Running and Powerwalking!

Running and Powerwalking!
Get fit with me!

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

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

How I got over my fear of the water

We often hear that time goes by fast when having fun. Well I have to agree. It's been 2 weeks since my last blog. During those two weeks my training has been going well AND I'm having a blast!
I am staying focused on the training program Tom Holland, Ironman Athlete and Coach for MMRF, has provided, but with a few additions. I am training for the Ottawa half marathon on Sunday, May 29th, so I have to include more running, both short and long distance.

I have also included 1-2 yoga classes per week for core strengthening and flexibility and 2-3 times a week of visualization. Why visualization?  Because it works! I have experienced first hand it's amazing benefits and I will always include visualization as part of my training. Here's why.

I am very fortunate that swimming is my strongest leg of a triathlon. I was born a fish and I absolutely love swimming as often as I can. But for some reason, as race day approached in last year's Lake Placid Ironman, I started to experience anxiety attacks in the water. I found it challenging to get past two lengths in the pool and forget about swimming in a lake! I would start to hyperventilate as soon as I started.

I had no idea what caused these attacks and it started to impact my training tremendously. I was only 4 weeks away from race day and I was PANICKING! So I decided to think outside the box and called someone I met professionally through business contacts and whose services I had used in the past. I called Donald Currie, Hypnotherapist and NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming) Therapist based in Toronto, ON.     http://www.donaldcurrie.com/

Donald was someone I enjoyed working with and I liked the fact that he knew me personally and professionally. So I didn't feel embarrassed sharing with him that I had suddenly developed a fear of swimming! I booked 4 sessions with him by Skype, since I no longer live in Toronto, and we worked together over a course of 3 weeks to try to eliminate my fear before race day.

Coincidentally, while Donald and I were working together, the Pan Am Games were occurring in Toronto. One evening, I watched one of the free style races and I was blown away by the athletes technique, form, speed and the way they breathed! Thanks to the high tech cameras used to film the events,  I was able to see how the swimmers were breathing under water. I shared this with Donald during one of our sessions and immediately he asked me to describe in great detail what I saw and how it made me feel. From my description, he incorporated visualization techniques that included visualizing myself as one of those swimmers. He also sent me several audio tapes to listen to every day that would help bring these visualizations to life. Slowly, I began to incorporate these images into my swim training and finally I started to think, swim and breathe like one of those athletes!

The night before race day, I went to bed early and listened to one of his audio tapes (my favorite one) not once but twice!  I literally visualized the whole event from the time I got out of bed to crossing the finish line! The extreme details I was able to incorporate into my visualizations was remarkable. I could actually feel myself swimming in water, pushing through the hills on my bike, running up the steepest part of the course and then crossing the finish line injury free with a huge smile on my face.

The next morning, I woke up refreshed and ready to rock and roll! I was excited to get to the start line and SWIM!!!!! The result? At first, I did experience a little anxiety, which is perfectly normal for any event, but before I knew it, I was heading out of the water to the bike segment!

I still have no idea what caused my anxiety or fear of the water. But I am happy that it happened because it provided me with the opportunity to explore visualization and incorporate it into my training, then and now.



Stay active and anything is possible!
Donna





Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Reality check


I am simply gutted today. I was quickly reminded of my "why" for participating in the Lake Placid Ironman on July 24th.  I saw a very sad post today by my good friend Craig Finkbeiner's wife, Penny, that said " Ok here we go again , wondering what we're going to do since he re-lapsed ? New Chemo ? More of what's he's on ?"

I was shocked and very sad.

Craig Finkbeiner and I both trained for the Lake Placid IM last year and we soon became fast friends. During our training, he shared with me his story as a Multiple Myeloma patient. He was very humble but I knew that this disease was and still is heartbreaking and very deadly. After being diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, the survival rate is 2-3 years. Craig has survived over 8 years after having over 80 chemo treatments. But that has never stopped Craig. He has completed several half Ironman's, a full Ironman along with many road races. He continuously trains hard and is like a machine! He is also so gentle, family focused and is very committed to not letting this disease stop him from living life.

Craig is a huge inspiration to me and I have asked the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation if I could partner with Craig and raise money in his honor as well as in honor of my father who passed away from a similar disease.

If you would like to donate toward MMRF's research to help find better treatments and ultimately a cure, please visit my page. Any donation would be greatly appreciated by myself and Craig. 

support.themmrf.org/donnafoster 

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and may you take time today, to let someone you love know you are thinking about them.

Stay active and anything is possible!
Donna