Thursday, 1 November 2012

Strong is Sexy Challenge

Welcome to November! It is officially a new month! And we all know how I love to make big grand sweeping plans at the beginning of new month, accompanied by a festive, colour coordinated, OCD-Style calendar.

Well this month is no exception. And I think I need a new focus more this month than ever.

I spent the last few weeks following my marathon struggling to refocus. I was left with a lot of questions following my marathon. What did I do wrong? What is my body really capable of? What should I do differently? Will I ever be able to get my body into the shape I want?

And the answers I have discovered are...
Nothing. You did the best your could with what you had.
More than your ever thought possible.
You need to make your body strong.
Yes with lots of hard work and sweat.

I struggled during my marathon. And in hindsight, I struggled through a lot of my training as well. My body has not fully recovered. And there were things I probably should have done differently. But I can only take the lessons I learned and move forward.
Which brings me to my  
Strong is Sexy Challenge.

One of the keys problems I had during my race was an issue of strength. Surprisingly enough, the girl with the robot heart had strong cardiovascular endurance throughout. It was the rest of my body that failed me. My upper body strength (while always on the weaker side) has decreased that much more following my surgery. And as reigning cardio queen, I have done absolutely nothing about it.

It is time to change all that. I have decided to make friends with weights, and get this body strong. I want to be a lean mean Marathon Training machine, so I am making a commitment to strength training.

My goal for the next 2 months is to work on increasing my muscle mass and getting strong as I head into the New Year. And my plan is pretty simple.

This Month I will... 
* Eat Clean - This is not about following any crazy rules, or dubbing food good or bad. It is just an effort to eat healthy, whole, nourishing food with a focus on protein, to help give those muscles the fuel they need. (I follow the 80/20 rule. I try to eat clean, whole, nutritious food 80% of the time, but sometime a girl just needs a cookie or a glass of wine and that makes up the other 20% of my diet)

*Strength Train - 3x/week. My routine will be to do 2 crossfit classes + 1 at-home upper body workout

*Run 3x/week - continue running, coaching, and training but at smaller distances (between 5-15km)

I will check back in every week with my progress and plan moving forward. And I would love to have you AMAZING folks join in the fun. Any other reigning Cardio Queens (or Kings) wanna work on getting tickets to the Gun Show? Let's get strong together and help keep each other on track!

Tweet Me - @Darwinianfail
Use the Hashtag #StrongisSexy
Message me on Facebook
Oh and I love Instagram so send me your strong and sexy pics @DarwinianFail too

Let's do this people! Because Strong is Sexy and being Healthy is Fabulous!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,


  1. I am definitely going to be focused more on strength training post marathon! absolutely a great challenge

  2. Love this!PumP IT UP my friend! :)

  3. There's no question that improving your strength will improve your running and overall fitness - I think this is a great challenge.

    One thing I'd note is that you shouldn't just focus on upper body strength. It's just as important (if not more) to build your core and also leg strength. Running indeed will define the muscles in your legs, but building real strength through plyo and other "non-traditional" methods will help you battle through the hills and later miles (speaking from experience).

    Also, you mention Crossfit. I'm a big fan of Crossfit-type workouts, although I'd have to say I'm not a huge fan of "Crossfit" itself, at least as much as many Crossfit gyms run it.

    That's because, Crossfit has it's "workout of the day", and that's what you - and everyone else - does. And generally it's done for time. Which can be good (I love "cardio weightlifting"), but can also be bad if you're new to an exercise or push too hard. Many people end up injuring themselves in Crossfit because they're trying to keep up with someone more fit or they have poor form.

    So be a little careful with Crossfit if you're new to it - make sure you understand the exercises and do them correctly. Perhaps look to a crossfit certified Personal Trainer to give you pointers initially.

    Good luck - and maybe look into some different fitness races, such as the Tough Mudder. They're a great fitness test and running test. I loved my first one in September and am signed up for one in May as well.

  4. Hey Eric!!

    Thanks so much for your comment! My at home workout is upper body and core centered, because that is the area I know I personally need to work on to help with my recovery.

    I am hoping my 2 crossfit workouts will help balance out my routine and give me an all over workout.

    The crossfit gym I joined is really focused on a small class sizes (no more than 8 ppl at a time with 2 coaches) so everyone gets a lot of personal attention.

    You are right about needing guidance. I am not a weight/strength girl so I definitely need to learn proper technique. So I am excited to learn some new things for sure.

    I also I did MetCon Blue this year and Warrior Dash as well. Definitely plan to do more in 2013!

  5. Same! I have the same goals :) I'm cleaning up my diet again with a return to paleo, and my goals are identical with strength training 3x/week and running 3x/week. We can do this!

  6. I too am focused on strength training as I train for Boston this spring. Don't beat yourself up over a tough race. We all have them and each one is a learning experience. Plus you have had a lot of extra challenges with your body. Make sure you let your body have the time it needs to heal. YOu are an inspiration to me and I will definitely be checking in with your #strongisSexy challenge this month. It is definitely fun to change things up! Be strong! Sandra

  7. Love your new focus. I am a big believer in strength training and really think it can help runners run stronger. As for your full - girl you did something most people will never do. I like your "discoveries" post-marathon.

  8. YES! Strong is super sexy! I am a runner (1/2 mar's) but I actually prefer weight training for a strong, lean, sexy look. CrossFit is great, but as mentioned above, only if done correctly. One of my favorite CrossFit gals is Camille Leblanc-Bazinet. Google her for major inspiration.

  9. Awesome! It's triathlon off-season, so I'm more strength focussed too. I wanted to echo what Eric said about upper vs. lower body workouts (though I agree with his Crossfit thoughts too, I just don't have anything to add).

    I pulled an old Men's Health (yes Men's, but I bet the principles hold) May 1998, 'Rules to Lift By'

    'Rule #4: Work you legs to build your chest...In other words, if you want your body to release the hormones you need to produce bigger muscles, do the exercises that work you body the hardest' you release more hormones from a leg workout (maybe because leg muscles are bigger), so you end up getting better gains from the upper body workout, get it?

    I want to start tweeting the #StrongIsSexy hashtag with some of the workouts/ideas I'm playing with... see you on Twitter!

    1. YAY! Happy you are going to the #StrongisSexy challenge!

      I think I did a bad job explaining my plan.

      My understanding of crossfit so far is that it is a complete full-body workout, with dynamic movements to engage both the upper and lower body. It is always different as well so I am hoping that will help challenge my body as well.

      I am doing an upper body workout at home, because following my surgery that has been a problem area for me. I am still healing, but the muscles in my chest and arms have really atrophied following my recovery. I am hoping that this will help me take an active role in my recovery.

      Does that make sense? Thoughts?

  10. love this post! I agree that strong is the new sexy! that is the mentality I live by everyday! (:

  11. Girl - you come up with the best posts! I think Strong is the new Sexy too!! lets do this!! xoxo

  12. I am in! I am looking forward to seeing all of the #strongissexy tweets, instagrams etc!
    Cheers! Tara :o)

  13. Strong is totally sexy! I'm in the same boat, trying to get my groove back. Um, rather than set my goals for the month, though, I signed up for another half marathon next weekend. ;)
    I'm definitely back to hitting the weights for cross training days, that's for sure!

  14. Great plan - I'm in the midst of finishing up my yearly goals, but I plan on something similar to this come January!

  15. You go girl! You can get strong!!! I am working on that goal too! I got injured after Boston Marathon from lack of cross training. I am JUST getting back to running but have been building up strength for some time now and I can definitely feel a difference!

  16. I'm so far behind on my blog reading. Great plan!!! :)