health

Massage fever 

Hello Fancy Lacy community,

There’s a first time for everything!

Earlier this week I went for a deep tissue Swedish massage. It was a Christmas present from my husband, who knows how much I love massages. They are my poison, those massages. Every once in a while I like to treat myself to a hot stone massage, especially when I’ve been subjecting my body to a lot of work, like training for a half marathon and such.

I  really enjoyed my Swedish massage. I felt the pressure was just fine so whenever the therapist asked me if it hurt, I said ‘only a little bit but its fine!”

Well, after the session when the therapist left so I could put my clothes back on, I suddenly felt nauseous and light headed, like I was about to pass out. The last time I felt like that was in 2013 after my first ever Queen City half marathon when I thought I was going to die.

I’m used to feeling great after a massage, not nauseous and chilly and light headed. It was awful! The therapist offered me water and I felt a little bit better after drinking it but the awful feeling lasted into the day. It wasn’t until much later in the evening that I felt I could risk eating something without the possibility of hurling.

I’d read about how deep tissue massages can release toxins and damaged blood cells into the blood stream, which can poison the body but I knew this theory to be deeply flawed. I don’t think that’s what happened.

And everyone who runs has probably been warned by their doctors about rhapdbomyiolisis, a condition in which extreme exertion can cause severe muscle tissue breakdown enough to damage the kidneys and lead to symptoms way more severe than what I experienced after my massage. But this condition is so rare that its nearly impossible to happened to marathoners. From what I’ve read in an old kinesiology textbook, it’s more likely to be caused by traumatic accidents, extensive burns to the body and electrical shock.

So I still don’t know what happened to me during that massage. Right now I’m leaning toward the the idea that the nausea and malaise were brought on by the fact that I skimped out on breakfast to rush my daughter to school because we woke up late. I’d had a coffee at some point but when I had the massage at 1pm, I hadn’t had a chance have lunch either. My uneducated guess is that somehow my body hit the wall due to dwindling glucose levels.

Has anybody out there ever had the same thing happen to them after a massage? Care to share your experience?

’till next time!

Iryn

CAREER VS LIFE: IN SEARCH OF THE BALANCE

Dear Fancy Lacy Community,

It’s the season to be merry and my post is hardly going to be cheerful, but as the end of the year approaches, there are a few important things to consider for a more balanced, healthier life in 2016.

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A friend of mine has recently had a work-related nervous breakdown followed by immediate hospitalization. This person is a career-driven, hardworking woman and has given her job a lot time, energy, and – as recent events demonstrate – a lot of her physical and mental health. Unfortunately, she is one of many who work long hours at the cost of quality family time and healthy lifestyle. Given the state of the economy, we should be grateful that there is a job to go to, right? Well, yes, and no. Sacrificing yourself in the name of work and income may sound noble, but I would like to question this all too common scenario.

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Just to be clear, I’m not speaking generally about everyone. I’m certainly not referring to the low-income families whose livelihood depends solely on the hard work of their providers. A lot of people have to work whatever jobs come their way in order to merely survive; while some others choose to become workaholics. And then there are some people who get caught up in their work and lose track of time and priorities. I’ll go as far as to suggest that at some point in their lives most people have experienced how “going with the flow” may have taken them to places they did not want to be.

The dreadful experience that my friend had to go through is an extreme example of how an imbalance between work and life may affect a person. While you do not always end up at the psych ward as a result of work pressure, stress undeniably takes an enormous toll on your health and relationships.

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I may not be in a position to judge, since my part-time work leaves me with enough time and energy to look after my health and lead an active lifestyle. But here is something I’ve learned from her story: it’s all about setting the priorities and acting accordingly.

work-life-balanceFamily is of great value to me, and a family-friendly job was high on my priorities list. I’m currently working as an English teacher to newcomers to Canada. I enjoy it and on most days come home happy; I feel that I’m making a small difference in the lives of others; and I have the time to do other things I enjoy – spending time with my husband, running the household, implementing a healthy diet, and maintaining a good physical shape. I may not be making quite enough yet but that will hopefully change once I transition into a full-time employment. I’m not implying that everybody should get out there and look for teaching jobs. Of course, not! What I’m trying to say is that you need to remember your values when you are looking for ways to support them, because, at the end of the day, your job is a means to an end, and not an end in itself. Or is it?

And if the whirlpool of life starts to blur your vision making it harder to focus on your priorities, don’t panic. Reboot – reflect and re-evaluate – and restart.

Let this post be a reminder to embrace your priorities in the new year.

Thank you for reading,

Anna

Photo credit: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

TABATA: THE WORKOUT THAT COUNTS

Hello Fancy Lacy Community,

According to a multitude of online sources, our diet accounts for roughly 70% of our physical shape. Unfortunately, you can never out-exercise a bad diet, that’s why eating clean is such a big thing these days.

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Now, the remaining 30% depends on what we do outside the kitchen, and today I’m going to share with you my favorite workout concept called Tabata training. It’s easy to understand and implement, it’s stimulating, and – trust me – it’s one of the most efficient exercise techniques I’ve ever tried.

What is Tabata Training?

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Tabata training is a type of high intensity interval training alternating short periods of intense exercise with brief recovery periods. Basically, each Tabata set consists of 8 intervals, for each of which you work hard for 20 seconds and rest for 10. Start by selecting an exercise: let’s say body weight squats. Squat hard for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds, completing 8 rounds in total. 20 seconds is the perfect amount of time to show what you’re made of, so be sure to squat hard and make every round count; it’s called a “high intensity training” for a reason. If 10 reps is all you can manage, then be it – as long as you’re honest with yourself that it’s the best you can do at this point. Trust me, with time and practice, you’ll be able to do more! The recovery period between the sets is 2 minutes, but you can easily reduce or increase this time to suit your needs. For your next Tabata set, pick another exercise and repeat the pattern. Each Tabata set takes 4 minutes to complete, so depending on your energy levels and you time resources you may choose to do anywhere between 5 and 8 sets. As long as you exercise at a high intensity, you will not need more than that.

What to Use for a Workout Timer?

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So, with Tabata format laid out and exercises selected, there’s still one more issue to consider: how do you keep track of time if you’re supposed to be squatting for your life? Thank God for iTunes and other media platforms. iTunes carry a wide selection of Tabata tracks in a variety of music genres, Pop, Hip Hop, Dance, Latin, you name it. So, not only do you have your favorite tunes to work out to, these tracks come with a Voice Coach feature and tell you exactly when you must work and rest. There’s no need to have your eyes glued to your watch, and you can throw yourself completely into the workout.

Why Pursue Tabata Training?

Here are just a few reasons why I love working out Tabata style:

  • You are fully in charge of your workout: whether it comes to selecting exercises or deciding how many sets you feel like doing.
  • Your workout is time-efficient.
  • When you perform exercises at a high intensity, your heart rate goes up to keep up with the pace. So, if your objective is to lose weight, Tabata training will help you make it happen – your body will be burning fat during as well as hours after the workout.
  • Tabata training is suitable for both, individual and group fitness sessions, so you can easily make arrangements for a sweat-together with your friends. I personally find that working out with others makes me work harder, so I invite my husband to join in whenever I can.

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Top 10 Exercises for Tabata Training

In theory, you can pick any exercise and perform it with a Tabata timer. However, from my experience, the following exercises work best:

  • Squats
  • Burpees
  • Lunges
  • Mountain climbers
  • Sit-ups / Crunches
  • Tricep dips
  • Plank
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Box jumps
  • Jumping rope

As you can see, most of these exercises do not require any equipment so you can do them anywhere.

For me, it was love at first set; maybe you’re next? You’ll never know until you try. I’ll be curious to hear from you when you do.

Until then, eat clean and train mean.

Thank you for reading,

Anna

Photo source: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

FIVE DELICIOUS AND NUTRITIOUS BREAKFAST IDEAS 

Hello Fancy Lacy Community,

As a tribute to my first Thanksgiving feast in Canada, today’s post will be about food. Food is a major part of our daily lives; and, strangely enough, it is a subject that doesn’t seem to become any more exhausted even though thousands of books and articles have been written about it. When it comes to my own relationship with food, my strategy is clear-cut: it’s all about finding the right balance between eating for fuel and eating for indulgence. I believe that food is both, fuel and indulgence, and if you’re eager enough, you will find where these two overlap and make for delicious and nutritious recipes.

Now, what better way to start the day than with one of such recipes?

1) Overnight Chia Oatmeal

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The beauty of this recipe is that you prepare your breakfast the night before and will not have to do much more work in the morning, other than slice up a banana and dig in. It’s one of many overnight chia oatmeal recipes, so if you’re not a fan of dried cranberries, you will easily find something that will appeal to your taste. And you can easily double or triple the recipe to feed more people. I highly recommend this breakfast idea to people who have little time or those who simply don’t feel like investing too much effort into cooking in the mornings.

2) Two-Ingredient Pancakes

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This quick breakfast solution has been on my to-go list for months now. When I came across this recipe, I couldn’t believe that the only things it called for were eggs and bananas! I guess simplicity is genius, after all. Although I found this recipe elsewhere, I especially liked this website for the tips for cooking banana pancakes.

3) Chocolate Protein Pancakes

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There may never be too many pancakes, especially if they are as nutritious and yummy as these ones. They do call for a few more ingredients than the previous recipe and so create a little more work, but I can suggest this: prepare the mix the night before. The oats will likely absorb the egg whites, so the batter will be quite thick, in which case you could add some almond milk. Or you can leave out the egg whites and add them to the mix in the morning. Either way, these pancakes are worth trying!

4) Porridge

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FYI, by porridge I mean old-fashioned oatmeal, and not one of those instant mixes with a whole bunch of artificial flavors and preservatives. It wasn’t until I read somewhere that having too much of the same food, however healthy it is, would eventually make you immune to its nutrients, that I stopped having porridge for breakfast every day. It used to be my staple morning food and I was never stressed about what to make for breakfast. Once you get your porridge base, which is rather bland on its own, you can make it flavorful by adding fruit and berries, nuts, honey, maple syrup and nut butters.

5) Omelette

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Cooking eggs doesn’t get any easier than that. And because eggs are protein (especially if you increase the egg white to egg yolk ratio), they will keep you going till lunch hour. You can choose your filling and prepare it the night before which will save you time and work in the morning. This particular link also gives you a few more omelette variations.

Healthy can be tasty, and vice versa. Motivation, research, and a splash of creativity will help you make it happen.

Thank you for reading,

Anna

Photo source: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5