In past fitness challenges, I have a really hard time updating a whole blog post dedicated to progress. For this one, I'm going to keep things nice and concise and just update here. The power of accountability! So, here we go!
April 1. I didn't have this bright idea as of yet... so no burpees today.
April 2. Official start of challenge! 2 burpees done! I also ran good 5k. Today is a hardcore day!
April 3. Realized I'd be cheating if I didn't acknowledge the missing burpee from the 1st of April. So, I did 4! Now I'm totally caught up!
April 4. Another 4!
April 5. 5 GOLDEN BURPEES! Starting to struggle on the push-ups. Not a good sign. May drop to knees tomorrow. That's allowed, right?
April 6. 6 burpees happened. Still hardcore on the push-ups!
April 7. Almost forgot today! But 10pm burpees still count!
April 8. Making sure push-up quality is there, so I'm definitely getting my knees no the floor. No sloppy form here!
April 9. It's my birthday. 9 birthday burpees!!
April 10. Starting to dislike this challenge and question my thought process in selecting it. But burpees done nonetheless.
April 11. Today's 11 burpees followed promptly by 11 mini eggs... the last of the birthday and Easter treats!
April 12 and 13. Still going surprisingly well! I feel as though I've hit a bit of a wall and 12 burpees might be where I'm really trying to push through!
This challenge has definitely re-lit the exercise spark, which is exactly what I was hoping for. Quite a few of these days I've finished a good run with the burpees. Definitely more energy and more motivation to do them on those days, and I feel my form is a bit better also!
April 14 and 15. I have been with with the not-feeling-wells! After being on such a roll, alas, I had to take sit these days out. :(
April 16. I'm back! After some much-needed rest, a whopping 16 burpees today which is a big jump (I think... and no pun intended) from the 13 I did a few short days ago. Also helping: I can do them outside!
April 17 and 18. This was over a busy weekend and I actually did a set at my friends house after a long day of dress shopping. At least burpees don't require fancy equipment that requires transporting!
April 19. I feel that 15 burpees really is my top level. Around 10 I'm getting tired, but 15? Just about every muscle is shaking. It was a very slow and slightly sloppy last 4! But done!
April 20. Holy moly I did 20 burpees! A strong 15, then a quick 30-second break, then another strong 5. After the sloppy form from yesterday when I'm pushing them out all in a row, I'd rather have a good quality 20 than a not-so-pretty 20.
April 21. I almost forgot today! After a long day of painting walls, we settled in to watch the Jays game. The seventh inning stretch seemed like a good time to hammer out 21 burpees! To which Dan replied: "I think my knees would die." This reminded me that while I'm out on my runs, which are still happening more often, that my IT band isn't so much of a problem. I know from endless chiropractic advice that they won't get better until I do my exercises. I guess a series of high-powered squats definitely does the trick!
April 22. It's cold and dreary. It's one of those days when I'd rather be warm and cozy in bed perusing pinterest. The best way to interrupt that fog is... burpees! This might be the last day I enjoy this challenge. I. Cannot. Breathe. After.
April 23-25. Business as usual. Dividing these huge sets into 15+8,9,10 definitely helps.
April 26-28. Slight snag for these 3 days: my memory. I completely forgot since Saturday and Sunday were quite busy, and I didn't even think of it on Monday. Rather than leaving these to fall by the wayside, I will tack these on at the end... so the challenge runs into May!
April 29. After my ultra-distracted weekend and past few days, I now have a pretty hefty study schedule on my days off. It would be very easy for me to now say, 'I just don't have time' and wimp out. But no, I'm going to use these to my advantage.
Back in undergrad at U of T, I had a professor who shared his study tips. While he was reading the most boring of textbooks and his eyelids started to feel quite heavy, he would drop to the floor and do 5 push-ups. Then 10. Then 20. Then I believe he stopped that because he was getting bulky and didn't like it! So, thank you, dear professor, I shall employ that tactic over the next 6 weeks of intense pharmacological education!
I also ran today to get my circulation going, followed by some good walking lunges for my crunchy knees and weak bum, and topped that off with 15 burpees. I saved the remaining 19 for in between lectures when I needed a brain boost. Holy moly! The tactic works.
April 30! Have you ever seen the Cats Interrupting Yoga videos on YouTube? Today was Cats Interrupting Burpees. I rose to the challenge.
The finish line!! Well, if it weren't for my lag in memory, it would be the finish line! I'm still quite proud of this past month and I will definitely say I do feel stronger. Looking back when 12 burpees was my limit, I could probably do about 17 before I feel like barfing! I'm still a bit huffing and puffing from them (2 sets of 15) but definitely checked off for today. Now just 3 more days making up for my memory and I can confidently say, 'mission accomplished'.
I hate burpees.
April is The Burpee Challenge.
Now, this picture is really what I'd rather be dealing with since it's coming into spring (finally!) and my little seedlings are getting stronger by the day. So, I figured I should, too. Like my seedlings, I'm going to sow my health. (Note: This isn't an ad or endorsement for Burpee seeds... it was the only pic I could find and seemed fitting. But, I'm sure they are great and I do agree that non-GMO seeds are the way to go for our little buzzing buddies).
I'm feeling the winter cobwebs sinking in deeper and deeper into my muscles and I really need to get motivated again. I've seen other Burpee Challenges out there and then I pretend that I didn't. It's a great idea but I really, really hate them. I also really wish they didn't work so well.
There isn't anything fancy about this challenge. It's something simple, taking a few seconds each day to start off. On April 1st, do 1 burpee. On the 2nd, do 2. And so on. I started a day late, but I feel pretty good since I sit here huffing and puffing after my 2 really great burpees. Oh dear.
So, if you're feeling like you've got a big case of the cobwebs also, let's burpee together! Feel free to comment, tweet, or Facebook me for some motivation because, not sure if I mentioned it, I hate burpees.
It's February. When did it become February? As I mentioned before, it's been just an insane couple of months for me with a whole lot of new adjustments. November brought an amazing clinic opportunity with Peak Health and Wellness which had me balancing 3 clinics and teaching for a good two months. I think I had 5 days off during that time! And, of course, I had this challenge going. Obviously, getting in front of the computer didn't happen as often as I thought.
As this poorly-posted challenge came to a close, there are a couple of valuable lessons learned:
1. Even the small, silly things can generate gratitude. Don't overlook them. Like the entertainment value of a hyper cat and a play tube.
2. It's okay to be really grateful for the same thing each day. Especially as I now get to sit in my home office and look at nature (instead of traffic and streetcars), this one came up almost every day.
3. When everything feels overwhelming, stop and find for something to be grateful for. It can be a little thing or a big thing, this forces you to slow down and really puts things into perspective.
4. Make gratitude a habit. Make it into your routine. Every time you're brushing your teeth, express gratitude for something.
5. When you catch yourself complaining about something, immediately follow that with some words of gratitude. Turn that frown upside-down! I find we complain about many things that another person in this world would be so grateful for. #firstworldproblems
Now then, if you're reading this, know that I'm very grateful for your support! For your homework, write down 20 things you're grateful for. If you can go until 50 things, that's amazing! Keep going!
Well, after the past couple of months, things certainly have not slowed down! There have been some wonderfully exciting things happening over here and I've found myself repeating these amazing opportunities as they've been coming.
I've also found myself trying to focus on what's great about, say, a whole lot of snow in November. Yes, it's cold and driving is less than pleasant. But it really is pretty. Snow on the trees is gorgeous. We get a true taste of all of the seasons here and I love it. Plus, how many awesome reasons are there to live in Canada? A zillion? More than a zillion?
Living the country life has really brought a whole new perspective. There are stars here. There is fresh air here. There's grass right outside my door. And word on the street is that you can see the Northern Lights sometimes! While there's been so much to do, I've gotten a whole new appreciation for slowing down. As I'm no longer surrounded by the intense hustle and bustle of the city, it's really easy to find moments of peace among a hectic day.
I'm exceptionally grateful for the group of talented women at Peak Health and Wellness who I'm so happy to work alongside. I stumbled on the opportunity to work here and it's just been so wonderful. It makes me realize that the group of professionals that I've surrounded myself with in all of my clinics are just so great at what they do and so awesome to be around. I'm so, SO happy to actually enjoy going to work each day. I understand that it's a total rarity, so that makes me unbelievably happy. It's a daily dose of gratitude.
I'll stop the cheesy gushing now, but I've added some of my favourite happy moments in the pictures above.
The past couple of months have been nothing sort of insane. I feel like I finally have my feet back on the ground and updating here has been on the to-do list for quite some time!
We've all had those times of the year or month when things are "just too crazy at the moment." I'm no exception nor have I found a way to add a few hours to each day or an extra day to the week. There has been a move out of my beloved downtown Toronto and to the country (clinics are still the same!), the loss of a car and frantic search for a new one, a re-charging and amazing vacation, an engagement, and still there are so, so many boxes! I've had two migraines and eaten my body weight in local (Italian) cheese and handmade pasta. A mattress is in my home office at the moment, but so is the wine rack so it kind of balances out.
I went for my first run in two months. I stared into the lovely fall colours this morning as I sipped my Americano made from my awesome Italian stovetop espresso maker. I have not forgotten this challenge at all and I have no intention of letting it fall by the wayside. I simply need to reset and get back on the wagon. So, here we go.
Despite this crazy few months, there are SO many things that have happened that I am so unbelievably grateful for. I'm going to give myself a head-start. Here's the first 10 that came to mind and have been repeating in my head for the last while:
1. This new country life. It's so quiet and so peaceful;
2. My future husband (who is being so patient as I continue to say that at least 20 times a day, accompanied by a little happy dance, until it sinks in);
3. The amazing opportunity for our amazing vacation this year (pictured above). Boy, do I love Italy. The food... the FOOD;
4. The fall colours in Canada;
5. An Americano made with a Bialetti espresso maker;
6. Simple food. Cooking with fresh, simple ingredients on vacation really was incredible;
7. Crickets (and being able to hear crickets instead of streetcars);
8. Our three insane cats who are getting along better than ever in this new place;
9. Buying veggies straight from the farm;
10. All of your support while I took some time to just settle down!
I can't wait to find more little things or pay more attention to the ones that are already here. Follow along on Instagram, FaceBook, and/or Twitter for regular updates.
This has been so much fun! Finding the little things here and there, and taking the time to appreciate them. I admit, I forget to do this some days so there are some holes in my #100daysofgratitude, but I'm working on it. Here's a brief summary of what's been happening around here!
I've seen many people hashtag #100daysofgratitude and I'm honestly not sure if they're going for a whole 100 days. I'm assuming so, and I'd like to join them. Guess I'll have to try and hashtag things... I'll be posting on Instagram (@lindsayselfnd) for the first time ever so come along for the ride!
I think we really should have 365 days of gratitude each year. I speak with many of my patients about stopping for a moment each day and just remembering to breathe. Take a really deep breath and let it out. You'd be amazed at how strange that feels after breathing so shallowly all day.
A bit of physiology:
When we're stressed out, we get so caught up in what we've done, what we have to do, what's going to happen if/when we don't get it done, and so on, that we stop paying attention to where we are and what we have. For many, this is the daily grind and for others this is what 3am looks like. Sound familiar?
Our nervous systems have two modes: sympathetic (fight or flight) and our parasympathetic (rest and digest). Our parasympathetic is always running in the background but sometimes it doesn't get the attention it needs. Our sympathetic systems are designed to run away from lions, tigers, and bear, but these days we react similarly to our to-do lists, deadlines, and that guy that cut you off in traffic or didn't hold the elevator. When we run in this mode for too long, problems happen.
This leads to our rest being off causing insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns or our digestion being off causing, most commonly, IBS, excessive bloating, and heartburn. The last thing your body needs to do when it's in life-saving mode is make a healthy-looking poop. Priorities, people. In addition, many research studies show gratitude to be beneficial for those with chronic pain, cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, cancer, depression, anxiety, and many other conditions.
How amazing is that? And guess what?
It's completely free.
And the challenge:
I'm just as guilty as anyone of getting caught up in my day forgetting to breathe, eating too quickly, and forgetting to pee. I'm going to slow down and be grateful for at least one thing each day.
It's the long weekend so I'm sure many of you are grateful for cottages, BBQs, and campfire. Today, I'm grateful for living in such a fantastic city.
Time has been flying faster than I've been running lately.
First, to update on the most exciting news: $300 raised for Camp Ooch and counting! That's one lucky kid going to this amazing camp! Here's the link if you want to help send another!
In other exciting news, my left knee no longer sounds like bubble wrap. Generally my right knee is happy, but its buddy, not so much. Proof I've been doing my pre-hab!
I'm so fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful therapists almost daily, one of which gave me a few specific exercises for my pre-hab (that's getting back into running to prevent the need for rehab) that I'll share with you. These are a super common condition that I see a lot in both runners and walkers alike, and it often doesn't mean you "have bad knees". If you use your legs, you might be prone to either of these conditions.
Pain at the outside of your knee = Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome
This means you have a weak bum, specifically glute medius, which stabilizes the pelvis during any locomotion. This I see often in both runners and walkers of all shapes and sizes. Try standing on one foot and raising your opposite hip up to the sky. If it feels sore or weak, get the bum working!
~ Side-walks with a resistance band
~ Squats with your bum waaaaaaay behind you
These are all easy to google or YouTube to get an idea. Do each exercise slowly and in control. If you can only do 2, that's okay to start. Remember, you're trying to correct imbalances and this requires some attention to detail. Some tips:
~ Keep your resistance band by the TV so you can strengthen while catching up on The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones.
~ Remember that it only takes about 5 minutes total. Really, it's not that long.
~ Foam roll the IT band whenever you can. This is harder because it hurts more. Foam rollers are pretty cheap, or throw a thick sock over a tomato can.
Pain behind the knee cap = Patellofemoral Syndrome (aka Runners' Knee)
This often means you have an imbalance between the quadriceps (thigh) muscles and need to strengthen the inner aspects, specifically the vastus medialis, or VMO, so that the kneecap can glide smoothly over the femur rather than crunching along in it's own little path. This little muscle fires when the knee is in it's last 20-degrees or so of extension so it often gets neglected. Over time, this can lead to patellar chondromalacia which is the softening of the cartilage behind the knee cap and the cause of the snaps, crackles, and pops in my case. I've had this since I was a kid... better late than never to correct it, I guess!
~ Static lunge with the front foot pointed outward 30-45 degrees. Static meaning keep both feet on the ground at all times. Slowly sink down into lunge position and let the front leg carry most of the weight. You'll be able to feel the VMO bulge out a bit on the inside of the thigh, just above the kneecap.
Slow and steady and with correct form, it shouldn't crackle at all. Eventually, as I'm living proof, you can sneak up or down stairs without any warning! Happy locomoting!
It takes a little more motivation these days to get out the door in this seemingly-never-ending polar vortex. Yay, spring!
I was looking for a new running app and came across possibly the best and most fun app ever - Zombies, Run!
I don't mind running hills or distances, but man do I hate speed work which doesn't help me run the super fast race that I'm hoping for in 6 short weeks. Unless there's pretend zombies chasing me.
This app has made running so much fun again... and I'm actually sore today! I found myself getting home (alive) and wanting to do it again. If you're interested in starting running, there's a setting for that as well. There's a setting for 5k and 10k training. Perfecto.
Also, a gigantic thank you if you've donated to my run for Camp Oochigeas. If you haven't yet, help send a kid with cancer to a super fun camp by clicking here:
Or, just know that this great place exists to make the world a little better. Even if there are pretend zombies everywhere...
So, this is exciting! I've signed up for my first running event in a few years (one might call it a race but that takes the fun out of it) and I need your help. Did you ever go to camp? Remember how crazy fun it was? Now imagine it was even funner!
Goal #1: Raise money for Camp Ooch. They are an amazingly awesome organization that sends kids with cancer to a really fun camp. Laughter and smiles really is wonderful medicine.
Goal #2: Run fast for 10k. Maybe 48 minutes?
By blending these goals together, I'm all in for the Sporting Life 10k for Camp Ooch. It's May 11th which is approaching fast! Yay, spring! Hopefully I can ditch the earmuffs by then.
You can donate here: http://www.ooch.org/runlindsayrun. High fives also welcome, but let's be honest, money is better since it will send a kid to camp. Stay tuned for all the grunts and groans of training and how the fundraising is going!
Thank you all in advance for your support!
I challenge myself... a lot.