Saturday, July 31, 2010

Heels Over Head

Yesterday in the gym it was a bit of a grab-bag. Captain Awesome had what looked like a really fun circuit set up, which inspired me to, well, do a circuit. Duh. So we set another one up, then Jenny joined in, and it became a lot of fun. (By the way, Jenny, I meant to tell you your arms are looking awesome.)

After two rounds though, we got a little punchy. I don't know if it was because it was Friday and we were in a good mood or what, but somehow I got myself wrapped into jumping rope around the room.

Actually I know exactly how it happened. I was jumping rope while Jenny was trying to do her walking lunges, and since we had all of this stuff everywhere I was trying to find a spot where I could jump rope without hitting anyone or anything, and in the process tried to move out of the way without stopping jumping rope. So that led to speculation of what distance I could travel while jumping rope, which led to me saying I could go all the way around the room, which led Awesome to doubt my claim, which of course he knew would lead to me fulfilling it, which ultimately led to me traveling the perimeter of the room by hopping forward while jumping rope.

It was easy. And fun!  Even when everyone started contributing their own "rules" to the exercise like having to start over at the finish if I got tripped up, or having to go around the cones to not cut corners.  I ignored them for the most part. :)

That done and smack laid down, I filled Awesome in on a new goal of mine: handstand push-ups. We wasted no time and before I knew it, I was upside down on my hands doing the tiniest little push-up you've ever seen. But, I did two sets of 10 tiny little push-ups and it was a lot of fun! Way easier than it looks.
Me doing the handstand push-up. I was going to attempt to
vacuum at the same time but thought that might be a bit much.
PS don't look at my butt.
Yesterday was a really fun workout and I was sad when it was time to leave. It reminded me that staying active is about pushing yourself in challenging ways but also just having fun. Get out of the box today and try something new. Stand on your hands and do a push-up just to see if you can.

And most of all, have a healthy weekend!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Put Up Your Dukes!

So today I did a really fun boxing workout and now I think Wednesdays will be boxing days.  Like I said Monday, I'm trying to maximize my calorie burn during resistance training so I can sleep more, and boxing is a great combination of cardio and resistance.  Today I spent more time than I wanted to standing around being demonstrated to than actually burning calories, but once I get the moves down and can do them back to back I think it will be a great way to torch up a Wednesday morning.

Oh, man.  I totally should have done the jump rope while he was showing me how to do the next set instead of just standing there with my gloves on my hips like a dope.  Damn it.  Oh, well.  Next time. 

Anyway, when I uploaded my GoWearFit, I had burned 900 calories before 8:00 am so that's pretty good considering I also scored an extra hour of zzzzzzzzzzzzs. 

My husband boxes for exercise and has a whole set-up in our game room complete with a heavy bag, speed bag, and some kind of weird thing that attaches to the ceiling and has a weight on the floor and a bag in the middle.  I don't know what that is for.  I don't want to know what that is for.  I just don't mess with it.

Anyway, he's mentioned a few times that I should box with him and he even bought me some gloves (and no they are not pink).  Now that I've had a little taste of it, I think that looks like an excellent way to decide who was the last person to empty the litter box.  (Hint: it was me.)

I can't claim to be an expert on boxing but I found some resources that may help you integrate some of it into your workout.  Check them out and practice your Muhammad Ali impression!  Or Rocky.  Or Popeye.  I actually don't care who you pretend to be as long as you get out there today and exercise those lazy bones!

Sample Boxing Routines
Boxing for Better Health
Hillary Swank did it and so can you!

And just because I love Popeye...

Good day!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

When Clean Eating Attacks

"Food is fuel, food is fuel, food is fuel..."

My friend robotically chanted this to me a couple of weeks ago, her eyes closed and head bobbing methodically as if she were trying to convince herself that she believed it.  Instantly, I knew what had happened.  We were on a business trip.  In a hotel.  It's bound to happen eventually.

The clean and healthy food she had so carefully packed had somehow been compromised, and she had to eat it anyway, because food was fuel and she needed to fuel and she wasn't going to divert from her nutrition plan.

So that makes me the solitary person in the back of the theatre slowly clapping my hands. 

Atta girl!! 

An example of a Happy Place, though not mine.
Her downfall?  The old ice-bucket-as-refrigerator trick.  I've done it myself.  Lacking an actual ice chest or fridge, you're forced to wrap your food in plastic, cocoon it in a bed of ice, and hope it resembles something edible in the morning when you need to fuel (eat) again.  Sometimes you get lucky and your egg whites or yogurt or oatmeal still resemble food. Other times, you find yourself in the same place Lisa was: your own personal episode of Hotel Room Fear Factor.  Close your eyes, hold your nose, go to your happy place, and swallow it before you can think anymore about it.

You're fueled.  Yes it was gross and hopefully we won't need to do that again but the mission has been completed:  body nourished, all systems go.

What do you do when something you've prepared to eat turns out gross?  You eat it anyway because food is fuel.  I learned that lesson when I carefully crafted a salad that sounded like a good idea at the time but actually turned out to be a pretty unfortunate combination of flavors.  But I sucked it up and ate it anyway because food is fuel, not companionship or reward or validation of anything other than the fact that we are human beings that require calories to live. 

Harsh?  Yeah, it's a little extreme and I totally understand if you think I am crazy.  But I was so proud of Lisa that day.  I don't want her to eat disgusting things, but I love that she was able to look at that disgusting thing and get over any feeling she had of entitlement to a hot, delicious breakfast and just see food as fuel.  I am a big fan of hot delicious breakfasts.  But I've also eaten cold oatmeal out of a water-logged tupperware while chanting that familiar mantra, "food is fuel. Food is fuel.  Food is fuel..."  And then I got over it and went on with my day because food is fuel.  Have I mentioned that food is fuel?  I did? Just checking.

To all the fuelers: keep fighting the food fight!

Good day!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Plyometric Monday!

I asked for this. 

I specifically remember saying to Capt. Awesome, "I want to do more plyometrics. Let's make Mondays plyometric days."

So I can't act like this is anyone's fault but my own.

But I have good reasons!

1. I need to sleep more.  The 5.5 hours/night average that my GoWearFit tells me I am getting is not healthy, and I need to get more.  So, that means sleeping later and not starting cardio at 4:00 am.  So that means maximizing the time I am at the gym.  So that means plyometrics.

2. I'm bored. I've been doing the maintenance-friendly cardio and weights routine for a while now and its time to shake it up.  I want to be *fit* not just un-fat.  There's a difference!

3. If I ever want to successfully do box jumps at the Ultimate Fitness Challenge, which I do, I need to learn how to jump.  Hours on the elliptical ain't gonna cut it.

So, that's how I found myself holding medicine balls while leaping, bounding, and hopping over benches and cones this morning.  I gotta say, it was the best workout I've had in a while.  Lots of fun, heart-pumping, and when I uploaded my GWF afterwards, it burned the same number of calories had I gotten up at 4:00 and done 45 minutes of mindless cardio.  So I scored an extra hour of sleep, too.  Yay!

Give plyometrics a try this week to build strength, speed, and balance, and just to do something different!  Here's some sample exercises to get you started.  Have fun, be safe, and get ready for Wednesdays.

That's when we start boxing.

Good day! :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Less Bad vs More Better?

There is a key phrase in this article I just read about strategies and solutions for getting junk food out of school vending machines that I want you to keep at the front of your brain this weekend:

"It may be less bad for you, but that doesn't mean that it's good for you."

This is the wisdom of Dana Woldow, a leader in the push for better snacks and co-chair of a California school district's Student Nutrition and Physical Activity Committee.  And Dana, thank you. 

So many times we pat ourselves on the back because we ordered the baked potato instead of the french fries, and ignore that little voice reminding us that steamed veggies and slivered almonds would have been the more-better choice.  I don't want to poo-poo those little victories because they are important, but let's get real.  Just because something is less-bad does not mean it is good, and you know it.  You know it, I know it, and most importantly (and this is where reality bites) your body knows it. 

But there is a population of people who don't know it - our kids. We have to teach them through example and hands-on experiences how to determine the difference between less-bad and more-better.  This article about the five worst kids' restaurant meals opened my eyes to the fact that we are all guilty of assuming our kids want grilled cheese or mac and cheese or fried cheese or basically anything with cheese, and rarely bat an eye at ordering off of the kids' menus even just to keep the peace at the dinner table.  Seeing the nutritional quality of these meals made me so happy that we rarely eat in restaurants anyway and that my own 4 year old son is a health-food champion who once asked the cashier at Wendy's for "something healthy."

Yes, I took my son to Wendy's.  I brought my own salad and he ordered oranges. My husband, yeah. He got the Number 2. :)  Love ya, babe!

I am willing to bet that there is something going on in your world this weekend that will force you to make the choice between less-bad and more-better. 

Go crazy!  Go big!   Go more-better!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

From the Recipe Box

People ask me all the time what I eat during the day and I've featured some of my portable cleaneating meals here.  Today, my Change Your Life salad.

I am not exaggerating when I say that I have eaten this salad for lunch almost every day for two years.  Seriously, I have.  I love it that much.  I NEVER get tired of it and when I go to people's houses, they ask me to bring it.  People have put their own twists on it, which I love, and I have even tweaked it a little.  But all in all, this salad has changed my life.

Major food criteria for me are that it must be low-maintenance and easily created in advance, it must be clean and natural without additives or preservatives, and it must be portable.  This salad meets all of those requirements, as I make five of them on Sunday afternoon, stack my little go-boxes in the fridge, and bring one to work with me each day in my insulated lunchbag.  I even put a fork in the container so I am ready in a jif to eat wherever I am.  Completely low-maintenance!

The salad is insanely simple: spinach, strawberries, feta cheese, and baked chicken or turkey.  That's right, no dressing.  It doesn't need it.  I used to put raisins and some Annie's Poppy Seed and Papaya dressing, but as I reduced my sweet tooth I eventually phased those out so I am down to the four key ingredients. 

Here's my salad as I pack it - I put the strawberries (120 g), feta (28 g), and chicken or turkey (85 g) in little ziplocks and stack them on top of the spinach (100 g). 

Then when I go to eat lunch I just combine them and viola!  Fueled and ready to go for the next few hours.

Give it a shot and see how you like it.  Trust me, you can eat this without dressing and your body will thank you in droves for it.  You can't go wrong when you focus on keeping your food fresh, clean, and functional!

Good day!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

GoWearFit: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has never been so rewarding

So I've been wearing my GoWearFit for a little over a month now and have not lost any of my initial enthusiasm for it.  Where has it been all my life?  I will tell you what, if I had this thing 10 years ago I could have saved myself a lot of time in the self-help section of the bookstore. 

But I don't want to dwell on the past.

Or do I?

You see, my GFW (we're BFFs now so I can call it that), tells me about my past.  My immediate past, that is.  It allows me to look back over my shoulder (or my left tricep, since that is where it lives) and see if I really did burn what I thought I did.  And then, it allows me to make a better plan for the future by showing me in black and white what my body is doing, within a 5% margin of error.  So, for example, yesterday I burned a whopping 2,443 calories (give or take), which gave me an approximate calorie deficit of just over 900 calories, which means that vacation weight is going bye-bye. yay!  Today I estimate I'll have about 800 calorie deficit, based on my workout plans for the day and what I plan to eat.  I'm going to a party this weekend, so I will workout Saturday morning, sync the GWF up to my reporting software, and decide on a calorie goal for the day that will result in a break-even (if not a small deficit) so I can relax a little at the party but stay within maintenance.  If I don't hit my mark, GWF will tell me and I'll adjust accordingly on Sunday.

And in a week or so, when I am back in my happy zone, I'll go back to eating more and exercising a little less, so I can break even around 2,000 calories a day.

What is so exciting about all of this (for me) is that it is a completely sane way to manage my fitness.  A little compulsive, yes, but come on.  Being compulsive is like Christmas morning to me.  I love it!  Seriously.  I can obsess about so many other things now that my GWF tracks all of the stuff I used to obsess about.  Thanks, BodyMedia!

Speaking of compulsive, here's a little peek into my report from Sunday.  See the spike at the beginning of the day?  That's me exercising.  See where it is WAY higher in the second hour?  That's me doing sprint intervals outside.  The first part is an elliptical-and-weights circuit I did, and the second is this interval podcast.  Seeing the difference in the effectiveness of different workouts is golden to me.  That little flat part around 4:00 is when I was swimming with my kiddo.  GWF doesn't do water, yo.

Okay, I'm rambling.  Bottom line - if you're a control freak perfectionist tired of wondering if you really are burning what those formulas say that you are, go get a GoWearFit already! 

Be a control freak perfectionist about something else for a change. :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Itching for a Fight

Today I am overwhelmed by a feeling of pure angst...these lazy bones have been kept in captivity too long and I am itching for a fight!  A fight to the finish, that is.  I've been training, but more in a maintenance-happy zone-I'm a healthy person kind of way.  And I am bored, frustrated, and getting pretty cranky about it.

It's hard to stay super-fit when you're surrounded by other obligations clamoring for attention.  But now that my work travel, vacation, and other distractions are behind me I can turn my focus back to refining my level of fitness to one that I can have a little more respect for.

So.  Solutions?  Well, it just so happens I have several lined up:

Immediately through August: kick training back into high gear for 1/2 marathon, triathlon, and tri-fit.  That means more interval running, Plyometric Wednesdays, and swimming workouts.

September: planning another sprint triathlon with my brother, sister, brother in a law, and husband unless they wimp out on me.  

October: half marathon with my sister (and anyone else I can conjure up).

November: Tri-Fit Ultimate Fitness Challenge and local Turkey Trot 10k

How about you?  What are you doing in the next few months to get yourself into tip-top shape?  I'll see you at the starting line!

Good day!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tri-Fit Friday! Meet Mary.

It's Tri-Fit Friday!  
The Women's Tri-Fitness organization hosted the Ultimate Fitness Challenge last weekend in Las Vegas, and that means the countdown to November (the next UFC event) is on!  Since I am cheap and lazy, competing in a locale/season that I can both drive to and not sweat in trumps flying to Vegas and exercising in 100+ heat.  So November it is!

And this year, I am counting down by featuring some of the inspirational women of tri-fit that motivate me to do things that force me to use unladylike language at the gym.   

The first of these lovely ladies is Mary Parrett, a geriatric health services manager by day and tri-fit competitor on the weekends who caught my eye at my first Tri-Fit Camp back in March 2009.  Not only is she a dynamo on the obstacle course, her positive attitude, encouragement, and can-do spirit really helps competitors remember that Tri-Fit is about competing with yourself, which is such a great experience.

And, she does it all as a later-in-life athlete in her 50s.  As someone with no athletic background whatsoever, she really serves as a lesson that we can learn new tricks at any age.

I sat down (virtually) with Mary to find out what drew her to Tri-Fit.  Read more to find out about what motivates her, how she trains, and why she chose such a unique sport.

WWOP: Why do you compete in tri-fitness?
Mary:Tri-fitness is an unusual event which has concrete results and allows you to compete with yourself. Very little is left to judgment. Your time is your time and only YOU can control your growth and development in this sport. The best part is the sisterhood which develops from this sport. We all cheer for each other; we all support each other; we share secrets of self-development and improvement. Tri-fitness is not about competing. It IS about believing in yourself. It IS about setting goals and improving. It IS about recognizing the obstacles in your own life and learning how to hurdle them most efficiently every time.

WWOP: What about tri-fitness caught your attention?
Mary: I learned of Tri-fitness from a girlfriend at the gym (age 38 or 39 at the time). I looked into it and went to visit Al Rosen for a private session (I was 52 at the time and wanted to private intro to be sure I didn't kill myself on the course). After an hour, I immediately joined in the Wednesday evening practice and met a handful of the girls. They were wonderful! I was so taken by the whole experience, I've been there since.

WWOP: Do you have an athletic background? If so, what kinds of sports did you play? Mary: No real sporting background... just girls phys ed in school and some intramural sports after school. Never really made too much on any teams... if I was chosen, it was for my enthusiasm and not skills!

WWOP: What is your typical training program for tri-fit?
Mary: I go to practice with Al and the girls on Saturdays to work on all the obstacles and do lots and lots of conditioning drills for speed and power. In fact, even in the gym, my weight lifting work outs are either power and strength or power and speed. Lots of explosions of power work coupled with either speed work or strength work. I have a wonderful trainer with whom I have worked since 2001. With every new thing I want he changes my training to meet the needs of the sport.

WWOP: What is your favorite part of tri-fit?
Mary: The energy created by the event... lots of cheering and positive pushes to go forward. The people are terrific! Everyone gives 110% and hopes for the best for everyone else. It's a really positive experience.

WWOP: What part of tri-fit is the most challenging for you and why?
Mary: Are you kidding? It's ALL challenging! I love it though and won't quit until I can't do it anymore!

Thanks Mary!  Find out more about Tri-Fitness and the Ultimate Fitness Challenge here or read about my experience here.  And stay tuned for more profiles of uber-inspirational Tri-Fit Ladies!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New Flash: Sugar Not Good for Kids

I read yesterday that Nestle is removing from bottles of the kid's drink BOOST the claim that it helps prevent the cold and flu.  I have to say I am SHOCKED.  I mean, the packaging of this product clearly states that it is a Kid Essential with Immunity Protection! Surely there must be a mistake.  yes I am being sarcastic.

So I went and googled the ingredients of the drink right away.  When I saw the following list for the chocolate flavor, I decided the recall should be expanded to include the warning, "FYI this product will probably eventually kill your child." 

I've highlighted the ones that I would actually feed my kid:


Look, I'm no doctor, but I do have a kiddo of my own.  95% of the stuff he eats is clean, natural, from the earth, and easily accessible from stores.  My kid has never had to take antibiotics, has not been home sick from school in at least a year, and is at a healthy body weight.  I probably just jinxed all of that by posting it here but I have to think at least some of those things are linked to the quality of his nutrition. 

So attention residents of reality: use your (whole grain) noodle! Don't feed your kids crap unless you want them to feel like crap. 

Rant done. Thank you for your time. :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Why to weigh your food

I stumbled upon this video yesterday and it was the perfect reminder for why to weigh your food...on a digital food grams. 

Now, the grams thing is just me being a freak, but the digital thing is for real.  Seriously, people, we all know our eyes play tricks on us when we think we are having a serving of something and it turns out we just ate double what we thought.  When I started weighing everything in grams, it took about 24 hours to realize I had been eating about 300 calories more a day than I thought.

Take time today to consider whether you are recording your food accurately.  Remember, studies show that keeping a food log is a key success factor to weight loss and maintenance...but only if it is what you actually ate!

Good day!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

This is a joke, right?

You know, sometimes I think the world is just messing with me.

Yesterday, as I was standing in the line at Wal-Mart trying to keep from slowly going insane, someone pressed the fast-forward button. An abandonded cart sat nearby, and I swear when I looked at it I thought someone must had planted it there.

But no. It was real. A few minutes after I snapped this picture, the owner returned and pushed it away.

Yes, that would be a ginormous tub of cheese-puffs, four bottles of Hershey's chocolate, a box of Blue Bonnet butter, two packages of Chips Ahoy cookies, two gallons of whole milk, and a liter of soda. What you can't see behind the milk is the two packages of balogna and - I swear to God - pixie stix. I mean, come on! This HAS to be a joke, right? No one is actually buying this stuff, taking it home, and eating it.

Okay.  Yes, I judge people's shopping carts before I can stop myself.  I'll admit it. But rarely do people make it this easy for me to jump into my holier-than-thou routine. I have to applaud this woman for her determination, though. It is obvious that she is hell-bent on ignoring every piece of evidence, research, experiential knowledge, and societal pressure in existence in her quest to be the poster child for why the rest of the world hates America.

Either that or she is planning one heck of a sorority Hell Night.

Monday, July 12, 2010

How to beat perfectionism? Get Diabetes!

Today I read this article about the impacts of perfectionism on your health.  As expected, it started off with the hypothesis that the increased levels of stress felt by people who strive for perfection eventually led to high blood pressure, increased resting heart rate, and untimely death.

But there is a silver lining: diabetes.  Apparently, like most things, perfectionism can be good and bad.  The good kind is when you strive for perfection in something like managing a disease.  Obviously if you have doctor's orders to stick to a diet and exercise regimen to improve your health, and you do so impeccably, then your well-being will increase and you will be rewarded for your perfection.  In a study explained by the article, specifically people with diabetes experienced a higher degree of health when they got picky about their lives.  Yay anal diabetics!

And then there is the bad kind.  You know, the kind that does lead to high blood pressure, increased resting heart rate, and untimely death.  Luckily, there is also another silver lining - depending on the source of expectations for perfection, perfectionists will fare differently.  It turns out that perfectionists who self-impose expectations of perfection (like mio), experience a lower level of self-loathing than people who feel that society expects them to be perfect or who expect other people to be perfect. 

I haven't done the research on this, but I think a lower level of self-loathing would be preferable in this particular situation, so I'll take it.

As a perfectionist who strives for 100% awesomeness every day in my nutrition and exercise habits, this is great news.  Not only can I keep on being a nut, I can do so with the confidence that as long as everyone else keeps expecting me to screw up, my self-worth and well-being will continue to rise.  Now if only I could get diabetes, I could really make things happen.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Workout With the Stars

Yeah so I know it's not exactly scientific to base a workout on my horoscope, but lately my little phone-app-star reading has pretty much adopted the role of my personal trainer. 

Staying fit and training on the road is really hard; it takes a special kind of motivation and drive that can wane as schedules get messed up, sleep is erratic, and meals are more often eaten in restaurants than in my healthy and well-calibrated kitchen.  So when I woke up to my alarm yesterday at 5:00 am ready for a workout in the hotel gym and then woke up again two and a half hours later, I had to chuckle when I opened my phone mid-day and read my horoscope:

" are over-worked and under-rested. You can't go on at breakneck pace. Be kind to yourself... Rest up and rejuvenate your spirit, your body, and your outlook."

Okay, check.

This morning, when the alarm went off at 5:00 am I reached for my phone to turn it off and on a whim, decided to read my horoscope and see what training advice it had for me today.  I was delighted:

"Start the day early and catch up with as much as possible. Once you are back on track you will experience a huge relief and renewed enthusiasm..."

My little psychic friend knows me so well.  As much as I can take this sort of "advice" seriously, this little message was just what I needed to press "restart" on my workout and start getting my groove back.  It felt good to sweat again.

But I am soooooooo glad today was my last hotel workout for a while! 

Good day!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Stinky Shirt

Some women glow in the summer; some glisten in the heat. I sweat like a farmer and smell like a pig. Because of this, I have a personal, constant, and justified fear that I stink to high heaven most of the time. 

And sometimes I know it for sure.  Case in point: the stinky shirt.  (see me wearing the stinky shirt --->)

There comes a day in every t-shirt's lifespan when it's just done.  It's been through too many sweaty workouts, too many hot and humid runs, and too many times being left in the washing machine overnight.  That day came yesterday.  When folding clothes I caught a whiff of one of my favorite race t-shirts and decided it was time it was retired to the bin.  So I'm sad.  I loved that shirt, man.  It was soft, broken-in, it fit well, and it was only a couple of years old.  I guess it has been a sweatier-than-usual couple of years. 
I blame global warming.
So anyway, a moment of silence for my stinky shirt is in order for today.  I will miss that shirt; it has served me well.

Good day!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ice cream, cheesecake, and beer, oh my!

Let's just get one thing straight: I was not "good" on my vacation.  I drank wine, beer, and frozen concoctions without looking at nutritional information. I ate in restaurants and shared a chocolate volcano cake with my son. My cousin made these evil peanut butter and chocolate cheesecake bites dipped in chocolate and I ate like eleventy billion of them. 

But it's cool.

Trust me, it was a hassle. Fitday doesn't have an option to just enter, "I don't want to know," for your daily calories and nutrition. Oh no, I painstakingly relived each bite as I accounted for it in my food log, but I did it so I can get to work and back on track now that "vacation" is over.  I wore my GoWearFit and monitored my burn each day, which was a lot since I compensated for a lot of my calories with daily runs, cross-city treks, visits to the park, and even a community 5k.  I know I will be bringing a little extra baggage home with me, but it's so nice to know I have a plan to get rid of it soon.  Cardio, and lots of it!

Eh. I'm back to reality today, and seriously craving some rabbit food.  Vacation was fun, but I'm ready for a vacation from vacation food! :)

Good day!