Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Favorite Poses

Mostly every individual that practices yoga has a favorite yoga position. In case you aren't familiar with poses, I have included both the English and Sanskrit names.

I'm a huge lover of twists, binds and flexibility poses. Here are some of my favorites!

Upward Bow or Wheel // Urdhva Dhanurasana

This has been one of my favorite poses that I mastered back when I was a gymnast. It's the perfect "wake up in the morning stretch." Do I ever do it in the morning? Almost never. It is a great back stretch and chest opener. The further you push your chest outward, the deeper the stretch.

Pigeon // Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

Pigeon pose is one of my all-time favorites. I love how it helps to open my hips and inner thighs, which get really tight from running. I sometimes feel like I could stay in this pose forever.

 Bound Triangle // Baddha Trikonasana

Triangle pose with a bind is a great pose for tight hamstrings and back. It's a tough pose to accomplish, but when accompanied with a slow breath, I truly enjoy it.

Those are some of my favorite yoga poses. You can alway search modifications, especially if you are unfamiliar with yoga. I do recommend taking a yoga class so you know you are doing it correctly. 

These poses are obviously subject to change over time, you too, may find a pose that you used to love and you now hate or vice versa!

Twist, bend and breathe,


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hydration Station

It is so important to make sure your body has enough water. Even if you don't break a sweat everyday, your body constantly uses water. One way to make sure you are getting enough is to use a hydration calculator.

According to WebMD, there are several reasons to drink more water:

  • Water helps maintain the balance of body fluids and keeps brain function at its peak. Feeling groggy? Grab some H2O and sip away!
  • Helps to control calories and overeating (especially when substituted for a caloric beverage like soda).
  • Water helps energize muscles. Make sure to drink about 17 ounces (I usually go for 20) about two hours before a workout. Muscles won't get as fatigued or as sore. Make sure to drink after your workout too!
  • Water keeps your kidneys and intestines in great shape! 

Here are some great tips on how to keep yourself on top of hydration!

  • Get an awesome and fun water bottle. Make sure you get a bottle that makes drinking water more fun! You'll be refilling it constantly. My favorite is the Camelbak Eddy and I have it in purple .75 liter. I want it in the full liter size next! It's a perfect water bottle for on-the-go and it doesn't spill. It also has a lifetime guarantee and makes the $15 price tag totally worth it.
  • Sip all day, every day. Here's a great way to do it, if you can't lug two water bottles around, just do 9am/2pm on each marker and refill. Found this great tip on Pinterest!

I hope you all decide to make smart choices for hydration by choosing water over other beverages. I'll admit that I'd rather drink anything but water, but it has been growing on me. I try to at least drink two full bottles of my .75 L water bottle, which still does not bring me to my 2.1 L hydration goal! 

Happy hydrating,


Friday, November 23, 2012

How to Kick Black Friday's Butt

Are you a diehard shopper? If so, I’m sure you’ll be snagging all the Black Friday deals. Of course you’ll want to be charged and ready to go, but long lines and crowds of shoppers will easily wear on your energy.

It’s a draining post-holiday tradition that many individuals opt-out of. However, if you decide to brave the crowds, lines and get some great deals in the process, here are some great tips.
  1. Dress for comfort. You don’t want to be rushing around the mall sweating with that heavy coat on, so don’t bring it! Leave the Uggs and other fancy footwear at home. Wear comfortable sneakers or clogs that have support, your feet will thank you. Don’t wear constricting clothing, either. You’re best off wearing clothing that’s relaxed and comfortable!
  2.  Food, food, food! Okay, so you’re probably thinking “I had my big Thanksgiving dinner, so I’ll be fine!” WRONG, you will get hungry! Mall food courts get mobbed on Black Friday. Skip the lines and keep shopping by packing foods that will give you energy. Trail mix is a great idea, the sugar in the chocolate will give you a quick, short burst of energy and the nuts will give you long term energy. Bananas are always a great, on-the-go option also.
  3. Skip the caffeine and sugary drinks. The sooner you reach for the coffee, cappuccino or latte and chug it, the sooner you’ll crash! Try to sip it slowly, and alternate with water to stay hydrated and awake. You’re better off sipping water and carrying it around in a reusable water bottle for a free water fountain refill. Now, that’s saving money and calories!
  4. Keep moving. “It does not matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop.” If you are a true, Black Friday warrior, you want to avoid sitting and “taking breaks” as much as possible. It will only make you more tired and it will be harder to get going again. As soon as you lose your momentum, it’s time to go home. With that being said, don’t overexert yourself on saving a few dollars, because it’s not worth it.
  5. Be safe. Be smart about your wallets, your credit cards, cash and purses. Try to stay in small groups of 3-4 people, so it’s easy to get around but you’re not in a small enough group that you’ll be an easy target for scammers and pickpockets.
I hope you all have a great Black Friday, whether it’s spent browsing the internet for holiday gift ideas, braving the crowds at the malls at midnight, or enjoying your day resting at home!

Be smart and safe!


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gobble Wobble Race Results!

Place: 1006/2087
Top 50%
Chip time: 31:34 
(which is what I count because I was at a 2 minute standstill at the start)

I have been up since 6:30am working race registration and then I did the run! I always get anxious before a race and I peed twice within 30 minutes before the race started...

Anyways, I was fine with the race! The last hill was grueling, but I had so much adrenaline. Plus, ACDC's "Shook Me All Night Long" was blaring in my ears. I never, ever run with earphones but it helped me focus especially once I separated from my friend. It kept distractions away from my mind and it gave me my moment to just run the race, for me, like I originally planned.

5ks are getting to be easier, which is exciting. Maybe I will be ready for the Rock'n'Roll Half come September!

My running attire for the race (this was taken post-race, no way was I taking a picture at 6:30am). 

Top: Avia (blue long sleeve),  Nike (short sleeve purple, underneath), Aerie (sports bra). 
Bottom: Under Armour Coldgear Compression Tights. 
Shoes: ASICS

Honestly, I was dressed PERFECTLY for the weather. I debated whether or not to take my vest and I'm so glad I left it behind. Less is more when running a race, everyone!

I'm very thankful for my body and it allowing me to run this race with zero complications! I'm also thankful for my friend who I ran beside for about half of the run. Today was a great day!

I came home and stretched my achy muscles to "thank" them.

Now, I must go catch some ZZzzzs because I am opening tonight at the mall for Midnight Black Friday MADNESS!

Stay fit, healthy and full of food and happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gobble, Gobble!

 Ah, the savory smells of roasted turkey linger in the kitchen. The fluffy, hot mashed potatoes are sitting on the table. Cranberry sauce is ready for consumption. Pumpkin pie and ice cream are all set for dessert.

The problem is you’re trying to eat healthy! All these smells wafting from a relative’s kitchen (or more dangerously, your own) will be tempting.

Here are some tips on how to eat healthy and keep in check come turkey time:
  • Keep your plate colorful. This is the best way to avoid a carb overload! Too much bread, potatoes and stuffing (beige food) can be a bad thing. Try to fill your plate with nutritious options first like carrots, peas, corn, string beans, spinach, asparagus, salad, cranberry sauce, or sweet potatoes. Then fill in your plate with the carbohydrates!
  •  Eat slow. Eat less. The idea of eating slow (allowing 10-12 seconds between loading another forkful of food into your mouth) gives your stomach time to realize it’s full. Your brain will get the signal to stop eating before you overindulge.
  •  Choose only what you really want. This is a great way to “rank” your food. Take what you really want on your plate and put the rest aside. Ask yourself, “Will I eat all of this?” and "Do I really want this, or is there something I like more?"
  •  Don’t load up on unhealthy hors d’oeuvres and appetizers. First, Eat small amounts of appetizers. Yes, the Ruffles chips and onion dip that my family serves are sinfully delicious, but is it healthy to load my plate up on just that? No. It’s not! I’ve got an entire plate of delicious Thanksgiving goodness that only comes once a year. If you can't resist those unhealthy options, just eat small amounts and you can always indulge on a fruit or veggie platter instead!
  • Live a little! You may not feel guilty about overindulging once you start eating, but come Black Friday, you might have a case of the post-Thanksgiving blues. Try not to think about it. Most likely your Thanksgiving overindulgence only lasted one day, or one evening. Keep that in mind! 

I find that it’s best to just let the holiday be exactly that—a holiday. Don’t count calories or force any strange healthy options down your loved one’s throats. Thanksgiving will not sabotage your healthy lifestyle unless you allow it to. Come Monday, get back in the swing of healthy eating and activity! You will be just fine! Your healthy life will resume at some point, I promise!

Happy gobbling your Thanksgiving meal!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Accomplishments & Hug a Runner!

Hi everyone!

I just wanted to let you all know that I ran a very long distance (for myself) that was 6.4 miles! I ended up running to the bank to deposit a check and then I took a detour on the way back, ended up doing another 1.6 miles than I originally planned.

I did not set out to run this pace, since I'm running the Gobble Wobble in less than two days. I figured, hey what the hell! I'll give it a go. I'm so glad I pushed myself through. I proved to myself that I'm really getting back into running and it's for good! I made sure to go to yoga tonight to help soothe my muscles, even though I stretched and foam rolled a TON after I initially got home post-run.

So yes, that's how I began with the run. The first 1.5-2 miles are always the mentally and physically most difficult. I find it easier to run once I hit the 2 mile mark. I don't really track my time or pace, but I went slow. I made it in about an 1:10 (one hour, ten minutes) but I didn't want to overexert myself. either.


Happy Hug a Runner Day, all you runners get huge hugs from me!
No matter how slow you are going, you are still lapping everyone on the couch!
Stay fit, healthy and motivated!


Monday, November 19, 2012

running and training gear purchases!

Yesterday, I realized that it is going to be chilly Thanksgiving morning. I'm running a 5k and I almost never run outside when it's cold (at least, not really). I'm kind of a wimp about it!

I figure I'd invest in a set of Under Armour Coldgear leggings! They are so beautiful and soft and warm and I just can't wait to take them for a test run (literally). So I bought these beautiful Under Armour Coldgear Compression Leggings. I'm patiently waiting for these babies to arrive soon via Fed Ex!

I need compression because it helps speed my recovery time (not as sore after longer runs, feel more supported when running and less muscle tightness). I also needed a pair of cold gear because all my other running tights were NOT SUITED for running in cold weather and the cold air just wooshes right through! Brrr...

Another purchase I made this weekend...which I am WAY too excited about:

I got a pair of ASICS Women's Gel- Envigor TRs! I live and breathe ASICS shoes, I've strayed from their wonderful products and only caused my feet pain and suffering! These blue beauties are my cross trainers. What that means is if I'm heading to the gym to just lift, maybe I'm going to take a Body Pump class, it's for less intense impact activity and I'll wear these. I normally wear my other running ASICS to to everything, but I don't want to wear them out from cross training, spinning classes, etc. I want to save my hardcore running shoes for hardcore running, races and long runs--where I really need them! 

Better yet, I found them at Nordstrom Rack, and they were only $55-- yes, please!

Happy Fitness :)


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cool Down and Stretch

You're done your workout. You're covered in sweat, thinking about how you just want to leave the gym and go home and shower.


Stay and stretch for ten minutes. Your muscles will be less sore and less prone to injury.

The best way I can force myself to stay and stretch is to have a stretching playlist on my iPod. That way, it's ready for me when I'm done with a grueling workout. I make a mix of heart-rate slowing songs that I love!

Here's a few songs from my stretching playlist (I keep it on shuffle, great way to keep it unpredictable):

  • Last Kiss - Taylor Swift
  • The Goldfish Song - Kina Grannis
  • Colors - Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
  • Such Great Heights - Iron & Wine
  • Your Song - Ellie Goulding
  • Safe and Sound - Taylor Swift (feat. The Civil Wars)
  • Stars - Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
  • Bluebird - Sara Bareilles
I'll also update my playlist about once every other week, to alleviate boredom. I also keep many different songs (up to 30 songs) so I always have an option. 

Another option for music is if your music device has Wifi capabilities. I'll go on Pandora and put the Singer/Songwriter or Yoga station on and just zen out.

I allow my mind to wander while I'm lying on the mat stretching. It's so euphoric and relaxing and it's pure "me" time.

If you are looking for a great stretching routine, here are some great options:

I'm a huge fan of Cassey's stretch routine from Blogilates. It has helped increase my flexibility so much!

Love your body back and reward those muscles every day! They truly do so much for you. Remember not to push your muscles too far, or else you may strain or tear a muscle. 


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Motivational Moments

I just want to give to one of my favorite fitness bloggers, Allie, a sincere congratulations on completing her first marathon (and first race). Check out her recap here.

Allie is a perfect model of setting a goal for yourself and reaching it. She documented the bumps along the way, but she crossed the finish line!

I'm setting a tentative goal for myself...

I want to run the Philadelphia Rock and Roll Half Marathon in September 2013!

13.1, babies!

I told myself, once I run a half marathon I can buy this beautiful piece of running gear/technology as my reward.

It'll happen one day and I hope in September 2013!

My advice would be to set a goal for yourself and don't cheat! If your goal is to lose 20 pounds, your present to yourself isn't a night out for ice cream and pizza. Try a spa day or a shopping spree! Your body goes through a lot, so you're better off treating your body right rather than sabotaging your fitness feats.

Happy goal setting!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Exercising my fitness commitment


  • You don't have time to workout. 
  • You are busy. 
  • You are stressed. 
  • You have classes. 
  • You have assignments to do for your classes.
  • You have work.  
  • You just don't have time for anything else in your schedule.

So, how will you find time to workout?

I solved this dilemma for myself. I have two jobs, an internship and I go to school full time. I make time to workout. No, I don't magically have 26 hours in a day, but some days it sure feels like it.
Starting a workout regimen is complicated and hectic. It doesn't have to be! That's why I'm here, to hold your hand and motivate you to put one foot in front of the other until you're breaking a sweat.

What works for me

I have a little secret tidbit of information to help you better understand time management.

There are individuals out there who are busier than you and they are carving out time to exercise.

If you can't make your workout fit into your schedule, then you need to make your workout more accessible.

My dilemma and how I solved it:

I want to work out at the gym where I work, but the hours just do not fit my routine.

Question: Now, you may simply ask me, why don't you just work out at home?

My answer: Working out at home is not a real possibility for me. My house is old, creaky and tiny and there's not much room do do a full-on cardio session in my living room. It's impossible. So, I suggest you, my fellow space-limited friends, to join a gym with better hours for you.

I just joined a 24-hour gym. I can go whenever and it's really great! Especially when I close at my mall job (the mall closes at 9, out of there by 9:30 and the gym wouldn't happen until 10 which, by that point, my old gym closed at 10). Yeah, so a workout would NOT happen.

If you can't make a gym work for you, it's time to start searching!

Commit to fit!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

About Hit the Mat Running

Things to expect from Hit the Mat Running
            Hit the Mat Running is my fitness and active living blog. I hope to inspire others who come from all walks (or runs) of fitness.

 Posts will include:
  • Workout tips and photos
  •  Information about yoga and my yoga experience
  •  Information about running and my running experience
  • Recipes
  • Photos
  • Playlist information
  • Motivation!
  • Personal fitness posts 

About me and my passion for fitness
            I love keeping in shape and healthy. I find that I think more clearly and my mind and body are in-sync when I am more active. I learned the hard way that recovering from nerve damage is a difficult process that requires a lot of patience (just like any injury). It forced me to slow down, and I will do a lot of injury prevention posts.

Why Hit the Mat Running?
            I chose the title, Hit the Mat Running, because I run and participate in yoga. There’s something about Hit the Mat Running that resonates with me as a yogi and a runner, it shows that from the moment I start working out that I give it my all.

How often will you hear from me?
            My blog will most likely update either every other day to once a week. Maybe some weeks I’ll post every single day. It all depends!
 I will try my best to stay dedicated and maybe, if I get a small community started, I’ll post different challenges and giveaways.
            I hope to inspire others who may have difficulty staying motivated in the world of fitness. It takes a lot of  motivation to walk into a gym, go for a run outside or even put those workout clothes on. I’m here to show you what’s worked for me so far. This blog will help me stay motivated and will hopefully help motivate you all!

Stay healthy and active!