Top 5 Things to Prepare for Your First Obstacle Race

I have had this weird obsession with mud races and obstacle races since I ran my first one in March of 2009. Yes I remember exactly when and where and how amazing it was. I ran the Big Sur Mud Run out in Monterey and sponsored by Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Presidio of Monterey and California State University Monterey Bay. It was an amazing race, I had lots of glorious bruises to show for it and I ran it all by myself. I was supposed to have people running with me but other things came up last minute (I think they chickened out, ha!). Sadly last year was the final mud run for Big Sur! I am happy to say I participated and still have my medals hanging proud!

So after that race I was determined to run more mud/obstacle races. Then it was the Muddy Buddy and Warrior Dash. My husband and I ran the Muddy Buddy together in 2012 and had a blast!! He even agreed to do it the following year but being 8 months pregnant we decided it wasn’t the best idea. Then comes along the Spartan Race. It had been on my list for a couple years. They only offered the Beast out in California, which is 13 miles. I figured I wanted to start with something a little less crazy for my first Spartan Race. Luckily I have an awesome group of bootcampers and we got a team together and completed the Spartan Sprint San Francisco last month. You can check out all my highlights from that race HERE.

We all learned a lot about what to do to prep for our next Spartan Race, which by the way is next month (Spartan Sprint Sacramento)!! We found out where our weaknesses were and the areas to focus on! So here are my Top 5 Things to Prep for your First Obstacle Race!!

  1. Work Your Upper Body! During most obstacle races you will be pulling yourself over walls that are at least 5 feet tall, pulling ropes of heavy stuff up to hit a bell, climbing a rope, carrying a 45 lb jug of water and various other arm killing things. I strongly recommend you starting training your upper body. I know that this is generally a weaker area for women. Start using that assisted pull up machine at the gym, use free weights to work your back or even use on of those door way pull up bars. All of that will greatly help!
  2. Work on Grip Strength! I noticed that about half way through the race my hands and forearms had just about enough. They were so tired and extremely sore the next couple days. It was probably all the monkey bars, traverse wall and rope pulling. I have since been using a great grip strengthener I got off amazon. Pre warning though that the outside of the handles are rough but you can get handle covers if it bothers you.
  3. Wear Gloves! This of course is a personal preference but I felt that it helped a lot. It also makes sure that if a rope slips out of your hands you won’t end up with some gnarly rope burn, unless that is what you are going for. I used Reebok One Series Performance Gloves and they worked great. It looks like they aren’t making them anymore so no link to provide for you guys. One note though…use them in a workout before the race to make sure they are comfortable and won’t bother you.
  4. Do Not Try Anything New! Like any other race, remember not to try anything new the night before or day of. That means don’t try out the new Thai Restaurant down the street or those awesome new shoes that have been sitting in your closet. This could be a recipe for disaster and you want your first experience to be the best.
  5. Have fun!! The most important thing is you go out there and have fun!! You might not be able to complete each obstacle and that is ok!! If you can do this with a group of friends or even one other person that’s even better. Cheer others on when you see them on the course and give words of encouragement to those that look like they need it. I ran into nothing but nice people at my race that were supportive of each other and always smiling (well except during that water jug obstacle, but we just suffered together!).

I hope that my tips help you prepare for your first obstacle race!! Go out there and earn that medal!!

~Larissa

 

 

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AMRAP Nutrition Bar Review and Giveaway

So I am super super picky about what I eat and how any type of nutrition bar tastes. I have always had a sensitive stomach with things too so that seems to play a role. I  have finally found a bar that I can grab first thing in the morning and run out the door without worrying about it upsetting my stomach. Woohoo!!! I think my favorite thing about the AMRAP Bars is that they actually taste good and have clean ingredients. It seems that it is really hard to find just the simple ingredients and not have it taste like your eating a piece of cardboard. They have 2 awesome flavors for you to choose from! Honey Almond (my favorite!), Cashew Vanilla and Fig Cacao.

AMRAP bars

 

So here is some great information about these amazing bars cause I am sure you want the details!! These bars are 100% Paleo, Non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, preservative and artificial anything-free, high fat to carb ratio, high protein bar designed by experts, athletes, enthusiasts, discerning moms and health nuts. Personally I think these bars are a change in the right direction. Being a mom of a very active little boy I know that I don’t want him eating/drinking certain things when he starts doing sports. These bars are an awesome answer to my ever worrisome mom brain!!

Now here is the cool part….AMRAP Nutrition is giving me (3) AMRAP Bar 8-pack  boxes in a flavor of your choice to give away to three lucky readers. I’m telling you guys your going to love these!! Please enter below and good luck to everyone :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was provided AMRAP bars free of charge, all opinions are my own and 100% honest!

xoxo

Larissa

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AT&T Spartan Sprint

I can officially say that I am a SPARTAN!! I have been wanting to complete a Spartan Race for the last 2 years now but due to life being too busy (being pregnant pushed these goals back a bit ;)) it never happened. I even signed up for the Monterey Beast in 2013 but when I found out I was pregnant there was no way it was going to happen. And then it was the sleepless nights that kept me away from registering (thank goodness he has decided sleeping though the night is a good thing!! It only took 10 1/2 months lol). Luckily I have an awesome group of campers at the boot camp I teach in the mornings and we all decided we would tackle the AT&T Park Spartan Sprint as a team.

Spartan-Race4We ended up with an amazing team of 20 people and had campers that represented each of our four locations. Everyone was super excited and we were all ready to get going. Needless to say I had a huge knot in my stomach and felt like I was going to be sick (dang nerves get me every time I do something new!).

Spartan group beforeBut then we all started goofing around while we were waiting and I felt a lot better :)

Spartan PA before in stadium

All I have to say is STAIRS!! We went up and down so  many stairs I lost count. Someone mentioned basically covering the whole stadium, which I feel like we did. There were some awesome obstacles and some obstacles that totally kicked my butt. And one of those was the Jerry Jug, were you carried approximately 45 pounds of water down the stairs, across and then back up the stairs. Man, my forearms were burning after that one.

Jerry JugOh and then there were the crazy tall walls. No, I wasn’t able to make it up on my own. I got the help of an awesome teammate and definitely realized I need to work on my upper body strength. Oh and I recommend to work on your grip strength. That was one of the hardest parts for me and needless to say I purchased a grip strengthener (this is the one I bought and I got Level 1) on Amazon as soon as I got home from the race!

Spartan wall

We all finished smiling, proud and exhausted. Would we do it again?!?! HELL YEAH!! We are actually signed up for the Sacramento Spartan Sprint in October. We were debating on the Super but decided we wanted to get the experience of an outdoor (non-stadium) Spartan. Plus it will help us prepare for the Monterey Beast next year. Oh Yes! We are hooked :)

Finish Line 2Spartan PA after

And next year I am personally going to complete the Trifecta!! I will be racing the Monterey Beast, AT&T Park Sprint and Sacramento Super. I love a challenge and completing that definitely will be!!

Spartan medalHave you done a Spartan? Completed the Trifecta? Or just thought about it but haven’t clicked the register button yet?

~Larissa

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IDEA Summer Games with Les Mills GRIT

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Les Mills. All opinions are my own

I got the awesome opportunity to be part of the IDEA Summer Games with Les Mills GRIT. All I have to say is WOW!! What an amazing workout and there were some awesome competitors. I have taken many Les Mills Bodypump classes but never GRIT. I have always loved Bodypump so I had a strong feeling that GRIT was going to be right up my ally too. If you haven’t heard of these classes before here is a little breakdown of the idea behind Les Mills GRIT. There are three different classes offered focusing one three different areas: strength, cardio and plyometrics.These classes are all 30 minutes long and meant to push you! There are taught in a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) style.

Now onto the Summer Games. There were a total of 4 different games that went for the whole day. They started with Runner’s Revenge, which focused on cardio. Then there was Strength And Conditioning Match-Up, which focused on strength. And the Speed, Agility and Quickness Challenge, which focused on plyometrics. The grand finale was the Les Mills GRIT Games Competition.

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Due to a nagging hamstring issue I did not physically compete in the games but was there in the competition area catching all the action, which I now get to share with you!

Strength and Conditioning Match-up:

This section had competitors doing 3 different sets of 3 different exercises for 1 minute each. They recorded their reps and the top 3 women and top 3 men then competed for gold, silver and bronze. I really enjoy strength training so this was my favorite part of all the games. The competitors really gave it their all and kicked some major butt. Here are some of the awesome people that were out there!

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Speed, Agility and Quickness:

For this round competitors had different exercises that they had to complete for 90 seconds. They pulled an index card that gave them the order of the exercises so it was always a surprise what you had to tackle first. Everyone was in groups of 3 people, where only 1 person was going through the exercises, while the other two people counted and coached. The exercises for this one were really hard. I have a fear of box jumps (I am determined to get over that eventually) so this round would not have been a good one for me. Here are some more awesome competitors!

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Les Mill GRIT Games Competition:

This was absolutely amazing to watch. Talk about true strength, endurance and determination. These people pushed their hardest and definitely were ready to win it all. There were over 150 people that came out to compete in the final competition. These again were timed exercises where one person from each team went through all exercises and the amount of reps were recorded. Here are the competitors…

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I am so glad I was introduced to Les Mills GRIT in such an awesome and fun way. I got to meet some of the trainers and everyone was so passionate about the workout and what they do. Being a group exercise instructor it made me want to jump on the computer and see when/where the next training is. I have always enjoyed HIIT training and feel that it is a great way to train your body in a short amount of time. I am recommending this class to all my readers!! Go on the Les Mills Website and search for a class in your area. I promise you are going to love it and you will be sweating your butt off!

 

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Train with Team In Training for Nike Women’s Half Marathon

For all my runners out there we all know about the super famous Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco. I ran it 2 years ago and had an amazing time. Couldn’t run it last year as I was only a month post baby (was hoping for this year but I am going to have to wait a little longer). Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a guaranteed spot into the coveted NWHM and help others at the same time?!?!

I will be giving away one free registration for Team In Training (only good for the NWM Half in SF on October 19th, 2014) and giving away a TNT swag bag. This free registration gets you guaranteed entry into NWHM, along with the complete training program. Please remember you are still committed to fundraising through Team In Training.

Team%20in%20Training%20logo[1]Team in Training logo

This program is near and dear to my heart as I lost my Aunt at a young age to Leukemia. She was in her mid 30’s so I never even got the chance as a child to get to know her. Supporting this cause means the world to me and gives me great hope that the money raised will help those suffering from this horrible disease.

I would love to take on this challenge this year but for personal reasons I will not be able to commit to it at this point so I am happy to see someone else that can run an amazing race and support an amazing cause.

Here is some additional information on TNT if you are not as familiar with them.

You can have an impact on cancer. Join Team In Training (TNT) and run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon (NWHM) in San Francisco on October 19th. You’ll be helping The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) fund research to advance lifesaving blood cancer treatments.

TNT is the flagship fundraising campaign for LLA, and the NWHM in San Francisco is always sold out. At it’s 25th anniversary last year, TNT has trained more than 600,000 participants and raised more than $1.4 billion.

With TNT, in exchange for raising funds, you’ll train for four months with world-class trainers, have access to clinics on nutrition and injury prevention and race through San Francisco’s iconic landmarks.

Learn More About Team In Training and help TNT harness the power of physical activity to help LLS find cures and improve the quality of life for patients with blood cancer. Help patients feel better while you achieve your personal best.

Join TNT and help us get closer to a world without blood cancers.

Please enter below! Two winners will be picked

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I would love to hear about your experiences with running the NWM and working with TNT!!

~Larissa

Live. Move. Be Fit

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A Spin Workout That Will Keep You Sweating

Being a Spinning Instructor I am always on the lookout for great programming ideas and great music. If you think about it your class is nothing without good programming and then great music just makes it that much better. I wanted to share this awesome ride I have been teaching that my students have absolutely been loving! Below you will find a breakdown of my Spin Workout and I also put the songs that I use at the end in parenthesis but please feel free to sub in music you enjoy :)

Warm-up: Any normal warm-up song. Considering there is a good amount of hills I keep the first song a flat (All of Me Tiesto Remix)

Warm-up Hill: Try to find a song that is is about 4-5 minutes long, use the first half as easy/moderate. Really push it on the second half (Boneless)

Distance Challenge: If you are lucky enough to have consoles on your bikes then this song works. First 40 seconds is recovery time. 3 minute flat seeing how far they can go in those 3 minutes (going to repeat and try to beat distance later in class). (Run Run Run)

Pyramids: 5 different positions, hold each position for 1 minute, 45 seconds, 30 seconds and 15 seconds. Order: seated flat, flat sprint, standing hill, seated hill, sprint/acceleration up the hill. You will need about 12 minutes for this sequence (Turn up the Music, Pump It Radio Edit, Fire)

Recovery Song: whatever song you would like for about a 2 minute recovery

Stairway to Heaven: Standing climb song, use the beat to increase intensity and speed. End with a 20 sec. anaerobic push. (Good Luck)

Threshold Ladder: going between easy/moderate and hard. Start with easy being 50 seconds/hard 10 seconds, then easy 40 seconds/hard 20 seconds, keep on that pattern ending with 10 seconds easy/50 seconds hard. I have them add for each hard part and take it off for easy (What a Feeling Progressive Followup Mix)

Recovery: short recovery song

Distance Challenge: repeat the distance challenge from earlier and tell your class to try to beat their last distance (Run Run Run)

Pyramids: repeat the same pyramids you did in the beginning of class. Depending on time I will sometimes skip the 1 minute round. (Party Rock Anthem, Shots, Weekends!!!)

I hope that my programming gives you some new ideas! Please share any classes that you have taught and had a great response to. This can also be used at home on a trainer :) Enjoy!!

~Larissa

Live. Move. Be Fit

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The Best Gym Bag – Apera Review

Being a personal trainer, bootcamp coach and spin instructor I practically live out of my gym bag. Needless to say I haven’t really found anything that impressed me or met all my needs until now!! I present you with (in my opinion) the Best Gym Bag ever!!! In comes the Apera bag, whose many pockets, comfortable strap and antimicrobial properties had me giddy at first sight. I absolutely love bags and have way too many (my mom used to call me “the bag lady” when I was little). Although now that I have my awesome Apera bag I don’t think I will be buying anymore…unless it’s another Apera ;) Ok enough about how much I love this bag, it’s on to giving you all the info about this bag!

I decided to try out the Performance Duffel because it seemed like it would be the perfect answer to my many needs and crazy want to bring everything with me everywhere. The best part is Apera bags don’t stink. Literally. Groundbreaking antimicrobial product protection, inside and out, resists bacterial odor. Our innovative vented compartments allow your bag to breathe, while clever wipeable linings make for easy cleaning. How’s that for a refreshing approach to your bag? And Apera’s intelligent storage make our bags extremely functional. Your shoes, electronics, and wet or dry gear are kept separate and organized. And the amount of stuff you can carry is unbelievable. Really, you have to see it to believe it.

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I am one who brings everything with me and with the crazy amount of hours I work it is so much easier bringing one bag then multiples. Here is a list of the things that my awesome bag carries for me all at one time.

  • Spin shoes
  • Mic belt (for teaching)
  • Magazines and index cards with spin programming written down
  • Nuun energy tabs
  • 2 different water bottles (one with water and the other with Nuun)
  • Heart rate watch
  • Ipod and Ipad
  • Change of clothes and a sweatshirt
  • Hair straightener and makeup
Look at all the room even with my spin shoes in there!

Look at all the room even with my spin shoes in there!

I was completely shocked when I was able to take all of that with me in one bag and not kill myself. I don’t know what it is about the design of this bag but it doesn’t kill my shoulder when I am carrying it. I think it is the really nice wide strap.

Plus who doesn’t love to support a company that supports all athletes. For every 3 bags that Apera sells they donate one bag to a Special Olympics athlete. What an awesome way to give back to others and support athletes of all abilities!

Please go check out there site now!! They always have awesome deals and giveaways. Right now you can get 40% off their duffel style bags. I am definitely not one to recommend something unless I truly love it and this is one of those things I truly love. I am actually even thinking of getting a second one and using it as a diaper bag. I mean what better than a antimicrobial bag with lots of pockets to carry around the crazy amount of stuff you need just to run to the store with a little one.

~ Larissa

Live. Move. Be Fit

Disclosure: Apera supplied me with their bag free of charge. All opinions are my own.

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March Burpee and Squat Challenge and the Core Power Winner

I can’t believe that it is already the end of February! Since the baby was born I feel like time just speeds by. He is already almost 5 months old and yet I feel like he should only be 2 months. Before I know it he will be crawling and walking….look out world!

I have been wanting to do a Burpee and squat challenge since the beginning of the year but just haven’t had the time to actually organize myself enough to do so. Finally I will be doing one for March and would love for you to join in with me!! I have created a spreadsheet that I will post on my fridge to make sure I remember to do them and also keep me on track. This is what it looks like

30 day squat and burpee challenge

If you would like a copy of this spreadsheet to print just leave a comment below with your email and I will send it over to you! We are starting tomorrow and going all the way to March 30th (the 31st can be our rest and celebration day!)

Now onto what everyone has been waiting for….the Core Power Protein winner. Thank you to everyone that participated and of course to Core Power for suppling the prize.

Our winner is : Michelle C.

Congrats Michelle! Please email me at larissa at larissamilanofitness . com to claim your prize.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!!!

~Larissa

Live. Move. Be Fit

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Winter Olympics, Core Power Protein and A Giveaway!

I absolutely love the Olympics….well actually anything sports related I love….but the Olympics take it to that whole other level. This year the Winter Olympics have definitely been one to watch! The amount of training that the athletes put in and the determination they have always leaves me in awe. Being a personal trainer and fitness instructor I always love hearing them talk about their stories and training and how much they can squat or bench press. It cracked me up the other night when one of our USA Women Bobsleders said “I eat figure skaters for breakfast”. There is always a slight rivalry between sports (you have it in horseback riding also). And to know that Lolo Jones was consuming 9,000 calories a day to help gain the muscle she needed for bobsledding is crazy!! The even cooler thing is that Jazmine Fenlator, USA Bobsled Pilot, and Emily Cook, Aerial Skier are part of Team Core Power! Core Power is at their side in Sochi, powering their recovery all the way to the podium!

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So I am sure you are wondering what Core Power is. Well its this awesome real milk protein drink made from fresh, lowfat, lactose-free milk and real honey. It’s balanced protein to carb ratio and nutrient-rich profile make for the perfect end of every workout. From endurance sports and bodybuilding to running, yoga and cross-fit, Core Power helps you recover faster, build lean muscle and stay at the top of your game. No matter which game you happen to play.

banana_family_350Here is a great list of Why Protein? from Core Power!

Why Protein?

  • Milk protein contributes to muscle development while the natural carbohydrates of honey provide the energy to rebuild muscle and glycogen stores. Consumption of carbs with protein after a workout optimizes muscle recovery and growth.
  • Made from fresh milk and real honey, one great-tasting, lactose-free serving of Core Power provides athletes and fitness enthusiasts with 26 grams of high quality fresh milk proteins, consisting of 21 grams of casein proteins and 5 grams of whey proteins. The light versions still pack a heck of a punch, serving up 20 grams of the same high quality fresh milk proteins.
  • The unique nutritional profile of Core Power uses the best proteins and delivers calories that your body can actually use.
  • Milk’s unique ratio of whey and casein proteins builds lean muscle while its vitamins and minerals keep the body healthy.
  • Honey boosts athletic performance and endurance while reducing muscle fatigue.

I was lucky enough to get to try some out in their great Fit Kit. It includes a camelback water bottle, which I use every day to track my intake, a yoga mat, gym bag, balance ball, towel and of course a couple bottles of Core Power.

Get Fit

 

I am super fussy when it comes to protein and how it tastes. This stuff definitely doesn’t have that nasty gritty tastes. It actually tasted good and kept me going when I am teaching back to back spin classes. Another awesome thing was that it didn’t give me a tummy ache at all. I even let my brother-in-law try it and he is hooked (he even text me asking where he could buy it!)

Now I am sure that you would love to give this stuff a try!! Well Core Power was awesome enough to offer a Fit Kit for me to Giveaway!! YAY!!! Enter below :) The giveaway will run from today until next Tuesday 2/25/14 at 12:00 am PST

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Come Power supplied the Fit Kit to me free of charge. All opinions are my own.

~Larissa

Live. Move. Be Fit

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Sweet Potato and Kale Soup

So my big thing lately is to look up a couple different recipes to get ideas and then come up with my own spin on it. My girlfriend brought over this awesome Sweet Potato and Kale chowder a couple of weeks ago and I have been itching to make it. She sent me the recipe, which of course was from Pinterest (I can spend hours on there looking at things!). I decided to put my own spin on it and it turned out awesome! I eat Paleo most of the time but I am not strict Paleo. I still incorporate grass-fed butter and some dairy (my stomach doesn’t have a problem with it). If you are strict Paleo just omit those and use the coconut alternative. Because of the attention span of my 4 month old little man I did not take any pictures during the process but have an awesome ending pic :)

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Inspired by this recipe!

Sweet Potato and Kale Soup

Ingredients:

3 slices nitrate free bacon cut into small pieces(I love applegate brand)

3 tablespoons grass-fed butter (you can use coconut oil instead)

1 medium onion chopped

3 cloves garlic minced

4 small sweet potatoes peeled and diced into cubes

1 apple peeled and diced

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp onion powder

4 cups chicken broth (homemade is best)

2 cups water

1/4 cup half and half (can sub coconut milk or leave out all together)

6-8 kale leaves despined and torn into small pieces

1-2 handfuls spinach

1/2 cup organic frozen corn

meat of your choice (I used shredded chicken I had left over from the night before)

 

Directions:

– In large, heavy bottomed soup pan sauté diced bacon, when done remove and let crisp.

– Add butter, onion and garlic. Let cook until translucent.

– Add sweet potatoes, apple, sea salt, pepper, cinnamon, ginger, onion powder and sauté an additional minute.

– Add chicken broth and water, cook until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.

– Use an immersion blender (or transfer to a standing blender) to rough puree the soup.

–  Add kale, spinach, corn and cook until kale is softened.  Add additional ginger, salt and pepper to taste.

– I add my meat to the bottom of the bowl, pour soup on top and then add the yummy crispy bacon pieces on the top.

Enjoy!!

~Larissa

Live. Move. Be Fit

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