06-05-2015

Thoughts You Have While Lifting

Yesterday I was reading this Buzzfeed article, 75 Thoughts Every Runner Has While Out For a Run…so funny and so true! I have written my own version of what I think about while running, and figured I’d have a little fun today and write up my thoughts while lifting at the gym. Let’s see if you can relate to any of them!

  1. Okay, time to warm-up. I really hate warming up. I guess I’ll do some jumping jacks and arm circles or something. Maybe walk on the treadmill.
  2. First up is squats – oh look the squat rack is taken.
  3. Okay, I’ll just do bench press then. Oh look, the benches are all taken.
  4. Stop chatting with your friends and get your set done so I can squat or bench! (My gym is full of high school guys that come in groups.)
  5. *Waiting patientlty by the bench press until the person is done*
  6. Finally, I can get on it. 
  7. Okay, what weight did I do last time? I’ll add like 10 lbs.
  8. Crap, this is heavy. What if I can’t get it back up??
  9. *Pushing hard on last rep* Please don’t let anyone be watching my struggling right now.
  10. I did it, phew. Okay onto the squats.
  11. *Feeling bad@$$ doing barbell squats*
  12. Someone asks “How many sets do you have left?” “I just got on.” Now you have to patiently wait like I did!
  13. I hope my shorts/leggings aren’t see through when I squat…probably should have checked first
  14. I wonder what my form looks like…am I squatting deep enough?
  15. Okay, done with that. Next.
  16. Look at that dude doing deadlifts with a rounded back…hurts my back just watching him!
  17. Look at that girl running on 8.0 on the treadmill like it ain’t no thang…I wish…
  18. *Finishing workout*
  19. Time to stretch and foam roll…I probably look like I’m flopping around everywhere on this foam roller.
  20. Must. not. make. weird. face. in. public. (as foam roller hits all the tight and painful spots.)
  21. I guess I’ll do a few planks and then get out of here.
  22. DONE. Time to eat.

Does anyone have a lot of high schoolers go to their gym? They go and it’s so funny because the guys hang out in groups by the weights, and the girls sit in a circle “stretching” or “doing abs” in the stretching area (in reality they are sitting there gossiping and laughing).

What thoughts do you have while at the gym? Any of these? Or am I the only one holding in my pain while foam rolling? ;)

Thoughts You Have While LiftingSource

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02-17-2015

Upper Body Strength For Runners

Random start to this post but I had a good idea for a post I wanted to write the other day, and now I can’t remember what it was for the life of me! So this one will have to do ;)

I’ve noticed that gaining upper body strength has really helped my running. We all know how important core strength is, but upper body strength is just as important. Your arms are what propel you as you’re running, especially during accelerations and/or sprinting to that finish line.

For me, lifting for biceps and triceps isn’t my favorite thing to do. I much prefer exercises like pull-ups, bench press, etc. which hit those bigger muscles. And I believe those are key exercises to help you with your running as well.

Upper Body Strength For Runners

Here are a few exercises to incorporate into your strength routine:

Rows

My favorite type of row is a supported bent over dumbbell row.

Bent Over Row
Photo Source

Single arm (and leg for that matter) exercises utilize more core strength which is obviously a plus. A few cues I’d give for this exercises are:

  • Keep your back flat throughout, don’t let it sag when you lower the weight.
  • As you lower the weight, don’t use momentum to row it back up. I see people lower and let there shoulder and back go down with the weight in order to almost swing it back up. Keep your torso steady as you lower the weight, then before you row up focus on squeezing your shoulder blade/the muscles in that area to row up. Those are the muscles you want to recruit. Try to keep them “flexed” throughout the exercise.

If you have a cable machine, this exercise will really help your running, since it mimics arm strength. I was doing this one about 2-3 times per week:

 

A video posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on


You want to pick a challenging weight but not one that will cause your torso to move as you pull or let the weight go. Once again, focus on using your back muscles as you pull in (think “squeeze your shoulder blades”)Pull in with force, then let it go slowly (count 3 seconds). That explosive movement will help your arm swing during that last sprint of a track workout or race. Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps to start, and each week try to add more weight.

Those are my 2 favorite exercises for upper body strength relating to running, but here are a few others to incorporate into your routine:

  • Pull-ups (assisted or unassisted)
  • Negative pull-ups
  • TRX rows
  • Barbell or dumbbell overhead press
  • Push-ups (great for core strength too)
  • Bent-over barbell row
  • Inverted row
  • Lying barbell tricep extension (video) –> much more effective than tricep kickbacks and other tricep exercises.
  • Single arm dumbbell overhead press
  • Tricep rope extension

I forget what video I was watching but it was one of Mary Cain doing a track workout, and her coach (Alberto Salazar) was yelling, “Use your arms! Use your arms!” Next time you feel you’re getting tired during a run, workout or race, pump your arms harder. You’ll find that it will help you maintain your pace.

Do you incorporate these exercises into your strength routine? 

What’s your mental tip for when you are really fatigued at the end of a track workout or race but want to finish strong?

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12-03-2014

Cardio Acceleration Workout

Yesterday I was going to run on the treadmill then do a strength workout. Well, as I’m driving to the gym I realize I forgot a sports bra. The worst! There’s no way I can run without one, so while my mom ran 2 miles as her warm-up I just foam rolled and did some stretching. I decided to add cardio into my strength workout, and came up with this workout below:

cardio-strength-workout
I wanted to mainly focus on legs, but did some upper body as well with the presses focusing on shoulders and the rows on my back. I’ve never added in cardio while lifting – I typically just like to lift and do cardio separately…boy, was this killer! I was dripping in sweat. 

Doing intervals of cardio in between lifts is called “cardio accelerations.” According to Men’s Fit Club:

A study done at UCLA (University of California) showed that cardio acceleration delivers better blood flow and gives you a much better pump and also has shown to increase the rate of recovery because of the addition nutrients and oxygen pumped into the muscles. 

Cardio acceleration intervals also create that afterburn everyone always talks about. If you’re not keen on doing treadmill intervals or hill sprints as “HIIT,” then this type of workout is perfect for you!

The step-ups were done on a bench with no added weight – just do them as fast as you can. Harder than it sounds! For the last round, where I wrote cardio of your choice, I did stair sprints. 

I think I am going to start doing this type of workout more often, since I think it will have a benefit for me as a runner as well. Not only will I be burning extra calories, I’ll be doing plyometric/explosive type movements as cardio, which will make me a stronger runner.

Have you added in cardio intervals to your strength workouts? What’s your favorite way? I hate mountain climbers!!

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10-02-2014

Why You Should Keep A Training Log

Do you track your training – whether it’s lifting, running, cycling, etc.? If not…you should!

Using a training log helps you keep track of your progress. I love being able to look on old notes to see how far I’ve come, as well as what I’ve lost or what weaknesses to work on. For example, a few months ago I can look back and see that I couldn’t do any unassisted pull-ups. Well, now I can do 4.5. Though not in a row…I need a 1-2 min. break in between each one, but still ;)

I keep a training log when it comes to my lifting AND my running. So I want to talk about how you can use one for both of these different activities.

Training LogPhoto Credit: Jonathan Rubio via Compfight cc

RUNNING LOG

There are many ways to keep track of your running. You can use a good ol’ notebook, or online tools like Google docs or Daily Mile. I try to keep up with Daily Mile but I’m really bad at updating it.

Benefits of keeping a training log for running are:

  • You’re able to see how consistent you are with training (or inconsistent which has happened to me).
  • If you’re a numbers person, seeing increasing mileage and paces can help motivate you
  • You can track how you feel on runs. If you have been feeling a certain way on certain runs, write it down. You may see patterns.
  • You can track amount of time spent running, as well as cross training and lifting.
  • Once the season is over, you can review your log and see what you did well vs. what you can work on next season.

The tool I work with is Google docs, because that’s what Coach Marc has me use. His training log is seriously awesome. I am able to see my year in review, my training plan, and each month broken down into miles I’ve ran (based on what I put in obviously).

He has a notes section where I can write how I felt in each run (which he reviews to tweak my plan as time goes on). It’s so funny reading notes from my 2011 log before my first marathon. And also funny to see how my training has progressed so much since then.

Here’s a screenshot of the “year in review” section:

training log
I think it’s cool you can see previous months AND years miles. This version of his is newer from the ones I was using since 2011 which is why my yearly miles don’t show up.

Oh also, you can input what shoes you wear so you can track how many miles they have. No more forgetting when to replace your shoes!

Each month tab on the bottom allows you to input your miles, pace, shoes work, notes and more. See below:

running log
Pretty cool right? The cooler thing is you don’t have to be coached by Marc to have access to this training log. He sells them on his site. He also has a special offer for you all: if you buy the 2015 log, he’ll give you the 2014 log for free, so you’ll be set for the rest of this year and next year. Just mention my blog in the comments of his order form :)

Even if you don’t order one, start using a running log for yourself. You may be surprised at the results, and you may even improve your running! Make sure to track miles, type of run, pace, how you felt and what sneakers you wore.

Lifting Log

Okay so you don’t run? No problem. A log is just as important in strength training…maybe even more important. You don’t want to be one of those people who goes to the gym day in and day out, does the same workout, and never sees results, right? Not keeping a training log can lead to a plateau.

Here are the benefits of keeping a lifting log:

  • You can track what weights you use for every exercise. This means as the weeks go by you can steadily increase your weight, as opposed to forgetting what weights you used for what, or staying at the same weight.
  • You can track what workouts/exercises you do on certain days.
  • You can track sets, reps, and tempo. If you’ve done the same number of sets and reps for 4 weeks, it’s time to switch it up.
  • You can write notes about how you felt during lifting sessions. For example, I write down “felt good” so I know that the following week I need to increase my weights. Or I write “Stay” which means to stay at the current weight I’m using because it’s challenging.

For my lifting log I am old school and go with a notebook and pen. I have a small notepad I bring to the gym, but then I transpose everything when I get home to my bigger notebook. Yes I could use an app or the Note app on my phone but I like pen and paper for this.

Here’s what my lifting log looks like:

PS – the middle row is my brother’s weights. I wish I could bench 75 lbs.

Anyways, the information I like to write down is the exercise (and what exercise it was paired with in a set), number of sets, number of reps, tempo if I’m using one, and weights. On the right you see I have W,R,W,R repeated (for weight and rep). That denotes the number of sets. This is my system to remember how many reps I did on a certain set, because if I get to the last one and can only do 8 reps as opposed to 10, I need to remember that for next week. Did all that blabbering just make sense?

I looked up strength training log and a lot of things came up. Find one that works for you. I haven’t used this tool, but BodyBuilding.com offers a custom log creation tool. Check it out!

No matter what your workout is, keeping a log is important. Even if you don’t care about numbers or stats, wouldn’t it be cool to look back in a few years and see how much progress you’ve made? It’s almost like a diary (oh man I don’t even want to read my middle school diary). I look back on my first lifting logs ever and see that I could barely dumbbell press 10 lbs. That makes me feel awesome about how far I’ve come.

Do you keep a training log? Did you keep a diary as a kid? :-P

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05-15-2014

Leg Workout For Runners

Last week, I posted a 4 minute leg workout…so quick, you have no excuses! Well, today I wanted to share a lower body workout I did last night that took about 30 minutes to complete. This is perfect for runners because it is working on your balance a bit, and also incorporating cardio (with the thrusters). You’re hitting your quads, glutes, and hamstrings…all the muscle groups you need to work on to be a strong runner! This is the perfect leg workout for runners ;)

lifting-for-runnersPhoto Credit: vauvau via Compfightcc

I broke it up into the reverse lunges paired with deadlifts (3 sets), then the other 2 exercises (3 sets). You can do core work at the end too if you’re up to it.

I like doing the reverse lunge right into a single leg deadlift (as opposed to doing 10 lunges then 10 single leg deadlifts) because it is challenging in terms of balance. It will really help develop ankle, hip and core strength.

Here is a video for a barbell thruster in case you’re not familiar:

I wish I could use as much weight as her, but I only used a 35 lb. barbell. This one will definitely get your heart rate up, and helps work on power and explosiveness in the legs.

As always, let me know if you try it out! I’d love to hear your thoughts :)

Have you tried thrusters?

Do you prefer working quads and glutes, or hamstrings?

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03-19-2014

Health/Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

It is literally almost spring! I’m so ready for it…the next few days will be in the 50s which will be nice. Let’s just hope it stays that way?

Here are your health links for today:

  • 5 Tips For Eating Healthier (Crazy Running Girl) – These are great tips…and really, who actually eats the serving size for cereal?
  • The Fatigue Fallacy (Nia Shanks) – Great points made in her post. You should not be finishing every workout feeling exhausted. Read on to find out why.
  • How To Make A Healthy Salad (I Heart Vegetables) – If you follow these simple “rules” you will have a delicious salad! She also includes a few recipe ideas.
  • Lucky 7′s Body Weight Workout (Blonde Ponytail) – No equipment needed & 7 rounds?!? This looks like a tough, but awesome, workout.
  • 9 Everyday Stretches For A Healthy Body (The Sweet Life) – We could all really benefit from stretching more often – I know I could. Start incorporating some of these!

Is it spring already in your state? What’s the temp like?

Do you stretch every day?

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02-19-2014

Health/Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

Is this week dragging for anyone else? I keep thinking today is Thursday. Oh well, only a few more days until the weekend!

Here are your health links for today:

Do you like eggs? What’s your favorite way to eat them? I usually do hard boiled because it’s quick, but on weekends I like them over easy :)

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02-12-2014

Health/Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

There is another snowstorm coming tomorrow. WTF?!?! I cannot recall a winter with so much snow…Who else is planning for snow tomorrow?

Here are your health links for today:

What’s your go-to breakfast meal? Mine is 2 eggs over-easy with a piece of toast, and avocado.

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01-29-2014

Health/Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

Does anyone feel like this week is just dragging? Yesterday I felt like it was Wednesday, and today it feels like a Thursday. And I think I’m getting sick, so I’d just like it to be the weekend. Well, at least we are halfway through the week!

Here are your health links for today:

  • 5 Flexibility Standards (Mark’s Daily Apple) – Which one of these are you able to do? If you can’t do some, work on those trouble spots.
  • 15 Minute Barbell Workout (Grit By Brit) – I just found Brit’s blog and already know it will have some great content. This is a total body workout and all you need is a barbell!
  • Avocado Chickpea Salad (Naturally Ella) – This looks so good. If you want to try some meatless meals, this site has great recipe ideas, and I can’t wait to go through them. I’ll be making this for lunch in the next week or two for sure!
  • 10 Healthy Plant-Based Snacks For Road Trips (Running On Real Food) – Great snack ideas, whether you’re on a road trip or just need some healthy snacks in your life.

What are some of your favorite healthy snacks? Please share!

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01-22-2014

Health/Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

So how much snow did you get? Or are you one of the lucky ones who is in warm weather? We got about 11 inches…hoping this is the last snow storm of the winter!

Here are your health links for today:

  • Front Squat Benefits And Technique (Tony Gentilcore) – I have a love/hate relationship with front squats-they’re so much harder for me! But they really are a great exercise.
  • Tuna Cakes With Greek Yogurt Dill Sauce (Minou Girl) – Actually just made these for lunch and can’t wait to try them!
  • 15 Minute Mushroom Stroganoff (Amuse Your Bouche) – Just found this blog and can’t wait to look through all of the recipes. This looks like a great one for meatless Monday :)
  • Dynamic Warmup For Runners (Miss Zippy) – If you’re running in these cold conditions, then a warm-up is crucial! I do all of these moves before I head out for a run.

Have you tried front squats? Which do you prefer-front or back squats?

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