06-19-2015

Let’s Catch Up

I love reading the coffee date link up posts hosted by a few of my fellow fitness bloggers (find more info here). So I wanted to write my own fun little Friday post to catch you up on what’s been going on with me. If you care…keep reading, if not, no worries! :)

Graduation

Yesterday my little brother graduated from high school! He’s the last of us to graduate high school and will be attending our local community college (where I also work and coach) in the fall to play soccer. I love graduations. I love feeling the excitement, which is especially high at high school graduations.

Remember that feeling of being done and being so ready to head to college? Being excited to receive your orientation packets and class info…if I could go back in time and start again from any point in my life, I think it would be senior year of high school. Freshman year of college was the best year, and obviously college in general was a blast. Not a care in the world for my brother and the rest of his peers who graduated yesterday. Just ready to enjoy summer and go to college…must be nice! :)

 

A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

Running

I had a great run on Wednesday. But Tuesday was a different story. It was 87 degrees and 80% humidity. It was drizzly when I was about to start running, then of course it stopped and the sun came out as I started which made everything hot and muggy. I could barely finish 3 miles, and ended up walking most of the last half mile. Aren’t those runs the worst? You just feel defeated and wondering “why is this so hard?”

The next day I had a tough workout on my schedule from Coach Marc: 1.5 mile warmup, 5×5 minutes at 5K effort with 1 min. break in between, 1.5 mile cooldown.  Do you ever get nervous before workouts? Because I was nervous before this one. Before starting instead of visualizing running strong, I was already thinking about how the last 2-3 reps I would probably slow down and be struggling. Clearly, I really need to work on my mental game…this is a common issue. Any book recommendations or something?

Anyway, my mom and I crushed the workout! I ended up feeling great the whole run (thankfully it was a cloudy day, low humidity, slight breeze), and we completed 6 miles for the day. I love when you have a run where everything clicks, especially after a run that was really bad.

Yoga

My sister and I had the opportunity to attend a yoga class thanks to ShoeBuy this week. I will write a longer post about the event next week, but all in all it was pretty cool.

 

A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

It was supposed to be a rooftop class but since it was rainy, we went indoors. The class was led by a Pure Yoga instructor, and I thought it was tough! Mainly all the balancing poses. The next day my hamstrings were really sore from stretching them so much…is that common?

Anyway, it reminded me of how I really want to do more yoga, but I just don’t know how to fit it in my running schedule. I don’t want to do 30-45 minutes of yoga after long runs. Should I do it in the mornings? Yogis, do you find that yoga really does help with building core srength/strength in general? I know my core strength needs a lot of work since I could barely do boat pose :)

I also got to meet Toni from RunningLovingLiving! Always fun to meet bloggers in real life.

 

A photo posted by Toni (@runninglovingliving) on


Any fun events for you this past week or coming up? 

If you could go back in time and start your life over again from a certain point, what age would you choose?

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04-01-2015

“My Knees Hurt When I Squat”

“My knees hurt when I squat.” This is a common complaint, and one I have heard many times as a personal trainer. Because their knees hurt, people end up not doing squats at all, when in fact, squats can help you get stronger and actually decrease knee pain!

Today we are going to talk about why your knees hurt when you squat, and what you can do to fix it. 

How To Squat Without Knee Pain

Okay, if you’ve had a knee injury in the past, then yeah, that might be contributing to your knee pain (and you should see your PT or doctor to discuss whether you should or should not do certain exercises). However, most people have muscle imbalances and weaknesses that are causing this knee pain.

One of the main culprits is not engaging the core (or simply not having core strength) during the squatting motion. As you squat, you should be hinging at the hips and moving backwards as if sitting into a chair. If you don’t, your torso will lean forward, and your knees will be at an awkward angle, causing most of the load to be on your quads…which leads to the knee pain.

Here’s great info from trainer Kevin Yates:

When you lack proper core and hip strength muscle imbalances often result in the quadriceps and lower back over working. This is one of the main reasons for knee pain during squatting.

Movements like squatting and lunging are not bad for your knees and they don’t cause injuries.

Muscle imbalances are the real problem.

One of my favorite trainers, Tony Gentilcore, has a great post about fixing your squat and avoiding knee pain. His tip, box squats, was something I practiced regularly with my clients.

Basically, you set up a box or bench behind you in the squat rack. Your goal is to squat back and touch the box with your butt before coming back up (do not actually sit on the box and then come up, you are just tapping the box).

Tapping a box or bench helps you with that movement of sitting backwards. Your weight should be on your heels and not your toes during a squat. I’ve talked about squat tips in the past, and how you can improve your form. I’ve mentioned putting a plate under your heels. Why? Because if you have a muscle imbalance or tightness, your heels might be coming up during the squat movement. Elevating your heels a bit helps you get deeper and keep the weight in your heels.

From Tony Gentilcore:

If squatting hurts your knees—and you’re not suffering from an injury—it’s because you’re making your knees do more of the work than the hips. Learning how to utilize the hips during a squat is important if you want to make them more joint-friendly. Box squats can do that.

Squats and lunges are not bad for your knees! That’s a myth similar to that of running being bad for your knees and cracking your knuckles leading to arthritis. Squats and lunges, if anything, help improve your knee health. Start working on your core strength to take the pressure off your quads and knees.

One more thing before I move on to talking about your quads…if you’re having trouble sitting back into your squat, try doing front squats and goblet squats. Since the weight is in front of your body as opposed to on your back, it will make it a bit easier for you to sit back into the squat. I talked about that in this post about squatting tips.

Moving on…another thing that might be causing your knee pain is quad weakness. If your knees hurt during walking lunges or after running, this might be why. In order to fix this, you just need to work your quad muscles a bit. Focus on exercises like the split squat, and progress to a reverse lunge. Avoid doing any forward movements like (duh) forward lunges or walking lunges…just until you build up your strength.

Here’s one of my first YouTube videos showing the split squat.

Similar with the squat, you should be going straight down NOT forward. If you are moving forward as you’re performing this you will probably feel that knee pain. Cues to repeat to yourself are: chest up, shoulders back. Your front heel should stay planted on the floor – if you come up on your toes, step your back leg further back/away from your front leg. 

My dad had knee pain during running and leg exercises, but once he started doing more split squats, his knee pain disappeared. He now runs 3 miles most days! Progression ideas for this exercise (once you master the split squat) would be: reverse lunge, front foot elevated split squat, rear foot elevated split squat, step-ups, and walking lunges.

***Remember though, please talk to your PT or doctor if knee pain is something you have regularly dealt with. Of course there could be some underlying issue that is not as simple as a muscle imbalance or lack of strength.***

Do you squat regularly? Have you ever felt knee pain?

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03-06-2015

Things I’m Loving Lately

TGIF! I figured I’d do a quick and fun post about what I’m loving lately. I’ve recently discovered all of these things within the past month or so and now have been using them on a daily basis. Let’s start with some beauty products:

Lush Cosmetics

Lush Shampoo
How did I not try this sooner? I had heard about Lush but only thought they made those bath bomb things. I got the Braziliant shampoo (pictured above) from them last week (for shine and moisturizing) and absolutely love it. My hair has been super dry recently and this has been helping. A shampoo bar supposedly gets about 80-100 washes, which is equivalent to 4-5 shampoo bottles, according to Lush. My mom has also tried their all-natural face masks and liked them a lot as well. 

Maybelline Fit Me Foundation

fit me foundation
I usually don’t wear foundation, but I wanted one that wasn’t super expensive, and that looked natural, especially for nights out/special occasions. This one definitely fits the bill. It matches perfectly with my skin tone, and it’s only 8 bucks! Before this I had bought one from MAC for $30, and it just didn’t match my skin tone. Why pay more than double the cost when I can get a good drugstore foundation? I also love the Revlon foundations!

Too Faced Better Than False Lashes Mascara

too faced mascara
Obsessed with this right now. I have lashes that go straight down, so I always have to curl them. This is an issue also because I can never wear fake lashes. The fake ones who up and curl nicely, and then you can see my own lashes jutting out. This was the perfect solution. I had heard a lot about the Younique Mascara, and then found this in Sephora. You put on the black coat first, then the white one (which is this cotton-y material), and then the black coat on again. It really elongates your lashes, and no joke it does almost look like fake lashes. Try it!

Okay now let’s look at health/fitness related items:

Don Lee Farms Veggie Patties from Costco

costco veggie patties
These are so delicious. I’ve been trying to eat more meatless lately, and have been eating these for lunch some days. I usually have it with salad…which I’ll get to in my next item…

Costco Sweet Kale Vegetable Salad Kit from Costco

I couldn’t find an image that’s current and looks like the bag I buy but you can read about it through the link above. This is more of a crunchy salad, which I like. And it includes kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, green cabbage, chicory, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. I pair this with the veggie burgers above and it is a filling and delicious salad. I usually add some honey mustard dressing on it. I eat this with lunch and dinner most days!

Tiux Compression Socks

tiux compression socks
The people at Tiux sent me a pair to try out and they’re awesome. You can pre-order one of the three socks above now and receive them this spring. I think these are a little thicker than other compression socks, which I like. I need thicker socks to run. Stay tuned for a review on these socks next week!

I like reading things people are loving at the moment, so I thought I’d write up my own post. Let me know if you have a question about any of these!

What are you loving at the moment?

What’s one makeup item you can’t live without? (Mine’s definitely eyeliner)

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03-02-2015

Week 9/52 of Training – 2015 + Workout Playlist 14

Last week’s training wasn’t the best so I’m not even going to go through day by day haha. I ran twice. It was just a busy week and the weekend was also packed, so it just didn’t happen. Oh well, this week will be better!

I did a track workout (well, on the treadmill) Tuesday, which was 6×400 meters at 8.2 (7:19 pace). This is slowly getting a bit easier…it’s still super challenging but the weird thing is that now when I run at my 5K race pace (8:20ish) that feels so much slower! I guess that’s a good thing :) I’m running a 5K on March 14 so we’ll see what kind of shape I’m in.

I also did a tempo workout on Thursday for 5 miles. I’ll be sharing that treadmill workout this week because it really helps the time go by faster. It’s a mix of intervals and hill runs. 

Anyway, today I wanted to share a new workout playlist! I’ve been obsessed with “Honey, I’m Good” by Andy Grammer. I probably play it once every day lol. Listen to it! It’s so catchy. The rest of my picks are typical top 40 songs, but those are the ones that pump me up the most during runs.

newplaylist14

Check out this dance crew dancing to 7/11. I wish I had moves like that! One of my 2015 goals is to take a hip hop dance class…we’ll see how that turns out ;)

What songs are on your current playlist? Please share in the comments so I can add it to mine!

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02-18-2015

Health & Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

In the 2 years I’ve been working at the community college, I’ve never gotten stuck in traffic like I did today. Total standstill! And I thought today was Thursday…bummer :-P

Here are some links for you to catch up on today!

Featured: Tangy Crockpot Turkey Meatballs (SlimSanity)

tangy-meatballs-2-2
 How good do those look? I love any kind of meatballs, and the fact that you can make it in the crockpot is even better. I’ve been meaning to use my crockpot more but just haven’t found more recipes to try (I’m sick of the ones I make over and over again), so I’ll definitely have to try this one out! Yes, I’ve been trying to eat more meatless, but about 1-2 times a week I do eat some sort of meat. I’ll make an exception for this one ;)

  • Game Day Veggie Burgers (Her Heartland Soul) – I used to think veggie burgers would taste gross, but I really enjoy them now. My favorite are the chickpea burgers from Morning Star. This recipe looks delicious!
  • 5 Healthy Sandwich Swaps (Mom to Mom Nutrition) – Sandwiches are my favorite lunch, and these are all great ideas. Recently I’ve started swapping out turkey for more veggies, like chickpea salad. Though my favorite will always be melted cheese on turkey and toasted bread.
  • 10 Healthy Food Swaps (Fitful Focus) – Love mayo? Use avocados instead. Or use blended frozen bananas for that ice cream craving (still need to try this myself actually).
  • Breakfast Burrito Bowl with Sweet Potato Noodles (Food Faith & Fitness) – I use my Veggetti to make zucchini noodles and haven’t tried sweet potato noodles yet. I love sweet potatoes!
  • 10 Ways To Drink More Water (Jill Conyers) – This is your hydration reminder!

Have you made spiralized recipes? Share your favorite one in the comments so I can try it!

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02-11-2015

Health & Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

Is it the weekend yet? This week is craawwlllinggggg. But at least today I get to pamper myself and go get a pedicure before this wedding I’m going to this weekend. Do you like getting pedis alone or with a friend? I prefer a friend but have to go alone today =’(

Anyway, here are some links for you to check out!

Featured: Red Velvet Cake Granola (NutriFit Mama)

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 9.30.47 AM
How perfect is this for Valentine’s Day? It sounds/looks delicious and I have yet to actually make my own granola. I think I’ll try this but minus the beet root powder, mainly because I’m too lazy to drive to the health food store to find it ;)

Do you like to take naps? For how long?

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01-28-2015

Health & Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

Well, talk about an overhyped storm! For the past few days the media had been talking about this HISTORIC blizzard of 2015…we were going to get 25-30 inches! I think we ended up getting a total of 6ish haha. I don’t think it’s the meteorologists fault. Many are complaining about them and how they overhyped it, but I think it’s the media. The media was all over this storm and telling people to prepare, get their gas cans ready if needed, etc. etc. You’d think it was the apocalypse bu how they reported it. But whatever…I was just happy to get 2 snow days out of it ;)

Okay so let’s get into this week’s links! Some of the businesses I work with through my business are health & wellness related, so it’s fun perusing blogs and websites each day to curate content. Found a lot of great stuff over the past few days!

Featured: Vanilla Overnight Oats (24 Carrot Life)

vanilla-overnight-oats
I’ve actually never made overnight oats but keep meaning to. I am all about easy, on-the-go breakfasts. My usual is 2 hard boiled eggs that I eat in my car because I give myself just enough time in the morning to get ready and get out. Sleep > sit down breakfast :) Will definitely be trying this one soon!

I’ve been trying a lot of new recipes lately, experimenting with meatless ones. So if you have any favorite meatless recipes, please leave a link in the comments – I’d love to try it!

Do you already have races planned for 2015? Which ones? I haven’t made a race calendar yet.

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01-14-2015

Health & Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

Have you ever tried a new workout and a few days later you’re STILL sore?? I started a new plan Monday and still can’t walk right! It’s more focused on time than sets and reps (aka you’re out of breath the whole time), so we’ll see how it goes. I’ll keep you posted!

I haven’t done a link roundup in a few weeks…I got all discombobulated with the holidays so let’s get back into it.

Featured: Apple Cinnamon Blender Waffles (The Lean Green Bean)

Apple-Cinnamon-Blender-Waffles
How amazing do those look? I have been wanting a waffle maker for a while…I seriously need to get one. This recipe is so simple and quick…perfect for those lazy weekend mornings.

  • 2 Steps To Make Healthy Eating A Reality (Love Live Surf) – Two great tips here. I need to do better with meal prep. Mainly lunches. Do any of you prepare all your meals ahead of time?
  • Hip Hugger Lower Body Burner (Running Escapades) – Definitely need to add this to my routine once I start running more. But anyone can benefit…strong hips = strong core!
  • Italian Chickpea Casserole (Strength & Sunshine) – This looks delicious and like the perfect meatless dish if you’re looking for one. I will be trying this for sure, especially now that Dan’s resolution is to eat healthier/more veggies :)
  • Make Your Gym Habits Stick (Dare You To…) – Did you make a New Year’s Resolution? These tips will help! I always prepare my gym clothes and bag the night before. Even though I’m not a morning exerciser, it’s right by the door so I don’t forget anything in that morning rush, and have it all ready to go for my workout later in the day.
  • Grocery Shopping On A Budget For One (Lake Shore Runner) – I’ve found that now that I’m mainly buying groceries for myself, it’s a totally different experience in terms of weekly budgeting, buying things that won’t go bad, etc. Question: If you live alone or with a roommate, how do you buy salad in the bags and have it not go bad??? Happens to me every week.

How do you prevent your groceries and veggies from going bad? Do you have a weekly grocery budget?

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12-10-2014

Health & Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

Holy moly…in exactly 2 weeks it is Christmas Eve! I have done like 1% of my Christmas shopping…anyone done already? If so, way to go…I always end up waiting until the last minute.

Today’s featured link is a really cute/nice video…it’s not health or fitness related but it put a smile on my face! Can I get pulled over today and given a present? :)

Featured: Christmas Surprise Traffic Stop

Isn’t that nice? I’m way jealous of the girl who got the iPad…and the girl who got the New Balance sneakers…because, running. 

Here are more links for you to check out today:

  • Holiday Gift Guide: Under $35 (Nutritious Eats) – For those of you who are still shopping like me…and this reminded me I would like a new pair of fleece PJs!
  • Arms on Fire (Running Escapades) – Looking for an upper body workout? Try this one – all you need are dumbbells.
  • Super Simple DIY Medal & Bib Holder (Erica D. House) – I definitely want to make a medal holder. I love this idea.
  • Become A Morning Workout Person (Lake Shore Runner) – This just won’t happen for me, but if you’re making some resolutions, this may help you!
  • Yoga Core Workout (Apples & Arteries) – Definitely trying this 20 minute video today or tomorrow.

How’s your holiday shopping going? Have you treated yourself to anything? I bought some “fiber” mascara from Sephora yesterday to try out :)

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12-01-2014

Gratitude

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and weekend! I spent it at home with my family, which was really nice and relaxing. 

Something I’ve been thinking about since Thanksgiving is gratitude…and what I’m grateful for. I recently watched a video of a high school runner with multiple sclerosis. It brought tears to my eyes. If you haven’t seen this video on Kayla Montgomery you need to watch it now. It truly inspired me and made me realize there are so many things we take for granted.

I reflected on this and really thought about my own running. The next time I’m complaining about my shins hurting, or that I don’t want to run, I’m going to remember this video. She gives it 1000% because she knows she has limited time to run. I am grateful for simply being able to get up and run when I want to.

I’m also so happy I got to spend time with my family. Saturday night we went bowling with my uncle and it was so much fun. I haven’t laughed ’till I cried in so long. 

 

A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on


Make the most of the time you spend with loved ones, whether it’s family or people who are basically your family. I always tell Dan that I believe that saying, “Money doesn’t buy happiness.” Sure it can buy some stuff that may make you happy, or take away stress, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t buy health, family, friends and much more.

I’m not sure what the point of this post was…a little word vomit of how I’m feeling. And so I can look back and remind myself to be grateful for everything I have.

Definitely watch that video! It is worth the 12 minutes of your time. Trust me.

What are you thankful for this holiday season? What things have you realized you sometimes take for granted?

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