You’ve always wanted to try but have shied away. You see the pictures of your friends and family holding race bibs and posting about their latest training run. Why does it seem so hard to just start running? Trust me, I’ve had this conversation in my head many times. Do I want it? Do I want to be a runner?
After turning 40, I knew that it was going to be time to start getting serious about working out. Being a naturally thin person for most of my adult life, I was really able to keep my weight down, and a pretty decent amount of muscle tone, even though I wasn’t working out very regularly. I’ve never cared for getting sweaty, and 18would rather spend my time window-shopping or writing or crafting. But after hitting the 4 decade milestone, I noticed that my pants started getting a little tighter, that muffin-top got more pronounced, and generally I just didn’t feel as tight anymore.
Everyone remembers his or her first Bikram Yoga class! And for good reason! It can be overwhelming, unfamiliar and a bit scary! But don’t be disheartened. Follow these easy tips to make sure your first class is as positive an experience as possible. And don’t be discouraged if it is tough. It should be tough! For many of us, it is the first time we have worked so deeply into our bodies. Plus, it’s 105 degrees in there!
It’s hard to stay fit as a family in winter months. Between the hectic holiday madness, the shorter days and holiday treats, regular exercise gets put on the backburner. Throw in cold weather, snow and a desire to drink wine under a blanket on the couch, it’s pretty easy to justify not moving for most of the winter.
Knee. Kick. Jab. Feel empowered? I sure did. Founded in 2004, the 30 Minute Hit is a series of women-only boxing gyms across Canada that are now expanding into the US. Unlike other sweaty, male-centric, dingy back-alley gyms, Jackson and Deanna Loychuk created a female-friendly and time efficient circuit system where women can fit in a workout with kids in tow. The child and baby-safe area in each gym is in full view of the moms who are setting a great example for heir little ones, and women can visit on their own terms, without having to feel guilty for being late for a ‘class’. This is like female nirvana – without the chocolate.
After signing in on the electronic board, you warm up by skipping. (If you remembered to do your kegels while pregnant.) Not only had I been lazy in that regard but I hadn’t skipped since the pink ribbons came off of my pigtails. Not to worry. The friendly environment and trainer helped get me warmed up in ways that suited my needs. Like in a traditional boxing ring, there’s a bell. I felt hard core – except for the gorgeous pink boxing gloves. At every ding of the bell I graduated to the next station, alternating between arms, legs and core strength.
It felt very strange at first. I realized I had never actually hit anything. Like, never. When my kids were toddlers and were ‘experimenting’ with hitting, I instructed them to hit a pillow or use art to express their anger. How hypocritical of me. I should have hit a pillow too instead of bottling my emotions inside. Example is everything.
During my workout I kneed and hit very clean bags and the emotions flooded through. Was I guilty? Empowered? Angry? Hopefully you will be less analytical during the experience! My mind rarely relaxes. As some of you are aware, about 15 years ago I was sexually assaulted. It happened in the middle of the night by a stranger who broke into my home and I was unable to fight back. While I took basic self-defense courses afterwards, I still had never actually hit anything. Shocking, really. As I did my ‘workout’ sweat bubbles from the enhance fitness, but I was also releasing emotions and memories from long ago. These negative emotions were being replaced with power, strength and even forgiveness.
As I went through the circuit, not only were my muscles getting stronger, but my confidence and self-esteem were improving in ways far beyond the tightening of muscles or slimming of the waistline. The end of the circuit involved ‘Bob’, a foam torso and head (who is actually quite ripped despite being attached to a pole). I was able to do anything I wanted to him using the boxing techniques I had learned. Sure I felt sorry for the guy at first, but I also felt fit, strong and resilient. And I was in and out in 30 minutes. I’ll be back, Bob. And sorry for that wicked uppercut.
Images: Bryan Ward Photography
UrbanMommies loves music. But when it comes to cardio, Wynton Marsalis and Beethoven just don’t cut it. When workouts become a larger part of our lives, our music might need to be tweaked. Our 3 Fitness finalists have some suggestions that have kept them melting the fat. Feel free to add your fav workout songs below.
PRESENTING…. The UrbanMommies Workout Playlist
- Piece of Me (Britney Spears)
- One Night Only (Dreamgirls Soundtrack)
- Hey Ya (Outkast)
- Hot ‘N Cold (Katy Perry)
- Behind these Hazel Eyes (Kelly Clarkson)
- I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) (The Proclaimers)
- Mamma Mia (Soundtrack)
- Bust a Move (Glee Cast Version)
- Marmalade (Christina Aguilera)
- Walk Away (Kelly Clarkson)
- My First Love (Craig David)
- Dangerous (Elijah Kelly)
- I’m a Slave for You (Britney Spears)
- Crack the Shutters (Snow Patrol)
- I’m a Be (Black Eyed Peas)
- Please Don’t Stop the Music (Rhianna)
- Gold Digger (Kayne West)
- When Love Takes Over (David Guetta)
- Single ladies (Beyonce)
- Papa was a Rolling Stone (George Michael)
- In Da Club (50cent)
- Thunderstruck (AC/DC)
- Anything by Pink
- Single Ladies (Beyonce)
- She Wolf (Shakira)
- Poker Face (Lady Gaga)
Available at iTunes.
Yes, we all know that getting appropriate exercise before, during, and after your pregnancy is very important; it makes the pregnancy easier, less prone to complications, and often makes labour and recovery much faster and easier. For those expectant mums who have the luck of being heavily pregnant during the winter months (believe me, being nine months during a heat wave is NOT fun), outdoor exercising often seems impossible, especially when it’s been snowing. However, that really isn’t the case: there are many things pregnant women can do outside during the snowy months to keep fit and healthy.
SunRun Fun: I had always desired to run the sun run but life seemed to get in the way. First shift work jobs then, basketball belly followed by bottle refusing babies kept me from my goal. So when M was born I was determined to make a change. Long before I typed my best excuse for not working out on the Urbanmommies website I signed up for this years SunRun training program. Nike supplied the shoes, Fitness On the Go enabled me with no excuse cross training and I supplied the will power and enthusiasm.
I took my girls to the beach this weekend. It was a chance to reconnect and recharge from the insanity that goes along with selling your house. L needed a break from me hounding her about tidying her puzzle pieces and I needed a break from artfully staging dish soap and books.
With the help of my Mom and Auntie babysitting I was able to go for my most challenging training run to date. For 60 minutes I ran with the sweet smelling ocean wind pushing on my chest. Nature made resistance training at its best. Somewhere in the middle I took a one minute walk break but at this point the break is needed more mentally than physically. My pace was brisk at the start and a toddler could have passed me near the end. But I kept on moving. When my mind started to drift to thoughts of walking I would remind myself that if I could run this then the Sun Run would be a cinch.
Sleepy Sundays… It is mornings like these that I wish I were still a couch potato. It is Sunday morning and time for my regular training run. I look forward to running with my group. It is usually my most challenging run of the week but it seems painless when running with interesting people and doing one of my favorite things, talking.