Refresh your Running Playlist

This weekend in Toronto the temperature is going up to an incredible high of TWELVE DEGREES CELCIUS!! sarcasm.

Truth be told, this buffer between cold and warm is my favorite temperature for running. Throw in the fact that I have found a few friends in my new-ish neighbourhood who also plan on crushing the Sporting Life 10K race in May, and suddenly we have ourselves a new running club that hits the pavement a few times a week.

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A friend transplanted in New York saw this running group picture and asked for a playlist to help get her motivated to run.  I love getting requests for specific posts, so ask and you shall receive!  My playlist needed some refreshing, so after some digging, prodding and listening to remix after remix, here you go – a spring playlist refresh to help move your legs. (N.B., Alex: if you plan on running another marathon, this won’t suffice – it’s just over an hour of music ;) )

The challenge I’d love some help in resolving is getting this mix to my phone. Soundcloud has a free app for streaming, which is one way of getting this to work. Any idea how I can download/copy this to my phone so I’m not reliant on having a healthy signal? Advice is appreciated!

Happy running/gymming/listening and hoping this helps to usher in spring!

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Nike Training Club

We are getting to that time of year when holiday parties make moderation and keeping a healthy diet challenging to say the least. I try to amp up my workouts around December to counter some of the guilt-inducing chocolate, latkes and eggnog that I have trouble refusing.

After doing the same  full-body High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout program for about a year now, I’ve grown quite tiresome of it lately. I’ve already talked about how spinning is a staple in my exercise routine,  but we all know that nothing gets you results like doing sets of lunges, squats and burpees (oh my!).

To the chagrin of Blackberry users out there, I need to tell you about the FREE Nike Training Club app (available as of yesterday on Android, too!) for your iPhone or tablet. I’ve only used it a couple of times so far, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to change my life.

With over 100 workouts to choose from, the Nike Training Club app has workouts for everyone at every level. You start out by choosing your goal, followed by your fitness level, and then select a workout from a list of varying lengths (15, 30 and 45 minute workouts). I’ve been doing the 45 minute high interval cardio workouts and they remind me of group-style bootcamps that I’ve done in the past.

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Get Moving: Tracks for your Workout Playlist

After a fun, indulgent and lazy long weekend, this morning it was back to the gym for me. Countless lunges, squats, crunches and time on the elliptical and treadmill isn’t easy for anyone and I find I need really great music with a quick pace (or beats per minute/BPM) to get me working hard right until the bitter end.

Once upon a time, I used special software that measured the BPM of all of my workout tracks to keep the songs and beats consistent (and consistently high). That playlist was wiped (sigh) and I’ve since been working to bring a solid playlist back together, mostly through memory and trial and error at the gym.

Over the next little while, I’ll share with you some of my favorite tracks to add to your playlist and keep things fresh.

Here are 5 of my favorites right now.

Amy Winehouse – Rehab (Hot Chip Remix)

Annie – Heartbeat (MSTRKRFT Remix)

Florence + the Machine – Kiss with a Fist

Cut Copy – Hearts on Fire

Cut Copy – Hearts on Fire (Aeroplane Pop Remix)

Daft Punk – Technologic (Peaches No Logic Remix)

Get Moving: Quad

In an attempt to learn to ride a bike two years ago (you read that correctly), I decided that a natural place to start would be on a stationary bike. Makes sense, right?! I could get comfortable on the seat and learn about cycling posture, all the while not having to worry about balance!  After much coaxing, I joined a friend to my first spin class and was immediately hooked! Never before had a 60 minute cardio class gone by so quickly even though I was working so hard.

For the next few months I fluttered around the city with different friends, different bikes, different gyms and different Groupons. I tried Goodlife, I tried Spynga, I tried CYKL. And then I tried Quad and never looked back.

The classes, the studios, and most importantly, the instructors at Quad are in a league of their own. I tend to pick my weekly class at Quad to catch one of my favorite instructors (usually Bruce, Justine, Anouk or Rae), and I have a preference for the Quad East location (near Queen & Broadview), both for aesthetic reasons and because it has a Dark Horse next door (my fave espresso in the city). Sweating and a coffee make for the perfect start to the weekend!

I’ve brought many friends along with for a ride, and they’ve all become regulars. There’s something special about Quad. Many of the spinners are proper cyclists who use Quad to supplement their on-road training regime, and because of this, the spinners mean business, making me work harder and push myself every time. Early morning classes get packed on the weekend, make sure you book your spot online ahead of time!

Quad is bar none, my healthiest obsession.