Friday, September 30, 2011

Lunch Run Bunch

Our group has expanded to 4! Granted, I never want to have more than 4 people run at lunch at a time (the locker room at work simply couldn't accommodate many more), but it would be nice to have the opportunity to run every day during lunch (with a varying group of people) and then just pick and choose which dates worked best for everyone, since most people wouldn't want to run more than 2 times/week. I, on the other hand, would love the opportunity to run 3-4 times/week so I have less time away from the family in the evening!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kettlebells are a ringing!

I'm so interested in trying this workout. I've heard absolutely fabulous things about kettlebells....surprisingly, most people simply say that they are fun! I know more than one person who just smiles when they start talking about them. How is it NOT intriguing???

So, you ask, what is a kettlebell? Quite simply, imagine a small cannon with a handle attached to it. Its a traditional exercise of Russia, so it has quite the history! It combines cardio, strength and a routine of simple movements of swings. Because the center of mass is beyond your hand (unlike free weights or dumbbells), you build strength by swining the bell. Your strength is built by these repetitions, specifically lower back, legs, shoudlers. Many of the basic movements work your entire body at once, just as shoveling a snowy walkway would. But, I assure you, without the bulk of the polyester fiberfill and the freezing temperatures, its much more comfortable to do!

That being said, if one has back or shoulder problems, avoid them! Even a weak core should negate one from using these until they are strong enough to handle the weight.

Now, there are a ton of kettlebells on the market. Water, sand and everything in between. But, if you plan to be serious, buy a real one... like CAP kettlebells. Hey, they can even be purchased by Walmart online! And, you only need no full set needed. When you outgrow one, then simply by the one that is 5 pounds greater than you are currently using. this exercise routine, its not expensive. A video may set you back $10 or so (see Bob Harper's videos) and a 20 lb kettlebell may cost you $30. Fro those that have been doing anything though, you may want to start at 25 lbs (men may want to start at 30 lbs).

How to Burn Fat

If only it was as simple as just reading this little article, right?

Regardless of how much you work out, the most important factor in coercing your body to use fat for energy is your diet. While carbs are essential for energy, too much is a bad bad thing....because they often turn to fat! You may think they are safe to eat because they contain no fat, but don't be fooled.

Sure, most carbs are fat-free (or at least contain little fat), but its not uncommon for up to 40% of your carb intake to be stored in your body as fat. So, consuming too many fat-free carbs can actually make you fatter. See...whether they are in the form of fresh fruit, decadent double dutch brownies or simply your favorite linguini, carbs are converted into glucose when they enter your bloodstream. So, whether is glucose from a healthy apple or glucose from your favorite cake, your body simply doesn't differentiate. And, when you eat a ton of carbs, our blood sugar rises, and your pancreas will tell your body to release more insulin. Insulin determines where in your body blood sugar is stored (instantly available energy, stored in muscles as glycogen/sugar). Problem here....your body can only store 2000 calories (from carbs) as instantly available energy. If you have consumed more than 2000 calories (and have not yet used all the energy that it offers), the remaining will be stored as fat.

Think about it. Why do people usually bonk at mile 20 of a marathon? Typically, we utilize about 100 calories/mile (whether running or walking, makes no difference). By mile marker 20, all of that readily available energy is now depleted. The only energy left in your body is the one that is stored in your fat! But, you need to teach your body how to access this fat....after all, its an almost unlimited (relatively speaking) supply of energy!

Now, when you exercise or during your day to day routines, you want to ensure that you have burned off all of that ready-to-use carb calories, so can you start accessing the fat reserves for energy...calories in/calories out does matter, but getting access to those fat stores is the key to losing the unwanted weight!

So, how do you avoid this dreaded 3-letter word? Quite simply, eat more protein and healthy fat, and less carbs. I'm really good at keeping my calories down, but I simply don't see movement on the scale, although I have seen better toned muscles and less inches. But, I want more results for my efforts. So, I'm going to start watching my diet diligently!

Here is my goal...protein throughout the day. Carbs balanced throughout the day (in other words, no major binges at one time, but rather combined mostly when I am eating adequate protein). I know its a lot of protein, but I think I can easily get that in between:

  • Morning Shakeology drink (24g)

  • Protein bar as a snack (15-20g)

  • Yogurt as a snack (15g)

  • Lunch/Dinner: Meats/Cheese

  • Protein Drink as a late snack (15-20g)

By filling up on these proteins, I also should have less desire to consume large quantities of carbs. Carbs have no choice but to be a 'side item' rather than an 'entree' to me now. I also know/think that trying to consume that many carbs and stay under my calorie allowance would be hard anyway, so changes are my total carb grams will be significantly less than the chart above.

Lets just hope I can hold true to it!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lunch Bunch Run

So, the last few weeks, I've been running with two other people at work during lunch. Its been great! One has never run before, and the other has exercised in the past but has self-acknowledged that she is far from where she wants to be (in terms of fitness and weight). So, its worked out nicely. I don't mind doing the walk-run-walk thing with them, as I just think of it as extra exercise, which is definitely better than me sitting on my butt everyday at work! And today when we are at the locker room, we ran into another person that may want to join us....the more, the merrier!

So today, we've worked up to a modified C25k week 3 (its more aggressive than week 3, but not quite as heavy as week 4). We did:

Warm up 5 minute walk
Run 3.5 minutes, Walk 1 minute
Run 3 minutes, Walk 1 minute
Run 2 minutes, Walk 1-1.5 minute (and repeated 4 more times)
Cool Down 5 minute walk

Left the office at 12, was dressed and parked at our nearby route within 15 minutes...did our thing for 35 minutes, was back at the office 5 minutes later and back to work by 1:15. Not Bad!

A few things I like about this. When we do this, I tend to eat less during the day...maybe because I have less time to be bored? I like the comaraderie. I like being the best runner in the bunch (although I know that won't last long because both of them are much younger than me!). I like the social aspect of the run. I like the fact that people arrange their schedules, so you simply cannot cancel or be non-committal about it! There simply is no downside (except the noon heat in Florida!). Sure, its not an aggressive run, but I bet we'll all be fitter because of it...and in 2 months, I bet it will be more miles in less time. So, if I have to wait it out until they are physically ready, there is nothing wrong with that!

Why running?

So, why did no other sport ever take hold? I must say, I've been at this for almost 6 months...and its still interesting to me. That, in and of itself, surprises me!

I suppose I like the rhythm of it. I like the fact that I'm not competing against others, and yet still competing with them, you know?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Daily Plate at Livestrong

Have you ever tried to track what you eat? Its often a surprise when you do....not only to read how much you are consuming, but also what the macronutrient content of what you are eating. But, the actual process of recording holds yourself accountable. At least once a year, I track what I eat for a few days/weeks....just to see. Sure, I have this high plan of kicking myself into overdrive and doing everything perfectly, and I never live up to that, and thats ok. But, when I do record everything for a brief period, its quite enlightening. I tend to make a conscious effort at making the right decisions. And, if I have a cookie or other delicious treat, I know I need to record that...again, it holds me accountable and instead of admonishing the act, it makes me super focused on getting the absolute best nutrition for the rest of the day.

I discovered way before Livestrong bought them....fortunately, when they did buy them, they didnt change a thing and just folded it into their current offering of health-conscious products. It was a near perfect online tool and continues to be just that. The tracking tool is available here.

If you have any inclination just to see how much protein and sugar you consume in an average day, I fully encourage you to give it a go....the entering of data is so painless. All you need to do is type in as much as you know of brand/description and it searches its stellar database to find the proper simply then add the serving size consumed and the "meal" it was consumed in. Daily Plate does all the rest!

Of additional benefit is that it adds up everything consumed and summarizes the following:

  • Calories

  • Fat

  • Cholesterol

  • Sodium

  • Carbs

  • Fiber

  • Protein Sugar

I'm not a big fan of "RDA" but it also provides you guidance on how well you compared to the RDA for an average caloric diet...somewhat useful, right?

So, I'm logging...a few days a week now and also probably throughout the upcoming Shakeology Challenge. I'm simply curious to see how well it correlates to a weight loss. Its always been pretty much accurate, but I want to confirm that I'm making good decisions and balancing my weekly nutrition properly, and I simply cannot do that with pen and paper.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Supplements Galore

Ok, I've mentioned CLA, Kelp and Mercola's B-12 Spray, but I thought I'd give you a run-down on other supplements that may be beneficial to you for health and weight reason not to fight aging beauty while still improving your physical performance!

  • Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA): provides continuous energy to the cels and prevents free radical anti-aging all-star!

  • Fish Oil: pure form of DMAE and Omega-3s. Supports overall health, helps elevate mood, improves cognitive function and supports healthy weight loss

  • Acetyl-L Carnitine: anti-oxident that is central to the production of cellular energy. It supports a healthy metabolism and is also known to improve memory

  • DMAE: Great for mind and skin. It helps to lift and firm your skin's appearance, while enhancing facial contours and addressing sagging skin. It also helps memory and problem-solving abilities.

  • Evening Primrose Oil: Healthy weight loss and supports a healthy metabolism...also regulates a cycle wonderfully.

  • COQ10: Fights against free radical damage, making it indispensable for anti-aging....and it plays a critical role in proper cell energy function.

  • Calcium Pyruvate:

  • Green Tea Extract:

  • Chromium Picolinate:

How to Motivate when there is No Motivation There?

I was having lunch with a friend yesterday (Jane, the one who got me started running), and she mentioned that she wanted to see if our other friend was interested in trying C25K once the weather cools down. While I love the idea, I simply don't think this friend is ready....I think she has the desire, but not enough motivation. So, if we stared it with her, how would it end?

  • She would do great and finish

  • She would do ok, and continue on (albeit at a slower pace) but stay motivated

  • She would quit once she hit the dreaded 5 week mark

  • She would quit after one week and feel like a failure

  • She would quit after one week and ignore us

  • She would quit after one week and feel worse about herself than she did before (and then correlate us with those feelings)

  • She would find excuses not to start
Maybe I'm thinking the worst scenario possible, but then again the majority of people who start C25K do NOT finish. I honestly don't think she has the drive for this. I see it in so many other aspects of her life. She is so vocal. She is driven. She is so enagaged in activities and maybe she needs the social aspect which we could offer? But then again, we went to a few yoga class before and she dropped those fairly quickly.

I suppose I think of my commitment, and I know that each person has that one particular breaking point where they know that they have to change their habits and activities and such. So, how do you determine if/when you should step in and say something to someone else? I'm not sure.

New Territory

I hate running in a new location....that first time out is so depressing. I think just knowing when I see X, I know i've run X far...this so helps my stamina. Without those landmarks and knowing how far i've been and how far i need to go, i'm just demoralized.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Slim in 6 - Week 2

So, how did the first week go?

  • Monday-Saturday, I followed the "Plan 2" diet protocol. Lots of protein, few carbs, 1300-1500 calories. I cheated once with Boston Market cornbread though :(

  • Monday/Wednesday/Friday morning, I did 25 minutes on the elliptical

  • Tuesday morning, I ran 25 minutes outside (also did mini-runs during lunch with work friends Monday and Thursday)

  • Saturday and Sunday morning, I did a 50 minute run

  • Sunday afternoon, I did a "hot yoga" session for 90 minutes

  • Monday-Saturday evenings, I did the "Start it Up" video, which is 35 minutes
Time Management
By ensuring that the cardio was done first thing in the morning (typically), I was able to doubly ensure that the exercise would not interfere with family time. For the elliptical, I was up and on it 6-6:30am. For the running, I was out the door around 5:45 and returned around 6:20. As for the video in the evening, I tried to time it when my kids were in the bath/shower...they end up playing about 20+ minutes, so I did manage to get most of it done without them feeling deprived of "mom" time. Fortunately, I can be in the family room using the larger space and the larger television and still hear every giggles coming from the master bathroom. The music on the video is not overwhelming, and Debbie (the host) isn't all pumped up and screaming with easy to concentrate on the exercises as well as listen to the kids!

The diet was doable. I rescheduled all of my work lunches for the following week, so I wouldn't be tempted (or overly questioned) with other food options. Joe ended up dieting with me simply by circumstance since he ate the same foods for breakfast/dinner (he usually does the shakeology in the morning anyways). Now, if one has a sweet tooth, better curb that craving before this diet, otherwise, it will be too hard to do.

As for the video and Debbie, its very toned-down. She is not all gung-ho, but simply encouraging and positive. While she has an amazing figure, the two others exercising in the video remind you of women that have recently given birth and are trying to lose the baby bump and the extra junk in the trunk. They are a little soft, but capable of the workout efforts. I'm sure this is to allow the viewers to see themselves in these two, as Debbie's figure is not attainable in 6 weeks!

She clearly expects most people to struggle with the simple workout. This is great for those newbies to the exercise front...or those that haven't challenged themselves in years/months. If anything is too hard, she often suggests only doing the lower body portion or modifying and simply doing as much as you can, all the while telling you that by the end of the program you will be able to do it.

It took me a bit of time to find my rhythm with some of the exercises the first time around, but by the 2nd/3rd viewing, I was fine with all of it and didn't trip over my own feet again :) I think for this first video, on day 1, I was able to do about 90% of it. The crunches and holding my arms up so much did push me, but by day 6 I was ok with all of it.

As I mentioned before, the music is very mellow and seems a bit out of place...think elevators. But its not distracting, neither does it pump you up. I don't really think you need either for this first week's video. Since this is week 1, I think a viewer really should focus on form and finishing the routines. Besides, pumping music simply doesn't mesh with Debbie's style. Its ok though...not quite boring (it is only 35 minutes and you do need to keep up with the reps that she is trying to do), so it works fine for me.

Next Steps
Some people may need another week on "Start it Up" and thats perfecntly fine to continue onto the next week with the same routine. For me, I'll move on to "Ramp it Up" and I'll try to do at least one of the short supplemental workouts (flexibility or abs 10-15 minutes routines) every day as well. "Ramp it Up" does require more time, so I'm dropping the extra cardio for this week and just sticking to running 4 days (maybe 12 miles total) to see how I do. I also plan to jump up to 1600-1800 calories...basically making good choices but not being overly strict.

After the next week, I may just go back to the "Plan B" diet every other week. Again, its totally doable, and I think if I do one week on, and one week off, I can continue this for awhile.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Bones are stronger!

So, when you start running, your cardio/lungs start improving after a mere 2 weeks. Your muscles start strengthening after 1 month. But, it takes a good 6+ months for your bones to get stronger!

I learned this the hard way when I developed a stress fracture early on with my running this year. While I was strong because my bones were carrying a lot more weight than they are now, I was weak because I never did any impact exercise. Simply put, my bones were not dense.

There is a good reason why skinnier old women have a higher percentage of developing osteoarthritis than heavy-set women. They simply don't have as much weight-bearing exercise from normal day-to-day routines. The skinny women who run, however, rarely have osteoarthiritis, simply because they engage in regular weight-bearing exercise. Think of your body as the ultimate barbell....make it work for you, and it will pay you back three-fold!

My bones are definitely stronger. Early on, I had to make a regular occassion of icing my knees (in particular my right knee) after running. I then realized that I only needed to ice it after longer runs (4+ miles). Now, I can run 3 days in a row, and it doesn't hurt! This is a miracle!!! Well, maybe not a full-blown miracle, but a mini miracle nonetheless! Ok, Ok, I know I shouldn't overdo it and run too many consecutive days, but I do love how liberating this can be now that I'm not slave to a calendar...and if I have to miss a day due to a major thunderstorm, it doesn't throw off the rest of my calendar!

So, I'll try to do a few back-to-back days, maybe shorter 2-3 mile runs on a regular occassion and see how I feel. If I falter, trust me, you will know about it...but if I don't complain about it, assume its going fabulously!

Supplements: CLA

So, there is also another supplement that I've been taking, but its pricey by comparison of Kelp. For $40, you can get a 180-day supply at GNC for Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA).

CLA is a polyunsaturated, conjugated fatty acid that is a natural part of the human diet, found primarily in meat and dairy products. CLA is a trans-fat (which are thought to increase the risk of coronary heart disease). However, it is claimed that conjugated linoleic acid is not harmful in the same way as other trans fatty acids, but rather is beneficial. CLA is primarily found in the meat and dairy product of ruminants (i.e. cattle, goats, sheep, etc.).
CLA is thought to be a natural dietary supplement that induces a combination of fat loss and muscle gain. The benefits of conjugated linoleic acid are believed to include:
Decrease in fat
Increase in muscle growth
Increase in metabolic rate
Protects against fat gain following weight loss, thus maintaining initial reductions in body fat and weight, in the long-term.
May lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels

“CLA doesn't make a big fat cell get little. What it rather does is keep a little fat cell from getting big.”
It is hypothesized that conjugated linoleic acid helps glucose pass into muscle cells more effectively, thus preventing glucose from being converted into fat. It is also thought to help fats enter the cell membranes of muscle and connective tissue, where the fat is burned for fuel.

Pariza's research did not find weight loss in his group of 71 overweight people, but what he did find was that when the dieters stopped dieting, and gained back weight, those taking CLA "were more likely to gain muscle and not fat.'' In a separate study conducted at Purdue University in Indiana, CLA was found to improve insulin levels in about two-thirds of diabetic patients, and moderately reduced the blood glucose level and triglyceride levels.CLA has been the subject of a variety of research in the past several years, and findings also suggest that some of the other benefits of CLA include the following:
Increases metabolic rate -- This would obviously be a positive benefit for thyroid patients, as hypothyroidism -- even when treated -- can reduce the metabolic rate in some people.
Decreases abdominal fat -- Adrenal imbalances and hormonal shifts that are common in thyroid patients frequently cause rapid accumulation of abdominal fat, so this benefit could be quite helpful.
Enhances muscle growth -- Muscle burns fat, which also contributes to increased metabolism, which is useful in weight loss and management.
Lowers cholesterol and triglycerides -- Since many thyroid patients have elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, even with treatment, this benefit can have an impact on a thyroid patient's health.
Lowers insulin resistance -- Insulin resistance is a risk for some hypothyroid patients, and lowering it can also help prevent adult-onset diabetes and make it easier to control weight.
Reduces food-induced allergic reactions -- Since food allergies can be at play when weight loss becomes difficult, this can be of help to thyroid patients.
Enhances immune system -- Since most cases of thyroid disease are autoimmune in nature, enhancing the immune system's ability to function properly is a positive benefit. If you're interested in taking CLA to help with weight loss, keep in mind that it's not a magic pill, and you will need to start a program of diet and exercise in order to successfully lose weight and keep it off.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Old Medals Worthy of Donating?

Have too many medals that are gathering dust and simply don't mean anything to you? Considering donating them! I love the idea of the Medals 4 Mettle site. So, if you want to hide less junk in your trunk (literally, not figuratively), donate yours today!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Running with the Worlds Best

What other sport allows us mere commoners to participate in the same exact event as a world elite record holder? None...except running. I have the ability to run in the same exact race, same starting line as the world's best athletes. We can run the same course, under the same conditions, under the same sun and finish in the same day (at least I hope so). I can say I ran in the same race as Kara Goucher or Ryan Hall. What other non-runner, non-elite athlete can ever say that? Its a great sport, isn't it?

Protein = The Secret to Weight Loss and Muscle Recovery!

When it comes to building healthy lean muscle, many athletes swear by whey protein. And, we know that building muscles contributes to a better metabolism which will help rid ourselves of unnecessary fat what can we easily do to promote this? Protein...its such a simple little additive that it just makes sense for anyone, and not just serious athletes! Your body needs protein to build muscle, and protein is an essential component of every cell, tissue and organ in your body. When you eat protein, it is broken down into amino acids. There are 20 different kinds of amino acids:
  • our bodies can make 11 amino acids naturally, without the assistance of ingested protein
  • the other 9 amino acids are called essential amino acids because we must ingest them
Animal proteins (e.g. whey protein) are complete, because they contain all 9 essential amino acids, while most vegetable proteins are incomplete, because they do not contain all 9 essential amino acids. Soy protein is the one vegetable protein that does contain all of these essential amino acids.

But, there are so many protein supplements on the market...and I'd just like to share what I've discovered in my search for what to search for and what to avoid. A few months ago, I mistakenly believed that I should simply look at the grams of protein per serving, and the calorie content of a serving. I was, in essence, trying to find the most protein grams for the least amount of calories. While this is still true now, my requirements for a protein powder are much more stringent now.

There are a ton of "types" of protein out there, but the most accessible ones (in protein powders) are the following:
  • soy protein isolate/concentrate - Quite simply, almost all soy out in the US market is a GMO (genetically-modified organism). It is cheap, controlled by Monsanto (and you don't want to get me started about the evils of this company) and no GMO is good for you. Besides the social commentary, soy protein has historically been shown to not reach the muscle as quickly as whey protein....and there is that sweet zone after exercising when you need to get protein to your muscle asap in order to aid the rebuilding process. While non-GMO soy protein isn't a bad thing, if you are doing it to aid muscle growth after exercise, its simply not going to get there in time to aid recovery.
  • whey protein isolate - While they are extremely pure forms of protein, they are over-processed. We've read countless news articles these days about over-processing our food and how it leads to negative health issues, so why would we choose to do this with our protein? To separate the full whey from the isolate, they are exposed to acid processing. And regardless, your body has issues assimilating proteins in this isolated form, as it needs the other why cofactors to properly digest anyways.
  • whey protein concentrate - This has all the benefits of whey protein isolate, but its not been overly processed and stripped of all of its natural immune-boosting co-factors (alpha lactoglobulins and lactoferrins).
Note: whey isolate usually contains between 90-94% protein while whey concentrate has a protein ratio of 70-85%. So while concentrate has slightly less protein grams than isolate, the other benefits should be considered. And, by reviewing the nutrition label, you can easily determine how many overall protein grams are in the serving anyways.
I've also been sticking to the "no artificial sweetener" rule of our household. It was hard to identify all the HFCS in the house, but we finally managed to rid ourselves of it completely...and I'm hardly going to allow it back in the form of a healthful ingredient such as protein powder!

So, where does that leave me? I've gone through a lot of different protein powders in the last 6 months, and the following two top my requirements:
  • Mercola Pure Protein Powder - Love the ingredient list here, but the taste is just ok.
  • Beachbody Whey Protein Powder - Love the fact that its just protein concentrate, and naturally-sweetened and still low in sugar, and the taste is excellent...I never thought that I'd like a vanilla-flavored anything.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Woman's Only Races....absolute necessity now!

I always questioned the woman's-only races. While I do find myself drawn to them, are they truly appropriate? Granted, less than 2% of the races in the country are women-only, so its clearly a minority. But then this article....

Radcliffe's marathon world record invalidated

Why, you ask? Because she ran her 2:15 marathon world record with men in the same race! So, now her later 2:17 marathon record is considered the women's world record. This simply makes no sense!

The illogical logic behind all of this is that the fast men will push the women to run faster than they typically would...that whole adrenaline thing. But it appears to be quite one-sided and quite controversial!
  • all the women's races are being badmouthed as diminishing the value of female athletes...womens-only races are seen as girly and non-athletic events
  • very few women run in womens-only races....there are only a small percentage of races that fit this category
  • some percentage of the population believe this increase is simply because of that four-letter-equivalent word of feminism
“Ummmmmm, anybody know where I can find a 'Men's-only' road race? I didn't think so.... Feminism has succeeded in making men second class citizens...” Source
The other
problem we now face is that it is illegal to disallow men from participating in womens-only races, e.g. the Disney Princess Half Marathon. While men are not encouraged to participate and the marketing is clearly for women, the race cannot say no to a man. So, where will this new ruling head? Will any womens-only race, where a single man participates, be disallowed as a record? Do men face the same issue? Apparently not, since they are typically ahead of the women and are not experiencing that push to go faster by another gender. Seems like we are going backwards here!


This online community has been great. I can't really talk about exercise and fitness on Facebook, and honestly, most of my friends do not do much! But here, thats all I talk about :) Check out my profile here.

I think the best things about daily mile are:

  • Finding people that want to support you and give you feedback/ideas on your fitness

  • You can "friend" people that you don't even know in real life, and its ok and even encouraged!

  • You can brag about running or anything else and nobody bores of it

  • Your friends won't want to disown you if all you ever talk about is running

  • If you see that your running miles this week are still listed as a big ole goose egg, you are more encouraged to do something about it!

  • If you see everyone exercising, you want to do more!

  • You can see average time performances improve over time

  • You can make mileage goals easily (or weekly ones) and quickly be able to determine if you are reaching them

  • You can easily track how many miles you've run on your shoes (afterall, you should start looking at new shoes around mile 400 or so, depending on your weight)

  • You know that there are other "crazy mothers" out there (and fathers) just like you!
Now, could logging your fitness ever be a bad thing?

SPANX for muscle pain?

Ok, Ok....I'm sore. My muscles have been overworked. I have no compression garments, except for socks (but my shins and feet are fine....its my thighs that are killing me!). So, why not wear Spanx? Seems that they should serve a similar benefit, right? Just wonder if its too late for compression to help me. Legs are sore from both last night and the night before! If nothing else, my booty and legs will look sleek and smooth though!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


So, Joe is starting back to playing baseball every week. Its been almost 5 months since he played (he had rotator cuff surgery back at the end of April, which gave me the time/opportunity to check out this whole "running" thing). I'm so glad that he is going back to play in the sport he loves. I've never understood how a sport can really complete you, but I see it in him. He's an athlete, always has been. He's been playing ball since he was 7! And he's been pitching for at least 35 years (with a a few years break here and there). He's 50 this year, and still pitching...and he's holding his own with a ton of 20-30 year olds. Its actually humorous to see them play. The young kids immediately think that he's an easy one to hit off of him, due to his grayness (or should I say ultra blonde?), but they learn quickly. He also has an unorthodox pitching style (side thrower rather than top thrower), which honestly let him wait until he was 50 for this surgery!

So, schedules are ramping up for the season. Ella and Zoran have soccer practice Wednesday evenings, and their games are on Friday. Joe has baseball Wednesday night. Ella will have softball start up soon (not sure the days yet). Joe is running 2-3 times in the evenigs, after his dog walks. So, as you can see its going to be interesting to balance all of this and keep up with my routine!

But, its important, and I know I need to remind myself of just that. I'll try to do cardio in the morning...if I'm up prior to 6am, I should have more than enough time to jump on the elliptical or do a quick 5k on the road. Then, it doesn't deter from any family time. Weekends are another issue altogether, as I do want to get in at least one long run every weekend. So, I just need to find an hour or more for this.

But again, my health is a I need to MAKE the time. Do you realize that if I write this enough I will actually believe it someday?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Slim in 6 - Week 1

Ok, today is Slim in 6, day 1. I decided to work this along with the enclosed "6 day express" diet plan, so I'm glad I didn't just jump into it as I needed to shop for a few specific items!

The first week (first 6 days, as day 7 is a rest day), focus on jump starting your metabolism and getting some serious dead weight off your body. It will be a busy week, so I'm glad that I'm doing this AFTER my 4-mile race, which was this past weekend!

Regimen for the next 6 days only:

  • Every morning, I will run for 20-30 minutes or jump on the elliptical for 20-30 minutes

  • Every evening, I will do the "Start it Up" video

  • Every evening, I will do either the "Slim & Limber" short video or the "Slim & 6-pack" short video

  • 3 times a day, I will take my "slimming formula" supplement

  • Every day, I will follow the "Plan 2" diet (see below)
There were 3 diet plans to chose from, but this one seemed to be a reach for me, but still attainable. I can do anything for 6 days, so I'll go for it. The meal plan within "Plan 2" did have options, but for simplicity, I'm sticking to this:

  • Breakfast: Shakeology + water + PB2 + 1/2 banana

  • Snack: Protein shake in almond milk

  • Lunch: Lettuce/Spinach + Cucumbers + Celery + grilled chicken + balsalmic vinaigrette

  • Snack: 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts

  • Dinner: 4oz chicken/fish + 2 cups bok choy/chard + mustard

  • Snack: 1 cup herbal tea
Seems a tad dull, I know (surprisingly the snacks/breakfast are fine with me, its the lunch/dinner that will bore me). But, on average, this should give me about 1200 calories/day that include only 80g carbs, 120g protein and only 10g fat....should be in serious ketosis as a result, right? After this week, I hope the 140's show on my scale....if they do, this will be the first time since pre-pregnancy years that they appeared and will very much make the effort worthwhile!!!

After this week, I can drop the specialized diet and the extra workouts and just focus on the regular routines (along with my standard running three times/week). So, I'm thinking that week 2 will include the "Ramp it Up" video, in addition to one of the two supplemental videos ("Slim & 6 Pack" or "Slim and Limber").

Supplements: Kelp

So, over the years, I've had my thyroid checked a few times. See, I can do the same amount of work that anyone else can do, but my weight just doesn't drop off! My thyroid has always come back as ok, so its always been very disheartening. But, strangely, I had my T3 and T4 Free checked earlier this year. While I still found it a bit complicated, basically T3 and T4 are the outputs of your even though your thyroid is operating properly, your T3 and T4 are what drives your metabolism. And those? They were operating at about the farthest from the bell curve as possible without being considered atypical.

Now, what does that mean? Quite simply, you take 100 people and find out their throw out the lowest 5 and highest 5 as outliers (basically just because they supposedly don't represent the norm and medically-speaking probably need medical intervention). Every other person is considered a normal and healthy range. But, give where I fell on that bell curve...I was like #7 from the bottom of T3/T4 volume. So, while I technically do not have a medical problem, I certainly have to work much harder than most people out there!

So, what do you do? Since both T3 and T4 are hormones produced by the thyroid gland that help the body's metabolic function, you may want to supplement. There are some synethetic ones out there, but those have side effects. There are also some T3 and T4 supplements out there by Armour Thyroid which I did try...these are not synethic, but typically not covered by insurance. A 90 day supply runs you about $80. I gave it a go....but won't use it again.

After doing some more research....I summized that if my T3 and T4 output is low, and my thyroid is operating properly, why not adjust my input! Iodine works to regular your thyroid output and hormone production. Remember, the thyroid is a gland that regulates many body processes, including weight, metabolism, and energy. Iodine is basically the fuel for your thyroid. And, iodine is cheap! The more clean form of iodine is kelp. Kelp and iodine has a normalizing effect on the thyroid gland. Naturally underweight people can gain weight with kelp, while naturally overweight people can lose weight with kelp. Of course, if you ask 20 people their opinion, you will undoubtedly get 20 do your own research.

So, kelp is a naturally rich with iodine. Its also full of phytochemicals and is basically seaweed. Seaweed is well known for its beneficial effects - one type contains ten times more calcium than a glass of milk and others are rich in protein and essential minerals. Since the key ingredient in kelp is iodine, it is linked to your metabolism, the process by which your body breaks down food into energy. Again, its used by your thyroid to produce T3 and T4 hormones, which, help regulate your metabolism, so if you are low in iodine your metabolism may be sluggish. This means you will put on weight. Taking kelp supplements can boost your iodine intake which may help regulate your metabolism.

Has it been proven? Its found to be beneficial in several studies, but the jury is still out. I will be getting a full physical later this year, so I definitely want to have them check for my T3 and T4 levels to see how they compare to earlier in the year....that will really be the test!

Is there any harm? Considering the average Japanese person gets so much seaweed in their body compared to the average American, its certainly safe levels...even one capsule a day is significantly less than the average Japanese person ingests, but still could make a difference.

Is it pricey? As far as supplements go, this is a CHEAP one! Nature's Way brand is less than $9 for 100 capsules. We certainly ingest a lot of things into our American diet that have adverse effects, and there is only a potential upside with this its $9 well spent, I think.

Giveaway Alert!

For a great cause, considering donating here for a chance to win some uber special running gear!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hot Yoga for Runners

More than anything else, I've noticed my flexibility has been decreased since I started running. I didn't even think I was that flexible to begin with! So, what his "hot yoga"? Its also referred to as "Bikram Yoga" as it was developed by Bikram Choudhury. His site is here. Basically, its a series of 26 poses in a heated room of 104 degrees over a 90-minute session.

The poses
The 26 exercises are sequential and chose to ensure movement of oxygenated blood to 100% of your body, and to each organ, essentially restoring all systems to healthy working order.

The heat
Since the room is so heated, your muscles are warmed up instantaneously. You will find your muscles are capable of much more stretching and lengthening than you ever thought possible! Hence the reason this is so good for runners. But, because of heat and the risk of it becoming overwhelming, be sure to take it easy...if you feel lightheaded during the class, drink some water and lie down for a moment. Many people feel as if they are going to pass out the first time they attend. So, to minimize the impact, make sure you drink a ton of water during the entire 24 hours prior to your class.

Now, the heat means that you will sweat....seriously sweat. More than even running will do! So, wear workout clothes (you know, those little shorts that you dare not yet run in public in) and a cropped little top....again, you will sweat! Drink a ton of water prior to the class...because you will sweat. Drink a ton of water during class...because you will sweat. And, above all else, bring a towel to wipe the sweat off of your face. There is a reason why Bikram referred to the heated room as the "torture chamber" but its also invigorating because its sauna-like enviroment ensures toxins are quickly removed from your system.

So, if you are interested, check out the link provided or google "hot yoga" in your city. Be prepared to bring:

  • Mat

  • Towel

  • Water (preferably with electrolytes...remember sweating during/after running can cause the same issues as sweating during/after hot yoga)

  • Skimpy clothes

Running: The Time Saver Sport of Choice

Why is running so popular these days? Sure, it spiked in the early 80s when our economy was in the crapper, and its questionably stable now as well….so many would correlate running (presumed to be a cheap sport) with a stressed out economy. But, to me, running is not a cheap sport. Basketball, baseball…those are comparable in price, but you still do not see a surge in participation in these sports with a faulty economy. So, why the surge now?

I personally see it as a time saver. I simply do not have the time to get dressed, drive to a gym, wait in line for equipment, work out, change/shower, drive home. If I do this, I either miss out on a family dinner or putting the kids to bed. But running has so many time benefits. I can change, run a 5k around the neighborhood after dinner, and finish while the kids are still taking a bath! I can make story time. I can make goodnight kisses. I can be supermom!

Sure, it’s a pricey sport for me. See, I’m a gadget girl. I need the accessories. I need the cute lululemon skirts, the garmin watch, the comfy clothes…While I understand that some see the skirts as a detractor to serious competition, I don’t at all. If anything, they let me move between mom duties and running duties more seamlessly. And the bright cute tops? Well, I prefer to run in the road where the surface isn’t nearly as cambered (I’ve learned my lesson), so I will wear anything that lets those cars see me from a farther distance! So, the dollars keep adding up…but it’s a small price to pay for fitness.

Morning Runs are a PITA

Seriously, I just bonk. I hate them. My body is simply well designed to burn carbs for energy, so I run much longer and faster if I run in the evening. But, there are no races in the evening...they are ALL in the morning! So, exactly how does one learn to run efficiently in the morning hours? I'm presuming my pace/distance are so different in the morning simply because my body doesn't use fat as an energy source nearly as efficiently as carbs. But, how do you retrain your body to do just this? Well, the only thing I can think of is to run in the morning.

So, the last two weeks, that's all I've done...and its been painful. I have to walk more often, I'm exhausted faster, and I never go as far as I do in the evening. How long do you think it takes for your body to adapt? If anyone has any resources, please share them with me! I'm frustrated, and really want to start getting more miles in. I was running way more miles/week in July, in the awful heat and humidity of Florida, compared to should be so much easier!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

University Park Country Club 4-Miler Race Update

So, I ran in the UPCC race. I didn't expect much at all since I was down with a severe cold for over a week, prior to the race. No running for an entire week...I felt that down. I didn't even dare step on the elliptical for fear of not being able to breathe or collapsing, or both!

Honestly, I was thinking about not even going, even though I already paid for it....yeah, thats how poorly I expected to do. But then 2 days prior, I tried to go for a run. I did a 5k distance in a sad 35 minutes, but at least I finally found some rhythm, so I was committed to try. I didn't expect to do very well, but at least I can say that I was out there, right?

But, the kids were both going to be in the kids races, so I couldn't back out! My race would start at 7:30, and the kids races would be at 8:30. Ella will run with the 5-6 year olds, which is a 200 meter run. Zoran will run with the 3-4 year olds, which is a 100 meter run.

So, how was it? Well organized, but I expected that since it was co-hosted by Fit2Run. The course was lovely, which was also to be expected since the club is always known as keeping a nice golf course....but it was nice to run in such an open space, free from worrying about uneven grass causing injury.

That being said, it was a tough course...the rolling hills of the golf course were unexpected. I expected some hills, but not to this extent. Some of their tees, I swear golfers were surprised to have to walk uphill this much, and we had to run it! I shouldn't fact, some of the runners around me should be complaining. I was definitely NOT over my cold, so I was clearing my throat and/or coughing throughout the run. I'm sure I distracted more than a few people. I even felt that there were some runners who would choose to walk, only to run again when I caught up with them. They were probably thinking that they couldn't let someone who is obviously sick beat them!

I walked for about 30 seconds after the first 1.2 mile mark. Then again at the water stops, just walking through them....and then again 2 short breaks between mile 3 and 4. I felt great at the end, so I probably could have pushed it a bit more, but thats ok...I'm still getting over this nasty cold. Finish time 45:37 (11 of 16 in my age group).

So, by the time I finished, we had just enough time to grab a quick bite and head on over to the kids races, which started at the same place that I started the run. We were late. Zoran is slow anyways, so the girls were running ahead and got there in enough time, but by the time Zoran and I got there, we realized that the area where the 3-4 year olds run is another 100 meters away! Needless to say, the little man was tired before the run even started. All finishers received a medal, and both kids also placed so they received a trophy as well. It was a small field, so they had a great chance at this. Zoran was a bit disappointed that he got the green trophy (3rd place boy in his 3-4 year old group) and not the blue trophy (his favorite color). Ella placed 2nd for girls in her age group (5-6 year olds). All in all, very well done.

So, would we run this again? Definitely. Its a beautiful course. The weather was lovely. Much of the course is either early enough not to be hindered by the sun, or shaded paths. The water stops were well-placed. The food at the end was a nice spread, outside the main clubhouse....well appointed with nice tablecloths :) And its for firefighters' funds....great run all around.

runDisney "Mom's Panel" Application Submitted

I know its a long shoot, but hey, I'm ok with rejection! So, I applied to be a runDisney Disneyworld Mom's panelist. Basically, I'm committing to help and respond to at least 25 messages a week posted on their forum. I love researching things related to running and this just syncs so much with my passion for sharing knowledge!

Also, I do have quite the extensive Disney experience...did you know that? Back in my other life (pre-kids), I worked at Disney. Yep, I did. West coast though....didn't really venture to Florida much. I worked at the Feature Animation division (that building with the sorcerer's apprentice hat) and then also at Disneyland Resort. I loved working for Disney...its just such a special place to work. I was able to participate in some extremely unique events while there:

  • I visited Walt's apartment (sits atop the fire station on Main Street in Disneyland Resort).

  • I dressed up as a character in the park one day and practiced my signature perfectly for the event

  • I competed in a canoe race around the Rivers of America in Disneyland Resort...we even won first place!

  • I was able to see the Grand California resort hotel before it even opened

  • I can actually be spotted in one of the rides (Soarin' Over California's final scene is during the holidays on main street and it was filmed during the Disney holiday party...I know where I was standing and saw a glimpse of me once!)

  • I've seen the original artwork that Dali created in light of a movie he and Walt were working on (never came to fruition though)

  • I've attended several cast and crew premiere parties (and have the paraphernalia to show from it) including Tarzan, 101 Dalmatians, Hunchback, Mulan, etc.
Those are just a few of the prized memories that I have of my former Disney life.

Now, my past experience combined with my interest in running now and my natural love of researching/sharing (which I'm sure you know by now is evident) would be the perfect combination to make me successful in this panel, wouldn't you think? I won't know anything until I'm not holding my breathe. It would be fun though, wouldn't it?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Goal, Goal, Focus on the Goal

While I talk a lot about health, weight loss, of the reasons I'm so gung ho on all of this is because I want to do stellar when I run my scheduled half marathons next Spring. Its so overwhelming, but doable I think, and I just think that if I drop the last 15 pounds, I will be so prepared for it....its one small step. I've come such a long way this year already (190 lbs in April, 152 pounds now). Every extra pound of fat that I get rid of better prepares me, strengthens me, invites me to compete. I so don't want to let all of my effort to just be in vain....sure I want to look hot (maybe even MILF-like status!) but I want to be FIT and HEALTHY and STRONG moreso than anything else.

Weekly B12/MIC Injection

So, I'm a sucker for groupon deals...and this one, I didn't want to pass up. Basically, I purchased 5 shots of MIC, that will be self-administered (I have no issues with this personally) to aid in weight loss and energy. I feel like I'm just exhausted lately, and its probably due to my recent illness, but I want energy so bad! Anyways, there are no "questionable" ingredients in the MIC injection. its simply a highly-absorbable combination of minerals, vitamins and amino acids your body needs to maintain energy. The MIC includes vitamins that aid in fat-burning as well, making it an important part of your weight loss plan. MIC contain:

  • The amino acid Methionine which helps break down fat, and increases energy lean muscle mass.

  • The vitamin Inositol which is vital for the metabolism of fat and cholesterol.

  • Vitamin B12, necessary for proper digestion, protein synthesis, and the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats.

  • Choline which contributes to cardiovascular health.

  • Chromium, a mineral that plays a vital role in the synthesis of fats, cholesterol and proteins. It is an energy source.

Because its injected and not ingested, very few elements are lost in the digestive process, so its more potent and therefore more effective. I'll get my first shot Wednesday (third day of the Slim in 6, and of my 6-day strict diet) and then I'll see how it goes. More importantly, I'm craving energy and a boost to my B12 will be so welcomed! Hey, if the amino acids help with fat mobility, I'm just seeing it as an added benefit!

Monthly Beachbody Order

Ok, so I placed my monthly home-direct order (this means it autoships every month and therefore I have to pay no S&H fees). Fortunately, all of this is tax-free for Florida residents...I suppose anything supplement/protein/meal replacement-related in Florida is considered similar to any other necessary food item, and therefore garners no tax.

So, what did I order?

  • MDSUPSLF630HDSlimming Formula - Home Direct1 22.46

  • MDSUPWHEYV30HDWhey Protein Powder Van HD1 29.96

  • MDSUSH31202HDShakeology Chocolate Bag 30 Srv - HD1 89.96

I think when the new shakeology flavor comes out, I'll opt for that as well, assuming my husband continues with his morning Shakeology. So, why did I order these?

Well, the shakeology has become a typical morning meal...and if we eat breakfast out or something else, its a nice light dinner. When we are out all day long, we tend to eat breakfast late and lunch late, so when dinner time comes around, we are simply not that hungry, but still need something little. Shakeology has served that purpose. Its easy to make at home, and yummy!

Protein powder...well, I've been using protein powder for months now. Since I've been very focused on losing weight, I absolutely know the worst thing to do is to lose muscle in the process....and thats an uphill battle, so I've been using protein powder to ensure that I lose as little muscle as absolutely necessary. After all, whats the point of losing weight if your caloric needs drop considerably, which just means that you won't adjust your eating habits significantly enough and simply gain all the weight back! So, between the shakeology 18 grams of protein and the supplemental 20 grams, thats half of my daily requirements in one little drink! Simple...I like simple.

Now, the so-called "slimming formula" is a calcium-pyruvate + green tea extract which helps metabolize fat. I've spoken to several nutritionists about this combination before, and they are always I'll give the beachbody product a go and see how it feels!

I'll report back if I think the monthly cost doesn't justify the effects...after all, if I can't justify this cost for the perceived/real benefits, I'm certainly not going to continue it!

Flaxseed Meal for Runners

So, I've altered my daily breakfast slightly. As I mentioned before, I was using Shakeology for my breakfast. Shakeology is a combination of multivitamin, meal replacement and protein drink all in one (if interested, you can read more about it here). I prefer the chocolate one, and what I've been doing is adding a banana to it, as well as 2 tablespoons of PB2 (which I still love as much since I tried it that very first day!). Because the flaxseed has a slight nutty taste, I don't even notice it as the PB2 more than covers up any unusual flavor (honestly, I doubt it would matter to me anyways, but for those that don't like unusual tastes, this may be an issue). I blend it with water, then add crushed ice via our margaritaville maker for a nice breakfast frappe. This would basically result in two 16 ounce glasses to drink for the morning, so you can tell I'm getting a ton of water in there as least 28 ounces, I estimate! Its so easy to drink that I have no problem gulping down two glasses of this in 15 minutes (the only amount of time we can dedicate to breakfast during the week in our crazy household!).

So, what have I changed up? I've added two tablespoons of flaxseed meal. Bob's Red Mill is my go-to brand for this product. They are easy to find, and they also offer an organic version for just a few cents more. I personally don't like the full flax seeds as they are just too hard for me, but the meal is pre-crushed so it blends quite nicely into the shake (but it still retains all the parts of the seed). I could have simply used Flax Oil, but it spoils faster than the meal, and I prefer the extra fiber that the meal offers.

Note: Both flaxseed oil and meal must be refrigerated. Even better is keeping it in the freezer if you can find a sealed container for it that doesn't let anything in! I love the Lock-n-Lock brand for these, as no freezer smells get in our out of these containers. Lock-n-Lock comes in so many sizes that I keep all of my oatmeals/grains/flours/baking goods in these and then they are in the freezer in my garage so they last extra long.

So, why flax seed? It contains an abundance of essential fatty acids, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, lignin, protein and zinc. Some nutritionists now think that its the 2nd most vital supplement after a multivitamin, as it helps every major system in your body (cardiovascular, immune, circulatory, reproductive nervous...even your joints!)

Flax seed has been shown to be specifically beneficial to:

  • lower breast/colon cancer risks, due to its high lignan content (Flax is 100 times richer in lignan than most other grains)

  • The Omega-3 fatty acids help lower cholesterol and triglycerides

  • Reduces risk of high blood pressure, water retention, inflammation (inflammation....the runner's worst recurring issue)

  • Shortens recovery time for post-exercise muscles (runners remedy)

  • Increases energy and stamina (runners remedy)

  • Speeds healing of sprains/bruises (who knew you could do something to get rid of bruises!)

  • Helps fight obesity by increasing metabolism (sure there are 60 calories per 2 tablespoon serving, but lets keep our eye on the big picture here)

Now, if you are adverse to having this in shakes, the oil is great to add in your salad dressings...not even noticeable. Others prefer to use the meal in pancake batter, or in baked breads, or even in their outmeal. Some people prefer the whole seeds on top of their salad as well. In other words, its very versatile!

So, for $4 for a one pound bag (which will last a very long time), it sure looks worthwhile! And for those that limit their grains, this is a great supplement because you get everything you need from grains without the bad things!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Elevated Resting Heart Rate = Warning Sign

Why do you need to be concerned about your resting heart rate? A high heart rate increase is associated with high blood pressure. This causes damage to your arteries and forms plaque. A fast heart rate can literally knock the plaque from your arteries and block blood flow, causing a heart attack. A resting heart rate of 83 or higher is cause for alarm regardless, but so is a marked increase in your resting heart rate from prior periods.

So, what if your resting heart rate is greater now than just a year ago? What does that mean? Quite simply, it could mean many things…but hopefully I’ve narrowed down a few things to bring you comfort and know what you can do to adjust it properly.

Are you sick?

  • If your resting heart rate is 12 or more beats above “your” average, then you are either already sick or your body is working extra hard to fight off something that you do not yet know you have. Training can add additional stress, which is best avoided at this time. Instead, focus on nutrition and rest.

  • Now, if you are a little bit sick and your heart rate is elevated (but not 12+ beats over your normal heart rate), exercise, but don’t push it up a notch…make it a moderate workout only. Do not go for any records here, as exercising with even a mild cold will make training feel harder, so don’t push yourself until you are back to full health.

Are you tired? Everything is more difficult when you are tired, even your heart works extra hard. Usually one or two nights of poor sleep won’t cause an elevated heart rate, but the effects are evident afterwards. Even a slightly elevated heart rate is a good indicator that you need more rest. Focus on getting rest and if you exercise, pay careful attention to your heart rate and your level of fatigue while exercising in order to avoid injuries due to bad form or lack of focus.

Are you overtraining? Every body has its limits, and when training is too severe, the body cannot find the time to repair itself, as tissues of the muscle and organs demand more oxygen and nutrients. When this occurs, your resting heart rate is typically 10-12 beats over your norm, consistently for 2-3 days. Another sign of overtraining may be difficulty sleeping. If overtraining is an issue, a day of rest is in order. Maybe a day in the pool instead of running outside? Maybe a bit of time with resistant work? If you don’t need to train, take a breather…if you do need to do something, take it down a notch.

Are you stressed? Our mind is our most powerful tool when competing. Unfortunately, our mind is also powerful enough to cause a physical reaction! Weight gain is often associated with increased stress, but an elevated heart rate (8-10 beats above norm) can also develop. In this case, go for a run! Exercise has such great stress-relieving benefits, that a run is definitely in order!

Are you toxic? Most notably, alcohol can increase your resting heart rate by a few beats, because your body is working a tad harder to remove the toxins from your system. Exercise can assist this effort, so go for a run!

Generally speaking, follow your body’s queues. Lack of rest, stress, overtraining, poor nutrition…all of these can influence your resting heart rate. So many different things can affect your heart rate, and knowing how your body is influenced by each of these co-factors is definitely an eye-opening experience! I myself am just getting over a serious cold which I’ve had for now over 1 week. My resting heart rate one morning was 80!!!! Never would I have imagined that it could be that high. I may just try to test it daily for the next few weeks to better understand my “norm” so I can better identify over-training, illness, etc in the future. Its simply not worth taking a chance! In time, I hope that being familiar and aware of my heart rate will become second nature to me.

More Modest Before Running?

When I first attempted to run as part of the C25k program, I committed to capris. Mind you it was early summer in Florida, but the summer here (even early summer) is still brutal. Why would I wear capris? For mere modesty! I hate my legs...especially my inner knees (definitely my worst feature and I have no idea which parent gave me this natural inner knee fat, because their knees look normal!).

It took me a good 10 weeks before I ventured into something shorter....namely running skirts. 10 weeks! I swear I look back on that and wonder why the h-e-double hockey sticks I would ever wear something so HOT (of course, most capris are black, and a few are dark grey) in the summer here in Florida!

So, I've now come to accept that my legs are still not that great although I am beginning to see more muscle tone and less fat covering my bones down there.....but I needed something cooler. Would you believe it? I now mostly where skirts with a 4" inseam. I never would have done that before! Sure, its for comfort...but I now wear shorts every weekend, which shocks my husband (as I've never worn shorts outside of the house before in front of him...yeah, my inner knees are THAT bad). But, its ok now..I don't care. I have a better appreciation for what my legs are capable of doing, and while I still don't like my inner thighs/knees, I accept them now more than ever before....and if that means people have to see more of my leg than they would prefer, so be it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Slim in 6 - The Beginning

So, my 14-day challenge is done...and I feel like I have gained some strength (even though the last few days I've been stuck on stick and really feel lethargic as a result), but I want to continue focusing on my muscle development along with my weight loss...along with my running endurance. Sounds like a lot to tackle, right? Well, I hope its manageable.

So, starting next week, its all about "Slim in 6" for me :)

42 days...counting rest days = 6 weeks

Daily Schedule
Days 1-6 Start it Up
Day 7 Rest
Days 8-13 Ramp it Up
Day 14 Rest
Days 15-20 Ramp it Up
Day 21 Rest
Days 22 - 27 Burn it Up
Day 28 Rest
Days 29 - 34 Burn it Up
Day 35 Rest
Days 36 - 41 Burn it Up
Day 42 Rest

Or think of it this way, Weekly Schedule (workout 6 days a week)
Week 1 Start it Up (35 minutes)
Weeks 2-3 Ramp it Up (50 minutes)
Weeks 4-6 Burn it Up (1 hour)

My order also came with the "Slim & 6 Pack" and "Slim & Limber" DVDs...Once you start the Slim in 6 program, this is the regimen to add if the ab routine on the videos is not challenging you anymore. They do not recommend doing "Slim in 6 Pack" more than three times a week though. You can do "Slim & Limber" as often as you like to stretch and relax, even on your day off. The resistance band work appears in Ramp it Up and Burn it Up.

And, if the "Start it Up" is too easy, I'll move on to "Ramp it Up" as early as Day 3. I won't move on faster than this though, as I need to get used to Debbie's moves!

Also, the included nutrition guide details menus for each day of the week, as well as a shopping list to minimize confusion and easily avoid those foods that are pitfalls. I need to investigate this a tad more, as I really want to see if there is anything I have been eating regularly that is NOT on the list....I would presume that my normal "current" diet is fine to continue my weight loss.

I hope to be able to keep this up, as well as running three times/week....two short 5k runs and one long run. I hope I'm not taking on too much, but only time will tell. I'll report back in a week! Either way, I'll update everyone when I start this, and see how the program appears once I have a few days to let it all sink in.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

BMI Revisited

Ok, everyone knows how easy it is to find their calculated BMI. There are a ton of sites out there that do this for you, but this one is different. Check it out here. Why is it different? Because it not only tells you your BMI, but it also tells you where you fall in the range of BMIs for your gender and age in the US. So, you think you were overweight? Let this calculator tell you that there is a good 2/3s of the country with a BMI higher than yours! It sure is an ego boost.

What surprises me most is that if I enter my ideal weight (135) and calculate it out, I would be at the 19th percentile....meaning 81% of women my age would be larger than me! Wow...kinda sheds light on how out of shape this country is, doesn't it? As for my "ideal" weight, there is also another calculator that tells me how reasonable that is....for me, it fits perfectly in several different calculations of what number I really should strive for to have no health issues related to my weight. So, at least my ideal is a healthy ideal!

Monday, September 12, 2011

220 miles to train for a half-marathon....

Yep, thats right. In 3 months of training for a half marathon (based on the Hal Higdon's Novice Half Marathon plan), I will have run a total of 220 miles. Sounds like quite a lot, doesn't it? Yet, that will only reduce my weight by 8 pounds (220 miles X 120 calories burned/mile, divided by 3500 calories). All of that effort and only 8 pounds of fat! Doesn't really seem right! And not only that, I will be hungrier, I'm sure....gotta keep my appetite in check when I start this training plan in early November!

Resting Heart Rate versus Sleeping Heart Rate

A resting heart rate of 60 to 75 beats per minute is average, a low resting heart rate is an indicator of cardiovascular fitness (eg strong heart muscle and whatnot), and athletes often have heart rates below 50 beats per minute. The more well-conditioned your heart, the less effort, and therefore fewer beats per minute, it takes your heart to pump blood to your other words, your heart has to work less to do the same amount of work an unfit heart has to do!

Normally, the heart rate slows during sleep at night; this is called the nocturnal 'dip'. Those with very small or no dips in sleeping heart rate were about 2½ times as likely to die in the next 7 years as those with normal or large dips during sleep, as detailed in this study.

In the study above, average awake and average sleep heart rates were used to determine "non-dipper" patients, defined as follows:

(awake value - sleep value)/awake value < 0.1

In other words, those with a sleep dip of less than 10% were more likely to die in the next 7 years. In normal subjects, the heart rate dips during sleep by at least 10%. And if the "dip" is significantly higher than 10%, you can count yourself as a very fit individual!

Now, where is that heart rate monitor of mine!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Salutation Nation 2011 Review

Yesterday was great! We parked in the Ringling Museum parking lot and walked the 1/2 mile path to the original estate. All 300 yogis were sprawled on their mats in front of the estate's shaded entrance, facing the gulf. We were able to get front row seating of the gulf's waters, and fish were consistently jumping out of the water and splashing. The breeze was great as well...and just the sound of the water rushing around was a pleasant change. They even had a drummer (probably from the Siesta Key Drum Circle) beat along with the program.

There were three teachers. The first one focused on meditation, the second one went through basic poses, and the third one...she was tough. Maybe I was still tired as a result of my fast, but I was seriously sweating and it wasn't solely a result of the heat and humidity!

I would definitely do this again next year....just to be able to do yoga while facing the gulf and a nice breeze was memorable.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Beachbody 2-Day Fast Update

So, 2 days of fasting has ended....its a bright and lovely Saturday afternoon. My waistline is down to where it was a week ago, and my extra water weight (and cleansing weight) is gone.

Personal Experience while Fasting
Thursday morning started off rough... I had made the typical shakeology of PB2, chocolate shakeology and a banana for my husband's breakfast, and he took one whiff of it and just couldn't drink it. He's enjoyed it for awhile now ever day, but the last several days his tummy and olfactory glands has been keeping him up a lot at night and making him super picky on his food. Now, if you want to do a cheap cleanse, just get food poisoning like he did! He's hardly taken a bite of anything all week! I rather than wasting it, I had that for breakfast Thursday. Lunch was a fasting shake, as well as dinner.

I didnt drink any lemon-water like the brochure suggested, since I was already sucking on several Ricola lemon drops throughout the day to ward off my cold/sour throat...thought that was a good enough substitute. But, I did stick to drinking a ton of water as well. Hunger through the first day was fine. Always a tad hungry, but never I just kept myself really busy and I was ok. I brough my daughter to softball try-outs that evening, so that filled in the time well for me.

Day 2, I woke up and had a banana immediately. The directions indicated that a banana was fine if you experience headaches, but since I was going out for a run that morning, I thought getting something into me was advisable. I had a poor run....2.2miles in 25 minutes, so it was an ok pace given my lack of nutrients the day before. I had a fast shake for breakfast (put a scoop of whey protein in there as well), lunch and dinner...and still had a lot of water and sucked on a few dozen lozenges :) Again, hunger was manageable, and during parts of the day, I didn't even notice any hunger. At that point, I had done 5 servings of the suggested 6.

Day 3 for breakfast I had the last serving, which staved off hunger until lunch which time my fast will be officially over.

Hunger? It was manageable....but definitely needed something to distract me. I would not suggest doing this fast if you weren't planning on being very busy! If I was bored, the hunger would have been way too much for me to handle. But, since I was at work, and I had a ton of little things to finish, it was more than ok. Also, if you have a sugar/caffeine addiction, you may want to wean yourself off of those as much as possible beforehand, as the resulting headaches could make the fast miserable. Fortunately, that was not an issue for me at all, and I experienced no headaches.

Benefits/Assumptions of a Liquid Fast
Just note that fasting should never be done solely to lose weight. You may easily lose 4-7 pounds (and I was right in the middle of that range), but most of this is water weight, so it will come back....not all of it, but most of it. The cleaner you eat after the fast, the better chance you have of not adding the water back on. Therefore, as you can imagine, most people who denounce any fasting product are simply missing the big picture.

Another benefit is that your stomach will shrink a little in that 48 hours of not when going off of the fast, do NOT grab a HUGE meal, which will just stretch your stomach out again. Instead, have small meals, and if you give it a chance, you will notice that feel full faster than before. Keep that going....its a great way to lose weight without any effort!

Fasting with a liquid diet (as opposed to fasting with just water) is not as stressful to your body. The result is to give your organs and digestive system a break (eg no fiber for your body to break down), but still ingesting nutrients your body needs to be healthy. By giving your system a much-needed vacation from breaking down food, your body is able to divert all of its energy it usually uses for food into healing your body. Your immune system therefore can focus on repair.

The idea of a good detox diet is to eat clean foods (which is what is in the beachbody can) that will ease the functioning of the lymph, kidneys and liver. Anything that harms their functions is avoided. If this is not periodically "cleaned up", toxin levels can increase and negatively affect our body. Specifically, toxins hinder the functioning of the liver, the second largest organ in our body and whose primary purpose is to detox and purify the blood. When your liver is healthy, your body can fight diseases more effectively. When your liver is not proficient, fatigue, skin problems, immunity, allergies, headaches, etc can increase in occurrence.

Many people use a fast to kick-start a diet. Why? Because, simply put, when you remove the impurities in your body, your body is better at processing the nutrients. If you are going to reduce your caloric level by half, you better make sure that every nutrient ingested is being put to work 100% and is being absorbed by your body.

Type of Toxins
Toxins are created both externally and internally, which can build up to unsafe levels. Our body works constantly to remove these toxins from our system.

We are all exposed to external toxins such as polluted water, car exhaust, breathing polluted air, make-up chemicals/solvents and standard household products. Our bodies were simply not designed to handle toxic elimination to this extent. Even the food we eat can contain toxins that are naturally bad for our body; we ingest pesticides and on our food daily, and our food now contains less vitamins/minerals than ever before because we alter how these animals feed/live (eg feeding grains to tilapia and cows, neither of which serves their genetic makeup). Alcohol, cigarette smoke (even second hand), fast foods, sodas and processed food create long-term toxin buildup in our body. You simply cannot avoid all toxins in today's world.

Our own body also creates toxins internally. Viral infections and bacterial infections produces toxins in our body. Stress also contributes to this build-up.

Toxins, which the body cannot easily release tend to be stored in cellulite (a form of fat combined with water). The only way to get rid of it is to use foods and herbs which support your body’s detox mechanisms. My cellulite looks less noticeable, although I didn't really compare before and after pics. :)

Also, there was some discomfort....but I kept busy...and I dropped a ton of water weight, simply confirming that my body was holding on to so much water just to prevent the toxins from harming me!

I feel I have more energy, and my clothes are a tad looser, although thats mostly a temporary benefit I know. Now, I'll start my serious diet and see if I can drop another 10 pounds while I work on the "Slim in 6" program and continue my running training schedule (35 down, total of 20 to go). But, I feel healthy and vibrant, and it will hopefully encourage me to stay true to my diet!

Would I do it again? It got rid of toxins and excess water, which the scale definitely showed. I would do it again, for sure. Its definitely cheaper and quicker than other cleansing products I've tried in the past! If the product is of interest to you, visit here, then click "shop" and then "Nutrition and Supplements" and then "Weight Management" .....the ingredient/nutrition label can be seen here. Now, if you want to try an alternative approach, here are a few suggestions:
  • CleanseMax is a natural approach. Its not jarring on your system, but is pricier and takes 30 days of supplements to complete.

  • If you have a juicer, you can always chose just to create a natural juice drink to consume three times a day, and then just water between those "meals". If you want to try this approach, use beet root, carrot, celery, cucumber, watercress and spinach in your juicer.

  • You can also use freshly squeezed diluted fruit juice (apple, grape, strawberry, pineapple, mango, melon, papaya, peach, pear). The costs for this fruit does add up fast, but if you are adversed to "box food" this is an excellent option.

Note: Diabetics should definitely avoid fasting unless you are under strict doctor guidance....and really, anyone with any doubt of fasting should always consult a physician. I'm definitely not one, so don't rely on just my opinion. But, fasting has been done for cultural and religious reasons for centuries, so I don't think there is any harm to the overwhelming part of the population!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Recovery Heart Rate Explained

Your heart rate should begin "recovering" immediately after you stop running. A heart rate that is slow to recover within the first minute (and subsequent minutes) after running is a strong predictor of overall mortality!

  • 1 Minute: If your heart rate has not dropped by more than 12 bpm one minute after you stop running, this may indicate an increased risk of heart attack. But while your heart rate one minute after exercise is the most important measurement, later measurements are significant as well, because how quickly your heart rate returns to its resting heart rate is an indication of your fitness.

  • 3 Minutes: Your physical condition is improving when your heart rate three minutes after you stop exercising is closer to your resting heart rate than the 1 minute interval.

  • 5 Minutes: If your heart rate is over 120 heartbeats per minute (under 50 years old) or above 100 heartbeats per minute (over 50 years old), your next exercise should be less intense.

  • 30 Minutes: Your heart rate should equal its resting rate 30 minutes after you're finished exercising.
Training programs often use recovery heart rate as a guide to note progress or to spot problems (e.g. overheating, dehydration, etc), regardless of the time exercising. The recovery process is fairly similar whether you are running for 10 minutes or 1 hour.

My daughter...the competitor

She saw me run my first race and was such a HUGE cheerleader for me! Anyway, she want to race, so I signed her up for the kids race that is managed as part of my next 5k. I can't wait to see how she does...she's competitive and pretty fast! Now, my son on the other hand, says he is interested, but so far, he's not shown any athletic we will see if he actually races as well. They will actually be in different heats, so he won't be running "with" her, which may dissuade his interest. I would love for him to experience some joy out of some athletic venture, but I realize its not something you can push....I just hope he views it as an exciting thing rather than filled with dread!

One other thing that is school year, my daughter will be eligible to join the "mileage club" at school. Its an after-school activity where the kids get a free t-shirt, but also log their mileage walking/running with the other club members every Monday after school. She isn't eligible this year, as she's just in kindergarden, but once she's a first out world!

Yes, I know...she's a competitive one...thats why people refer to her as my "mini me" :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Beachbody 2-Day Fast

I swear...whenever I have a ton of carbs, my body just carries so much water! I have pasta for dinner, and the next day I'm up 2 pounds. Its amazing how much fluid is needed for digestion of 3 ounces of spaghetti. It hasn't dropped even a few days past that spaghetti dinner, and its bugging me. I know its not "fat" but still want it gone! I just feel so bloated, you know?

So, I'm attempting the Beachbody 2-Day Fast product. I read a ton of reviews and realize that the chocolate flavor is 100% better than the vanilla. Now, while the directions say that this should be the only thing you ingest for 2 days, it does not curb your appetite...but I'm ready for that. I have some tea that I will drink that should avoid the massive hunger pains. I'm ready...bring it!

So, Thursday and Friday are my fasting days...I expect work to be a bit slow these days, so if I'm somewhat distracted because of any hunger, I should be ok regardless.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First 5K....Flashbacks

Now that I've had time to think about how things would I have done things differently?

I woke up 2 hours before the race to have breakfast. While I had a good meal, I probably should have had more carbs....and I even had a lot of my peanut butter pretzels that I could have grabbed, but simply didn't consider it. Just getting the kids out of the house was keeping us busy!

And, I think starting next week, I will try to run once-twice a week in the morning...there is simply no getting around this. After all, studies do show that it takes 21 days to form a habit (someone on Facebook reminded me of this...thanks Dorsey). So, I need to do it, even if its a short one. After a few weeks, I will be accustomed to running in the morning. I need to lay out my clothes for my run at night, and make sure I need to physically get up to turn the alarm off...or find someone to run with who will hold me responsible and who I don't want to let down.

Hey, if it gets me a better 5k time, I'll do it! Next race is next week!

P90X2 Ordered

Ok, so I pre-ordered it...should get it sometime before Christmas. Question though...will I be ready for the muscle pain that goes along with it? After Slim in 6, this will be the next project I tackle :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Run Every Day

Now, wouldn't having a "running streak" recorded somewhere be pretty cool? And, its only 1 mile/day....I could even do this!

I am a mean boss!

So, I convinced one of my interns to do a 5K with me in November. That makes her sound young and impressionable though, right? Actually, she's 30 and is going back to school to change careers and working as a member of my team for this school I'm not really coercing her, right? She's a big girl and can make her own decisions! She's so out of shape (by her own comments) and needs to gain some control in her life (and running is a perfect means to this, right?)....the girl is typically a small size 4, but this last year has really made her body unrecognizable to herself, so this is really good for her! I know, I sounds as if I'm trying to convince her, but really she is all game for it!

So, I've told her about the C25k program, and she's tried it off and on for several weeks now but still can't get past week 1. She just bought a running skirt and is determined to get through the first week this week! And, because I'm just that kinda gal, I told her every Wednesday we could run during lunch and do the C25k program on that run. So, next week, I'm going to be in deja vu land and start at week 2 of the C25K :)

Actually, it will be easy workout mid-week, even though the weather will be awful. But, hey, its only partial running for 30 minutes, right? And besides, by the time it starts to cool down here in mid October, thats when we will start doing more true running and more true sweating, so maybe it will all work out?

Works out for me anyways. I want to do a short 20-30 minute cardio workout wednesdays (I plan on running Tuesday and Thursday nights anyway, but wanted to interperse some light cardio between the two....and this seems perfect). Besides, my kids will have soccer practice Wednesday nights, and Joe will start baseball soon enough Wednesday nights so I have few opportunities once that ramps up. This just seems perfect to fill the need to exercise, fit it into the schedule AND make it a social thing :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Motivation Hint

Put your running clothes on the moment you feel the motivation lacking....just sitting around in your running attire will make you feel silly, so you just HAVE TO go for a run!

Canes Classic 5k Race Recap

My first race was this morning....what a great experience running with so many other people! And, I now have a personal record to speak of. Granted, there is nothing to compare it against...but at least I have something!

The Canes Classic 5K started at 8am this morning. I got up right before 6am, as I thought it would be best to finish eating at least two hours prior to the race. So, 6am, I had my shakeology shake with some PB2 and bananas. We roused the kids and had them finish breakfast and get dressed, and we were out the door prior to 7am. We arrived at the site and parked, picked up my registration info/shirt/pamphlets and were ready to go! Since we had the kids with us, we hung out at the playground. I walked a bit and ran a bit before hand, so I was loose.

I already knew that my time wouldn't be stellar...this is, after all, a morning race. I ALWAYS run slower in the does one change that? But, thats ok.

I ran up in the middle of the pack, and it was a shotgun start. Everyone ran out and I had a nice pace for the first mile. The second mile was a tad slower, but I was happy to get the chance to pour some water over my chest/shoulders at the 1.5 mile mark, and then again at the 2 mile mark. Now, from that point on, it was tough. We were running in the bright sun, and it was hot! I had to walk a bit at the 2 mile mark, and then again at the 2.5 mile a full 1.2 minutes of walking the course. The last 1/3 mile was under cover (like most of the first half) so I finished that part without pause, but I know it wasn't very strong.

Looking back, I know the morning affected me the was just lacking, regardless of what I tried to do. The heat didn't play as much of a part of the energy issue as I would have presumed, simply because I know I have run in this heat before! I even had some sport beans right before the race, but that obviously didn't help.

My cadence was especially slow...81spm average (max of 85spm). I typically run 83-85spm, so definitely slower than average. I wonder why though....sure, I had to run around people, but did that really account for such a slower pace...or was it because of this and the morning run?

I didnt' have nearly as many nerve issues as I presumed that I would. So, I definitely think the morning hour made it for me. End result? Unofficial 33:45 time.

Ok, for a first race, I'm pleased I suppose, even though I know I can do better than this. What should I do next time? If its a morning race, which most are, I suppose I just need to run more in the morning to acclimate properly. Nothing else I can do, right? Since I think that was my #1 issue, I simply have to become a morning-acclimated runner.

Next race is a 4-miler through a country club....2 weeks until that. I'll try to do at least 2 runs a week in the morning from now until then and see if that plays into my energy level. Will update beforehand with my predictions!

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