Viewing entries in
Fitness

10 Simple Ways To Be More Active

3 Comments

10 Simple Ways To Be More Active

9719738734_e50f6cfe9e_b.jpg

We all know that physical activity is really important. But with most of us sitting 8 hours a day, our health is in crisis. And the statistics prove it. Sitting over 6 hours per day increases your risk of death by 40% versus those that sit 3 hours a day. Sitting for long periods of time is also associated with increasing the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and of course weight gain.

With our current lifestyle consisting of rolling out of bed, grabbing a cup of coffee, getting in the car in a garage, sitting in traffic, parking in another garage, taking the elevator to cubicle, refilling your coffee mug, sitting at your desk and never even getting a breath of fresh air. It’s no wonder America is over stressed, out of shape and in poor health!

Even if you workout (i.e. run) in the morning, you still need to be active throughout the day. Because as soon as you sit down the electrical current in your legs shuts off. Not a good thing! And the enzymes that help break down fat drop by 90%! If that doesn’t motivate you to get moving, I’m not sure what will.

Here are 10 simple ways to being more active:

1) Set your alarm to go off on the hour every hour during the day. If you do have a 9-5 job, set your smartphone alarm or timer to go off every 50 minutes. For the remaining 10 minutes, walk around the office or outside.

2) Walk and talk! Have a phone call to make? Walk and talk! This is one of my personal steadfast rules. If I’m talking, I’m walking. It’s amazing how many steps you can take while on the phone! If you are a manager or leader in any capacity, have active meetings. Get outside! Walk to a nearby park. If in a boardroom have the team get up and walk around. Not only is this good for everyone’s health, it’s good for helping people to think.

3) Purchase a pedometer or fitness tracking wrist bracelet like Jawbone UP, Fitbit, Nike FUEL. These are fantastic tools to help keep you motivated and accountable. There is something so rewarding to seeing how many steps you took in a single day!

4) Instead of watching TV, walk or run! If your nightly routine involves sitting on the couch for a few hours watching TV, you have time to be active. Choose something that you appeals to you. Walking, racquetball, yoga, soccer, running, swimming are all great options.

5) If you do watch TV, be active while doing so. Get a treadmill for your TV room! Jump rope, pushups, hold plank, get a set of hand weights so you can do bicep curls, flys, overhead presses and other strength moves. If your doorway allows for it purchase a pullup bar.

6) Walk while at work. If you have a desk job, invest in a treadmill desk. Bonus: endorphins will make you feel more energized and creative.

7) Walk first thing in the morning and last thing at night. A simple walk in the morning can be the perfect way to wake up. Watch the sun rise in the sky and count your. Wind down at the end of a long day by taking a nice stroll around the block. If you can go barefoot, even better! Anytime you can go barefoot, do it. Connecting with the earth grounds you and is also fantastic for healthy feet! Especially if you’ve been in heels all day!

8) Use your body to get to work! Walk, run, or ride your bike to work. Or take public transit and start/finish the rest of your trip with your body.

9) Drink pure water in a reusable water bottle. Drinking pure water (refrain from adding any toxic liquids or powders to it!) throughout the day will ensure that you stay hydrated (your body is 70% water) which means you’ll need to use the restroom which means you’ll have to get up and move!

10) Ask a coworker or your department to join you in getting active. Use the above ideas to inspire and motivate you. And if you need a wellness program for your company, let us know! We have wellness plans just for you.

---

So there you have it. 10 simple ways to getting active throughout the day. Now it’s your turn! How do you get active during the day? If you sit a lot, how will you get moving? Share your story here and you’ll be entered to win some amazing gifts! Terranea Resort anyone?

---

Disclaimer: We were compensated by United Healthcare Step Up campaign for this article.

---

Cover photo credit: Collect Moments

For the stats referenced above, check out this infographic:

 

Sitting Is Killing You

Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.

 

3 Comments

A Letter To Parents: What Your Kids Really Need From You

Comment

A Letter To Parents: What Your Kids Really Need From You

8754238220_5e17948542_b.jpg

Youth sports for obesity prevention!

Sounds like a great strategy right!?

Get the kids moving a little, get them away from the TV, the computer, the video games, the  iPads....

less screen time= more play time!

Meeting the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day shouldn't be a problem when the kids have sports practice several times a week !

Three Boys Holding Sports Balls

Except wait.... 

That's NOT what the research is showing....

For 1/2 of the time at sports practice, kids are engaging in only LIGHT or SEDENTARY activities (Nelson, U of MN). This obviously varies by sport and by gender,  but the numbers are still strikingly low across the board. Younger kids, especially, have more "coaching time" and less activity time...

I should note, kids in sports ARE more physically active than those who aren't. So that's good...

Except wait.... 

They may be more active... but what about their NUTRITION!?

The research available on non-elite athletes, shows mixed results on nutritional differences between kids that participate in sports versus kids that don't. Kids in sports do consume more fruits/veggies than kids not in sports....BUT the kids in sports are also consuming more calories, sugary sports drinks, and fast food (Nelson et al 2011, Nelson, U of MN).

Additionally, sports environments promote unhealthy eating behaviors  like unnecessary sports drinks, snacks loaded with sugar and refined carbohydrates, processed meats, cheese dip (with more ingredients in it than cheese...), chips, pop....  It has become the "social norm" for sporting events to have concession stands filled with candy, chips, and pop (the other irony... we go to sporting events to watch professional athletes be active while we chow-down on processed foods). After practice the team snacks include things like "fruit" (otherwise refereed to as candy when it's in the form of a fruit roll-up), juice drinks (that are loaded with sugar), poptarts (which could have its own blog post.. my college professor would enjoy that), pop, donuts......and weekly trip to fast-food joints to celebrate with the team.

Glass of Cola with a Straw in It

T.  Nelson, a professor at the University of Minnesota, did observational studies at 63 basketball tournaments throughout Minnesota. All of the tournaments offered sports drinks and pop. Each tournament's concession stand offered 6 chocolate candy options, 6 chewy candy options. Entrees like hotdogs, burgers, pizza and nachos were offered at 98% of the tournaments. Pastries (cookies and baked goods) were offered at 92% of the venus. Chips and fruits were offered at 81% of venues... and ONLY 10% of the tournaments had vegetables available. ONLY 10%. Additionally, 67% of the venues partnered with outside vendors like Subway, Coldstone Creamery, mini donuts..... The norms that we have created around sports activities are not health promoting. And these foods that parents label as "sometimes treats" are becoming weekly.... if not, DAILY treats.

 

Basketball Team in Huddle

BUT....

" Kids in sports are more active."

"They'll burn off the sugar anyways!"

 "My kid needs the electrolytes"

"Sports drinks will make my child preform better!"

Check this photo out!

"They deserved it!" 

For most children, caloric intake is exceeding energy burned during sports activities. The sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade) are not necessary for children engaging in general sporting events (these were originally created for pro-football players practicing twice a day).... The original intent of sports drinks has lost its purpose, and now has become the replacement for pop and other sugar sweetened beverages. "But it's a sports drink.... it's good for me" ... to society, the sports drink wears a halo next to it's relative Coke and Pepsi, but they aren't that much different, folks! YOU ARE BUYING INTO #healthwashing .... (Words from The American Academy of Pediatrics on sports drinks: here).

Young Girl Eating a Hotdog

It doesn't sound like we, as a society, have created effective strategies for preventing obesity amongst our youth.

Elite athlete or non-elite athlete, what kind of messages are we teaching kids about physical activity and nutrition?

"I just ran 8 miles... so now I can eat a super size french fry and a McDouble. I deserve it!!"

 

Can we stop treating food as a REWARD and exercise as a PUNISHMENT?

What your body really deserves and really needs ... is physical activity and WHOLE FOODS, more plants!

YOUR BODY deserves to be nourished properly, so that you can maintain optimal health... and not just for the next time you exercise, but for the rest of YOUR life.

The food we are putting into  children before and after sporting events are not health promoting. We are sending the message that "I just worked out, so now I deserve to eat this xyz item.".... but what happens when that item is loaded with artificial EVERYTHING and there is actually no nutritional value to it (besides calories)? All kids should be surrounded in environments that encourage healthier food options. Foods that will ACTUALLY help them preform better, have more energy, and recover faster following intense practices and games.... BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, surrounding children in health promoting environments that will teach them LIFESTYLE skills about healthy eating and physical activity....

SKILLS THAT WILL CARRY WITH THEM THROUGHOUT THEIR LIVES!

What do kids really need to be a healthy athlete:

1. WHOLE GRAINS

2. MORE PLANT PROTEIN

3. HEALTHY FATS (olive oil, avocado, nut and nut butters, seeds)

4. FRUITS and VEGETABLES (this does NOT include french fries..)

5. WATER !!!

6. PLENTY OF SLEEP!

For more information about Healthy Youth Sports from the University of Minnesota, check out this link: Healthy Youth Sports. Let's stop #healthwashing today!

Also, checkout Move + Live + Learn with Amanda Stanec, PhD!!

 

In good health,

kAD

 

Find me on Twitter: kademuth_RD or Facebook: Moxie Musing

Cover photo credit: Aurimas 

Comment

The 3 Worst Gym Machines To Never Use Again

1 Comment

The 3 Worst Gym Machines To Never Use Again

443884729_1f2153bd82_b.jpg

Getting your sweat on is fantastic. It’s something I advocate for every day, but are you working out the wrong way? Many times, I walk by a gym to see people running on the hamster mill (i.e. treadmill) or see people furiously pumping their arms on the elliptical thinking they are going somewhere fast. Another piece of gym equipment that is misused is the weight machine - particularly the hamstring curl machine and quad leg extension machine.

Why are these machines not good to use? Let’s find out why!

The Treadmill. Now, you may be thinking, why would the treadmill be on this list? Doesn’t Sarah love to run? The answer is yes, I love to run, but always outside on the trails! Weather (cold, rain, snow) rarely stops me. Seriously, the coldest to date has been -60 degrees F.

Running on a treadmill doesn’t mimic real life movement and running. You are running on a belt that is propelling you forward. Next, people rarely change the incline from 0.0. That incline is actually a downhill slant, not a flat road. Thirdly, most people set the speed that they cannot maintain and hold onto the rails for dear life. The treadmill rails are not part of the workout! They are simply there for safety. Also, your gait and foot strike change for the worse when on a treadmill. So when you start to have hip, knee or other problems you wonder why.

So, when can you use a treadmill? For very specific workouts (speed or hills) or during a blizzard or hurricane. If using the treadmill, make sure the incline level is set at 1.0 or higher, but try to run outside as much as possible. Preferably on dirt trails.

Go natural when running! Note: there is a plethora of cold running gear, so don’t let the excuse of running in the cold (or rain) stop you! Here are the top 7 pieces of winter running gear I sweat by. 

The Elliptical. I cringe when I see and hear of people working out on the elliptical. Being drenched in sweat does not mean the exercise is effective. If you learn one thing from this article, I hope it's this: The elliptical machine does not mimic real life movement and does not build a strong body. You might be able to burn a lot of calories on this machine, but “burning calories” is not the goal of cardio. The goal of cardio is to raise your heart rate for a short period of time and then bring it back down, to build strong lungs, legs and overall body composition (which will burn calories). Instead of jumping on the elliptical for a 10 minute sprint, choose a cross training circuit that incorporates real life movement. Jump squats, jump rope, push, pull, throw, leap, crawl. Want to prevent injuries? Skip the elliptical for real life movements. If all else fails, just walk (or run) outside, or climb stairs.

The Weight Machines. Rarely are stationary weight machines effective. Once again, they don’t mimic real life movement. I see many of these used incorrectly all the time. The top machines would be the leg curl and quad leg extension (and also the bicep machine and ...) Again, they don’t build muscle the proper, effective way. Sure you might be able to pump out 15 reps, but your entire body is moving and jerking during the process. (No doubt you’ve seen this!) That is not the point of the exercise!

Instead of the leg curl machine, get a stability ball and do bridges with double leg curls and then work up to single leg curls. These are super duper effective and you might even curse under your breath by rep 7.

Instead of the quad leg extension machine, do pistols, one legged squats, run hills, cycle hills, lunges, box jumps. If you must do the quad leg extension machine, do one leg at a time. Keep the weight low enough so that your whole body doesn’t move during the exercise. Remember: time under tension. This is how you build muscle.

Strength training is really, really important, just make sure you are lifting the right way. Buy a kettlebell or two and some free weights. You can do so many exercises that build muscle the proper way.

The bottom line? Gym machines don’t translate into everyday, natural life movement. Stick with exercises that incorporate natural, real life movement. Lift heavy things, run outside (on trails), climb, pull, push, throw, jump.

-----

What would you add to this list? What pieces of gym equipment have you seen being used effectively? Have you used the three machines listed above? Why? Leave a comment below! I always enjoy hearing from you*.

*Please keep the comments respectful and positive.

Photo credit: Barkaw

1 Comment

Modeling Health and Gratitude

Comment

Modeling Health and Gratitude

5967954954_a94861e9b2_b.jpg

“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.”  ~ Anthony Robbins

It’s that time of year again – Thanksgiving is only a week away. Can you believe it? Whoa.  For some, Thanksgiving can be a stressful time - people may resort to their teenage self when gathering with family to celebrate.  Others might be looking forward to Black Friday so they can wait in line at 3 am. (I shall not judge).  For me, it’s a time to focus on modeling healthy traditions for my own children (ages 2 & 3) – traditions not highlighted by football and pumpkin pie.  

You see it’s my fourth Thanksgiving as a mom. And while I don’t claim to be any better of a parent than the next person doing her/his best, I have been mindful of what types of tradition my kids will grow up with. I thought I would share with you some guiding questions that helped me determine traditions I would be proud of.  Then, I will share traditions that my family initiated after considering the guiding questions.  It is my intent that you become a bit inspired and build upon / modify / develop your own traditions that model not only gratitude, but also healthy active living.

Guiding Questions:

  1. Are your traditions in line with the spirit of the Thanksgiving Holiday?
  2. Do you over consume, or do you serve and give back?
  3. Do your traditions demonstrate thanks to one another as well as to the environment?
  4. Are your traditions inclusive? Can the entire family be involved?
  5. Are your traditions ones that support healthy and active living?

Healthy and Active Ways to Serve and Model Gratitude 

  • Communicate with a local shelter (or other organization) and offer to serve a hot meal, or to deliver healthy bagged lunches.  We do this on Canadian Thanksgiving here in St. Louis.  It is almost shameful how much more I benefit from the activity than the residents. My partner and I bought organic, healthy food and made lunches to which residents stated, “Is this really for me?”  “This is sooo healthy.” “Thank you, God Bless You!”  The kids packed the bags (with our supervision – they are young) and passed them out.
  • Start your day off with physical activity.  It blew my mind when I moved to the US how so many people sat all day and watched others be active (re: football). It's nothing against football, but I just wondered why people weren't getting outside.  To ensure our holidays consist of physical activity, my partner and I run on Thanksgiving morning (we push our girls in the double bob ironman stroller we scored used).  [This year we are participating in a local 6 mile Turkey Trot at 8 a.m.] By beginning our day this way, it sets the tone for a healthy day and makes us feel better (just like it does every other day).
  • Offer to bring healthy options if you join others for a Thanksgiving gathering.  My mother-in-law is a fantastic cook!  When I offered to take roasted sweet potato fries, cauliflower, and a big green salad (for US Thanksgiving last year)– she was thrilled.  I take these three healthy options so that a) she has help and b) people have healthy options.  Once you put three healthy options on your plate, there is less room to make unhealthy choices. And, if you feel like having seconds (it is a Thanksgiving feast after all) go for the second helping of the roasted veggies.  This year, the cauliflower is coming from our own 'harvest'.  How cool that we will be giving thanks to the harvest just as the original feast did?
  • Get back outside!  When you finish eating your Thanksgiving dinner, we do what we do every night after dinner.  Bundle up and go for a walk as a family. Talk about what you are grateful for in life and qualities that one another possess.  Sure, it's warm and fuzzy - but the world could use a little more warm and fuzzy these days.  Don't you think?

Through physical activity, I am never at a loss for gratitude.  Connecting with nature reminds me daily just how much I have to be grateful for.  I also am aware of the literature on the power of role modeling.  Our kids notice what we do and what we say. So, I’m proud the traditions we are making include service, healthy foods, and physical activity.

We are such a small dash on the earth – and even a smaller dash in time.  Each day we should take time to reflect and be grateful for this gift of life.  Each day we should choose to nourish our bodies in a way that it has evolved to be nourished.  Despite what morning “news” shows are selling, it’s not about fitting into a certain dress size this holiday season.  It’s about eating well and moving lots so that you can feel your best and live life to its fullest potential. This potential includes finding ways to serve others healthily (in the community and at home) in terms of both foods and behaviors.

(NOTE: I’m also grateful to Sarah for inviting me to contribute to her blog, and to you for reading this post. Thank you.) 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Amanda Stanec, PhD, is a mother, speaker, writer, Boston qualifier and wellness consultant. Follow her on Twitter to learn more about living a healthy life! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Cover photo credit: Nathan Van Arsdale)

Comment

5 Unhealthy Habits To Trade In For Healthy Ones

Comment

5 Unhealthy Habits To Trade In For Healthy Ones

6890000870_4ac507097a_b1.jpg

Do you have unhealthy habits? I have a few and you probably do too! One of mine is hanging out on my iPhone (either Facebook or Twitter or checking email) right before bed. I know this isn’t the proper way to fall asleep. And I hate that I do this!

So for the past month I started creating a new habit. I’ve been leaving my phone in another room, turning on “do not disturb” (I swear I can notifications in my sleep!) and reading a book before bed. This has been a great routine and I really enjoy falling asleep from reading a book vs staring at a little screen that turns a few minutes into hour(s).

Here are 5 unhealthy habits to trade in for healthy ones.

#1) Replace soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks for a reusable water bottle.

One of the best healthy habits you can get into is to carry a reusable water with you at all times. Even when standing in the TSA line! Just drink it before you go through security. Refill on the other side of the checkpoint. Bonus: you’ll save money and the planet! I literally carry my reusable water bottle around everywhere with me. From church to the store to the airport to restaurants if I happen to eat out- it never leaves my hands. A hydrated body is a happy, healthy body!

#2) Replace snooze alarm with setting it for 30 minutes earlier and getting a workout in.

Yup, you read that right! Instead of hitting the snooze button, set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier and jump (or roll, crawl, fall) out of bed to hit the gym or go for a run. Starting your day with physical activity will get your creative juices flowing, true energy in your veins and the self satisfaction of knowing that you put your health first.

#3) Replace using mobile devices/TV in the evening for reading a book or journaling.  

Do you fall asleep watching TV or on your cell phone? I don’t own a TV, but as I said in the beginning, I had an unhealthy habit of wasting time on my iPhone. Oops. So, instead of  vegging out on the couch watching TV or cell phones (or video games!) turn off the devices and curl up with a good book. Or grab a notebook and start writing (yes, with pen!) your thoughts. Writing is very therapeutic and healing. Remember, health is a mind, body, spirit connection!

#4) Replace complaining with gratefulness.

It is Thanksgiving next week, but how many of us could be a better job at being grateful on a daily basis, year round? All of our hands should probably go up! Complaining doesn’t do anyone a bit of good and can have a negative impact on your health too. Make a commitment to stop yourself from complaining or grumbling and choose to be grateful. Make a list on your smartphone of everything you are thankful for and look at it each time you complain. Each one of us has a lot to be thankful for!

#5) Replace chips, pretzels, crackers with kale chips.

Eating nutrient-dense foods instead of nutrient-lacking food-like-products gives your body the vital minerals and vitamins it needs to be healthy. You can make your own (kale is inexpensive- about $2 bucks for a bunch!) or buy if you really have to. Kale is a superfood and for good reason. It’s packed with nutrients that helps gives you good eyesight to heart health to lowering cancer risks. Oh and helps your body detox!

-----------

Your turn! What are some of your unhealthy habits? Any of the ones listed above? What can you do in the next 30 days to build healthy ones? Share in the comments below- I always enjoy hearing from you!

Photo credit: Brad

 

Comment

Week In Review (why running rocks and why the FDA wants to keep you sick)

Comment

Week In Review (why running rocks and why the FDA wants to keep you sick)

4768584860_05f713dc68_b.jpg

Here’s a look back at what happened this week in the health and fitness world (plus an inspiring, heart-warming story at the end).

First up is the Wall Street Journal and a very angry rant about runners. No need to link to it. It’s gotten enough airtime.

As a runner/ultrarunner, I love to run. It’s who I am. I’ve been running for as long as I can remember. In fact, I even forget about personal records I’ve set!

The writer of this article had a bone to pick with runners and frankly, I’m not sure why. I can only speculate that he is jealous of those who have run distances that he can only drive. I get it Chad, you haven’t (yet) experience the joy that running brings it.

Being a runner is a mentality. When I see a road sign stating the distance to the next town (whether it’s 100 miles or 10 miles), I immediately start calculating how long it will take me to get there via foot! It's not bragging, it's the inner satisfaction of knowing that my body can do something remarkable.

Running is liberating. Running is freedom. Knowing that my body can run really, really, really long distances is something that no one can take away from. I’ve had a lot of other things taken away from me, but running is the one thing that has always been there for me.

Dear Chad, I invite you to join me for a run someday! We’ll go to a running store and get you some running gear and shoes. After we’re done, we’ll put a sticker on your car of the distance you ran (1.1? 3.1?). And maybe then, you’ll see how wonderful running can be.

-----------

Second, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology released new guidelines this week (November 12, 2013) calling for doctors to increase (I think I had a heart attack just reading that!) the use of prescriptions for high cholesterol for people that show a moderate risk for a heart attack or stroke.

A few facts:

  • Heart disease is the number 1 killer in America. (CDC) Yes, more deaths from heart disease than cancer!

  • Strokes are the number 4 killer in America. (CDC)

  • 700,000 Americans suffer heart attacks each year. (CDC)

  • Heart disease costs over $100 billion each year. (CDC)

  • 130,000 die from strokes yearly. (CDC)

So, let me get this straight. We’re going to prescribe statins to about 33 million Americans who don’t have heart disease, but are simply at a greater risk for it? Can you say money in pharmaceutical and FDA pockets? This is beyond appalling.

First, when prescribed these statin medications, people will be spending anywhere from $12 (generic) to $500 a month (and you better believe they will push for non-generic RX’s) - for the rest of their life! Who said that living a healthy life was expensive?

Second, these drugs come with adverse health consequences. Statin drugs increase Type 2 diabetes (which increases your risk of heart disease), memory loss, confusion, muscle pain and weakness. Bottom line: the FDA is going to prescribe a drug that gives you heart disease. To say that I am highly bothered by this is an understatement.

Here are the side effects of eating real food, exercise, drinking water and holistic treatments: they are safe and effective, increased energy, disease prevention, clear skin, helps you sleep better, memory, happiness, good digestion, heart health, prevent cancer, eye and brain health, strong immune system - the list of positive health benefits is endless! Plus, it’s cheaper than getting sick and paying for lifelong prescriptions that cause a host of harmful diseases and side effects.

Who will doctors target for these new statins guidelines? Caucasian women over 60 who smoke and African-American men over 50 with high blood pressure.

Heart disease and strokes are preventable through diet and lifestyle! It’s very basic and simple: eating nutrient-dense food, drinking water, not smoking, be active as much as possible each and every day, not eating processed food and drinks, eating less or zero animal products, embracing a plant-based lifestyle. I think it is outrageous that AHA and ACC (and the FDA) are asking doctors to prescribe life-long use of statins with disease-promoting side effects instead of urging patients to clean up their lifestyle.

Until the day I die, I will be all about disease prevention and organic food and holistic treatments and methods. Our bodies are smart - they don’t need harmful, toxic prescriptions that cause all kinds of disease, death and other health problems. When each of us starts taking personal responsibility for our health and using natural, holistic ways (real food, massage, acupuncture, water) to cure our body of what ails us, will we begin to take our health back.

I urge you to watch the documentary War On Health as soon as you can. Begin to educate yourself on what the FDA is doing to your health and the health of the people around you. “They are being rewarded for profiting off your disease - $2.7 trillion in fact.”

Bottom line: natural, holistic methods, treatments, foods are safe; pharmaceuticals prescriptions always come with harmful warnings and possible death.

------

And to end on a high note, there is no doubt you saw the heart-warming story about #SFBatkid. I got goosebumps watching as the city of San Francisco made this little 5 year old boy Bat Kid for the day. I’m glad good, positive things are still happening!

Have a great weekend!

 

Photo credit: Aaron

Comment

Holiday Wellness Guide

1 Comment

Holiday Wellness Guide

7454477174_5e2f754d6e_b.jpg

The holiday season is upon us! And here is a Holiday Wellness Guide for you as you navigate your health and parties this season. Cheers!

Sugar

  • Americans consume 130 pounds of sugar a year (adults consume 22 teaspoons of sugar a day and teens 34 teaspoons a day). Soft drinks are the number source.
  • Sugar can be hidden in ketchup, breads, salad dressings, bars, processed snacks, cheese and meats.
  • Sugar isn’t just white sugar, but these names as well: HFCS, sucralose, fructose, Sweet N Low, Splenda, Aspartame, Erythritol, Acesulfame K #healthtalk
  • The effects of sugar are obesity, heart disease, tooth decay, allergies, diabetes, certain cancers, insomnia.
  • Use raw honey when you bake - cut amount in half. i.e. 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of raw honey.

Parties

  • Go with a friend and keep each other on track with your healthy goals in mind during the party.
  • Health is a 24/7 mindset, have a great time, but remember that your long term health goals!
  • Bring snacks or nutrient dense foods to the party. This way you’ll have something to eat! And introduce guests to real food!
  • Eat nutrient dense foods before going to party. At the party enjoy a few of your favorite foods or drinks.

Drinks

  • A cup of Eggnog can be up to 400 calories (more with alcohol added) and contain 20 g of sugar! Watch what you drink.
  • Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks contains 410 calories, 17g fat, and 10g of saturated fat and no pumpkin (just artificial flavors) and HFCS.
  • A Pumpkin Spice Latte from McD’s contains no pumpkin, sucralose, artificial flavors, potassium sorbate, 340 calories, 48 g of sugar, GMO.
  • Alcohol calories can really add up quickly without providing your body nutrients. Try Kombucha!
  • Tip: get in the habit of always carrying a reusable water bottle with you. Water keeps you hydrated, refreshed and healthy!

Food:

  • A few handfuls of salty, mixed nuts can really add on the calories - up to 600! Opt for raw nuts and veggies.
  • Traditional green bean casserole contains about 275 calories, 10 g of unhealthy fat. Saute green beans, top with slivered raw almonds instead.
  • A slice of pumpkin pie contains more than 300 calories, 21 g of sugar. Try making these Pumpkin Spice Bars instead: (gluten free and vegan!)
  • Like crunchy foods? Opt for kale chips! Packed full of nutrients that your body needs to live and thrive.
  • You can still enjoy the holiday and eat tasty foods! Just be mindful to make wise and smart choices.

Holiday Fitness Tips:

  • Get up 30 minutes early every morning and get a walk or run in before the hectic day begins.
  • Park far away from the shopping mall or store and walk to entrance.
  • Challenge yourself to always take the stairs!
  • Set a wellness goal for the next 6 weeks. Bonus: I will help you! 

Peace:

  • Happiness happens when we help others. There are many lonely people all around us, see you can reach out to this season!
  • Keep snacks and water bottles with you to hand out to those with signs asking for help.
  • Spread cheer wherever you go. Tip extra. Shovel neighbor's driveway. Put phone away when paying for purchases.

 

cover photo credit: MOTT

1 Comment

A Balancing Act (Live In Tune)

Comment

A Balancing Act (Live In Tune)

1465786_10152005496864295_967780263_o.jpg

I receive a lot of questions about living a healthy life and one of the more popular ones has to do with balance. Perhaps the image of standing on one leg on a balance ball while tending to kids who are naked running around you as you try to cook dinner, answer the phone and the dishwasher overflows comes to mind. Finding the balance  amidst the chaos of everyday life can indeed be challenging!

So how does one effectively balance life, kids, work, health, fitness? Here are six practical tips for you in juggling this thing we called life.

1) Calendar!

Schedule workouts on your calendar. Just like you schedule playdates, work meetings, conference calls, schedule your workouts. With reminders! This can be a great way to stay on track with a running program and even general fitness.

2) Make time!

I often remind people that we make time for what we make time for. Whatever is a priority to us is what will take our time! Usually making money/living takes a top priority and in turn, a lot of people are miserable because they are living in a cubicle for most of their life. Perhaps it’s time to ditch the cubicle for something that excites you when you get up each morning! There is no reason to dread Monday mornings! Or how much TV do you watch? Instead of watching TV, go for a walk or run or yoga or lift weights or ...

3) Prioritize!

If you spend a lot of going to happy hours and out on the town, chances are that your health is suffering (sleep, peace, nutrition). Scale back on happy hours and spend time with a friend going to a yoga class or a run together. If you are a parent, invite another family over for dinner sometime. Your home doesn’t have to spick and span (or perfect), just filled with love and kindness.

4) Say no!

Most of us run ragged because we overcommit ourselves. Saying no is OK :). If you are an entrepreneur like myself, this can be a long lesson to learn. Say no to things that won’t benefit you in the long run. This can be difficult to learn at first (at least for me, it still is!) There are so many things that want my attention, so learn to delegate and say no. This is living in tune!

5) Be active all day long!

For those of you that sit at desk, here are some to ways be active throughout the day. Get a treadmill desk, go outside for meetings and walk, walk and talk on the phone, go outside for fresh air during a lunch break, set a timer to get up and be active every hour on the hour for 10 minutes. (Note: running in the morning and then sitting all day is still terrible for your health!) Everything counts- either steps or sitting. Pick your health!

6) No excuses!

A lot of us live more by excuses then by reasons to live!  Commit right now to slay those excuses and start living with reasons to do something positive. Change happens when we acknowledge that how we are currently living is not working and make it a daily habit to live with reasons, not excuses!

So, your turn! How do you #LiveInTune? How do you get active on a busy, hectic day? Have you hiked or ran in a super cool place recently? Share a photo of you being active on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and be sure to tag: #LiveInTune so you’ll be entered to win a sweet gift from my friends at Philip Stein, Polaroid and myself (a 30 minute personal nutrition session via Google+ Hangouts or Skype).

 

I look forward to seeing your comments and photos. Remember, #LiveInTune!

Disclaimer: I'm honored to be working with Philip Stein and the #LiveInTune campaign!

 

Comment

5 Energy Bars To Buy, Eat, Support

8 Comments

5 Energy Bars To Buy, Eat, Support

8559527446_7d4ec789bd_b.jpg

I think the number one question I get and a mistake that is so frequently made, has to do with energy/health/protein bars. There are literally thousands on the market. From Big Food that produce Fiber One Bars and Nature Valley to other bars like Quest Protein Bars, LaraBar (owned by General Mills).

Very, very few bars on the market are worth of your hard-earned dollar.

First, a quick breakdown of the unhealthy ones.

Fiber One Bars

Brand: General Mills who supports GMO*

Sample of ingredients: sugar, corn syrup, HFCS, two vegetable oils, vegetable glycerin, GMO soy and dairy, yellow 5 & 6 lake, red 40 lake, blue 1 lake, propylene glycol

Claim: daily requirement of fiber

Truth: manufactured fiber, not real fiber from real food

Nature Valley Granola Bars

Brand: General Mills*

Sample of ingredients: GMO corn, GMO soy, High Maltose Corn Syrup, 3 oils, rice maltodextrin

Claim: protein bar

Truth: GMO protein and ingredients

(How people even think this is a protein/energy bar, well, I'm not quite sure! They were sponsors of The Biggest Loser so that's why I included it here.)

Quest Protein Bars

Brand: Quest Nutrition

Sample of Ingredients: GMO dairy, GMO whey (part of dairy), sucralose, artificial sweeteners (Splenda), sugar alcohols (Erythritol, Xylitol). (Note: they claim that they are GMO free, but this not stated anywhere on website or labels. Buyer beware.)

Claim: a natural protein bar, "junk free" (this company is very unethical, do not buy, eat, or support)

Truth: protein is from GMO dairy, includes artificial sweetener sucralose (zero calorie sweetener) which the body can’t break down. Zero calorie sweeteners deceive the body, trick the brain (you'll crave more & more), and cause health problems. Sucralose is a toxic, fake sweetener known as Splenda and the following health ailments have been reported from it: 

  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Seizures, dizziness and migraines
  • Blurred vision
  • Allergic reactions
  • Blood sugar increases and weight gain
  • Cancer  
  • Type 2 Diabetes 

Sugar alcohols such as Erythritol, Xylitol disrupt the oral AND gut microbiome. Since one of the places that health begins from is in the gut, sugar alcohols are a nightmare to living in optimal health. Any product that contains sugar alcohols must be avoided.   

Furthermore, this bar is also made with IMO (Isomaltooligosaccharide). This is why the fiber content is so high in this bar. The thing is that this fiber is fake. It's not real fiber! And anytime you give your body fake, highly processed, man-made food-like products, health problems WILL occur. Your body was not created to properly digest 17g of fiber from a lab-made bar.

A little free lesson: where does fiber come from? Fiber comes from organic veggies, nuts, seeds, fruits, hemp, chia- all foods from the earth, not a lab.

This bar is not real food and your body knows it.

This company is beyond unethical, false advertising, and deceptive marketing (cheat clean*). There is also a lawsuit against Quest Nutrition as well for these issues we've stated. But I digress.

*There is no such thing as "cheat clean"! Another reason why Quest is a dreadful company and bar is due to their false advertising and marketing tactics. They've done a good job at duping many people! "Cheat clean" is an oxymoron. It's like saying you got the oil changed in your car but you used dirty oil! Secondly, is cheating ever a good thing? If a person cheats in a relationship, do you want them to tell you they "cheated clean"? I should hope not!

The above ingredients in Quest are anything BUT clean. They are harmful to your health. Please do not be duped by their marketing ploys. 

Question to ask yourself: if you are cheating in your health and nutrition choices, what other areas of your life are you cheating in?

Anytime you have to justify something (I deserve it, I earned it, cheat clean, etc), it indicates an inner turmoil of knowing better but doing poorer and feeling guilty for said choice. Healthy choices do not need justification. 

If it's made in a lab, do not buy or eat!

LaraBar

Brand: General Mills*

Ingredients: nuts and fruits

Claim: organic fruit and nut bar

Truth: owned by General Mills who as you know supports and funds GMO. Lara Bars are not organic. Many people think they are but they are not. Lara Bar did recently come out with an organic bar line.  

So what bars can you buy, eat and support? Here are the top 5 (now 8) energy/health/protein that I personally recommend (and buy, eat, support).

Bearded Brothers

A small company based in Austin, TX. Strictly a raw fruit, seed and nut bar. Naturally gluten free, organic, plant-based.  Colossal Coconut Mango is my go-to bar when cycling or running (and traveling and…)

Go Raw

Another organic raw bar I love. My favorite kind is Spirulina. Also a small company.

Go Macro

My personal favorite is Wholehearted Heaven: almond butter+carob. A small company based in Wisconsin.

evo Hemp

Based out of Boulder, Colorado, this newer small bar company makes raw, plant-based, naturally gluten free and organic energy bars. I love Cashew Cacao.

Raw Revolution

UPDATE March 3, 2016: I've removed this brand as their ingredients aren't as pure from when I first wrote this. 

Whole Me

A 6th addition to this list because we fell in love with this small company and bar! They believe in REAL food, REAL ingredients. These bars are paleo, naturally gluten free, and downright delicious. We wholeheartedly approve!

Amrita

Another small company that uses real food as ingredients. Nut free so perfect for those with allergies.

Simple Squares

Another one of my personal favorites. Pure, simple, organic ingredients with different combinations of herbs+spices (like clove, ginger, cinnamon, chili pepper, rosemary) which are great anti-inflammatories! Nuts are the protein content. Small company based out of Chicago. 

Thunderbird 

While Thunderbird is not organic they are GMO free and made with real food ingredients, I'm including them on this list as they are a much better choice than Quest or Natural Valley! 

They use spices (turmeric!) and superfood (maca!) in some of their bar flavors. Vegan, Paleo, sugar free as well as sugar alcohol free, these are a good choice for your health. 

Navitas Naturals

I'm so excited that Navitas Naturals introduced a bar to their stellar lineup of superfood products! 

These bars are organic and chock full of superfood ingredients your body will love. Naturally GMO free and plant-based, these bars are an excellent choice! 

Criteria for buying health/energy bars:

  • Research company (are they sustainable? Not owned by Big Food or GMO supporting?)
  • Raw is the best choice (no fear of gluten, GMO dairy, animal-based protein)
  • Make sure protein source comes from nuts, seeds, hemp (not soy, peanuts or dairy)
  • Organic
  • Oat/grain free 
  • Free from artificial sugars, sweeteners, sugar alcohols 
  • The sweetener should come from dates, raw honey, 100% pure maple syrup, organic fruit 
  • Packaging- several on this have compostable packaging. This is something you want to look for. 
  • Ask me! 

*The Grocery Manufacturing Association (GMA) spent $22 million for anti-GMO labeling in Washington State (I-522) and General Mills directly contributed $869,270). GMA spent $45 million for anti-GMO labeling in California (prop 37). Source.

Disclaimer: I have not been paid to endorse any of the brands mentioned in this post. I've bought these bars and vetted them through my careful and strict criteria. Nov 7, 2013 / Feb 11, 2015. 

photo credit: Daniel E Lee

8 Comments

My Heart Is Breaking (And 6 Ways You Can Help)

Comment

My Heart Is Breaking (And 6 Ways You Can Help)

8610268598_4dd8d09bac_b.jpg

This past weekend I worked an event and my eyes welled up with tears and heart ached for my fellow people of America.

  • One obese woman was being pushed in a wheelchair, clutching a diet coke.
  • A 2 year-old girl was guzzling a supersize Mountain Dew.
  • A precious girl around 5 years of age with a beautiful smile showed tooth decay so bad she had a front row of gold and silver teeth.
  • A young, pre-teen, about 4 foot tall boy weighing around 180 pounds had trouble walking.
  • A woman telling me she drinks diet soda in the morning instead of coffee to wake her up.

As these people walked right in front of me, I wanted so desperately to take them by hand and give them a new way to live life! Life doesn’t have to be filled with disease, cancer diagnosis and addictions. (Unhealthy food and drink is an addiction.)

The kids broke my heart as their parents/caregivers are responsible for their little bodies right now. Any they are turning a blind eye to it. If there is one thing that I am passionate and knowledgeable about it, it is health and wellness.

Here are 6 ways you can help with our increasing unhealthy nation crisis.

Take personal responsibility!

The first step is to accept responsibility for where you are right now. You didn’t get this way overnight and it’s going to take a while to get where you need to be. If you have children, you are also responsible for their health too. Temper tantrums for candy don’t mean you give in to them. You are setting the example for how they will live life later. Please don’t fail them!

No more excuses!

Money and time are the two most common excuses. I don’t like to say never, but these are two excuses you never need to use again. You make time for what is a priority to you. You buy what you want to buy (some of the people this weekend were carrying around iPads). We all have 24 hours in the day and we can spend those hours making excuses or living a healthy life. Chances are that you will have to re-prioritize your schedule and life. But I promise you it WILL be worth it. And it’s really hard to have wealth before your health.

Read every label!

Before you pick up a package of Oreos, chips or beverage, read the label. If it is anything but real food but it back. Real food comes from the earth and land, not labs and manufacturing facilities. If there is a coloring dye (i.e. Blue #5, Red #4, Yellow #5, Yellow #6) put it down. Those food dyes have been linked to all kinds of disease, including cancer.

Cook at home, eat at home!  

Since you aren’t using the I-don’t-have-time excuse anymore, cooking and eating at home is something you can begin to incorporate into your routine. Crockpots are a wonderful invention! Right now, the seasons have changed to cooler weather making it perfect for a root vegetable dish. Or make quinoa, sweet potatoes, and avocado meal.

Drink water!

Many of you (yes, even runners **shudder**) still drink soda and/or diet soda. And in case you think you can “just burn it off”, you can’t. Those toxins damage your body. If there is one thing you can start doing today, like RIGHT now, is to simply commit to drink only water. Get in the healthy habit of carrying a reusable water bottle around with you everywhere. And I do mean practically everywhere.  Okay, okay, I know most of you drink coffee. If you must drink coffee, make it black or use a plant-based milk but DO NOT ADD SUGAR! And only drink one cup in the morning. None of this drinking 10 cups a day bad habit.

Have a good attitude!

It always surprises me (and it shouldn’t) how many parents talk sarcastically about exercise and eating healthy. Children learn what your habits. If you talk negatively and have a poor attitude about wellness, don’t be surprised if your kids will too. Yesterday, I heard a well respected faith leader talk about he hates exercise and running. Tell that to someone who doesn’t have legs due to war, accident or other. I bet they will gladly trade your place! Be mindful of what you say. Little ears are listening and watching.

In closing, remember we are eating food-like products today, real food is getting pushed to the wayside. Start a personal revolution within your own family by deciding, committing and taking action to eat real food. The holiday’s are quickly approaching (I know you don’t need a reminder!) and instead of the looming January 1st resolutions due date, start right now. Use these six simple steps to start your personal healthy living resolution today!

 

photo credit: Mannia&Titta

Comment

Your Questions Answered!

Comment

Your Questions Answered!

4289929004_c968cff759_b.jpg

It's YQA Friday (yes, last Friday was a no-show, we're back at it again today tho!) Here is today's question from Suzie.

Q: After 5 miles, my feet hurt pretty badly. I do have proper shoes. Will this go away, and if so, at what level of consistent running?

A: Hi Suzie! I'm not sure what kind of surface you are running on, but hard, unforgiving surfaces (like concrete) can be hard on the feet and the entire body. Try running on a soft surface like dirt trails or even pavement. These have a little more give and you won't pound your poor feet away. Also, if you have a high stability shoe, that might be affecting you too. Avoid wearing high heels, go barefoot often, if you sit at a desk get a golf ball and roll it with your foot. Your arches will love you!

Strengthening your feet is also another thing you can (should!) do. The feet have 52 bones (26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons) and many people don't pay enough, if any at all, attention to building strength in their feet and ankles. Some sample exercises are: scrunching up a towel with your toes, picking up small objects (i.e. marbles) with your toes, drawing the alphabet with your feet in the air, negative calf raises (place ball of foot on a stair step and drop calf) and one leg balance work. Use a wobble board!

A select few have foot nerve damage, sometimes it is also a nutritional deficiency.

As a friendly reminder, be sure to submit your questions about running, plant-based eating/fueling/training/racing or whatever else is on your heart! I'll answer as many as I can every Friday.

 

Photo credit: PJ

 

Comment

Physical Activity & Motherhood: Combine & Conquer

Comment

Physical Activity & Motherhood: Combine & Conquer

2282986247_b33cdaa309_b.jpg

 

“Just wait ‘til you have kids…”

Sound familiar?

Whether someone said this phrase to you, or shared it with others – I know from experience, it’s prevalent.  Personally, I hate it. It sets a low bar for us mothers. Generally speaking, if you want something done –surround yourself with a group that includes at least several mothers.

In what context did I primarily hear this phrase? Most often it was related to my active lifestyle while pregnant with my first child. Sure, the days of 2 hour post-coffee chats have been put on pause since I welcomed my two kids into the world – but the early morning runs or pre-bedtime yoga have not.

You see, the above phrase discredits and down plays not only the physical health benefits individuals receive from physical activity at moderate to vigorous intensities, but also the mental health and social benefits that come from working out on a consistent basis.

It frustrates me to be bombarded by images and stories telling women how to look a certain size.  You see, a healthy and active lifestyle is not about the size of jeans, it’s about the size of the heart. We must take care of our heart and we must live in a way that is loving and kind toward ourselves, others, and the environment. Physically active and healthy choices will undoubtedly aid in the development of the heart (among other things) – this should be a primary focus today and always.

If you choose to make physical activity a priority while raising your cherubs, and you are among the majority in that some amount of physical activity is feasible, this post is for you.  The mission, should you choose to accept it, should consider the following:

DO’s

  • Focus on short-term benefits such as stress relief, feeling of empowerment & productivity.
  • Consider health prevention and long-term independent living benefits.
  • Include your children in your pursuit (bike trailer, kid yoga mat, walking).
  • Seek out used gear & show it some love.

DON’Ts

  • …Use your kids as an excuse (of course there are excellent exceptions when they need to be an excuse). Skip the décor and choose video monitors and purchase used equipment (running stroller, video monitor/cardio equipment).
  • ….Let others make you feel guilty.  “What Sally says about Suzie says more about Sally than it says about Suzie.”  We control our thoughts. I’ve had others share “must be nice” comments with me regarding my physically active life. Whether it’s pushing 100 lbs of babies and strollers or getting up at 5 a.m., it’s not always easy and nice at first…but they are right – it’s always nice upon completion and I’m always nicer to myself and others afterward.
  • …Compare yourself to other mothers, other women &/or folks in magazines. Be the best you that you can be. Celebrate our differences & support one another in trying to make the most of this one precious life we are given.

None of us are perfect, nor should we strive to be. So, without judgment on yourself or others, just do the best you can considering your circumstances and know that you deserve to be healthy and living life to its fullest potential – we all do.

Thanks for reading! Would love to hear your comments on how you make physical activity a reality.

Amanda Stanec

@movelivelearn

www.movelivelearn.com                                Cover photo credit: havenholidays                        

Comment

A Plea to Pastors and Churches (and the faith community)

Comment

A Plea to Pastors and Churches (and the faith community)

8476612001_60b11a5c0a_b.jpg

I was listening to a podcast the other evening and the pastor asked at the beginning of the message to donate candy for their Fall Fest. I cringed.

Our nation's health is currently in a crisis. Diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and yes, obesity abound and the church is participating (dare I say, promoting?) an unhealthy lifestyle. Note: According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), diseases including cancer can be up to 95% prevented simply by lifestyle.

A few fast facts to remind us that obesity is a serious illness:

  • One in three kids are obese. [Source: Journal of the American Medical Association]
  • One in every five U.S. teenagers have abnormal cholesterol levels, putting them at greater risk of heart disease. [Source: CDC]
  • Obese adults are more likely to have depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. [Source: Psychosom Med]
  • Around 20% of cancer in women and 15% in men is directly related to obesity. [Source: New England Journal of Medicine]
  • Obese children are more likely to become obese adults. [Source: Journal of Adolescent Health]
  • Obesity-related diseases and health problems account for 61% of healthcare costs in America. [Source: CDC]
  • Obesity-related healthcare costs us $147 billion each year. [Source: CDC]

Do I have your attention now? I don't know about you, but this is not OK with me.

As does the church, I believe that we should be at the forefront of our healthcare issues. That is taking care of our bodies - not just physically and spiritually, but also from a nutrition standpoint. Exercise and daily activity are important, but so is what we put into our bodies. Most pastors and churches are careful what they listen to, read and watch. But how many of us feed our bodies garbage? What we put in our bodies is a direct correlation to our mood, our attitude and our overall health. And ultimately how the world interprets if we "practice what we preach."

The church wants to raise a generation for Jesus, but how can they when a lifestyle of disease is promoted? It's really hard to have spiritual health when the mental and physical health is neglected. There is a huge need in the church/faith community as a whole (and an article for another day) for a health and eat real food movement. I'm passionate about helping the faith community learn about real food and fitness and how it all goes together. That's why I wrote this.

Are you a pastor? Involved in planning events for the community? Here are some ways to reach the community but not contribute to the disease of our nation.

No. 1) Think Fall, Not Candy. Have a Fall Fest, but opt for healthy options. Candy is filled with toxins, called food dyes, that go by the name Blue No.1 (petroleum), Red 40 (coal tar), Yellow 5 & 6 (coal tar). These dyes are known to cause a host of health problems, including a direct link to cancer and do not belong in our food or body. Have apples, mini pumpkins, or if you really must have candy, go for real candy options like Annie's Berry Patch Organic Fruit Snacks or YummyEarth or UNREAL. Or why not something active? Like jump ropes. A 5k? Wear the kids out by creating activities that use their mind, spirit and body. Throw a healthy Fall Festival!

No. 2) Think Faith + Fitness + Real Food. Just like you can't have wealth without health, it's really hard to say you have faith and not pay attention to what you are putting in your body or how you treat it. Get active and start reading the labels on what you buy. Don't know an ingredient? Research it! Learn what you are about to eat. Become educated. Subscribe to the eat real food lifestyle.

No. 3) Think Long Term. What is the goal of the event you are having? Community outreach? Sharing the love of Jesus? Being the hands and feet of Jesus? As believers, we should be living and breathing examples of a healthy life to the rest of the world. How can you and I be the light of this world and the salt of this earth if we personally don't take care of our bodies in all areas?

I have many pastor friends and my prayer for you is that you will lead the people not only spiritually, but in health too. And as always, please let me know how I can support you and your church to embrace a healthy lifestyle! Check out this resource to help you get started!

 

Photo credit: Tambako

 

 

Comment

Your Questions Answered!

Comment

Your Questions Answered!

4590740983_e21864b737_o.jpg

Have running questions? What about plant-based eating and running? What to eat before, during, after a run? Is Gatorade good for me? Leave a comment below and I'll answer them every Friday! This weeks question comes from Suzie in Oklahoma. She asks "What are the benefits of hiring a coach? Do you really need to hire one or can you go with an online running plan?"

Online plans are good for those who are already motivated and knowledgable about the different types of running workouts. Online plans are not the best if you need daily encouragement, accountability or are a new(er) runner. Online plans are great for those are experienced marathoners. Skip the online plans if you are a beginning runner. If you know you will put in the required work, go for the online plan!

Now to the second part of Suzie's question- a personal running coach.

A personal coach is great for all types of runners- beginner, intermediate or experienced. Of course a personal coach will cost a bit more than an online plan. But a personal coach will be able to answer your questions, find out your goals, your injuries (past, current) and be there to encourage you. If you find that you need the accountability, go with a coach. Of course, only you can put in the hard work! The benefits of hiring a good coach include running experience and knowledge, phone calls and emails, trouble shooting, goal setting and achieving and encouragement!

Another option- maybe the best of worlds?- is to join a local running group. You'll have a group coach, get to run with other runners of your ability and also make new friends! It's not quite as personalized as a one-on-one coach, but more than an online plan. When I was training for my first marathon I ran with a local running group and I made some fantastic friends that I still keep in touch with today!

Now, how to pick the right coach, online plan or local running group is another topic for another Friday!

Your turn! What are your questions about running, marathoning, ultramarathons, training, fitness, nutrition? Leave them in the comments below or use the contact form above to send them my way!

 

photo credit: the world according to Marty

 

Comment

5 Mistakes Runners Make

2 Comments

5 Mistakes Runners Make

5893130764_41728f10b4_b.jpg

I've been running for more than 20 years (I feel old, but look young!) and have many miles, countless marathons and ultramarathons under my feet. (I'm also a RRCA Certified Running Coach.) Needless to say, I've gained a lot of experience in this wonderful sport we call running. I've also had the privilege of coaching and helping many runners and marathoners over the years. Along the way, I see five common mistakes they make. No matter where you are in your running journey, there is always room for improvement! Have you made any of the mistakes below? Share in the comments below!

Mistake #1) I can eat whatever because I burned x calories

This is probably the number one mistake runners make. Especially if they are training for a marathon. Most people become frustrated when they don't see weight drop like they thought they would. Very few people will lose weight while training for a marathon. Running doesn't equate that you get to eat more or whatever. It actually means that you need to eat more quality nutrient-based foods. Skip the donuts and opt for a superfood protein recovery shake. You will feel so much better, increase recovery and help prevent injury.

Mistake #2) I will lose weight training for 26.2 miles

If you are trying to lose weight, lose weight first and then tackle training and running a marathon. Both are stressful events on the body and doing both at the same time will stress your body out even more. Now, yes, you've probably seen TV shows where people run marathons and lose weight. This is neither safe nor effective. There is no prize to forcing yourself to run 26.2 miles. The marathon will always be there. Lose weight first, then run the marathon.

Mistake #3) I run, why should I cross-train?

Running is only part of the game. Imagine if you never gave your car an oil change? What happens? The engine will eventually fail. The same with only running, you will eventually get injured. By incorporating cross-training (TRX, BodyPump, weights, Zumba, body weight exercises, burpees, yoga, Pilates, Barre) into your weekly running schedule, you will find that your running will improve greatly.

Mistake #4) Why do I always get dehydrated?

Hydration happens way before a run, race day or a long run day. Drinking water throughout the day and week keeps you hydrated. Carry a reusable water bottle with you at all times and you will notice a vast improvement in your running. When you are dehydrated, you will actually slow down. Want to run faster? Stronger? Drink water! And please avoid toxic, disease-promoting sports drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, etc.

Mistake #5) I keep getting injured, what gives? 

Nutrition plays a huge part in staying injury free. What you eat will either help you build a strong body or a weak one. Enjoy a donut or a cookie once in a while, but remember you are what you eat. And you can't out run a poor diet. If you are eating a lot of processed food from boxes, cans, wrappers, take a step back and start incorporating fresh, real food into your diet. Quinoa, bok choy, sweet potatoes, avocado, coconut oil are one of my favorite meals. Plant-based foods are some of the best sources of nutrient-dense foods you can eat. Change what you eat and you will find huge improvements to your running!

-----------------------

Have you made any of these mistakes? Have you changed anything? Are you viewing nutrition differently? Would love to hear from you in the comments below!

 

photo credit: Shawn McCready 

2 Comments

Ways To Stay Fit As Seasons Change

3 Comments

Ways To Stay Fit As Seasons Change

photo-53.jpg

Here is the recap of today's #HealthTalk of practical ways to Fall into Fitness!

  • The average American only gets 5k steps per day. The recommended amount is 10k. Don't be average!
  • Get in a workout first thing at the start of the day! You’ll have more energy, focus, stamina throughout the rest of the day.
  • Holiday parties (can you believe it?!) are around the corner! Get in shape for them now!
  • Pick a new fitness goal for the next 3 months. Ideas: a running race, holding plank, lifting for sculpted legs/body, faster runner
  • Tip: you can’t spot reduce fat. It takes overall cardio and fitness exercises to lose fat.
  • Lower body fat = nutrition, abdominal fat = stress, hormones.

Tip No.1) Drink water! Staying hydrated helps with overall fitness. Half of bodyweight in ounces (i.e. 200lbs = 100 ounces of H2O)

Tip No.2) Go for a 10 min walk on the hour during your 8-5

Tip No.3) Get a co-worker to join you for a lunchtime walk

Tip No.4) Always take the stairs. Stairs build endurance, leg strength, overall fitness

Tip No.5) Losing weight is 90% good nutrition and 10% exercise. Eating right is critical for fitness to happen

Tip No.6) Use outside as your gym! Run, walk outside, go to a playground and use benches for step-ups, tricep dips, monkey bars=bonus!

Tip No.7) Recruit a friend in your fitness journey! Workout together, encourage each other, work towards goals together!

Tip No.8) Stair workouts are awesome, quick way to build strength. Find bleachers, school stadiums, etc. Leg lifts, box/stair jumps, hops. A sample stair workout I did last week (middle of article)

Tip No.9) Walk when you talk on the phone!

Tip No.10) Have active work meetings! You are more creative when you think clearly w/out stuffy office!

Tip No.11) The key is to move throughout the day, all day. Electrical activity in legs stops as soon as you sit!

Tip No.12) Ditch the treadmill! Fresh air does a body good! Walk/run outside! Enjoy the changing colors, nature, life.

Tip No.13) Make a screenshot with your fitness goal and save it as your home screen.

Tip No.14) You make time for what you want! Excuses don’t get results, commitment does.

Tip: No.15) Commit. Action.  Repeat.

Bonus tip: be as active as much as you sit and watch TV!

 

 

 

3 Comments

A 14er and A Hospital Visit

Comment

A 14er and A Hospital Visit

photo (52)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013  The sun peaking through the trees.

3:00am: It all started with stress (not new) and a need to release it (the healthy way). Because I had access to a car, I could go climb a mountain, aka, a 14er. I got up, did a little cleaning before I left and then headed up to Estes Park, Colorado.

5:15am: Arrived at Longs Peak Trailhead and took a cat nap in the car.

5:45am: Packed backpack, bathroom, changed into climbing clothes (it's always cold on the mountain!)

Watching the sun grace the mountain with its morning wake up light.

6:15am: Sun was just starting to rise as I set off on the trail (9400'). Nothing better than watching a sunrise on the mountain! I had ran this section of the trail in June so I was familiar with the section till the split at Chasm Trail junction (11,550'). I was making good time and was happy about this. It's about 7 miles one way with 5100 feet of climbing into thin air.

Climber beware!

9:15am: Approached Keyhole route and began to ascend. There were some rangers who were rebuilding some campsites. This section is called Boulder Field. Lots of big boulders with plenty of hopping and picking your way across the field.

10:15am: My original goal to reach the summit in about 4 hours. This would've been doable had it not been for the Keyhole section. I didn't know just how challenging this Class 3 would be. I was climbing by myself. A few times I wondered if I should turn around and do this with at least a climbing partner. Some the drops were intense. My heart stayed in my throat for hours. (For more photos of what this section really looks like, visit this page.)

11:00am: I reached the last section of the Trough right before The Narrows section. There was this MASSIVE boulder with seemingly no way around it. I probably spent a good 10 minutes trying to figure out how to get up the stupid thing. I finally managed to shimmy my way up it and reached The Narrows. They were equally as scary.

11:15am: A few people pass me descending as I am ascending. I ask them how in the world do you get up this thing?! Climbing like a monkey up a 14, 000 foot mountain with air beneath you is a little frightening.

Climb on! Keyhole in the distance.

11:30am: I finally reach the summit and shout for joy! I was so thrilled to reach it. I didn't spend much time on the summit as I knew the descent would be equally as challenging. After a few photos, a sip of water and a glance at the the clouds, I started the descent. There are two rules of the mountain. No.1) Summit and descend before noon. No.2) Summiting is only half of the battle, descending can be equally as challenging. As this was my 15th summit, I knew how true this was.

Heading to The Trough

 

Almost there!

 

Summit in sight!

Made it!

 

Going down what I just came back.

 

 

12:30pm: I made the descent down The Narrows and The Trough. I passed 2 groups of people and we all said how challenging it was. My heart was still in my throat. I was trying to reach the Keyhole as quickly as possible.

2:00pm: I finally reached the Boulder Field and I could see lightning and storms out in the distance. I was a few miles from tree line and I wanted to get there as quickly as I could. Being exposed on a mountain and you are the tallest thing around 2 miles up in the sky is not a good thing. The rangers were packing up and getting ready to also head down.

2:15pm: I finally reached a questionable run-able section and decided to do a little run down the mountain. The rocks were slick and as I running from rock to rock I slipped off a rock and crumbled. I got right back up and hopped on my foot and resorted to a walk. The sky was reminding me and about 30 other people that mountains share no respect for anyone.

2:30pm: The storms moved in and rain began to pound me and the trail became a cold river. I had a poncho so quickly put that on. The wind was gusty so I had to hold the thin plastic hood with my hand to keep it on my head. My right was bothering me but I wasn't focused on it. I was focused on getting to tree line ASAP. My heart was racing with lightning right above my head. Indeed scary. I glanced back and saw the rangers flying off the mountain.

Storms in the distance.

3:30pm: It seemed like the end would never come. I was exhausted, hungry, thirsty. I wanted to be done NOW. I was soaked everywhere except for my torso. Descending in a river only made the trek that much more adventurous. And tiring.

3:45pm: I reached the trail head and was never so happy to be done. Safe. Not sure about soundly. 9.5 hours on the mountain is a long day. I take off my wet, dirty clothes and trade them for some warm ones. I made my plant-based recovery shake and started the drive back.

4:10pm: I'm driving along and out of no where pain hits so intensely I almost pass out and feel like throwing up. I'm dizzy and can barely drive. My right foot/ankle was in incredible pain. I had to use my left foot to drive and I think I looked like I was driving drunk. I was trying my best to stay safe.

4:45pm: I made it to the outskirts of Boulder and pulled over into the first shopping center I saw. I parked the car and cried in pain. It was horrendous. I tried to elevate it but that was impossible. I'm a pretty tough gal but this pain had me screaming for dear life. I called a friend for some advice.

5:45pm: I try to drive again and it is very clear that it is not safe. I pull over again and ask some friends to come get me. I thought I had a broken foot. The pain was VERY intense.

8:00pm: Friends picked me and took me to the ER, checked in and began the long wait. I couldn't drink water incase they had to sedate me. I was so thirsty! And sweaty, hungry, tired. And in pain. A lot of pain.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

12:15am: After 4+hours of waiting, I finally get a room. (Also, for the record, the waiting room has some very interesting people.) After a quick check I was off for X-rays. Also of note, my heart rate was 50. For just getting down a mountain, I was happy about this! Sign of quick recovery and eating a real food diet!

3:00am: The verdict is in. No break, but tore ligaments in it. They put me in a soft cast and gave me crutches. With instructions to not be on my feet for 3 (THREE!!!!) days! I nearly cried at that. Resting is not something I do well. I train for a living. Not being able to sweat and move my body made me very sad. Sitting still is not something in my vocabulary! But the charge nurse and doctor begged me to follow the instructions. And I really had no choice. The pain was not letting me put full weight on it anyway.

3:45am: Arrive home and with a Percocet in my system I fall asleep right away. No wonder people become addicted to pain meds! It was a long 24+ hours. Very long.

10:15am: I woke up and couldn't believe what time it was! I don't take any meds (not even Advil) so my body reacted to the Percocet all day long. So glad I don't have to take meds on a daily basis!

Conclusion: I'm thankful I made it up and down the mountain safely with getting struck by lightning. Also grateful for friends who came and got me. With another summit on my growing 14er summit list; I am happy. I am also itching to get back on the trail, in the weight room, on my yoga mat. Patience grasshopper, patience.

In the meantime I have a bottle of turmeric powder in my hand (fantastic inflammatory property).

 

 

 

 

 

Comment

Labor Day Is For Sweating!

1 Comment

Labor Day Is For Sweating!

photo-36.jpg

How did you spend your 2013 Labor Day ? I've been buried deep in book writing and there is nothing better to me than watching the sunrise from a mountain top to clear my head and heart. I knew climbing a 14er would be madness on a holiday (I like to climb in peace) so I decided to go to one of my favorite trails and watch the sunrise as I ran. I don't own a car but this week some friends are out of town and so I have wheels!

I got up early and hit the trail. There is something so peaceful being by yourself running in the mountains hearing nature come to life.

I reached the mountain summit (just a small summit at 7000 feet or so) just as the sun was rising. It was glorious. (See cover photo.) I turned my Garmin off and just sat on the rocks looking over the mountain range. I closed my eyes and focused on the sounds around me. If you are looking for some inner peace, I recommend closing your eyes and using your senses (smell and hearing are the two I frequently I use) to calm the mind.

I did a few yoga poses and then continued on my run. I ran up and over the mountain down into Red Rocks when I preceded to do a grueling stair workout. Red Rocks Amphitheatre is mainly used for summer concerts. And fitness workouts! If you've never done a stair workout at 6400 feet, you are missing out on enjoying the lack of oxygen!

 

Some stairs on the backside of Red Rocks (running them at 6400 feet makes you feel the thin air!)

Some quick facts about Red Rocks:

  • 6400 elevation
  • 380 steps connect the lower parking lot to the upper concession area
  • The amphitheatre has 69 rows which equate to running about 3 miles (assent or descent)
  • Stage to upper parking lot has 83 steps on the each side

It was awesome to see so many people working out on Labor Day morning! Working out in thin air is something Coloradans pride themselves on :)

I did a 40 minute stair workout in the middle of my 10 mile run. Box (stair) jumps, leg lifts, curtsy lunges, sprint stairs, sprint stair box jumps, reverse lunges, regular lunges, single leg hops, squats, frog jumps. My legs were on fire running back! And this is something I 100% love. It's so good to feel alive and breathing and enjoying the freedom of life!

Saw a 12 point buck. Lots of other sweaty people. Stunning wildflowers. Lots of stairs.

How did you spend the holiday weekend? Did you get active? Go to farmer's market? Do something health+fun? Share in the comments below, I would love to hear from you!

1 Comment

{Review} Omron Pedometer

Comment

{Review} Omron Pedometer

3274085369_26b12cdffb_b.jpg

During the month of August I was delighted to work with the Mamavation team testing out the Omron TriAxis Pedometer. If you don't know, one of my passions in life is to inspire (did you also know that inspire means to "breathe life"?) people to get up off the couch or from behind the desk and move! As an endurance athlete I love to sweat. Like a lot. I crave those endorphins regardless if I'm training for a race or not. Moving my body gives me life. And it can give you life too!

As our society has evolved we've gone from traditional manual labor to desks. Our bodies weren't designed to sit for long periods of time- they were made to move! We currently live in a world where the average American only gets about 5k steps per day day instead of the minimum 10,000 steps per day! That is shameful! We go from our home to the garage to the yet another garage at work to an elevator to sit at the desk all day. And then repeat that cycle at night.

But life doesn't have to be lived that way! You can ride a bicycle to work, run to work, walk to public transportation, or even walk to work. (Leave clothes at the office to change into when you get there.) If you do have to drive to work park far away. Take the stairs. During the work day set a timer to get up on the hour every hour and go outside for a 10 minute walk. Talking on the phone? Walk and talk! Have running meetings! Drink water from a reusable water bottle all day long (getting up to go to the restroom is a good thing!) There are plenty of ways to get creative with being active during the day!

What are some the benefits of walking and being active?

  • Increased energy
  • Restful sleep
  • Happiness
  • Good attitude
  • Disease prevention
  • Overall fitness

I really enjoyed using the Omron Pedometer. Being a naturally active person it was nice to see that I was active as I thought I was! Being an ultrarunner I knew I was getting the daily quota of steps so it was nice to see that confirmed :) I also liked the fact I could just hit the button during the middle of the day and it would tell me how many steps I had- I didn't have to check an app for it. I would highly recommend getting one of these to track your steps. You might think you are getting the daily number but you might not!

Final tally? July 31, 2013 - August 27, 2013 I had 555794 steps/263 miles.

photo (34)

 

How many steps do you take on a daily basis?

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post about the Omron TriAxis Pedometer through the Bookieboo Influencer Network and Mamavation, a disease prevention campaign for moms

 

photo credit: karenmeyere

Comment