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? 

6 tips to help you enjoy running

I’ve been a runner for a long time though I only started calling myself one about 5 years ago when I started training for my first half marathon. I thought if I didn’t run several times a week, year-around, and wasn’t doing high mileage, I wasn’t a “real” runner. I was mistaken.

Running the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge last year when I was about 9 weeks pregnant.

Whether you run a little or run a lot, you’re a runner…or you can become one.

 I remember training for my first half marathon and feeling so daunted by the training plan I followed. But it got easier. What was the secret? I just stuck with it. There were days when I was too tired or too sore or something came up and I missed my run– but that was ok. I allowed myself breaks here and there. I just knew I had to “bring it” next time.

Last summer I held a 4-week running clinic with some of my CrossFitters and other non-members to coach them into finishing a 5K- the first 5K for several of them. I hope to be able to carve some time out to do another clinic this Spring or Summer. 

In the meantime, I’m sharing my tips on making running feel a little easier- maybe even a little more enjoyable…so that you get out there and stick with it 🙂

  
1) Stay positive: 

If you tell yourself you hate running, running might hate you back. Just kidding. But seriously. If you can run 400 meters, you can run a mile. If you can run a mile, you can run a 5K, etc. 

Believe it and you will do it. 

2) It’s OK to walk!:

This is important because I know some people feel like if you are not running the whole time, then it doesn’t count. Wrong. There is no such rule. And actually walking is great because it allows you to use different muscles and give a break to the muscles you use when you’re running. When you walk you may feel it more in your glutes, whereas when you’re running, you may feel it more in your quads and hamstrings. 

I had my runners last year do run/walk combos to get them ready for the 5K. All of them beat their goals of finishing under a specific time. For example, I had them walk 5 minutes, then run 10 minutes, and so on until they were walking for a shorter amount of time or distance and running for a longer amount of time or distance. Start slow and build up your endurance.

In the first marathon I ran, I incorporated walk breaks and ended up finishing in 4:02, feeling like I could’ve kept going!

3) Breathe:

Many of my CrossFit trainees ask me about this and it’s actually what inspired me to write this post. How you breathe makes a huge difference in how you feel about not only running but any type of exercise that brings your heart rate up. 

The first thing is to make sure you’re taking big yoga-type breaths through your mouth, breathing from your diaphragm or belly rather than just your chest. You need as much oxygen as possible so make sure you take BIG breaths.

You may want to try following a 2:2 pattern where you inhale for 2 steps, exhale for 2 steps. The ratio can vary from person to person depending on speed (in fact, I’ve read about a 3:2 ratio in a running magazine) but it can give you something to pay attention to as you run to make sure you’re breathing correctly. You can find more info on these ratios on http://www.competitor.com and http://www.active.com. 

Just remember to relax and your body will know what to do. 

4) Practice Good Form:

As with any exercise, like CrossFit for example, the better your form, the more you will get out of it and the more you will prevent injuring yourself. When running, stay light on your feet, land toe to mid foot (not your heels!), and keep your chest up.  Keep your shoulders down and pull your navel towards your spine just like you would in CrossFit.

5) Wear the Right Shoes:

Don’t run in 5 year old sneakers! Go to a running store and have one of their trained staff help you find the right shoes for you. Once you find ones that work, stick with them. 

6) Listen to Music:

Play tunes that inspire you and get you revved up. You may find yourself running faster without even realizing it 🙂

One last secret I want to share is that I don’t always love running. My husband says the same thing. We love the feeling we get after a run. That sense of accomplishment. But sometimes the run itself sucks! Haha

I hope this post was helpful in getting you started with running 🙂 I could probably go into more detail on some of these topics so let me know if you have any questions in the comments. Or if anyone has any additional tips they’d like to share, please do so! 

Thank you for reading,

~Julia

  

Running happy 

I had back-to-back running days this weekend and loved it. I didn’t get a chance to do my once a week run last weekend so I was glad I was able to get these in. 

Saturday I did the same 5K loop I had done the past 2 times and shaved 2 minutes off my previous time (which was 30 minutes). I’m finally starting to feel like my old running self! 

   
I finished the run by doing a few sprints up and down my driveway. And can we just say how cute these leggings are? I got them from my local Athleta store recently.   
Later that afternoon, I did another workout:

1 round of

15 burpees

1 power clean (65#)

5 front squats (65#)

20 double unders

3 pull ups

3 toes to bar

Then, rounds 2-4 I did 15 deadlifts instead of the clean/squat movement. 

On Sunday, the hubby and I were supposed to go to CrossFit but overslept (thanks, daylight savings time!) so we went on a quick 25-minute run instead. The legs were feeling tired but I managed to make it through without any stopping 🙂

Today is my mom’s birthday, so there will be some indulging and I’ll probably take a rest day. 

Happy Monday to all! 😀

Back at the (CrossFit) Box

Sunday marked my official first day back at CrossFit. Although I had been doing home WODs for several weeks already, this was my first time back at the gym, seeing some of my fellow Crossfitters, hearing about some of their recent accomplishments and goals. Many of them are currently doing the Open, with Week 3 coming up tomorrow. 

I had hoped that I’d be ready to also be taking part in the competition but I’m allowing myself time to rest and having faith that sooner than later I’ll catch up again. 

CrossFit Open 15.5
   
My first WOD on Sunday was a 12 AMRAP of:

8 Sumo Deadlift High-pulls (55#)

6 Ring rows

4 Over the bar burpees

I finished 7 rounds and started on the 8th, completing the SDHPs, ring rows and 2 of the burpees.

I’m hoping to make it to the gym twice a week but I’ll be happy to at least go on Sundays with my husband while my mom watches the baby. 

I finished my Sara Haley challenges on Saturday but hope to continue incorporating some of the movements when I work out at home.

Stay active! Xo

Running Comeback and Booty Challenge

It’s been getting quite difficult finding the time to post, but I wanted to do a quick update on my current status…starting the post on Monday night while Frankie is sleeping and I’m enjoying a margarita because it’s #nationalmargaritaday so this mama had a few minutes to spare. By the way, seems like everyday is “national something day!” 

  
On Saturday, I went on my first run since late July. The weather here in North NJ was just beautiful, with some sun and temps in the 50s. My hubby took me on his usual route through a trail by our house which included a couple of hilly spots. Although I had to slow down a few times to walk briefly, I felt great the whole time. Though my legs felt a bit heavy and rusty, my breathing seemed ok. It really is amazing how the human body works and that I was able to maintain a decent pace after months of no running. In case you’re wondering, we did a 5K distance in 30:32. Far off from my best time of 22:38 but I’ll take it! 

I’m also doing a 14-day “booty challenge.” It’s another one of Sara Haley’s fitness challenges which I’ve talked about before. If you’d like to check it out, go to http://www.sarahaley.com- you can download the workouts for free. The “hydrant kick” and “tail wag” are my favorite moves. I decided to combine this booty challenge with my own version of the last 2 weeks of her “no crunches” challenge and so far it’s been a great daily workout. Today that included  3 rounds of a 1 minute plank, 30 second alternating single leg plank, 30 plank jacks and 30 alternating “pigeon and planks.”Feeling the burn in the abs and booty already and I’m only on day 4 🙂

  
So the CrossFit Open begins this Thursday and I’m feeling so nostalgic that I won’t be able to kill it like I did last year (well, for me). I’m not even sure yet if I’ll be doing it at my box. It’s difficult to commit when you have an 8-week old! 

For more frequent updates, you can see my Instagram page @juliafastinista

Stay healthy! Xoxo

Back on the Barbell

I had my postnatal OB appointment on Friday and got the “official” green light to resume my workouts…so what did I the next day? Went down to my basement to do a barbell WOD, of course!

Although I had been carefully doing a few light workouts here and there, including the “no crunches challenge”I had previously posted about, now I have the confidence to increase my intensity and weights a little bit more.

With The CrossFit Open just a few weeks away, I’m feeling like I’ll definitely be ready to do the workouts, although I will have to scale back.

So yesterday I warmed up by doing a few stretches and double unders followed by…

4 rounds of:

30 jumping jacks

10 barbell thrusters (45#)

20 deadlifts (45#)

The 4th round was super tough! I was feeling those thrusters! Although the DLs were very light, the higher reps still got my lower body going…my butt is especially feeling a bit sore today 🙂

I finished off the workout by doing some shoulder work with my small 5# plates- just 2 rounds of 12 shoulder raises, 10 lateral raises, and 10 strict presses.

I hope you have a great Valentine’s Day! We’re staying in and cuddling all day and then Frank and I are watching The Walking Dead 🙂

Happy Sunday!

WODing at 32 Weeks

It’s been great to be able to workout a bit more now that I’m back to “normal.” I made it to CrossFit twice this week and plan on going tomorrow as well. Very curious to see how far into my pregnancy I’ll be able to keep at it. Hopefully at least through the end of this month! 

This was Wednesday’s WOD:

20 minute AMRAP of-

10 power cleans w/15# DB

20 wall slams (10# ball)

200 meter row

I finished 5 rounds and 5 power cleans.

   
   

  
This morning I coached class which featured a fun little ladder of toes to bar, box jumps and dips. I miss doing toes to bar! 

Have a nice Saturday!

💕

I’m stent-free!

You may have read my past posts and already know about how I had a stent put in my ureter after a scary kidney infection while I was 19 weeks pregnant. It has been painful and uncomfortable and my OB and the urologist finally gave me their blessing to have it removed, which I did yesterday. It was supposed to stay in until post-partum, but it only got worse as baby started pushing (and kicking) down on my bladder more and more. I can’t wait to feel more normal again within the next day or so.

 I’m just feeling so thankful to my husband and mom especially who have been super awesome over the past (almost) 3 months. Other family members and friends have been great too. I had to work from home, and even then I hardly left my couch. I’m really looking forward to going out for walks around my new neighborhood and enjoying the beautiful autumn weather. Maybe I’ll even be able to run a little bit too. 

Rest has definitely been a priority the past week, which is fine. The body needs rest! Stay tuned to see how I do and the workouts I do going forward 🙂

Xoxo

Julia

Sweat Pink

Today I received an email notifying me that I’m a Sweat Pink Ambassador. Sweat Pink is a community of inspirational, fitness-oriented women where connections and mutual support can blossom as we each strive to reach goals in health and fitness. I’m super excited! 

So in my last post I mentioned that I was getting ready to go to a cousin’s birthday lunch…well, it turned out to be my surprise baby shower. It was such a fun, memorable day surrounded by some of the women that will definitely be playing a big part in Baby Hicky’s life. All the gifts we got were just so thoughtful and awesome. I had a hard time sleeping Sunday night thinking of how real everything feels. Baby will be here so soon! 

   
 Here’s a quick little at home WOD I’ll be doing tonight:

20 bicep curls

10 lateral raises

20 front squats

30 sec wall sit

30 sec plank 

I might do 4 rounds of this but feel free to do more if you’re feeling up to it 🙂

Happy Hump Day…or should I say #bumpday ?! 

Xoxo,

Julia

Monday Mode

Happy Monday! I’m continuing my productive mode after getting a few important things accomplished this weekend. The hubby and I bought a car (2012 RAV4 Limited Edition), picked out and bought some paint for Baby Hicky’s room and visited the inlaws who gave us some stuff for the house. I got a lot of work done today so I’m feeling good! 

Here’s a simple workout I did late last week that’s perfect for a mama-to-be: 

10 lateral arm extensions (each arm)

15 dumbbell deadlifts 

30 sec plank 

40 side bends 

Then without the dumbbells do: 

10 leg kickbacks (each leg)

10 side leg lifts (each leg)

Repeat 3 times! 

Tonight I’ll be doing Revie’s workout below. Have you guys seen her site? She’s the super cute owner of an all girls CrossFit gym in Australia, CrossFit Babes. She also happens to be pregnant right now so I’m following her workouts closely 🙂

  
I hope my workouts are to your liking. I’m already thinking of starting a home gym for when baby is here and I want to work out more at home 🙂

Here’s the latest belly pic. I love the bright yellow sports bra I had on. It’s a great color and the fabric is very comfortable. It’s by Albion Fit and I actually won it from a giveaway they hosted a little while ago. But hey, funny how you can still see some ab definition…hopefully this means I’ll whip myself back into shape quickly 😉

  
Xo, 

Julia