Fitness / Running Info

#YourBetterStartsHere Part 2: Alicia Bell

DISCLAIMER: I am a Sport Chek ambassador but all views and opinions are my own. Thank you for our support of these sponsorships that make this blog possible. And thank you Sport Chek for having me on the tour!

On Thursday July 28th, I was invited to check out the grand opening of a Sport Chek x Atmosphere flagship store. For part one of this mini post series, I highlighted my favourite features of the new flagship store. Today, I’ll be sharing what I chit-chatted about with Alicia Bell, the fitness expert that accompanied me on the ride to Sport Chek.

Alicia Bell is a Kinesiologist, Strength Coach and Track & Field Coach based in Toronto (She’s the one who led the Crest 3D white strip workout!). She started running when she was young, beating all the boys at her school, so she grandma found her a coach, a gym, and gave her all the tools she needed to succeed in the sport. She is a nationally recognized track and field coach, having coached Team Canada to 13 medals at the 2013 Maccabi games in Israel. Currently, she is the head coach for Track and Field at Ryerson University. Needless to say, she is the embodiment of the term “fitness expert.”

As you all know, I’ve been struggling to find my mojo so knowing her extensive history in coaching, it was the first thing that I had asked her. Here’s what she had to say about getting your mojo back!

1. What is your why

“I always say to sit down and be like what do you love about running. What are the things you love about running. Name three things that you love about running.” Essentially, we should think of what our why is. She says that once you are able to identify those things – you should be able to build off that.

2. Set a new goal

I asked her if this was a common thing among her athletes. Alicia explained that it tends to happen when you have a big goal that you’re training towards and suddenly when it’s over it can happen. You need to find your passion again. I mentioned that I was going to do RunAjax and she suggested to make it known. Having your goal out there means you can and will be held accountable by your friends and family.

3. Write it down

This part was definitely my favourite piece of tidbit from Alicia. She had suggested that if we need help with staying accountable – we should go buy an erasable marker and write down our goals on our mirror. Having it on the mirror ensures that you are constantly seeing it as a reminder and you can cross them off when you’ve achieved them, giving you a sense of accomplishment seeing a list of crossed off goals!

The next thing I had asked was about running – things we should focus on to make our running more efficient.

1. Arms and Shoulders

Alicia shared a quote with me: we run with our arms on our legs. We talked about running economy and how important it is to make sure we don’t forget to strength train our upper bodies. When we forget to train our arms, our legs have to work harder to keep us going. Alicia explains to me how exercises that include scapular contractions are the best for distance runners.

2. Hip Flexors

While everyone has it drilled in their heads to make sure our hip flexors are not tight, Alicia reminded  me that we cannot forget to strengthen it. When we get tired, we drag our feet and our running economy drops. To counteract that, we should strengthening our hip flexors so they stay strong throughout our running. One exercise she recommends is while standing (by a wall for balance), we can lift one leg up to a 90 degree bend and then slowly lowering it. Then, before reaching the ground, you go right back up. You repeat this 10 times and then on your tenth one, you hold it up top and pulse it. Put your hand a bit above your knee and have your knee tap it ten times. I tried it the other day and I felt like my legs were on fire! It is definitely something I’m adding to my routine.


QOTD: How do you pull yourself out of a slump to get your mojo back? What’s your favourite strengthening move for running?

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13 thoughts on “#YourBetterStartsHere Part 2: Alicia Bell

  1. Hitting slumps is sooo hard…I usually give myself some grace, take a few days off, and then it comes back to me…Or I look at an old race picture and that running bug comes back! I teach group fitness so thankfully I kind of have to keep going in fitness 🙂

  2. I love the tips for more efficient running. I have noticed a lot of positive impacts from strengthening my back, upper body, and core – especially on long runs or going up hills, a stronger upper body keeps from hunching over and I can help redistribute some of the energy from my legs to my arms!

  3. How awesome you got to meet and talk with her! I think as runners we don’t concentrate on leg and hip exercises until an injury happens. Even though you run, leg exercises are still very important!

  4. love all of her advice. hitting slumps is hard, but natural. i think it often means you aren’t listening to your body enough or that your body needs some extra rest and TLC.

  5. Pingback: A blog about healthy living based in Toronto Canada - Carmyy

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