Vacation is over, school starts for my boys, time to get back into a more structured routine. Back to school is also a great time to press ‘reset’ in your fitness routine, or if you are looking to change things up, here is one of my favorite ‘back on track’ workouts. It’s brutal, so be sure you are in a good fitness shape to take it on.
Here’s how it works. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds (Rest 30 seconds), then each one for 45 seconds (Rest 45 seconds), then 60 seconds (Rest 60 seconds). Come down the hill, so that means 45 seconds each, then 30 seconds each. Want to go back up the hill? From 45 seconds, go back up to 60 seconds each, then come back down.
Always listen to your body. If you do it, let me know how you liked it!
We all fall off the fitness wagon. Don’t despair, just get back on.
Perhaps you just finished the blessed month of Ramadan, congratulations! Hopefully you had a great month of fasting and were able to reap all the spiritual and physical benefits of fasting for 30 days. Fasting can certainly be difficult on the body, and whether or not you kept active during the day, here is how you can get yourself back on track.
1. Start your day with apple cider vinegar – use organic, raw and unpasteurized! (Bragg’s)
Boosts your metabolism
Neutralizes the pH of your body
Improved stamina & energy
Decreased restless leg syndrome symptoms with increased potassium
How to drink it: mix 1 tbsp with 6-8 oz of water or apple juice.
2. Ease back into exercise and strength training.
If you are getting back into running and are easily able to run, then great! Otherwise, consider a run walk strategy given that your endurance may have been compromised.
Move first thing in the morning. Whether its a quick yoga sequence, 10-15 minutes of jumping jacks, crunches and pushups, or a jog, get moving for 20-30 minutes every day.
3. Drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day. Add fruit slices or mint leaves to jazz it up if needed.
5. Eat lean, clean and green! The days of eating late and ‘whatever you want’ are over, so get back into eating a well-balanced meal! I ate bits of superfood greens throughout Ramadan. Each single calorie tab is loaded with 64% protein!
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We are now into the 2nd third of Ramadan, where we dip into our fat reserves. It’s hard. We are tired, we are grumpy, but we must not forget the beauty that Ramadan brings. The month of fasting is not meant to change our schedule, but rather change our hearts, and make us better human beings. These ten days are the days of forgiveness. For those who are continuing some semblance of an exercise routine during Ramadan, bravo! It’s not easy, is it? Here is a workout I did today, before I did light cardio (2 mile walk). Safe to say, I’m a little light headed at the moment 😀
Remember! If you are lifting weights, go lighter and add a set or increase repetitions.
This is a great set of exercises that incorporate pushing and pulling motions for the upper body. These moves require balance, which will challenge your core.
Aim for 3 sets of each
Balancing bicep curl – 12 reps, each arm – raise one leg and flex your knee and perform the bicep curl. Complete the reps and switch sides
Tricep Extension – 12 reps – with a dumbbell or resistance band (see video). Or you can perform skull crushers on a bench
Bent Over Row with weight plate – 12 reps – or you can use dumbbells
Leaning One-Arm Side lateral raise – 12 reps, each arm – lateral raises work the front and middle deltoids
Forearms to Hands BOSU Plank – 10 reps, each arm (see pic) – if you don’t have a BOSU handy, you can easily perform this move from forearm plank to hand plank
Smith Machine Pull-up for 60 seconds, or 10 reps (see pic) – if you don’t have a Smith Machine at home (who does?) then take a resistance band shoulder height, and shoulder width apart and extend out, hold for 20 seconds, feeling the resistance.
Let’s do this! A great way to keep yourself moving in Ramadan is to break up your routine in little chunks. A tabata is a GREAT way to do that. In its truest form, a tabata is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout* that you can knock out with an impact in as little as 4 minutes. What is HIIT? A HIIT session, such as a tabata, will start with a warm up, and move into 6 to 10 cycles of work and rest periods. Advanced athletes will maintain a moderate level of intensity during the rest / recovery periods, while beginners can slow down or literally stop. The only thing you need to keep in mind is the 2:1 work:rest ratio, and you can create a tabata for anything. For example:
Jump rope tabata
Work: 20 seconds Rest: 10 seconds
Repeat 7 more times for a total of 8 cycles (beginners can do 4-6, advanced can do 8-10).
I’ve created bootcamps with tabata circuits, giving bootcampers the biggest bang for their buck. You can work multiple muscle groups with varying degrees of intensity. For example, after the jump rope tabata, you can move to an assortment of bodyweight exercises such as an air squat, a burpee, a mountain climber, crunches, even sprints! You can create a great circuit without any equipment!
Here is a photo from an outdoor fitness park in San Francisco. Hopefully it will conjure up some ideas to get you started on your first Ramadan tabata! Go easy and slow if a tabata is new to you, keep in mind your fitness level and what you will be capable of while fasting.
* Be sure to check with your physician before beginning any strenuous exercise program*
O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become righteous. (Surah Al-Baqarah: Verse183)
With Ramadan approaching in just a few short weeks, many of you, like myself, are wondering how to maintain a level of fitness throughout the month of Ramadan, so as not to lose endurance and muscle tone (neither are completely true). Fear not! There are several habits you can adopt throughout your day, and can maybe even enhance the spiritual aspect of fasting by giving you a little extra energy here and there. I’ve share below some of my own lessons learned. Feel free to share your own!
For my readers who are not familiar with the logistics of Ramadan, allow me to share. Fasting for 30 days during the month of Ramadan (one month on the lunar calendar) is one of the five main pillars of Islam. This year, Ramadan begins at the end of June. Physically and mentally able Muslims (there are several exemptions) will fast from dawn to sunset, abstaining from food, water, smoking, and sex during those times. At sunset, it is tradition to break fast with a date, which is essentially a superfood, water and the company of others. It is such a beautiful time of togetherness and camaraderie. Many faiths participate in fasting on some level. The first few days are tough, then your body gets into a groove, the last 10 days are hard, knowing the end is near. It is a time for physical cleansing, and spiritual resetting. Many will attend the Mosque for prayers more often than, others prefer to stay at home. We end the month of Ramadan with Eid ul Fitr, a celebration lasting three days, with gift giving galore! Continue reading Be Fit for Ramadan
Why do I cramp on race day, and not the hundreds of miles I put on the pavement beforehand?
What I have always loved about running is the competition. Against myself, not everyone else. I race to win, against myself. Around mile 8, I checked my Garmin and I knew I was going to beat my time from last year. So I asked myself, “Is this as fast as I can go right now?”, and kicked it up. My legs had other plans and my muscles weren’t having it. Muscle spasms, on both legs, down to my feet all the way through the finish line.
Competition. It’s a nasty beast, but character building. Life changing. I crossed the finish line and swore I would NEVER do it again, but here I am now, fondly enjoying my finish line picture (yes I will purchase it), dreaming about what I could have done differently. Maybe the cramping and post-race first aid experience wasn’t all *that* bad? (Yea, it was).
I’m also excited to approach Ramadan differently, from a fitness and exercise perspective. I underestimated myself last year, and relaxed quite a bit. I’m going to be maintaining my lifting sessions, but at a lesser intensity. For me, regularity will be more important than stopping altogether.
I haven’t posted in weeks! I’ve been busy training for my triathlon and making significant gains in the swim department. Recently, an article on body types caught my attention and I found the correlation between knowing your body type, exercise and diet to be very interesting. Do you know your body type?
The media has us brainwashed to believe that the thin, white ideal for women, or tough, muscular and cut men are the standards of beauty. That anything else is a ‘work in progress’. Deep down we know not everyone has or wants to have a runway ready body, and most certainly we don’t find ourselves amidst these types in our everyday lives. We are inundated with ridiculous magazine covers with headlines such as ‘Get Kate Moss’ workout’ and that leads the woman to consider, ‘Ok, if I get her workout, then I have a greater chance in looking like her’. The poison seeps into the subconscious. The tagline they are noticeably excluding is, ‘only if you are also an ectomorph like Kate Moss’. So, the next time you catch yourself coveting someone else’s body, consider your own body type first.
There are three body types for men and women and once you know what you are, you can be liberated from the thought of trying to fit into a mold that is simply unattainable, or that is not yours. They are: ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph. Most people are a combination of two or more types. The ectomorph is the skinny, thin-framed individual with little fat. They are usually not athletic and have little or no muscle tone, which is why they are often referred to as ‘skinny fat’. Most supermodels are ectomorphs, which has unfortunately contributed to the thin, white ideal of women. Many ectomorphs can eat whatever they want as their body metabolizes food very quickly.
Endomorphs, however, have more body fat, tend to be overweight, have a smoother, more round body and are bigger-boned (than ectomorphs). They have a slower metabolism and take longer to lose weight. Endomorphs are not the morning ‘go-getters’ and need a little prodding to be active. Don’t despair! Get a gym buddy or hire a personal trainer to help motivate you. Further, let this knowledge be the inspiration for the way you exercise and eat. Unfortunately we see large-framed, oversized women struggling to lose weight to fit into skinny jeans that are not designed for them.
Mesomorphs are naturally active, athletic, and respond quickly to any weight training and are naturally lean and strong. They also gain fat easily when they are not active. Because they have broader, squarer shoulders, mesomorph women tend to have an hourglass figure, whereas men have a “V” or rectangle shape build.
The purpose in knowing your body type(s) is to boost your self-esteem. Additionally, it is to understand the body’s mechanics. Ectomorph people may be under the impression they are ‘fit’ or ‘healthy’ because they don’t carry extra weight. This is often referred to as ‘skinny fat’, as they have no muscle tone. However, this can often lead to unhealthy binging and eating habits as they are under an illusion that they are otherwise healthy.
I am a combination of mesomorph and endomorph. I have a small-framed body but am (and always have been) very athletic. I have a quick metabolism and find it easy to gain muscle, and am freakishly strong. Knowing my body type allows me to design workouts and maintain a healthy diet that is just right for me.