Friday, December 29, 2017

How to Get In and Out of the Gym in 30-60minutes

When it comes to the gym do you: 
  • Avoid going to the gym because you don't think you have enough time?
  • Spend more than 60 minutes in the gym?
  • Wonder why the heck it takes you so long to get a full body workout in?
  • Want to know how to make the best use of your time to get results with your strength program?

If so...this post is for you!

Now, some people love the gym so much that they would hang out there all day, every day, and likely even sleep over if they were allowed. You see these people there every time you go, they are there when you arrive and still there when you leave (hey, that sounds like me hahaha).  Kidding!  Let's be serious...most of us want to get in and out of the gym as quickly as possible while still making the gains we seek.  We want to maximize our results and minimize the amount of time we spend getting them.  Am I right?  

I love to strength train and I do play in the gym for longer than an hour when I have the time.  But it is my passion, hobby and career, so I enjoy playing and experimenting!  Most of the time, however, I have a big list of other things I also want to do (multi-sport athletes always have another workout to do!) so I aim to get in and out of the gym in 45-75minutes.  I have learned many techniques for maximizing my gym time in the shortest amount of time and can easily get a solid, full body strength workout done in 30 minutes no problem.  There are many tricks and I want to share them with that you are more likely to GO and get those gains!  Here you go:

1. Gym 'like a boss'.  If you don't want to be there all day, make it your job to get in and out.  Put that focus at the top of your mind before heading to the gym and have your plan in place.  Know exactly which exercises, reps, sets and weights you are going for before you start your workout.  Having a progressive plan is the number one way to maximize your gym time!  Don't be that guy wandering around, wondering what to do and making it up as you go, if you want to be efficient.  Need help with this? I'm here for ya!

2. Make the most of your warm up.  You have to warm up correctly if you want to push hard enough to make gains without risking injury.  Period.  I use the rowing machine for 3-5 minutes because it activates the most muscle groups and prepares the entire body.  Then I do a warm up set of the main moves I am planning on doing that day, using a weight that is about 50% of my planned weight.  10 or so reps.  This ensures you are prepared fully and also adds a light set to your workout -bonus!

3. Always choose active rest between sets.  You will never ever ever see me standing still and watching the clock between sets at the gym!  Alternate between two exercises whenever you can to cut your gym time in half-literally.  This is the easiest way to shorten your workout time!  Choose opposing exercises to allow for greater recovery or similar ones if you want to make it harder with super sets.

4. Work HARD.  You don't have to do more than 2 or 3 sets of each exercise but you do have to work HARD and push your limits on each one.  Instead of doing 4 sets of exercises, do 2, but work to failure (just before form starts to crumble, not beyond that!).  One of the main reasons to keep a training log is to have numbers to beat each time you head to the gym.  Always make it your goal to increase something at your next workout- reps first, then weight or adding sets etc.  Your mission should be to try and beat your numbers!  When you are starting out, you will easily do this- bumping up your reps each week, then earning the right to increase the weight.  As you gain more experience and strength, it gets harder to beat those numbers every time, but the simple action of TRYING will boost your fitness and maximize your gym time.

5.  Forget isolation exercises.  If you want to shorten your gym workout, then switch your routine up to include exercises that use multiple muscle groups. Pick 6-8 big moves that either use a large amount of muscle mass (squats/the big lifts) and/or that combine upper and lower body patterns (ie squat to overhead press with dumbbells) to decrease the time and increase your results. Using cables and free weights is the way to go.  Avoid machines that lock you in, sit you on your but, don't activate your core or challenge your balance and isolate movements.  Functional, movement based training is where it's at!  Of course, if you want to break through on strength gains for specific muscles/movements, then you can add additional sets or high rep off day accessory exercises to increase the volume (time) that you are spending on these areas.  But we are talking about efficiency today:)  When I am in the gym I aim for 6-8 exercises and complete 3 sets (to failure - make it burn!) of the 2 most important exercises on my plan for that day and then 2 sets (to failure again!) of the rest.  Lower reps, and heavier weights, means less time in the gym so don't be afraid to progress to lifting heavy once you get your technique down.  

6.  Go in a disguise.  Put your ear buds in and pull your hat down low if you want to get in and out quickly!  If you want to socialize, then that is great too, but spending time chatting will add to the time you are in the gym.  If efficiency is your goal, then keep moving, smile and catch up with your peeps another time.  I am the queen of this...and maybe I don't come across as the most friendly gym goer because of it...but I can knock off a killer workout in 45 minutes so I don't mind!

7.  Good tunes.  My secret weapon!  I listen to my favourite, high energy tunes that keep my feet moving and my focus on HIGH.  Tunes definitely help me rock my workouts in record time.

8.  Put down your phone!  Scrolling, taking selfies and posting to instagram will double the amount of time you spend in the gym...I might be speaking from experience:).  Put your phone on airplane mode and lift like a boss!

There is more to rocking your strength gains then efficiency tips tho...check out my article on Transforming your Body to get into it further!

What are your best tips for maximizing your gains and minimizing your gym time?  Thanks for sharing!

Go get dem gains!

Sarah Seads
Practicing Kinesiologist :: Global Strength & Endurance Coach
Owner Equilibrium Lifestyle Management
Adventure Athlete @wildseads

Did you know I coach adventurers and
athletes all over the world in Team ELM Online? 

Insta: elm_health 
Call:: 250-338-8998

Friday, December 15, 2017

Client Stories: "My Life Is Immeasurably Better..."

My thanks to Sarah, for creating a holistic fitness education program that encompassed eating, sleeping and moving and for being the first person who told me that my injury wasn’t going to finish me. - Karen Cummins

Health, belief and 'stoke' are all extremely contagious.  I know that you will be inspired by Karen's story, so I asked her to share a bit of her journey with you all.  She has inspired me with her belief, enthusiasm, willingness to learn and dedication to her new lifestyle and longterm health.  Well done Karen.  I am beyond grateful to have crossed your path and to have the chance to support you on our journey.  I can't wait to see what you do next!

1. What obstacles did you face when beginning your new fitness program?

I had some fear around not being athletic or skilled with gym equipment. Would I be able to do what was expected? I have never really liked the gym environment so wasn’t looking forward to that. I didn’t know how I was going to make the time at first.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

What's Your Plan?

BIG goals, deserve GOOD plans!

Goals, dreams, passion, energy, excitement...all key ingredients in creation of performance and success!  But...what is the best recipe?  What are the steps to take, the moves to make and the cues of when to make them?  A training plan is like a recipe for your goals.  Without one, you are left flying by the seat of your pants, with a loaf of bread that didn't rise and wondering where it all went wrong;)

  • Have you started training for a goal with enthusiasm, only to quickly feel the wheels come off and lose your focus and motivation?
  • Are you unsure if you are doing the right training type, amount, intensity and frequency to reach your goal?
  • Do you bounce around between ideas and plans, making things up as you go?
  • Do you get injured, burnt out or frustrated with lack of results?

Monday, October 30, 2017

Perseverance Trail Run 2017 Race Report

Image: Deb Karlstrom

The 13th annual Perseverance Trail Run was a huge success this past Sunday with 475 registered racers, more than 70 volunteers and hundreds of supporters coming together to raise funds for the Cumberland Community Forest Society (CCFS). Following the race the CCFS hosted a fun, community ‘Party in the Park’ featuring live music by DJ Lady K and the Luke Blue Guthrie, a tasty BBQ, craft beer, kids scavenger hunt, screen printing and more. The CCFS is a local society working to purchase and protect forest lands in the Cumberland area. Over the past 12 years the Perseverance Trail Run and After Party for the Forest have raised well over $500,000 for the CCFS.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Lost Soul Ultra 100K Race Report

Well that was a wild ride! 

I've got a 100k hangover but I wanted to jot down my race report while it is still fresh in my foggy brain:).  Spending the weekend eating in bed haha so I've got lot's of time to write.  Here goes!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Time to Persevere!

Vancouver Island Peeps...


Registration is filling up for the 13th annual Perseverance Trail Run, taking place on Sunday, October 29th in the Village of Cumberland! This years race will once again feature two classic trail run courses: A 3k Cross Country Romp and an 11k Mountain Run. The 3k XC Romp showcases the protected Cumberland Community Forest trails including a few ups and downs, twists and turns and maybe even a little water. This course is perfect for those looking to sample cross country running, including walkers and the little ones. The 11k Mountain Run is for those looking for a running challenge complete with steep climbs, flowing descents, technical single-track and breathtaking vistas. If you are ready to challenge your trail running stamina, this course will surely take you to new 'heights'.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Getting High in Colorado: Trans Rockies Run 2017 Race Report

Team ELM TRR 2017! L-R: Marion Bryan, Lynn Swift,  Erika Spearmann, Lisa Perry, Crystal Mather and Coach Sarah

These girls tho. I am so honoured and proud and beyond grateful to have shared this journey with these amazing, strong, resilient women. Big mountains and thin air are no match for these big hearts and magic smiles. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journey and to support you as your coach and friend. My heart is full of love and you have inspired me more than you will ever know.πŸ’•Way to kick ass up high with those strong sea level legs, girls! You da best!

Team @elm_health rocks 🀘🏻🀘🏻🀘🏻

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Should I Exercise In This Wildfire Smoke??

Are you wondering if it is safe to exercise with so much smoke in the air from forest fires around British Columbia?  You are not alone!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Solo Camping Safety Tips

Hi friends!  Please read entire post and share with your friends who solo adventure!

✨S O L O✨
There is magic in solo adventure.   Peace, presence and free flowing introspection.  I have solved nearly all of my life problems on a long solo walk or jog about in the wild.  Peace lives on these solo journeys, for me.  Sometimes we want to be in solitude and other times we just cant find a buddy to join us, but either way, solo adventure is a big part of life for many of us.  As you read in my recent post, last week I had a close call with violence while camping in the Hampton campground in Manning Park and although it was a terrifying experience, I also see it as a gift.  This close call is a chance to prevent something worse from happening to us and others in the future and an opportunity to learn and share.  I am a very safety conscious adventurer and as a rule I go above and beyond managing risk and putting 'safety first!'.  But I was caught off guard by the sense of security I felt camping in a well established Provincial Park.  I got a serious reminder to keep personal safety at the top of the list in all scenarios.  I want to share the solo camping safety tips that I usually take and a few more that I have since added to my toolbox.  Please feel free to add any that I have missed or that you use as we can all learn from each other.  These apply for all solo adventurers but also small groups in certain situations as we were targeted even in a pair.  There are risks in all walks of life and we can only do our best to manage them.  Put your safety first and then you can relax and have fun!  
•Carry personal protective equipment with you: Bear spray, knife, whistle and communication in an easy to reach spot.  Carry an inReach or other satellite communication device where there is no cell coverage. Keep your car key/panic alarm on your person when near your car and others are in the area.  Carry a personal alarm (screamer) on your person when away from your car.
•Camp in areas with other campers wherever possible.  Get to know your neighbours. Sleep in your car if you are even remotely uncomfortable.  Do not ever wear earplugs while sleeping when camping.
•Contact the campground in advance to find out if there is an onsite attendant, security or others camping in the facility.  Do not assume.
•Never assist a stranger in the night or in a secluded area (a call for help, broken down vehicle, hitchhiker etc).  Protect yourself first, go for help and send it back.
•Make a scene/noise if you are even remotely concerned about your safety- to alert others that may be in the area.  Panic alarm on your car key, screaming, whistle, loud crazy voice, bright light etc. Resist the urge to freeze!  
I also believe learning self defence is an important and very empowering tool to add to your toolbox if you don't already know how to fight.  
Always let someone know your plans and update them if you change them, and set up a regular check in (once a day if possible) if you can.

Believe in the goodness of humans, live free, run wild, do not live in fear...but always put your safety first.  Hugs and happy trails, friends!  

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Canada's Toughest Mudder 2017: My First OCR Experience

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling
I did it!  Post 8 hour, 50k TM, after being awake for 28 hours lol

Last weekend I got a little dirty.  And wet.  And cold.  And scared.  And tired.  And invigorated.  And  giddy.  And humbled.  And...maybe even hooked on a new sport?  Oh boy.  Why oh why do I have to love crazy?  At least I know I'm not the only one.  I may have just found my tribe;)

Friday, June 23, 2017

Top 3 Reasons Endurance Racers Fail to Cross the Finish Line and How to Avoid Them!

The more mistakes we make in a race, the more we learn...but that is a hard way to learn!  It is much more enjoyable to learn from the mistakes of others;).  After two decades of endurance racing, I have seen (and made) nearly every mistake in the book.  And through all of them, the same 3 issues float to the top year after year in all disciplines of endurance racing.  

The human body is an amazing machine.  With a strong driver at the wheel (mental strength-another topic!), it will literally keep moving forward for an infinite length of time so long as we support it optimally.  So, what do we need to do to achieve relentless forward progress?  Read on to learn the top 3 reasons racers fail to cross the finish line in endurance events and my tips to help you avoid them!  *Note: These tips apply to any endurance event- not just races- such as big day hikes, paddling adventures or any other event lasting more than 2 hours.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Kiss Your Fears Goodbye

Ohhhhh Myyyyy Gaaaaaawd!  Along for the ride with Jump Master, Daryl of Pacific AirSports in Campbell River.

This weekend, I kissed one of my biggest fears goodbye.  Skydiving.  It was one of the scariest and most amazing kisses of my life;).   Watch my video at the end of this post!

"Nope. Never, ever, ever.  Not even going to consider it.  Don't even ask me.  I. Will. Never. Skydive."

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Cumby 23k Race Report

This is going to be a quick and dirty race report (for real!)- because the sun is shining and there are more adventures to be had!
And we're off!  Great shot of the 23k race start from Kathy Campbell

The Cumby 23k Trail Run

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Dream Cookies

Finally...after years of licking spoons and testing cookies I have created the ultimate...the perfect...the most amazing...the 'Dream Cookie'.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Zion 50K 2017 Race Report

"She believed she could.  So she did."

It is hard to believe that a year has passed since I was last in the desert, to run 50k. And yet, so much has happened this past year that the Grand Canyon Ultra feels like an eternity away. A year ago, I was just beginning to recover from my crash and whiplash and the timing just wasn’t right for a 50k run. I spontaneously combusted and dropped at the first aid station after running only 5kms and then limping on one leg another 15kms, to get myself out. First time for everything, including a DNF.

Friday, March 17, 2017

How To Become An Efficient (and fast) Runner

Whether it is your first 10k, faster 21k or an ultra adventure, the key to your success in endurance training and racing is not simply adding more miles.  Nope.  The key, to moving faster and further without as much fatigue is training your body to become:

adjective: efficient
(especially of a system or machine) achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.

Friday, March 3, 2017

How To Transform Your Body

Are you ready to roll?
You have body composition goals.  I am here to help.  Step 1: Education.  Step 2: Action.  Step 3: Patience.  Let's get to work on Step 1...

Gaining Muscle

Gaining muscle takes work. In order to build muscle, the body needs an overload stimulus, sufficient calories, optimal protein and carbohydrate macro ratios, nutrient timing and adequate recovery. Gaining muscle not only increases muscle tone and strength, but also improves metabolism so that we are burning a higher amount of calories every minute of the day. Strength training itself also burns a great amount of calories and results in a significant ‘after burn’ of increased metabolism for the hours following a training session. This combined increase in metabolic rate results in an improved body composition (as more fat is lost). If you want to lose fat- don’t underestimate the power of pushing hard in the gym- cardio alone is NOT the best way to do it. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

My Favourite Winter Gear

I just got home from a long, chilly, hard, sweaty, steep, snowy ultra training run and dropped my kit on the floor in the foyer.  Thump.  'I wonder how much my pack weighs?', I think.  I can't wait until I am running free of the load and the layers and all of the gadgets in my upcoming race in the desert.  But, I sure am grateful for all of the gear I have that keeps me happy and comfortable during winter training!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Weight Management: How to Create Your Nutrition Budget

Imagine for a moment, the feeling of running with a 20 pound backpack.  Then imagine, you slip the pack off and run free from the extra load.  Can you feel the lightness?  The ease and freedom of movement?  I'll bet you can.

This is the same sensation of running with or without an extra 10, 20, 30 or more pounds of body weight to carry with you.  Increased body mass, specifically fat, as it is 'non-functional weight',  increases the workload of locomotion.  It is harder for the muscles to propel you forward, harder for the blood to circulate to greater areas and harder for the body to thermoregulate during exercise when you are carrying a significant amount of extra weight.  All of this increased effort, results in a higher energy and oxygen requirement and the result is a feeling of greater fatigue at any given pace (movement is harder).  This is most evident during running, as there are no toys to assist in forward motion (skii's, boat, bike etc) but is still noticible in all activities.  Those extra 20 pounds above a healthy body weight increase your effort while decreasing your pace...but...I'm sure you already knew that;) 

So how to lose those 20 pounds?  More on that in a moment.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Training Principles: Maintenance

"You can do anything, but not everything." 
- David Allen

You know I believe you can do anything. I really do. Dream big! Shoot for the stars! Rock your goals and claim your vision!

You just can't do everything, at once. My friend, athlete and Journey Coach, Sarah Erikkson says this ALL the time. And I love it!

Enter the Maintenance Principle.

There are many different areas that we want to improve through conditioning: endurance, strength, speed, power and everything in between. But, we cannot improve them all at once. If we try and fill our weeks with everything, then we will not allow for adequate time/volume, to create optimal improvement in any of the areas. A professional, periodized training plan follows the principle of Periodization, which includes different phases of training that allow the athlete to focus on specific components of fitness, while maintaining others and not losing gains in the process.
How? Read on!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Training Principles: Overtraining

You have been rocking your workouts and adding extra training sessions to your week, just because you are feeling so damn great!  You almost feel invincible!  Now is the time to find out what you are capable of and push even further, harder and faster, right?

You have been doing all of your training sessions but you felt slower on your last couple of runs/rides.  Easy pace didn't feel easy and your heart rate is too high.  You couldn't get your speed up to target pace during your last couple of interval sessions.  You are training so hard but your performance is stale or getting worse.  Now is the time to push further, harder and faster, right?

You are beyond stressed out at work and home life is just as crazy right now.  You can't get to bed before midnight but you still have to get up early and do it all again tomorrow. You feel like you are burning the candle at both ends and man, now your throat is a bit sore. You missed your key workouts last week because of 'life' and exhaustion.  Now is the time to make up those workouts and push yourself to squeeze even more in, right?


Friday, January 13, 2017

Training Principles: Overload

 Are you following the same program in the gym and lifting the same weights that you were last year, or the year before last (or not doing any strength training at all??) and wondering why you don't seem to get any stronger?  Or, have you been running the same pace, the same route and following the same running schedule all year, or for many years and wonder why you aren't getting any faster?  Well, folks, I'm here to give you a friendly reminder that the same old just ain't gonna work;).  Results take focus, effort and overload balanced with optimal recovery (and nutrition) and you need a progressive training plan for that.

If you aren't progressing, you are maintaining or regressing.  It's as simple as that. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Minds Eye: 2016 Reflections

9 amazing moments from my 2016.  L-R from top left:  Castlecraig Loop, Comox Lake Bluffs, Brianna at Run BC on the Iceline Trail,  Comox Lake bluffs, again the bluffs (one of my sanctuaries),  Mt. Cokely summit, Landslide Lake, My back 40, Summit of the Golden Hinde, highest point on Vancouver Island.  The worlds most beautiful playground right in my backyard :)