Category Archives: Exercise

Blessed To Be Hiking Muir Woods

Muir Woods National Park Hiking

Muir Woods National Park Hiking

Just 12 miles from my home in SF lies one of the most beautiful national parks I have ever seen: Muir Woods. Proclaimed as “the best tree-lovers monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world,” Muir Woods is known for its old-growth strand of incredibly tall coastal redwood trees and moments of inspirational, warming sunbeams. The park has tons of hidden wildlife (I once saw an owl!) and over six miles of hiking trails, varying in length and difficulty. For those interested in going – which, duh, you should def be interested – here is a Park Trail Map that outlines the park.

Some recommendations:

  • Avoid tourists and try the 4-mile Backdoor Hiking Route.
  • Bring friends! Hiking with friends is a great healthy activity for socializing & catching up.
  • Pack healthy snacks such as apples, carrots, bananas or fruit-nut bars.
  • Bring and drink lots of water.
  • Challenge yourself! Try walking a bit faster to get your heart rate up.
  • Bring a light jacket, as most of the forest is cool and shaded.
  • Try to avoid weekends if possible, as it is a tourist hotspot.
  • Get there early in the morning, as parking can be tough.
  • Keep your voices down in the “Cathedral” area and other areas with “shhh” signs.
  • Enjoy the beautiful scenery. And enjoy this moment of being healthy and happy. Seriously – this one is a MUST.

Every time my brother and I go hiking, he always makes fun of me because I always spend at least 15 minutes ranting and raving about how lucky and fortunate we are to experience the beautiful day. We’ve been on dozens of hikes together, and he jokes about one day, creating a book of all the “we are so fortunate” phrases I preach to him. But seriously – every time I go hiking, I feel so blessed that I get to experience such beauty and bliss. I’m overcome with appreciation for my functioning legs, muscles, heart, lungs and overall health. With this, I encourage you to take the time to really appreciate what’s going on around you. Good company, beautiful scenery, fresh air and a day focused on taking care of your body, mind and soul. What’s not to love?! #bexisgettingdeepagain

Road Bike Shoes.

Road Bike Shoes, Cleats & PedalsJust got myself a shiny new pair of road bike shoes, cleats and pedals to stick onto the new road bike! I am BEYOND excited, and thank you to Stephanie and Robert for the early birthday present!  You see, after taking so many spin classes at the gym, I started relying on the pedal cages. Meaning, I got into the habit of using both the push AND the pull when cycling (which is what you’re supposed to do). My new road bike came with regular pedals and my quads were getting so tired because they were doing all the work. After all, there are other muscles on my legs that can help me climb up those hills.  With these new shoes, I can both push and pull, pull, pull…meaning I get to use more muscles when I climb. Yay! Just wanted to share.

Running Up San Francisco’s Hills

Running San Francisco's Hills

THE DAUNTING CLIMB

Running San Francisco's Hills

THE BEAUTIFUL REWARD

Some people love running up ’em, while I personally do not. I’m being totally honest when I tell you that running uphill is my least favorite part of the run. Yet oddly enough, I love love LOVE hiking uphill. And by hiking I mean walking…as in, not running (just to reiterate).

But, the SLO Triathlon has a pretty nice climb at the end of the running portion, so I must train to face my opponent. I frankly do not know much about efficiently running uphill, but I can tell you what has worked for me (though I’d hardly call it fun):

  • Don’t. Look. Up. Just don’t do it. 
  • Focus on driving your knees forward.
  • Pace yourself and preserve your energy; avoid sprinting and wasting all your energy in the first 10 seconds.

Yep, that’s about all I got. Anyone else got any suggestions on how to survive those beasts?

 

 

Post-Italy Running: I Feel So GOOD!

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I’ll be honest. I haven’t gone on a good run in a long time. Like, I haven’t gone since before I left for Italy, which is over a month ago. I’ve been working out, yes, but running? No. What can I say, I’m human. Plus, I just got over being really really really sick with a stomach virus, so its my first time out since getting better. I’m in SLO for the weekend so I thought it’d be a good morning to enjoy the great outdoors.

I was only planning on going on a short 3 mile run as a mental warm-up to get back into triathlon training. However, 3 miles turned into 6 miles, and a fairly decent pace (remember, I’m a slow runner). Even though 9 minutes 30 seconds is considered “slow” to the majority of the running world, I was still proud of myself for my endurance after a long break from it. And as an added bonus, looks like I broke a few personal records on my RunKeeper app. Okay, that’s sort of cheating because I’ve only had the app for about a month and I’ve only used a few times, so really anything I do on it is still considered a “personal best record” but hey I’ll take the positive encouragement!

I just finished a delicious egg white breakfast with fresh grapes and oranges, and I have to say: I just feel really good. Literally, as I type this, I can feel my endorphins going full force, reminding me to be happy, peaceful and thankful for this beautiful life! I truly believe in this blog and when I say, “Healthy=Happy” I really mean it. Being healthy and active is so good for the body, mind and soul. #bexisgettingdeep

I Bought A New Road Bike!

Specialized Road Bike
I got a shiny new road bike today! Yay! I’m super jazzed about this purchase because I’ve been looking to buy a new bike for the past year and I finally had the courage to get one today. Prior to this bike, I was riding a janky mountain bike with skinny tires, which was extremely heavy and inefficient. Specialized bikes are known for their lightweight frames, so this will certainly help with climbing and speed.

The bike has an aluminum butted frame that is designed for women geometry as well as an ultra-light carbon fork. Also very pumped about the Shimano 105 brake and shift levers and rear derailleur (apparently a very nice feature). The bike came with standard petals, but I’m considering getting some clip-in shoes so that I can be more efficient as I ride.

I still very much consider myself a beginner in the cycling world, so this is a big step for me. My goal is to become an efficient rider, so I’ve been watching lots of Youtube videos on proper form and technique. Here’s a good one on proper foot form in case you’re interested. Ride on, baby.

Tips on Swimming Faster

Swimming Drills  - Triathlon Training

As I’m preparing for the SLO Triathlon, I decided it’s probably a good idea for me to practice a few laps of swimming before the race (probably). Getting to a pool in the city takes a bit more effort, but I finally managed to make it! Trust me, I was terrified at how bad I might be. After all, it’s been almost two years since I swam in a pool.

To my surprise, I did just fine. I tested the waters by trying to swim 20 laps straight (no pun intended). I had no intention of trying to go fast, just wanted to test my endurance to see if I could manage 20 average paced, moderate laps. Phew! I did it without stopping. Victory! Now, moving forward…let’s talk about speed. Now that I know I can at least make it across the pool without drowning, I do want to focus on my speed. Below is a series of exercises that was shared with me that I’m going to share with you! Warning, these exercises aren’t easy…but they really help increase speed over time.

  • Easy warm-up: 10 minutes
  • Single Lap Sprint (50 meters): Do 8 sprints with a 30 second break in between
  • Double Lap Sprint (100 meters): Do 4 sprints with a 1 minute break in between.. you’re probably tired by now, but…
  • If you’re feeling gutsy: Triple Lap Sprint (150 meters):  Do 2 sprints with a 1 minute break in between
  • Cool down: 10 minutes

*Note: The above verbiage is for an olympic size pool which is 50 meters long. In a standard 25 meter pool, a “single lap” would be going across and back, equaling 50 meters.

Yoga, Triceps, Leg Dips, Oh My!

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My sister and I took every opportunity we could to soak in the Amalfi Coast’s beautiful scenery and picturesque elements of nature. On our first morning, we hiked up and down the cliff (the hotel literally sit on the cliff) and that was a real life outdoor stairmaster. Felt good to get my heart rate going. On our second morning, we found a tiny remote beach and did a whole bunch of body weight exercises. This included lunges up the hill, tricep dips, push ups, leg dips, mountain climbers and ab circuits.

However, my favorite favorite favorite part was the fast-paced vinyasa yoga. We found a platform that sits on the ocean front (see top photo – the cement platform right above the water) and OMG it was so beautiful and incredible. The view was unreal, the sun was shining, and there was just a hint of ocean mist cooling us down. I literally felt like I should have been in one of those instructional yoga videos. Oh yeah, and all the local Italian men were definitely wondering what the heck we were doing – it was awesome.

Mother’s Day Hike: Big Basin

 Big Basin Hike - Mother's Day

Big Basin Hike - Mother's Day

For Mother’s Day this year, our family decided to celebrate our health! We chose to go on an all-day hiking adventure around Big Basin, California’s oldest State Park. Nestled in the redwood forests just outside of Santa Cruz, Big Basin has over 80 miles of trails and a good number of waterfalls.

Throughout the day, we did all sorts of extra exercise activities to increase our heart rates. We mixed in fun games like leap frog, cardio arm boxing routines, yoga pics and fast-paced walks up the elevations. Our mama, Shirl, asked for exercise- so we gave it to her!

I would definitely recommend Big Basin for a weekend camping trip because the place is huge. There are plenty of camp sites in really pretty settings, and lots of hiking trails to choose from. Aside from the windy road getting in, this is a new favorite!

 

 

Run With Me

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I snuck in a quick run this morning before Cinco De Mayo festivities and it was a beautiful morning in the Marina! Plus, looks like I’m getting faster, ranging around 9.5 minutes per mile. Progress! I also ran into some Bay To Breakers promoters and totally encourage all of you to register, it’s going to be awesome!

To make things fun, I mixed my run up with sprints throughout.

  • 5 minutes – easy warmup
  • 1 minute – speed up a bit faster
  • 15 seconds – sprint
  • 1 minute – regular pace jog
  • 15 seconds – sprint
  • 1 minute – regular pace jog
  • 30 seconds – sprint
  • 1 minute – regular pace jog
  • 15 seconds – sprint
  • 1 minute – regular pace jog
  • 15 seconds – sprint
  • 3 minutes – regular pace jog
  • Continue mixing in varied sprints throughout the jog and try to incorporate hills when you can

Just. Keep. Spinning.

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I love 6am spin classes because they get my day going bright and early. I don’t have a bike in SF, so spinning will have to suffice as triathlon training for now. The sprints and jumps will definitely help when once I get on a real road with real hills.

Today’s ride was great because I actually decided to put some food in my body before training. Since it’s so early, I usually just roll out of bed and get exercising, but I had read that I should eat at least something before training so that my body has “fuel” to burn. It wasn’t much, but I opted for some carrots before my ride. And I have to say, I TOTALLY felt the difference. I felt like I could spin and climb with more energy than ever before. Want proof? See below:

“I always talk about our metabolism as a ‘fire,'” says David Talley, wellness coordinator for Indiana University. “…The best way to get a fire going is providing it with fuel,” or calories. Talley explains that fueling up before a workout sets one up for more efficient metabolism, which leads to sustained energy and weight loss.