Running and Powerwalking!

Running and Powerwalking!
Get fit with me!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Looking for a new event to challenge yourself in 2017?


“Hi Everyone! As some of you may know I am proudly competing in the 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 Lake Placid event next September as part of the MMRF Team for Cures! This will be my third event with them after competing in 2 Full IRONMAN's in Lake Placid (this year and last year) in honour of my father who passed away from blood cancer in 1999. This organization has done some of the most ground-breaking work in oncology in the last 20 years that has led to 10 new cancer fighting drugs coming to market for patients in need. They’ve tripled the life expectancy of patients with this blood cancer and they won’t stop until there’s a cure! They also happen to run one of the Top 5 Endurance Events Programs – offering tons of logistical, training, and race week support for you AND your family. Right now anyone who signs up through me gets $100 off the already reduced race entry fee of $150 – so you can pay ONLY $50 and race in IRONMAN 70.3 Lake Placid. Just use code REFERREDTOCURE when you sign up. I hope you join me.  www.themmrf.org/2017IMLP PS! The top highest fundraiser win a 2018 70.3 World Champion BIB!!” Stay active and anything is possible! Donna

Monday, November 7, 2016

Stretch? I don't have time to stretch.


Hello my fellow fitness enthusiasts.  I know it may seem like a long time since I've written a blog. But you can also follow me on my Facebook Page called Positively Active, on Twitter as Fitnesscrazed and on Instagram as dfosterlarocque. However, for all you wonderful blog readers, I am making it my mission to blog every month on a variety of health and fitness topics.


This month's topic is stretching, which next to breathing and nutrition, is the third most important aspect of training. Here is a great article by Claudia Wood, a freelance writer and health enthusiasts, on the many benefits of stretching.


Stretching is one thing that many people neglect to do everyday and don’t place much importance on, but getting a good stretch is really great for your body. Whether you’re actually exercising, or just going about your day to day activities, you should always make a small amount of time to stretch out your muscles.

Stretching in general has many benefits – not necessarily directly related to exercise, but of course there are quite a few upsides to stretching before and/or after your workout.

Let’s look at the benefits of stretching in relation to every day life and exercise, to help us understand why we need to stretch and why a flexibility workout like yoga is so good for us.

Everyday benefits of stretching:

1. It wakes you up
Stretching has been proven to make you feel more awake, which is especially helpful when you’re at work and it hits 3 o’clock. Stretching helps to move blood that has pooled in your muscles and makes you feel tired and sluggish. So instead of pulling that chocolate bar from your drawer to wake you up in the afternoon, have a stretch to feel more energised and to avoid those unwanted kilos.

2. It’s a stress buster

When you get stressed your muscles contract and become tense, which can impact your body in a negative way. By stretching out your muscles, it can help to relax those that become balled with stress and endorphins are released which help to improve your mood and also help you sleep better.

3. It gets rid of back pain

Stretching is a great way to strengthen muscles and help them to become more flexible. Sitting at your desk all day can affect your posture, which can cause your lower back to become sore. Stretching those muscles that affect your posture, like your hip flexors and your back, can strengthen these muscles and get rid of soreness.

Exercise related benefits of stretching:


1. Flexibility

One of the main reasons that people stretch is to increase their flexibility. Having good flexibility can help you improve the way you do exercises and can also reduce the risk of injury if your muscles are stretched nicely. Flexibility allows you to exercise more easily and is especially important to maintain as your age increases.

2. It increases circulation

Stretching increases the blood flow and supply of nutrients to the muscles. This means that stretching helps to reduce muscle soreness after working out, which means that you won’t have to hold onto the wall when trying to sit on the toilet after leg day.

3. You can get more out of your workout

When you stretch your muscles and tendons become looser and easier to work with, which as a result reduces muscle fatigue. This means that you’ll be able to get a longer, better workout than if you didn’t stretch, which essentially means you can burn more kilojoules.

So get stretching, whether it’s in front of the television after work or while you’re in the gym. There are so many benefits to stretching that will have you feeling good and get your muscles in better condition.


Wow! Who would have thought that by taking a few minutes, or longer, to stretch before or after exercising, or stretching without training, would be so beneficial. I hope that one of the reasons listed above will help inspire and motivate you to incorporate stretching into your daily routine. Your body and mind will be grateful.

Stay active and anything is possible!
Donna

Monday, April 18, 2016

Walk? Not run?


Today I'd like to share a  new concept of training,  Low Intensity Steady State. (LISS) For those of you who know me, this concept might sound strange coming from me. Yes, I love HIIT and pushing myself to the max. But I also enjoy long endurance training that does not entail high intensity. 

For example, as part of my IRONMAN training this weekend, rather than run, bike or swim, I walked at a nice steady pace for 14km on Saturday and 17km on Sunday.  So why did I choose to walk and why for so long? 

Last week, my training schedule included several 10-24km runs, 1-5 hours on the bike 3 times, and a few hours in the pool   In order to allow my body a chance to recover while still moving, (aka active recovery) I walked to loosen up the lactic acid that had built up throughout the week. But I also wanted to incorporate endurance training so I walked more than 10km consecutively but at a slower pace. 

There are many benefits to training at  LISS and walking, both of which I will write more about over the next few weeks. But one benefit that I would like to leave you with is that by walking, you have more of  an opportunity to explore your own or other neighborhoods and really "see" what they have to offer. We are often in such a rush that we miss those elements that make each neighborhood so special, ie. mom and pop coffee shops, restaurants, bakeries, etc. 

So next time you are debating whether or not you should get outside and train, don't forget that walking is a form of exercise. For the body, mind and soul. 

Happy walking. 

Stay active and anything is possible!
Donna 












Thursday, April 14, 2016

My Body Apology



I love when I read an article that comes just at the right time, especially if I am having an "off" day either mentally, physically or sometimes both.  Today was one of those days where I felt "off" physically. Then I read this article called "My Body Apology."  It made me realize just how critical I've been about my own body's appearance lately. Rather than appreciating the fact that I am healthy, strong and fit, I still find myself criticizing my body for some reason or another. So today, I am going to treat my body with more love and be grateful that I have the ability to train for my 3rd IRONMAN. 


Featured Blog Post on Sparkpeople.com by Linda. 


Most of us are here because we want to lose weight. One of the hardest things you have to get past to make that happen is taming that monkey mind. That is the self-criticism we all have. We don't like this or that about our bodies and we put ourselves down for any number of reasons. We cut ourselves down more than our worst enemy. 

We have to learn to love and accept ourselves as we are before we can allow the healing and weight loss begin. If you hate your body there is no motivation to treat it well. You would be unwilling to do the hard work to make weight loss happen. Treat your body as a sick friend who you want to get well. 

I have always had a love/hate relationship with my body because of my RA. I am furious that my body keeps falling apart, giving me pain and taking away my favorite activities. But I am amazed at the resilience and the never say die fight it always has, to give back as much as it can. I haven't always treated my body well, filling it with garbage instead of fuel, punishing it with too much exercise, wearing shapeless, ugly clothing because it didn't deserve better, just cursing its malfunctioning and shortcomings. Its high time I gave it an apology. 

Dear Body, 

I am sorry for ignoring your hunger signals for so many years. 
I am sorry for making you drink disgusting diet shakes and eat tasteless diet foods. 
I am sorry for comparing you to healthy people when that is unfair. 
I am sorry I thought of you as broken down wreck rather than the amazing miracle that you are. 
I am sorry I ate countless salty snacks because I didn't yet know how to handle stress or pauses in the day. 
I am sorry I spent so much time criticizing you that I forgot to say thank you and acknowledge your amazing senses, systems, limbs and organs. 
Oh, and I am sorry about those bell bottoms and shoulder pads in the 70's! 

You really are incredible and I thank you for taking me through this long, hard journey without complaint.

Monday, March 28, 2016

10 ways to add Non-meat Proteins into your Diet



This week's nutrition tip is about the various protein options and their benefits. Some of them you may already know but there may be some that you are not aware of and that you might like! Give some of them a try to add a little variety into your diet. 

Protein is more than about building muscle. Each and every body part requires protein to function, from red and white blood cells to hair and skin (all made of protein.) Eating protein at every meal stabilizes our blood sugar levels, helping with everything from mood to weight management to nervous system health. 

1. Ground Flaxseeds
Health Benefits: On top of being high in protein, flaxseeds are also a good source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. Their fiber content and mucilaginous nature also make them great for gut health. 
How To Use: Sprinkle ground flaxseeds onto oatmeal or cooked veggies for a nutty flavour. You can also add ground flaxseeds to homemade baked goods. Recent studies have found that cooking flaxseeds leaves the omega-3 content intact. 
2. Chia Seeds
Health Benefits: Like flaxseeds, chia seeds are high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Because they can absorb so much liquid (becoming a chia "gel"), they can also help prevent dehydration. 
How To Use: Chia seeds can be added to smoothies, sprinkled on porridge, used to make puddings, or even as a grain-free "breading" for chicken or fish (if you eat it!). 
3. Sunflower Seeds
Health Benefits: High in protein, sunflower seeds are also anti-inflammatory, which can help with symptoms of conditions like asthma and arthritis. 
How To Use: Sunflower seeds can be sprinkled on salads and porridge. Ground sunflower seeds can also be used in place of flour to dust meats or added to grain-free baking recipes. 
4. Nut Butters
Health Benefits: High in healthy fats and protein, nuts are wonderful for balancing your blood sugar levels, and using all-natural nut butters is a great way to get them in your diet. 
How To Use: Add a scoop of almond butter to your green smoothies, spread some cashew butter on a homemade gluten-free muffin or replace the maple syrup on your oatmeal with a spoonful of your favourite nut butter variety. 
5. Spirulina  
Health Benefits: While "green" isn't normally the color you'd think of when it comes to protein, this algae is actually a 65% highly-digestible protein. It's also incredibly high in calcium, making it great for bone health. 
How To Use: Spirulina makes for awesome addition to a green smoothie. It can be strong-tasting, so start slow! 
6. Hemp Seeds
Health Benefits: Hemps seeds are packed with protein. They also contain the ideal balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. 
How To Use: Hemp seeds can be added to smoothies or sprinkled on top of salads. They are soft and don't need straining, so they're great for making dairy-free seed milk, too. 
7. Alfalfa Sprouts
Health Benefits: Sprouts are rich in immune-boosting vitamin C, and alfalfa sprouts are made up of as much as 35% highly-digestible protein. 
How To Use: Sprouts are an awesome salad-topper or great addition to any green smoothie. These are an easy one to grow yourself. 
8. Chickpea Flour
Health Benefits: Baked goods aren't exactly the first thing protein source you'd think of, but swapping your usual flour for a high-protein, gluten-free one is a great way to add a protein boost to your day. Since chickpea flour is made of dried, ground chickpeas, it contains all the health benefits of these nutrient-packed beans, including antioxdiants, digestive support and blood sugar regulation. 
How To Use: Chickpea flour works best in gluten-free baking recipes when it makes up no more than 25% of the total flour content, so mix and match it with other flours for best results. 
9. Pumpkin Seeds 
Health Benefits: Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, which key to nervous system health and is necessary for more than 300 chemical reactions in the human body. They're also high in, you guessed it, protein! 
How To Use: Pumpkin seeds can be added to your morning smoothie (use pumpkin seed butter if you don't have a high-speed blender), used in baked goods or sprinkled on porridge. Lightly toasted pumpkin seeds also make an awesome salad topper!
10. Protein Powders: This is an option but I recommend choosing the more natural alternatives instead. 


(This information is from www.mindbodygreen.com)


Stay active and anything is possible!
Donna

Friday, March 18, 2016

Is hydrogenated fats bad for me?


Hello peanut butter enthusiasts! I wanted to share this article from Oxygen magazine that I came across several years ago. It changed my life or I should say, it changed my digestive system. I had no idea why I suffered from cramps, stomach pains and the infamous "bloatedness" every time I ate peanut butter.  Then I read this article and immediately switched to organic peanut butter.  But more importantly, I started reading lables for that awful ingredient "hydrogenated" and stayed clear of eating it.  Here's why:

Oxygen article:

Hydrogenated  peanut butter is vastly different from natural peanut butter. Hydrogenation means the fat molecules have been chemically altered in the manufacturing process and not for the better. Your digestive system doesn't have the ability to digest hydrogenated fats because they rarely exist in nature. These fats TRAVEL AIMLESSLY AROUND YOUR BODY, FINALLY STORING THEMSELVES AROUND YOUR ORGANS AND ON THE INSIDE OF YOUR ARTERIES.


That last sentence sold me. By no means do I want fat travelling through my body and attaching itself to my organs. So my decision to buy organic peanut butter (even if it is more expensive) was not difficult. Once I did make the switch, I started to try other nut butters such as almond butter, cashew butter, macadamia butter, tahini butter and my new favourite Mamba's organic spicy peanut butter! I had no idea the other options would be so tasty, especially Mamba's.  They mix organically grown peanuts from Haiti with hot spicies. A combination I would never have thought of. If you live in Montreal, you have to stop by Atwater market and look for the Mamba table. You can choose  mild, medium or hot. Your taste buds will not be disappointed!

So for anyone who might experience negative symptoms after eating a particlar food, check the label for its ingredients. If you see the word "hydrogenated", it may be the cause or one of many causes for your discomfort. Try eliminating that food for a week or two and then add it back into your diet. If you experience any discomfort, it might be time to try other alternatives.

Stay active and anything is possible!
Donna


 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Spring clean your body


Spring Clean your body with my 4 WEEK NUTRITION TRANSFORMATION PROGRAM

With rates of overweight and obesity rising steadily and increasing evidence linking excess fat and inactivity to health problems, it is now more important than ever to educate yourself on how to make healthier food choices. But where you do you start when nutrition information is constantly evolving? How do you know if today's "super food" won't be tomorrow's "not so super food?"

Join my 4 week "Nutrition Transformation" program to learn strategies on how to lose weight, increase your energy level, improve your quality of sleep, improve your digestive system, impact your hormones and train more efficiently by eating the right foods. You will also receive a customized program to follow, with nutrition and fitness tips, throughout the 4 weeks to put the strategies you'll learn into practice.

After this program, you will have more confidence on how to make better food choices that will help your digestive and immune system which will enable you to live a more healthy active lifestyle.

Dates: Thursday, March 17: 5:00-6:00pm
Thursday, March 24: 5:00-6:00pm
Thursday, March 31: 5:00-6:00pm
Thursday, April 7: 5:00-6:00 pm

Cost: $150 (taxes included)

Location: Spa Vert
2360 Rue Notre-Dame O #300, Montréal, QC H3J 1N4

Street parking available

8 minute walk from Lionel Groulx Metro

Registration deadline: Mon. March 13th @ 5pm

RSVP to: dfosterlarocque@gmail.com