air, it was calling for maybe rain, maybe sun – but fairly cool temperatures so I decided to wear both my tank top and long sleeved half-zip since I know I get cold easily.

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Did it make me nervous to think about wearing all BRAND NEW gear in a mud race? Yes, yes, it did. Even my husband said it made him want to cry a little thinking about me wearing those brand new hiking sneakers in the mud. But that was the whole point, that Columbia gear is #TestedTough4MudHero so I was really going to be testing that theory! Though when it came down to it, the thought of wearing my beautiful white hat or headband in the mud made me cringe so I was happy when I got to the race site to find out that our “bibs” were actually headbands so I opted to wear that instead of either headpiece from Columbia.

The “before” – looking all cute and clean!

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The weather turned out to be perfect for us. We both wore tank tops with another shirt over top and I was the right temperature throughout the race. Not too hot, not too cold. And as it turns out, I was less concerned about getting my sneakers dirty than getting that beautiful light blue long sleeve! But oh boy, did it get dirty.

The race photos came out on Wednesday, and my bib number didn’t pull any but I did find this gem of us on the slide just as we were about to get down. The photo speaks for itself I think, hahaha.

View Photo: http://www.zoomphoto.ca/viewphoto/19766-110-27107830/1/

There were some new obstacles this year but instead of talking you through them, I may as well show them to you. Here is the video walk-through Mud Hero posted on their Facebook page before the event as well as a recap they posted after the race showing you a bit more of the muddy situation I was in by clicking here.

It was certainly the muddiest mud event I’ve been in to date. Oh my, the mud, the mud, the MUD! And needless to say, by the end I was covered from head to toe.

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For your viewing pleasure, I saved my SnapChat story from Saturday so you could hear more about the experience!

But let’s talk about how my gear held up in clean up. I didn’t do anything fancy, I came home and cleaned them the best I could with the garden hose, then tossed them in the buckets you saw in the video full of water and a bit of dish soap overnight. Sunday I took them out and put the clothes through one wash in my washing machine (on a cold cycle) and rinsed the soap out of my sneakers and left them outside to dry.

That’s it. No stain remover, no scrubbing, nothing fancy at all.

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The verdict? Not a single stain, tear or indication that anything had been literally through the mud pit. I am really impressed! #TestedToughForMudHero indeed!

Thank you so much to Columbia Sportswear for sponsoring me to do Mud Hero this year, it was so much fun and everyone I’ve talked to has been super impressed at how well my gear all held up!

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Rounding Out The Fitness Routine

Hey there! Guess what? I’m almost on vacation!!! In just over 24 hours I’ll be off for a full week – I can’t wait!

But before I go, I promised to tell you about part three of my summer (and hopefully beyond) fitness plan to find my {fitness} self after spending so many years focused on the needs of my participants instead of my own.

If you missed the first two posts in the this series you can find them here:

Part 1

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Part 2

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And part three is going to be short and sweet (in written word anyway) – strength training.

I cannot tell you the last time I developed or followed a dedicated strength training program for myself. I’ve been strength training with participants in fitness classes for years, but this summer I have the luxury of not teaching any strength based classes and can finally focus on myself instead of others. This is very exciting, and a little scary.

It’s exciting because I’m going to be able to focus on myself, and my workout, instead of worrying about the workout of all my participants, but also a bit scary because like everyone else, I do better when being told what to do workout wise, versus developing and following a plan for myself.

So like any smart person, I’ve sought out help in the form of a training plan I can follow! I’m not going to share what plan I’m using, not because it’s a secret, but because I think everyone needs to find their own way and I won’t know if the plan I’ve chosen is truly the right one for me until I get started next week. If I stick to it and see it through to the end and still like it, then I’ll share what I did, but for now all you need to know is I’ll be working out at home a couple times/week lifting heavy things in addition to my yoga, casual bike rides and fitness classes.

It’s really exiting to me that I’m teaching 6 classes this summer, and that only 2 or 3 really count as a workout for me (since I do more coaching than anything else in the others).

I really hope that this is the summer that I finally put this over training issue that has be dragging me down for years away. 2 hours of cardio, 2-3 strength training workouts and some casual biking and yoga. For once, my weekly workout schedule actually sounds reasonable.

That’s it for me! I had intended to post another monthly book round up before going on vacation, but I’m still reading one of the books I was going to review so instead that will wait until I return on the 12th.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend friends (whether you are in Canada or the USA) and I will talk to you soon!

xoxo

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Cruising Into Summer With Sport Chek #SweatBetter

Happy first day of summer!!!

I mentioned in my last post that my quest to re-finding my fitness self was going to be a multi-part endeavour. I’ve been plugging away at yoga even if for only 10 minutes at a time since I hit publish last week, but that alone isn’t going to be enough.

Since I decided to give up racing (I still am going to do a couple 5K’s here and there, even if they are more walks than anything – just for fun) the one thing I have missed is getting to exercise outside. I like walking, and want to get into doing more hiking, but both of those can be kind of boring when done on their own. I’ve never been really into biking, but for some reason I got it in my head last fall that what I wanted was a cute, mint green cruiser that I could zip around on in the warmer months. Our mail box is about a kilometer away from our house, and I will often walk to it in the summer, but it can be a pain if there are a bunch of packages, or if it’s really hot out so I thought a bike with a basket would be great.

In the winter I started casually looking around online to see what types of cruisers were available, how much they costs, and if they had any that I really liked, and time and time again found myself coming back to this one on the Sport Chek website.

Since I know nothing about bikes aside from the fact that I know it’s important to get the right size, I decided before getting anything I should go in and talk to the employees at my local Sport Chek to see if the bike I had my eye on was an appropriate size for me. Because I’m still a little shy about recording video in-store unless they know I’m there to do that, I vlogged what I found out and then the whole process of getting it, which you can watch below.

It’s taken me a little bit of time to get around to putting this post together because I was fairly sure Ollie was in the video footage, and I didn’t think I was ready to see her yet 🙁 But happily, this weekend when I started editing, I was so happy to see her fat little grey self come strolling around the corner. You’ll get to see her twice in the short video!

I apologize that the video ends sort of abruptly. I brought the bike home the day Ollie passed away, so I was definitely not in any state to be seen on camera. :/

If you can’t (or didn’t want to) watch the video, basically what I found out was that cruisers are the “stretch limos” of the bike world. Because the seat is placed differently than on other bikes, most anyone can drive them – which meant that pretty green cruiser should be perfect for me! The bike was ordered on Thursday, and the following Wednesday it was here!

Sport Chek bikes come un-asembled when you order them online, but you can take them into your local store and drop it off to have it assembled free of charge. I was told that they are usually ready to pick up again in 24 hours or less, but since I dropped mine off the weekend of the Apple Blossom Festival (which is a huge deal in my area) I wasn’t expecting it to be done right away, and then I think they forgot to call me to tell me it was ready. I left it there for a week before calling to see if it was ready, I was half waiting to see how long it would take for them to call but I was too busy to go pick it up before then anyway. When I did finally call it was ready and waiting so the following day Cathy and I went and picked her up!

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Again they were really nice in-store, they told me that not only did I get the assembly for free, but that they will do minor tune-ups for a full year after purchase. So if it feels like it’s not driving quite straight, or the brakes are a little off, etc. I can bring it back in and they will fix it. That is a great perk that I had no idea they offered!

In fact, I didn’t realize they even serviced bikes, that’s how terribly unobservant I am. I thought they mostly did skate sharpening and other hockey related things and that was it. I am so out of touch sometimes, haha.

Once home there was only one thing my bike needed – a sweet basket. And one quick virtual trip to Amazon and I had a package arriving on my doorstep within days.

Seriously people, how fab does she look?

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I can’t even.

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I swear this bike screams Suzi, and Suzi is having a slight love affair with the bike…

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My husband saw that picture and jokingly said, “You better not be hugging that bike!” Oh but I am…..oh but I am… 😀

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And don’t worry yourselves, I’ll be wearing a bicycle helmet when driving – and wearing more appropriate shoes too.

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Yes indeed, I am pretty darn smitten and am very much looking forward to having some fun bike excursions this summer. I love that my cruiser is super basic – no gears to shift (because let’s be honest, I never learned how to shift properly so my bike chain always falls off when I try) and it has the backwards brakes (pedal back to stop – like a 4 year old’s bike. Which I love, haha).

I don’t plan on doing anything more than cruise along taking fun, but slow bike rides this summer so this is perfect.

So I’ve traded in my running sneakers for wheels, so hopefully I’ll still cover as many miles (or more) as I would have other years, but instead of doing them on foot, I’ll be on two wheels.

And that is part two of Suzi’s new fitness focus. But I’m not done quite yet. This is a three pronged focus of YOGA – BIKING – ?????? Part three shall be revealed next week. 🙂

Thank you again to Sport Chek for working with me on this and helping to make my mint green cruiser dreams come true!

If you are in the market for a new bike, check out their selection in store and online – and remember, if you order online you can take it to your local store to have it assembled free of charge. And regardless of where you bought your bike, you can take it in and have their service department take care of minor or major service needs. Check your local store’s In-Store Services to see all they offer.

Disclosure: This post had been sponsored by Sport Chek, all opinions expressed on this blog are entirely my own.

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Your Holistically Hot Transformation Book Review & Giveaway

I have been saving the books I’ve read so far this month for another round-up at the end of June, but wanted to write a separate post for Marissa Vicario’s new book “Your Holistically Hot Transformation” for a couple reasons.

Number one – if you have the Kindle app, right now until Wednesday, June 15th, 2016 you can pick the title up for FREE (click here for Amazon.ca and click here for Amazon.com) and because Marissa was kind enough to offer one of her books (hardcopy – not via Kindle) to one of my readers so keep reading to the end to enter to win!

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In reading through Marissa’s book, so much of what she suggests and recommends is completely in line with what I believe and recommend when coaching people so I felt an instant connection with both her and her book. There is so much information out there with today that it’s easy to get swamped in information and be left without any idea of what to do or where to start when it comes to making healthy life changes.

Change doesn’t have to start with some huge flourishing move, a small change in the right direction is not only more manageable, but more sustainable long term anyway. Through her book Marissa tells you how she transformed her life, and how you can begin to change yours too.

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And you might be surprised at how easy it really is.

Challenging – but easy.

Probably my favourite thing about Marissa’s approach is that she believes as I do – that every person’s body reacts differently to different foods and because of that there is no one eating style that will work for every person. Period. There are things that will work for everybody like choosing water over processed drinks, and eating fewer processed foods and more natural ones, but overall each person must be their own detective to figure out what particular foods work best for them.

Another thing I really enjoyed was the small “Put It Into Action” steps she sprinkles throughout the book. These are ideas and tasks you can start right away to start to make positive changes without turning your entire life upside down.

Marissa also explains other alkaline versus acidic foods, super foods, shares recipes, information and lists on stocking a healthy kitchen and more making this a well rounded easy read for beginning (or continuing) on your healthy living journey.

The Giveaway:

As I mentioned above, Marissa has been kind enough to offer one of my readers a hardcopy of her new book. I find “real” books are easier to use when trying to go back and reference them, so even if you’ve taken advantage of the free Kindle promotion, you are still welcome to enter this giveaway!

To enter: Leave a comment below telling me what is one change you’ve made in the past year that has lead to you living a healthier, more holistically hot life! A winner will be chosen on Monday, June 20th.

Update: Winner has been chosen!

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Congratulations Catherine!

For me, the answer would definitely be taking more time to relax and trying to work smarter not harder. Stress is so bad for your health and learning to take better control of my work load has really helped me to stress less (usually, but not always 😉 ).

For a bonus entry tweet the following (then leave a separate comment with your twitter handle and telling me you tweeted):

Pick up Holistically Hot for FREE on Kindle until June 15th, 2016 click here for Amazon.ca and click here for Amazon.com

Good luck, and enjoy!

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I was provided with a free copy of Marissa’s e-book (which you can get too by following the links above before June 15th), and wanted to share it with you as well as give you the chance to win a copy!

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How To Make Flexibility Training Easier

Flexibility, of the three main aspects of fitness (cardio, strength and flexibility) you are the one people tend to forget about the most. Somehow you are thought to be less important – when really the opposite is true. Good flexibility is key in mobility, injury prevention, and overall wellness and yet many people avoid it like the plague. I think some honestly don’t realize how important it is (like the people who leave a fitness class just as the stretch/flexibility portion is starting – not because they have to go, but because they don’t think it’s important to stay… *insert side eye here*), find it too difficult or uncomfortable, or think stretching is somehow only for weak people <– nay, the strongest overall people are those who do flexibility training. Today I’m going to talk about how you can make flexibility training easier.

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Not everyone of course falls into those categories, those who practice yoga and pilates have stretches built right into their movements, and dancers and gymnasts also take stretching very seriously. Last summer when I went to meet Ellie Black and watch her train, she spent a long time warming up, stretching and preparing to practice. It’s just so important, especially in a sport like hers, to make sure your body is ready to go before you actually “go”.

Today I’m here to talk to the people in category two – those who find it too hard/difficult and therefore avoid it. Maybe it’s difficult because you’ve made it a habit not to properly warmup or stretch after workouts, maybe an injury or illness (like arthritis) makes it difficult for you to get into the positions in order to stretch, or maybe you simply find it difficult for no other reason that it’s difficult.

It doesn’t have to be. Get out of your mind that stretching, yoga, flexibility training, or whatever you want to call it, has to include turning your body into a pretzel or forcing yourself into positions that feel impossible, painful and are simply put – uncomfortable.

Want to know how to make flexibility training instantly easier? Use props. A chair, a bolster cushion, yoga blocks (or a little pile of books), rolled up blankets, and straps – all of which can assist you in most any position to help support you, allow you more freedom and comfort and a wider ROM (range of motion). For the sake of this post, I’m going to be talking about one prop in particular – the strap. There are lots of different flexibility straps on the market, but I am using the Flex Strap from FlexFixx which is my favourite of the flexibility and yoga straps I’ve used over the years.

Find flexibility training, yoga, or stretching in general difficult? With a few simple supportive props like a yoga strap you can take your training and/or your practise to a whole new level.

Your average yoga strap is one long strap with a buckle on one end so you can make a loop on one end to assist you in certain positions. The downside of those straps, is that every time you change positions you have to stop and readjust your buckle or un-do it completely which really slows you down and takes away from your training time (and your overall experience if in a yoga class). That’s why I live the Flex Strap so much, instead of the built in buckle, it has built in loops for foot and hand holds that you don’t have to adjust for every movement change. You can easily slip your hands and feet in and out as needed.

Find flexibility training, yoga, or stretching in general difficult? With a few simple supportive props like a yoga strap you can take your training and/or your practise to a whole new level.

As you can see in the photo above, each loop is numbered making it really easy to track your progress through your training. Each end starts with 1 and works it’s way up to a 6 before hitting the middle which is labelled with the FlexFixx logo.

Find flexibility training, yoga, or stretching in general difficult? With a few simple supportive props like a yoga strap you can take your training and/or your practise to a whole new level.

I don’t know how many of you have the need to use a seamstress fabric measuring tape, but 90% of the time when I pick one up I find I have the wrong end (the one with the highest number), and then have to fish around finding the other end with the 1. That might not seem like a big deal, and it isn’t, but having either end of the strap start with 1 means that I never have to stop what I’m doing to find the other side if I am tracking my progress. It also means that for positions where I can easily move from one side to the other, I am able to very quickly determine if my flexibility on one side is roughly the same on the other.

Find flexibility training, yoga, or stretching in general difficult? With a few simple supportive props like a yoga strap you can take your training and/or your practise to a whole new level.

Find flexibility training, yoga, or stretching in general difficult? With a few simple supportive props like a yoga strap you can take your training and/or your practise to a whole new level.

Using a strap makes it easy to achieve stretches or poses that limited ROM or the length of your limbs would make otherwise difficult.

Positions like a seated hamstring stretch (with straight back),

Find flexibility training, yoga, or stretching in general difficult? With a few simple supportive props like a yoga strap you can take your training and/or your practise to a whole new level.kneeling lunge with bent knee,
Find flexibility training, yoga, or stretching in general difficult? With a few simple supportive props like a yoga strap you can take your training and/or your practise to a whole new level.

bound side angle,

Find flexibility training, yoga, or stretching in general difficult? With a few simple supportive props like a yoga strap you can take your training and/or your practise to a whole new level.

and standing straddle – and really any chest opener.

Find flexibility training, yoga, or stretching in general difficult? With a few simple supportive props like a yoga strap you can take your training and/or your practise to a whole new level.

The use of a strap can also really help to force you to activate muscle groups in a stretch or pose, instead of allowing them to be passive. Using the strap allows you to not only maintain the stretch, but in positions like a seated straddle also forces you to keep your feet actively flexed.

Find flexibility training, yoga, or stretching in general difficult? With a few simple supportive props like a yoga strap you can take your training and/or your practise to a whole new level.

Looping the strap on one foot when moving into a seated straddle with side stretch again keeps your feet active while allowing you to choose your degree of side stretch based on which loop you put your hand in,

Find flexibility training, yoga, or stretching in general difficult? With a few simple supportive props like a yoga strap you can take your training and/or your practise to a whole new level.

and in this lateral flexion, having your hands on the strap ensures you keep them the same distance apart throughout the move, which generates a better stretch.

Find flexibility training, yoga, or stretching in general difficult? With a few simple supportive props like a yoga strap you can take your training and/or your practise to a whole new level.

And finally, using a strap can help support you in positions that you might find uncomfortable. For many, one such position is butterfly, as they find their knees don’t fall towards the floor very far and it can be uncomfortable to try and hold them up. Using the strap (I show in the video below how to do it) takes the pressure off the knees and allows you more comfort while allowing the stretch to do it’s job.

Find flexibility training, yoga, or stretching in general difficult? With a few simple supportive props like a yoga strap you can take your training and/or your practise to a whole new level.Find flexibility training, yoga, or stretching in general difficult? With a few simple supportive props like a yoga strap you can take your training and/or your practise to a whole new level.

Many people find that the addition of props allows them to move into poses/positions that were previously unavailable to them, like reclining butterfly. The strap provides the support and relieves the pressure from the knees which may then allow you to move easily into this restorative position.

Find flexibility training, yoga, or stretching in general difficult? With a few simple supportive props like a yoga strap you can take your training and/or your practise to a whole new level.

I have put together a video for you showing some of the stretches above, as well as a number of different stretches/poses not shown above.

I hope you can now see why adding some props to your flexibility or yoga training can really open up a whole new word of flexibility for you – and quite possibly make it a whole lot more fun! Please let me know if you’ve enjoyed this post, if people are interested I might make a few more of these posts showing how other props can really help your flexibility training. I find in classes they are under utilized because people have a stigma attached to them for some reason.

Toss your expectations aside and pick up a prop like the Flex Strap! It could change your entire flexibility game!

The Flex Strap is available for purchase on Amazon:

Amzaon.com: http://amzn.to/1snLSTY
Amazon.ca: http://amzn.to/1Orw3oX

When you order a Flex Strap, you get not only the strap, but also a user guide filled with exercises you can do using it. Some are the same as those I’ve shared above, but there are also many different exercises, which is nice because I’ve never received a user guide with any other flexibility strap I’ve purchased over the years.

Finally, I hope you take some time today and stretch, your body will thank you for it!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for the FlexFixx Flex Strap. All opinions expressed are entirely my own, and I truly believe in this product and using props to aid your flexibility practice. 

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