Category: Fitness (page 1 of 5)

Fitness Events in Toronto – September 2016

Toronto has some absolutely amazing fitness events and classes happening  in the next few weeks.  I wish I could go to all of them but since I can’t I thought I would share with all of you to check out.

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Get some friends to sign up with you and have a blast!

Famous Canadian Beer Run 

  • Sunday September 18th
  • Ontario Place
  • Run (or walk) 5k and then there’s a beer festival!
  • I’ll be there woohooo
  • For more information and to register check out their website

The Roll Out – Class Hosted by Tribe Fitness

  • Sunday September 18th
  • “This hour long class is full of stretching and self-myofascial release”
  • 5:45pm ***location change, visit FB page for new address
  • For more details check out their Facebook event

Catalyst Block Party – Hosted by Lululemon Toronto

  • Thursday September 22nd
  • “Come with your squad, ready to sweat, eat, sweat some more”
  • 7pm – 10:30pm
  • For more details check out their Facebook event

Oasis Zoo Run

  • Saturday September 24th
  • The 5k is sold out but there are a few spots left in the 10k
  • This is an awesome race that I have done quite a few times. It’s so fun to run or walk (lots of walkers) through the zoo. The medals and shirts are super cool.
  • For more details and registration check out their website.

Ladies Bootcamp – 2 FREE Trial Classes With Me!

  • Any Monday or Wednesday in September
  • Two class times (6:45pm or 7:50pm)
  • Email me morgan@fitchicks.ca to activate your trial pass or for more details

 

BONUS – October Event – MEC Race #7 

  • Sunday September 23rd
  • I always love MEC races because they are super inexpensive
  • 5k, 10k, 15k distances
  • For more details and registration check out their website

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Back To The Track

I’d like to conduct a study to count the number of blog posts that are called “Back on Track” or some variation of that title. And I’m not just talking about my blog posts because I’m sure there are something like 3,042. I have been blogging for almost six years you know. In the whole universe it’s probably like a zillion, right? My long winded point is that for those of us who blog, and who don’t blog (the only two classifications of people that exist in my world), we’re always getting back on track. With something. Back on track with workouts, eating healthy, going to bed early, etc etc etc.

I’ve had this chat with a client recently, there will always be some setback, some hurdle. That’s life (I’m deep eh). So ya, this post is to announce that I am getting back on track … because I went to the track. I am desperately trying to stay positive as I fight my way back from the issue with my lungs. I had a pretty good week this week which indicates that I’m healing.

Here’s a list of things that went SO WELL this week:

  1. I went to book club last Tuesday. It was my first social outing in weeks! (Does anyone have a recommendation for a great book, it’s my turn to pick and I don’t have any books in mind.)
  2. I worked 5 days this week. Call me EXTREMELY grateful that I have a job that comes with a more than fair sick day allotment. It was really nice to be able to put in a full week at work.
  3. I had a cocktail and felt okay afterwards. We went to a tiki bar and I had this really delicious ginger beer cocktail.(I’ve been off caffeine and alcohol all month and I’ll admit I miss wine.)

ANDDDDDDDDD I went to the track! Last year the track became my happy place while I was coming back from my back injury. Even when I couldn’t run I would take Brad to the track and coach him from the sidelines. (He totally loved it, thanks for asking.)

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It was beyond exciting to put my little purple sneakers on and do some laps on Saturday. I got to take my new Polar V800 watch and give it a good spin. There are so many features on this watch and I can’t wait to dig even deeper into how this will help my training. As usual, I employed my run-walk-run method to get out on the track for 20 minutes. There was no goal. I just wanted to go out and do a few intervals until my lungs started to feel it. At 20 minutes in I felt the first bit of tightness in the chest and decided to call it quits. Patience is of course a virtue and I’ll get my distance back soon.

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Other cool things (because apparently I’m back to lifestyle blogging) that happened in the last week include a blogger dinner. WOOHOO! Jen flew to Toronto to run the Goodlife Marathon so Carmy put a dinner together for a bunch of us to hang out the night before the race. Running bloggers are pretty cool people ;).

Also, 1 week to my first race of the year and 2 months until my wedding. The end.

Bridal Bootcamp: Why Sweating For The Dress Is A Good Idea

Losing weight for a wedding dress is a top reason that women start a new workout program. The truth is, I’m currently trying to lose an inch for my own wedding dress. Wanting to lose weight for a dress can be both a great reason and a horrible reason to workout and change your diet. I have a handful of brides and bridesmaids as clients right now in my Toronto women’s bootcamp class.

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Here’s a list of the good, the bad, and the ugly part of sweating for the dress.

THE UGLY:

  • Putting all the emphasis on the dress and the way you look takes away from the true meaning of your wedding day.
  • Many brides resort to starving themselves or using other dangerous methods of weight loss.
  • Extreme weight loss methods can have long term effects on your health, no dress is worth that, not even your wedding dress.

THE BAD:

  • Setting unrealistic weight loss goals may have you feeling stressed out as you get closer to the wedding but not closer to your goals. Wedding planning is stressful enough without the added pressure of weight loss.
  • Some fitness programs are extremely time consuming, even having you workout two times a day. Think about how that will factor in to what other wedding tasks you have to do leading up to the big day. (Or sleeping, I vote for sleeping.)
  • Fluctuating weight makes it harder for your dress fitting process. Talk to your seamstress or bridal boutique about weight loss and how that will factor in to the alterations for your dress.

THE GOOD:

  • The biggest trouble that myself and some of my clients have with weight loss is motivation. Having a specific date for your goal gives you better focus.
  • If your groom-to-be also has weight loss goals then you can work together and support each other.
  • Joining a workout program (like my bootcamp class) that has other brides / bridesmaids in the class can let you form a little wedding community. It has been really fun to hear about my clients’ wedding planning adventures.
  • Working out is a huge stress reliever. For me, this is the number one reason to plan and commit to a regular workout program.

WEIGHT LOSS TIPS:

Here’s the best way to realistically and safely work towards a weight loss goal:

  • Start now! It’s about to be May and if you’re getting married this summer then IT’S GO TIME!
  • Be realistic, safe weight loss is anywhere from 0.5-2lbs a week.
  • Consider tracking without the scale. Other options include taking photos of progress, measurements, or using a fitness test.
  • Join a regular workout program like a class. Commit to showing up to all scheduled workouts. (For example my bootcamp program has two classes a week plus recommended workouts for at home)
  • Try a 30 day challenge. I highly recommend checking out Yoga with Adriene.
  • When it comes to diet, do not skip meals, do not starve yourself. This is unsafe, it will make you miserable, and will actually sabotage your weight loss.
  • Keep a food journal for a week and see where you can cut out unnecessary calories. Most people can start with taking out junk food, booze or other calorie rich drinks like soda or lattes.
  • Focus on healthy meals that include lots of veggies and lean proteins.

 


PSSSSSTTT *Live in Toronto and want to get fit for your wedding? Email me about signing up for my women’s bootcamp classes morgan@fitchicks.ca

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First Half Marathon: My Recap in FAQs and Stats

Today is Thursday, my first half marathon was Sunday. I know I want to recap it but it’s so weird putting in to words something that I worked so hard on for so many weeks. It’s hard to capture the insane confidence burst that this race gave me. It’s hard to really understand what over coming the back injury and laying down this comeback meant. I’ve been asked a lot of questions both leading into and since I finished my race so I figured that I’d share those q and a’s and the accompanying details.

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Q: What was your goal time?

  • My reasonable goal time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • If something went wrong goal time (being realistic with my back injury and the last minute IT band issues): 2 hours 45 mins
  • My dream goal time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Q: Are you happy with your finishing time?

HELL YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! I set out the morning of my race to hit between the 2:15 and 2:20 mark. I felt like all things considered, it could be done. The truth is, I would have gotten under the 2:15 mark if it wasn’t for a porto-potty stop. But, when you’re dealing with a back injury the absolute most important thing is to keep your core engaged. It’s just impossible to keep the core engaged and hold your pee, especially for my fellow lady runners.

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Q: How did the weather affect your race?

Well I freaked out about the cold for 48 hours leading up to the start. I had 5 billion outfit versions in my head. From a physical stand point, the cold weather (around -1 degrees Celsius at race time I believe) was not a big hurdle. Mentally, I wish I had expended less energy thinking about it. Also, I over dressed. I’m thankful that Brad was at the 7km mark to take my jacket and gloves.

Q: What was your longest run before your race?

Two weeks before my race I planned for my longest run. The plan was for 18km, but due to a miscalculation I ran 20.7km. I don’t recommend going off training plan, but for me the mental test this gave me was helpful. I knew when it was going to get hard. When I hit the 15km mark in the race I went to town with positive self talk.

Q: Fuel?

Two Raz Clif gels (at 8km and 15km) plus water and Gatorade on the course. I had trained with the Clif gels and lemon lime Gatorade for about 5 weeks leading up to the race.

Q: Injuries?

My back is a bit sore, and my hip (due to the IT band issue) is tender but the worst of it all was some toenail issues. I won’t go on, it’s gross.

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Q: Shoes?

Mizuno Wave Rider 18

Q: How did you like the course?

I loved it! Doing this race in my own city was awesome. The cheering crowds were far too good for words. The best part was heading east after the turnaround. Running down Lakeshore, towards the CN Tower was a truly amazing experience.

Q: You taught bootcamp the day after the race?

Yes, yes I did. I’ve been asked this so many times since Monday. I teach two classes on Mondays and Wednesdays AFTER working an 8 hour day in the office. I did not, under any circumstances want to finish the race in such bad shape that I would have to skip either of my jobs, but especially not bootcamp. See, I just don’t see the point of killing yourself to THAT extent. I’m an adult, with adult responsibilities, such as two jobs. Running means so so so much to me, but, it’s also just a hobby. I happily finished the race with nothing, not a damn thing left in my tank. Maybe my tune will be different if I get to a full marathon but for something that takes around 2 hours, I don’t let it beat me up.

Q: Are you going to do a full marathon next?

I should have put this Q on top because it’s the number one question. Eventually, I’m sure I’ll attempt a full marathon. Next? Probably not. I have so much rebuilding to do after this season and know that I can take a good chunk of time off my half marathon. That will be my next goal. And as my friend Krysten (@darwinianfail) reminded me, perhaps it’s not the best idea to do a full marathon and have a wedding the same year. I think she might be right!

Cheering On A Runner? Never Tell Them To Stop Walking

As you know, I’m the biggest champion of the run walk run method. This is my race plan. I walk on purpose. I walk to be faster. You may see me walk within the first kilometer of a race sometimes. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve had someone yell out to me “don’t stop Morgan, keep going.” Well, I didn’t stop, I’m putting one foot in front of the other. I’m not on the sidelines contemplating giving up. I am on pace and in control of my race.

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Here’s the thing, I know that these strangers are meaning well. They are trying to be encouraging. I’ve been racing for a few years and I’ve never really made a stink about this because I don’t want to seem ungrateful for the encouragement or come off like a jerk. With this blog post I hope you may reconsider how you cheer on runners.

photo-59-768x1024This year I’ve had the pleasure of working two Toronto Women’s Run Series races as a Mizuno Run Bird. What’s a run bird? Basically, we position ourselves along the race course and help runners out. Maybe it’s a high five, a shout of encouragement, and sometimes it’s jumping on the course and helping them run their last kilometer to the finish line. When I approach a runner to join them on the course the first thing I ask is what is their race plan. Sometimes they want to run the last kilometer no matter what. Sometimes they want me to talk, to be silent, sometimes they want to walk and stop to take pictures with the race photographer. The point is that I ask them how they’d like to be motivated. Everyone needs support in a different way.

So I’m asking, if you see me on the course at a race, please don’t tell me to stop walking. And maybe, don’t say it to the other runners either, because perhaps walking is their race plan. There’s a bunch of other things you can yell out at them.

Motivational:

  • “Keep going!”
  • “GO _________ GO!”
  • “WOOHOOO”
  • High fives, low fives, air fives
  • “You’ve got this”
  • “Looking strong”
  • “You’re killing it!”
  • Anything hilarious related to Ryan Gosling
  • Promises of food at the finish line

Not helpful:

  • “Stop walking”
  • “Someone’s on your heels”
  • “You’re almost there” (particularly when a runner is anywhere more than 1km from the finish line)
  • “There’s only ______ km left” (you may be wrong, or even 2km may feel impossible at that point)

You get the idea. I’ve been a spectator and cheerleader for more races than I’ve run. I always think about what I’m saying to the runner before I cheer. If all else fails, just clap and smile 🙂

 

Half Marathon Training Necessities

Less than three weeks until my first half marathon. It really is amazing how different training for 21km is from training for 5km. Yes, I know that running is supposed to be an inexpensive sport. And it can be, you just need some sneakers. However, there are things that can make training for longer races a little easier and a little bit more enjoyable.

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  • Running Shoes – my Mizuno Wave Riders

I was wearing Mizuno Sayonaras because I loved how lightweight they are. However, once I hurt my back I needed a little bit more support and moved to the Riders. These have been perfect for training.

  • Resistance band

I use this for my warm up. In addition to the almost ten other moves I do for my dynamic warm up, I use the bands for lateral walks to get my hips activated. It also helps me ward off IT band issues.

  • Gymboss Timer

Intervals. Always. I train, coach and race using the run walk run method so using my Gymboss Timer allows me to switch between my intervals seamlessly. My timer beeps and vibrates to let me know to switch paces.

  • Ipod

Obviously! I ran for many years without music when I did 5km. Now that I’m out on training runs for an hour plus, I need the tunes. I see a playlist blog post coming soon!

  • Clif Shot Energy Gel in Raz

I had these laying around from an event I was at last year so I gave them a shot (pun intended) for my last few long runs. My belly has been having a lot of trouble the last few months so I was very pleasantly surprised that these worked well for me. I need to grab some more for the last few weeks of training and race day.

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  • Fitletic Fuel belt

I’ll be honest, I don’t like this fuel belt very much. This was the newest piece of running gear I bought when I started pushing up my mileage. It was on sale at a race expo I was working so I grabbed it, not giving it much thought. Because I’m petite, the bottles in the fuel belt wrap around so they’re sitting on the sides of my hips. When I run my elbows hit the top of the bottles and scrape my arms.

  • Gatorade

Typically I prefer G2 instead of regular Gatorade but for training I’ve been using the regular stuff. I chose lemon lime because that’s what is on the course that day and with my anticipated finish time (slow that is) I know I’ll be looking to the aid stations.

What are your training or race day necessities? What important things do you bring or use for a half marathon or marathon?

 

In Defense Of The Run Walk Run Method

The run walk run method of training and racing is one I’ve been championing for quite some time. You may also know it as the Galloway method from coach and expert, Jeff Galloway. I heard Jeff speak a year ago and I became even more dedicated to learning and teaching this strategy.

There are many reasons why experts and runners don’t like the run walk run method. It can be a huge mental hurdle. I know Brad feels like walking within the first few minutes of a race is embarrassing. We have been developing his pacing strategy for his first 10k next weekend and he is insistent about running the first 5 minutes.

11825768_10156075105005157_2079961972651821573_nFrom a nutrition standpoint, some research shows that the up and down of the pace will deplete glycogen reserves at a rate faster than maintaining steady pace. This is likely true, but for me, the benefits you get from allowing your body a short rest outweigh this concern.

From a competitive standpoint, many feel that it slows you down. As far as I know, there’s no substantial research available that proves that you can run faster. However, I do know that Jeff Galloway has many stories of athletes that have improved their times after changing to his strategy. Jeff himself qualified for the Boston Marathon after a race in 2013, saying it was his best race in 10 years. He played around with his own intervals, racing at 30 second run / 15 second walk.

Plus I’ve got my own experience. With the exception of my first 5k race, I have always raced using run and walk intervals and have had much success. Last weekend I ran my 4th 5k race and was told that there was no way that I could PR because of my back injury. On July 15th I injured my back and was only cleared to run again two weeks before the race. I would not have been able to train again without doing these intervals. I would have not been able to race without these intervals. I certainly would not have any hope of completing my first half marathon (in October) without these intervals.

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My 2014 5k race was run at 5 minutes run / 1 minute walk. Last weekend I hit a new 5k PR at 2 minutes run / 1 minute walk while in recovery for my back. I beat last year’s time by 1 minute. Now I know it has to do with how much stronger my winter cross training made me. It is more proof that the run walk run method does not slow you down. You just need to find the right combination. I can’t even tell you how ecstatic I was about my PR!!!!

The number one reason that I know this method works is because if gives runners confidence, especially new ones. I’ve had friends and clients tell me how great the feel about a race goal when use run walk run. They feel confident that they can complete the race (always the most important goal for a first timer). “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right.” – Henry Ford

Tell me, have you used the run walk run method? Would you ever consider changing your running strategy?

Running Injuries: Shin Splints


Always see a doctor if you are experiencing pain or are injured. This post is for informational purposes only.


This time of year my clients are starting to hit the pavement and tracks to do some running. A very common running injury is shin splints. If you’ve had these you know how relentless the pain can be, sometimes lasting for days, weeks and months. Shin splints are a serious drain on trying to train for a race or for athletes who run as a regular cardio workout. Here are two ways to treat and prevent shin splints.

1. Strength Move – Toe Raises

This exercise works best when you use it to prevent shin splints, before you even start feeling pain. I like to use a heavier book for this exercise (like a textbook holla at me students!)

Put on your running shoes and sit on a chair with your knees naturally bent, knees together, feet flat on the floor. Position the book overtop of your toes. One foot at a time raise your toes, using the weight of the book as resistance. Leave your heel on the ground. Repeat 10x then switch feet.

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2. Stretch – Heel Walks

This move can be used either as a warm up before running. It’s also effective if you have a flare up of shin pain during your workout. Stop for a quick break and do these heel walks.

Stand up straight, lift both toes off the floor as high as you can, leaving your body weight in your heels. Walk forward a few paces and backward. Go front and back for 30-60 seconds.

Have you suffered from shin splints before? How do you treat or prevent shin splints?

All Natural Fitness: Morning Stretches

TGIF my friends! Today I have my last All Natural Fitness Friday post for you with our delicious partners, Adams Natural Peanut Butter. Last Friday I shared some yoga moves to stretch you out in the morning. Now I know, yoga can be intimidating sometimes and it’s not for everyone. However, flexibility training is an important part of a balanced exercise program (the other two parts are cardio and strength training). If yoga isn’t your thing, any stretching will work! Here are some stretches and exercises to do in the morning to limber up and get ready for the day:

  • Forward bend

With your feet hip width apart, slowly roll down starting with your head until you are in a forward bend. Bend the knees if needed and curve the back. Rest your hands on your knees, shins or the floor depending in your level of flexibility. You can also cross your arms and grab each elbow and gently swing your arms side to side.

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  • Figure Four Stretch

Lay on your back. Bending at the knee, take your right ankle and cross it over the left knee. Bend your left knee and wrap your arms around your left hamstring. Gently pull your left knee towards you and at the same time press your right knee away from your upper body.

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  •  Bulgarian split squat

Find a chair, a bench, coffee table or a step on tall risers at the gym. Stand with your calves against the chair. Take a big step forward with your right foot. Hook your left toes behind you onto the chair. Make sure your upper body is straight up and down and not leaning forward.This will stretch out the front of the hip. To make it a strength move, drop your hips straight down, it will feel a bit like a lunge. Then back up. You can add weights in each hand for added resistance.

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  •  High plank

Lay on your belly. Position your hands directly under the chest, slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Zip your legs and feet together and squeeze the glutes. Push up into high plank keeping your belly button pulled in. Make sure not to shrug the shoulders, don’t drop your hips too far down, and don’t push your bum up to to the sky. Your body should make a straight line. You can also do this plank on the knees.

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To finish off a balanced morning I highly recommend a little treat for breakfast. While you’re doing your stretches you can let a pot of steel cut oats slowly cook (be careful with food on the stove of course). By the time you’ve done all your stretches your oats should be ready for topping. How about a tablespoon of Adams Natural Creamy Peanut Butter and a few chocolate chips.

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Check out my other Adams posts:


Disclosure: I am participating in the Adams®100% Peanut Butter campaign. I received compensation in exchange for my participation in this campaign. The opinions on this website are my own.

Healthy Office: Keep These 5 Items At Your Desk

When we’re at home we have the best intentions to stick with our healthy habits. But when you walk into work those ideas can go out the window. Things get busy and hectic and deadlines come up and you focus in on your work instead of yourself. Taking care of yourself is important, even during the good ol 9-5. Plus, research shows that if you take the little bit of time to instil healthy habits during your work day it will make you more productive.

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Here are five important but EASY ways to stay healthy when you get to work:

  • Bring tupperware

I should clarify bring tupperware WITH your lunch in it. How many times have you had to go out for lunch only to find unhealthy options? Or, how many times have you not had time to leave your desk for lunch so you skip it altogether? That’s even worse than eating something junky. You need fuel to get through your work day.

  • Mint tea

Hey, I’m all about coffee and if you’re drinking your coffee black then even better. Since most people are drinking cream and sugar it would be great to switch to an herbal tea in the afternoon. I say mint because even though it’s naturally caffeine-free it has a way to give you a pick me up and yet is soothing at the same time.

  • Water bottle

Fill it up, sip it often, go get more. Do you have any idea how often I get to the end of the day and see my water bottle still half full from the morning. We need hydration. It even helps us stay awake and focus. Take a post it and write down how many classes you want to drink at work that day then cross them off each time you finish.

  • Phone timer

Set your timer for once an hour. When the timer goes off, get up stretch up high to the sky, go for a quick walk to the rest room or down the hall or up a flight of stairs. Then refill your water bottle and get back to work.

  • Tennis Ball

Sitting at your desk can be very bad for your muscles. Having a tennis ball to help roll out any tightness can really help. I like to sneak my shoes off under my desk and roll out the arches of my feet. Chances are you’re not wearing sneakers at work so this is such a relief when you’re in shoes that strain your feet and ankle muscles. You can also gently roll out the chest which may be tight from hunching over a keyboard.

BONUS: Find a partner in crime or even a group of healthy friends at work. Share recipes, bring each other healthy snacks, get help with resisting those pastries at the meeting, even set up a walking or fitness club in the office.

What healthy habits do you or your colleagues use at the office?

 

 

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