Be More

Life update: I have a day and a half left of my internship, start my new “real” job on Monday, and my tan is approximately at 7% of last years. Office life probs.

This summer has come with a lot of reflecting and looking ahead. I’ve struggled to find the “why” behind my discontent- why do I feel the need to constantly “be productive”? Not saying that this is a bad thing- I LIKE being productive and feeling busy. The issue I’m currently running into is…what am I training for? What do I have to be productive towards?

I read a blog post from one my favorites the other day, and she summed it up perfectly: “I am a do-er, not a perfectionist”. I am not one to nit pick on every single little detail, but am I am one that loves to look at the big picture. That involves creating training schedules that don’t account for stretching and foam rolling (or sleep), and always feeling AMAZING after a yoga class but never making the time to go.

My entire life I have been an athlete, and I have been fortunate enough to train hard and to travel the continent and excel in a high-performance setting. And as positive as I tried to be throughout the ordeal, breaking my foot scared the crap out of me. It’s been six months, and it still makes me angry and it still makes me sad that I didn’t get the opportunity to perform at my peak, as this season was by the far the best I have ever felt with my diving. I spent the rest of the winter doing rehab and competing on painkillers, spent all spring recovering and then training for Nationals. After a perfectly average, nothing outstanding Nationals performance, I’ve spent the whole summer working out to feel “back in shape”. I was/am convinced that my physical conditioning after the broken foot was the worst it’s been in years (which I completely understand comes with the territory of injury). I am not a dainty athlete- my strength in diving has always been my power over my technique or “rip” (entering the water without a splash). To have that taken away felt like a much bigger blow than it needed to be because that certain injury took away everything I was “good” at. I had to rely on the things I wasn’t as good at to get me through and I couldn’t stand it.

This summer, I have been getting up at 5:30am and working out before I had to go to the office, or would go straight to the gym from work if I didn’t make it before 8am. I don’t even have a meet to train for yet, as next years nationals haven’t been posted but I am assuming my next competition will be between December and February. And honestly? I am back “in-shape” at this point. I can squat, I can run, I’m doing just fine. And yet, the discontent remains. That burn is still there, lingering, from when I felt “out of shape”.

I am not training to be in shape anymore- I am training out of fear of feeling weak. It’s not always positive and it’s not always fun, and I’ve complained to my Dad about not wanting to become a cookie-cutter health blogger because I am not someone who goes to gym to do Pinterest workouts and writes running playlists (I will write about food however, 10/10 times). I want to be a force of nature. I want to be a hurricane of an athlete- strong and fierce, not weak and afraid.

I want to push myself, in every way possible. I want to surpass my standard of feeling “in shape”. I want to attempt harder dives, and lift heavier, and run further. I want to do more and be more and really see what I can do- what I’m capable of as an athlete. I am feeling that motivation to train harder, smarter, and to pay more attention to my nutrition and recovery.

Another quote from that same favorite blogger sealed the deal for me today: “You have to do decide who are to be, and just be it”. You cannot wait for Monday or next season or when you lose ten pounds to declare you are “starting”. This is life- you have already started. If you want to do something, train for something, be something, just go be it.

With that in mind, I’m on a mission. To do more and be morestay tuned.

Advertisements

Four Steps to a Holiday Workout

Every year I come home with good intentions- to maintain eating mostly healthy, I say I’m going to stretch out, and I always say I am going to go to the gym. Every year I do alright, but nothing like my schedule back at school. (3 hours a week at home versus 20 hours a week at school still somehow seems like such a chore). In addition…I absolutely cannot stand working out at home. I’ve done yoga DVD’s at home before but that’s about it- I’m the kind of girl that needs to go to the gym. If this is not you, and have the self discipline to work out at home, CONGRATS I seriously consider you a more evolved level of human.

Step One- Find Gym Clothes

Probably only one outfit, dug out of the bottom of your suitcase, wrinkled (but who cares it’s gym clothes right?) This may seem like he easiest step, but packing in advance means you’re already setting up a significant commitment! Do you bring home one shirt? Two? How often do you INTEND to work out versus how often will you in reality and do you want to bring all that home?? And don’t forget shoes, but pay attention. True story- when I came home for a weekend in November I brought two left shoes home, and didn’t notice until I got to the gym locker room! Thanks goodness my mother has extra shoes in the car…

Step Two- Plan Your Workout

I’m on my own there- no strength coach, no team mates, not even anything to train for (besides burning off holiday cookies). I typically end up doing about 20 minutes of cardio and then lifting, the catch being I only really lift legs and do core work because I CANNOT do a pull up despite nearly seven years of weight training, heck. Any day now would be great.

Step Three- Fight Your Way Around

Holy crap it’s the holidays what is everyone doing here. Don’t you not workout over the holidays? Wait, why am I working out on Christmas Eve?? OH AN EMPTY SQUAT RACK RUN. 

Step Four- Don’t Stress the Heck Out

I like to get my workouts in over the holidays in short and sweet bursts. I do cardio intervals on the elliptical like a mad woman, lift heavy weights, and take short breaks. If a squat rack doesn’t open up (why are there 200 cardio machines and only three squat racks?!) I’ll improvise on free weights. If I forget my headphones I’ll skip the cardio and do extra core, and I always skip foam rolling to do it at home (foam rollers at the gym freak me out). Basically, when I’m at home in December, I don’t give a crap how my workout goes. It’s a miracle I’m even there! Even though I’m always dying to do something over the holidays I’m not going to skip out on Christmas morning cinnamon buns or post-dinner drinks for the sake of a workout. With that being said, I also don’t have “Holiday pants” set aside or ONLY eat cookies for days upon days. If, or when, you work out over the holidays, make it efficient. The time is meant to be spent with friends and family, not sweaty strangers judging your lifting form.

This post was brought to you by Chicago O’Hare free airport Wifi, a 4:40am alarm clock, and Starbucks. 

Fitness as a Balancing Act {Guest Post}

Thanks to Alicen Ronan for guest posting today on lauren elyse CAN! Here’s a quick bio…

“In 2005 I realized that my lifestyle had led to being overweight and unhappy. Through exercise, eating and lifestyle changes I was able to lose 60 pounds over the course of the next two years. In 2009 I became a certified personal trainer so I could help others make improvements in their lives. You can find me at Former Fitness Flunky where I share my experience and knowledge about fitness and food. You can also follow me on Twitter or find me on Facebook and Pinterest too!”

I will be the first one to admit that, even as a fitness professional, I am not perfect when it comes to fitness. There are days when I am too busy or tired to exercise, too hungry to cook a nutritious meal or I give into a craving or two and get a little derailed. The thing about fitness though is that it’s really more of a balancing act that anything. While some specific situations, like training for competition, require strict dedication, general fitness is flexible and forgiving – which is good news for many of us.

So how do you make the most of balancing fitness with the rest of your life? My best advice is create a set of parameters for your eating and exercise goals. Personally, I like to aim for 80% or more of my meals to be nutritionally sound based on my health needs and goals and I get some form of exercise at least 4 days of the week. I use the 20% or about 1 out of every 5 meals to indulge if I so choose and the remaining 3 days to rest, relax or just get other stuff done.

I like this approach because it takes the pressure off of trying to strive for perfection. It allows for some “cheat” meals or days of rest when you need it, but it also gives you some guidelines to help keep you in check. When I have taken two days off of exercise or have had one too many beers I know I am cruising towards throwing myself off of the fitness path I want to be on and I readjust accordingly.

In your specific situation you may want to adjust the parameters – perhaps making 90% of your meals nutritionally balanced while you allow yourself 10% leeway. Maybe you feel better when you exercise 5 days a week or more. The point is to create a routine that allows you to be fit without beating yourself up because you aren’t “perfect”. Balancing fitness with the rest of your life shouldn’t be a chore, it should be a fluid goal that changes with your needs. As long as you stay aware of the guidelines you have set up for yourself you can allow yourself a little breathing room which I hope takes some of the pressure off of trying to be fit.

© GraphicStock

Meal Prep with Anna Lavonne! {Guest Post}

My name is Anna Lavonne Richardson! My health and fitness journey truly started in 2012 when I made the decision to compete in a fitness competition. Since August of 2013 I have competed three times, twice placing top 10 in my division. I have taken time to become more than just a fitness competitor, though. I believe health and wellness are so much deeper than strength and physical appearance. I strive to learn the best practices to create a healthy balance through great nutrition, physical exercise, and mental strength. I love being a fit wife and an inspiration to other women. I work hard to grow and develop personally through self teaching, trusting in great mentors, and sharing/teaching through my blog. Confidence, health, and happiness start from the inside out! My goal is to teach everyone how to reach their maximum potential through health and wellness. I want to motivate other women to push past what is considered the “average” and to think beyond genetics.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annalavonne
Instagram: http://instagram.com/anna_lavonne
Blog: http://glamlegacyfit.blogspot.com/

Today I am sharing with you all steps to make food prep a breeze. In order to stay on track during the week, I make every effort on Sunday to get everything prepped and ready to go. I cook my vegetables, grill or bake my protein (chicken, steak, turkey), and I cook any starches I will need during the week. I learned a while ago that taking a few hours on a Sunday was the ticket to staying on track during the week. Let me share with you a few of my tips that will make any food prep day go smoothly.

First, I make sure my kitchen is completely clean before I start. I used to think this step was backwards. Why clean first then make it a mess only to clean it again, right?! Wrong! A clean slate makes me feel less overwhelmed. I also keep one side of the sink filled with warm, soapy water for dirty dishes. The other side I feel with clean, cold water for washing my fruits and veggies. I use a non-toxic, natural cleaner to clean my counter tops before I begin. I make my own household cleaner using grapefruit peels, you can find the instructions here.

Second, I pull all of my veggies and fruits out of the fridge. If I am doing meal prep on the same day that I went grocery shopping, I keep them out. I keep everything out and ready to prep. For the longest time I would grab from the fridge during meal prep and I was leaving things behind thinking “I will do it later”. Specifically I would leave out prepping my green beans. I tell myself I am not done until everything is prepped and in the fridge. I keep an empty grocery bag on the counter where I am chopping foods. This is where I will discard all of the ends and trimmings I don’t want to keep. I keep this back on the counter so I don’t have to chance dropping anything on the floor when I go to throw it in the trash bin.

I get everything I will need out and ready to begin.
When I chop my veggies that need to be steamed or cooked, I immediately put them in the pan or dish I will be cooking them in. Once everything is chopped and in the pan, I put it on the stove right away. I allow my veggies to steam while I work on the lettuce or kale. I do this next because they don’t need a pan. I store them in a Ziploc with a paper towel. When my carrots are done and off the stove I start working on the next veggie that needs cooking. Again, I put them straight in to the pan that I will cook them in.

Consider steaming all of your vegetables and storing them in separate containers. You can even chop your carrots in to sticks and store them in a Tupperware with water. This will keep them from drying out, but you will still have a quick snack to grab when you are looking for fuel. Do you like eggs?! Hard boil your eggs while you are chopping and prepping your other food. You can have the eggs cooking in boiling water on the stove behind you. Peel them on the same day, after they have been cooked and store them in a Tupperware or Ziploc. This will save you time during the week.

I make sure I wash everything on Sundays that doesn’t need cooking (apples, cucumbers, bell peppers, etc.) or that I will cook during the week some time. I give everything a bath in cool water and dry it completely. This way when I am in a hurry to run out of the house or I need a quick snack, everything is ready to go. It saves so much time when everything is prepped and ready to eat.

Thanks Anna for the insightful post! Your tips look amazing- and you’ve got me craving fruit! Yum!

A City Girl’s Guide To Life {Guest Post}

Big thanks to Vanessa, a fellow WordPress blogger, for taking over my blog today!

Hello lovely readers of Lauren Elyse Can!
My name is Vanessa and I blog over at A City Girl’s Guide To Life about my city adventures and life as a twenty-something young professional. Recently I’ve developed a fresh, new relationship with my personal fitness and like many things, it was inspired by my love for fashion and feeling great.
Keep reading to hear about 6 products I suggest wearing when running, dancing, and being a busy body as a city girl!

Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin gets her stretch on. (Via Tan & Tone)

Bottoms

“Leave everyone else in your dust as you power ahead in this 2XU tight.” (Buy it here.)
I was blown away when I read about the power of compression pants. They boost circulation, speed recovery and provide muscle support. Pick up a pair of these guys from 2XU and you’ll soon be apologizing to your regular workout legwear for neglecting them. And rightfully so.

Bras

The Moving Comfort Juno Bra in Pixie Splash. I’ve heard it’s magical! (Buy it here.)
One thing I always fail to remember to pack in my gym bag is a reliable sports bra. Workouts are just not the same without good support and your style doesn’t have to suffer just because you need to feel more secure. For those with more on top, I hear that the Moving Comfort Juno Bra is the way to go while the CW-X VersatX Bra is great for high impact fitness.

Crop Tops

Once that six-pack starts to show, you betta work! (Buy it here.)
This month I’m challenging myself to try a 30-day ab challenge that all make me worthy of a top like this one from So Low. So if that isn’t good motivation for shopping then I don’t know what is…

Jackets

Reward yourself for sticking with those New Year’s resolution and get covered in this fabulous spring shade. (Buy it here.)
Admittedly, I’m not good at getting myself moving when the weather is less than ideal but this jacket makes me think twice about being a serial snoozer. Columbia really outdid themselves with this color that is perfect for spring which is, coincidentally, my favorite season for re-stocking on chic sportswear.

Shoes

“With a sleeker profile, trimmed down weight and increased breathability, how can you resist slipping into the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 14 for a test ride? “
I’ve heard so many good things about Asics running shoes that when I finally get to be a serious runner, I know where I’ll invest first. The Nimbus 14’s are cool, not only because they feel like the footwear equivalent to everyone’s favorite boy wizard’s wand, but because they have “infamously plush, yet stable ride”. I’m sold.

Tanks

“Three reasons to love this tank: Body-mapped ventilation, engineered jacquard mesh, and a lovely mango shade.” (Buy it here.)
Whether running out to do errands on the weekend, running with my running club or racing to make a DanceFIT BalletFIT class, tanks are the way to go. This brightly colored number from The North Face says, “I take my fitness seriously (most days)” even if you’re just running out for a Frappuccino.

Accessories

“Aligning your chakras can be an endeavor when struggling to fit on your yoga mat.” Consider that problem solved. (Buy it here.)
Sometimes hitting the gym or studio just isn’t an option and having a slip-resistant surface can be hard to find. In cases such as these, I can almost guarantee that your life would be better if you had a yoga mat like this one from Manduka at the ready.

For more on my style & other things I love, be sure to follow me on Polyvore, Tumblr & Twitter.
xo, Vanessa

(Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.)

River Run 10K Recap

It’s Wednesday! Which was the day I said I would post my River Run Recap! It’s 11pm at night…but it’s still Wednesday. Nothing says second semester senior in the second last week of classes (specific, I know) like procrastinating everything…including blog posts, showers, and cleaning…

Anyways! To recap- I had no expectations going into the 10K. I wanted to finish, have a good time, not totally embarrass myself. And you know what I learned? I SHOULD have expectations! I should hold myself to a higher standard, because I was prepared and I wasn’t going to die and I had set really low expectations for myself because I didn’t want to be disappointed. I was pleasantly surprised, and should have been more confident setting goals!

56:34 was my official time for the event. I wanted to finish between an 1:00 and 1:10! That pace equals out to about a 9:12 per mile pace…faster than my five miler in training!

Alarm went off at 7am for the race to start at 9am! Coffee, banana, and small portion of overnight oats was perfect fuel. It was supposed to be rainy and cold so I had a horrendous time deciding what to wear- I was running a race. Who cares what I wear. I should have thrown on anything! We made it out the door and to the Start Line, and of course my running partner has to pee and I’m missing a safety pin and we basically lose our warm up time. We jog over the mass at the start line, listen to the national anthem, and we’re off!

We joked that we could use the first mile as a warm up anyways. Which would have been fine, until my right foot got pins and needles for the last two miles of the race. Something to do with my butt muscles being too tight and nerves and such- apparently I needed to do some lunges! The first 5K felt like a breeze- the neighborhood was super pretty, people were cheering us on from their porches, and the miles melted away!

And big shock…it didn’t rain. It wasn’t even cold. It was funny though to see the different runners- some in tank tops and shorts and others in full length leggings and head warmers. So what’s a girl to do? Sprint to the car and strip off layers of course! Thankfully we were parked right along the road and were able to strip a layer off without too much trouble :)

The second half of the race was definitely more difficult. AKA- hills. At this point I had been running the WHOLE time, and when we reached 5, 5.5 miles, and I was super excited to have run further than I had in years! But what did we find at mile 5.5? The mother of all hills. Seriously, this thing was five times the distance of that hill during the Warrior Challenge where the guy behind me puked. David is telling me to lean forward, we pass a couple walkers, and we’re almost at the top! Which is when I begin to cry a little. I thought I couldn’t breathe. I thought I couldn’t keep going. I thought my lungs were going to explode and there was no way I could take a single. other. step.

So I stood there. I was NOT going to walk. I cried for about the three seconds, and I kept running.

I caught my breath back over the crest of the hill, and David kept me distracted chatting away. By the end of mile 6 I felt like I was cruising again, and finished the race with a smile on my face!

So what’s next? Well that’s it for races I have scheduled this spring/summer! My running confidence has shot way up after completing those two races. So what now? A new squat max? A yoga challenge? I think I’d love to sign up for a 5K and run it for time…let’s get competitive about this now!