The Importance of Foam Rolling

As my half marathon approaches, I’m decreasing the intensity and length of my runs, and taking it easy with strength workouts as well. The main focus now is on rest and myofascial release massage (foam rolling). 


The roller helps limit soreness and tightness by increasing blood flow and flexibility. It also helps with mobility. Even though most people think of rolling before some workouts and after every workout, it’s also beneficial to roll on a rest day, which is what I’m doing. All this helps in the enjoyment of your training process and your recovery- not to mention injury prevention.

The denser your roller is, the more of an intense stretch/massage you’ll get. For daily use, I’d recommend a regular roller with a soft, even surface (like the blue one I’m using in the photos in this post). A tennis ball also makes a good alternative for a harder, more intense roll. 

Clients often ask me, What should I roll? Gently and slowly glide back and forth on different spots on your body- calves, quads, upper back, glutes, etc, focusing on areas where you feel tightness. 


If you have a specific painful spot, it is most likely due to imbalances in other areas of your body. Rolling directly on that spot won’t do you any good.  You should actually foam roll the peripheral areas. For example if your shoulders are feeling tight, roll your chest. If your knees are achy, roll your hips and calves. 

For a video on how to use a foam roller properly, check out Sarah Fit’s blog

How often do you roll? 

Xo,

Julia

Conquering some fears at the Jersey City Challenge 

Last Saturday, I woke up with almost no voice, not quite sure if I was going to be accomplishing what I had signed up for many months prior. I was supposed to do my first obstacle race, the Jersey City Challenge, but I was still getting over a cold and now had lost my voice. The hubby was sure I was going to say we should just chalk it up as a sunk cost, but I told him to give me til after breakfast. And so…I had my coffee and breakfast and said, Let’s do this!

I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel during the race. Would I start coughing and have to stop? I decided it was worth it to at least get there and see how far I could go. 

It was a chilly, rainy day as we arrived in Jersey City. We brought a backpack to check in (for $5) with a change of clothes and where we could leave our wallets and phones. That was a nice thing they offered and we didn’t mind spending a few extra dollars for it. The bib pick up was slow- surprisingly there was only one person trying to help everyone. Although they do highly suggest that people pick up their bibs ahead of time, that’s just not posible for some of us non-locals. Hopefully they realize this and make it easier for next time.

I had not intended to do this race for time. I didn’t even wear a watch. However, I knew that chances were high that I’d get stuck behind people in front of me so I made sure to sprint between obstacles to give myself the best workout I could.

The penalty for not completing an obstacle was 30 jumping squats. The obstacles included barricades, cargo nets, walls of different heights, and a pyramid that had to be climbed. There was also a reverse wall and a rope climb. Oh and we had to jump over a cop car and taxi cab. I chose going on top of the cop car- that felt pretty badass.


 Prior to running it, I was fearful that the walls were all going to be super high and that my fear of my heights would get the best of me and I’d had to skip some, but it turned out to not be the case. It must’ve been partly due to the adrenaline that I felt- I got through all just fine and was really proud of myself. I climbed the rope all the way up and rang the bell! I even got half way through the rings which were set up on monkey bars (and so I did my 15 penalty squats). Those were among my top two highlights of the race.


There were also other CrossFit-type obstacles like box jumps, kettlebell swings, sandbag carries, heavy jump ropes and bear crawls. The heavy jump ropes were super hard! There was also a balance beam and I ended up having to get help from the City Challenge Staff because it was super tricky. I think that if I took my time and didn’t rush through it, I could’ve done it a little better. 


So my lack of voice or any other doubts or discomforts didn’t hinder me. Would I do this event again? I think if a group of my friends wanted to do it, I definitely would again. A bonus was that there was no gross mud involved. After all, their motto is, “Think outside the mud!” It’s one of those things that you do for the experience. To test your strength and your fears. To have fun! It was not something I cared to do for time.  I’ll leave that to my running races. 


Xo, 

Julia 

Staying Fit Through the Holidays

None of these are secrets! You have probably heard them before. But are you actually doing them? Here’s how I keep myself in check:

1) Schedule it. I know if I write down my workout, I will get it done. This also goes for anything else I need/want to get done- I write it in my agenda otherwise I forget, forget, forget. My mom brain has gotten worse as Frankie has gotten older.

2) Avoid sitting for too long. Sitting for prolonged periods of time has been proven to be hazardous to our healths. Remember this when watching Christmas movies with your family- get up and stretch occasionally.

3) Drink up! Water that is, not sugary stuff. Many people track their food intake. I say, track your water intake. I have an oversized water bottle that I refill several times a day. I drink at least 1 gallon of water a day.

4) A little bit is better than nothing when it comes to exercise. This is so true now that I’m a mom, especially one who is at home. My “me” time is pretty much non-existent, so I rely on naps to get stuff done around the house or for my R+F biz. Sometimes I do wall sits or push-ups or jump squats while playing with Frankie. Get creative!


5) Indulge a few times, but not the whole Season! We only live once, so go to the Christmas parties but just be smart. If you really want to try the desserts, snack on the lower calorie appetizers and limit your alcoholic drinking.  Tonight I’ll be going to a Cookie Exchange Party and trust me when I say I will be enjoying a few but I also made sure to have a light dinner instead of my usual filling one. 

6) Don’t make a New Year’s resolution to stay in shape- stay in shape ALL YEAR LONG! If you simply can’t get yourself to do all of the above, then it’s time to consider investing in yourself. Find a fitness coach to help you stay motivated and accountable. Find a friend who has similar goals and try to workout together if you can.


Thank you following my blog this year! I wish each and every one of you a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season! May 2017 be full of blessings! 

~Julia 

My Biggest Takeaways of the 2016 Rio Olympics

Seeing the perseverance, passion and sportsmanship that the Olympic Games bring out truly move me and inspire to keep doing all I do. Not just at the gym but in life too.

The event itself is so exciting, to see athletes from many different countries come together to show us their greatest gifts and strengths. There was even a refugee team of 10 people. There were so many memorable moments, but to me, it wasn’t just about the winners of medals. There were many lessons to be learned from some of the Olympians. Here are some of my favorites:

Sure, it’s amazing that Michael Phelps has 28 gold medals. But did you know that he won 0 at the 2000 Summer Olympics? What if he had given up?

Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D’Agostino helping each other finish the women’s 5000 Meters after tripping over each other. What if they had just ignored each other? They wouldn’t have created a new bond and friendship.

What about when British sprinter, Derek Redmond’s hamstring snapped on him. He waved away the stretcher, and continued limping towards the finish. His father then ran onto the track, past security, and took his son’s arms to help him finish. Sometimes we have one goal and then something devastating happens so we readjust our goals. Giving up isn’t an option. Those who love will be there to help you through.

Allyson Felix was expected to win the 400 Meters. Instead she had to settle for silver, as Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas literally dove for gold. In this case, Miller showed she wanted so badly to achieve this goal and went above and beyond to reach it.

Sarah Robles won the US’s first weightlifting medal since 2000. She’s happy to shed more light on the sport especially to inspire other women of size. She’s also Mexican-American and looking to inspire other Latinos. 

I love the Final Five, especially Simone Biles. That girl is tiny but fierce! But what about the older gymnasts, like 41-year-old Oksana Chusovitina? She could’ve retired. Instead she chose to stand alongside gymnasts half her age. “I’m alive. I’m well. Then it means everything is ok,” she said.

What were some of your favorite, inspiring  moments? 

Staying Fit On The Go

Being away from the gym is no excuse to slack on your exercise routine. There are plenty of movements you can do while you’re traveling this summer to keep up with your goals. If you’re staying in a hotel it will most likely have a gym so you’ll have more options. If not, bring a jump rope and/or exercise band so you can workout in your room or outside.

I love body weight exercises because you can really strengthen your whole body  and work on cardio at the same time. We recently did a tabata at the gym and it got me thinking- this is something that can be modified to be done on the road. Tabata training was discovered by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tanata and his team. It consists of 4 minutes of high intensity. You workout hard for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. You repeat this 8 times. 

So take 4 or 5 body weight movements (say, double unders, air squats, sit ups, mountain climbers and push-ups) and do 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off, 8 times. You’ll get yourself a heart-pounding workout in about 16-20 minutes.


You can also do circuit training. Take 5 or 6 movements and do each one for 45 seconds before moving to the next one. Complete 4-5 rounds. If you search this blog, you’ll see that I tend to do a lot of these so feel free to find more inspiration here.

It might be difficult to work on your deadlifts, but don’t despair. Remember that any physical activity is better than nothing! Try to focus on heavier lifting right before you go away and get right back to the gym once your trip is over.

Keep it simple and fun. So if you’re at the beach, go for a jog, play volleyball, do planks and burpees (on a beach towel), walk to the furthest restaurant, or ride a bike.

My advice is to try to get your workout done in the morning. Even if it’s just a quick 10 minute workout in your room; you’ll feel so much better afterwards and you won’t feel as guilty for the multiple margaritas you might indulge in later 😁

So enjoy your vacation but do what you can to stay active while having fun!

Anniversary Weekend & Snatch Workout

I can’t believe it’s already mid-July! Why does Summer always go by so quickly?! It has been awesome so far, spending my days with Frankie though. I really wanted to get him started with swimming but unfortunately none of the local places have daytime schedules right now 😕 It would’ve been a great activity to do with him but I guess it’ll just have to wait. 

His schedule seems to change on a daily basis. When I get used to something he changes it up on me! Haha So I have to keep in mind that when he falls asleep I can’t waste much time- I gotta do whatever it is that’s on my to do list because he could either take a 20 minute nap or a 2 hour nap. 

Besides working out, I also “work” my Rodan+Fields business when he’s napping. This might involve listening to a training call, replying to people’s messages or texts about the products, placing an order for a client or finding my next before & after to post. It’s been a fun few months and I’m just so happy that my customers are loving their products. I wish I lived closer to my teammates because they’re a fun, smart bunch!

Today I skipped running and focused on Olympic lifting and core. I did 6 rounds of:

5 snatches (45#)

20 Russian twists (15#)

20 side plank reach-thrus (left & right)

20 sumo squats w/15# plate

I definitely could’ve gone heavier on the weights but the point was to focus on  form with the snatches and to really engage my abs. 

I feel like I keep wearing this same outfit over and over again! Ahem, Athleta, maybe you can send me some stuff??
Frank and I celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary with a night out in NYC. We stayed at the W in Midtown and did fancy French dinner at Le Cirque. Although it was a great experience and the food was delish, I couldn’t wait to get a late night pizza from Room Service 🤗


The hubby and I have a 5K on Thursday night. This one is known for its rolling hills so I’m not expecting any PRs or awards but I’m just happy to get out pound some pavement and hopefully see some running friends. 

What’s in your to do list this week?

One Year Blog Anniversary 

It’s been a year since I started this blog, mainly to keep myself motivated and accountable for staying active during my pregnancy. I don’t get a chance to post as often as I wish to but I really enjoy having this space to share with you about my life and workouts. 


This past weekend I ran my first post-pregnancy 5K. And boy did I surpass my expectations. I didn’t give myself a goal although I was secretly hoping to do it under 24 minutes…and I didn’t even wear my watch…I ended up running my second fastest 5K to date! According to my phone it was 23:15 but Strava said 22:45.

If you’ve been reading my posts you know I don’t get to run often- usually 2 mile runs on the treadmill or with Frankie in the stroller. I also have been coaching more CrossFit so I don’t get yo work out as often. I guess my takeaway is that LESS is more!

Another fun thing about the 5K is that I got to meet a new group of runners- the Asuncion Runners NJ. It’s a satellite branch of the Asuncion, Paraguay group that we’re a part of. We actually all walked away with awards! I got my first trophy ever 🙂


It might be too hot today to run with Frankie but I’m hoping to do my usual 2 miles on the treadmill while he naps and then a circuit workout once he’s awake.

Here’s an easy and simple equipment-free WOD:

15 AMRAP

10 burpees 

20 lunges

30 push-ups 

40 sit-ups 

50 mountain climbers

60 jumping jacks

Today also happens to be Frankie’s Half Birthday 🙂 And tomorrow is my birthday! Hop over to Instagram to see how we celebrate!


Cheers, 

Julia

Rainy Day Home WOD

It’s a chilly, rainy day here in NJ and I was finding it hard to find some motivation to not only workout but also to write a new post. But…since I already had a rest day on Monday and I haven’t posted in a few weeks, I found just enough energy to get them done. 


Frankie has been a little bit sick with a cough and stuffy nose so comforting him has been my main priority. Good thing this WOD was nice and quick!

Do 3 rounds of 1 minute of each:

Burpees

Dips (on a chair, couch, etc)

Slow Mt Climbers

Flutter Kicks

Push Slide (start in plank, press back bending knees then press forward again into plank) 

Standing Side Bends (8# DBs)

This is great for days you can’t make it to the gym or even when you’re traveling as you really don’t need any equipment (just skip the DBs in the side bends).

I had hoped to take Frankie out for a longer run in our jogging stroller but I think we’ll just cuddle indoors until it’s time for me to go coach at the gym 🙂

Frankie’s first run in the BOB on Global Running Day last week.

Happy Wednesday! 

Xoxo

First Post-Baby Race

On Sunday, I did a half marathon relay with Frank right here in our town. I’ve been doing the full, half marathon for a few years now but this year I wasn’t ready for the 13.1 yet. 

Our friend here has run 70 marathons! Including one in every state 😱

It was a bit cool in the morning, but the sun was out- thank God, because later in the day it got cloudy and very windy!

I ran the shorter distance of roughly 5.4 and Frank did the remaining 7.7 miles. There were lots of rolling hills in the portion that I ran and man, I was feeling them! My average pace was 8:15 and I was ok with that. It’s what I’ve been doing 3 miles in lately. As you can see in the image below, we placed 14th out of 108 and were in the top 87% overall! It gave me just the motivation I needed to keep going, keep running. Even if the treadmill gets boriiing.


I’m feeling stronger and slowly getting closer to old Olympic lifting maxes again. It’s funny how things are- I really thought I’d be in running shape faster than CrossFit shape…but I did stop running lonnnng before I stopped WODing ☺️

To all busy ladies (and gents too), keep doing what you’re doing. Stay safe but stay active! 
Xoxo 

Friday Fitness

Happy Friday everyone! I’m in definite need of some extra caffeine this morning as a little someone decided to wake up FOUR times last night! He’s never done that before and I’m still scratching my head trying to figure out why. He didn’t even break out of his swaddle as he’s been doing lately. I’ll take any mommy advise I can get in this issue! #desperate

  
As a busy mom, it’s becoming so hard to post a blog even once a week like I’ve been trying to do but you may see more frequent posts on my Instagram. 

Today, I’ll be doing a 2 mile treadmill run (during Frankie’s nap) followed by a Posterior Chain Workout by Betty Rocker (once he’s up). The workout entails doing 3 rounds of 45 seconds of each exercise- thigh jacks, elevated bridge lifts, triceps dips, swimmers, single leg tabletops and 3-way calf raises. Lower body/booty burner! 

  
It’s supposed to be 81 degrees later here in NJ so some outdoor play time with Frankie will be a must 🙂 He loves music so we sometimes have dance parties on our deck 😉

 Hopefully the hubby and I will be able to get a longish run in on Sunday like we did last weekend. We went running on this trail by our house which went through a few local farms. We’re so lucky to live in such a beautiful area close to a great downtown as well as nature. 

  
Have a great Friday and weekend! Planning on running this weekend? Are there trails by you that you love? 

~Julia