Working Out to Get Out: Fitness Tips for the Outdoor Enthusiast

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Spring is right around the corner, can you feel it? Depending on where you are in the country right now, you can probably feel it a bit more than others. Well here in sunny Northern California it feels like Spring is really starting to blossom. With the coming of Spring, I find the motivation to kick my workouts into high gear in anticipation of little dresses, short shorts, and, more importantly, backpacking in the mountains.

The countdown to warm weather and outdoor activities is on. The mountain roads and trails are opening up in just a few short weeks. Now is the time to commit to getting in your best shape so that you can fully enjoy all that the great outdoors has to offer. Because if you hit the trail after a winter of hanging out on your couch without training first, you will be in for a less than stellar surprise.

10359155_10205203339274859_8055588343266801736_nHere are some tips to help you get in shape for your quickly approaching outdoor adventures:

1.  Give your stairs some lovin’.  If you have stairs in your house, use them to your own benefit. Walking or running up and down stairs is great training for hiking. It’s also just a great workout in general. Do enough stairs a11000056_10205164531464688_1503326286543275879_nt a fast enough pace and you can get a good cardio session in. Plus, stairs are great for your booty.

2. Walk or jog. Now that the weather is going to be warming up it is a great opportunity to get outside in your neighborhood and go for a quick walk or jog. Just getting your body moving is important, and the fresh air wont hurt either. If the weather’s not so nice where you are, get your steps in on a treadmill. If you don’t have a treadmill, head to your local gym. No excuses! Walk instead of drive, park farther away from the door when going to the grocery store…find little ways to get yourself moving.

3. Work Out in Your Living Room. Find a fun workout that you can do in your living room before or after work. There are so many online that you can choose from. An online workout, or a fitness DVD, make it easy to fit in a workout without having to commit the time it takes to get to and from where you are going. Just turn on the workout and get to it. (My favorites: www.toneitup.com, barre3 workout DVDs or MyBarre3 online, and Ballet Beautiful. I do 10391415_10205235803006432_9078270789625860469_none or more of these types of workouts every day in preparation for hiking and backpacking.)

4. Rock Your Backpack. A really great (albeit, nerdy) way to train for backpacking is to wear your backpack around the house or out for your walk or jog. You can start out with it empty and gradually add weight to it to build up your strength. It’s amazing how heavy your backpack can feel when you haven’t worn it for a few months. Best to startil_570xN.674740473_5sw6 wearing it ahead of time to get reacquainted.

5. Squat It Out. Squats are something that you can do anywhere. They will build up your leg strength which is so important for hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, fly fishing, trail running…just about any outdoor activity you can think of. The benefits of squats are unlimited. So do them. Check out this link to make sure that your form is correct. Then, get yourself this amazing tank top.

 

 

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SUP: Why You Should Do It

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SUP: Stand-Up Paddle Boarding

 

By now, you have probably heard about SUP, or seen people cruising by on their stand up paddle boards as you watch, intrigued, from the shore. I remember thinking how boring it looked the first time I saw people doing it. But finally my curiosity got the better of me and I gave it a try. Now, several years later, I am hooked on SUP and here’s why.

1. The benefits of SUP are endless. First of all, it’s the most incredible workout. Balancing on the paddle board requires a lot of core strength and after a SUP session, you will feel it in your abs, arms, back, butt, legs… you get the idea.

2. SUP is a great way to get out on the water when you normally wouldn’t have a way to do so. You can do it on a lake, a river, or even in the ocean. No watery expanse is off limits!

3. You can do yoga on a SUP. I have tried only a handful of times, and have ended up splashing, ungracefully, into the water on each occasion. It’s challenging, and worth trying, and if you master it, nothing looks cooler than some killer SUP-top poses.

4. Quench your competitive thirst. SUP races are becoming all the rage. Visit www.supracer.com to find a race near you.

So I recommend giving stand-up paddle boarding a try if for some reason you haven’t yet. You’ve got nothing to lose, except, perhaps, your pride when you fall in the first time you try it – and if you don’t fall in on the first try, kudos to you. You rock!

If you’re already tuned in to the awesome sport of SUP, let me know what YOU love about it in the comments below.

Looking for a great board? I’d recommend one from Perfect Wave Surf Shop. That’s where my beloved Slice Series Ruby Red is from and it is perfection.

Jump Start Your Spring

Spring has sprung and it’s about time! It was a long winter and it is easy to start feeling a bit stir crazy when your outdoor activities are limited. With the warming of the weather, it’s time to start planning those backpacking trips and getting ready for those wilderness climbs.

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The mountains are calling and I must go. – John Muir

During the winter months it is normal for us to slack on exercise in favor of snuggling up with a blanket by the fire. Nothing wrong with snuggling or blankets or fires, however when spring  rolls around, it can be quite the rude awakening to realize that all of that winter snoozing left you feeling weak, out of breath, and totally unprepared for a long trek. When it’s time to load up your pack and head out into the backcountry, you want to be ready.

Here are a few ways to jump-start your spring and get back into the swing of things, physically:

1. Make a list. Write down your goals [i.e. hikes you want to do, backpacking trips you have planned, climbs you want to try, a beachy vacation that you want to get in shape for…]. That way you can see everything laid out before you. If that isn’t motivation to whip your butt into gear, I don’t know what is.

2. Create a routine. Make a plan of when and where and how often you are going to exercise. If it’s before work five times a week, then set your alarm a little earlier and go to bed a little sooner than you normally would the night before. Then, [and this is easier said than done,] stick to it. Routines take anywhere from 21 to 66 days to form, depending on who you ask. So when your alarm goes off at 5:30am or you get home from work at 7:00pm, don’t give into the urge to “take the day off”. Just do it.

3. Mix up your workout regimen. It’s easy to get bored if you do the same work out every day. So, try picking a few different ways to exercise and rotate through them on various days of the week. When prepping for a backcountry adventure, it is important to not only get good cardiovascular exercise in, but also to build up strength and endurance. Try alternating between running, going on hikes, and yoga.

4. Find workouts that you love. If you enjoy what you are doing, you will be more likely to actually do it. All the good intentions in the world wont make you go out for a run if you absolutely hate running. If a spin class is more your thing, do it! If jump roping floats your boat, do that.

I love taking barre3 classes. They are fun and they really build up your strength and endurance – plus you get a great cardio work out, mixed with toning and stretching. Perfection!

And if hiking is the only form of “working out” that you can stand, go hiking more. 

If crowded trails aren’t your style, check out my post on “Why It’s Good to Get Off the Trail” for some tips on how to find more remote places to hike.

5. Start now! It is not too early to start training for your backpacking trip this June. Start your new exercise routine, and make sure you strap on your loaded pack at every chance you get. Even just walking around your house with it on will build up your strength. You don’t want the first time you put on your pack this year to be when you’re heading out into the wild for three nights.

This is going to be a great year of outdoor exploration!

Let me know your favorite ways to get physically ready for adventure in the comments below!

Beauty, Naturally

 

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I will admit, I love makeup. I love doing my hair and dressing up. But, I’ve learned that if you aren’t healthy and beautiful on the inside, you wont look your best on the outside, regardless of how much foundation and mascara you use. Recently, I’ve been on a quest to find a natural beauty regimen. I spend a lot of time outdoors, camping and exploring with my husband, and I don’t take makeup with me when I’m out adventuring! So, it has become essential that I focus on shifting my beautifying techniques to start on the inside, rather than focusing on products that go on the outside. Glowing, flawless skin, a healthy complexion, glossy hair…all of that depends on what you put into your body. Here are a few tricks that I’ve learned to attain beauty in a natural, healthful way:

1. Drink water. No…I mean LOTS of water. Our bodies are primarily made up of water. When you feel yourself becoming thirsty, that means that your body is already in the beginning stages of dehydration. It is recommended that you drink water constantly throughout the day rather than waiting until you feel parched. I keep a 22oz bottle with me, and I try to drink at least three bottles full of water each day. Ideally, one should be drinking at least half of one’s body weight in water every 24 hours. Water helps to flush toxins out of your body, and, most importantly, your skin. If you start amping up your water intake, I bet you will notice your skin start to clear up and, before long, it will take on that greatly coveted natural glow. *Bonus: Drinking more water will give you energy!

2. Coconut Oil. I have found that coconut oil makes an incredible, all natural moisturizer. It can be used all over your body, like a lotion – minus the chemical ingredients. Coconut oil is a wonderful lip balm, and it makes your skin positively glow. It’s also great to use in your hair as a conditioner. Just smooth it into your strands before a shower, and let it sit for a few minutes before washing it out.

3. Limit Dairy. I’ve been trying to limit my dairy intake and since I’ve done that, my skin has become less bumpy and more smooth.

4. Stock Up On ZZZZs. Getting a solid 8 hours of sleep every night is a crucial part of a natural beauty regimen. When you sleep, your body repairs itself. Your mind, your skin, every single part of you is worked on while you sleep. Getting enough sleep reduces dark circles under your eyes, adds to your natural glow, and helps to reduce cortisol levels (which are caused by stress). Investing in some quality sleep is a good idea whenever you can.

5. Exercise! Whether it is a relaxing yoga class, a nice run outside, a fast-paced barre class [my favorite barre workout is barre3: www.barre3.com], or a full-body toning video from the girls over at Tone it Up! [www.toneitup.com].  It doesn’t matter what you do. Find something you love that makes you feel good about yourself, and then make it a habit! My favorite form of exercise is hiking. What’s yours?  Exercise will increase circulation in your body, and it helps pump oxygen to your organs. And don’t forget, what is the largest organ in the body? That’s right – skin. Exercise will make your skin healthier. And that’s what we’re going for with this natural beauty regimen! So even if you just do a Tone it Up video for 15 minutes, or an hour-long barre3 class, that’s ok. As long as you are doing something good for yourself to get your body moving a little, that can do wonders for your body and, especially, your mind. Exercise reduces cortisol levels, keeps you limber, and gives you endorphins which make you happy. And happiness is beautiful!

6. Relax. I’ve been mentioning cortisol – that nasty chemical that is released in your body when you are stressed. Too much cortisol can have detrimental effects on your health. Try to make an effort to relax and let go of stress. Take a hot, candle lit bath with your favorite bath soaps. Go on a weekend getaway with your honey. Curl up by the fire with a good book and zone out for a while. Get a massage, or a manicure and pedicure. Drink some tea, or a glass of vino and just…let go every once in a while. It will do wonders for your body…and your mental health.

7. Pay Attention to What Kind of Food You Eat. I’ve tried to focus on eating whole foods and I have been making an effort to eliminate processed foods from my diet. When you think about it, processed foods are hardly food at all. They are modified, filled with chemicals, salt, and sugar, all in an effort to appeal to the taste buds, while completely disregarding what they do to our bodies. By sticking to whole foods, you can be more sure of what is going into your body. Fruits, vegetables, meat, fish…these are all things that are in their natural forms. Stick to those types of foods. Your body will thank you for it.