briwifit

Recipe: Vegan black bean and yam veggie burgers

veggiebrgersThese are seriously amazing.

I’ve tried several homemade veggie burger recipes over the years, and most patties have either required too much effort to make, ended up tasting like cardboard or just fall apart in the bun.

Aside from some day-in-advance prep, these black bean and yam veggie burgers not only stick together, but also are super easy to make. I made a variation using this wonderful recipe from Treble in the Kitchen. I doubled the ingredients as I wanted to make a bigger batch to freeze, added more yams and also added in zucchini and carrots to up the vegetable quota. (more…)

Strength training. You’re (probably) doing it wrong.

IMG_3505Before I became a certified strength and conditioning specialist, I thought I had pretty decent form when lifting weights and  doing core exercises at the gym. I’d been studying the instructions in fitness magazines and following along carefully to workout DVDs for almost nine years, all the while thinking I was working the muscle groups I was trying to target.

Nope.

When I was studying for my CSCS exam, I got schooled by another trainer at a private gym where I was volunteering and job shadowing last summer. Turns out I have a wicked anterior pelvic tilt (meaning my hips tilt forward, like I’m trying to sit all the time), which made me botch up most of my core and hip exercises and was probably the reason to blame for my tight calves. (more…)

Can meditation make you a faster runner?

The Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson uses it with his players to prepare for NBA games. Top mixed martial arts fighters like Georges St-Pierre and Diego Sanchez use it to calm the mind and enhance focus before fights. Even the U.S. Army uses it to increase mental toughness.

Since endurance sports takes a whole lot of mental focus, pain management and rumination avoidance, you’d think meditation and running would go together like CrossFit and the Paleo Diet.

Although there have been several scientific studies published over the years about the benefits of meditation, I couldn’t find anything but anecdotal evidence when it came to endurance sports in particular. Even the big running mags only covered the topic of meditation and running just a smattering of times.

While we wait for researchers to study the connection between mindfulness and improving your running efficiency, there’s no harm in trying it out for yourself (unlike going paleo and eating a ton of bacon all the time, which CAN actually harm you). (more…)

Hate running? Then don’t do it.

Gunner Shaw 14That’s right, you heard me.

If pulling on your sweat-wicking threads, lacing up your flashy, minimalistic running shoes and pounding the pavement with Daft Punk blasting through your ear buds for 40 minutes or so isn’t your idea of a good time, then don’t do it.

And equally, if huffing and puffing your way up a steep and muddy single-track trail through forest while your quads turn to jelly is your idea of torture, then don’t do that, either.

Also, if sweating all over the floor and looking super unattractive while you lift heavy weights sounds downright deplorable, then feel free to give it a miss. (more…)

Going for the BQ: 2014 goal update and my Boston-bound marathon training plan

IMG_3542It’s been six months since I declared my 2014 personal and fitness-related goals for this year: become a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), get published in a print publication, and qualify for the Boston Marathon.

So how’s that all going, you ask? (more…)

Gowlland Tod 10 km point-to-point trail run: Squally Reach, Joceyln Hill and Caleb Pike

Beautiful views on the trail

Beautiful views on the trail

Confession: I haven’t spent a whole lot of time running on trails lately, partly due to my crazy work and study schedule, and partly because I’ve actually been enjoying my urban runs and strength training workouts at home. Granted those urban runs are alongside the ocean in beautiful downtown Victoria, so they aren’t quite as mundane as your average pavement run, but I digress.

After Squamish, I didn’t hit the trails again for a long while. I wasn’t really sure if I’d even want to do an ultra again… but lately I’ve been really missing those long days out on the trails: the quiet serenity of the forest; the quad-busting, chest-burning climbs; the semi-controlled falls on technical downhills… (more…)

My Annual Non-New Year’s Resolution Post: 2014 Goals

Me at the top of Haleakalā in Maui in March 2013

Me at the top of Haleakalā in Maui in March 2013

Has it seriously been 365 days since my last non-New Year’s resolution post? It felt like 2013 flew by in a blur of awesomeness. A lot of wonderful, fun and challenging things happened for me in 2013, including getting a full-time, permanent job with the government (medical and dental FTW); going on vacation with my boyfriend to Maui;  celebrating my grandma’s 90th birthday in Oyama with my whole family (before she passed away less than month later); watching my best friend get married; completing my first 50 km trail race in one piece; and running a super fast marathon time without training. (more…)

7 Trails to Run Before You Die: 7. Matheson Lake in Metchosin

photo 1(1)After almost eight months, I finally mapped the last trail I wanted to feature in my “7 Trails to Run Before You Die – Vancouver Island Edition” series. I was thinking about featuring Elk/Beaver Lake, but it didn’t quite meet my twisty-windy-fun-trail-with-nice-views criteria. It’s a great place for long, easy runs, but I find I get bored when I run on flat trails that don’t twist and turn through the trees. The trails around Matheson Lake, however, are anything but flat and boring. The trail loop isn’t very long (about 4 km), but you can tack on another 2.5 km by starting at the parking lot right off Rocky Point Road and doing a nice warm-up run down the Goose.

(more…)

What off-season? Winter workouts and upcoming trail races

Love fall trail running!

Love fall trail running!

While some athletes and regular-exerciser-type folks like to take a break from training in the winter,  I tend to ramp it up. Not really sure why — I know it’s good to take a break or dial it back every six to eight weeks or so to give your body a chance to rebuild and recover properly, but I feel more motivated to work out when the temperature drops.

It could be because the cooler temperatures make easier to go out (or stay in) to break a sweat, or because less fun and awesome things are happening (like beach days, barbeques, music festivals, camping, road trips, etc.) that get in the way of training, or because there’s so much good food around during the holidays and I feel like I need to keep working hard if I want to stuff my face with all the deliciousness. Whatever it is, I’ve been doing some kind of running and resistance training routine during the winter months for the past three years now, and it seems to pay off when race season rolls around again. (more…)

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