Friday, April 27, 2012

Quote of the Day

"I used to have the false notion that gymnastics had nothing to do with education. Today I know that physical training should have as much place in the curriculum as mental training."
~ Gandhi

Change the Channel Please

Today was a Friday the 13th kind of day. Strange things were happening, and if these were to happen to me a year ago, I know I would have handled them differently. Today, I laughed them off. Over the last year I've learned to control my stress levels. Channel my energy if you must. Proper eating habits and daily exercise really help bring forth a healthy kind of energy. I used to waste a lot of time and energy worrying, thinking, wondering, wishing, that I was exhausted by the end of the day. I had no more zing in me to exercise or even pursue any interests. Finally one day, I decided to hang up my hat and move on. I wanted something more than what I was letting myself have.

For those who don't know me, I lost my mother 2 years come August. My world ended that day. I went through a rough patch of depression where I didn't get out of bed or leave the house. Or if I did, I wasn't pleasant to be around. After a long while I had to make a choice. Was I going to let it consume me and take over the rest of my life? Or was I going to accept it for what it is and make the most of the life I've been blessed with? I depended so much on medications to make me feel better, but the after affects of it did more harm than good. And it didn't give me the kind of adrenaline I was looking for.

I picked up my runners one day and headed for the gym. Wow! Did that ever feel good! I returned the next day and then the next day. One day I realized that I haven't been taking my anti-anxiety pills or my sleeping pills. And most excitingly, I was happier!

 These weren't the shoes I picked up. It's just the only pic
of a pair of my shoes I have on me right now ;)

Let my tell you my friends, if you're ever feeling the blues, change the channel to a more up beat kind of show and you'll be singing a new tune!

Short and sweet but you get the point ;)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sweeter Dreams ;)

I have a very difficult time falling asleep and even staying asleep. In the morning's I feel like I hate my job and I want to quit, when it's not my job that's the problem but my fatigue. I've done many researches on insomnia and sleep therapy, etc and decided I need to find out what the problem is and what solutions would work for me. I'm going to talk about what has helped me or what I'm trying out and hopefully it can help one of you!

Do you drink coffee or tea? Caffeine gets me going. I need my morning coffee or I won't function AT ALL at work. But, if I have a coffee after 2pm, I'm up the rest of the night. So I know caffeine is not my problem because I won't have coffee later than noon. Try cutting down or even out your caffeine intake.

Overactive thoughts? I think a lot. I've gotten 75% better though. I used to think myself to sleep but because my mind is so active, I would spend a couple of hours in bed just thinking. If you have a lot of things to do, work on, worry about, write it down in a notebook before you go to bed and tell yourself, "I deserve a good nights sleep, I will deal with this in the morning" then set the notebook aside. Once you start identifying what is keeping you up at night, you can start making changes to sleep more soundly. I've learned to control my thoughts a lot the past few months. If there's nothing you can do about it at the moment, let it go. If there is something you can do about it, do it. But don't let unnecessary thoughts linger on as they can cause more harm to your overall health.

What's your sleep environment like? Make your room a sacred place. Don't allow things in there that can cause any kind of anxiety, such as your computer or even your phone. I tend to have my phone near me when I sleep. My excuse is it's my alarm (though I have an actual alarm clock on my dresser). In the middle of the night I would hear my phone go off, and I had JUST fallen asleep. Or if I see someone has a good conversation going on on Twitter or Facebook, or I have a great thought I want to share with someone, I feel the need to interject or start something. All of a sudden an hour or two has passed. These things can wait wait til the morning. If you are afraid of forgetting that thought, you now have the notebook by your bed to write in this thought and say once again, "This can wait until morning, I deserve to sleep". If you're a reader, read on the couch in the living room. Your room is your sanctuary of rest.

I love heat and hate the cold (unless I'm snowboarding). Your body temperature varies as much as 2 degrees within your 24hr day, mid-afternoon being at its warmest. In the evening your body begins a cool-down process that researchers believe may help you fall asleep faster. If your environment is too warm, you may find yourself having a harder time falling asleep. If you are active your body temperature heats up even more so and stays warm for a good few hours after. I know this is one of my problems as I always workout anytime between 5pm-7pm. My body temperature stays up for a few hours into the late evening. If this is you, try turning your thermostat down to cool your environment. Essentially it is ideal to workout earlier in the day, which will bring me into the next topic.

Do you workout? If not, working out can help your body rest more soundly at night. Try getting up in the morning to run or run during your lunch break. If the evening is the only time you can workout, try to make it as early as possible and end your workout with a cool down meditation to slow and cool your body down, and again, lower the temperature in your bedroom. None-the-less, add a workout or running program into your daily routine. This will help the body tire and long for a good night sleep.

White noise can help you block out all the other annoying sounds that can keep you up all night long. Waterfalls are my favorite white noise as the sound is calming yet consistent. Because your brain gets use to its repetition you actually stop hearing it at all. Stay away from daytime noises like birds chirping as your brain will associate it with morning. Researchers say that music with 60-80 beats per minute can also help you fall asleep, as it is close to a resting heart rate. Some of the recommended songs are:
- Drift Away by Dobie Gray
- Come Away With Me - Norah Jones
- The Scientist by Coldplay
- Landslide by Dixie Chicks
- Bubbly by Colbie Caillat
- Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley

How old are your pillows and matresses? Are you a side sleeper like me? A plumper/medium filled pillow would be best as the pillow fills up the space between your neck and shoulder keeping your spine aligned. Do you sleep on your back? A pillow with a good support for the neck yet softer for your head would be ideal. Firmer pillows will push your head too far up and will cause you to have a stiff neck in the morning. If you sleep on your stomach a thinner and flatter pillow will suit you best. As for mattresses, find a mattress best suitable for your needs, and replace them every 5-10 years (I now thats quite a range but everyone cares for them differently. You'll know best).

I could go on forever about sleep as it has been my nemesis for years. But, I'll stop here for now. I hope that was helpful for some :)

Sweet dreams!

Quote of the Day

"You will never find what you are capable of doing if you never try anything. Don't be so afraid of failing that you never take a chance."
~ Joyce Meyers

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quote of the Day

"Every day you've got running shoes on, it's a good day!"
~ Sean Astin


RICE: Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation.
PRICE: Protection. Rest. Compression. Elevation.
POLICE: Protection. Optimal Loading. Ice. Compression. Elevation.

Rest immediately after trauma but prolonged rest may cause atrophy or slower healing. Active mobilization is more likely to restore strength. Optimal loading means including a balanced and incremental rehabilitation program where early activity encourages early recovery. Implementing safe and effective (gradual) mechanical loading in acute soft tissue injuries can actually speed the recovery, but too much too soon can also aggravate the injury and essentially cause a setback. Remember that no two injuries are the same, so find out what your injury would best benefit from. Rest is not always the solution!

No Pain, No Gain!

My wrist and knees have been bothering me for quite some time now. Then this week I developed a wicked headache. I'm tired, easily irritated, and feeling very bloated (a nice way of saying I feel fat). What happened? Stressors are the same but I haven't ran or had a proper workout in a couple of weeks now. And, I'm not gonna lie, I haven't had the best diet either.

Today I was craving a run, but my headache sent me home early from work already so I didn't think I could do it. But I needed to burn off some steam.

So, I started off with a brisk walk on the treadmill then upped it to a jog. My knees could not handle it at all! But I didn't want to stop. I decided to change my foot strike. My landing depends on my shoes. The runners I had on today were very cushioned so I tend to land on my heels first. Heel strike more often causes injuries such as patellofemoral syndrome, much like what I have. I consciously landed on my forefoot today, taking the pressure off my knees, and much to my suspect, the pain subsided. Unfortunately, after 1 mile I started developing symptoms of plantar fasciitis and achilles tendonitis. Who would have thought a couple of weeks would set an avid runner back so much. After the 1 mile, I did 1 mile on the elliptical, then 3 miles on the bike. After my cardio workout, I cooled down with some yoga and meditation.

As hard as it was to start and as disappointing as it was to switch up machines because of pain, I continued on and worked through the pain. And because I did, my headache is finally gone and my stresses of the day have melted away into my mat. No matter how much you don't feel like working out, always remember that exercise may just be one of the answers to your problem ;) I won't be missing my workouts anymore. It's just not worth it.

No pain, no gain!

Quote of the Day

"Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments."

~ Jim Rohn

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

3 Minute Egg-xercise

For some strange reason I have been having shortness of breath, along with a persistent headache since Monday. It's now Wednesday. I wanted to run today but this headache and SOB is really making it hard for me to do anything at all. Yoga is usually the best answer for this sort of thing. So, I broke out the 3 Minute Eggs (and blocks because I only own two of these very expensive props).

I used the Eggs to facilitate relaxation as it expanded my lungs for greater oxygen intake. As I concentrated on my breath and the rising and falling of my abdomen, I became more and more relaxed, making my breathing deeper. I breathed into the areas of my tension, and slowly exhaled the tension out. After each breath, I could breathe much better. The tension was causing tightness in my chest, and tension in my head. Slowly oxygen was circulating, releasing any tightness and tension. When I brought awareness back to my surroundings, my SOB was gone.

How I used the blocks this practice:

I placed one Egg with the curvature up along my upper thoracic spine, and the other Egg under my head. I positioned my legs in butterfly with soles of feet to touch, allowing my knees to fall, placing a block under each knee. I laid in this position for, 3 Minutes :) Breathing in deeply and out slowly.

Go to: The Three Minute Egg for more information.

Practice safe breath :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Quote of the Day

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
~ Aristotle

Thursday, April 12, 2012

2012 Challenges

People have been asking me what my challenges are that I am training for.  Although I do this for my own personal interest, the challenges are the Spartan Race in June and my first marathon (half = 23km) in October. I've actually thrown in one more challenge for myself. It's to complete the Crossfit G.I Jane WOD which is 100 burpee pull-ups.
Once I have accomplished this I will change my name to G.I Jane or maybe G.I. SarahJane ;)

Adventures of the WOD Addict

It's been awhile since I've been on here, though I've had quite the adventure with my workout life. I'll try to sum up what I've been up to the last couple of months.

End of February I joined Crossfit Mississauga located on Lakeshore. A couple of cousins and I did a 5 week intro program. Though I followed Crossfit for months I've never gone to an actual gym. Glad I did! The 5 weeks consisted of learning proper body mechanics and positioning while performing each exercise. Kipping Pullups, Burpees, Squats - air squat, overhead squat, back squat, front squat, Shoulder Press, Push Press, (Push) Jerk, Deadlifts, Sumo Deadlifts, Thrusters, Power Cleans, Wall Ball, Box Jumps, Double Unders... It was a pretty intense 5 weeks and I definitely will be keeping Crossfit part of my workout life.

During this I was still going to Hot Power Yoga classes once a week. I swear doing Crossfit made Yoga a lot harder... although Yoga made Crossfit easier. And I ran 4 days a week. My run would range from 2mi - 8mi, depending on the (WOD) day. Sundays are my rest days.

End of March I attended the Yoga Conference. Got a lot of great products and items. I also attended 2 educational seminars. The first one I did was 'Yoga for Runners'; the second course I attended was 'Thai Yoga Massage'. Both were great courses! It was a fantastic weekend! I'm ready to try out my new skills ;)

Last week we started Muay Thai Kickboxing. Different kind of love! Different kind of pain. Different kind of adrenaline! Unfortunately, I hurt my wrist and I haven't been able to go back again. I didn't wrap my hands and I tore a ligament in my wrist. That won't stop me from going back though ;) As soon as this feels a bit better, I'll be going back. With wraps.

In two weeks we start Crossfit Femme Fatale Bootcamp. I'll be back to talk about that later.

There's a lot of exciting things coming up and I will try to update here more often.

Thanks for reading and Happy Training!