Indoor vs Outdoor running

It’s a Monday morning in the middle of July in Cape Town, South Africa. 7am I drive to the gym in the dark to get my first run in of the week.

But, on this Monday morning, where it should be the depth of winter… I quickly come to realize that this will be the most beautiful sunrise, it’s already 20 degrees outside and there is NO wind blowing. (rare for this part of the world) I take a sharp left on the R44 and drive down to the beach, for my first outdoor/coastal run since moving back to South Africa.

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And this was my experience…

If you can block out the cat calling, and the obvious irrational fear of being attacked for your phone and car keys that you are stupidly running with in your hands because you didn’t prepare properly, you can actually start taking in the scenery. And what an absolutely gorgeous view it was. Breathing in the fresh ocean air first thing in the morning and feeling you shoes hitting the side walk definitely has a few if not a lot more physiological benefits than running on a treadmill looking straight in front of you in the gym.

I soon as I get comfortable with my pace, I start looking around, noticing details on the buildings I’ve never bothered looking up to, waves crashing next to me, people commuting to work. But I feel like I’m flying. Sure, I have loads of work to do, but this feeling, I want it to last a bit longer. It was only a short run as I didn’t have much time but the time definitely flew 100 times faster than running on a treadmill. I feel addicted to this feeling now and I can’ wait to go on another unplanned perfect weather run. Until then, you will find me on the treadmill. My safe space.

Here are the Pro’s of both though:

Treadmill:

  1. You can keep your phone, keys, water, towel at hand without running with stuff in your hands.
  2. You set your speed/pace and tend to stick to it better.
  3. Safety (It’s South Africa after all)
  4. It’s easier, the treadmill belt assists your leg turnover.

Outdoor:

  1. Scenery. So much to look at and take in, it makes time go faster.
  2. Fresh air. (Totally underrated)
  3. You adapt to your surrounding better incl. weather and running around people.
  4. Soft tissue conditioning that occurs with road running. (Does not occur with treadmill running because the plate or base on the treadmill “gives” more than road surfaces)

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That being said, outdoor running is definitely beneficial when training for a race, but I will continue doing both. But it’s always good to have a back up, either way.

Happy running!

5 MUST do’s to assist your running training

The word is out, I have officially been entered into the KFM Gun Run, where I will be doing the half marathon #prayforme. In reality, I could struggle my way through a half marathon tomorrow. I’d probably be crawling over the finish line with a really crappy time…but I could. However, I want to do this properly and also enjoy it. I’m putting my years of researching for previous clients into action, to hopefully cross the finish line with a smile and while still standing.

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A lot of people begin training for running events thinking they just have to run and keep running further and further until they can run the length of the race; which probably does work, but it’s not optimal. So here are my five tips which if you consider during your training, You will become fitter, faster and less prone to injury!

  1. Don’t forget to Cross train. If you find a running program online, it will probably have a day or two of ‘cross training’. NO this does not mean, jump on the cross trainer, but in fact, it means, your strength and power work in the gym or at home. A lot of people neglect their strength training when running, which is why runners can be so prone to injury. You need strong glutes (butt muscles), legs, back and core(abs) to enable you to run with good posture and prevent putting pressure on your joints. Remember, strength training is the foundation of EVERY training. I will be continuing my strength training plan and ebook while preparing for this half marathon.
  2. Warm up and cool down… BLAH BLAH BLAH you’ve heard it all already. But the question is, do you do it? I used to just wake up and run, without activating and stretching my muscles and mobilizing my joints. Likewise, I would return from a run, and carry on with my day, without cooling down. But now that I’m a bit older, a warm up and cool down is definitely needed! As soon as your muscles become too tight, you’re pulling your body out of alignment and again are making yourself prone to injury. Spend 5-10 minutes before a run warming up and foam rolling and the same when you return. (Let me know if you want me to post my foam rolling routine video on my Instagram stories.)
  3. Even if you’re training for the 10km or the marathon it’s still important to incorporate sprint training and hill sprints into your workouts. Adding sprint training into your plan will be the key to increasing your speed. You can switch up the distance too. I live on the side of a mountain, so you can find a hill close to your house and try 8-10 hill sprints and rest until your back to the bottom of the hill. You’ll probably want to vomit after your sprint sessions, but you’ll thank me when you’re knocking time off your next marathon!
  4. Track your sessions. I’m currently using a Polar watch I’ve had for years, and it’s awesome because I’m able to track my pace,  my heart rate, and log all of my workouts so I can look back and see progression throughout my training. If you don’t have a fitness watch, try log to the best of your knowledge in a notebook so that you can use your improvements as motivation.
  5. Recovery, Refuel and Re hydration.  If you ask any other ASICS Frontrunner athlete what the most important thing is throughout their training, they will tell you it’s the things they do away from the training itself. Recovery is VERY important, especially when you’re putting your body through so much stress. Things like adequate amounts of sleep, and I might start taking some extra magnesium to help muscle recovery. It’s also important to make sure you’re Refueling properly. You can do all of the training in the world, but if you’re not giving your body the fuel it needs you will eventually reverse all of your hard work. Eat well-balanced meals of proteins, fats, and carbs and have regular snacks throughout the day. And finally Re hydration!

I hope these tips have helped you guys, and if there are any more specific things you’d like me to blog about, drop me a message on Instagram and I am more than happy to share some tips along the way as I take on the next 13 weeks.

Training starts today with a short and easy treadmill run just to get my blood flowing again after 2 weeks of barely any training. (I was in Mozambique on holiday)

All my love!

WHAT EXERCISE EXCUSES ARE YOU MAKING?

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We all have exercise excuses we’re often unaware of. We put the alarm clock on snooze, forget our gym clothes at home, or simply don’t make the time to fit in that exercise class. But what if I told you that for all the common exercise excuses out there, I have a bunch of solutions…

Firstly, if you try rebounding, I can almost guarantee that exercise excuses will be a thing of the past.

EXERCISE EXCUSE 1: I’M TOO TIRED TO EXERCISE

The feeling of impending doom is sometimes all too real when anticipating your gym session at the end of the day. A lack of sleep, lack of exercise and lack of nutritious foods can also add exhaustion to a busy schedule

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT 

  • Make the commitment. You’re also too tired to wake up for work, but you still go! Exercise needs to rank high on the list of priorities.
  • You will never regret a workout, unless you’re feeling unwell. But generally, it gives you a guaranteed good feeling once you’re done.
  • Just show up. If the thought of a really tough or intense workout is putting you off, just make it your goal to arrive – doing a little versus doing your whole session is still better than nothing. Once you’re there you can decide how much you’re up for, and chances are your energy levels will pick up and you’ll forget you were tired!
  • Try low impact exercise. It helps to energise and oxygenate the body. Exercise also helps regulate circadian rhythms and can improve your quality of sleep.

EXERCISE EXCUSE 2: I DON’T HAVE TIME 

Between demanding schedules, traveling, working two jobs or perhaps kids, it really can feel like there’s simply no time for exercise. But I’m here to tell you otherwise!

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT 

  • Make a choice and prioritise exercise. It needs to be one of your non-negotiables like brushing your teeth. Our bodies are designed to move and exercise helps us to feel more energised, to build strength and stay healthy. Remember why you need to do it when you’re tempted to skip!
  • Commit to 20 minutes. You can torch serious calories in just 20 minutes of exercise if you’re prepared to get intense. And anybody can make time for 20 minutes, right? CWF Home workout are perfect for just that! You can buy it here! CWF Home ebook
  • Make the effort to prepare before bed. A 20-minute session of meal-planning and packing gym clothes is often all it takes to make your morning run smoother.
  • Make one activity on the weekend fitness based. Go for a family run on the beach or a challenging hike to a pretty destination instead of watching a movie. You’ll sneak in an extra workout, and have less to try fit into the working week.

EXERCISE EXCUSE 3: IT’S TOO EXPENSIVE 

Most people associate exercise with two things – gym contracts and personal trainers. And both of those can be pricey. But that isn’t the only way to exercise!

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT

  • Explore free options: You’d be surprised at the free exercise opportunities available in your area!
  • Train at home. This is one of the best and easiest options. You can find free online sessions, no gym clothes required, and only minimal equipment is needed. Fitness DVDs are also a big help, or ebooks like my CWF Home ebook on my e-store. CWF Home ebook for sale

 

EXERCISE EXCUSE 4: I DON’T KNOW HOW TO EXERCISE PROPERLY 

Exercise feels like a big time waster when you’re not sure how to perform specific moves or even which exercises to do in the first place. Gyms can often feel intimidating for this very reason.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT

  • Attend fitness classes: the trainers are in charge of keeping you in check.
  • Exercise with an informed friend. Shadowing someone who knows what they’re doing gives you a good guideline of what to do and how to use specific machines.
  • Follow youtube tutorials – any information provided by a professional is going to touch on good form.

EXERCISE EXCUSE 5: I DON’T SEE RESULTS QUICK ENOUGH

The truth is, quick fixes such as extreme exercise plans or fad diets, seldom work. I always say there’s no magic formula when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight and feeling your best. The trick is to accept this and find something you enjoy so it doesn’t feel like hard work, but rather slots into your lifestyle.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT

  • Choose a better reason for being fit: health, energy and happiness are stronger reinforcements than simply looking in the mirror, especially when visual results take their time.
  • Be patient. True healthy habits are a slow burn; energy will creep up slowly, kilos will drop off slowly. Don’t expect immediate results.
  • Take a selfie – it’s true! Photo evidence really is the best way to measure your success, especially when it’s slow.
  • Make sure you set a goal and know how to achieve it. Ask a fitness friend what type of exercise you need to be doing to get the look you want. This will prevent you wasting time on moves that don’t earn results.

EXERCISE EXCUSE 6: I’M TOO OLD TO EXERCISE

With arthritis, potential osteoporosis and brittle bones often getting the better of us, it’s easy to think that exercise will only do further damage or aggravate pain. Plus, many of us have old injuries from school sports that tend to flare up later.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT 

  • Remember that exercise is the number one preventative against a list of illnesses. It is a form of defense you can’t afford to neglect.
  • Stiffness and soreness is normal after a few initial sessions, you need to push through for a few weeks to really feel the benefits and even alleviate pain.
  • With ageing comes a loss in muscle mass, and bone density lessens as a result. Exercise is crucial in building muscle strength, strong bones, improving posture, helping us heal quicker from injury, improving range of motion, improving balance and preventing falls.

Getting back into running

When you are officially a 2018 ASICSfrontrunner, your Gran gives you her treadmill and you suddenly signed up for 6 races including a half marathon over the course of the year, the universe is telling you to lace up those takkies and to hit the road. (or in my case, the treadmill)

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I use to be a avid middle distance runner in high school, I’ve trained for half marathons before (which got cancelled) and participated in a few obstacle course runs while living abroad, but definitely neglected running the last few months!

But none the less, as my mom would describe, I look my most comfortable when I run, it comes naturally to me. And it is one of my favorite things to do.

After posting about my new ASICS shoes and my treadmill on my insta stories I’ve gotten numerous DM’s about my running plan, how long I run and what my goals are. But let me tell you, I am no professional when it comes to running, there are a few professionals on the ASICS front runner team that will be more than happy to help! This is just what I’m doing, to slowly get back in the game.

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If you are a total beginner and need some tips on “how to run”, go read this post: Effective running

 

My current running goals:

  1. Firstly, I want to wear my #frontrunner kit with pride, and not die at every 5km park run I attend. I want to improve my time over short distances first, and then increase my distances as the year goes on. My ultimate goal would be a 20min 5km…. I’m far from it but I know I can do it!
  2. After all, aesthetics is important to me. I don’t want to loose all the muscle I worked to hard for the last few months. So I am chasing a more athletic/sprinter body, than a marathon runner body. Hence the shorter, faster runs.
  3. KFM Half marathon in October, and Two Oceans half marathon next year. Only because I know I can do it! And I want to challenge myself and do it for fun. 🙂 (But max 1 half marathon a year)
  4. Endurance and cardiovascular fitness,  I love hiking and trial running. And I just love to feel fit, to hike a mountain without even breaking a sweat. I joined my friends ‘hiking group’ now. And I would love to be fit, strong and healthy for all he over night hikes we are planning for this year. First one is the first weekend if April in the Cederberg.

Okay enough about me, how am I getting back into running and improving my times after a few months break?

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Here is my very basic 8 week plan I wrote myself to do just that: (This does not include my weight training/yoga regime)

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If you are planning on running your first 10km, go read this: How To Rock Your First 10km

My trusty old Polar M400 is charged, updated and ready to go!

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Lets hit the road!

CarlaWest-95

 

 

 

Asics gel nimbus 20 review

Good day everyone, this is not my normal Blog post content but after Asics SA reached out to me to review there new ASICS Gel Nimbus 20, I decided to fully embrace it and put it to the test. I’ve been running on the road, on the beach, went for a hike, wore it around the house and actually participated in a functional class with it on as well.

Here’s how I experienced it wearing this shoe.

 

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This is not your fashionable Adidas sneaker, or light Nike free. This is a rugged, off road running shoe disguised in a beautiful pastel pink and light grey. Just my type of girly mixed with the outdoor look.

The Nimbus is a high cushioned shoe that provides a highly comfortable ride during daily training and running. The Nimbus 20 contains a FluidRide FlyteFoam combination in the forefoot and heel area of the shoe and the combination of the two makes it great for shock absorption on those runs/walks on the pavement, and responsive enough for those quicker short or long runs. The strong durable rubber outsole also adds great traction for foot strike and toe off for hiking for example.

Tech Specs

-Women’s Stack Height: 13mm heel/toe offset
-Weight: 264 grams for the Women’s shoe

-The Nimbus 20 retails for:

Pros

-Very comfortable to wear and has a great cushion feeling.
-Good tight fit (good for narrower feet)
-Smooth transition from foot strike to toe off

Cons

-Run’s half a size smaller than other shoes.
-Quit a tight fit all round (I have narrow feet) So just beware of that if you have wider feet, it may not be the best for you.

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Summary

The Nimbus 20 is a comfortable neutral running shoe with lots of cushion. I would advise this to any girl who is starting to run longer distances on the road, trails or just for everyday use when you are on your feet a lot. The added FlyteFoam cushion it gives the shoe a lighter and more responsive touch that runners most certainly want. Overall I am very happy with the shoe and I definitely enjoy wearing it! Just remember to go half a size up from your normal size if you are ordering online!

 

Thank you to Asics SA for reaching out to me and giving me the opportunity to trial and review these for them!

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free product in return for my honest review. All thought and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the company in any way.

My current fitness routine

Good morning all you beautiful people!

So if you’ve followed me or known me for a while you will know that I am quite sporty and active to say the least. I enjoy all types of running, ball sports, water sports, yoga and the list goes on. Which concludes to it almost being impossible to stick to a workout routine for long, because my goals and interests change and I get bored very easily. One day I want to train for a half marathon, the next day I want to get that sporty bikini figure. And it really changes weekly, but what it comes down to is that I never train without a goal, I feel extremely demotivated if I do.

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Just when I moved back to SA my mom was regularly doing yoga, and I joined in on her classes at Flow studio at Gordonsbay 2-3 times a week and definitely progressed in my yoga practice a lot in just a short amount of time. (I was only doing yoga at this point)

At the end of 2017 I really found my groove in the gym, as I joined a new one and focused mainly and only on strength training. So when the end of last year came around I have never eaten as much and trained as hard, aka just consistently and adding on weight and increased my strength. I’ve actually increased my seated shoulder press weight from 6kg to 12kg dumbbells. I’m pretty impressed with myself to say the least.  But training with only machines and weights.

Okay BUT, naturally I am a runner and that’s what I enjoy but the more I got into weight training the less HIIT and running I was doing and I started to feel ‘unfit’.  If I just spontaneously had to go for a 5km run now I would probably die. Hence why…….!?

New year, new plan. incorporating eeeeeverything I enjoy!!

My REALISTIC weekly routine looks like this:

Monday: 45min Cardio + Glutes (I prefer doing a 45min spinning class to start of my week and ‘sweat off’ the weekend)

Tuesday: Arms and Abs (Strength day)

Wednesday: Yoga class

Thursday: Legs (Lower body strength day)

Friday: Shoulders, Chest, Back (Upper body strength day)

Saurday: Park run (5km run/walk) (Also seen as active rest depends on how tired I am after the week)

Sunday: Rest

So, this may look a bit all over the place, and A LOT,  but because my goal is to be the strongest, leanest and fittest I’ve ever been, this is what has been working for me, my interests and schedule. And so far so good, it’s easy for me to fit in. I feel like I’m doing a bit of everything and I’m not getting bored. I also would not advise this for beginners but I’ve training consistently for years and even this leaves me a bit physically tired by the end of the week, but this is where nutrition plays a big role.

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Through the years I’ve definitely started to realize the importance of having a balanced exercise regime, and incorporating, strength, endurance and mobility. All I want is to live a long and healthy life.

My fitness goals for this year would include:

  • dropping some body fat after the holiday season
  • doing 10 pulls ups
  • doing 10 normal push ups (I know I suck, I used to be able to do it, but neglected it the last few months)
  • Getting more flexible (I stretch 20min after each session everyday and do yoga once a week)
  • Run 5km under 25min (Hence park run once a week)
  • Get back into surfing before I go to Mozambique in July.
  • Hike more.

I am also sharing this because I am in the process of re doing the summer body guide I released for free last year, it will just be called the ‘Carla West Fitness plan’, because realistically it will be a ‘train like me’ plan of what I do in the gym and how I train after all the years of trying everything under the sun. It will be released soon, so now you know what I do on a weekly basis, you will be able to see what I do day to day to achieve my dream body and reach my fitness goals this year.

More on that later!  Thank you for reading.

Carla xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WEIGHTS VS CARDIO

Weights vs Cardio? What’s better? This is probably one of the biggest questions I get asked and is one that is of great debate in the health and fitness world. I see girls smash themselves on the cardio machines in an effort to lose weight and they are generally scared of picking up those dumbbells for fear of getting bulky. However, in my opinion, there is a difference between weight loss and fat loss, and if you ask me you should be aiming for fat loss. The reason for this is a person’s weight can be deceptive. Someone who weighs more then another could be leaner, more toned and a lot healthier then someone who weighs less. That’s why it’s important to measure success through fat loss rather than a number on the scales.

So right now you’re probably wondering what you should do to get the best fat loss? Well in my opinion and from personal experience, the best fat loss method I have found comes from doing strength training and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).

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Cardio

So let me go into cardio first. Cardio has been said to burn more calories in that moment of exercise, which is why people see it as an effective tool to use for weight loss. I don’t have anything against cardio over all, and doing something is always going to be better than doing nothing.  Cardio also still has its place in a health and fitness routine. It improves cardiovascular fitness, gets the heart rate up, boosts your energy and helps with your mood. However, if you want to get the best results possible and get lean and toned, then cardio alone won’t do the job. That’s because in order to burn more fat, you to have get lean muscle, which means you need to incorporate resistance/strength training into your exercise routine.

Weights
Now let’s get onto weights. Lifting weights won’t turn you into a man. It will shape and tone your body and trust me you will still look feminine. Having a toned body means having lean muscle and minimal body fat. And the only way to get muscle is lifting weights. Now whilst cardio may burn more calories in the instant of exercise, resistance/weight training will keep your body burning calories long after you have finished your session. Plus muscles burn far more calories than fat, so the more muscle you have the more calories you will burn, turning your body into a total fat burning machine. That’s why I will always incorporate strength training into my programs and my own routine.

HIIT
So I really can’t go into this debate without touching on HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), as I also recommend this alongside weight training.  With HIIT training, you create metabolic changes in your body that will make you burn fat more efficiently. HIIT raises your natural metabolism so you’re burning fat for hours after your workout, and allows your fat burning hormones to work for you rather than against you. This is known more specifically as ‘EPOC’ (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) and is often called the ‘after burn’ effect.

So here’s my overall opinion. I’m definitely not anti-cardio. Cardio is a great place to start for anyone on their fitness journey and who wants to lose weight. However, I don’t believe cardio by itself will give you the toned body that most girls want. So if fat loss and toning is your goal, start incorporating weights and HIIT into your routine. By doing this you will maximize your results and get the body you’ve always wanted. For me, this was when my body truly starting transforming and evolving into what it is today.

 

Stay tuned for Carla West Fitness plans coming Spring 2017!!