How to Stay Motivated with Exercise

Social Media Takeover

Recently, I was a guest host and did a social media takeover on both Instagram and Facebook for Legend Compression Wear. (Read more about their Graduated Compression Guide at their blog Here and receive $15 off with my referral Link.) 

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I was asked to give tips and strategies on how to stay disciplined with exercise. So, here are my 4 ways to keep motivated!

Exercise Motivation 1

1️⃣: choose a goal, write it down, set a timeline, follow a program, tell people!

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Pick an an event, race, or challenge – whether it be a mud run, 5k, 10 push ups or an Instagram fitness challenge with an achievable end date. Commit by journaling, letting your friends or family know, creating an accountability page, then research a program that fits your work life balance and start 👍

Exercise motivation 2

2️⃣: change your train of thought regarding exercise – think of it as an act of daily living as opposed to a chore

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I’m going to safely assume everyday, most of us, wake up and shower, get dressed, eat, brush our teeth, automatically put on our seatbelt in the car, work, take care of children, etc…or something to this effect. We have to think about exercise exactly as we do our daily tasks, that it’s just a part of life…a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle.

If this is a challenge for you regarding time or motivation, begin with an activity that you find enjoyable and is fun. You like nature? Go for a hike. You like music? Try Zumba. Trying to keep up with your kids? Bike 🚴. It doesn’t matter if it’s morning, lunch or at night, Fit it in as if your life depends on it because essentially…it does!

Exercise Motivation 3

3️⃣: practice daily positive affirmations & actions

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In order to get motivated to create a goal and get our mindset to believe the goal is worth doing and achievable, we need to work on ourselves to get our minds in the right place.

Everyday we should be practicing positive actions including: healthy eating, meditation, journaling our gratefulness, and/or practicing acts of kindness. When we treat ourselves gently we can then transfer it onto others as equally or far greater.

Perhaps today you’ll sign up for a race that benefits your favorite charity, compete in honor of a friend or loved one, or volunteer some hard labor to those in need. When the deed isn’t about you anymore, these small actions lead to big impacts and, in the world today, I think actions certainly speak louder than words ❤️

Exercise Motivation 4

And finally…

4️⃣: plan to reward yourself when you meet each goal 

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You’ve heard keep your eyes on the prize? Well, why not make that a reality?! You’ve worked hard to stay dedicated, spending time and energy, you deserve a little something. Plan a spa day, a night out at your favorite restaurant or new workout gear (like Legend Compression Socks 😉). Then you can stay motivated in your new gear to sign up for your next event!

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The Fit Wanderluster Expansion

Big News Alert!!

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The Fit Wanderluster has launched it’s first t-shirt and tank top business. Say What!?

My goals with this blog are to share my passions of working out and traveling while giving healthy recipes, wellness and injury prevention advice when I can with friends, family and the world. The blog is a glimpse of what it’s like inside my little bubble on this big, blue planet. I know I’m not the only one out there who loves fitness, running, and traveling. Now my passions can be shared and passed on with a visual statement that can be worn proudly to let others know your fit wandering desires as well.

My t-shirts are American Apparel branded and are classic, comfortable, with a vintage feel. Great for day to day wear, working out, or traveling.

 

The tanks are Next Level Brand with sporty racerback cut to keep you looking and feeling cool.

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Prices start at $23. Checkout is secure, fast and simple and all products can be shipped internationally.

Go ahead and get your Fit Wanderluster apparel today!

The Fit Wanderluster

How to Beat the Heat with Summer Running

I’m getting myself back into a regular routine now that I’ve been back in France, after visiting my former home in Boston, for the past week. To keep myself on track, I signed up for Route du Vin half marathon in Luxembourg on September 25th. Perk alert! They give you a free bottle of Cremant in your goodie bag, HELLO!

One of my pet peeves is running in the heat or under a hot sun. I’ve trained for two fall marathons and several Boston half marathon, all which have fallen in the month of October. This means training through July-October. I often find I need some motivation to tackle these heated endeavors. Here are some of my tips for you to beat the heat with summer running:

  1. Stay Hydrated. At least half your weight in ounces daily. Include some drinks with electrolytes during and after your run. Invest in a handheld or belt water bottle holder. Check out these pros/cons on each from Runner’s World.
  2. Wear light colored, moisture-wick clothing. Avoid dark colors or cotton.
  3. Train in the early morning or early evening to avoid the peak sun.
  4. Train in the shade. Map your routes in trails, forests, or known shady areas.
  5. Train with a buddy or group. Some running groups set up water stops on longer training runs.
  6. Wear sunscreen!
  7. Be flexible with your schedule and pace. Adjust accordingly and be patient if the day is just too hot to tolerate the demands on your body.
  8. Invest in a ID bracelet. Purchase an ID bracelet with contact information in case of emergency with Road ID and download the app to your smartphone to put emergency contact info on your lock screen, if you run with your phone.
  9. Cool Down. After your run, take time to let your heart rate come down. Lower your body temperature by placing an cold pack on your neck or take an ice bath to help minimize muscle cramping.
  10. Listen to your body. Don’t push through heavy fatigue or dizziness. If you are not sweating, you are dehydrated. Dehydration can affect how your organs function and body temperature and could result in an medical emergency.

Best of luck to all my summer runners. Be sure to send me your tips on running in the heat to share with others!

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In a Funk? Steps to Reset

I was having a hard time thinking of a blog write up this week. I was a bit unmotivated and no topic seemed to spark interest for me. Maybe I’m being selfish because I didn’t have travel plans. Maybe I’m in a rut with my nutrition. Maybe I’m still experiencing my post race blues. Maybe the novelty of moving abroad is losing its luster as I form a daily routine. Maybe I’m frustrated with my lack of French speaking or understanding progress. Maybe I miss my Boston friends. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is but I’m in a funk.

I’m determined to snap out of my funk. Here are some steps I plan to follow through the rest of May to personally reset:

1. Wake up earlier

I’ll admit going from a full time position that required me to be at work most days before 7am to 3 days a week, where I have no obligation to be up before 7am, has it’s perks. As a non-morning person and preferring sleep or just resting in bed is a nice feeling, but I’m not on the right mindset for the rest of my day. My plan for the rest of May on Monday-Friday (I refuse to give up my sleeping in on weekends. I mean give me a break, do you want me to go insane completely?) is to wake up at 7, have a tea and read or listen to slow news in French podcast, workout or run based on a schedule from signing up for an upcoming race, and have breakfast. 

2. Eat Right

This really won’t be too hard of a step as we do eat well throughout the week. I’m crushing the meal prep each week for dinners but my breakfasts have slacked and I think that’s the most important meal of the day. My weekends have also fallen into the party atmosphere trap. With either travel or eating at restaurants to just plan drinking too much on the weekends, I am only breaking even for the rest of the week. I’m constantly detoxing my weekend impurities through the week to have it go straight to hell when Friday rolls back around. My plans for the rest of May are to reduce binge drinking and eating out on weekends, to stay consistent through the whole week of just plan eating right. I won’t say I won’t have a glass of wine at dinner but I won’t have 4. 

3. Engage in more Conversation

Although I’m not really forced to speak French, I wouldn’t say I’m pushing my boundaries in an effort to go out there and speak French. I think of failure too much. I really don’t like not being good at something, so I’d rather not do it at all. I have to accept that I won’t be perfect and it’s OK to make mistakes. I tried a conversation group in the past but had difficulty attending with my work schedule. I will be determined this month to continue my half hour Pimsleur lessons but then engage what I’m learning and really seek out conversation, even if I’m completely uncomfortable. This also means making an effort to speak or commuicate more with all friends I have, not just in regards to speaking French. Those who know me, know I’m not a big talker either on the phone on FaceTime or even text. But when I do catch up it’s like we pick up right where we left off. I’m headed to Boston for 10 days in June and I want to make sure I don’t miss anyone or anything so communication is key. 

4. Meditate

I have a racing mind. That leads me to be anxious and tense. I learned I grind my teeth at my last dentist appointment. I honestly didn’t even know I did. But everytime I do yoga or just meditate for 5-10 minutes I learn more about my body and state of mind. I realize I’m constantly holding tension everywhere and I’m not focusing on positive. I plan to meditate every day in the rest of May for at least 5 minutes with the help of YouTube videos. 

5. Write down joyful events

Getting back to the positives in life, I plan to journal 3 joyful events that happened each day before going to bed.  Not only will this force me to find the good in each day but it will help me find more gratefulness and optimism. 


Hopefully next week I can update you on my progress. À Mercredi!

Paris Marathon 2016 Recap

After 125 days of preparation, April 3rd, 2016 finally approached and it was my time, amongst 57,000 other runners from across the globe, to trek 26.2 miles along the scenic Paris course. Prior to race day I had my fair share of stresses with an International move, one too many injuries and illnesses, and events outside my control including a neighboring terrorist attack on Belgium. Compared to my other marathons, my mind affected me more than my physical ailments resulting in my hardest and longest duration of completion, going 19 min beyond my goal time, but I completed it!

Luckily I had a strong support system. My dad and sister flew in from Boston and for their first time in France, ever. Dorothy visited from London with her friend from Rotterdam. Julien’s sister, her partner, and their almost 8 month old daughter watched along several points on the route as well. I also received many texts and messages from friends far and wide. And of course I have to give the biggest thanks to my finish to Julien. Without his ongoing support and encouragement during the last 6km, I know I would have walked the rest and called it a day. He was right there beside me even though he could have finished long before me. And you have to give this guy props, he shaved almost 30 minutes off from his previous marathon 2 years ago. This guy rocks and I love him so much!

The day before we went to the Expo and received our neon green goodie bags with hardly nothing in it (sample of Tiger Balm, candy, and a whistle?!). Asics sponsored the race, but going on the last day you are left with either XS or L merchandise, so I didn’t end up purchasing anything. I did meet up with the kinesiotape people to get a roll to try to calm my newly onset sciatica that came about a week before the race (which I do think helped). We did lose my dad for a good 30 minutes but eventually found him at the only exit in the building and promptly discussed it’s time for him to upgrade to a smartphone instead of a flip phone, just in case of emergency. We enjoyed an Italian dinner that evening and a beer or two to calm the nerves and went to bed around 10pm for a 8am wake up.

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The elite started at 8:45am while the last wave went off at 10:15am. We were in the last wave. The day was anticipated to be warm and sunny and it was. The hottest finish I did was in Chicago in 2011 at 72F in which I experienced dizziness for the first time during the last two miles. This time was around 66F and not a cloud in the sky. It wasn’t terrible as we were taking two water bottles at each 5k water stop. I felt great leaving L’Arc de Triomphe with only minimal left hamstring/sciatic irritation that numbed out through the first 5k and where we saw my family before Bastille. We continued to cover solid ground but had to break my rhythm for my first ever pee stop during a run and there were no porta potties or restrooms available so a side walk, small barricade and a family helped to provide some coverage. We picked back up our stride into to the first park with a magnificent view of Chateau De Vincennes, but unfortunately it was being renovated. At this point I realized I won’t need my music which I wasn’t using due to the sights and people watching around me. We made our way out of the park and enjoyed bands playing every so often. Crowd support is light on the route but not barren. We felt good going into the half way mark and then running back toward Bastille where I saw Dorothy and her friend amongst the bigger crowd support on the route before the finish. At this point we start to see the bigger monuments like Notre Dame, Musee D’Orsay and Eiffel Tower as you go in and out of tunnels for a good 5k (from 25km to 30km). The tunnels started to bring about a challenge as you got a break from the sun but you lost spectators and you had to deal with continuous rolling hills into and out of each tunnel. Also, having started in the last wave we were starting to have to weave around slower packs of runners or at this point a lot of walkers. I think the hills, weaving, and heat started to catch up with me and I felt my wall around 35km right when we saw our family again before heading into the second park. In this park is when I crashed hard at 40km. There was only one stop with sports drink and I think this was part of my problem. I had no real replenishments of electrolytes and I was flushing my system with a lot of water, which I also needed due to the temps. I’m happy to say I had no real cramping or GI issues but the mental process worked in overdrive to get me through the last 30-45 minutes. Finally, we crossed the finish line which always brings me happy tears of joy because 1) I completed another goal and 2) I don’t have to run anymore. Finishing always brings about an bursting emotion of relief and pride. Here we received our finishers shirt (at this time they had also already run out of some sizes) and our medal. We received water and a few snacks like apple or banana but the finish, just like the expo bag, was little to be desired. We met up with my dad and sister for a finish picture back in front of L’Arc de Triomphe and tried to go out for a beer in the area but wasn’t having a ton of success due to most bars being closed. We decided to take the metro back (which was free) to our Airbnb at the Republique and go out around there.

Unfortunately, for the first time ever following a marathon, my heart rate was through the roof. Up to an hour following the finish my heart rate was fluctuating between 88-110 bpm with increased capillary refill times and feeling faint. For the first time ever, I had to self treat and lay on the floor for 25 minutes with my feet elevated and downed two Powerades which I think seriously saved me from an ER visit. Once I got my HR down, capillary refill returned to normal and I wasn’t feeling faint, you can bet I was at the bar celebrating with a couple of pints with everyone.

I have since run 10k for the first time yesterday, 9 days following the marathon, without any pain! I’m very excited to have my weekends back and start a new workout regime of weight training and yoga with still a couple runs a week. I think my next race will be a half marathon but nothing definitive yet. Send me your race suggestions!

I’m proud of my finish and enjoyed my break from running and exercise as my family stayed in town for 12 days and we traveled a shit ton from Paris to Amsterdam to Champagne region to Germany. I’ll cover these trips next blog!

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I broke my Rib. Should I run?

Some of you may know that I suffered a fractured rib while snowboarding a week and a half ago, if you follow my Instagram page @thefitwanderluster or my Facebook page. And if not, get on that! Unfortunately, not much can be done and bones takes 6-8 weeks to heal.  As a physical therapist, my advice to myself is to listen to my pain levels and not push through. As an athlete training for a marathon in April, I counter my professional advice with no pain no gain. But how do we know what pain won’t produce more damage and when should we rest?

What are signs of good pain?

Most people beginning a new workout regime or those in training will experience some sort of discomfort. For muscular improvement, the muscle has to endure increased stress resulting in the perceived burn during activity. This is otherwise known as good pain that should be temporary and resolved upon completion of activity.

Fatigue is also a sign of good pain when demonstrating you are exerting tissues beyond rest. However, this should also be short lived following exercise. Fatigue that lasts for days may be a sign that the energy supplies are taxed and that one might be overtraining.

There are times, especially for those who are under conditioned, to experience delayed onset muscle soreness for 24-48 hours following activity. This is a result of microtears to the muscle but not necessarily a bad thing. However, this should not go beyond the 2 days and you may need to seek medical advice if the soreness accompanies bad pain symptoms as mentioned below.

What are the signs of bad pain?

There are several other structures surrounding joints which include: muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and bones. They respond to stress gradually and if the process is too rapid or excessive in a short amount of time, the tissue may fail. Bad pain can objectively be defined with edema (swelling), loss of motion, tenderness to palpation, pain with functional movement outside of exercise (like climbing stairs or getting up from a chair). To prevent failure, it is recommended when starting an exercise program that you begin slowly and build gradually. As a general rule: Take the amount of exercise you think you can do and cut it by one third the first few times you do it.

A side note that is more apparent to the naked eye in regards to bad pain is, of course, injury from trauma which can create tears, fractures, hematomas (bruising), weakness, numbness and tingling, etc. Seek medical advice immediately.

How can this pain be treated?

Rest or decrease the activity that is causing the problem and try low impact cardiovascular training like walking, swimming or biking. Ice the painful area for 10-20 minutes at a time or until skin gets pink and repeat a couple times of day. Maintain range of motion with light stretches and pain-free motion and consider over-the-counter medicines, with the advice of pharmacist or physician, to treat pain and inflammation.

When should I be concerned?

Pain should be short lived following exercise. Pain that alters performance, does not go away with rest, affects function or sleep, does not improve with treatment, or the pain increases over time is not normal and you should consider seeking medical advice.

 

My injury, in particular, produces intermittent pain. It was really bad in the 8 hour bus trip 2 days after the injury but on the 3rd day of the injury I was able to run my long run of 14 miles with mild discomfort (on a scale of 0-10 where 10 is the worst pain, I was experiencing 3-4/10). I thought, “No problem, I can still run”. I was able to do my interval training but found sprinting definitely felt worse then a steady pace (6/10). I continued my cross training but I found pushing weight through my left arm and trunk rotation to the right increased my symptoms (back to 7/10). As soon as I stopped the motion I felt fine. Besides these two motions, sneezing and sleeping were the only times I felt bad pain. I felt my activity didn’t create any hinderance in my rehab.

Regardless to the fact that I have a post doctoral degree in healthcare, I’m stupid. I know injuries are in the acute phase for 14 days, which means lots of swelling and edema, probably resulting in some lack of range of motion which probably changed my gait. So when I attempted my long run of 15 miles this past weekend (8 days after the injury) my body finally told me to give it a break after 9 miles. I had seering, sharp pain into my left breast that was a 9/10. I couldn’t take one more pounding step without feeling like a knife stabbing me. Breathing was difficult, crying began, and frustration and fear creeped in. “What if I can’t train?” my brain screamed! After this 5 minute anxiety attack of realizing I wouldn’t finish my run, I came to realization the “bad pain” was no longer “good pain”. I came back to my senses that I have a week and half old injury, STILL in the acute phase, not even the remodeling phase yet which is really when healing begins. No wonder I am STILL in pain and will be probably for the next 2 weeks. DUH!

So by finally seeing the light on this injury, yes it hurts, but I don’t have to stop everything. I can find ways to stay low impact, wear compressive clothing to help support the swelling and pressure, and just give myself a break the next week or two. Will I still attempt running? Yes, because I’m crazy. Will I let my pain get over a 5/10? No, because I’m a health professional and I experienced the worst of it so far and I don’t want that to happen again.

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5 Supersets (10 exercises) for Skiers and Snowboarders 

I hope everyone had a safe New Years and is setting goals to make 2016 his best year yet! I’m getting back on track with healthy dinners while cutting back on alcohol. I’m 4 weeks into my Paris Marathon training and was starting to get some minimal left knee discomfort with my long runs so I got myself, well Julien got me 😉, a foam roll and I’ve incorporated a strengthining component to my program with a hybrid mix of The Master’s Hammer and Chisel from Beachbody. But I’m more concerned about my aerobic condition and endurance for my snowboarding trip to Ellmau (pronounced Elmo), Austria next week. Insert happy dance because skiing the Alps is like nothing else, really! Plus, I just got all new attire (because I either sold or gave away all of mine before my move). So I’m completely giddy!

For mountain enthusiasts, your body is either attached to one or two apparatuses on a slippery surface. If you’re core and legs are under conditioned, with a higher center of gravity and aging joints, you can bet on an injury either from repetitive overuse or a fall. But I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve for you to try over the next month to make your February and beyond your best peak performance yet.

While it takes muscles 4-6 weeks to develop and adjust to new workout regimes, I luckily have a good base. For those new to these types of exercises, keep your weights low or even just start with your own body weight. Modify when needed, listening to your body and don’t push through joint pain (guess what, your muscles should burn though – good pain). This routine is a circuit of supersets (2 exercises performed one after the other, first with high load and second with low load or body weight) to improve strength and cardiovascular conditioning. For each set (1A and 1B, 2A and 2B, etc), perform 2×15 reps of each exercise on each side. Try this routine 1-2x per week.

1A: Weighted Squat

Stand with feet hip width apart, weight pressed into heels. Hold a weight at chest height. Maintaining straight back, drop buttocks into seated position by bending knees until thighs are parallel with floor or without pain. Stand back up squeezing glutes.

1B: Side plank with Hip Abduction

Lie on side on mat or floor. Stack legs and lift bottom hip up so hips are parallel with shoulders. Maintain this position while lifting top leg towards ceiling while keeping hips in neutral and foot parallel to floor. Lower top leg and repeat. (Modify by bending bottom knee and maintaining contact with floor).

2A: Renegade Row with Opposite Leg Lift

In a plank position with dumbbells, row right arm up and simultaneously lift left leg straight up to hip height. Maintain neutral pelvis. Lower and alternate sides. (Modify by doing bent over single arm row with opposite arm stabilized on chair and lifting opposite leg from floor).

2B: Single Leg Reverse Fly

Stand on one leg, bend at hips while maintaining flat back by engaging core. With weight in each hand, raise both arms up by squeezing shoulder blades together. Try to keep shoulders from shrugging. Alternate legs with each set.

3A: Reverse Lunge with Bicep Curl

Stand with legs together and weights in each hand. Take right leg back and bend both knees to 90 degrees while curling weights up to shoulders. Press back to standing position by squeezing left glutes. Repeat on each side.

3B: Pistol Squat into Single Leg Row

Stand on right leg with weights in both hands, bend knee maintaining weight in heel without letting knee translate over big toe. Press back up by squeezing glute and bend at hips, maintaining flat back and row both elbows past back. Repeat on each leg.

4A: Single Arm Bench Press with Opposite Leg Lift

Lay with head and shoulders supported on sturdy chair or bench and lift both hips to parallel. With weight in right hand at shoulder level, perform a chest press while lifting left leg into a march position. Repeat on both sides.

4B: Push Up with Plank Walk

Start in high plank position with hips parallel to shoulders and feet. Perform a push up by bending elbows to 90 degrees. Press back up and walk both right hand and right leg over to the right, repeat push up. Repeat back and forth the each side. (Modify by doing push up on knees).

5A: Deadlift

Stand with weights in both hands. Bend at hips to lower weights toward floor while maintaining flat back by having core engaged. Stand back up by squeezing glutes, not rounding your back. It’s okay to have a slight bend in knees if flexibility is an issue.  (This can be a difficult exercise for the low back so form is incredibly important, modify without weights until form is perfect).

5B: Single Leg Wood Chop

Stand on right leg with weight in left hand. Bend at hips and bend knee until left weight touches floor on outside of right foot. Press back to standing by squeezing right glute and raise left arm diagonally overhead, as if you were sheathing a sword. Repeat on each side. (Modify by not touching floor).