My Journey with Running – The First six weeks

Whenever I would see someone running past our house or through the park I would always think “good for them, wish I could do that”. I actually thought I couldn’t run you guys. I had tried multiple times in the past and failed. Completely failed. But I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know I had to learn to run.   I thought I was in shape and would just wake up and decide “I’m going to be a runner today” and attempt a half hour run around the neighbourhood. I just figured that since I could barely run for 4 minutes without being out of breath and hating my life that I would NEVER be able to run 5k, let a lone a 10k? or a half marathon? No way.

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Boy was I wrong. First of all, you can do anything you set your mind to. It might take you longer than someone else. You might have to work harder than someone else, but you can do it. Second of all, I was setting myself up for failure by not taking baby steps to where I wanted to go. You need a goal and you need action steps to get there.

Over coffee back at the start of March, my friend Sophie and I were chatting about anything and everything while our kids played noisily around us and for some reason I mentioned that I wish I could run. She told me if I was really serious about wanting to, she would do it with me. She told me about this awesome learn to run app called Couch to 10k that she had successfully used several years back and actually grew to love running. I wasn’t convinced as I legitimately thought I wasn’t “the running type”.  I told her I would be left behind in the dust and hold her back so I didn’t think she’d want me as a running partner. But after some coaxing and encouraging, she had me convinced that I could do this. That it started off really easy and trained you to build your stamina slowly and surely. I had already been working out consistently for the past 4 months so I couldn’t be in that bad of shape.

This is when things got real. Before Sophie left that day, we committed to running 3 days a week together starting the next week. I was terrified before my first run. I was prepared to fail miserably once again. But to my surprise, that first week of runs was so simple and FUN! The running intervals were so short at first that it was so doable for anyone and made you believe that you could  do this. Walk for 3 min….run for 1…walk for 3…run for 2, walk for 1, run for 2 and so it continued.  Each week, the intervals of running time get longer and the walks get shorter. At 6 weeks through the program, we’re currently up to 15 min increments of running and all you runners out there are probably laughing at me but thats ok. I actually can’t believe I am able to do that without literally dying. It’s such an AMAZING feeling after we finish, to run up my driveway and have that feeling of I did it, I’m doing it,  I can do this. 

So I thought I would share some things I learned during my first 6 weeks of running:

Use an app. As I mentioned above, It’s so important to learn to run. Don’t make my mistake and try and train yourself with running 10-15 min intervals right off the bat. It doesn’t sound like a long time but it IS when you’re running and when you have’t run before.  You have to train your body slowly.  There are lots of different running apps out there but I would HIGHLY recommend couch to 10k! It’s so easy to use and I just love the structure of the program!

Running with a partner. – ok this was/is HUGE for me. In running my challenge groups over the past 5 months, I have really come to realize the IMPORTANCE of accountability. Some days you just don’t want to do it and you need someone telling you can! Sophie has been my biggest motivator since the start and I’m so thankful to have her with my during this journey! I probably would have give up the first time I had that bad run. And definitely not kept up with 3 runs each week for the past 6 weeks. Even when I was sick for a few days and we missed 1 out of the 3, she insisted we do 4 the next week. We push each other and I truly believe, having a running partner has played such a huge role in my journey thus far.

Be Consistent – when I missed that one run because I was sick that week, I could totally feel it during my next run. Follow the program and actually run 3 times a week! Consistency is key to building your stamina and progressing.

Time of Day – I think that time of day can really play a part in the success of your run. I find I feel the most energized during a run in the evenings so we run around 8 or 9. I love that it’s cooler out by that time too. We’ve tried running at 8 in the morning and also around 5.  I just wasn’t feeling it for either of those times. Although I do my workouts at 7 each morning, I realized that it’s just not my time of day to get out for a run and I also hadn’t eaten breakfast because I didn’t want to get a cramp so I had NO energy.

Some days you love it, other days you HATE it.  Don’t give up! I remember having a really exhausting run where I hated every minute of it, felt like I was so out of breath, felt like I was going to collapse and came home and told my husband that I’m not going to run anymore because I was actually right, I can’t do it. But then the next time I went out (thanks to my running partner, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have) I loved every minute of it. I felt so invigorated and by the time our run was done, I felt like I could run another 15 min. Just like any workout or sport, some runs are going to be easier and leave you feeling energized and some runs are just going to plain suck. DON’T GIVE UP. Keep getting out there.

The importance of stretching – I learned the importance of stretching the hard way. I knew I should stretch but I just got lazy and would forget most of the time. About my 3rd week in, I had intense soreness in my right calf before and during a run. I didn’t know if I could get through it but I couldn’t let my running partner down so I pushed through and basically limped back to my house convinced my venture in running was over because my calf was destroyed. My kinesiologist husband whipped me back into shape though! He had me stretch it out doing various exercises for the next three days and reinforced the importance of stretching after each run. By the next run, I was good to go and you better believe I don’t miss a stretch routine anymore!

Change up the Terrain and Route – I’ve found that it’s important to keep challenging yourself and changing things up to keep it fun and exciting. Otherwise it can start to get boring and monotonous. Change up your route so you have a change of scenery! It’s also important to change up the terrane. One day, half of our run was up hill. It was brutal but it challenged us and really worked those muscles! It’s important to keep things fresh and challenge yourself.

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I still have so far to go but I’d call my first 6 weeks a success and I hope that if you’re considering running, this might motivate you to give it a try. If I can do it you can too. Trust me. In 6 weeks, I’ll be running 10k stretches. This is WILD to me. I’ll give you an update about how it’s going around then!

Thanks for reading you guys! xoxo

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The Mason Jar Salad

The mason jar salad has been plastered all over pinterest for quite some time now and I finally decided I had to try it to see what the hype was all about. My poor husband is normally left to fend for himself as far as a lunch goes in the mornings. Not a very good wife I am! I would love to be able to make him lunch more often but I need easy, quick ideas! He loves a good salad but we’re always struggling to find tupperware lids to match the containers not only for the salad but also for dressing as he’s running out the door. Things need to get more organized around here.
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Yesterday afternoon I was pinteresting some lunch ideas and of course I came across the mason jar salad again. So I decided to try it as so many others seem to find it so quick and easy! And it WAS!
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I thought it was worth a share for anyone who works outside of the home looking for an easy and quick way to throw salads together! The options for what kind of salad to make is endless really.
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I sent it with my husband for lunch today. He said it was delicious and he loved not having to hunt down a dressing container right before he left!  I haven’t experimented with the shelf life but after some research, it sounds like 3-4 days is about good.
You want to layer all your ingredients starting with the dressing at the bottom, a more hearty vegetable like cucumbers, peppers or mushrooms next, more fixin’s in the middle and the lettuce on top so it won’t get soggy and gross. When you empty it out, lettuce will be on the bottom with all the good stuff on top just the way a perfect salad should be!
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So here’s the ingredients I used from bottom to top:
-greek dressing
-mushrooms
– cucumbers
-cherry tomatoes
-grilled chicken
– olives
– lettuce
– fetta cheese

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Enjoy!!!

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8 Reasons that Keep me SO passionate about working out

It honestly makes me sad when people say things like “Why do you need to work out every single day? you look great.” or “ Why won’t you eat that? You don’t need to lose any more weight” It frustrates me to hear these things because my decision to maintain a daily fitness routine and eat clean is about sooooo many more reasons then just losing weight you guys. PLUS it’s totally possible to be skinny while NOT healthy and NOT strong. So it also makes me sad when people don’t make fitness a priority because they’re blessed with good genes that keep them looking lean and fit (when really on the inside they are the farthest thing from it!). Those good genes are going to do nothing for you when your bones are weak and your arteries are clogged in 20 years from you being inactive and eating all the wrong foods. I know that sounds a little harsh but it’s the reality and I care too much about you to not say it. So here are 8 reasons I came up with that have motivated me to get into the best shape I can possibly be:
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Stress Release: My husband said to me about a month ago “I’ve noticed that you’ve been a lot less stressed lately”. I thought about it for a moment. I hadn’t really made any huge eliminations or changes in my life that would make things less stressful. In fact, with coaching AND my photography business, I’ve been struggling with balance over the past months. But previously, I had a hard time managing my stress and would have breakdowns to my husband on a regular basis which involved me crying and telling him that I was going to quit everything because I couldn’t keep up with being a mom, a good wife, and running multiple businesses.  Since I’ve been working out consistently, those endorphins have totally been helping me to relieve stress.  I don’t feel as stressed in general but when I do feel it, I’m able to manage it a lot better.  It’s really amazing what that extra release of hormones does for you! Studies have shown that even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.
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The Joy Factor: I am just all around happier when I’m active. Again, those endorphins just get going and affect my mood in such a drastic way! If I miss a morning workout, my morning just is not off to a great start! I can totally feel it. Me being more joyful, totally affects my relationships with my family and my friends and just anyone in general really.
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Getting Stronger: A couple weeks ago on The Social, the girls were chatting about how there’s been a recent shift in the media from making women think they have to be small and skinny to encouraging women to be HEALTHY and STRONG and I couldn’t be happier about this! My goal with my consistent fitness routine is not to become the smallest I can, but to become the STRONGEST and HEALTHIEST I can and that’s my hope and prayer for the women I coach as well. I am able to lift weight and move my body in ways I have never been able to before and it feels SO good. I also have so much more energy to keep up with my kiddos and that alone feels amazing.
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The me-time: The time I spend in the morning working out, before anyone else in my house is up has become so important and necessary for me. It’s my time to just focus on myself, recharge, pray, reflect and energize for the day ahead. I always come upstairs from our gym feeling so refreshed and ready to take on the day. Focusing on me and my own health for those 30-40 minutes each day gives me the energy I need to focus on everyone else in my family the rest of the day. So important!!!!!!
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The Anti-aging affect: If you want to feel younger then your years, make your work-out routine a PRIORITY in your life. It WILL make a difference as you age. I’m 29 and I STILL get ID’d at the liquor store so let’s keep it that way. 😀 My short term goal is to still be ID’d at 40 ok?!?! Research states that a regular fitness routine can help improve your bone-density as you age too. Work out consistently and you WILL look and feel younger as you age.
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Confidence Booster: 
As a mentioned above, weight loss has never been the sole factor in my decision to get healthy but feeling comfortable in my skin was definitely a goal! Since I’ve been become stronger and leaner and more fit, I  DO feel SO much more confident. I feel like I can wear whatever I want to wear and I haven’t felt that way in a LONG time. When I feel more confident about my body, I feel more confident in EVERY area of my life! To step out and do things I would never normally do, to encourage and uplift others, to be who God designed me to be.
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My Kids: One of my biggest motivating factors back in November when I decided to get my health on the right track was totally my kids. They are my world. I want to be around for as long as I possibly can to watch every milestone, to have lots of grandchildren and lots of great grandchildren too. I also want them to lead by example. I want only the best for my children as far as their health and happiness goes and a big goal of mine is to inspire them to be active, healthy and fit too! How can I do that if I’m not walking the walk?!?!
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The Inspiring Factor:  I’ve always had a passion to inspire people, to teach, to educate. (I do have a teaching degree after all!). One of the most motivating factors in pushing through the days when I really don’t feel like working out is to inspire and encourage others to keep going when they feel like they can’t. That’s why I love my challenge groups so much! We are what we surround ourselves with and I know people are watching my journey so I’m encouraged to keep sharing and inspiring in hopes that others will join in and get healthier too!
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So those are just a few reason’s why I’ve become so passionate about working out and getting IN SHAPE. Are you convinced yet?!? I would LOVE to help you get started. 

 

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Brussels Sprout Salad

I didn’t plan to blog today but I made this salad for lunch and thought it was definitely worth the share! I love when I can open a recipe book and find things to make that involve ingredients I already have in the fridge or cupboards. 3-4 ingredient recipes are my best friend (and ones I can normally manage without screwing something up) soooo you’ll be seeing a lot of those around here! I was feeling uninspired for lunch today so I grabbed this book and found this easy peasy brussels sprout salad. First of all, I might be so dumb but I didn’t know you could make a salad with brussel sprouts?!?! I was out of lettuce ALL week! Normally we boil or fry our brussel sprouts so it didn’t even occur to me to eat them raw in a salad! But it was delicious! So here’s what’s in it:

  • Brussel sprout leaves
  • avacado (only a few slices! I have a about 1/3rd of an avacado – it’s a healthy fat but you still have to be careful! ;))
  • pumpkin seeds
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Toss and done! I had some sliced chicken on the side as well for protein! Enjoy!!

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What does a day of meals look like while on the 21 day fix?!

My first 21 day fix absolutely changed my life. Prior to starting the program, I thought I was doing a great job at eating healthy. I ate fruit and vegetables daily. I ate a lot of fresh, unprocessed foods. Tried to stick to brown rice and whole wheat bread and pastas and I was pretty limiting of my sugar intake. Sounds ok right? But I was still doing a lot of things WRONG!

I wasn’t eating NEAR enough veggies in my diet, way too many fats (like a whole avocado for example oooops!!) and carbs, skipping meals all the time (mom life), and snacking on the wrong foods late at night! The fix uses this amazing color coded container system that teaches you how to measure your portions properly and get exactly the right amounts of each of the food groups in your diet. I couldn’t believe how simple and doable it was for my busy schedule, yet it helped me to make such drastic changes to my diet and kick those bad habits to the curb!

I hate diets. I hate feeling restricted and deprived. I had tried so many things in the past to get healthy and just got discouraged and quit. But to be honest (other than my starbucks withdrawal when I cut it out that first month :P) I never once felt hungry or deprived when doing this program.  I actually eat MORE in a day than I was before I started the fix, just the right foods.

The changes and healthy eating habits I’ve adapted, have stuck with me as I go into month 5 of this new lifestyle. It actually excites me to fuel my body with so many healthy foods because I know what it’s done for me so far (see my results here) and I know how amazing I feel at the end of the day.

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So here’s what a day on the fix might look like (the options are totally endless and you can be as creative with your meal planning as you want to be!):

  • Breakfast: greek yogurt + kiwi, banana, blueberries
  • Snack: shakeology with berries
  • Lunch: Ryvita with chicken and snap peas
  • Snack: Celery, tomatoes and humus
  • Dinner: Sweet potato, chicken strips and cauliflower!

Not so bad right?! It pays off to give your body what it needs. 

Thanks for reading! Shoot me an e-mail at young.natalie29@gmail.com if you’re interested in learning more about the 21 day fix! xo

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