How to find your Swolemate: Fitness friends

Motivation is key Whether you’re just starting out your fitness journey or you’ve been at it for awhile, you will notice that motivation is needed to get your butt into gear. Ideally, you should find motivation and discipline within yourself. But sometimes, it’s good to have fitness friends to keep us accountable and active. How…

How to find your Swolemate: Fitness friends was originally published on Self Evolve

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Motivation is key

fitness friendsWhether you’re just starting out your fitness journey or you’ve been at it for awhile, you will notice that motivation is needed to get your butt into gear. Ideally, you should find motivation and discipline within yourself. But sometimes, it’s good to have fitness friends to keep us accountable and active.

How I met your mother (or father)

Many people reach out to me and ask how can I find friends and/or a significant other to workout with? Well, I’m here to tell you there are many ways for you to find fitness-minded people in and around your local area.

  • Join a local running group. Earlier this year, I joined a local running group that meets once a week for an easy 3 mile fun run. Through the group, I’ve easily made about 25 to 30 new friends who all enjoy running nearly as much as I do.
  • There’s an app for that. Workout Buddies is a great app to find nearby fitness friends looking for a lifting buddy. You never know, you might meet your swolemate through it.
  • Fitness meet-ups. If you haven’t been on MeetUp yet, it’s a great way to social network! Whether you’re looking for a new job, new friends, a date, or a fitness friend, MeetUp is the way to go.
  • Free fitness classes at your local gyms. Pay attention to the local nearby gyms and attend their free classes when they offer them. You never know who you’ll meet in the middle of that Zumba sweat sesh.
  • Talk to someone at the gym (but not in a creepy way). This one is tricky. It’s likely easier to just not try, but I have heard success stories from people just simply saying hi and how are you to people in the gym. You have to ease into it, and don’t force it if they aren’t into it. Also, don’t say hi to someone wearing headphones. That means they’re not there to socialize.
  • Ask a co-worker! Sometimes you’ll be surprised to find a fitness friend out of one of your co-workers. I actually got into running with an ex-coworker of mine. If I never asked her to run with me, I likely wouldn’t have started running when I did. And I likely wouldn’t have ran that Chicago Marathon this past year.

How do you find fitness friends? Do you have any other ideas?

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How to find your Swolemate: Fitness friends was originally published on Self Evolve

My neck, my back, my lats, my traps: Back workout!

One of my favorite days of the week is back workout day! It’s the day I get to hit my back muscles in multiple ways at the gym. One of my favorite things about working my back is that I see results quickly. One of my least favorite things is walking around all stiff like…

My neck, my back, my lats, my traps: Back workout! was originally published on Self Evolve

back workoutOne of my favorite days of the week is back workout day! It’s the day I get to hit my back muscles in multiple ways at the gym. One of my favorite things about working my back is that I see results quickly. One of my least favorite things is walking around all stiff like an old lady the next day or two. But after the stiffness subsides, I feel stronger and my posture is improved. Today I’m going to go over a great all-encompassing back workout and why you should be hitting the back weekly.

Great back workout exercises!

Keep in mind that everyone is at a different point in their training. If you’re new to back exercises, grab lighter weights to start with. You can ALWAYS move up if the weights are too light, but don’t go too heavy to start since you don’t know how you’ll feel during or after the exercise.

  • Barbell Deadlift. This is technically more than a back exercise but it’s the absolute best for overall backside development. Technique is very important, but once you nail it you can progress to lifting monster weights that will recruit maximum muscle and help your muscles grow. If you’re lifting heavy, it’s best to do these near the beginning of your workout. If you’re doing them for repetitions, you can do them later in your workout. New to this? I would highly recommend hiring a personal trainer for a few sessions to learn the proper form. If that’s not an option, look up the proper technique HERE.
  • Bent-Over Barbell Deadlift. This is the second-best back movement in terms of sheet weight you can lift. This exercise will work the larger muscle groups of the upper and lower back equally. This is another technical move that requires excellent form but rewards you with a ton of muscle. Do bent-over rows toward the start of your back workout for heavy set in lower rep ranges. See proper form HERE.
  • Single-Arm Dumbbell Row. This is a great unilateral exercise that allows you to move a lot of weight. You’ll get greater range of motion when training unilaterally and you won’t be restrained if your weaker side fails first. Keep your elbow close to your body and pull straight up. This exercise will focus more on your lower lats. Do it anywhere from the middle to the end of your workout. See proper form HERE.

 Put your back into it!

back workout
©Ozzie Ramsay Photography | ALL Rights Reserved 2017

Your goals will determine how many reps and sets you do, but in general it’s best to do 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps. Like I said, start light then add more weight over time as you nail down the proper form. If you need help getting your technique down, I highly recommend working with a certified personal trainer like myself. Even just a few sessions will give you a lot of feedback to work with and learn from! Avoid bad form which leads to injury!

What’s your favorite back exercise?

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My neck, my back, my lats, my traps: Back workout! was originally published on Self Evolve

How to find the right gym for you: What to ask

Whether you’re training for that next race or looking to lose a few extra pounds, getting a gym membership should be one of the first few things on your to-do list. Many people don’t know where to start, so today I’m going to go over the best way to find the right gym for you.…

How to find the right gym for you: What to ask was originally published on Self Evolve

Whether you’re training for that next race or looking to lose a few extra pounds, getting a gym membership should be one of the first few things on your to-do list. Many people don’t know where to start, so today I’m going to go over the best way to find the right gym for you.…

How to find the right gym for you: What to ask was originally published on Self Evolve

Never too late to start: Age is just a number

I’ve heard the saying “I’m too old to start working out” more times than I’d like to count. My normal response to these people is that age is just a number and that it’s never too late to start. I usually get eye rolls and even more excuses as to why they can’t (or rather,…

Never too late to start: Age is just a number was originally published on Self Evolve

I’ve heard the saying “I’m too old to start working out” more times than I’d like to count. My normal response to these people is that age is just a number and that it’s never too late to start. I usually get eye rolls and even more excuses as to why they can’t (or rather, won’t) work out. I’m here to prove that it’s never too late to start exercising, even if you think it’s impossible.

Picking up a new exercise regime at age 100

never too lateJulia Hawkins, a.k.a. Hurricane, is a 101-year-old Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native new runner who just started running a year ago- at age 100. She earned the nickname “Hurricane” last summer, when her speed and spunk on the track fascinated live spectators.

“I like the fact that hurricanes are fast and that I was fast, but hurricanes do damage and I don’t want to do damage,” Hawkins says.

But she’s already done damage, to the record books at least. Her numbers are amazing, especially for a centenarian. But she doesn’t do it alone.

Never too late

How does Julia make it work? How does she pull off not only starting but also excelling at running at age 101? Here’s a few tips from the record-breaker herself.

  1. Get a good support system. Hawkins credits her four children for providing unrelenting moral support. In addition to this, she relies on track-side assistance to keep her going. She finds herself out of breath and exhausted at the end of races, so someone there to catch her helps a lot.
  2. Maintain realistic expectations. At an advanced age, it’s unlikely you will get better at what you’re doing. Each day, you will likely be a little bit worse. Hawkins doesn’t train much for her races, but she does keep busy, spending significant time tending to her backyard. “I do a little running around each day-not a certain amount or time-but just age is just a numberto keep everything going.”
  3. Don’t stretch too much. Julia’s warm up consists of jiggling up and down a little, and she saves the stretching for afterwards.
  4. Find a talisman. Shortly before her race in Birmingham, Hawkins opened a fortune cookie that prophesied: You will make a sudden rise in life. She believes this ties into that race. She kept the slip of paper and often tucks it into her pocket for on-the-go good luck.

It’s no mystery why Julia is smiling. The next time you think to yourself that you’re too old to start, think of Julia and where she’d be if she thought the same thing.

Age is just a number

What motivates you to exercise? What’s holding you back if you haven’t started yet? If running isn’t for you, maybe you’d rather lift weights.

Great resources to start running at any age

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Never too late to start: Age is just a number was originally published on Self Evolve

What does athletic mean to you?

When you hear the word athletic what comes to mind? A runner? A swimmer? A weight lifter? What does it take to be considered athletic? The average person is active for about two hours a week, which is just below the recommended two and half hours a week. The average athlete works out 1-2 hours…

What does athletic mean to you? was originally published on Self Evolve

When you hear the word athletic what comes to mind? A runner? A swimmer? A weight lifter?

What does it take to be considered athletic? The average person is active for about two hours a week, which is just below the recommended two and half hours a week. The average athlete works out 1-2 hours a day with a rest day each week, so about 10 hours week. And the type of training depends on what they’re preparing for, but across the board most athletes incorporate strength training and cardio into their workout regimes. And high intensity interval training (HIIT) is a common go-to training style across the board.

In addition to athletes using HIIT, there are many benefits being seen through recent fitness studies on this style of training. Beyond it being one of the best ways to train, it has benefits on the cellular level. HIIT combined with weight training can improve cellular function and slow the aging process at a cellular level. So not only will you look athletic and fit, you’ll also feel younger and better! But back to the image that comes to mind..

When you hear athletic, do you think about muscles or just a slim body? Do you like the athletic body or do you prefer a little more cushion? Do you think athletic is sexy or scary?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

What does athletic mean to you? was originally published on Self Evolve

Carb loading and running

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “Eat a mountain of pasta the night before a race!” Even to this day, I have people ask me if I’m going to eat pasta before the big race I’m training for. I’m here to break apart this old, nauseating thought that we somehow need pasta to run…

Carb loading and running was originally published on Self Evolve

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “Eat a mountain of pasta the night before a race!” Even to this day, I have people ask me if I’m going to eat pasta before the big race I’m training for. I’m here to break apart this old, nauseating thought that we somehow need pasta to run far.

Carbohydrate loading can help you. What is carbo loading? It’s a strategy involving changes to training and nutrition that can maximize muscle glycogen (carbohydrate) stores prior to endurance competition. Athletes believe that by loading the muscles with glycogen, they can prevent hitting the “wall” and hopefully allow them to run at their desired pace for longer. It has the potential to improve performance by 2-3%, if done properly. The issue is, a plate of pasta isn’t carbo-loading. Follow these simple steps to properly carbo-load:

  1. Don’t skip the carb depletion phase. 7 days prior to the event do a long or strenuous workout which will deplete your body of glucose. For the next 3 days maintain a lower carb diet of 35 to 50% of total calories. For the final 2 days prior to the race switch to 75% of calories from carbohydrates, while dramatically decreasing overall work volume (the other 25% is largely protein).
  2. Avoid simple carbs! Don’t eat junk food, and avoid sugar. Ideal carbo-loading foods: potatoes, fruits, vegetables, whole grains. If you have trouble with high fiber/runners trots, look for options like sourdough bread with honey or sweet potatoes.
  3. Don’t carbo load for short distance races. 5K or 10K? Too short! Carbo loading is only needed if you’ll be running OVER 90 minutes. I would even argue that it’s not necessary for a half-marathon but should be done for a full.
  4. Don’t load for too long, only do it for about 2 days prior to the race. The rest of the time before the race? Not loading! Don’t load up for a week, that is just un-necessary.
  5. Don’t freak out over the weight gain. Carbs make you retain water, which is needed for race day! Don’t even worry about that number on the scale, unless you’re ignoring step #2 and eating cookies.
  6. Don’t skip your last load due to nerves. You want that race morning fuel! You must give your muscles that last boost of glucose to help prevent energy lulls, mood swings, and fatigue. Aim to 1-3 grams of high quality carbs, low fat and low fiber – oatmeal with banana or yogurt with fruit if you can stomach it.
  7. Don’t eat that pasta dinner! One large meal of carbs is NOT carbo-loading and for many people it has the opposite effect of what they desire.

Of course, at the end of the day, everyone is different. You have to find what works best for you. Personally, I haven’t carbo-loaded before. But, I have also never ran a full marathon before. I usually eat before every race though. On the morning of a half marathon I eat fruit, drink lots of water, and drink some coffee. The week leading up to the half? I just focus on eating healthy: lots of veggies, fruits, healthy proteins and fats. Now that I’m training for the full marathon, I will be sure to pay more attention to what I’m putting into my body.

Food is fuel. And fuel is energy. Do you carbo-load? What do you eat before running? Or do you run on an empty stomach? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Carb loading and running was originally published on Self Evolve

How to taper

Are you training for a half or full marathon? If so, is it your first? Have you heard of tapering? Do you know what taper means? If not, continue reading as this can and will change your life! #welcometothetaper I’m currently training for my first full marathon, but I’ve ran two half-marathons. The first one…

How to taper was originally published on Self Evolve

Are you training for a half or full marathon? If so, is it your first? Have you heard of tapering? Do you know what taper means? If not, continue reading as this can and will change your life! #welcometothetaper I’m currently training for my first full marathon, but I’ve ran two half-marathons. The first one…

How to taper was originally published on Self Evolve