Off to Blend 2015!

It’s that time of year again! Blend is upon us!

I went to Blend for the first time last year when it was hosted in Utah and had a lot of fun, so when the organizers announced it was going to be in Boulder, how could I say no?

Blend Group

I’m really looking forward to seeing some blog friends, making new ones, learning about some new brands, and just getting away for the weekend in a beautiful place.

If you want to keep up with all the shenanigans that is Blend, and see all the incredible swag that this weekend is known for, then be sure to follow me on Instagram.

Have a fantastic weekend!

RQ: What are your weekend plans?

Benefits of Hill Training and TWO Hill Workouts

While I regularly tout the benefits of interval running, there are some serious benefits to hill running as well. For instance, it helps,

Increase stride turnover. Basically, the faster you can get your legs to move, the quicker you get up that hill. This translates into faster turnover on flat ground, which means quicker speeds.

Build strength, endurance, and speed. Getting up those hills requires both physical and mental stamina while working most of your leg muscles. This will make running your regular routes much easier.

Improve your form. You need an efficient arm swing, knee drive, and push off when tackling hills. Exaggerating your form on an incline means you’re more likely to keep the form for a longer period of time during a flat-ground run and at the end of a race.

Marathon finishing

Challenge your nervous system and build neuromuscular fitness. Your body gets used to the long training runs. So used to it in fact that you may burn less calories and get less benefits once your body adapts. But throw in a few hill sprints and now your body has to work harder to resist fatigue, work efficiently, and stay strong.

All that being said, I wanted to share two hill workouts you can use. One is for the treadmill and one you can take outside. Make sure you warm up and cool down for at least 5 minutes for each workout. Stretch as needed!

Varied Treadmill Incline Repeats

Varied Treadmill Incline Repeats

Focused Hill Repeats (non-treadmill)

Focused Hill Repeats

A few other hill runs you can check out are:

RQ: What is your favorite way to run hills?

Tall Tales Tuesday: What to Expect During Sunrise at Angkor Wat

One of the biggest attractions in Siem Reap is to see the sun rise over the Angkor Wat temple. While it may have been a little hyped up, it was a beautiful experience that I would recommend, if not just for the novelty and excitement of it all.

If you choose to venture out before the sun to get your place by the lake, there are a few things you should do and expect.

Sunrise over Angkor Wat

Don’t drink too much the night before (or have too much Happy Pizza). With the sun rising around 5:30-6am, the drive taking about 30 minutes, and factoring in walking up and through the temple to the prime sunrise viewing spot, you’re in for an early wake up call. Cambodia, as the rest of Southeast Asia, can party pretty hard. Forgo the extra beers and get a bit of sleep so you’re ready to go in the morning.

Order your tuk tuk driver ahead of time. Since you have to be up and out so early, tuk tuk drivers are not readily available (except to maybe take home the last partiers). Set up your driver, pick up time, and location the day before. Most hotels can easily arrange this for if you ask at the front desk. Then, when 4:30 rears its ugly head, your driver will be there waiting and you will have one less thing to worry about.

Tuk Tuk - Cambodian Cab

Expect crowds. This may seem like an obvious one, but I was actually surprised by the amount of people who showed at that time of morning. Just be prepared for lots of people all gawking (and some not being too polite). Oh, and if you’re a don’t-get-near-me-until-I’ve-had-coffee person, then find a way to get yourself a cup before you get to the temple.

Angkor Wat - Rob

Bring a tripod. I’m no camera expert (as I am sure you can tell from the photos I subject you to on here), but with the shimmery half-light of morning, setting up a tripod will get you much better pictures than a hand held. There are spots to set it up even with the crowds and everyone was very respectful of each other’s tripod space.

Angkor Wat - The sun just peeking through

Take as many pictures as you can. Clear your memory card in preparation. Rob and I both took an insane amount of pictures since the light kept changing every second, we found new angles, new settings on our cameras, and were just goofing around at points. Don’t be shy about how many times you click the shutter because this is a one-shot deal. Make the most of it.

Rob and I at Angkor Wat

Visit the temple during regular daylight hours. Angkor Wat is a massive temple. The grounds alone take some time to walk. After the sunrises, go hunt down some breakfast, and then go back to the temple to see the rest when you have more time to explore. Sure, you’ve already been there, but it won’t disappoint.

While it may seem like a lot of rigamarole to see the sunrise over the temple, it was certainly an experience I would recommend and do again. Plus, you’ll have tons of pictures to look back on!

RQ: Have you ever gotten up insanely early to see something beautiful? What attractions have you seen that were just too touristy or crowded?

Food FOMO: Letting Go of the “Treat” Guilt

Last week I talked about analyzing your taste buds as a means to put an end to the dieting – overeating – feeling guilty cycle. The next step to that analysis is recognizing your Food FOMO.

Food FOMO: Letting Go of the "Treat" Guilt

Food FOMO is the fear of missing out on certain foods, so you eat them regardless if you’re hungry, like them, or actually want them.

For instance: Last week at an after-school meeting that went late, the meeting leaders brought a few boxes of Oreos and Chips Ahoy Chocolate Chip Cookies. Now, I’m not really a baked goods person to begin with, but I just wasn’t interested in eating a few cookies that would eventually affect my run later that night.

Junk Food

You see, I know what Oreos taste like. (And without milk, they are nothing.) I know what packaged chocolate chip cookies taste like. This knowledge means I wasn’t going to be missing out on anything by not having a bite or two. Sure, I was hungry, but I had a KIND bar packed in preparation for the meeting, so I snacked on that instead.

Now, when I visit my family and my mom makes my grandmother’s famous apple pie recipe or “heart-attack” lasagna, I am all in because I know it’s a rare occasion to have those foods and I would definitely feel like I was missing out if I didn’t have some. They are those once-a-year type of a foods that I dream of the deliciousness of until I go home again.

Cake Tasting

Wedding Cake tasting definitely counts as Food FOMO

Next time you’re faced with treats in the breakroom that you already know what they taste like, or could get any time, decide if you would really be missing out if you didn’t have it. If you know you won’t be missing anything, skip it. If you feel like you would be missing out, then eat it!

Family Style Meals

And if you choose the eat it! route, then DO NOT feel guilty about it. Enjoy it. Savor it. And know that this is a rare occasion to have it.

I’m not promoting cutting foods from your diet, or being restrictive. I am promoting eating the best for your lifestyle, your goals, and your performance. For me, that means not having store-bought cookies I could literally have any time I want.

RQ: What foods do you eat because you would have FOMO? What foods do you pass over because you would not have FOMO?

How to Motivate Yourself To Workout When You Really Don’t Want To

It happens to all of us. We know we should go to the gym, it’s on our training plan, and yet, we just can’t get ourselves to go.

When I talk about “not going to the gym” and “skipping a day”, I am talking about you came home and sat on the couch. Not that you went for a walk when you were supposed to go for a run. I am talking about no activity at all.

Jim Gaffigan

It’s important to note that I schedule 1-2 rest days into every week for both my own workouts and those of my clients. This is not talk for those rest days which are part of the plan. This is for those scheduled workout days when you just can’t get up the gumption to get sweaty.

Here are my 9 suggestions on how to motivate yourself to hit the gym even when you really don’t want to go:

Warm up. If you managed to get yourself dressed into workout clothes and make it to your workout space, but are still feeling like you’d rather turn right around and sit on the couch, at least warm up. Once you get your blood flowing, you might feel your energy and motivation come back to you. If a warm up still doesn’t cut it, then call it quits.

General Warm Up

Do your favorite moves. We all have those moves that we just love when they show up in our workouts. Whether it’s burpees or sit ups, something out there gets you excited. Build your workout off of those moves you love. It should make you a little more excited to get moving.

obsession-confession-2

Obsession Confession 1Obsession Confession 2Obsession Confession 3

Get Outside. Typically work out in your basement or in a minimally windowed gym? Your body might be telling you it needs some fresh air and sunlight. Take your workout to a park, path, or your own backyard. A new location might be just what you need to get moving.

Trail Exploration

Put on favorite TV show, podcast, or playlist. Sometimes all I want to do is sit and watch a TV show. If I know I have to get some sort of movement in, I will set up the show on the treadmill and just watch while I walk. At least it gets me moving! Same thing works for me with podcasts.

One podcast I am loving right now is Mind Body Musings from Madelyn Moon. Interesting topics that get you thinking about your own mind-body connections.

Remind yourself of your goals.  If your goals are weight loss, conditioning, toning up, etc, skipping a day a planned workout may set you back a step or two. While this is completely fine, it won’t work if you’re on a time limit. For example, getting ready for my wedding that was less than 3 months out was extremely motivating when I wanted to skip two or three days in a row.

On our wedding day

Remind yourself of your goals and decide if skipping a day will make you feel better or worse about reaching those goals.

Get a buddy. – Enlist a friend to do your workout with you. Or do their workout. Most of my friends know I am pretty quiet until you get me walking/running. Then, if you’re next to me I become a complete chatter box. Taking a walk to catch up with a friend? Now that’s something I can get motivated to do.

Pre-mud

Try something new. Workout plans can get redundant. Rather than slog through another getting-boring workout, try something new. Take that class at your gym you’ve been wanting to try, pop in a workout DVD or youtube video, or just put on some loud music and dance around. Either way you slice it, it’s movement. ClassPass is an excellent option for this!

Just go to have fun. Stop thinking of your workout as a chore and start thinking of it as fun. Especially on those days you don’t want to be there.

Don’t go. If not of these “tricks” work, then just skip it. Your body is clearly trying to tell you that it’s tired and overworked and you’ll feel better having listened. However, distinguish between being tired vs unmotivated. There is a difference.

If you skip a day, do your best to keep your healthy eating habits. Often times I take missing an afternoon session as an excuse to watch netflix on the couch with a cocktail. Not a good habit to get into. Keep your eating and hydration habits and then get back to it the next day.

RQ: How do you motivate yourself to get moving when you really don’t want to? When you do skip a day, do you fall into any unhealthy habits?

Cardio-Strength Combo Workout

Hello from rainy Denver!

I tell you what, the Mile a Day May challenge is tough when you don’t have a treadmill/gym membership and it’s been raining non-stop for a few days. Regardless, the ladies in the challenge are kicking butt getting their daily mile in!

Now that track is over, I have so much time back in my day and added to my weekends. As much as I love coaching, I love having these hours added to work on the house, go for runs, and personal train. 

Enough rambling. I just wanted to share this Cardio-Strength Combo Workout with you all. I love workouts that combine my passion of running (though you can do this workout with the cardio of your choice) and strength/conditioning. I hope you enjoy it!

Cardio-Strength Combo Workout

No equipment is needed for this one, so you can literally take it anywhere. Enjoy the back half of your week!

RQ: What is your favorite cardio-strength workout?

Ending the Overeating Cycle: Taste Bud Analysis (with printable)

When you’re being “good” and “sticking to a diet” – terms I don’t like using because we’re focusing on a lifestyle here, not a quick fix – it may seem like you can’t have specific foods that you really like. Then, when your “diet” is “over” you go a little crazy and buy all those things that you “couldn’t have” and you overeat. With that overeating comes the weight that you just worked so hard to lose.

And there we have a vicious cycle of dieting – overeating – weight gain.

To stave off this situation, or at least limit the severity of it, try doing an analysis of your taste buds. Here’s how it works:

Taste Bud Analysis Image

1. Make a list of all those foods that you “can’t have” when you’re on a “diet” (but seriously, stop using that kind of language), but end up eating when your “diet” is “over”.

2. Include any emotional connotations attached to the listed foods. Food can carry emotional baggage and it’s important to recognize that in yourself.

3. Buy small packages of the foods on your list. You don’t have to buy them all at once. In fact, I suggest spreading this analysis out over the course of 2-3 weeks so you don’t end up with a bunch of junk in your cabinets.

4. Try a bite or two of each food in isolation. Not when you’re emotional, not when you’re starving, but just at a normal state of being.

5. Analyze how the food tastes. Really decide if it’s good. If you actually like the taste. Be tough and do your best to leave the emotions out of it.

6. Create an action plan for each food. If you decide it truly tastes good, decide how you’re going to handle it rather than cutting it out completely. Are there substitutions? Can you find a way to eat it in moderation?

If you decide the food does not taste good, then you’ve just taken away that particular food’s power. Make an action plan for those foods you didn’t like as well so if you feel like you “can’t have” them, but want them, you’ll know how to handle it.

Here is what my taste bud analysis looks like:

Taste Bud Analysis - my version

There are more foods I could add to this list, but these are my main ones, the ones I know I have to be careful around because I would eat way too much in one sitting. These are the first ones I “cut” when I’m re-evaluating my healthy habits. But since I did this analysis, about 6 months ago, these foods have lost their power over me. They are just that: food. Yes, I eat them occasionally, but they don’t consume my thoughts or are the first things I grab when my habits get a little more relaxed.

If you want to give this analysis a try, you can download the printable here: TasteBudsAnalysisPrintable.

The bottom line here is to stop giving food power. To stop obsessing over what you can and cannot have, but instead to just eat because food tastes good and fuels your body to be it’s best.

Ready for the next step? Let’s talk about Food FOMO: Letting Go of the “Treat” Guilt. 

RQ: What foods do you label as “bad”? Have you found yourself in this type of cycle?

Tall Tales Tuesday: Best and Worst Toilet Situations

During our year in Southeast Asia, I experienced my fair share of very interesting toilet situations. From the sprayer the Vietnamese use instead of toilet paper, to a hole in the ground that you pour a bucket of water into to flush, I never knew what I was going to walk into.

The worst of them all was this pay-to-use location at the base of Black Lady Mountain. I’m going to spare you the graphic details, but the doorless stalls, the lack of “flushing”, and the bugs crawling around (ok, so I didn’t spare you), left me with the heebie-jeebies for quite some time.

Vietnamese Bathroom

But the best of them all? Japan. Yes, I know I tout Japan’s amazingness quite often on Tall Tales Tuesday, but I’m not exaggerating. Their toilets are seriously amazing.

Heated seats, built in bidet, adjustable temperature and pressure, I’m surprised the things don’t take off. I mean, the thing had a remote control.

The remote control

And a user manual taped to the wall right beside it to ensure it’s proper use. I was a little to scared to use all the features, but marveled at all the things it could possibly do.

Japanese Toilet Directions

 RQ: What’s the best and worst toilet situation you’ve found yourself in? (Spare the graphic details please!)

“I Know I’ll Never Be Happy With My Body”

I can’t get this statement out of my head. A few weeks back, a friend of mine spoke these words. Like they were matters of fact. Like she had just accepted it with this sad, well-this-is-it overtone.

And my heart broke for her.

Never is a very long time. Being happy is such a beautiful thing. Why would anyone want to finalize the possibility of a very long time of not feeling such a beautiful thing?

If any of you are feeling similarly to my friend, or have had similar thoughts at one point or another, you need to know that you are beautiful. That you are enough. And if you don’t start loving and accepting yourself just as you are, then what quality of life are you giving yourself? After all, you only have this one go-round. Why waste it feeling less-than?

Mt. Evans Halfway Up View

It’s time to start feeling confident in your body. If you’re not, there are a few ways you can start getting there.

Appreciate all the things your body can do. Honestly, your body is capable of so much. Even the little things, like picking up your child, walking up a flight of stairs, breathing in and out each and every day, these are all things to be celebrated. Don’t take them for granted.

Perfect sunrise during a long run

Know how much of the world is photoshopped. Stop looking at magazines, TV shows, commercials, instagram photos, etc, and start looking around at real women. Women who take care of their families, who have had families, who hold full-time jobs, who are full of love and laughter, who seem confident. They have cellulite, they have freckles and moles, they have weight on their hips, they have scars, and they are absolutely beautiful. These are real women.

Cassie’s video does an amazing job of putting this concept out there in an effort to stop the body shaming.

Find happiness outside of your body. You are you no matter what weight you are. No matter how fast, strong, or thin. Your personality is your personality. Take the “I’ll be happy if I could just…(lose 10 pounds, lift that weight, get rid of my cellulite)” out of the equation. If those things never happen, you’re setting yourself up for a life of unhappiness. Why would you do that to yourself?

Canyonlands NP

And if you realize that taking the “I’ll be happy if…” out still leaves you unhappy, find someone to talk to about what else could be wrong.

Get active. Not for the weight loss, but for the overall health benefits, your body needs to move. Even if you just walk 30 minutes a day 4-5 times a week, your mood, your heart, your body will start to feel good and give you a longer, healthier life. Elle Woods had a point:

tumblr_mxajgca7H01ry9rw1o1_500

Be realistic. While you should set a goal to keep you motivated, set a realistic goal. Whether it’s as simple as, “I will follow every self-said negative body comment with a positive one”, or as big as, “I will give up soda for an entire month”, be realistic about it.

Look at your schedule, look at stressful events coming up, look at your supporters, look at your hinderers, and then decide how realistic that goal is for you or how unrealistic it is. Adjust and then start working towards it.

And know that it is ok if you have to adjust.

Appreciate how far you have come. Stop berating yourself for where you’re not, and start congratulating yourself for where you are now compared to where you used to be. Did you used to get winded walking upstairs, but not anymore? Congratulate yourself. Did you listen to your body and stop eating when you were full twice this week? Congratulate yourself. Did you lose five pounds by eating better and moving more without using a “diet” over the past month? Congratulate yourself.

Mary Carter Greenway Trail

Really, focus on how far you have come in your journey and your mentality about your body will start changing for the better.

RQ: How much negative self talk do you do about your body either in your head or out loud? How do you try to overcome it?

Short Interval Workout For That Finishing Kick

After a conversation I had with my Athletic Director earlier this week about how one of my star athletes passed 4 runners in the final 100 meters and won his 800 meter race by a step, he sent me this video:

Heartbreaking and humorous all at once. It just goes to show you how important that finishing kick can be whether you are running an 800 or a marathon.

To prevent loosing by a step happening to you, try this short, sweet, and fun interval workout. I recommend it after you’ve run a bit already. For example, if you’re aiming for 3 miles that day, do this workout in the last mile. You’ll be a bit tired, mentally and physically, so pushing the pace for a short distance will give you that extra edge.

Short Interval Workout for that Finishing Kick

This interval workout can be used with your favorite cardio as well, not just running! Try it on an incline, or with tougher resistance as well. You will definitely feel the burn.

Also, because I got lost in the world of youtube when I searched for this video, enjoy this short compilation of people who celebrated their wins too early. I couldn’t stop watching.

RQ: What do you think of the Oregon runner? How do you prepare for a finish?

Don’t forget, there are currently TWO programs you can sign up for to get summer ready!

Spring Burn 2015: 4-weeks of workouts, accountability, food tips, regression/progressions journal, run plan, and 5/10k virtual race. Prices go up this weekend!

Spring Burn 1

Mile a Day May: A FREE Facebook group that encourages you to complete one a mile day for the entire month of May.

Mile a Day May 2