Tag Archives: fitness

Top 10 Fitness Apps

Winter, if you are on the west coast of the U.S., has been mild so far, and if you’re in Canada, like I am, the worst is yet to come. No matter where you are it’s still cold outside. For fitness resolutes, the first two weeks are the hardest for fitness — it can take up to a month before a routine is set and you no longer need to force yourself to get some exercise. Whether you want to add a morning jog before you go to work or schedule in a quick set or three in the gym, here are 10 apps that will help you accomplish your 2015 fitness resolutions.

Fitness

You Are Your Own Gym

This is one of my favorite travel companions since it’s essentially a gym in your pocket. This particular app hosts a series of workouts featuring body weight movements that don’t require any equipment, aside from a bench or chair that should be easy enough to find.

Body weight exercises are my go-to because you can do them anywhere and at any time. A quick set of 20 jumping jacks, 15 push-ups and 10 sit-ups/crunches done three times will pick up your heart rate and warm you up. If you’re looking for something more challenging, burpees and jump squats are an excellent way to sky rocket yourself, or you can really push yourself with interval training, such as Tabata

For more, visit BreakingModern here.

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Road Tips for Racing on Unfamiliar Ground

Race

One of my races in Montreal, Qc – Defi Boreal Saint-Anne-de-Bellevue 5k

 

Hitting the road in unfamiliar territory is both daunting and exciting. On one hand it’s an excuse to visit a place you’ve never been before. On the other hand you can face a new climate or different elevation that takes some getting used to, especially when you’re there for a race.

I’m a novice runner, so let’s be clear that there are so many people who have more experience under their belts than me, but I want to provide general observations and lessons I learned in my races. What affects me might affect you, too. That said, these tips might not apply to everyone. Some people are awesome and can run under any condition and, if that’s the case, kudos (and curses) to you.

Choose a Destination

Pick a place, then look for a race. Or vice versa. My first destination race was a 5k in Montreal, which is roughly a six-hour drive from Toronto (longer depending on the weekend, what’s happening, and good ol’ traffic). Pick a place you’d like to visit for the weekend and see if there are any races that pique your interest. Likewise, if you hear about a fun race, plan a trip around the race….

For more, visit BreakingModern here.

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Don’t forget to go to the washroom before you run

nightrace

A cool night for a great race.

Note to self: make sure you go to the washroom right before the race, even if you already went.

After all, running the first 2km feeling like you have to pee is horrible, horrible feeling. The first half of my 5km run, before I sweat out all the extra liquids in my attempt to hydrate, was a duck-waddling stride that had my stomach sloshing around and my bladder clenching. It sucked.

Too much information aside, this year’s Night Race was held at Sunnybrook Park and occurred as the sun set beyond the horizon and head lights (free with registration) became mandatory. The event had a Happy Kids 1km Fun Run (where all the kids were like the Flash), 5km and a 10km race.

The 5km track was a flat loop that backtracked at the two kilometre mark and around again at the four kilometre mark. What I found deceptively deceiving was how the trail went towards the starting zone again, but instead of it being the end, it continued outwards for another two kilometre loop. I know a lot of people were thinking, “WTF?” since the moment you hear the announcers and music, you decide to sprint and then you’re breathless, and then you think, “oh, I’m not done yet.”

Other than that, the event itself was well-organized, with a friendly atmosphere and glow-in-the-dark accessories that helped light up the night. The weather that night was much cooler than the previous day and was a very-much welcomed reprieve, which is also probably why I ended up drinking too much water.

Next up, Tour de Mississauga’s Signature 60km Ride.

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Mud all around!

MudHero

Post race photo.

This year’s Mud Hero was exceptionally dirtier than last year’s obstacle run.

The six kilometre race takes place at Albion Hills Conservation Park, a gorgeous setting for a messy activity, complete with over 15 obstacles, from slides to rope climbs.

The fun run is a great race for friends looking to try their first obstacle run or for families interested in keeping active. It’s a lot less serious than Spartan Race or Tough Mudder, where the atmosphere is slightly more tense and competitive. That said, I’m more than likely going to hit up Spartan Race and Tough Mudder next year.

Obstacles in Mud Hero range from easy (sliding into a mud pit) to hard (climbing over walls, though there is a range of heights for those looking for a harder challenge), but the sociable tone of the crowd encourages everyone to try their best with everyone lending a hand in completing each task. The volunteers this year were also superb and extremely friendly, which is always a plus in any race.

An unknown fact is that dogs are allowed to participate as well! Not quite sure how many dogs have actually completed the course, but I did see a lot of four-legged pets around the park.

This year’s race included its regular finisher’s medal…with a beer opener included at the bottom of the medal. Competitors get a free drink when returning their chip timer. Racers also get a (not-so-) free t-shirt to wear after getting all muddy.

I have two more races lined up for September and potentially another in October before I start plotting what I want to do for next year. It’s scary to think how quickly this year has gone by!

 

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Another 5k for the books

Bellevue5k

Defi Boreal Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue in Montreal.

It’s always great to beat a personal record, even if the run itself wasn’t the best performance.

Last weekend’s run in Montreal wasn’t my best performance even if I did beat my previous time by a bit; in fact, it was rather horrible. It was one of those days where the humidity coupled with unexpected water cramps (from trying to stay hydrated) and a sore shoulder. It could’ve definitely been better.

I was hoping to beat the 25 minute mark, though I ultimately ended up with just over 26 minutes, (which really isn’t too far off in the grand scheme of things). I would have (almost) preferred finishing the 5k with a smile on my face and not have beat my PR, but there’s always next time. Training for races this year hasn’t been going as well as it should since I’ve been particularly lazy to specifically train for said events, even if I am rather active. So really, there’s no one to fault but myself.

Time for a mini break before another race at the end of August…though I’m already planning for next year’s line-up of races.

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On completing a Try-a-Tri

TryATri

Getting ready for my try-a-tri!

It’s a humbling experience completing any race because it doesn’t matter how much you train (or how little), there will always be someone out there who is younger, fitter, and/or better than you.

I recently completed my first try-a-tri in 54 minutes and it was a blast. The try-a-tri is a much smaller triatholon at 375m swim/10k bike/2.5k run.

Overall, I’d say it was a success, though I think I could have done better during the swimming portion. It’s quite a different experience swimming in open water with a couple dozen bodies beside you compared to a stationary pool. However, it wasn’t as horrible as I thought it would be (you know, the whole internal fear of being pushed down and trampled), though I was diverted from my straight path by a not-so-gentle nudge in the face. The push resulted in me swimming towards the shore before having to zig-zag back when I realized my knee hit the ground.

My friends and I arrived earlier than our race time to check out the scene and get the lay of the land. We were able to catch the tail-end of the swimming for the Sprint Traitholon and overheard the referee refer to some athletes’ shaky legs as sea legs when they transitioned to the biking portion of the race.

At first we weren’t quite sure what he meant, but after we finished the swim and made our way up to the bike stop (up a small incline), we understood the shakiness. SEA LEGS! I’ve heard the term before in reference to being on a boat too long and then returning to land, but it didn’t occur to me the same could happen after a swim. Totally true.

The 10k bike ride went smoothly, as did the 2.5k run. I was slightly worried about this transition since I was always shaky after practicing it prior to the race. Literally, duck waddling shaky. My first attempt at the brick work (from bike to run) was a struggle – the one kilometre I attempted after the bike was as if it was my first time trying to run…but worse; it took me well over 10 minutes to complete said kilometre. During the try-a-tri, I was able to complete the 2.5km run in 14 minutes.

Now, to determine my goal for next year: repeat the try-a-tri and aim for a faster time, or go for the Sprint Triatholon, which is 750m swim/30k bike/7k run. Hmmm…

Anyway, here’s to another 5k race next week in Montreal.

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