Tag Archives: charlotte

Why Doing An Obstacle Course Race Might Jumpstart Your Fitness

If you are on social media, you have probably scrolled past an ad or post from someone telling you to sign up for the next closest Tough Mudder, Spartan Race or Warrior Dash.  The ads might show people covered in mud attempting to run over fire, crawl through barb wire or carry heavy objects.  While those photos can either appeal to you or not, there is something to be said about the consistency and variety of training that does into preparing for an obstacle course race.

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If you have heard my story, humor me by allowing me to introduce it to those who have not.  I finished my first obstacle course race in 2012.  It was a Warrior Dash.  While I loved it, I didn’t put much thought into it again until after the birth of my second daughter.  I was in a rut.  Two kids in seventeen months had left my body feeling broken, tired, soft.  Something I had never experienced.  After much complaining to my husband about plateauing and not seeing any changes, he suggested that I sign up to do a competitive Spartan Race that he planned to participate in.  The thought of trying something new and very much out of my comfort zone left me feeling anxious.

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Upon researching various obstacles I might encounter and what type of terrain that I would be running on, I changed my entire outlook on training.  Long gone were the days of way too much cardio and low weight/high rep lifting.  I began to be intentional about my workouts.  You see, the ideal obstacle course racer can run efficiently, climb (when terrain gets very steep), hang for long periods of time, while also being able to carry heavy objects up and down significant inclines and declines.  It’s really a fine line of balancing not being too strong, yet not being too skinny.  You can’t sacrifice one thing or it will slow you down somewhere else.

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You can’t just practice upper body and strength, you also must practice running, mobility, and time OFF your feet.  What does a typical obstacle race training program that I would build look like?

  • One long run a week.  Depending on the distance you are training for, you are working for time on feet (not necessarily mileage).  I want you to build endurance for the duration of time that you think your race might last.
  • One interval running workout per week.  Let’s get some mileage in by pushing our paces to threshold then recovering.  Let’s practice hill training, running speed on grass and perform running form drills.
  • Two Strength Days per week.  Strength days are solid.  Not much running at all.  This is not the workout you can expect to build mileage.  I want you working grip strength, picking up heavier things than you are used to and building that tight core that makes everything easier.
  • One Easy Run/Ride per week.  The purpose of that easy run/ride is to build muscle endurance without wearing you out.  That’s it.  Enjoy it.
  • One Strength/Run workout per week.  Let’s drop our weight a little bit and focus on running in between strength exercises.  How do you keep your heart rate controlled moving from a run/row to a strength exercise and not lose bad form?
  • One rest day.  That’s right.  Take a day OFF!

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The constant variation of not knowing what is coming next keeps your mind and body challenged.  Engaged. Right where it needs to be to continue to see results.  Not to mention, allowing yourself to set a goal will also give you a benchmark in which you can celebrate success.  Success is what drives us to be better versions of ourselves.  Through this simple programming, I have watched people change their perception in themselves and exercise by challenging themselves in ways they never thought possible.

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I find so many people have so many options they need direction of which way to go to get the most benefit out of everything they could be doing.  There is absolutely no reason for people to be plateauing and bored in our current fitness environment.  I am currently working with people specifically building out calendars of what to do on what day of the week to make the most out of their training, social life and work balance.  If you are stuck in a rut, you may just need to do something way out of your comfort zone!

 

 

Week 31 – Round 3

Size of Baby (per “What To Expect”) – Size of a butternut squash. Approximately 3-4 pounds.

Weight Gain – 22 pounds. I am holding steady at about a pound per week.

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Movement – The baby (no we don’t know her name yet) is moving lower than either of my other two girls.  My first daughter spent a lot of time pressing into my rib cage.  While I can feel this child at the bottom of my rib cage, most of the movements are focused around pressing out from my belly or down towards my hips.

Sleep – No sinus infection equals more quality sleep.  Note, we are taking a rest period each afternoon.  Sometimes we fall asleep, other times we just turn the lights off and sit on the couch (or in bed).  Oftentimes, we play with faces on Instagram stories.

What I miss – Bottomless cups of coffee!  This weekend was Father’s Day.  My husband had a full list of things he wanted to do with the family on a weekend dedicated to him.  As he pounded cup after cup of coffee throughout the morning, I felt my energy levels drop as the temperatures rose.  No, I don’t rely on that much coffee, but with the combination of heat and pregnancy fatigue I could have used a pick me up on more than one occasion.

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We left the house on Saturday at 9:30AM to head to the berry farm in Gastonia, NC.  After picking two large baskets of strawberries and blackberries, we went straight to the Whitewater Center where we hiked, ate popsicles and let the kids participate in the obstacle course.

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At three years old, my oldest daughter has finally gotten the hang of most of the balance obstacles and can maneuver her way across things that she can hold on to with both hands.

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Best Moments this Week – Celebrating the most important people in my life.  Not only was it Father’s Day, but it was also my mom’s birthday.  I already told you how we spent Saturday afternoon.  We later joined my family at Cafe Monte to celebrate my mom’s birthday.
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Fear not.  My mom made sure to do the girl’s nails before they headed out for the evening.  At this point, I am one hundred percent sure their nails look better than mine.

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We most certainly went all in on Saturday.  By Sunday, the girls were worn out (and so was mommy).  After teaching a class at Flywheel, the four of us met at Phil’s Deli for Father’s Day breakfast before heading home and not leaving the house.

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These days our time at the house is filled with Legos, Slip n Slides, a small bouncy house and afternoon cartoons.

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We invited my family over for a cookout that afternoon to distribute small gifts and cards.  The girls were clearly the center of attention as each gift was opened.  I took them to a local Hallmark to buy their own separate cards for both their “Popi” and their dad.  They took it upon themselves to color them in with markers and add additional stickers.

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Highlight of the day was my two year old repeating my husband say “damn it” as he was trying to put together furniture.  He and I did not acknowledge it as we did not want to provoke that behavior.  The most ironic thing is that he never uses  bad language.  As such, it wasn’t until later when I mentioned it to him that he admitted he hoped I hadn’t heard.  Let’s hope she doesn’t repeat it again.

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Looking forward to – Meeting our new addition.  Even the girls are asking when she can come out.  They can feel her move and they talk to her regularly.

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Cravings – Salt, sweets, food.  Top meals of the week included: NY strip steaks to celebrate Father’s Day, afternoon homemade guacamole snacks (see picture below) and mini eclairs  and coconut cake to celebrate my mom’s birthday.

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Symptoms – Big mama keeps getting bigger and keeps slowing down.  Resting more, running significantly slower and going to bed earlier.

Workouts – If you have been following my weekly updates, you probably have noticed a shift in my cardio workouts and more focus on strength.  I have been doing less running and more cycling and weights.  I have heard horror stories of women pushing through the aches and pains of pregnancies to continue to do certain workouts in the final weeks of pregnancy.  What’s the point?  Do something that doesn’t compromise comfort.  In the grand scheme of things, pregnancy is such a small period of time in your life.

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I have been incredibly fortunate to have the ability to jump on a bike (at Flywheel) on the days I don’t feel like being on my feet.  Focusing on more mobility and body weight core exercises has also prevented me from having any chronic aches and pains.  I am actually in shock with how good my body feels at this point.

Monday – I taught my regularly scheduled 6:30 AM Flywheel class.

Tuesday – See strength workout below. I also taught the 3:30PM Flywheel class that afternoon.

  • Jog 800m
  • 2 Rounds
    • 10 PVC pass throughs
    • Max Dead Hang (approximately 45 seconds each time)
    • Miniband around thighs, roll medicine ball back and forwards 15 yards x 3
    • Miniband around thighs, single leg hip hinge with row x 15 each
  • 2 Rounds
    • Single Leg Glute Raise shoulders on Bosu x 15 each
    • Reverse Fly x 15 each
    • Wall Sit x 1 minute
    • Tricep Extension x 15
  • 3 Rounds
    • 5 Pull Ups
    • 10 KB OH press each
    • 15 KB Swings
    • 20 Lunges each leg

Wednesday – I rode in our newest Flywheel instructor, Shelby’s, preview ride!  Even with sore legs from my Tuesday workout, I still rode a 278 total power score.

Thursday – I have pulled back from participating in my run group on Thursday mornings.  That said, I still taught my 3:30 PM Flywheel class that afternoon.

Friday – See strength workout below.

  • 2 Rounds
    • Jump Rope 2 minutes
    • Single Arm Squat to Overhead Press x 10 each
    • Scapular Pulls x 15
    • Single Leg mini band hinge x 15 each
  • 3 Rounds
    • KB Swing x 15
    • Backwards Lunge x 15 each
    • Pushup x 15
    • Bicep Curl x 15
  • 3 Rounds
    • Slam Ball x 10
    • Pull Up x 10
    • Squat with Band x 15
    • Dips x 15

Saturday – I went for a run/walk.  See stats from my run above.  My husband has mentioned a few times that he may run in the Famous Toastery Fourth of July 4 mile run.  If he does, I may actually jump in.  Before committing to the race, I wanted to see how I felt even running.  I ran slow (11:10/mile) and I walked one or two minutes here and there, but I got over three miles in and I actually felt pretty good!  Who knows, you may just see me cross the finish line in two weeks!

Sunday – I taught my regularly scheduled 7:30 AM Flywheel class.  That class was just fire.  I can’t explain how much I love that crew!

Week 29 – Round 3

Size of Baby (per “What To Expect”) – Size of a head of cauliflower. Approximately 3 pounds.

Weight Gain – I hit the BIG 2-0 this week.  20 pounds that is.  Baby and belly are growing more each week!

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Movement – There is significant movement that can be seen by the outside eye without touching my belly.  At my doctor’s appointment this week, the doctor confirmed that the baby is head down but rolled over to my right side.

Sleep – Dare I say I am starting to feel better?  With that comes more sleep.  I went to see a sinus doctor on Wednesday.  He proceeded to scope through my nose and into my maxillary sinus (right beside your nose).  Completely uncomfortable.  I started my second round of a 10 day antibiotic to rid my body of the remnants of this sinus infection.

What I miss – An afternoon Diet Dr. Pepper.  I try not to drink diet soda while I am pregnant due to the caffeine and aspartame.  That said, every once in awhile I will sneak in a Sprite Zero.

Best Moments this Week – I passed my one hour glucose test with flying colors!  On top of that, the baby and mom had a good check up (her heart rate was in the 150s).  I am now seeing the doctor every two weeks.

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After taking all of Saturday off, I regained my strength for a trip down to Gastonia with the family to berry pick.  I was hesitant to go given the age of the girls and the hot temperatures.  However, the girls never cease to amaze me with their ability to jump right in to a new activity and the overcast skies kept us pretty cool.

IMG_5258We took bets in the car on the way there on how long we would make it before the girls wanted to go home.  My guess? 20 minutes.  My husband?  40 minutes.  We made it over an hour!  I am so happy that we decided to go.  My oldest daughter was on point.  She wanted to control her own basket, so she could independently fill it to the top with blackberries and strawberries.  She was so proud of herself (and so was I!).

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My youngest was engaged for about a half hour before she decided to take a snack break in the double jogger.  She didn’t move the rest of the time.  She didn’t cry either though, so I can’t complain.  See pictures of our crop above.  If I start to look like a berry by the end of the week, you know why.

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We stopped at Tony’s Ice Cream in downtown Gastonia on the way back to the interstate. As the name implies, we had ice cream.  This hole in the wall has been a local favorite for as long as I have lived in Charlotte.  It was packed.  Line out the door.  Nowhere to sit.  It was also cheap and well worth the wait.

Looking forward to – Meeting our baby girl!  The girls helped me unpack newborn and three month clothes this week.  We washed them and folded them before loading them in the baby’s dresser.  The girls each took one of our two bouncy seats to their room to put their own baby dolls in.

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Cravings – Food.  I feel like I eat/graze all day.

Symptoms – Fatigue!  I woke up Saturday completely exhausted.  I navigated through getting the kids out of bed and helping them eat breakfast until my husband got home from his workout.  I then went back to bed until 11:30AM (even cancelling a training session to get rest).  If you know me, this is so not like me.  I didn’t leave the house the rest of the day.  The rest did my body good.  I was feeling like my old pregnant self again by Sunday.

Workouts – I am slowing down for several reasons:  I’m in the home stretch, I’m bigger and I’m peaking the hump of being sick.  You will notice I skipped my Thursday run group this week and I did not work out at all on Saturday.

  • Monday – I taught my regularly schedule 6:30AM class and came back to teach a 10:45 AM Memorial Day class.
  • Tuesday – Strength work in the garage.  I have no problem backing off cardio, but I do try to fit in two strength training days a week to maintain basic energy to stay mobile and fit for birth.
    • 2 Rounds
      • Run 800m
      • Side Extension with Band x 15 each side
      • Dead Hang Max
      • Deadlift x 15
    • 5 Rounds
      • 5 Pull Ups
      • 10 Pushups
      • 15 Body Weight Squats
    • 2 Rounds
      • Side Crunch Bosu x 25
      • Bicep Curls x 20
      • Heavy KB carry x 25 yards
      • Bulgarian Squat x 15 each
  • Wednesday – After sleeping in, I opted to go to Flywheel for an 11:45 class with Robert.  Some days even a trainer needs someone to motivate them.  Great ride in which I didn’t push too hard.  Total power around 250.
  • Thursday – I took a WALK around the block for 30 minutes before heading to Flywheel to teach my 3:30PM class that afternoon.
  • Friday – Strength work in the garage – see workout below.
    • 2 Rounds
      • Run 400m
      • Single Arm Squat to Overhead Press x 10 each
      • Scapular Pull x 15
      • Single Leg Miniband Hip Hinge x 15 each
    • 3 Rounds
      • Kettlebell Swing x 15
      • Backwards Lunge x 20 each
      • Pushup Roll Out  x 8 each
      • Bicep Curl x 20
    • 2 Rounds
      • Slam Ball x 15
      • Pull Up x 10
      • Squat with Miniband x 25
      • Tricep Extension x 25
  • Saturday – Much needed REST DAY!
  • Sunday – I taught my regularly scheduled 7:30AM class.

 

“You Must Work Out All The Time”

Someone said that to me this week.  I guess you should ask yourself what you consider all the time.  The comment made me think.  How much do I work out?  In the grand scheme of things, my day to day workouts vary so much depending on what I have going on.  That said, in order to figure out the answer to my own question, I decided to keep track of my workouts for one week.  I have a watch that tracks sleep, steps and activity.  I actually put it to use to share with you how hard I am pushing myself and what I am doing each day.

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Sunday 

My schedule is pretty simple on Sunday.  I teach two back to back classes at Flywheel first thing in the morning – 6:30/7:30 AM.  I ride to what I teach to, typically in the middle range.  For my first class, I set the activity on my watch to “Indoor-Bike” and tracked my energy level.  The instructor bike does not give accumulated power any more, so I can’t share that with you.  That said, in 43 minutes, my stats are listed below:

  • Max HR – 176 beats per minute
  • Average HR – 138 beats per minute
  • Calories – 307

Fair enough.  I did not set my activity for round 2, but let’s go off the first class.

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I taught my afternoon Cross Conditioning Class at Crossfit Mecklenburg, but I did not participate.  I strictly spend this time monitoring form and my clients.

Total Steps – 15,915

Monday

I am exclusively back at Flywheel for two classes – 6:30/10:45 AM.  See stats from Sunday above for an idea of what type of effort I am putting in.  That’s the end of my day on Monday.  I do not typically train anyone Monday afternoon and I do not do any other exercise myself.

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Total Steps – 10,727 Steps

Tuesday 

I lead a workout at 6:20 AM every Tuesday out of Freedom Park with the focus on conditioning through sprints and hill repeats.  I do not participate.

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I train several clients throughout the day on Tuesday in personal sessions.

I was exhausted Tuesday.  I try to wake up to work out before my running workout on Tuesday, but this week I wasn’t feeling it.  I was supposed to teach a class at Flywheel at 11:45AM, but it got cancelled around 10:30 AM.  That said, with the time I had a sitter available (when I was supposed to teach), I got a solid strength workout in.  Combination of running, weights and core work.

Total Time – 41:54 seconds

Distance – 2.4 miles

Max HR – 194 bpm

Average HR – 159 bpm

Calories – 343

I had to cancel my afternoon clients to take my youngest daughter to the doctor due to a high fever and congestion.  That’s my life.  Unexpected and unplanned.

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Total Steps – 13,026 Steps

Wednesday 

I use Wednesday to specifically train range of motion, core, stretching and primal movements.  It’s low impact.  It’s light running.  I had to take my car to the shop to get the oil changed at 7 AM.  I was set up to leave the car for an hour while they completed the work.  I wore my workout clothes.  I mapped a route.  I ran to a local park.  I did a few exercises. I ran back to the shop just in time to pick up my car.  Talk about multi tasking.

Total Time – 40:00 minutes

Max HR – 176 bpm

Average HR – 140 bpm

Calories -3 00

That’s it.  With my youngest still sick, I limited the number of people that I trained, and I stayed home a better part of the day while my parents and friends helped take my oldest out to do things.  I got away for about an hour and a half in the afternoon to attend a training at Flywheel.

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Total Steps – 13,511 Steps

Thursday 

My new speed/hill training day.  After a round of drinks several weeks ago, two of my good running friends and I decided we would start a high intensity running day to train speed and strength on hills.  So far, so good.  The group continues to build.  I have to say the past few weeks have been rough for me.  The combination of not much sleep with increasing humidity and heat has left me feeling gassed in the middle of these workouts.  Regardless, I am making the effort.  I am out there.  I am thankful for the friends that push me.

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Total Time – 39:12

Distance – 5.02 miles

Average heart rate – 179 bpm

Maximum heart rate – 195 bpm

Calories – 409

I trained one client in the morning before taking my youngest daughter back to the doctor.  Three days straight with a fever over 100!  She seemed to be getting better.  We came home for lunch before I left to teach a Flywheel class that afternoon at 3:30PM.  See average stats from Sunday for one Flywheel class.

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I taught my Cross Conditioning Spartan class at 6:30 PM that evening, but I did not participate.  Whew!  Thursday is a long day.

Total Steps – 17,268 Steps

Friday

Maybe I’m getting sick.  Maybe I just need some rest.  Here I am Friday.  I woke up early to squeeze a workout in.  I blew it.  I went out in the garage with no plan.  I started doing an old workout that my husband had written down and left out there.  I got 20 minutes in and I thought “hell with it.”  I went inside to take a shower.  It was (and still is) one of those days.  I chalked it up and told myself to stop going through the motions before I headed to Fox 46 Charlotte for a demo workout about the Spartan Revolution event this Sunday.

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My reason for writing this all out is because I wanted to give people a realistic view of how difficult it is for me on certain days to even have a chance to work out for myself.  In looking back some days are way busier than others.  It is safe to say that I typically walk over 10,00 steps every day.  It is also safe to say that I spend on average about 1 hour working out each day (that includes my 20 minute workout on Friday).  Some days are a set schedule which certainly holds me accountable, but other days I have to figure out how to make it work.  This is certainly something that I work with my clients on.  Most importantly, I stay the most active by being on my feet toting my sweet girls around.  I also eat relatively healthy.  All of this is something I would be willing to work with clients on should they ask.