Keeping that fitness train rolling

As promised, Thursday, I went back to the gym with trainer Britt. Honestly, mornings are my favourite time to work out, made all the better by having such an amazing workout partner and motivator! I love starting my day off with a great sweat sesh, and catching up with an amazing friend. It just sets the mood for the rest of the day. I find I am happier and more productive on days we go to the gym together. Here’s what we did on Thursday:

Thursday’s workout

Because Britt is evil, she again started us on the stairmaster. I don’t know why, but that just kills me! Clearly, cardio is where I am weakest! She keeps promising me it’ll get easier and she’s never steered me wrong, but I am still waiting for that day to come haha.

Of all the exercises listed, I think my favourites are the sumo deadlift and the third superset (standing cable row with tricep pull downs). The deadlifts, even though they are not super heavy yet, just always make me feel like a badass! And I always feel better knowing that Britt is keeping an eye on my form and keeping me in line and out of danger. The tricep pull downs are great because I love the look of well defined triceps and you only get that through putting in the work. So put in the work I shall! And the standing cable rows are fun because it’s a great way to sneak in some extra ab work without really having to think about it. No crunches, but still a great abdominal workout along with all the other benefits of the cable row.

Friday, I was off from work, so took the opportunity to start my day with a run. I’m still following the couch to 10 km app, and was on week 9 day 3. My little furry companion ran with me for 4 km of my run, then I handed him off to my husband and continued the rest of the run solo. He’s still in training so I don’t want to over work him or push too hard too soon, even if he is a bundle of energy and can trot beside me as I run. Here’s what Friday’s run looked like:

Friday’s run; week 9 day 3

Runner’s high

I found this run tough, but was really happy with Gambit’s progress, he’s getting stronger every day! He ran 4 km of my 6.64 km total! And by run, I mean he fast trotted beside me, as you can see, I’m not a super fast runner! But that is enough to tire him out, and relax him for the rest of the day, which is perfect. A tired dog is a well behaved dog!

After my hiatus from activity, getting the regular sweat sessions in is feeling amazing! I need to remind myself of this next time I fall off the wagon!

Returning with a Vengeance!

Well! I went from not getting my sweat on at all, to working out on the daily! And let me tell you, it feels GREAT!

As I mentioned in my last post, I went for a run with the handsome 4-legged Gambit on Monday. Yesterday, I hit the gym with Trainer Britt and did an awesome full body workout with a focus on legs (well, it was really one exercise that really focused on legs, but it was KILLER!). Here’s what we did:

Tuesday’s workout, can you pick what killed me?

We are now a few months in to our training and she is definitely upping the anti! For starters? The stair master is our WARM UP! What happened to my nice gentle treadmill warm up? I am huffing and puffing almost immediately! Ok, ok, I may be a stair master weenie, but at least allow me to shed a tear or two!

The paloff press side rotation with hold was a great core exercise, that also used my glutes and my arms. Honestly? The hold was the hardest part of this exercise! The key is to keep your core tight and not allow your body to compensate by bending or ‘sagging’ to relieve strain.

The killer for me was the inverted leg press sets!!! We reduced our weight so that we could really work on gaining that full range of motion. One rep here was to lower down, as far as you can without your bum lifting from the seat, knees wide, hold for second, lift half way, hold for a second, lower all the way, hold for a second, then lift all the way up. That’s one. Start right into the next rep immediately no break! Our first set we did 6, then 7, then 8, then 7, then 6. My legs were JELLY! For me, this was both the hardest and the most satisfying exercise of the day! I always feel so powerful when I leg press, and with this rep pattern, it was especially challenging and therefore especially rewarding! The goal here is to gain power and strength in the lower half of the squat, where you are typically the weakest. Doing this killer exercise will help to dramatically improve your squats!

We finished off with a superset of dead hangs and battle ropes. Battle ropes have been getting a lot of attention lately, but to be perfectly honest? I don’t see what all the fuss is about.I have a shoulder injury in BOTH shoulders, so perhaps I’m soured on this exercise by having to be on guard CONSTANTLY to ensure I don’t aggravate those old injuries. Most other exercises I do, that is not a fear I need to have. Brittany loves them though, and I trust her judgement, so, battle ropes I do (carefully).

Dead hangs are also not a favourite of mine, but that is simply because I SUCK at them!!!! My grip strength is apparently terrible (how did I ever survive for hours on the monkey bars????) and rather than hang for 30 secs, activating my lats and looking all graceful, I hang, slip off, hang, slip off, hang, slip off, for the entire 30 secs haha. I am the farthest thing from graceful. BUT I’m working on it. Bit by bit, I will get better, this is how I improve. PRACTICE!

I also hit the gym with Brittany again this morning. Here’s what we did today:

Today’s workout

Today, we focused on arms and back. Again, she tried to kill me with a 5 min stair master warm up. I’m telling you, stair masters need a warm up themselves! hahaha I look so pathetic huffing and puffing as she’s chatting away as if we were sitting drinking coffee! Ugh, again, I’ll only improve with practice, right?

Because we both have dodgy shoulders, we really made sure to warm them up with resistance bands first. Lots of shoulder rotations, in all directions, making sure the shoulders were well warmed and well lubricated before we attempted the workout. Always smart wake up the muscles first!

As you can see from today’s workout, there is nothing too new or crazy involved. Very basic and straight forward exercises that we have been doing for a while now. The difference is that today, they weren’t dispersed with exercises that focused on other body parts, all the focus was on the arms and back. We also did 12 reps in every set. Upping the anti juuuust a little. If I’m being perfectly honest, I never really broke a major sweat in today’s workout. BUT I can feel my arms, especially my triceps and biceps, from todays workout already! And I always feel things worse the second day after ( I haven’t even felt the first day after yet!). So ya, this routine is definitely effective!

Tomorrow we head back to the gym, I believe to do a similar routine to the one we did last week (on my triumphant return to the gym! See that post here). So ya, feeling pretty good about my gym time this week! Plus, getting to hang out with Brittany every day is kind of amazing! Win-win!

What have you fitness freaks been doing to get your sweat on these days?

Training; old legs and new

Ok, my fellow fitness freaks. I am FINALLY getting back into some semblance of a routine! Last week, I managed to hit the gym with trainer Britt! It. Felt. Wonderful!!!!! We did a new routine, so it was all fresh and interesting and challenging. It felt so great to be moving my body again, trying to drink enough water, eat well, my usual! I had definitely fallen into a bad slump of being pretty sedentary (3-4 dog walks a day, but no real SWEAT sessions) and eating whatever I wanted (and trust me, what I wanted did not tend to be of the healthy variety!). So the gym session was the first step back on to the fitness wagon.

Here’s what we did for the new routine:

The new routine

Today, I went for a run. It was slow. And hard. And felt WAY longer than it was, but I DID IT!!!!!!!! I didn’t give up! I ran every run segment of the program and never gave up, despite wanting to 3/4 of the way through!

I am running the same zenlabs couch to 10km app I’ve been using for a while now. Week 9, day 2. Today consisted of the following:

  • 5 min brisk warm up
  • 4 x (10 min running, 1 min walking)
  • 5 min cool down walk

All in all, I went 6.64 km….. not the greatest for such a long time running, but hey, I was out there, I was doing it! Every step counts! Plus? I had an adorably cute running companion for my first 3 km:

Give it up for Gambit’s first 3k!

This is a new experience for me! Caspian is an older dog, very small, and completely blind, so running with him was never an option. Gambit is young, larger, and sighted, so he’s my first four legged running companion!

For size reference: Caspian is 10lbs while Gambit is 18.5lbs!

I think that gambit could have run the full 6, but he was getting a little sluggish and disinterested it seemed, so for a first run, I wanted to leave on a positive and well engaged note. Hopefully, so that he wants to run with me again! It REALLY tuckered him out!! Which was great for lowering his energy level and overall reactiveness to things!

It was a bit of an adjustment for me, too. I had to be way more alert to things he may get distracted by so that he didn’t bolt and trip me! Thankfully, that never happened, but you never know! He’s pretty strong! I also had to take an unplanned bathroom break for him to do his business, and for me to pick it up, tie the bag, attached it securely to avoid a flying poop bag incident, ya know, all the usual dog walking stuff, but on a run. That was the second reason for him to only do half the run. It still gave me 30 min of total zen time. At least until we oil out our runs together.

Tomorrow, I am meeting trainer Britt for another gym session, so hopefully this is the END of my fitness dry spell and I am back on the wagon!

When life gets in the way

Hello my fellow fitness freaks! Sorry it’s been a while since I made a post. Sadly it’s been equally as long since I had a good sweat sesh. My husband and I adopted a new dog on Sunday (yay!) but almost immediately, my husband fell ill. So between training the new puppers (Gambit), making sure he gets a long with the old puppers (Caspian), and taking care of my husband, there hasn’t been a whole lot of time for me.

Don’t get me wrong, there has been plenty of walks. But the new pup is very reactive to people and dogs and bikes, so walking him involves a lot of patience and training. I’m trying to train that loud bark response out of him by desensitizing him to things and also by rewarding his quiet responses. It takes constant vigilance!

Training Gambit not to bark in the car

I did finally manage to take the new pup out for a short run this morning! 3.2 Km around the blocks around my house. That definitely helped to quell some of his abundant 3.5 year old energy!

Chilling in the sun together after Gambit’s had a run

My husband seems to be slowly on the mend, so hopefully things will return to normal around here soon and I can get back to my training plan with Trainer Britt. For now, I am focused on all 3 of my boys, and taking as many long walks and slow jogs as I can squeeze in! Even though I’m looking after other people and animals who can’t do that for themselves right now, it’s important that I keep my strength and energy and fluids up too. ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’ as they say, so I gotta make sure my cup stays full for both me and them! The jog this morning was tough, not my best work, and the dog was distracting, so not the same zen feeling a run usually gives, but it was active, and fun and got us outdoors. So I’ll take it!

How do you guys manage to make the time for your sweat sesh when life just seems to be standing in your way of an active life style?

Running out the Anxiety and the Nike Run Club App

One of the major reasons I got into activities in the first place was my anxiety. I wanted to find somewhere to put all that nervous energy I generated. Wanted to find something to tire myself out sufficiently to get even a little sleep at night. I refer to my brain as a hamster on a wheel, and that little jerk LOVES to run high speed laps at night!

Today, I had to write a test at work as part of my training. I felt prepared, but I always get nervous before a test. Especially one that I actually care about the results! So leading up to today I had been building a lot of nervous energy. Thankfully, I wrote my test in the morning and didn’t have to try and sit still, waiting for the test to be delivered to me. I started the test around 9:30, and it took about an hour and a half. Knowing I would have to wait for my results, I decided to eat lunch at my desk while working, and take my lunch to go for a walk out in the sunshine. I walked 6.08 Km! Not my longest lunchtime walk, but pretty darned respectable, and it allowed me to make the rest of my day without too much anxious fidgeting.

In the end, I passed! So I could now start the weekend without it weighing on my shoulders! Buuuuuuut I still had a lot of fidgeting in me. So I decided to grab my runners and hit the road when I got home.

Just getting started….. that breeze still felt cool….

I am on week 9 day 1 of the Couch to 10K app by ZenLabs. That meant my run was about an hour long, and consisted of the following:

  • 5 min brisk walk warmup
  • (10 min jog, 1 min walk) x 4
  • 5 min cool down

For me, that correlated to 7.54Km in 57min with an average pace of 7’34″/Km. I chose to extend my cool down walk by about 3 min for a couple of reasons. First, the last 10 min jog was HARD. Every step took effort to keep going. Second, HOT does not even begin to describe the weather today, so I wanted to give my muscles a longer cool down before I just collapsed in my backyard, and finally, my cool downs are not slow lackadaisical walks. So whether its a cool down walk, or a mid run walk, I am still putting time in pounding the pavement and earning Kms.

Post run. So soooooooooo warm!!!!! Felt like a champ for not giving up though!!!

Today was also my first time trying out the Nike Run Club app on my Apple Watch. For all my other runs, I had used the ‘in house’ activity app that comes on all apple phones and watches. I really enjoy how it displays the information as you run. Your Kms are big and in your face, which is something I enjoy. It also gives you your current pace, which again, I find very useful when I am running. It also gives you an option to have a voice over, so at every Km, you are told your total distance, the pace of the last Km, as well as your average pace from the whole run. Also kinda neat and useful, but nice that you can turn it on or off as desired. The last thing that I found QUITE useful, is that it allows you to track the mileage of all of your shoes. You can enter each pair of running shoes, and every run, you can select the shoes you wore, and it keeps a running tally of the Km that you have put on your shoes. No more wondering how long you’ve had these shoes, how many Kms have you run in them, do your knees hurt because your knees hurt or is it time for knew shoes again?

These are the final stats displayed, I didn’t ship my phone out for a pic mid run

Things I didn’t like about it are that the apple activity sees your nike run activity, but does not allow you to call it anything other than a run. So for instance, I like to walk in my runners when I am at work so that I can really book it. In order to track that mileage on my shoes, I need to use the nike run app, but now apple sees that as a run, when really it was a walk. So When quickly glancing back over my activities it now looks like I ran twice today, which I definitely did not do. I also didn’t like that the music controls were not easily accessed. My phone is securely away in my SPI belt when I run, and with apple activity, I simply swipe left on my watch and all my music controls are there.

As it stands right now, I will have to give the Nike Run Club another test to see how I truly feel about it. I think it definitely had some nice and interesting features, but also a few clunky functions. To fairly judge it, I’ll need a few more runs!

For all of you, my fellow fitness freaks, how do you prefer to track your runs? Fitbit? Garmin? TomTom? Let me know what you’re using and why!

PS because it’s sooooo hot today? I made sure to keep my fluids up all day, plus drank 500mL about 30 min before my run. Now as I type this, I am finishing off my 1L bottle! Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Conditioning and the Daily Grind

This week and last has felt pretty good in the fitness department. I haven’t gotten a whole lot of runs in, but strength training and fun fitness activities have been prevalent.

Last weeks fitness summary
This weeks fitness summary so far

As you can see, last week I did something active every day. I try to spread out the different types of activities, so that I don’t have 2 strength training gym days back to back or running back to back. On Friday, I took a 6.25 Km walk at lunch to get some lower impact activity in there on a hot day, while not doing anything too intensive the day before the foam fest run. It’s a good idea to take it very gentle the day before a run. You want your muscles to be well rested and ready to give it all on the race. Any training you do the day before a race will only detract from your performance, not add to it.

This week, I took a well deserved break on Sunday, the day after the race. I didn’t even go for a walk. I wanted to fully rest and rehydrate after such a long time in the burning heat. (For a better description of the Foam Fest run, click here).

Monday, I went to the gym with Trainer Britt, and cranked out a strength training workout. Unfortunately, we ran out of time for the abs portion of the workout (that pesky work thing!) but the extra focus on the different movements is never a bad thing. Especially when it comes to squats. You can never be too careful when it comes to your form!

Monday’s workout (no time for abs)

Trainer Britt has recently begun working full time as a trainer so our schedule is adjusting as she reduces her yoga teaching classes and increases her training clients. This week that meant that we were able to sneak a bonus day in! So Tuesday we met up for a little conditioning work. Here’s what that looked like:

Our conditioning session

Trainer Britt is a HUGE proponent of foot mobility. So we spent a good few minutes rolling out our feet with the Alpha sized Yoga Tune Up ball. These are great little accessories that allow you to feel like you have access to a massage at home! They really help you get in there and loosen up tight muscles, very similar to foam rolling. We rolled our feet over the ball on the floor, then from side to side along the ball of our feet, then finally we gripped and released it, really giving our feet some love.

After that, Brittany filmed me performing squats from the front, the side, and the back, both with and without shoes on. She didn’t show me right away though, just had me do a few times as she filmed me. Showing me would come later. Post filming, we rolled out our glutes, calves, IT bands, and back with the foam roller.

Once we were well loosened up, she pulled out the trusty bands, and had me stand on one slightly bent leg, pushing my bum back as if I had just started a squat. With the band around my thighs (just above my knees), she had me raise the other leg out to the side, leading with the knee, as far as I could, then return to the start position. We did 3 sets of 10 reps per side. This was followed by the main event – the leg press conditioning work!

On the leg press, normally we work at about 90 lbs, at least 10 – 12 reps per set. For the conditioning work, we used 50 lbs, and aimed for 5 reps a set. Sounds measly, right? I assure you, it was hard work!!!! She would have me lower as low as I could, ensuring that my lower back did not lift fro the seat at all, then pause for 2 secs, then raise to half way, and hold for 1 sec, then lower back down and hold for 2 secs, and finally raise back up to the start position. Without waiting, dive right into the next rep. Let me tell you, I could feel the burn!!!!!!! We did 3 sets of 5, and I was shaking!

Finally, Brittany filmed my squats again, barefoot, holding a 10 lbs medicine ball at my chest as a counterweight. Then the big reveal. In the video, which she could put in slow motion, and REALLY accentuate the things she wanted me to see, it was very easy to see the point where I didn’t have the strength in my thighs or the flexibility in my hips and I stopped sitting back into a squat and begun lowering my upper body to ‘feel’ like I was getting lower (but not actually closer to 90 degrees haha). She also showed me how my hips tend to dip to the right (not uncommon, lots of people do dip one way or the other. Then she showed me the video we took at the end of the workout, and with the counterweight, I kept my back much straighter and had much better form. I could also pinpoint the muscles that needed to be stronger and more flexible to make a true low squat work ( could feel it from the leg press work!)

Then part of our cool down was to use the Yoga Tune Up balls to roll out our shoulders (we are both nursing past shoulder injuries and the yoga balls are wonderful for that!)

Today, we were back to our regularly scheduled workout session…. with the minor detail of it being at the CRACK of dawn! You think I’m kidding, I got up in the dark!!!!!! I saw the sunrise!!!!! BUT it was totally worth it. I got to see my friend, got to get my sweat session in to kick off my day, sunrise is actually my favourite time of day anyway, AND it meant I got to work earlier, which meant I got to leave earlier. This all sounds like a win to me.

Today’s workout

Today, we followed the same workout plan as last Wednesday, the only modification is that we went up a weight for the dumbbell shoulder press with hold (from 12.5 lbs per hand to 15 lbs per hand, progress baby!!!), and the ab workout was switched up slightly to accommodate a sore wrist that has been plaguing Britt for a few days.

The gym was actually MORE crowded at that early hour than the slightly later hour we normally go, which shocked me, I felt we normally went in the typical pre-work time slot, but seemingly not! Accountability Partners are a thing and they work! I’m not sure I would have gotten up that early to workout if it hadn’t of been for Britt, and she feels the same about me. Know you are meeting somebody else there is a HUGE motivator to get up and get out the door. And once are out, you MAY AS WELL workout!! This is something I will push as often as I can! Find someone who makes working out fun and stick with them! It’ll completely change your workouts.

The end of my week is a blank canvas for workout activities, but now you know how I have spent my days, where I’ve found the time, and what I do in that time (pre work workouts are typically an hour unless we miraculously have extra time to spare).

So, how have you moved your body today?

Foam Fest 2019 (and Mud Hero Ultra 2019)

Hello my fellow fitness freaks! I know it’s been a few days since I posted, but I wanted to have some pics for when I did. So now I have pics in hand and am ready to type!

On Saturday, THE HOTTEST DAY of 2019 so far, some friends and I “competed” in the 5Km Foam Fest which took place in Carleton Place at Marked Paintball. This event was put on by 365 Sports, the same people who put on the 10Km Mud Hero Ultra that I did earlier this year (Before the blog got started, sorry!). It was a blast! I put the word competed in quotation marks because we were not in it to achieve our best 5Km race time. This was definitely a fun run, and all ages appropriate. I believe you had to be 8 years old to run the race and do the obstacles. So nothing was overly challenging, it was more about getting out, getting sudsy, and having fun!

I ran in the 9:15 am heat, and while some teammates grumbled at the early hour when I booked it, when the day arrived and it felt like 42C with the humidex, they stopped complainig about the earlier start time!

As far as suggestions for this race, I only have few:

  • Buy your tickets early, as the closer to the date it gets, the prices will go up.
  • HYDRATE!!!! It is hot and sunny and you will need the extra water! Drink up, before, during, and after!!
  • Wear sunscreen! You are wearing less expecting to get wet and foamy, so be sure to apply sunscreen, especially to any particularly pale areas!
  • It is 100% ok to wear sunglasses. Having just run the mud hero ultra, I didn’t think sunglasses would survive the course, so I did not wear mine. And I missed them sorely. Having completed the course, now I can say you are completely fine to wear sunglasses. You will have to hold them for one water slide, but other than that they are perfectly safe on your face.
Here you can see the difference between the mud hero ultra finish line and the foam fest finish line. THIS is why I thought sunglasses would not survive!

Both events were very well organized, and a lot of fun to do. If I had to pick a favourite of the two, it would have to be the Mud Hero. I think because it felt like such an ACCOMPLISHMENT. The obstacles were true obstacles in that they were at times, quite challenging to complete. Also, the length of the race. It was 10Km as opposed to 5Km. Up until the Mud Hero, the longest I had run this year was 4Km, and since has been 5Km, so the distance was also a victory for me. And, the weather. Given that Mud hero is early June and Foam fest is mid July, the latter was obviously a sunnier, hotter race.

All of that is NOT to say that I did not have a great time at Foam Fest! I certainly did! I just didn’t have a chance to post about Mud Hero so figured I would do a combined post seeing as how they are put on by the same folks. I love obstacle races because they are a great way to get active, while giving you a reason to act silly and get dirty. Our team is the Pirates (#Ithoughttheysaidrum) and we dress up, and scream ‘Yargh’, and have an all around amazing time.

The pirates in full gear

All of the obstacles are a blast to do. My personal favourite from Foam Fest, was one where you had to run across foam floating rafts on a large muddy water pit (ideally, without falling in!). It totally made me feel like I was in the matrix haha.

Matrix bridge

Mud hero had challenging obstacles like hanging rings, walls to scale, rope climbs, as well as more…. challenging nature obstacles, like giant lakes of mud to cross!

Me, climbing out of a mud pit I just crawled through

Another wonderful thing about these races is that it is a well rounded, fun experience for participants and spectators alike. Your ticket gets you into the race, your bib, high resolution photos shot by photographers on site (for free!), showers/rinse stations afterwards, change tents, porte-potties on site, beer tents and food trucks on site, your finishers medal, a towel, and a drink of some kind (coconut water at mud hero and sparkling water at foam fest – whoever the sponsor happens to be). And spectators get in for free and can obviously access everything except the race. So you really can make a great day of it!

For anyone who thinks that this might be a fun thing to do, I can not recommend it highly enough. Grab some friends, get out there and get dirty! It is SOOOOOO satisfying to challenge yourself with obstacles that you would never get a chance to try elsewhere. Like sand bag pulls or sandbag carries. Vertical rope challenges. Scaling a wall. Rope ladders. Army crawling through mud pits. Balancing on ropes over a pool. Adult slip and slides. The cities largest inflatable water slide. There is no “winning” or “failing”. Falling and getting dirty is honestly half the fun! Get ready to laugh at yourself and your friends as you get your body moving and enjoy the summer weather while we can!

Will I see you at the next 365 Sports event??

This one’s for the ladies – gentlemen, you’ve been warned

Last night was a beautiful night for a game of ultimate. Sun was shining, bit of a breeze, perfect. Couldn’t have asked for better. I got my sprints in while having fun with my friends. Ideal.

Beautiful night for ultimate!

But, I’d like to switch tracks for a moment and talk about something specifically for the ladies: Periods.

Ugh, we all know that feeling – the bloat, the lethargy, the cramps, often the last thing you feel like doing is working out. How do you ladies deal with ‘that time of the month’? Personally, I have never been someone who revelled in their period. I don’t think it’s ‘beautiful and wondrous’. To me? It is a nuisance at best. I HATE getting my period and would rather pretend that it doesn’t exist and isn’t happening (I fully understand the it is natural and healthy, I just find it annoying). Agreed, that this isn’t always the easiest thing to do when your uterus feels like it is trying to claw its way out of your body. For the most part, unless I am feeling very low, I push myself to workout through the discomfort. 9 times out of 10, the activity makes me feel better than if I had just sat at home. I use my energy level to determine if that means a run, a walk, or a gym session. By the time I am finished, my cramps have lessened and I feel less like a bloated whale haha.

There are many products available today to allow you to get active while on your period. Personally, I am not a big fan of pads as they feel hot and, well, diapery, to me (just personal preference). If pads are more your jam, I highly recommend that you give cotton reusable pads a try. They are SUPER absorbent, they are WAY more breathable than disposable pads, they don’t take years to degrade in land fill, they are a one time money outlay as opposed to monthly expenditures, and oh ya, no bleach or other chemicals sitting right next to your vagina all day! I have personally tried and love Lunapads, a Canadian company based in Vancouver. What I love about this brand in particular, is that their pads have a removable liner, which is all you need to carry, not a whole separate pad. Which saves space in your purse, as well as your laundry! Lunapads also make Lunapanties, which is again, a non diaper feeling panty option if you like to wear pads. These come in different styles to fit your personal taste, while also leaving you confident and and your vagina breathable. Hannahpads is another Canadian based company for cloth reusable pads, but I have not tried them personally.

Lunapad with insert. You also get to pic your patterns!

As I mentioned, pads are not my preferred way to go. So, in a pinch, I will wear a tampon. Quick, easy, gym tights compatible. Trying to do my small part for the planet, I don’t like the idea of generating so much waste. Also, tampons work by absorbing your flow, which can leave your vagina dryer, and can also work towards changing the natural pH. A great alternative to tampons is a menstrual cup. Now, unlike tampons, menstrual cups take a bit of determination if you are anything like me. I LOVE the idea of a menstrual cup. Reusable, medical grade silicon, insert once a day, collecting not absorbing so pH is untouched, one cup works for most flows (one cup can work for super light and super heavy, you just may have to change it more often on super heavy days. For me? One cup, once a day, for my full period is perfect), total win, right? Weeeeeellllllllll, finding the RIGHT menstrual cup is the tricky part. Personally, I had to try 3.

I started out with the Diva cup (sold in most drugstores). It was….. just ok. I didn’t feel a thing, and with no string dangling between your legs things like mud races and swimming became much more enjoyable! But I could never get it in and leakproof, reliably. Sometimes I would insert it and forget I had a period for 24 hours! Other times, it would leak no matter what I did and I still had to wear a mini pad anyway. At first, that was ok. But as time went on, and I did more and more research ‘leak free’ was what I wanted. It had to be out there!

Diva cup. Very popular Canadian brand menstrual cup.

The second menstrual cup I tried was the Lily cup by Intimina. This cup is a little longer, shaped totally differently, and made out of a softer silicone. I had high hopes! But alas, leaks was still an issue with this cup. At this point, I returned to tampons for a while, until Captain Planet started weighing on me again…

Lily cup by intimina. I ordered this baby online. This company also makes a new type of menstrual cup that can be worn during intercourse called the Ziggy cup. Never tried it personally, but hey, it’s out there!

The third cup I tried was a newly released cup made by Tampax. Omg, ladies, for me? This was the holy grail of menstrual cups!!!!!!!!!! The design is similar to, but very distinct from that of the Diva Cup. And? I HAVE NOT HAD A SINGLE LEAK. EVER. Insert, and forget I have a period for 24 hours. It. Is. Glorious. It has changed my life! Want to swim? Sure! Want to Gym? Sure! Want to do a mud hero ultra race or a Natural Obstacle Off Trail Race? Sure! Complete confidence! Complete DENIAL of menstruation! I can not recommend this product strongly enough! However! Just because the Tampax brand cup was ideal for me, does not mean it will be idea for you. Unfortunately, as I found out, there is some trial and error involved in finding your right cup. But ladies, once you do? Game changer!

Tampax cup. My holy grail of menstrual cups!!

Seriously, ladies, this is an entire WORLD of woes that male athletes just simply do NOT have to deal with! We get bonus points for leaving the house on our periods at all! I want to hear how you handle the extra challenges of being a woman who trains!

*** All opinions are my own and I am in no way affiliated with any of these companies. All bodies are different, and this is just what has worked for me. I know many woman who use Diva and Lily cups regularly with zero leaks, my body just preferred the Tampax brand. Also, all images came from the company websites as I wanted to show how the cups look slightly different. The links to all of the websites where I obtained the images are in the text.***

The grind; solo edition

Ok, so I know I have talked a great deal about finding the right gym buddy. This morning, I proved that to myself yet again!

Today was a regularly scheduled gym session with Trainer Britt. Due to unforeseen circumstances, she had to cancel on me (hey, I’m not a paying client, I’m the guinea pig she practices with!). I got a text from her just a little after 6 am…. I leave to meet her at 6:30 am…. While I completely understood, I couldn’t help but have the thought that if she had told me last night, I could have slept in this morning! Buuuuuuut I was already up, and all my gym clothes were ready to go, so I decided to hit the gym at the regular time anyway. It’s aaaaalmost like she knew me! hahaha she continued to send me today’s workout, as well as motivational texts all throughout it. That tricky little minx KNEW I would hit the gym when I was already up!

Solo gym session! Don’t worry, trainer Britt sent motivational texts throughout!

Omg, it is sooooooo much harder to walk through those doors and get that workout started when you don’t have someone waiting for you inside. It would have been sooooooo easy to reduce my weights, or my reps, or my sets. Who would know? Brittany is as much an accountability partner as she is gym buddy! She keeps me pushing my hardest and keeps me honest!

Without my trainer, I followed the same workout I explained in depth from last wednesday. For ease, I’ll post it again here. But for a much more detailed explanation of each exercise, please see my previous post, here.

Full body workout, killing it!

After that, I showered and headed in to work. On my lunch, I took a 6Km walk to shake out my legs, and get away from my desk. It was another hot humid day, but that breeze was heavenly. I like going for walks on my lunch. It helps clear my mind, gets me out in the fresh air, and gently moving my body.

How did you move your body today?

Feeling the heat

Today, it is a balmy 31 degrees celsius out, with humidity through the roof. So what do I decide to do? Cram 2 workouts into my day! Yup, I’m crazy like that.

At lunch, I did that 10 move booty blaster workout I talked about previously (read that post here). My work gym is not the best when it comes to air-conditioning and air flow, so I was dripping sweat on my mat before I even hit the half way mark! But, this is a great lunch workout because I was able to do 2 rounds of all 10 exercises in about 40 min, leaving me plenty of time for a nice cool shower before returning to work.

After work, I did week 8 day 3 of my couch to 10k run program. I’ve talked about this before, there are many free apps like this out there, I just happened to choose the one by ZenLabs and find it easy, progressive and fun to follow. I really enjoy that it talks over my music to tell me when to run or walk or start my cool down. Again, minimal thinking on my part, I can just go out and run and follow the prompts. If you are interested, you can find the link to download this app here. Today’s program Included a 5 min brisk walk warm up, a 30 min jog, and a 5 min cool down walk.

It was a hot and humid run, but the breeze was a life saver! I told myself when I started out that I would just do a nice, fun run. It’s so hot, I may not run as well as I have been in the cooler weather recently. Sometimes, we need that to remember the joy of doing it! No goals, just running for the sake of running! I had a great time, I even found myself smiling at the breeze during my cool down walk. It wasn’t until I got back home that I realized I had gone 5.31 Km! And looking at my splits, even in this heat, I picked up my pace from the last run! Clearly, my body was enjoying the relaxed run as well!

During my run, there are a few things I did to help with the heat.

  1. I stuck to the shady side of the street as often as possible. I love the sun, but realistically, the heat zaps your energy very quickly and robs you of your hydration. I knew I was running at a very hot point in the day, so shade it had to be.
  2. I had also been drinking lots of fluids throughout the day both to make up for what I lost during my lunch workout, and also in preparation for the run.
  3. I always wear polarized, UVA/UVB protect sunglasses to protect my eyes from the sun as well. A lighter shade allows me to wear them even in cloudy conditions when, even if the sun is hidden, UV rays can still be strong. The pair I run with are Oakley’s, they are super light, and stay put.
  4. When it comes to clothes, I opted for shorts, as well as a light, loose, moisture wicking tank top. I love this style of tank top for hot runs, because it feels like you are not wearing anything, it’s so breathable and light, but it really does pull the sweat away so you don’t feel it constantly running down your back. The tank I ran in today is Lululemon, the shorts are Asics, and the bra is Adidas.
  5. When I got back, I drank 1 L of water over the next hour (with no pee yet, so clearly, I needed it!). Oh, I mentioned water already? Well, staying hydrated is probably the most important thing you can do in hot, humid weather like today. So drink up!
Post-run, Nice and pinkified from the run!
A well deserved hammock cool down!

Now that I’m done (and my body has returned to normal temperature, swinging in my hammock, in the shade and breeze) I am beyond proud of myself. I could have complained about the heat. Or chosen to listen to that little nagging voice that said ‘it’s hot out, that’s a great excuse not to run’. Instead, I got up, got out, and got this body moving!

What have you done today that you are proud of?

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