Taking a break..

Sooooo, I totally took an extended break off of MOST of my social media platforms. Oopsies, sorry!

I have been back from Florida for a while now but I have been keeping busy with a few things.

A) been working on something I am choosing to keep personal for a little while, I will mention it later on 🙂 (sorry for being THAT annoying vague blogger).

B) been working on my free lance local training business (webpage, policies etc) as well as coaching

C) it is been kinda nice living life and not documenting everything (hope you don’t take it personally ;)).

But I am here! Today, I thought I would talk about taking a break…with exercise?

Say whaaaat?!

I took the longest break from working out since starting my journey to a healthier me in 2009. Why? I felt stuck. I felt I was in a funk. I felt like fitness was a punishment rather than something I enjoyed. NO THANKS.

4814e1143d9e83993500732c21b83dc2

Fitness has been something I have enjoyed my whole life. I was an avid team sports player most of my adolescent years, and fell in love with strength training and running in my early 20s. Sometimes you get in a funk. You get bored. Sometimes.. you need a break.

Now don’t get me wrong. I didn’t just sit on the couch all day and do ZIP. I was still active with walking and what not. I live in a city where I can walk anywhere and I also do not have a car I can drive. So I do my best to keep walking throughout the day. But I took time to just relax, take a couple hot bubble baths, and renew myself. That is exactly how I feel, my love for fitness is back and renewed. I WANT to be active. I WANT to get my heart rate going. Not, I NEED to workout.

Also, I think my body benefited from the physical rest I was giving it. So mentally and physically, this break has done me well.

 

QOTD: Have you ever taken a break from exercise for something like this?

Advertisements

Florida Trip- Part 1: Miami, Tampa, & Orlando

Vacation, again?

Yes, yes.. well kind of. The trip we were on before was kind of a vacation, but more so to see our wonderful family and friends :). With Matt being gone for a good third (or more) of this year, we thought it could be nice to explore and enjoy some time together in beautiful sunny Florida.

Before we left Vancouver, we met for brunch with my very best friend Natalie and her boyfriend. EVERYONE has been going on and on about chicken and waffles. Can I just say? sounds gross. Well.. it sounded gross. Jordan said Tableau (in Vancouver on Melville by Bute) is the place to go, boy was he right. It wasn’t overly greasy or heavy. So good. They served it with maple syrup and gravy on the side too.

IMG_6272

 

We had a red eye to Toronto and then onward to Miami. We got to our destination around 1 pm on Monday (left around 10:30 Vancouver time on Sunday). At our 3 hour layover in Toronto, we were blessed to see a beautiful sunrise. This photo doesn’t do this justice. In the background you can see the skyline of downtown Toronto. Gorgeous.

IMG_5175Once in Miami, we shuttled our way to the hotel. We stayed close to downtown. We decided to go for a walk and HOLY was it humid! we decided to hop on one of the free city trolleys instead and found ourselves at an outdoor mall. We found somewhere to eat and then headed back to the hotel and conked out.

I woke up feeling SO rested and hit the gym pretty hard for 45 minutes. We took the free shuttle from the hotel into Miami Beach/ South Beach area. First thing we did? Went for a swim. How can you not in this beautiful water?!

IMG_6289At one point I felt something on my hand and looked back to see I had a big jellyfish behind me. Luckily, no stings. But it scared me pretty good. We met some wonderful friendly folks on the beach, talked for a while then went off to find Lincoln mall. I remembered going there when I was in Miami a few years back. We found a Nespresso cafe that was HUGE. Never seen a stand alone store like this!

IMG_6290#heaven

After tons of walking about, and a little shopping at Madewell, Matt and I were staving. Most of the places around looked overpriced or much of the same (especially on Ocean Ave). We found a little Italian place by the shuttle drop off point and the pizza was phenomenal. I had the prosciutto one and Matt went with a pepperoni one. We did a little splitzies.

IMG_6291SO good.

The next day we packed up, and went to grab our rental car to head up towards Tampa area. Matt and I have been planning the trip as we go. We had a few spots already planned, but for the rest, we would book as we went along.

I really wanted to go towards Tampa to meet a dear internet friend. I have been talking to Julie for YEARS. Pretty much since I started this whole journey. I just HAD to see her in person. We met at Dunkin Doughnuts (mainly because I LOVE their coffee and they don’t have it in Canada but also because it was really close). We talked over coffee and then went for a nice walk around town with her little guy. We hit it off (just as I knew we would). I really wish we lived closer!! But it is okay, because she has to come to Canada at some point (sorry girl, you don’t have a choice ;)).

IMG_6300Such a wonderful day! We talked so much that we almost had her miss her afternoon appointment! oopsies!

I got back to the room and Matt and I jetted off towards Orlando and than onward to where we are now, Cocoa Beach. We hit up Orlando so we could go to the Premium Outlets there.. okay..it wasn’t Matt’s choice at all. All me. But grabbed some amazing deals at the Victoria’s Secret Outlet (I believe this is the only one they have in the US but could be wrong). If you get a chance to go, IT IS SO WORTH IT. I bought a VSX sports bra (they are amazing if you have never had them) originally  around $60 for $14.99. YUP. Also, snagged some sweats for $10. Win. SO could have spent the entire day at that outlet.. but a couple hours worked fine. Didn’t want the husband to be TOO upset with me ;).

Now off to enjoy Cocoa Beach!!

My tips and tools for new runners!

I really started getting into running in 2009 when I started my journey towards a healthier me. As I have explained in the past, running was originally a plan to lose weight. It turned from this activity that created a large caloric deficit, into something deeper than that. Running became something that really centred me, it has meditative qualities for me. It has carried me through times of struggle and times of celebration. My relationship with my body, in turn, became stronger. I began to love my body for how it could preform. I also learned to love my body for what it was, rather than picking it apart at any glance in the mirror. I have fallen in love, out of love and back in love with running over and over again. Even during the times that I felt like I was not enjoying it, I found aspects that I still truly enjoyed. But even yet, I still get the constant “HOW can you like running? I absolutely hate it. I wish I could enjoy it” response from time to time. So this inspired me to share with you some points and tools to remember when you start running:

Know you may not love running right off the bat….or at all…

When you first start a new form of exercise, it will be a struggle. For many, being sweaty, out of breath and feeling challenged does not ring “fun.” But as you feel better with your pacing, try new routes, new terrains, new races and running buddies, running may turn into something great. But also know, not everyone will love running. That is okay. We all have our own personal preferences, so of course we won’t ALL love running. But you may end up loving it after some time trying it out!

You do not need a specific plan when you first start.

When I began, I didn’t start with a program like Couch 2 5 km. (Though, c25k really is a great way to start things if you like more structure.) What did I do? I just got out there and remembered that if I had to walk, that was okay. I was still moving. So I would go out for 20 minutes and keep in mind that my main goal was just to move. Also, I would remember to check in with my body, so not to push it TOO far. I would run for as long as I felt I could, then take a power walk break. Then once I felt ready to run again, I would! Each time I would try and challenge myself and would do my best not to back down from challenges like a steep hill. Which brings me to my next point.

Do not fear hills.

tumblr_mhnuq9PpPw1s4001zo1_500

Where I live, hills are unavoidable. How will you ever improve if you do not challenge yourself? When I started, I would do my best to make goals while climbing a hill. For instance, I would tell myself that I would run up the hill until that lamppost (tree, fire hydrant etc), and often times once I got there I felt I could keep pushing to the next marker. Before I knew it, I had crested the hill. Again, some days are stronger than others. But as long as you do what you can that day, that is all you can ask of your body. Remember, though, we are a lot stronger than we think we are!

Don’t worry about apps, and other electronic gadgets.

I run with a Garmin Forerunner 310XT now, but honestly..you do not need electronics when you run. I know plenty of people that rather not run with things like this. I used to run just with a watch so I knew how long I was out there for. But you do not need expensive pieces of equipment to train. Just a pair of shoes (unless you are a barefoot runner that is…you go Glen Coco!).

However, if you want to know distance..

Maybe you are curious about how far you did go while you were out there. The main website I use (and there is an app if you so choose to use it) to map my run. It is named exactly that. Map my run.

Don’t get hooked on numbers…

It doesn’t matter how far or fast you go when you first start. Sure, these can be good goals to constantly improve on. But do not let these number make you feel defeated. You are still out there and moving!

Don’t worry about technical running gear.

I would run in sweats and a baggy T shirt when I started. Really, it is okay if you don’t have running tights and technical t shirts. Same goes to fuel belt, fuel bottles or hydropacks. Honestly, these are NOT 100% necessary. If you live in a hotter area and feel the need to have water on you at all times, sure. But no need to complicate things and buy $500 worth of things from your local running store before you first start running. Ease into it. Use what you have in your closet!

tumblr_inline_ncflhcri7d1rynlhg

But remember..Safety first!

You may want to buy some running shoes. Shoes are the only piece of equipment we use as runners that is absolutely key. They are also the piece of equipment that can be the cause of back, hip, knee or (insert body part of choice) pain. Running shoes are designed for..you got it! RUNNING. Where as cross training shoes are designed for places like the gym where you may be moving omnidirectional. Running, we typically run forward. Not laterally. So running shoes are designed as such. Also, running shoes can be “too old” to run in. So my best piece of advice is to go to your local running store. They can fit your foot to the proper shoe you need since we all have different foot types and may need more or less stability.

You  may also want to have some reflective tape, bands or a vest if you are early morning or evening runner.

But above all this.. the most important thing?

Don’t over complicate it. Stop over thinking it. You will learn along the way. Listen to your body, don’t over do it (too much too soon is a recipe for overuse injuries). Just get out there and do what you can that day. Some days will be better than others. Some runs will be a huge struggle. But you are moving, you are doing what you can do that day! With time, you will feel more in touch with your body and its needs. Do your best to listen to what it wants.

Don’t worry about how you look or what others could think. Because more often than not, the people who will drive, run or bike past you are not thinking about YOU. They are thinking about themselves or whatever else is on their mind. Focus on how your body feels, breathe and put one foot in front of the other.

Just get out there. Move.

tumblr_mkl26fONHz1rmzrqmo1_500

Jonesee’s Breadcrumb Free Beef Meatballs

Hey everyone!

So if you used to watch my vlogs every Saturday, you know Matt and I usually do out big grocery shop that day. So this Saturday we went to Walmart, Bulk Barn and Costco and picked up many goodies, including AMAZING new spices to play with. I picked up a few things I don’t normally pick up at Costco since I have been loving cooking up various dishes and trying to make my own recipes. So this week we picked up ground beef for the meat sauce I wanted to make for dinner since we were having guests over. As we all know, Costco usually sells in large quantities so to say the least I had a good 2 lbs of beef left over, so I thought I would attempt to make meatballs for the first time!

I just made them up and gave Matt two and his response was “OOHHH MY GOSHHHH… mmmm. PLEASETELLMEYOUMADEMORETHANTWO!!!!” (no spaces since he said it so darn fast ;)). With that kind of reaction I thought it was only fitting to blog the recipe. I have another pound of beef left in the fridge so I may have to make more by the sounds of it!

IMG_9437

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef
1 egg
1 cup chopped baby spinach
3/4 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons Garbanzo bean flour
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
pepper ( I used a few dashes but its up to you!)
1.5 tsp Coconut thai curry spice (I bought this at Bulk Barn! you can add mild curry spice instead)

IMG_9442

Let’s get cookin’!!

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Chop up spinach and onion. Set aside.
3. Mix flour and spices in mixing bowl. Add chopped veggies and beef.
4. Add beaten egg and mix! I ended up just getting in there with my hands as it seemed to be the easiest method :P.
5. Now get in there and start molding those meatballs and place them on an oiled cookie sheet. You can play with the size you prefer, I made a medium size-ish.
6. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes (depending on your oven).

IMG_9443

Et Voila! Yummy beef meatballs! I am going to attempt making Turkey meatballs next. I will keep you all posted on that venture.

Now for the Nutritional Information. As you can see in the picture of the meatballs raw, I ended up making an odd number! So the information here is for the full batch split into 11! (Weird, I know! Silly Jenn. Should have made 12. Coulda shoulda woulda. Oh well!).

NutritionLabel

The Importance of Cross Training for Runners

I have spoke to a few groups lately on this topic and as a runner and a gym addict, I want to show people how adding in one or more extra activities to their routine can benefit their overall fitness.

So lets get the captain obvious point out of the way. Running can be hard on our bodies. It is high impact and can often cause tenderness to our joints. Cross training can help us avoid injury by supplementing in low impact work that still increases out fitness. It can also help avoid over training, give us a little mental variety and help keep our fitness up if we are recovering from an injury. With so many benefits it stumps me when I hear runners saying cross training couldn’t benefit what they are setting out to accomplish. Their punchline is that if they want to improve their running they must run and I am not refuting that. But by adding another activity or two into your routine you can increase leg speed, finish runs with little to no tenderness in the hips or knees, create a more powerful push off and create greater range of motion in your joints.

What activities should I look at when cross training for running?

1.) SOMETHING YOU ENJOY
I find people will not keep up with an activity more often than not because they hate doing the activity. No one is forcing you to do that one activity! There are tons of options out there! Take up swimming, spin class, cycling, weight lifting, group fitness classes, yoga, cross training, you name it! Most facilities have a great policy when it comes to your first class or first time using the gym, try it out and see if that is something you want to keep up with!

Find something that could improve over all fitness
As runners we are bad for neglecting our upper bodies. The only time I recall using my upper body is when my legs are completely shot on the last few kilometers of the marathon distance. Here are a few examples:

Swimming is a great cross training activity as it works the muscle groups we often don’t use, its low impact and yet still aerobic like running.

Pilates is a great cross trainer as it can have a lot of focus on the core and many runners, again, tend to neglect doing core work. Sometimes lower back pain in runners can be caused by a weak core and/or taking strides that are far too long for them.

Yoga is an AMAZING cross trainer since flexibility has been linked to increase your speed as it opens up range of motion in your hips and allows for a stronger stride.

Cycling is great because it helps develop your quadriceps at a better rate than running. Runners hamstrings tend to develop much faster than the quadriceps. When there is a significant muscle imbalance, injuries become much more prevalent. Cycling is low impact, works many of the same energy systems as running, improves hill running and increases leg speed. Not too shabby! If cycling on busy streets just isn’t your cup of tea, take up a spin class!

Plyometric work! My favorite. Plyometric movements are explosive jumping type movements. Some of these movements are performed laterally which is very different from running (so I highly suggest not performing these in your running shoes since shoes designed for running are not built for this type of movement and you will ruin your runners!). Movements like jump squats, burpees, switch lunges and so on! (AKA SUPER HAPPY FUN TIME WORKOUTS!) They help increase power, lactic threshold, and push off!

3)Low impact vs high impact
This is just personal preference but on days that I am not scheduled to run, I look for low impact exercises to give my joints a little bit of a break. These are the days I work on strength, yoga, or cycling.

Feeling overwhelmed with how you will fit it all in?
– Plan ahead! Print off or buy a calendar where you write down your schedule at the start of each week. Bring in the post its and highlighter brigade!
– If you are weight lifting, write out what muscle groups you want to target and don’t work them out two days in a row (them muscles need time to repair so they can grow back stronger!)
Write out what day is your rest day! Rest is EQUALLY if not MORE important when it comes to working out!
Make sure you have flexibility in your routine somewhere even if it is just post workout. Stretching is VERY important!

For those who cross train with their running routine: What is YOUR favorite cross training activity?

For those who don’t cross train: What is holding you back from doing so?