11-27-2013

Health/Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

It’s almost Thanksgiving! Who has off today? I don’t, but it’s ok because I will be going out with friends later for “Thanksgiving Eve” and am so excited!

I found a lot of great links to share with you, so you have stuff to read tomorrow while you wait for that turkey to be done ;)

Here are your health links:

Where will you be spending Thanksgiving?

Do you go Black Friday shopping? Where?

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11-26-2013

Fun Fitblogger Survey!

I wanted to switch things up and do a fun survey for today. If you have a health & fitness blog, join in and write up your own post! I love learning more about other bloggers :)

1: What is your favorite snack? Healthy: apples or a banana with PB Unhealthy: Cookies and milk, or Honey Bunches Of Oats cereal ;)

2: Favorite work out move, and what does it target? Squats. Although it mainly targets your glutes, it’s definitely a full-body workout and will get your heart rate up!

3: Least favorite workout? Any sort of cross-training. It is so boring to me.

4: When do you feel your best? After a particularly hard workout or run, when I’m drenched in sweat and out of breath, but can say, “Wow, I finished that workout and I feel awesome!”

5: Describe your “perfect” breakfast? My favorite is oatmeal with PB stirred in, sliced banana, and a drizzle of honey. Along with 2 hardboiled eggs.

6: Favorite splurge meal? Meal: Cheeseburger and fries, Snack: Half Baked Ben & Jerry’s :)

7: Best advice for a beginner? Be patient. You won’t see results immediately, but just keep at it. Even when you’re so sore in the beginning, it goes away and the next time you workout you will feel stronger.

8: Favorite one liner for motivation? It never gets easier, you just get better.

9: Best place to by workout clothes? Modell’s, Macy’s sale rack, TJ Maxx, and if I want to splurge-lululemon.

10: Favorite workout/running shoes? Currently, Saucony Mirage. I used to be a Mizuno girl and ran in the Wave Inspires.

11: What is your ratio of clean vs indulgence? Probably 70% clean, 30% indulge. I could be better but right now I don’t really feel the need to be really strict. I want to lower my body fat and all that, but I’m also at a place where I have accepted my body. I love working out, and eat healthy for the most part, so if the results come, they come..and of course I’ll be happy!

12: Best way to feel confident? In the gym: getting a PR (same in a race) and knowing how hard you worked to build up to that. Other: buying a top or pants that makes you feel good!

13: Number 1 tip for beating cravings? Find healthy alternatives. If I want a sweet treat, recently, I’ve been having these protein bites instead. I also like Larabars. If you like more salty, try making kale chips!

14: Describe your “dream” day of fitness? I’d love to go on some sort of fitness cruise or vacation. Where you can explore the terrain but in active ways (trail runs, hikes). But also relaxing on the beach would be necessary ;)

I wouldn’t mind working out in this gym.

15: What is your “power” song, the song that keeps you going? Hm…there are so many! Probably “One” by Swedish House Mafia. I have powered up hills many times listening to that song.

16: Favorite fitblogger? I definitely can’t pick one, but I will list a few of the bloggers I love reading: Cori-Olive To Run, Theodora-Losing Weight In The City, Alyssa-See This Girl Run, Gia-RunGiaRun, Sarah-Sweet Miles, Sarah-SarahFit…and really so many more. I think you can see who I follow if you go to my BlogLovin?

17: What do you wear to workout? In the gym: shorts (spandex or normal), or capris, and a tight fitting top. Running: spandex shorts, capris or pants. Always a dri-fit top.

18: What is your biggest accomplishment? Running a 33 minute PR in the 2013 NYC Marathon with my mom :)

19: What is your fitness goal? In the gym: Upping the amount I can squat, and doing 10 unassisted pullups. Running: One day qualifying for Boston, but first I’ll take a sub-2 hour half marathon.

20: What is your next fitness challenge? Right now I’m just working on getting stronger, but my next goal will be a sub-2 hour half marathon. I’m looking into spring races.

Please fill it out! I’d love to hear about your fitness & running motivation and goals! Let me know if you post it on your own blog :) Here are the questions for you to copy & paste:

1: What is your favorite snack?

2: Favorite work out move, and what does it target?

3: Least favorite workout? 

4: When do you feel your best? 

5: Describe your “perfect” breakfast? 

6: Favorite splurge meal? 

7: Best advice for a beginner? 

8: Favorite one liner for motivation? 

9: Best place to by workout clothes?

10: Favorite workout/running shoes? 

11: What is your ratio of clean vs indulgence? 

12: Best way to feel confident? 

13: Number 1 tip for beating cravings? 

14: Describe your “dream” day of fitness? 

15: What is your “power” song, the song that keeps you going? 

16: Favorite fitblogger? 

17: What do you wear to workout? 

18: What is your biggest accomplishment? 

19: What is your fitness goal?

20: What is your next fitness challenge? 

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11-25-2013

Motivational Monday!

So yesterday it was around 25 degrees here, but felt like even less with windchill. I’ve ran in the cold before, begrudgingly, and after a snow storm, but it ended up not being bad at all!

I saw a lot of runners who posted about getting out there despite the conditions…that’s awesome! If I were running regularly, perhaps I would have gone out, but running really isn’t in my training plan right now ;)

Here’s a little motivation as we head into the winter:

I know you all will get after it no matter what, but in case you need some extra inspiration, this is a great quote! No matter if it’s summer or winter, you will never have perfect conditions. Just gear up and do it! The key to winter running is the right layers and gear, once you have that, I promise you won’t even feel the cold!

Do you prefer winter running or summer running? I prefer the cold…I sweat way too much in the summer!

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11-22-2013

Coconut PB Protein Bites

My friend told me to try this recipe for “protein bites,” so I finally did…and it certainly did not disappoint! If you’re looking for something all-natural, and just as tasty as a granola bar or sweet treat, then you need to try this.

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Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips or dried fruit
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (or almond butter/whatever butter you like)
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (oops I just realized I forgot to use this…oh well, it’s still so good!

Then:

  1. Stir all the ingredients together in a large bowl. I used my hands to make sure everything was mixed together.
  2. Let chill in the fridge for about an hour
  3. Enjoy!

My friend suggested putting them in ziploc bags in the freezer so they keep their shape, and you can save them longer. Seriously, they are delicious. I have a sweet tooth problem, so I always look for healthy and all-natural options for when I’m craving a cookie or something.

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Obviously you can’t eat the entire batch just because it’s all-natural. Moderation is still key. With the amounts listed above, I made 15 protein balls, and according to my calculations (and with the ingredients I used), it’s about 100 calories each. I also accidentally got sweetened coconut flakes, so that’s probably extra calories.

Let me know if you decide to try them & what you think!

Do you have a “go-to” for when your sweet tooth strikes?

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11-20-2013

Health/Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

1 week until Thanksgiving Eve! Can you tell I’m excited… ;)

Here are your health links for today:

Do you love or hate doing abs? What’s your favorite ab move?

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11-19-2013

7 Tips To Aid Muscle Recovery

I thought of writing this post today because currently I can’t straighten my arms from being soooo soreeee. I did a chest and back workout yesterday which included pull-ups…which I haven’t done in months! The first few days of lifting after a long hiatus are always the worst in terms of soreness.

While sometimes you can’t avoid soreness or delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), there are ways to promote muscle recovery, and feel back to normal faster. Here are tips that have worked for me, and may help you to avoid the DOMS!

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  • Have something with protein after every workout. I usually try to have a protein shake as soon as I get home, or if my workout is timed right, I get home and just have dinner. Protein aids in the repair of exercise-induced damage to muscle fibers. [1] Every time you go to the gym, you are damaging and tearing your muscle fibers. What you do after the gym is what matters, because once those fibers heal is when you will see your gains (i.e. – lift heavier). Active states:

Heavy resistance exercise increases the rates of both protein synthesis and breakdown in muscle for at least 24 hours after a workout. Unless a protein-containing meal is consumed during recovery, breakdown will exceed synthesis, resulting in the loss of muscle mass.

I usually try to get around 20-30 grams, and within 30 minutes of my workout ending.

  • Stretch. I always try to stretch after every workout. Your muscles are nice and warm, and this is the perfect time to stretch them out after they have tightened up during your workout. According to MIT:

When you stretch, the muscle fiber is pulled out to its full length sarcomere by sarcomere, and then the connective tissue takes up the remaining slack. When this occurs, it helps to realign any disorganized fibers in the direction of the tension. This realignment is what helps to rehabilitate scarred tissue back to health.

  • Ice, use heat, BioFreeze, etc. If something feels swollen, like a joint, ice it to decrease inflammation. I’ve also tried “contrast therapy” after long runs or hard workouts. Get in the shower, use cold water for 30 seconds, then switch to hot water, and repeat 4-5 times. If a muscle is just plain sore, applying a heat pack can help it relax. My physical therapist also recommended BioFreeze for times when ice isn’t convenient. It’s like Bengay or IcyHot but with less chemicals…and definitely makes whatever area you’re using it on feel nice and cold! I was applying it to my shins and calves before bed.

  • Foam roll/self-myofascial release. I don’t think I need to talk about this too much. Foam rolling has so many benefits for your muscles, despite sometimes being painful! It helps release muscle adhesions (knots) in order to help muscle recovery, and allows your muscles to move much smoother. If you don’t have a foam roller, use a tennis ball or lacrosse ball. I like it better anyway because it’s smaller and can really get into those hard to reach muscles. When you hit a tender spot, stay there for 20-30 seconds, and/or also try flexing and unflexing the muscle (similar to ART). Foam roll first, then stretch.
  • Take supplements. Magnesium is something many people don’t get enough of, and it helps greatly with muscle recovery, nerve function, and also helps you get better sleep. [2]. I also take L-Glutamine and have taken BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) before. L-Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid that helps to ease trauma, and halt the breakdown of muscles.[3] BCAAs support muscle protein synthesis and also can decrease muscle soreness such as DOMS. Read more benefits of BCAAs on Charles Poliquin’s website – he’s a well-renowned and respected trainer.

So there you have it folks. Those are just some ways that I help my muscles recover. It really is important to remember that what you do OUT of the gym matters more than IN the gym. Make sure to get enough sleep, hydrate, etc. to take care of your muscles and you will see the results you want.

What tips would you add to this list? Which of these haven’t you tried yet?

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11-18-2013

Motivational Monday!

Can you believe next Thursday is Thanksgiving? Who else loves Thanksgiving??

So today instead of a motivational quote, I thought I’d start Monday off with some humor. A few of my guy friends and I were talking this weekend and they told me how when they go to the gym they mainly do chest, back and arms. I was like whaaaaat?! So that’s what inspired this:

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I saw this on Instagram and immediately sent it to them. The caption was, “Don’t skip leg day!” I love it. :)

1) Do you ever skip leg day, or do you love leg day?

2) Favorite Thanksgiving dish? I need some ideas for this year!

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11-15-2013

Get Pumped At The Gym

TGIF! I can’t believe the response I got to my running post yesterday…thanks everyone! :)

Are you heading to the gym today to kick off the weekend the right way? If you’re looking to try something new, here’s a workout I created that hits all major muscle groups and adds a cardio component. If you weren’t planning on going to the gym, I think you should go ;)

getpumpedInstructions:

Do 10 sets of each exercises, and repeat 3-5x through depending on how much time you have/how challenging of a workout you want.

For pull-ups, use an assisted pull-up machine or band if necessary.

For the benchpress, use dumbbells if needed (if barbell is too heavy or not available at your gym).

For the kettlebell squat, hold the kettlebell up against your chest, elbows tucked in.

Use dumbbells for the “squat,curl,press.”

If you don’t need to do cardio today, or plan on doing it after, you can omit the burpees from the workout.

Let me know if you decide to try it! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Do you prefer to workout at the gym or at home?

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11-14-2013

“OK, You’re a Runner, Get Over It.” My Response

I read this article last night after seeing it posted on Facebook. Its tagline is: “Running a marathon is hard enough without also patting yourself on the back every step of the way.”

Hm…

Well…duh ;)

People have commented on the article and on Facebook saying people shouldn’t even bother responding because it is only spreading the author’s piece to a wider audience. But I did want to respond, because I want people to see my side (a runner) of things, especially those who may not share my passion (and I have a lot of friends who don’t) but may read his article.

He basically writes about how people only run marathons and half marathons to boast about it and put those 26.2 and 13.1 stickers on their car. Yes, I have those stickers, because I ran a freakin’ half and a full marathon, I think it’s certainly something to boast about! But to say that people train for 5-6 months solely for a sticker is absurd.

Runners train for many reasons. We train to feel fit. We train because it’s a stress reliever. We train because we want to compete against ourselves. We train to get over hardships. I don’t know of any runner who runs day in and day out, or trains for a marathon or half marathon solely to brag about it.

“But the clothes—well, that’s a different story. Many of the shirts on the racks have running logos, motivational slogans and images of stick people running.

Like the 26.2 and 13.1 bumper stickers, this apparel serves a clear purpose: We can look at them and immediately know that the person wearing it is a runner—perhaps even an accomplished one.”

I like buying these clothes with quotes on the front because it motivates me. I also see plenty of people at the gym who LIFT and don’t run wearing this type of clothing. What’s wrong with wanting to buy clothes that motivate you as soon as you put them on?

“I have a theory. There is no more visible form of strenuous exercise than running. When runners are dashing down a street in the middle of town or through a subdivision, they know that every driver, every pedestrian, every leaf-raker and every person idly staring out a window can see them.

These days, people want more than ever to be seen.”

So basically, we should stick to working out in the gym, because if we exercise outdoors, it’s only because we want attention?

I run because I like being outside and feeling the different seasons. I love feeling the heat and humidity in the summer. I love seeing my breath in the winter. I like that you need no equipment to run outside. All you need is your body. What’s wrong with that?

I suppose what bothered me about this article is that it lumps all runners together, stating that we all just want attention. Yes, I’ve been told by my boyfriend that I post too much about my running on my Instagram or Twitter (he isn’t a runner), but on the flip side, I have gotten so many inspiring comments from followers, as well as tips and advice from fellow runners. We are a community of people who help each other, and the same can be said for any fitness related community (lifting, CrossFit, spin, fitness in general).

I never post things because I want to brag and get a “like.” I certainly don’t run for that either…trust me, there are many days where I hate running and being out there.

And time out, runners are the only one posting on Facebook? What about statuses or tweets about “I’m going to the gym,” “I squatted X amount today!” etc. etc. Those don’t bother me at all, and sometimes they even motivate me to get my butt to the gym.  What’s so bad about that?

It’s like, you can’t win. If we don’t exercise, people write about how lazy/obese America is becoming. When there is a running boom in the US and more runners than ever who are being active, people write about how they only do it for attention.

Sigh.

Update: You need to read this hilarious rebuttal by Runner’s World.

What are your thoughts on the article? I’d love to hear them!

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11-13-2013

Eat This, Not That

Yesterday, I was able to attend a nutrition seminar held at the college I work at. I almost didn’t go but am glad I did because there was a lot of great info, which I knew I wanted to share with my readers.

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The seminar was geared towards busy college students, and the goal was to show them what choices they have when eating out at places like McDonald’s, Applebee’s, etc. We all know what’s healthy and what’s not, but if you’re faced with a few not so healthy choices while out, would you know what to pick?

The nutritionist gave us 4 things to look out for when buying “fast-food” or dining out:

  1. Type of food
  2. Size of food
  3. Prep
  4. Accompaniments

Food Prep

I’m sure you know that grilled chicken is better than “crispy” chicken sandwiches (aka fried), but do you know how much the difference is?

A KFC grilled chicken sandwich isn’t too bad…250 calories

A KFC extra crispy chicken sandwich is…510 calories!

Still not TOO bad compared to the stuff I’ll talk about in a bit.

Accompaniments

This conversation started with mayo. I love mayo. My mom has been buying the olive oil Hellman’s recently in an attempt to get a “healthier” mayo. Well, guess what…it isn’t that much better! Mayo is made from soybean oil (the cheapest oil they can use) and the mayo that says “olive oil” actually only has a tiny, tiny bit of olive oil, and the rest is soybean oil. They basically put the minimum they can in it so that they can put “olive oil” on the label.

The good news is, she stated that, “unless you’re eating jars at a time, don’t worry about whether you get olive oil mayo, low-fat mayo, etc. They’re all basically the same.”

Next, let’s go through options for each meal of the day. Some of the stuff I will outline, you may already know, but it’s good information for those who may not know, and a good refresher for those who eat out!

Breakfast

The nutritionist said, “muffins are donuts for rich people.” They really have no nutritional value, even bran muffins, which you may think it does. You will eat it, and you will still be hungry, and that’s how your day goes downhill (eating wise).

Oatmeal > Muffins. A medium sized oatmeal is about 260 calories, and a bran muffin is 480 calories.

Next, ham > sausage. Always. Why? because it has less fat. Even 2 pieces of bacon is still better than sausage. An Egg McMuffin = 300 calories, and a Sausage McMuffin = 450 calories. She said that if you need to get breakfast while at a McDonald’s (obviously oatmeal is the best), the Egg McMuffin actually isn’t that bad.

SIDE NOTE: She told us that the Egg McMuffin has the ham on the top, and the Sausage McMuffin has the sausage on the bottom (of the egg) due to scientific research by McDonald’s about what the best way for the egg and meat to hit your tastebuds is. So weird…

PicMonkey Collage

Okay, lastly, let’s talk about omelettes. I believe this is from Applebee’s, but a Simple and Fit Omelette is only 330 calories. Not bad at all. But if you get the regular spinach and mushroom omelette, it is……….910 calories! I couldn’t believe that. I have ordered omelettes many a time at diners, thinking it can’t be that bad because it’s just eggs and stuff. The killer is the cheese. That is what adds a ton of calories. Think about that next time you want to order an omelette!

Lunch

So you’re at Burger King..which do you choose? The Original Chicken Sandwich? Or the Double Hamburger?

If you’re like me, you may have thought the hamburger would be worse…but it’s actually half the calories of the chicken sandwich. 330 calories vs. 630.

Also, she talked about how fries really aren’t THAT bad if you get a small, and if you are really craving them. A small only has 230 calories. A large, however, has 500 calories.

Other great fast food options are:

  • oatmeal
  • fruit & yogurt parfait
  • side salad
  • fruit dippers
  • fruit
  • Wendy’s chili
  • Wendy’s baked potato (not loaded)

If you’re going to a deli for a sandwich, the top 3 deli meats are:

  • turkey
  • roast beef
  • ham

As she mentioned, “if you can see the fat, then don’t eat it,” referencing salami.

Snacks

“No 100 calorie snack pack will make you feel like you ate anything. You’ll just eat more snack packs.” Truth!

Here are some points she made on snacks:

  • Nuts are good in moderation
  • Lays will not fill your stomach, which is why you could eat a whole bag of them.
  • Nature Valley granola bars are a great option. But any granola bar that has chocolate or yogurty dip/base is not.
  • Fig newtons aren’t a bad snack option when in a pinch.

Keep a stash of these at home, at your desk, in your car if possible:

  • Crackers
  • Bars, such as Larabars which you can keep in your car for a while.
  • Peanut butter
  • Chobani
  • Hummus
  • Carnation Instant Breakfast. Not the best breakfast, but it’s something for on-the-go when you need it quick.

I love Larabars. They are all natural and have a lot of great flavors. I like having them when my sweet tooth strikes.

Dinner

“Healthy sells.” Restaurants know this. They know you want to eat healthy, but that doesn’t mean the dishes are, in fact, healthy.

Let’s say you go to Applebee’s and get a salad. They actually have a salad on their menu that is 1,200 calories!! That’s almost as much as some people need to eat in an entire day. And that’s a salad. Make sure to check the ingredients. If it contains cheese, it will most likely have a lot of calories, because restaurants load it up with cheese to make it taste better. This applies to any dish.

She suggested also getting a sirloin as opposed to a chicken dish if you’re dining out. A sirloin can be served plain with a side. When is grilled chicken ever served just plain? It usually has cheese, sauces, it’s breaded, fried, etc.

What about if you want Chinese food?

The Good

  • Dumplings if shell is thin
  • Egg drop soup
  • Sichuan dishes (less fat)

The Bad

  • Egg rolls
  • Spare ribs
  • General Tso (or any of those types of chicken)
  • Sweet n’ Sour Chicken
  • Lo Mein
  • Fried Rice

How can you make it better?

  • Skip the rice
  • Steamed veggies

Dessert

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know that Ben & Jerry’s is WAY higher in calories that normal ice cream. But it’s so good =(

A 1/2 cup of Eddy’s ice cream is 130 calories. A 1/2 cup of Ben & Jerry’s is 360 calories! And who eats only a half cup? I certainly don’t…

Here are some good dessert options if you have a sweet tooth like me:

  • Luigi’s Italian Ice
  • Klondike bars
  • Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Skinny Cow ice cream
  • Fudgesicles
  • Slim-A-Cow ice cream

So there you have it folks. A key thing I will remember when dining out is cheese! I actually wasn’t aware it was so high in saturated fat and calories.

Another key point to remember, that the nutritionist stated as well, as that eating things in moderation won’t kill you. Indulge if you want, just don’t eat the whole bag of chips or the whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Though I know that’s hard ;)

I thought her seminar was very informative, and feel like I can make better choices if I’m out at a Burger King (which is rare but sometimes my friends want to go), or out to dinner.

What did you find interesting about this seminar? Did you learn something new? 

What’s your favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor? I love Half Baked!

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