Category Archives: Fitness

Fitness – A new way to Yoga

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(examples of how NOT to do this pose)

The fight goes on – and by that I mean, the fight with pain. The last month has been positive, staying active even with migrating soreness in my lower lumbar. -I’m pretty sure cycling 100 km last weekend didn’t help it.  Great news, though, the wrists are back and I went to my first yoga in months!

We continue here about a few core-strengthening. Training your core can help improve chronic pain and teach smaller muscle groups when to “get to work”, especially as they fatigue with repetitive actions like cycling or running.

I try and do three core exercises everyday since Cambodia.

1. Glute Bridges

2. Cat/Cow iteration

3. Supermans, or Bird/Dog but on your back! 

Maybe i’ll do a video to show you want I mean…

Kim at (@Kimmcneilyoga) has been doing a great black and white Q&A series on instagram, which is phenomenal and interactive if you’re continually wondering how to improve your yoga practice.

A photo posted by Kim McNeil (@kimmcneilyoga) on Mar 22, 2015 at 5:39am PDT

What’s a yogi to do when they have tendonitis, arthritis, injury, or plain ‘old lack of flexibility in their wrists? Are poses like Downward-facing Dog, plank, or Cat Pose off the table?

 

The answer:

Support wrists to prevent too much flexion. Here she’s using a bolster to do the same pose I attempted in pain over christmas. Now that I know, I’ll certainly use a bolster.

Got a yoga therapy question get in touch with Kim, email info@kimmcneilyoga.ca

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Fitness- Yoga for the hurting

I’d like to do a quick shout out to Kim at (@Kimmcneilyoga). I’ve been following her and a few other inspiring yogis to remind myself to slow down, focus, and take care of your joints. Last time, we spoke a bit about chronic pain and how to combat it.

I’m a lover of yoga; it builds strength, teaches mindfulness, and often relieves physical and mental stress from other forms of training. It’s key to my workout schedule. However, I’m crushed because my wrist has been in very bad shape since November and I can’t put any pressure on it or bend it. I asked Kim about my practice.

What’s a yogi to do when they have tendonitis, arthritis, injury, or plain ‘old lack of flexibility in their wrists? Are poses like Downward-facing Dog, plank, or Cat Pose off the table?

The quick answer:

Nope. Start by changing your wrist support. Fold back one edge of your mat and place your palms on the edge with your fingers and finger mounds off on the floor. The idea here is you’ll increase the angle of the wrists so they don’t have to flex as much. (I had to bend it a few times to give my wrist the height) – In other news, I realised that you fold the mat UNDER, only after I did a whole day of rolling it up, silly me.

A photo posted by Kim McNeil (@kimmcneilyoga) on Feb 17, 2015 at 8:51pm PST

Got a yoga therapy question get in touch with Kim, email info@kimmcneilyoga.ca

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February Fitness – I hate core day

Hello fitness friends & food-lovers,

I recently had a conversation with a friend about chronic pain; it sounds worse than it is, but anyone who’s experienced prolonged pain will know it can reduce you to nothing.

This is one reason to stay active and on top of core work. Either to maintain your mobility and strength (if you have pain), or to keep it at bay by staying as mobile and pain-free for as long as possible.  The ‘Use it or Lose it’ motto applies here!

So when people ask why I train, it’s not only to be strong, or lift, or bulk, or aesthetics.  I’m a firm believer in functional training for what our bodies were meant for. – y’know, before we were sitting at desks with computers we worked the land and ploughed fields.

All jokes aside, here is some of the core work that I’ve tried to do on a daily basis.  Building discipline is tricky, and pay-off is slow.  (about that six pack though…)

CLICK HERE> Core Workout 

 

Tips for Workout:

– the hip raises can be done both legs together, and then isolating one leg at a time as you get stronger

– make sure you engage your core & pull in your belly for all the core exercises. (pretend like someone’s going to poke you in the stomach and you’ll tense tense it up)

– for plank & side plank, try to incorporate these into one exercise by transitioning from side plank facing the wall to a one-handed side-plank tucking the arm under and across the body/belly

– I’ve turned the bird/dog upside down and done them on my back like this

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– Leg raises can be done with a bent knee. If you think these are easy just make sure you are engaging your core AND your back is touching the ground at all times – then we’ll talk.

QUIZ TIME, What is this and what is it for??

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It’s a lacrosse ball!  More on mobility later, but I’d say massage & lacrosse balls are key for rolling out tight spots.  In Dublin, this is where I’ve found them:

http://www.d8fitness.com/store/physio-supplies/massage-trigger-point-balls/

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Yogis or Pilates – Fitness Edition

Sure, it’s new years and if you’re like a few people out there you have a goals or habits to build this month – and hopefully maintain throughout the year.

If getting fit or bendy is one of them, this little infographic will help you understand the differences between pilates and yoga.
I know I learned something about pilates.

(I’d like to hear which one you tend towards and why?) Personally, I’d tend towards yoga, but according to the physio and this infographic, sounds like I might benefit from trying a bit of pilates to help with chronic pain. Well, off to practice a bit. Hope your fitness is making leaps and bounds this month!

-Good luck!

 Pilates or Yoga: Which Practice is for You?

 

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Doing NEW YEARS right – Fitness Edition

“You’re off to Great Places!

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting,

So… get on your way!” – Dr. Seuss

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planning & fitness

I want you to believe fitness is real and the journey is relatable, anyone can do it.  Eating amazing food is a lifestyle as much as staying active is.  It doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye, but it’s your body and you are responsible for taking care of it! – I’m not a serious lifter or a trainer.

I get a lot of pain most days, but it’s still important to keep moving because how much I eat! So I sat down and looked through past training.  I planned a printable & visual workout! –> here is my new plan for the week. 

Take a look and try it out!

 4 steps to getting started 
1) Students, go at Off-peak hours
2) Make use of free classes
3) Track your journey – Is it me, or was 2014 the year of all fitness trackers?! (shows no signs of slowing)
4) Follow a Fitness ambassador on twitter, instagram, or blog

stir my soul

There are a few things in the pipeline that I am so super excited about. They really pull together everything I’m about, but for now I’m contemplating my first triathlon! (thanks to my friend Elyse) It’s something I thought about last year before I got into cycling. – Anyone interested?

 

 

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Christmas Prep! Fitness edition

Guys, I’m going to be writing here a bit about sport and fitness in the next little while.

Why?

The goal is to make getting active more relatable and hopefully it inspires you to stay healthy- especially after all that Christmas food love!  The way I see it, if you’re going to enjoy the food, you’re also going to have to pay for it – by burning the energy/calories up!!

I want to give you an strategies.  Give you an idea that, hey, someone else sometimes hates the activity and can’t get motivated but that’s life!  Getting active doesn’t always have to happen in the gym, because I know some of you are thinking the gym is not a fun place.  Just start somewhere!

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Trouble getting to the gym? Here are some strategies

[One] Pick a gym that is SO close to either work or home that
it’s undeniable that you must get through the door of the gym – reduce the odds of skipping

[Two] If you have troubles getting there, either make an appointment with a friend, trainer, or schedule yourself for class – then you have to show up

[Three] Think about how well you will feel after your work out and sweat out that stress – visualise and feel smug about it

[Four]  Find the WHY – do you want more fitness or more tone or to lift more set goals based on your motivations and stick to them – Dangle the right carrot in front of you

[Five]  If you are weary, buy a pair of new pants. A new pair of Lululemon usually makes me want to work at

[Six]  Don’t eat crap the day before, you will regret it when trying to lift yourself and it the next day

[Final Words]
Rules for spin, please please please, do not eat a burrito in any way
shape or form before class. Why? Because everyone pays

Switch up your workout if it’s always spin, your body will get used to
it and so will your mind. You’ll be completely bored.

Don’t know what to do? Join a class, employ a good trainer, or take a friend.

Find the best time for you and your schedule to get in the gym I like
evening workouts but some people love first thing in the morning.  Them disciplined smug bishes – yes, sometimes I’m a morning-hater.

-Good luck!

(don’t forget to enter the Knorr draw for 5 hampers this week!)

Next up: Ten BIG mistakes I made as a nube to cycling 

 

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Rothar Africa

201 days, 11,515km & 11 countries!

 

A few of my friends took a long journey, cycling from Cairo, Egypt to Capetown, South Africa.

I am completely inspired by their journey after watching their footage of all the different terrain & funny creatures they saw along the way. Imagine travelling with everything you need, on your bike! I can barely camp (tent-style), but taking it all on to a bike in the middle of Africa instills fear in my heart! The solitude an emotional highs and lows of missing family, friends, home, and comfort would be daunting. Another really cool bit is seeing the different countries along the road that are coffee producing countries – as a lover of coffee, that is very exciting!

Why do something crazy?

Because it scares you and because it is AWESOME! They raised funds for Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders and Room to Read.

Room to read is an organisation that promotes literacy and gender equality in education in Asia and Africa.

Doctors without borders is the worlds largest humanitarian medical NGO, and works in areas of distress, natural and man-made disaster or conflict. They do all this irrespective of race, religion, or political interest.

See the route here on the Irish Independent

 

 

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Think Fit, Think Bike. my new bike.

Quick Lovin:

Tips from buying my first bike.
If you’re unsure, see if they can put the bike on the trainer or let you ride it around the block to see how it feels.

Pick the bike up to see how much it weighs (something you should probably do when looking for a bike).  Well, let’s just say carbon fibre makes a big big difference.

Think about going back to the shop – is after-care pleasant?

Make sure you feel listened to, is the recommended bike going to suit your needs?

2Wheels Deal: For the next 2 weeks, quote ‘Love 2wheels’ when purchasing a bike and get 10% off or receive 15% off clothing, accessories, service, and even that little bike basket you’ve always wanted 😉

AMAZE-balls! Follow @2wheelsie on twitter.

 

Along with my trend of being original, and by that, i mean completely not original. I am tagging on to the whole bike theme that WAS Giro d’Italia. The excitement was immense, the cool part was that the event was so international; from local Irish to Australians, Americans, and Italians. It was really cool to hear the different languages being spoken and all the media from around the world in the finishing zone.

I’m just going to tell you about the shopping experience I had here in town (Dublin).

Now, this is my first ever road bike so I am completely oblivious to a lot of things. Frame sizes and geometry, cranks, pedals, components, brands…. there is just so much to consider. I’m glad a few of my friends chimed in to help me out. Also, S & my good friend Al were an instrumental part in educating me in what to look for. My understanding is that most of the brands would be the similar or comparable at the price-point I was looking. One other thing to note, is I came out with something completely different than what I expected to get.

I visited a few bikes shops here in town, each, generally carry different brands. A major consideration is that they are helpful in service, as you will inevitably be back for a second fitting adjustments, and technical help. If it is out of the way, or they are not nice, you won’t want to go back!

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Cyclebike – MARY’S ABBEY

Giant, Lombardo, Cube, Bianchi

This was a trendy store with lots to offer, from cruisers and hip-bikes (‘hip bikes, because what is a hipster bike’), to hybrids and racers.  I was impressed with the selection and the knowledge of brands here, however was slightly put off by the fact that I went in with a defined idea of a road bike that would comfortably do 150 km –  with room to grow.  Instead, I was recommended a hybrid bike for everyday; and while flat handlebars would be comfortable for my back, I felt that there would be too much resistance and I didn’t feel completely listened-to.  Knowledge was good and standard.  Back to positives, the Lombardo road bike was pretty convincing because it was affordable and had great components for the price. Campagnolo components are supposed to be pretty good and pricey – so it was a deal.

Think Bike! – RATHMINES

Giant, Specialized,

I didn’t end up shopping for a bike here, however they have been very helpful in-shop and on the phone.  They’ve helped me fix my other bike  & always pump up my tires up free 🙂 – also sold me a pump.  One major consideration is after-care, so I think these knowledgeable guys would take good care of you if you were in the area and to go back regularly.

Free Wheeling – PEARSE STREET

Giant, Bianchi
A pretty standard bike shop, close to work. This was the first place I checked, and they offered me a deal on last year’s model, which was quite attractive to me. I wasn’t entirely convinced, but it was a great start. The gentleman had me straddle the bike and gave the standard ‘if it’s about 1-2 inches below your crotch, then you’re ok’.  They have a selection of cruisers and vintage bikes as well.

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Cycleways – PARNELL ST.

Specialized, Canondale,
This was one of the best shopping experience on the road, the guys were so helpful, knowledgable, and resourceful. Unlike some, the first thing they’d do is hold the bike so I could not only straddle the bike, but get on the seat and feel the height and reach of the bars. Also, I came back and tried the bike on the stationary Tac-X trainer which was super helpful to a nube like me. There is no messing here, they are service-oriented, responsive, and go over and above all the other shops. The down-side was that they didn’t have the size or bike I needed in stock and the price was slightly higher.   They taught me about geometry of different male/female bikes, the reach, and the different proportions of men & women on the bikes.

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2Wheels – SOUTH WILLIAM ST.

FELT, Specialized, Scott, NEW! Canondale
The last stop on the shopping trail was 2Wheels, recently transitioned from Eurobaby/Eurocycle.  I had heard about this shop in Sandymount, super helpful and great selection and now it’s in town!  The best way to make a great shop accessible to city folk like me.

Eoin and the guys are great, they’re experienced riders themselves and gave me a very indicative idea of what to expect.  Although I got a little up-sold, it’s all grand, they set me up with a sick bike for a pretty good deal.  I’m stoked to get on my bike every time because it is such a pleasure to ride.

One of their bike technicians is the official Scott mechanic, so that put me at ease.  Guys, they (and most other good bike shops) throw in the first service for free and so far have been very very accommodating to all my silly questions and issues.  They put me in contact with a bike group to go out with and now it’s rockin’!

Theses guys are SO smashing, that they are helping me out by sharing a little discount with you!  For the next 2 weeks, quote a ‘Love 2wheels’ when purchasing a bike and get 10% off or 15% off clothing, accessories, service, and even that little bike basket you’ve always wanted 😉

AMAZE-balls!

 

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