Tuesday, February 19, 2013

quick raps on the haps

Okay...I know its mid 'Febreweary', but get off your arse!  Come out to my Ski-Con workshop THIS SATURDAY @ 9AM at your friendly neighborhood backyard fitness studio.  This week we will be focusing on agility and working the core and glutes (butt) simultaneously. Doesn't that sound fun?  Please sign-up online prior to class.  First timers are free.
Back country in the Wallowas
Another hot option to beat the mid-winter blues:  Fresh Air Fitness Bootcamps- every Tuesday and Thursday at 6AM.  C'mon all you early birdies!  This is a great group of dedicated (mostly gals) that meet at Phinney Neighborhood Center (switching to Greenlake in April).  The first class is complimentary.  I am currently a substitute teacher in training for FAF and would love to see some familiar faces.  We guarantee good times and amazing metabolic results. 
COMING SOON:  Open Studio at Aeron Hansen's fabulous fitness boutique.  I'm very excited to be a part of this special spring event. We will be showcasing our equipment and talent for personal training and group fitness instruction. If you are considering personal training of even if your just curious, please join us.  There will be hands-on group fitness demos, complimentary refreshments, prizes, and more!  So mark your calendars for the morning of March 23rd so you don't miss out.  More details coming soon!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

the run must go on!

I'm a bit bummed that I will not be participating in the Birch Bay Half Marathon tomorrow.  I was looking forward to a lovely trek around the northern coast in mostly sunny 45 degree Fahrenheit weather.  Alas, my friend, super-runner woman and would-be ride up there (its a 3-hour haul) has been given doctor's orders not to run.  These things happen.  

I feel worse for her due to her injuries and the fact that she loves running more than I do.  In lieu of not being bound for Blaine, I am instead doing my own 'home skillet half' (here in Seattle) which will consist of a loop from Ballard on the Burke-Gilman through Fremont, around Lake Union clockwise and back via the North ship canal trail, through Fisherman's terminal and back over the locks. That should be close to 13+ miles.  No aid stations though, so I'll have to pack some vittles...& beer will follow;-)
I'm stoked!  

Home Skillet Half marathon route (more or less)
In prep, today I am taking it relatively easy and drinking lots of water.  I've run this distance and further several times though not recently.  So I will need to 'listen' to my body.  

After a great yoga class this morning at my favorite local studio, Aditi (balance focused) I am again reminded how beneficial deep stretching and proper breathing is for all of us; at any age and fitness level. There are many benefits to yoga.  My primary motivation for practicing  is to work inward and 'slow myself down'.  This proves to be challenging for me at times, since I am one of those 'kinetic' types...always on the go-go-go and tending to over plan.   Yoga helps me regain focus and a deeper sense of peace and I am continuously grateful for it. So props to Aditi, definitely check them out if you have the opportunity.  

This spring, along with a spring training workshop (targeted at blasting your butt and love-handles), I will be offering a special session on proper stretching and myofascial (MFR) release techniques with foam rollers and rubber balls...so stay tuned!  
These special events will be listed online and take place at a new boutique studio here in Ballard. This is where I teach Ski-Conditioning: two more sessions left!  For those that want to sign-up. No need to be a skier, and first-timers are always free!  
 Peace & Namaste:-)
dancin' Shiva @ Rabbit Lake in Alaska

Sunday, February 3, 2013

X marks the spot

Cross-training I've come to believe is the key to injury and boredom prevention.  Even the disciplined, hard-core gym goers need to mix it up.  Endurance athletes should especially take note.  As a long distance runner, cyclist, and Nordic skier I have  developed a strong lower body over the years, but not by doing these activities alone have I felt my strength and stability increase.  
Yard sale at Trillium Lake near Mt. Hood
Starting a resistance exercised-based cross training routine is fairly simple and effective.  Take a runner for example; after a period of regular, safe (injury-free)  running training adaptation occurs.  This is an excellent time to build on the base of those running muscles.  A good sport-specific routine would benefit most regular runners.  My current top five recommendations for those who love to run and want to keep running are:  

1.  One leg dead-lifts 
with a single dumbbell.  This not only gains you core stability, it works to correct balance inconsistencies, and strengthens the hamstrings, gluts, and lower back more effectively by isolating each side (whether you are right dominant or left). 
2.  Plyometric lunges
Not only are these fast-paced jumping lunges a great way to get the heart rate up (try them as a tabata!) the move strengthens the needs and gets the fast twitch (type 2) muscle fibers firing which is especially beneficial to runners that wish to  increase speed. 
3.  Core work
Its no surprise that core strength is essential to running posture and to everyday life.  By effectively activating the abdominal muscles, the back, hips, and head alignment will improve.  
4.  Bridge
One of my faves since it opens up a plane (the frontal) that often is pulled in the opposite direction (due to gravity).  Also it gets the glutes and hip flexors, the big gun that propel you forward and stabilize when running. 
5. Alphabet Plank
Gotta love that fit ball!  So good for so many fun moves.  This one really gets me. I love doing it after a run, just before foam rolling.   

One of the best tid-bits of advice I can give anyone who feels stagnant in their exercise 'routine' is to simply try something new.  If there is a specific goal, think of ways you can achieve it with a different activity; for example, if running is getting boring (I'm there now!) but you want to keep up the caloric burn go drop in for a spin class or two for a quick cardio blast, or jog/ bike up hills for intervals. 

If your knees and legs need a break, perhaps a pilates class or yoga is an option.  As for me, my 'MO' lately has been a fun melange of bike commuting (as I am still car-less), running with my BAR group, and yoga at Aditi  This keeps me occupied during the week and weekends I don't have skiing or a long ride/ run in the calendar.

 'Team B' Whidbey Island ride
Winter, particularly February; after the resolution period begins to wain is a tough time for most to stay motivated.  Focus on letting yourself have fun and feel privileged that you have the opportunity to exercise.  I know I do.  Whether finding motivation through social or group activity participation, seeking solace and an endurance challenge with a new running loop, or finding restoration through yoga practice; get out there and try something new AND start a cross training program you can build on.  I guarantee it will improve your fitness level, enhance weight loss, and help prevent injury.  Oh...and don't forget to stretch!