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 

Stroller runs are fun!

I’ve been taking Frankie out on the stroller the past few weeks and it’s going great so far. I was nervous that he would start complaining after just a mile or 2 but we’ve done up to 4 miles so far. Success! 


It has been really fun going out and spending time outside with Frankie. Sometimes we run to the park which we are so fortunate to have so many in our vicinity in Morris County.

I remember how hard it felt to push the stroller last year when I would run with him occasionally. Umm and it’s only gotten harder now that he’s 25+ pounds! I’ve been looking on Instagram and online for bloggers who may be training for runs with a stroller but haven’t been very successful. If you are one and I missed you, please comment and let’s connect! I feel like I’m going sooo slow in the BOB, so it’s hard to gauge how I would do in a race.


Speaking of which, I’m doing my first 2017 5K this Sunday (after skipping out on one due to super cold weather last month). And I’m contemplating doing a Half next month. I know I can do a half but the competitor in me wants to test my speed first before I commit. 


Have you trained for a race while racking up miles in a stroller? I’ll take any tips! 🙂 

Xoxo,

Julia 

Remembering to Put On (Real) Pants

Before I had Frankie I told myself I would never be one of those moms who loses sight of herself or wears Mom jeans or never brushes her hair. As judgy as that may sound, it really was a challenge to myself to make sure I still made time for Me! It’s hard to do, and some days impossible; I totally understand that now.

Figuring out my priorities helps. I know that exercise and reading are some of the things that make me feel good and help me improve myself. One trick I do to make sure I get some exercise in is put on exercise clothes in the morning. It makes it easier to follow through if you’re already partly prepared.

As wonderful and smart as this sounds, I also really, really need to give myself breaks. I need to realize that some days the workouts are not going to happen. Part of my self care routine needs to be putting on “real” clothes! I am good with  doing my hair and having a pampered morning and night skincare routine but I don’t need to live in yoga pants 🙂  

Unfortunately I don’t have time to read books right now. I was reading something  great on my Nook a few months ago and now I can’t even tell you what it was, and you know what? I just had to accept the fact that I had to let it go for now. Right now, reading articles or magazines is what I have time for and it’s a good compromise. 

Now let’s get to the workout! You can  substitute the run with some other form of cardio if you prefer.

Run 1 mile, then:

2 rounds of

30 kettlebell swings 

20 push press (45# barbell)

30 step ups

20 bicep curls (8# dumbbells)

30 rotating side planks 

This was a great total body burner.

I had not been on the treadmill in a while so the 1 mile was totally doable!
So that’s it for today! I will be trying to post more often and stay connected. You can always follow along on Instagram (@thepetitefastinista) as well!

Photo by @oh_tilly

Have a great Friday!

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? 

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

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

  

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!

First Date Night

Frank and I went on our first date night post-Frankie last night. I very much needed to get out of the house, brush my hair, put on some lipstick and something else besides leggings. This mama needed to get out! 

It was great to receive this Infinite Possibilities Bra from Le Mystere last week just in time for date night. I got a 34B and it fit me perfectly. It feels super luxe and can be worn 6 different ways. I can already imagine myself wearing it with cute dresses this spring and summer- anything from low-back to racer back to halter styles.

  
So we decided to go to this Italian place, Fiore’s, in town that we’ve both never been to. He got tuna and I got scallops and we shared a fancy bottle of French wine we’ve gotten on our honeymoon in Beaune. 

   We then stopped at David Todd’s for one last drink (bourbon for him and brut rosé for me) and then headed home to our boy. I can’t believe he turned 1 month already! 

     He loves playing hide and seek, looking at shiny objects and getting his hair brushed. 
 Oh and I had to share this photo of Frank from last weekend when the Jonas blizzard hit. So much snow! 

I’m still keeping up with some of the Sara Haley workouts from the 28 day challenge that I mentioned in my last post. I didn’t include too much info on her but she’s a fitness professional who specializes in pre and post natal fitness (www.sarahaley.com). To be honest, I don’t do them every day but only when I’m feeling up to it as I still need to be careful. Always remember to check with your doctor on when you should resume your workouts post-delivery, especially after a c-section. 

Have a great weekend! Xoxo

3 Weeks Postpartum

It’s been 3 weeks already since Frankie’s birth and I’m slowly working on getting back in shape. I recently signed up for Sara Haley’s 28 Day #saynotocrunches challenge. Can’t wait to get this core nice and tight again! 

11 days post-baby.

 
Taking Frankie out for a quick stroll.
 
 If you’re looking for some motivation to get in shape, look it up, it’s free! There’s a Facebook group top where you can check in and hold yourself accountable for each day’s workout. There are are some fun movements like the “praying mantis”-check it out. You can even do it while holding your kid for some added weight 🙂

Life has been crazy busy lately with the baby so even if I break it up and do bits of the workouts throughout the day, I will feel like I accomplished something. 

That’s all for now. Have a great day! 

First Post-natal WOD

It’s been 2 weeks + 1 day since I gave birth to my little Frankie (have you seen all his cute pictures on my Instagram?!? @juliafastinista) and this mama is ready to start getting back in shape! Although I have done little things here and there before yesterday, like push-ups off my couch, leg extensions and weight-less arm curls, I don’t consider them real workouts yet as I was only testing out what my body could handle. I did, after all, not only have a C-section, but I went through hours of labor and pushing prior to that.

 

LSIT
Doing L pull-ups last year…can’t wait to do these again soon!

So yesterday, while my son was napping, I did 3 rounds of:

20 Deadlifts

16 Bicep Curls

10 Push Presses

16 Side Bends

I used my 8-pound dumbbells as usual…

Ideally, I would love to be ready to do the CrossFit Open WODs next month and kill them, but… I won’t be too hard on myself if I have to do a lot of scaling back.

Please don’t think that just because I’m already working out 2 weeks post-partum, that you should be too. Everyone is different. The last thing you want is to get injured and have a big setback. Please be careful and always, always consult with your doctor first.

I just want to say that staying active has been a huuuge help in helping me bounce back. I fit in my skinny jeans just a week later. Now I’m almost pooch-free…just didn’t have time to take a photo.

Have a happy and healthy day! xoxo