Tag Archives: Fitness

Running to Be

27 Feb

Sometimes before I run, it can take a lot of motivation and 1,000 excuses to get me going out the door. Then, all of a sudden when my feet hit the pavement, I say to myself, why did I think I didn’t want to run today? Why would I want to miss this feeling of flying and being one with myself?

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My motivation comes from  other runners, because every time I see a runner,  I crave to run. Other motivation comes from feeling a sense of accomplishment, weather, or being able to get my mind off of something, or just running to be.

The other day, I experienced running in the rain. It was hands down the coolest experience to feel the rain against my face as I paced myself  mile by mile. The trails were so quiet and I could only hear my thoughts. At one point, I completely zoned out. It’s amazing how the body can keep moving when you’re not even thinking about it.

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What motivates you to run or exercise? What was one of your best running or workout experiences?

On a side note, I have a sneaker tip for if you ever go out into the rain for a run and come home with soaking wet sneakers or if you just want to keep your sneakers smelling pretty.
Putting newspaper in sneakers when they are wet will keep them dry and smelling fresh.

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After runs in dry weather or the gym, I like to put fabric softener sheets inside of my sneakers.

I saw both of these tips in Good Housekeeping and swear by them! I haven’t had a stinky sneaker since!

The 411 on Strength Training- Part Four of the Food for Your Heart and Soul series

8 Feb

Are you a runner who only runs, a dancer who only dances, a die hard 7 day a week spin class taker, or someone that enjoys breaking a sweat on the elliptical every day and never ventures to the weights?

If you answered yes to any of the above, this post is for you!

Cardiovascular exercise such as running, dancing, cycling, the elliptical, is one of the most important ingredients for a healthy body.

Muscular strength is another essential part of the recipe.

The body will reap many benefits when both are mixed together in the same exercise plan.

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Why is strength training important?

Strength training helps people with every day activities such as lifting heavy things- a 32 pack of bottled water from BJ’s or Costco’s for instance. It also helps maintain weight, because when you build muscle, you burn calories throughout the day, even when you’re in front of the TV. Next time you settle in on the couch and are feeling guilty for lounging and in my case, watching The Real Housewives or something, DON’T, remember you’re burning calories. With regular strength training, your balance will also be rocking. This helps prevent injury. Hello to all of the runners out there who are reading this! Strong muscles also lower a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and obesity. Solid, huh?

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Types of muscle strength training activities:

Using your own body weight, weights, weight machines, resistance bands are a few of the ways that you can incorporate strength training into your workout routine.

Today, there seems to be a type of strength training class offered for everyone. Body Bar, Body Pump, Lean Conditioning, TRX, and Kettlebell are a few of the ones that come to mind.

Not one for classes? Don’t let the meat-heads in the weight room intimidate you! They’re harmless, I promise! No gym membership? At home muscle strengthening workouts are just as good as if you were at the gym!

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How many days a week should I strength train?

Each major muscle group should be trained  2-3 days a week. Major muscle groups include chest, shoulders, upper and lower back, abdomen, hips, and legs. Always, always, always give muscles 1 day to recover before training again. For example, if you did a full body workout on Monday morning, wait until Wednesday morning to train again.

For more information on exercise plans, click here. This will bring you to part 2 of the series, Penciling in a Workout.

How many strength exercises should I incorporate into a single workout session?

It is recommended that 8-10 exercises are included and involve more than one muscle group. For muscle development, each exercise should be done for 8-12 repetitions/ 2-3 sets. Your muscles should be fatigued at 8-12 repetitions and you should feel like you can’t do anymore. If you can do more, the weight you are using may be too low. Rest for 2-3 minutes in between sets.

(ACSM, 2010, p 169-170)

What is the difference between a repetition and a set?

A repetition is one complete movement of a single exercise. For example, doing A and B below for only one time.

A set is a group of consecutive repetitions. For example, doing A and B below for 12 times.

(NASM, 2012, p 338-339)

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Why is muscular strength important to me?

Muscular strength is important to me because I want to keep my bones strong for life and lower my risk for osteoporosis. Kelly Ripa and Elisabeth Hasselback are two of my role models when it comes to working out and strength training. Have you see their arms? Goodness gracious. They inspire me day in and out. Strong is the new skinny.

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Today, I encourage you to incorporate a strength workout into your exercise plan if you do not have one already. Please always check with your doctor before beginning or doing any type of exercise program!

Who is your fitness role model?
What’s your favorite strength class or strength exercise?

Bibliography:

ACSM. (2010). ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

NASM. (2012). NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training. Philidelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Penciling in a Workout- Part Two of the Food for Your Heart and Soul Series

26 Jan

One day while watching the tube, Kim Kardashian was talking about working out, probably on E!  news or something. I hope you just didn’t stop reading because I mentioned a Kardashian! During her interview, Kim said she schedules her workouts as appointments, just like she would with her doctor or hairdresser.

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Whenever I think of a workout now, I think of it as an appointment, doing something good for my heart and soul. This is especially helpful on days I just don’t feel like working out. Thank you, Kim!

This is how I break my weekly workout appointments down. I’ll start with tomorrow, Sunday.

Sunday: cardio- with the sun setting earlier during these winter months and getting home in the late afternoon from work, I don’t feel comfortable running in the dark. On Sundays, I do an hour on the Pilates Cardio Rebounder. It’s always good for the mind and body to mix things up though! Boredom prevention! 😉

Monday: upper and lower body strength routine – more focus on lower body

Tuesday: cardio- outside run

Wednesday: upper body strength routine

Thursday: outside run

Friday: upper and lower body strength routine

Saturday: off- I usually sneak in a yoga sesh! Off days are so important for your muscles to repair so that by your next workout, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to go!

On most days, I also practice yoga anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour. You can read more about my yoga journey in my post My Love for Yoga and Yogurt. This weekly schedule was created using the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults.

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Author’s Notes

When I started lifting weights and body resistance exercises, I’m not going to lie, it was hard! But, I didn’t give up, I was determined! I could barely do a push-up. I guess my upper body strength was almost zip, zilch, nada! Now, when I do push-ups, I want to do more because I think of when I couldn’t even maneuver my body up and down. I even challenged a co-worker at work today to a push-up challenge because he didn’t believe I could do them. I can’t wait to prove him wrong! All in good fun of course! 😉

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Click here for step by step push-up directions. Push-ups target your arms, chest, and shoulders.

My workout schedule took trial and error. I had to make arrangements to figure out what worked for me and my life. I’m still constantly making changes when things come up.

If there are days when you find yourself wishing there was more than 24 hours in a day so that you can get a workout in, always remember, a walk around the block is better than no movement at all. 🙂

How do you stay on track with your workouts?

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend! It was a snowy one here! Last night, there was a beautiful snowfall. The snow was sparkling!

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This is what a local newscaster said:

“Did you notice how the snow seems to sparkle tonight? Thank the bitter cold. Because temps are so low, the freezing process gives the surface of the snowflakes a flat shape with a shiny surface that reflects light. In higher temps, a snowflake has more of a fuzzy surface. The moon is nearly full, so there is plenty of light to reflect off the shiny surfaces of the snowflake. “Sparkle Snow””

Peace 🙂

When Mind, Breath, and Body Become One

22 Jan

Cold. So cold when you climb into the car, your shoulders stay so close to your ears for five minutes until the heat kicks in kind of cold.  Where I am from outside of Philadelphia, today was the coldest day in two years. Our morning low dropped to 19 degrees and the afternoon high only climbed another three degrees to 22.

If you’re from Alaska or the North Pole reading this, I know this sounds like a heat wave to you, please have pity on us!

Yesterday, Meghan over at After the Ivy League posted about enjoying to run in the cold in her post Ski Weekend in Maine. As much as I would rather be putting on a tank and shorts this time of year, there’s something about running in that cold that gives me a thrill.

Today’s run in the cold was special because:

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There was a light dusting of snow still on the grass from last night’s winter bliss.

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With no other walkers or runners in sight, I felt like a gold medalist on the trails.

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The air was crisp and the sky blue.

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I became conscious of my breathing, my days worries went away with each inhale and exhale, and I became one with my mind, breath, and body.

Running ❤

Do you prefer to run in warmer or colder weather? Why?

For my last few runs, I have overdressed far too much, so I put a lot of thought into what I was going to wear today. I decided on Cuddl Duds thin layer leggings and a Cuddl Duds thin layer top. So soft and cozy! Next, I put a pair of yoga pants on along with a light weight half-zip hoodie and fleece zip-up jacket. Lastly, I added a scarf, ear bags, and put on not one, but two pairs of gloves! 🙂

What do you wear to run outside in on cold winter days?

Please stay warm wherever you are!

I invite you to join me in this yoga session tonight:

Let’s Get Physical- Part One of the Food for Your Heart and Soul Series

18 Jan

Did you ever have to take that fitness assessment in high school following the guidelines from the President’s Challenge?

In the time leading up to my fitness test, I remember getting excited for it so I could show off my athletic skills to the class. Then, what I now call  dooms I mean test day came, I found out, hey, I’m not really athletic. Sure, I played recreational basketball and volleyball every now and again, but I never had an exercise routine that I followed. Honestly, I didn’t know that in order to keep myself healthy on the inside and outside as opposed to burning off a doughnut  per se, I’d be doing myself a favor to create one.

How the heck did I get started on an exercise plan? Over time, I was exposed to Pilates, group exercise classes, swimming, and cardio equipment at the gym. I always wanted to be on a sports team or be an elite dancer, but that never happened, and I saw this as a second chance.

I began college as an Education major and graduated with my BS in Exercise Science and Health Promotion.

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Since my high school fitness assessment:

  • I can run several miles
  • I can do multiple push-ups
  • I sleep better
  • I have lower blood pressure
  • I feel and am strong

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Benefits of regular physical activity:

  • Strengthens bones and muscles- a preventive measure against osteoporosis!
  • Reduces risk of some cancers, type 2 diabetes, heart disease
  • Mood booster- one of the reasons I prefer to work out in the morning
  • Not to overwhelm you, 101 more benefits:

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Upcoming topics on the Food for Your Heart and Soul series include, but are not limited to:

  • Creating a weekly workout schedule
  • Breaking down resistance training
  • Gym terminology
  • How to fit in a workout when you’re crunched for time
  • Finding the right exercise program

I’m open to topic ideas. Please share if you have one on your mind that you’d like me to talk about! 🙂

If you’re interested in testing your fitness or for kicks, click here. Good luck!

How did you get into exercise? What’s your favorite kind of exercise?

Have a great weekend!

A Marvelous Morning Run

17 Jan

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My run day is finally here! I came to the point where I was dreaming of running outside. I imagined the weather, the songs I would listen to, the feeling of my body flying, and the adrenaline rush I would experience. It’s a miracle I did not suffer serious heart palpitations, but I did suffer from withdrawal.  This morning as I laced up my running shoes, I felt anxious, excited, and ready to get out the door. When I took my first strides, I inhaled and exhaled the fresh air and smiled as my feet took me along for the ride.

Today’s run motivation:

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Mileage: about 5.3 miles

I track my runs using the Google Map Pedometer.

Time: 52 minutes

Today’s Top Five Running Jams:

  1. Blown Away by Carrie Underwood
  2. Bleeding Out by the Lone Bellow (free on iTunes this week)
  3. Mumford and Sons- Little Lion Man- Thank you Alex@therunwithin!
  4. Fergalicious by Fergie (throwback!)
  5. Walking on Sunshine- Katrina and the Waves

Stretching:

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After my run, I did some lower body stretches, then when I came inside, I followed the YouTube stretch routine below. I can be so stubborn about not stretching at the end of a workout, even though it’s so important! I’m trying to get better at this!

Finish the run sentence

I run because… it makes me take a step back to appreciate the blessings in my life.

Blessings on my mind this morning:

My legs. I’m so thankful that I have legs to run, to walk, and to move me from place to place.

Being able to live in a beautiful county. On my runs, I feel like I can take in the scenery and appreciate it that much more. 

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It was a gloomy morning run, but my surroundings brought me some sunshine.

Fresh air. I’m thankful to live where I can go outside and take a deep breath.

Security. I’m thankful for food, having a plan for the next two or so years of my life, and a roof over my head.

I invite you to finish the sentence: I run because… or I exercise because…

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