Yoga

Workin’ It Wednesdays

…a day late….

Good afternoon readers!! I am excited to announce a new weekly series that my boyfriend James and I are starting today, June 1st!

IMG_2585 IMG_2605

Since he and I met and began dating almost 2 years ago (June 11 is our 2 year meetiversary) we have both put on some “I’M SO FREAKING HAPPY I CAN’T STAND IT” pounds. So, we decided to start a Journey to Health and Wellness commitment. We will provide weekly updates, photos, tips, struggles, etc… and entertain you along our journey to health.

James and I will both be writing, so you will get to “meet” him on my blog. I am so excited for this! Although we are heading in the same direction, our ultimate goals are different, so it will be fun to see how we work together to reach our own goals and support the other’s goals.

I have two struggles right now… one is always a struggle… food. I love food, I love cooking, trying new recipes, cooking for others. The whole experience. I have gotten James to start cooking with me, and I love that time in our kitchen creating our meals. My other struggle? I currently have a stress fracture in my ankle, and can’t run… my one true fitness love. So, I have kinda gone into a slump with working out, and that all changes today.

So… quickly, here are my June goals:

  1. Lose 7-10 lbs. (lofty I know, but hoping for a good jumpstart)
  2. Exercise consistently (4-5 days a week)
    1. Healing a stress fracture has taken me off the running plans, but I’ve gathered some great weight, yoga, and pool routines
  3. Greatly reduce my added sugar intake
  4. Meal prep for ALL meals
  5. Walk my dog a minimum of 1 mile a day
  6. Hit my 10,000 steps goal
  7. Daily core challenge at work

My starting data (time to get real)… I haven’t seen these numbers in like 5 years… I am really upset with myself for getting here again. More than you realize.

Wt: 199.8

BF%: 42.6

Bust: 41”

Chest: 35 ½”

Waist: 39”

Hips: 47 ½”

Arm: 13 ½”

Thigh: 28”

Now…. On To James’ goals for June and his measurements, and of course, his thoughts on all this too!

My goals are different than Angela’s. Where she is putting effort into decreasing the 3 digit numbers that show themselves in a snarky, evil way, I am more concerned with my muscle mass and body fat %. I would like to be at 14% body fat in 3 months.

My weakness has always been food that is either sweet or convenient, and very often both at the same time. I justify 1 cheat meal with numerous thoughts to make me feel better about consuming it. That justification usually leads to several cheat meals in a week, and when Angela is out of town for work, I rarely if ever eat healthy nor exercise. I also tend to get discouraged when I don’t have an 8-pack stomach after 2 weeks of moderate exercise and healthy eating and that affects my ability to continue on with the work I was doing. I see progress, but when I look in the mirror after a couple weeks and don’t see John Cena, I tend to get discouraged. That mentality ends now. It’s not a “look” I want, but a feeling. For the first time ever I’m not seeking an aesthetically pleasing body. I want to be healthier internally. The look should follow.

Meals and exercise in our house has become bonding time for us and without her around I haven’t had the discipline or mental toughness to put long-term goals ahead of short-term satisfaction. So often when we are single our goal is to attract a mate and in doing so, we naturally are our “best physical self.” When we have a mate, however, that desire is gone as our number 1 evolutionary goal is complete. We then move to other things on the ladder. This is why, to Angela and I at least, that getting healthy together is the best way to accomplish our goals. We enjoy doing everything together and I feel that us taking this journey together will allow us to both accomplish our goals.

The more people you hold yourself accountable to, the better your chances are of success. It’s why, in my opinion, so many people have a difficult time succeeding with health and fitness. They are only accountable to themselves, so when they fail, they only let themselves down. It takes an immense amount of discipline to accomplish anything substantial on your own. We are now holding ourselves accountable with each other, and allowing you, the readers to do the same. We don’t know how this journey will end, but we hope you at least enjoy taking a small part in enjoying it with us. Nothing worth doing is ever easy.

James’ June Goals:

  1. Exercise consistently (4-5 days a week)
  2. Lose 1-2% body fat
  3. Help Angela meal plan so we can shop and eat/snack as planned
  4. Plan Angela and I’s treat meal/day so we don’t overdo it (does she realize this will be wings ALL the time?!)
  5. Angela’s daily core challenge she is doing with her work… might as well tag along!

James’ Measurements:

Wt: 197.4

BF%: 28.2

Chest: 40″

Waist: 37 1/2″

Hips: 40 1/2″

Arm: 14″

Thigh: 23 1/2″

Be on the lookout for updates here, some videos, my instagram: @naturallyangela and of course on our Twitter accounts: @naturallyange and @jamesscou

Happy Friday! I AM BACK!!

Wow. It’s been almost a year since I blogged. Ouch. I guess life really did take over. I have missed this blog. I have thought of blogging often… then, a free moment happens, and well, playing with my dog, spending time with my love or my friends, seems to take precedence. Always. But, as I’ve said, I’ve missed blogging. So, I am working to restart the blog. Prepare better. To start, I am going to reintroduce myself.

Hello! My name is Angela… and well, from when I started this blog until today… I have grown and changed. So… who am I? I am 41 years old. I am an eastern PA transplant loving life in Las Vegas. I work in non-profit helping others. I am a runner. I am a girlfriend, a friend, a dog mom, a sister, a daughter. I enjoy yoga and working out. I love to cook and try new foods. I love Star Wars, Doctor Who, the Wizard of Oz, Buffy, Firefly… and well, am a nerd at heart. I enjoy hiking a mountain as much as I do curling up on my couch with a good book or some good TV. I have learned it’s the simple things in life that truly matter, and to take good care of myself.

My last few years have been a roller coaster. I switched jobs to one I truly love and feel at home in. Two of the research papers I worked on in my previous job were approved for publication in professional journals. I had a marriage end, sold a house, moved, found myself again, reclaimed my happiness. Found an amazing, one of a kind love. And it’s only getting better! I am moving again in 17 days (but to be honest, it’s the same building, just a bigger apartment!! EEK! (I should start packing). My job is growing and changing and keeps me on my toes. I love every minute of the chaos.

I can honestly say, that life in my 40s is truly amazing. I have found myself, my strength, my happiness… and work to make sure all of that continues to grow.

I run regularly… I race less often, but enjoy running, enjoy spending time out on the road with friends or my boyfriend (who is totally becoming a runner!!). We live in a great neighborhood with plenty of fun routes to run. I do yoga intermittently, and try to become more consistent with this. I have found some other workouts: combat fitness, HIIT, and resistance bands that I keep in the mix.

Cooking is one of my favorite things… and you will learn more about my favorite recipes soon!

So… welcome back to the blog about my life! My goal is to blog a minimum of once a week!!

Thank you for reading…

~live well, be amazing

Welcome 2015!

Happy New Year (a few days late)… I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are ready to tackle this new year!! After a roller coaster of a year in 2014, I am excited for a new year, new goals and new adventures!!

So… here are my goals/plans for 2015 broken down by areas of my life:

Work:

  • Be successful.
  • Prioritize daily.
  • Succeed in achieving my goals.
  • Host successful events.
  • Outreach within the community.
  • Grow and learn.

Personal:

  • Be present.
  • Walk my dog every day.
  • Love more.
  • Tell people how I feel about them.
  • Appreciate those in my life.
  • Practice kindness.
  • Read more.  (I just joined an online book club, stay tuned for monthly book reviews!)
  • Smile and laugh every day.
  • Make someone else smile every day.
  • Offer assistance where I can.
  • Volunteer.
  • Learn to say no.
  • Respect my time, emotions, and needs.
  • Cook and bake more.
  • Spend more time with friends and loved ones.
  • Organize my life/schedule.
  • De-clutter my home.

Health:

  • Eat healthy 80% of the time.
  • Start flossing more.
  • Eat less sugar.
  • Cook more meals.
  • Plan my weekly meals.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Get more sleep.
  • Walk 10, 000 steps minimum a day.

Fitness:

  • Create a plan with my trainer that challenges me, yet one I can commit to maintaining.
  • Try new things.
  • Join a yoga studio.
  • Swim more.
  • Bike more.
  • Run more.
  • Complete two sprint triathlons.
  • PR in a half marathon.
  • Don’t let the Philly Half win this year.
  • Become stronger.
  • Build more muscle.
  • Improve my hill running.
  • Be consistent in all my fitness.

Blog/Social Media:

  • Write more.
  • Collaborate with others.
  • Share my knowledge of essential oils.
  • Post more recipes.
  • Be more interactive.
  • Bring you more reviews and information on great products.

Essential Oils:

  • Expand my knowledge.
  • Earn certifications.
  • Share with others both the knowledge, benefits and opportunity with essential oils.

It may seem like a lot, but broken down into life areas… not so difficult at all to manage. To start, I ordered a planner/journal from plumpaper.com and began working with my trainer to create some workout plans/goals for the year. I have worked with my trainer for specific fitness goals, and while some of the goals listed here seem broad, the detailed SMART goals are written!! Now for this cold to go away so I can get to my running and dog walking goals.

What are your 2015 goals and plans? I’d love to hear them!!

 

Why I Broke Up With My Scale

Why I Broke Up With My Scale

Let’s face it… we are all aware that everywhere we turn there are messages about weight, fitness, being the perfect size. Magazines, TV, billboards (especially here in Las Vegas) promoting the latest and greatest way to get that perfect body. Those, along with the “fitspiration” messages (that’s another blog post altogether) are constantly in your face. This pressure to look perfect can be overwhelming and all-consuming. It can also be unhealthy.

Another fact we all need to face….not all of us will look like the model. It is perfectly okay. It is genetics and life. Everyone on this earth has a different body style, fitness level, fitness desire, and genetics; a different set of knowledge and views on what constitutes healthy. For that matter, different goals.

I am a runner. I sometimes don’t run. I am a person who doesn’t do yoga as much as she’d like. I lift weights with the guidance of a trainer. A majority of the time I eat healthy. I like beer and wine and vodka. I like cookies, chewy sprees are my weakness. According to every single BMI and weight classification chart, based on the last time I stepped on a scale, I am overweight.

I am not perfect, nor is my body. But that number on the scale, it ate away at me. I would obsess over it, step on the scale every morning to see if there was a change. I would cut out things I enjoyed eating (and eventually fail), I would increase my physical activity until I was exhausted. I got blood tests done to make sure everything was in order. But still, that number was stubborn… would go so far, then stop, then go up. I would get frustrated, angry, sad… I couldn’t get to where I thought I should be, to where the charts said I should be. I had long conversations with my trainer discussing options, nutrition, fitness, you name it. I did some soul searching.

Here is what I learned about myself during that time. I enjoy being active. I love to run and do yoga and ride my bike and lift weights. Every single time I hit a fitness goal, I felt amazing and strong… until I stepped on the scale. I also enjoy food. I enjoy the experience of eating itself… preparing it, smelling it, the appearance and the taste. Not just quickly eating food to not feel hungry, but the experience, the use of those senses to experience it. I often look at pics of “healthy” fuel, powdered food or pureed concoctions, etc. and think, none of that looks appetizing. What happened to real food… seasoning fish, preparing vegetables…  a giant salad of fresh greens and vegetables. Truly enjoying what you are eating.

Therein was my dilemma… give up the foods I enjoy like sweets, alcohol, breads; make them healthy; or find a balance to enjoy them, be physically active, and be happy. I chose finding the balance.

My first step… was to take the scale and pack it away. I didn’t even step on it to get a “starting weight” for this endeavor. I just walked into my bathroom, picked it up, and walked into my closet and buried it under stuff on the top shelf. That day I suddenly felt liberated. That square piece of equipment was done ruling my life and emotions. My next step was to create a shopping list of foods and meals for the week. To make sure I didn’t eliminate things, but there was a 90/10 ratio of healthy to unhealthy. Then, I talked to my trainer. I told him of my crazy plan, and we worked out some workouts. I often rave about my trainer, but to his credit… he really let me go with this one. I am pretty sure he was skeptical or concerned, but, he trusted in me, and respected my decisions. I then reviewed my goals. After removing a goal weight, I noticed all of my goals were health related, not size or looks related. I wanted to be stronger, I wanted to be healthy, I wanted more energy. None of my goals focused on what my body looked like, they were just about a healthy body. I realized then that was my true goal, to be healthy. My trainer and I stopped doing weigh-ins and measurements, we focused on fitness. He gave me workouts, I did them. He gave me monthly fitness tests, my numbers improved. I ran when the urge hit me. I ate well. I also had treats and alcohol. I just lived. I was no longer defined by a number.

Yesterday I bought myself a pair of new boots. My one friend wanted to see them when I wore them… so of course, I wore the new boots the next day. I took a pic and sent it to her. Her response, WOW you look great! I really looked at the pic and thought, hmm, I do look good. I sent the pic to my trainer. He was amazed at the difference. Then I really looked at the picture. I do look more toned. I still have no clue what I weigh, but I know what size I wear and how my clothes fit. I know that my fitness levels are continuously improving and that my emotional health is even better because I am enjoying life and have truly accepted my body, my perfectly imperfect body. I don’t have six pack abs, and I don’t want them, that isn’t one of MY goals, I still have cellulite, and so what. I feel great mentally and physically. I love how I feel, I am proud of the work I am doing, and I think my perfectly imperfect body is strong and looks great. But even better than that, it FEELS great. I have energy, I have curves, and a few extra pounds…. and that is okay. I know that if I push my body physically, it will give me more than I ask of it. It will climb that hill, run those miles, hold that pose and lift those weights. It will give when my mind doesn’t want to. That is my true accomplishment, a healthy and fit body.

As of today, I will work to never again let someone make me feel bad that my goals aren’t their goals, that my body isn’t perfect by media standards or for eating that piece of cake or extra piece of candy, for having that second (or third) drink. I embrace my mind, my body, my goals and my life. My wish for you… find what works for you, and embrace it. Set goals that matter to you, that fit with what you want and enjoy in life. Live your goals EVERY SINGLE DAY and they will just become your life.

….thank you for reading, live well my friends…

Restart Button

Where have I been? Where am I going? Read on to find out!

I have opened this document and stared at the blank page more times than I can count. I start to write, re-read it, and start all over. So here we are…. months later, and finally hitting the restart button in many ways, in blogging, fitness, running, and most importantly, life. To say the end of last year and the start of this year were rocky is an understatement.

After a year of putting myself through a great physical challenge, which turned into a mental challenge… the battle wasn’t over. 2013 was a year for me… I lost my best friend, my grandfather… with that I went through emotional struggles I never imagined I would. I crept deep into my mind and soul on my training runs and during my races. I found that girl I lost a long time ago, that girl I always was… and couldn’t remember how to be. The next logical step was to let her free. Easier said than done, but, a necessary step on my path to true happiness.

Since the holidays, my life has gone turned upside down, and righted itself, went a little sideways, and seems to be righting itself once more. Ah, life… you tease… always keeping me on my toes. A significant relationship ended, I sold a house I was once so proud to be the owner of, I moved, I traveled more than I didn’t, saw my little brother get married, witnessed the fruits of labor of our race committee at another Susan G Komen of Southern NV Race for the Cure, had not 1 but 2 car accidents, I worked on several publications for work, I started a new job, ran my first relay event, PR’d at a half marathon that, for the first time ever, I didn’t take a walk break in… and sometimes I worked out, sometimes I ate healthy, sometimes I ate the cake and had the extra beer… I laughed, I cried, I screamed, I breathed deep. I learned I suck at being patient (hey, we can’t all be perfect). I held on to friends for sanity and laughter, I found new friends and amazing support from places I never expected, I turned 40. I grew, I changed, I learned, I loved… but most importantly, I came out of it all okay. I am happily, safely, wonderfully at a place where I put myself first, where I give with all my heart, and treasure those in my life.

So, am I back? I think so. I’m getting back on track with my fitness, I have worked with my trainer to reset my goals to what I feel is attainable this year, to what I feel matters, I have reexamined my priorities, I have found myself in a place I feel at peace and happy. Does it get better than that?

But, it’s time to restart this blogging journey… Ladies and gents… it’s time to get this party started! I will be moving over to www.naturallyangela.com! Don’t worry, I will redirect this page there… but, it is time to change things up. Like my page on Facebook and if you already follow me on Twitter, great! Just notice @solesisteronrun will change to @naturallyange and my Instagram will also change to @naturallyangela. The new format will continue to discuss running, yoga, and fitness, as well as add in wellness, recipes, natural approaches to healing and cleaning, etc. A bit of a rediscovery of self and keeping life simple… So… please continue to follow the adventures of me and Miss Mia Pup!

Lifestyle Accountability Podcast

Hello everyone and welcome to 2014! I was fortunate to be interviewed for a Lifestyle Accountability Podcast, and the interview is now live! Check out my show as well as some other great athletes!!

Podcast

Iron Girl Training Week 1

Iron Girl Training 7/20-7/27

Well… it wasn’t officially the start of Iron Girl training, but, I got a head start on it all. I must say, I loved week 1 of training! I cannot believe how much stronger I am feeling compared to last year. So… let’s get down to it. What did I accomplish and learn? Well, quite a lot

Saturday: 7/20: Completed a 7 mile trail run with friends. Not the fastest pace, it was super humid in the desert, but the cloud cover kept the sun from becoming an issue. While out there, I chatted with my friend about triathlons. She competes in them regularly, so had some great tips as far as practicing laps, starting early and light with brick workouts, outfits, etc. She is an invaluable resource!!  I tripped over a rock on this run about 4 miles in, scraped up my knee and shin/calf, but was able to finish. It looked worse than it felt. Every time I hit the trails, I love them more. It is such an amazing full body workout

Sunday: 7/21: Not much of anything… ran some errands and enjoyed the day.

Monday: 7/22: An iBodyFit strength workout for 1 hour, a nice combination of upper body and core. Every time I complete my workouts from them, I am AMAZED at my strength!

Tuesday: 7/23: My first time hopping in the pool to swim!! I was nervous, as I cannot remember the last time I swam laps, and know my form isn’t amazing, but, was excited to see where I was at with this training. I decided to swim for 30 minutes. I managed to complete 5 laps (250 meters) without taking a break. Overall, in 30 minutes I completed 15 laps for a total of 750 meters! Tuesdays will be my swim day so the next jump in the pool I will see how many laps I can do without stopping, then practice stroke. I didn’t have goggles for the swim, and that did not feel good in the eyes, so made sure to pick up some goggles!!

Wednesday: 7/24: My favorite SPIN CLASS!! I absolutely love the class (my friend I run with that runs tris, yeah, she teaches this class). Anyway, a great class with hills, sprints, etc. I love that she tries to create the class around how her street rides are. It’s helpful to create that scenario.

Thursday: 7/25: A short 3 mile run in the neighborhood to work on form and breathing. I did my normal 3 mile loop and overall, this was uneventful. A good run and working on my form and breathing was good. Also completed my second iBodyFit strength workout of the week: Bis, Tris and Core. Ow… but a good workout!

Friday: 7/26: My official REST DAY!! I had a great evening with my husband and dogs and even enjoyed some pizza!

Saturday: 7/27: Well, this was supposed to be a long run with my friend, but late Friday night we realized my one dog wasn’t walking right and was in pain. I canceled on the run (and moved it to Sunday) to get my dog to the vet first thing in the morning (he’s okay, slipped a disc in his back) and later in the evening did a short yoga routine to calm my anxiety and get some sleep.

Overall, a pretty solid week of training. I loved EVERY moment of it and look forward to week 2!!

Want to join me? You can… and here is a discount option for you!

Registration
Event Website
Registration Site
Discount for readers: $10 off registration only:  Coupon Code: SOLESISTER
Remember to put my name in the referred by section (Angela Wozniak)

Ready For A Positive Change

Disclosure: I’m part of a sponsored campaign for the Under Armour What’s Beautiful programand I’d love for you to join my team!

Hello everyone! Another piece of GREAT news… I am part of a wonderful campaign with Under Armour: What’s Beautiful: a campaign that celebrates and redefines female athletes and strength.

As a female who still struggles with the realization that I am an athlete, I love the concept of this campaign. Women who join set goals for themselves and with the support of the community work towards their goals. You can also create and join groups that have like-minded goals. Working to help Under Armour redefine the Female Athlete.

This campaign opportunity came at the perfect time for me. Stress in certain areas of my life is decreasing and I am realizing/admitting it is time for a change to get me back to my happy place.

The other day I was thinking to myself:  Here we are again. Really. For those that know me, in 2010/2011 I started working out and running and lost 50 lbs. I was by no means “skinny” but I went from 225 to 175. I was healthier, fitting better in my clothes and felt great. For the most part, I fluctuated between 172-180. I was running consistently but did much less strength training. I have never hidden my dislike of strength training. Yes, I know its benefits, but honestly, never really took to it.

Late fall last year things got stressful for me. We had just purchased our first home, work was stressful  and busy, my eye issues started, and holiday travel was coming up. I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. I was running, but more to get the runs in than out of pure enjoyment. I rarely made it to the gym, my eating was all over the place.

Then… it continued. I couldn’t seem to reign myself in. At times, I just didn’t want to. I was stressed (seriously, I need to learn to say no). My eye issues were still around, and I set a goal to complete 13 half marathons in 2013, which, while I love this goal, it adds some challenges with the travel. My grandfather was placed in hospice and on Easter Sunday, passed away. The grief was overwhelming. I continued to not eat right, not exercise much and struggled to find the ambition to care.

So, here I am again. And this time, I am angry. I am angry that I let things get in the way of my health goals. That I put weight back on (I’m closer to 190), that my clothes don’t fit as well and honestly, angry that I have to start this, AGAIN. What didn’t I learn? Where did I go wrong?? Wait… I was human. That is okay. But I want to get back to this:

IMG_0800

IMG_0941

 

One positive: I have been able to maintain my running. Maybe not 3-5 times a week, but I am out there running and have completed 5 of the 13 half marathons for the year. Right on track.

Well, this time I am more determined to make the changes that I will be able to maintain and turn into a lifestyle. I have learned a few things about myself in this journey:

 

  1. I enjoy being at home. After work, I want nothing more than to head home and play with my dogs.
  2. I am NOT a morning person (not even on race day, but I get myself there)
  3.  I do much better with a plan.
  4. I enjoy baking and treats. I do not enjoy making everything super healthy. In my mind, let a cookie be a cookie.
  5.  If I meal plan, I eat healthier.
  6.  I feel amazing after yoga and after a run.
  7. I can convince myself to strength train if it will be 40 minutes or less.
  8. I am human, life happens.

 

Okay, so what do I do with this information? Well, for starters, I am involved in a campaign that will help keep me motivated: Under Armour What’s Beautiful Campaign. The campaign goal is to redefine the female athlete and help women set goals to help them become healthier, happier versions of themselves. I’m in, are you?

For starters, I am NOT setting a weight goal. I am setting GET HEALTHY goals. I love yoga, but always struggle with Crow Pose, so, I have set a goal to be able to hold crow pose for 5 full yoga breaths; I have set a goal to improve my run time; I have set goals to be healthy and learn to love myself.

I have also created a team: Love Yourself! Where the goal is to make healthier choices and to learn to love yourself: body, mind and soul.

So… with the Under Armour Campaign, #IWILL:

 

  1.  Hold crow pose
  2. Complete a half marathon in under 2:20
  3.  Make healthier eating choices
  4.  Not deprive myself of anything
  5.  Add in strength training
  6. Learn to love myself: body, mind and soul

 

Want to join me? Sign up and follow me HERE and join my group HERE!  

 

What goals will you set for yourself to define #WHAT’SBEAUTIFUL?

My Awesome Wednesday

Wednesday started out as a normal day, actually, a little early so I could pick up my coworker down from Reno for a day of research interviews to be followed by a Komen Race meeting. Then, I checked my email which started the great day.

IMG_3096

I received an email from Laura at Girls Gone Sporty that my photos I submitted for an article on SheKnows.com for yoga and cardiac health were used!! Check out my photos and the great article on how yoga helps your heart here.

Then, that morning, an interview I did with my friend Kristin on the Dirty Girl Mud Run was on the local news! We will be running the event this Saturday in Las Vegas. Check back for photos and a recap of the event!!

FOX5 Vegas – KVVU

So it wasn’t even lunch time and two great moments of me with the media. So, had a great day at work, a great meeting (I didn’t mess up my speech) and came home to relax for a bit before bed. I was perusing Facebook and saw that I made the cut to have my name on the newest shirt for The Marathon Show (my name will be on the back near the bottom).

So thank you universe for a wonderful and awesome Wednesday!!

Learning To Love Rest Days

As someone involved in fitness or seeking a healthier lifestyle it is easy to get caught up in the “go, go, go” mentality. I have seen it in a lot of people who are new to fitness… the “addiction” grabs you before you know it. You see posts and posters and motivational sayings about ‘always making time’, daily fitness, etc. You admire those that have the “perfect body”, envy those that find the time to work out 4 hours a day. And, like some, try to accomplish this. You see streaks for running and other activities. The thought of sitting still brings about guilt for not being active.

I’ve been there. I’ve tried it, more than once. I have failed every time. Why? Because my body and my mind want rest and will beg for it. I might try to ignore it, but eventually, the body will be heard, usually with a bout of sheer exhaustion or getting sick. If there is something I have learned in my journey to lose 60 lbs and become a runner, it’s to listen to my body. I won’t lie, sometimes I still try to ignore my body’s cries for a break, and it usually makes me pay for that arrogance. I admit I would feel guilty taking a day off, like I wasn’t dedicated enough, that I should be stronger than needing a rest day. I’d stare at my training plan and feel like a failure if I chose to curl up with my dog and relax instead of doing my tempo run.

mia

my sleeping Mia…

Then, I did some research. I am not a fan of guilt or feeling bad for doing something, whether it be resting or working out. I learned the importance of rest days, both physically and mentally. When giving 110% non-stop the risk of burning out and stopping completely is higher. Your body and muscles need time to recover and repair. Your mind needs a break. Your sanity needs balance.

But, I still felt bad taking “a day off”, like I was being unproductive. Never mind the mounds of laundry and dishes that would be done, the extra time with dogs, the shopping, catching up on emails, spending time with my husband… nope, I didn’t exercise, therefore I wasn’t productive. It was an unhealthy mindset, but an easy one to get sucked into if you aren’t careful.

It took some time for me to come to terms with rest days and make my mind shut up and enjoy them. I knew the importance of them, my body appreciated them, but my conscience did a number on my psyche. Guilt can destroy you. It took some time to get my conscience in sync with the rest of my mind and body and to enjoy the moment, whether it be the sunset on a run, a curled up sleeping dog on your lap, or drinks and dessert with loved ones. Taking that break will allow your body to reward you with more progress. It will improve in strength, endurance and muscle tone when allowed the time to recover.

IMG_2593[1]

me and two of my besties enjoying dinner and drinks

So, how do you take a rest day? Good question.

  1. Listen to your body. It knows what it needs best. What my body needs for recovery and what your body needs are completely different, do what is right for you.
  2. Ignore the chatter. Both inside your head and all around you. There is nothing wrong with rest days. They are recommended by professionals. All progress won’t be lost if you take one (or several).
  3. Find an active rest routine that works for you. Taking a day off doesn’t mean sitting on the couch gorging on junk food. Take a walk, do yoga, find a stretching routine.
  4. Schedule them in like you do workouts and don’t skip them!
  5. If you are recovering from an injury or being sick, take more than one a week, ease back into your routine allowing your body time to adjust.
IMG_2935[1]

my workout details are more specific, but the idea is the scheduled REST day!

I’ve gotten to the point with my rest days where I will do a short yoga routine, drag the hubby and dogs out for a nice walk, then curl up with a good book. Some of them, I just relax all day. I am learning to relax my mind as well as my body. It took awhile, but, I really am falling in love with rest days.

Here are some great links on the benefits of rest days and some tips!

http://www.drlenkravitz.com/Articles/overtraining2.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/506197-how-to-take-a-day-off-between-workouts/

http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/rest-easy

http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/sampleworkouts/a/RestandRecovery.htm