01-31-2013

Health/Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

I’m so sorry this wasn’t up yesterday? Yesterday was a crazy and exciting day. Let’s just say there are some new projects in the works :)

Today, I got into DC. I’m staying with a friend, and tomorrow I’m presenting at a conference at the University of Maryland. Exciting times!

Here are some health/fitness links for you…better late than never!

  • Cauliflower Crust Pizza (Eat. Drink. Smile) – I cannot wait to try this recipe!! All veggies. Love it.
  • Plyometric Drills for Runners (Cait Chock) – I need to start incorporating more plyo moves into my routine. I want to get faster this year!
  • Wired Tech Tee (Kickstarter) – A gym shirt that keeps the headphones out of the way so my swinging arms don’t knock them out of my ears? How much? Would you buy this?
  • How to Make Your Own Tea (Fit Sugar) – My mom and I have started to make our own tea, using rosemary and sage, which are known for their anti-oxidants…we didn’t want to get the flu!

Do you drink tea? What is your favorite kind?

01-29-2013

Thinking Out Loud: “If It Fits Your Macros” Diet

I stumbled upon this post on doyoueven.com and immediately had a lot of thoughts and questions.

This “diet” which isn’t really a diet, more of a way of eating, states that:

“IIFYM is a flexible dieting approach where you disregard arbitrary food labels such as “junk food” and “clean food” and focus on your total caloric intake (calories in versus calories out), your daily set macro-nutrient targets (your fats, carbs, protein), and your micro-nutrient goals (your vitamins and minerals) in order to achieve your desired body composition.”

Basically, as long as you’re hitting your macronutrient targets (i.e.-grams of protein you need to eat daily), it doesn’t matter where the food comes from.

The author states that:

“How can a burger from McDonalds be equivalent to a meal of chicken, brown rice and cashews? It’s quite simple, your body does not recognize whether the food your eating is ‘clean’ or ‘junk’. It will only recognize food’s for it’s nutrients, such as proteins, fats or carbohydrates.

For example; a McDonalds Seared Grand Chicken Burger is worth 501 calories which consists of 35.3g of protein, 15g of fat and 53.4g of carbohydrates.

Whereas, 130g of chicken, 25g of cashews and 120g boiled white rice is worth 520 calories which consists of 16.5g of fat, 55.2g of carbs and 37.9g of protein.”

I’m not sure about you, but I have to disagree with this. I don’t think that there is any question that whole, clean foods have many more nutrients than McDonald’s. Sure, the macronutrients are/can be the same, but what about all of the chemicals and preservatives in junk food? The article goes on to talk about the professor who went on the Twinkie diet, ate in a calorie deficit, and lost weight.

Well, if you eat in a calorie deficit, you probably will lose weight no matter what food you’re eating! But that doesn’t change that you are putting in man-made chemicals into your body.

I just started reading Jillian Michael’s book “Master Your Metabolism,” and it discusses how chemicals in our foods, water bottles, and more can mess with our internal hormones, which could make it harder for you to lose weight.

Sure, you might not get overweight or obese by eating whatever you want as long as it fits your macros, but you could be throwing your internal system all out of whack.

I’m not sure of the science behind the whole “your body doesn’t care if it’s junk or not, as long as its calories, protein and carbs.” Then how come when I eat junk food my body immediately gets tired, lethargic…my stomach cramps…these are all signs that my body did not want what I just ate. Lethargy after food is a sign of releasing insulin…releasing too much insulin on a regular basis can cause diabetes…or at the very least cause you to hold on to that fat you have been working so hard to get rid of.

I’m not totally discounting the theory behind this. I think you can certainly eat foods you desire and crave every once in a while…even one small thing once a day like I do. But I can’t believe that all foods are equal. I think there has been a lot of science to also back up the fact that whole, clean foods are so much better for our bodies than anything else.

I’m not done with Jillian’s book yet. She has a 2 week meal plan I want to try…once I finish I will probably write a review on here.

What are your thoughts on the “If It Fits Your Macros” diet? Do you think junk food and clean food are equal?

01-28-2013

Trader Joe’s Haul

I finally went to Trader Joe’s! And it was awesome. I used to love Whole Foods but I am definitely making the switch over to Trader Joe’s now. While Whole Foods has more options (like a deli, meat/butcher, etc), Trader Joe’s wins in overall value. Things are much cheaper at TJ’s and some items I found were less than even at my normal grocery store. #winning

I wanted to share with you all what I picked up. I didn’t get a ton of stuff, but a few things to get me through the week. Here they are:

photo 1Above there is some Ezekiel bread, all-natural, hormone-free chicken, turkey bacon, mushrooms, and all-natural turkey breast slices. I made a delicious collard wrap with my turkey slices for lunch today which I can’t wait to eat. For dinner, I made some chicken stew in the crockpot.

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Here we got a pineapple, eggplant (because I have only had it like…once…and keep hearing how good it is), onions, and a pomegranate to try eating as a snack.

IMG_0265Lastly, I picked up some avocados, tomatoes, fresh apples, and organic, grass-fed beef. While grass-fed beef is a bit pricey, my mom and I decided it’s worth the investment so we’re not eating meat with a bunch of hormones and other added stuff in it. In order to save money, we will be eating 1-2 meatless dishes a week (which is also healthier too!).

I can’t wait to eat delicious, clean meals this week. As I wrote this morning, I was frustrated last week with my lack of progress, and wasn’t eating that great. I’m ready to get back into it this week because being healthy is much more than just looking good on the outside.

Do you shop at Trader Joe’s? What are your favorite grocery store items you HAVE to pick up each time? Mine are bananas!

01-28-2013

Motivational Monday!

I have been pretty busy this past week as it’s been the first week of the semester. I already have a lot of assignments and projects to work on, both academic and personal. While it can be stressful at times, I like knowing that everything I am doing is to achieve a certain goal.

I love this quote from Finding Nemo! In stressful times, it’s important to remember to just keep “swimming.” If you’re working towards goals, be grateful for the opportunities presented to you even if it means you’re busier than ever. In the end, it’s all worth it.

But it can be taken in so many other ways too. This past week I have also been feeling so frustrated that I haven’t been seeing the results I’ve wanted from exercising and eating clean. I will admit to eating a few too many bowls of cereal and a few cookies this week due to this frustration. But I went to Trader Joe’s yesterday, bought a bunch of healthy food, and am ready to keep going. Even when you don’t see the results you want, just keep going. Keep exercising. Keep eating healthy. The benefits go so much farther than just looking good. You are helping your body be healthy, and giving it the nutrients it needs.

Have you ever been in a rut where you feel like you’re not seeing results? Trader Joe’s snapped me out of it…what snapped you out of it?

01-26-2013

My Strength Training Routine

It’s the weekend! Get out there and be active to kick off the weekend!

I’m finishing drinking up some green tea then heading to the gym. I need to run AND lift today which stinks…I hate when that happens. After my run, I usually just want to go home. But you gotta do what you gotta do.

This is my second week on my new strength training plan I created for myself. I figured I would share it on here. I’ve been lifting 3 times a week, and it’s a full body routine. I love the challenge of strength training, and the exhilaration of lifting heavier each week.

Here are how my days have been split up:

Day 1:

  • Dumbbell step-ups
  • Barbell deadlift
  • Front foot elevated split squat
  • Inverted row
  • Some bicep, tricep, shoulder exercises
  • Abs

Day 2:

  • Goblet split squat
  • Negative pull-ups
  • Swiss ball leg curls
  • Dumbbell walking lunch
  • Single arm dumbbell row
  • Single leg dumbbell deadlift
  • Biceps, triceps, shoulders
  • Abs

Day 3:

  • Back squats
  • Dumbbell shoulder press
  • Rack pulls
  • Dumbbell reverse lunge
  • Single leg hip raises on swiss ball
  • Pushups
  • Bicep, triceps, shoulders
  • Abs

Every 3-4 weeks I change up all of the exercises and the amount of sets and reps I do in order to keep my body from plateauing.

Time to head to the gym and work on my “Day 3″ routine :)

What types of exercises do you incorporate into your lifting routine? How often do you switch it up?

01-25-2013

I Did It…Winter Running!

Yesterday I needed to get a 3 mile run in. All day I debated on giving outdoor running a try (it was 3 degrees when I got home) or using the treadmill. I hate the treadmill. I just can’t take it anymore. So, I decided to bundle up and run. I just wrote a post on running in the cold, so I took my own advice and went for it.

First, I put on my base layers:

IMG_3500I knew I needed to add more layers on top of this. Here’s what I ended up wearing, piece by piece.

First, I threw on a wicking t-shirt. I wore my Lululemon Run:Swiftly top (I think that’s what it’s called).

IMG_3512

On top of that I wore Nike’s “Hyperwarm” compression long sleeve top, along with their Hyperwarm pants. They are actually very warm and cozy.

picstitchI didn’t want my toes to go numb (which has happened to me once) so I put on normal socks, then thermal socks over them. They do make special thermal running socks, which I should probably invest in.

IMG_3505I don’t have a windbreaker that’s warm, or windbreaker pants to go over my spandex, so I had to get crafty. Same with those neck things that cover your nose and mouth. So what I did was throw on a fleece jacket and sweatpants over my base layers, and took a thick North Face fleece headband I have and used it to cover my mouth. It worked pretty well! The jacket and sweatpants kept me really warm too. I also had on a hat and mittens. At one point I wanted to take off my mittens because my hands were so warm! Definitely go with mittens over gloves.

Here’s the final product! I got home and was dripping in sweat…so it goes to show with good preparation and layering, you can conquer any temperature!

IMG_3501

I’m so glad I went for it, I felt really good when I got back. My calf is a little tight with a little shin pain…but that’s always the case.

I may do this again tomorrow…definitely beats the treadmill!

Would you rather be too hot or too cold on a run? Hmmm……

01-24-2013

Spring Races and Goals

I need winter to be over so it can be spring time and I can start running races!

My first half marathon of the year will be in April or May…I am 90% sure my mom and I will be running the Ocean City Half Marathon on April 27. It sounds really cool because it’s mostly on the boardwalk alongside the ocean, and there’s a big after party with a buffet once you finish (yum). I was looking for a scenic race, and this sounds like it will be. Running alongside the ocean will either be beautiful, or horrible if it’s raining, windy, cold, etc. Hopefully it won’t be!

My mom and I also made a goal (who knows if this is possible) to run a half-marathon or marathon in every state. So this is our first attempt!

On April 21st, we also have a 5K in our town that we do every year: Miles for Matheny. I love this run because it’s for charity, and one that is right in our own community. This is the description on the website: “All proceeds from Miles for Matheny will benefit Matheny’s Center of Medicine and Dentistry, which provides specialized inpatient medical, dental, and therapy care to our inpatients and people with disabilities living in communities throughout New Jersey.”

My mom and me 2 years ago at Miles for Matheny.

I will probably run other spring 5ks too, and marathon training will start closer to the summer (ahh)!

Part of what I want to nail down during half-marathon training is fueling. I always get stomach cramps after races, and towards the final miles I really start to fade. I plan on experimenting with different fueling options. I was using GU but maybe that’s not for me.

Are you running any spring races? Have any fueling tips for me? Is winter over yet?

 

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01-24-2013

Thursday Workout Challenge

It’s still freezing here in NJ and I have no desire to go outside. I’m sure you don’t either. So I made a workout you can do right in your own home…no equipment needed as usual. Excuses are easy to make, but where there’s a will there’s a way!

The first 3 exercises I want you to do as fast as you can (while maintaining good form). You will do 3 sets without rest, and time yourself. Timing yourself allows you to track progress if you decide to do this workout again. Obviously, if you get a faster time it means you improved your fitness a little bit!

After that, take a 2 minute rest, then complete the rest of the exercises outlined at a normal pace (even slower if you need to…slower is better). You will do 2-3 sets of these exercises as well. Remember, go at a normal pace not as fast as you can.

Let me know if you try this workout, and what you think!

coldworkout

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01-23-2013

Health/Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

Yesterday was my first day back at school for the spring semester. It actually wasn’t bad at all, though waking up at 7 am when I’ve been sleeping in was kind of hard. But I’m excited to work hard this semester and graduate with my Master’s (ahhh!) in May!

I found some good info for you all over the past week, so enjoy!

  • 5 Simple Ways To Make Your Workout More Effective (Tony Gentilcore) – You all know I love Tony Gentilcore. Great advice in this blog post…MUST READ.
  • Chocolate Chip Protein Pancake *gluten free* (Sensual Appeal) – I love protein pancakes and every time I find a recipe I immediately bookmark it so I can make it. Chocolate chips?? yummmm
  • 25 Minute Treadmill Walking Workout (Peanut Butter Fingers) – Sometimes you just don’t feel like running…but incline walking is pretty tough too AND good cross training for runners.
  • I Want To Do a Pull Up (Greatist) – If a pull up is your goal, you need to be doing something to strengthen those muscles every day. Here’s a great workout plan.
  • Miss America: Crossfitter (The Sweet Life) – I love Ericka’s blog, and I loved this post about Miss America. Strong women FTW!

Going along with the pull-up link, what is your goal in terms of strength training? To do a pull-up? Bench or squat a certain amount? Tell me in the comments!

01-23-2013

Running in the Cold

It is 8 degrees where I am at right now…in other places, with wind chill, it feels like it’s in the negatives. It is cold. But the people from places like Minnesota probably think we shouldn’t be complaining too much :-p

So, should you run when it’s super cold?

Answer: it’s really up to you. I’m still comfortable outside in 30 degree weather, but I haven’t tried running in anything below that. Currently, being that it’s in single digits, I think I will stick to running inside, but you can run outside if you choose to.

The New York Road Runners had a live chat about this today which was helpful. Here’s one of the tips they gave:

IMG_3777If you run outside, it’s all about layering. Don’t think going out in sweatpants or a heavy fleece jacket will cut it. This is when you need to invest in key running pieces that will keep you toasty.

The first layer should be a wicking layer, definitely not cotton. You want something that wicks the sweat away from your body, otherwise your shirt will just simply be wet, and you will be freezing.

Then depending on on how cold it is, you can add more layers, such as a fleece lined top, and a windbreaker or heavier jacket. I found this older blog post by Carrots ‘N’ Cake that outlines how many layers you should have depending on the temperature. She also gives other good tips like heating your clothes up in the dryer for a few minutes before going out (genius).

Another tip I read on the live chat today was to wear mittens not gloves. Mittens keep your hands warmer than gloves do. If it’s really cold, they suggested wearing mittens on top of gloves. Also, wear a scarf or something to cover your nose and mouth so you’re not breathing in cold air. Here are some tips from Jess of Race Pace Wellness on breathing.

Basically, don’t leave any body part uncovered! Buy special socks to keep your feet warm. I need to do this because in the past my toes have just gone totally numb while running (not good). It’s better to be too warm and have to remove a layer than be too cold.

Lastly, just get out there and do it! Do a dynamic warm-up indoors to get your heart rate up then just start running once you step out the door!

Do you run outside in the winter? Or do you prefer the treadmill? (or dreadmill as my running coach calls it).