Friday, May 31, 2013

Barefoot Running

Today's Workout:
4 mile run

3 sets of:
50 jump ropes
25 sit-ups
25 plié squats

Hello friends and TGIF! Today I decided to run in my Vibram Five Fingers shoes. I don't typically run with Vibrams (because I'm totally a Newton girl); however, I tried them out today and I wasn't too thrilled about them. Perhaps I'm not used to running in them, which is why they felt uncomfortable, but truthfully, the feeling of being barefoot felt very awkward. I was concerned about my ankles and further injuring my knee.



So what exactly is barefoot or "minimalist" running? Minimalist running is a theory that states that runners should run without shoes. They believe that running barefoot will strengthen your feet and correct your stride. They argue that running with cushioned shoes will impair your foot's natural ability to run with proper strides. The most popular minimalist shoes are the Vibrams, New Balance Minimus  and Nike Free Run. Minimalist shoes are lightweight, flexible and have a zero-drop sole. This means that the heel of the shoe is the same thickness as the rest of the sole. Since conventional shoes have a higher heel lift, minimalist runners argue that they create imbalances of strength and weakness and stiffness in the lower extremities thus resulting in injuries.

Rules to follow when trying minimalist shoes for the first time: A) You should be injury free, B) Start by wearing your new shoes for daily activities and progress to running and c) Make sure you are regularly stretching your calves and the bottom of your feet.

Stretching my calf muscles and feet.
 
Stretching my calf muscles.
 
 
Cons to wearing minimalist shoes: The possibility of injury from sharp surfaces and stress on muscles and tendons that haven't been conditioned for this type of running. There's also an increased risk of stress fractures, tendonitis, bruises and lacerations.

I personally don't think that it's completely safe to run a marathon in minimalist shoes. I think they are best used for shorter distance running and walking.
What are your thoughts on minimalist running?
 
 
 
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I'm grateful for the delicious veggie spring
rolls that I bought at Publix. The sushi
chef made one especially for me =).

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Running in Humid Weather

Today's Workout:
6 mile run

Fun things I did today:
 
 
Ran in my Boston 2013 Marathon long sleeve shirt.
 
 
Got a manicure and pedicure. AhHhHh

 
Bought myself some carnations and daisies. I love love flowers!



Howdy friends! A fellow blog follower wrote me a message today inquiring about running in humid weather. As a native Floridian, I can tell you that running in humid weather is NEVER easy, especially when you add heat to the equation. The good news is, that your body can adapt to it and with savvy strategies, you can still get in a good workout.

Here are some tips to consider when you're running in humid weather:

1. Get acclimated. As the Spring weather subsides and Summer weather starts to kick in, gradually run outside so that you can introduce your body to the weather changes. For instance, if you've been running indoors due to the cold weather, begin to run outdoors every other day so that your body may acclimate to the humid and warm weather.

2. Lower the intensity and duration. On a day when the humidity is high, lower your intensity and run at a more moderate pace. You may consider shortening the distance of your workout to avoid pushing yourself too hard. If it's not an option to lower the intensity and duration, then opt to run indoors in a treadmill in order to avoid the humidity.

3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! The key is to avoid dehydration, so begin drinking water and sports drinks before your run.  During your run, drink about 8 oz. every 15 to 20 minutes. After your workout is finished, drink water until your pee is clear (that's always a good indicator!). For good rehydration tips visit Run Addicts.

4. Wear light clothing. Wear light clothing that allows your body to breathe so that your body may cool down.

Dri-fit tank top


5. Time of day. Opt to run when the humidity is at its lowest. Humidity levels tend to increase during mid-day and early afternoon, so try to get your run in the AM.



What are the worst weather conditions you have ever ran in?
 
 
 
----------------------------------------
I'm grateful for the amazing manicure and
pedicure that I got today. Sanity restored!
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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Tipster: Running While Traveling

Today's Workout:
4 mile run

5 sets of:
20 walking lunges
15 air squats
10 sit ups

'Tis the season of vacations, weekend get-aways and business trips. So how will you run or exercise when you're in a foreign city or country? How will you make time for some sweat sessions while you're away? It can be done friends!

These are some guidelines to follow when planning to run or exercise in a place that is totally out of your element (The unknown can be scary, but don't fret!).

1. Do research before you leave. Use sites such as Map My Run or Run the Planet for running routes in the city that you will be visiting. You could also ask the concierge at your hotel or cruise ship to give you the safest routes around town.

2. Run on a treadmill. Most hotels and cruise ships have at least one treadmill. 

3. Cross-train. When you're on vacation, you may be doing activities that aren't part of your usual exercise routine, such as hiking, kayaking, biking, or swimming. One of those cross-training activities can be a substitute for your run.

4. Find a local gym. If your hotel doesn't have a gym, find one nearby. Gyms usually have a guest pass for weeks at a time.

5. Find a race. Running in a race can be fun and a great way to get your run in. It's also great for sightseeing and meeting people.

6. Doing something is better than nothing. If you planned on doing a long run or sprint workout but time or location constraints got in the way, just do an easy run. Don't be radical like most runners--it's not a big deal.

7. Get creative. Come up with a quick HIIT routine. I usually get my routines from The Traveling WOD. The Traveling WOD (workout of the day) stems from the philosophies of Cross-Fit. The routines are quick and fun and very effective. You could also do some core work.

8. Be safe and be smart. Always remember to air on the side of caution. If you're staying in a not-so-good part of town, then opt for the gym. Another suggestion is to run in the morning when it's daylight. Don't run at night! Also, take a phone with you for emergencies. If it's possible, run in a crowded area or where there's lots of people. Make yourself visible.

 
Have fun on vacay!!
 
What are your vacation plans this summer?
 
 
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I'm grateful for all the useful tools
that the web offers to runners. 
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Monday, May 27, 2013

Meatless Memorial Day Grilling

Today’s Workout:
5 mile run

7 sets of:
10 jumping jacks
15 sit ups
20 air squats
 
Before the Run
 
After the run
 
 


Hello friends and Happy Memorial Day! Today is going to be a pretty uneventful day for me as I have to be at work at 7pm. In the meantime, hubby and I will be spending some time together and preparing some food before I head out to work.

If you don’t eat meat like me, don’t fret about what you can or cannot eat when you visit your family and friends at the annual barbecue get-together. There are plenty of meatless dishes that can be grilled and are absolutely delectable.

Here’s one recipe you will love: Veggie Kabob on the Grill



Ingredients:
Sweet onions, cut into chunks
Mushrooms, cut into chunks
Bell peppers, cut into squares
Zucchini, sliced
Yellow squash, sliced
Sweet corn, cut into pieces
Broccoli, but into pieces
Garlic cloves, peeled
Baby bok choy, optional
Tofu, drained and cubed, optional

Directions:

For the marinade:
¾ olive oil
1tsp red wine vinegar
3tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice
1tbs soy sauce (I prefer Braggs Liquid Aminos)
1tbs honey (I prefer agave honey)
2tsp sea salt
1tsp ground pepper
1tsp dried parsley
2tsp dried oregano
3 garlic cloves, minced

1.      Whisk the marinade together.

2.      Place the veggies in a large bowl and pour the marinade over the top.

3.      Stir well, cover, and put in the fridge. (Let it marinate for at least one hour).

4.      Skewer the veggies onto bamboo sticks and grill over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until tender.

5.      ENJOY! Have fun veggie-ing out!

 
What are you doing for Memorial Day?

 
-----------------------------------------------------------
 I’m grateful for spending some quality
time with the hubby.
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Friday, May 24, 2013

Fitness Fridays are a HIIT

Today's Workout:
Rest

Hello friends and TGIF!
 
You are all probably wrapping up work and getting ready to hit the gym go to happy hour, but let me briefly talk to you about an exercise routine that can last up to 7 minutes. Yes! only 7 minutes. If you've been reading my blog posts this week, you will notice that I have been incorporating a series of fast interval exercise routines after my runs.

On Wednesday I did a short routine that consisted of five sets of 10 air squats, 10 push-ups and 10 sit-ups. The sets were repeated without rest and were essentially performed one after the other. On Thursday, my routine consisted of seven sets of 7 air squats and 7 burpees. Like Wednesday's routine, these were also repeated without rest.

You're probably wondering what are the benefits of a short routine like the ones I have mentioned above. This type of exercise is called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). There are many versions of HIIT, but the core premise involves maximum exertion followed by a quick rest period for a set of intervals. A recent article in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal shows how you can fulfill the requirements for a high intensity exercise using nothing more than your own body weight.

 
Benefits of HIIT:
 
1. Improves insulin sensitivity.
2. May eliminate Type 2 Diabetes and high blood pressure.
3. May help with cholesterol ratios.
4. Naturally boosts human growth hormone (HGH).
5. Boosts fat metabolism and optimizes fat percentages.
6. Increases aerobic capacity.
 
 
Why it works:
 
Interval training allows you to exercise at very high intensities for a much longer period of time than steady state, so you burn more fat. There’s also an after-burn effect known as EPOC (excess-post exercise oxygen consumption). You increase your metabolism and burn more calories for up to 24 hours after interval training, whereas going for a jog burns minimal calories after because you're running at a steady pace.
 
 
Sample HIIT Workout:
 
HIIT can be used for any kind of workout. I mean ANY! These include:
 
RunningSprintingBikingStairmaster
TreadmillEllipticalWeight TrainingKettlebell
Box JumpsThrustersPushupsPower cleans
Sled pullingJump ropePlyometricsAnything else


The interval lengths depend on your current conditioning level and your specific workout goals.  Starting with a few repeats of shorter intervals of work and longer intervals of rest and over time as your condition improves you can increase the work interval duration, decrease the recovery interval, and increase the number of sets to meet your goals.

Example 1: Tabata: 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest, for 8 rounds. Tabata can be used for the exercise that I performed on Wednesday and Thursday.

Example 2: Sprint
5 minute warm up
20 seconds fast run, 40 seconds walk for 5 repeats
30 seconds fast run, 30 seconds walk for 5 repeats
1 minute fast run, 30 seconds walk for 5 repeats
5 minute cool down

Example 3: Weightlifting
Set timer to 1 minute interval for 30 repeats and start a set at every alarm using weight as necessary to complete 15 reps per set.

Example HIIT routine utilizing your body weight:

You set the amount of intervals and rest periods depending on your fitness level.
 
 
Have you ever tried a HIIT workout?
 
 
----------------------------------
I'm grateful that I can perform short HIIT
workouts despite the pain in my knee.
 
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Tipster: Tips for Dining Out Healthy

Today's Workout:
4 mile run
7 sets of: 7 air squats and 7 burpees

Do you find yourself always eating at food establishments rather than at home? If your answer is yes you're not the only one. I could ramble on and on about how eating at home is way healthier than dining out, but the truth is, most of us work long hours and sometimes we just don't want to cook. While I think that dining out should be kept at a minimum, I also understand that life places demands on us and we can't always oblige to doing the "right" thing.

Dining out could be a tricky situation for most of us. The delicious smell of fried food, the bread basket, the enormous variety of beers and wine, the decadent desserts all stare at us in the face when were there. So how can we avoid these temptations and opt to eating a healthier variety of food?

For me, it's taken years to learn how to resist temptations. The way I look at it now is A) the pleasure of eating badly is only temporary, B) eating unhealthy is not conducive to my training and C) I'm going to feel sick after I eat all that food. The cons outweigh the pros in this situation, so I boldly pass the bread basket and the fried foods and I ask for a glass of water instead of a glass of beer.

 
Here are some tips when dining out:
 
 
1. If possible, navigate the menu before you arrive at the restaurant. That will save you a lot of time in trying to decide what you can eat or not eat.
 
2. Be assertive. When the waiter/waitress asks you for your order, inquire about food substitutions. For example, you could ask them if the chicken can be grilled instead of fried. Or can I get a baked potato instead of French fries. Or can I get veggies instead of rice. Just assume that YOU COULD HAVE IT YOUR WAY!
 
 
 
3. Ask for the "skinny" menu. Most restaurants have healthy options now. For instance, the Cheesecake Factory has the "Skinny Menu" and places like Apple Bees has a Weight Watchers friendly menu.
 
4. Split your entrée or ask for a smaller portion. Most restaurants serve a double portion in the entrees. You could ask for a smaller portion or you could share the plate with someone else.
 
5. Opt for a salad as an appetizer. Research has shown that eating a small salad before an entrée will usually lead a person to eat fewer calories for the remainder of the dinner.
 
6. Keep your appetizer and entrée healthy. Avoid creamy sauces, certain dressings, croutons, bacon bits, fried foods, butter, grease, etc. For salads, you could do the fork dip. Dip your fork into the dressing and place it on the salad.
 
7. Ask for clarification on the menu. Aren't sure how a certain food is made? Ask the waiter to explain it to you. Beware of words like creamy, stuffed, breaded, sauced, buttery, sautéed, pan-fried, au gratin, scalloped, cheese sauce, Parmesan, a la mode, etc.
 
8. Skip the fancy drinks. If you must order an alcoholic drink, forget the margaritas, piña coladas, and other exotic mixed drinks. They include sugary additions that only add calories. Opt instead for a glass of wine or light beer.
 
9. Skip the bread basket. Enough said!
 
10. Order fish when you can. Fish is usually the most healthy option. Make sure it's grilled, broiled, steamed, baked or blackened.
 
11. Drink water throughout your meal. It'll help you eat slower.
 
12. Skip the dessert. If you really want a dessert, opt for a sorbet, fruit bowl or coffee.
 
 
 
Do you find it difficult to resist temptations when dining out?


--------------------------------------
I'm grateful that today is my Friday at work.
Look out weekend cause here I come =).
 

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!


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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wellness Wednesday: Running in Water

Today's Workout:
3.5 mile run

Five sets of:
Air squats x10
Push-ups x10
Sit-ups x10

Ever heard of aqua jogging? It's essentially running in water. Aqua jogging is a form of deep-water running that closely mimics the movement of actual running. When aqua jogging, your feet don’t actually touch the bottom of the pool. Aqua jogging isn't only for injured runners like myself; it's also performed by many runners who want to prevent injuries. These are some of the benefits that aqua jogging provides:
  • Prevents wear and tear of your muscles and joints.
  • It provides a neuromuscular workout that resembles running.
  • It's one of the best options for cross-training (if you're a runner) because it mimics running.



So how is it done exactly? First, submerge yourself in the deep end of the pool. Your feet cannot touch the ground. Second, use an aqua running belt/vest. The belt/vest will help you keep proper posture while you're in the water. Make sure to keep your back straight and do not lean forward too much. When aqua jogging, you should practice using a higher knee lift and a more compact back kick compared to running on dry land. This will allow you to remain upright.



According to Competitor magazine, you can perform easy and medium effort workouts on the water. You can also perform recovery runs, hard runs, sprints and tempo runs in the water. The following are a few sample workouts that Competitor magazine recommends:

Definitions Of Terms

Rest = No jogging, just rest in the water
Easy = 65-75% of maximum heart rate, or a typical easy/recovery run effort
Medium = 87-92% of maximum heart rate, a comfortably hard tempo run effort
Hard = 95-100% of maximum heart rate, all-out sprints

 

Easy Pool Running

Easy pool running should only be used as warmup for harder workouts, a recovery tool between hard workouts, or to simulate longer training runs. You can perform easy pool running just like you would perform easy running on dry land. There is nothing fancy about it. You should try to maintain a heart rate that is 65-75% of your maximum heart rate.

 

Medium Effort Workouts

1. 10 minutes easy warmup, 1:00 hard, 30 seconds easy, 1:30 hard, 30 seconds easy, 2:00 hard, 30 seconds easy (continue building up until 5:00, and then come back down by 30 second intervals), 10 minutes easy cooldown.

2. 10 minutes easy warmup, 1:00 medium effort, 1:00 sprint, 30 seconds with your hands in the air (keep moving your legs in the running motion, but put your hands above your head), 1:00 rest. Repeat this series 10-15 times. 10 minutes easy cooldown.

3. 10 minutes easy warmup, 30-second sprint, 30 seconds medium, 30-second sprint, 30 seconds medium – 30 seconds rest. Repeat 12-15 times, 10 minutes easy cooldown.

4. 10 minutes easy warmup, 10 seconds medium, 10-second sprint, 10 seconds easy, 20 seconds medium, 20-second sprint, 20 seconds easy, 30-second medium, 30-second sprint, 30 seconds easy. Repeat up to 70 seconds and then back down. 10 minutes easy cooldown.

Here's a quick video that will teach you how to aqua jog.



-----------------------------
I'm grateful for all the rain in South
Florida. My tree is now filled with juicy mangos.
 
 
 

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Celebrating Burgers

Today's Workout:
20 minute run on the treadmill
20 minutes on the elliptical

Hello friends! Did you know that May is the month of burgers? Does the thought of eating a burger scare you? Most people think you can't eat a healthy burger, but burgers aren't solely made with beef. There's all kinds of burgers, such as: fish burgers, veggie burgers, turkey burgers and chicken burgers. You could even make healthy beef burgers if you're a meaty kind of person.



In celebration of burger month, I am going to add a few healthy burger recipes that you just won't be able to deny.

Guiltless Salmon Burger

Ingredients:
1 pound skinless wild salmon fillet
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise *Click here for a homemade organic mayo recipe
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon soy sauce (I prefer using Bragg's Liquid Aminos from soy protein)
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup sesame seeds
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 whole wheat buns
4 slices tomato
1 1/2 cups baby greens

Directions:

Remove and discard any bones from salmon, then cut into 1-inch pieces. In a food processor, pulse salmon just until finely chopped (do not overprocess). Transfer salmon to a medium bowl. Add mustard, mayonnaise, chives, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and pepper; stir to combine. Form mixture into four 3 1/2-inch patties.  Sprinkle one side of each patty with sesame seeds.

Brush  olive oil over bottom of a large nonstick skillet to coat evenly. Place skillet over medium-high heat. Place burgers, seed side down, in skillet; cook until sesame seeds brown lightly, 2 to 3 minutes, reducing heat slightly if necessary. With a spatula, gently turn burgers over and cook just until opaque in the center, about 3 minutes.

Transfer salmon burgers to buns, and top with tomato slices and greens.

Did you know.... Salmon offers health-promoting omega-3 fatty acids and has less worrisome toxins and PCBs than farmed salmon. The salmon burger contains about ten fewer grams of fat than the traditional beef burger.

Veggie Burger: Eggplant Burger

Ingredients:
1 eggplant, peeled and sliced into 3/4 inch rounds

                
                
6 slices tomato
1/2 onion, sliced                                                    
                
                
 



Did you know... Eggplants are a purple veggie with a solid, meaty texture so it's often used as a meat substitute.

Turkey Burgers

Ingredients:
2lb lean (at least 90%) organic ground turkey
2/3  cup finely chopped onion
1/2  cup tomato sauce
2  tablespoons lemon juice
4  teaspoons soy sauce (I prefer using Bragg's Liquid Aminos from soy protein)
4  teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4  teaspoon pepper
8  whole wheat buns
Lettuce
 
Directions:
 
To Broil Patties: Place on sprayed broiler pan; broil 4 to 6 inches from heat using times in the recipe as a guide, turning once. Place buns, cut side up, on broiler pan; broil 1 to 2 minutes.
 
Heat gas or charcoal grill. In large bowl, mix all ingredients except buns and lettuce until well blended. Shape mixture into 8 patties, 1/2 inch thick.

Lightly oil grill rack. Place patties on grill over medium heat. Cover grill; cook 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, place buns cut sides down on grill. Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Place patties in lettuce-lined buns. If desired serve with pickle slices.

Did you know... Due to the leanness of turkey burgers, they tend to be dry and stiff after they are cooked. The solution? Add fat! Which fat is in question? Olive oil. Stirring in two tablespoons olive oil per pound of ground turkey keeps the burgers moist and juicy and also helps them form a nicely browned crust on the outside that won't stick to the grill.

Chicken Burgers

Ingredients:
1 onion, chopped
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
 



Did you know... You can finely crush your favorite crackers or cereal as a substitute for bread crumbs in coating foods. Oats work well too. Three cups of cereal flakes are equal to about 1 cup of bread crumbs.

Beef Burgers

Ingredients:
1lb of extra lean ground organic beef
1 egg
1/2 small onion, diced
1 tsp garlic powder
1 oz breadcrumbs
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

Directions:

Put all of the ingredients into one bowl, mix it up and make it into 4 patties.

Place them on the grill and cook until desired doneness.

Place the patty on the bun and add sauce on top.

Did you know... Cooking any muscle meat on high heat produces carcinogenic HCAs (heterocyclic amines). To reduce HCAs, brush the patties with rosemary-infused olive oil before grilling.

Bon Appetit!
 
 
 
What's your favorite burger?
 
 
 
--------------------------------------
I'm grateful that America's favorite food
(burgers) comes in a variety of healthy options. 
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Get Moving Monday

Today's Workout:
3 mile run

Hello friends and Happy Monday!
 
Today I started my day with an easy 3 mile run. As you may or may not know, I've been taking some rest days in order to recover from my knee injury. It's amazing how I felt when I was running today. Not only did I physically feel well, but my emotions were completely taken to another level by the sheer strides that my legs took.
 
Patience is definitely a key ingredient when recovering, but admittedly I say that it's very difficult to remain calm when I cannot do what I need want to do. I suppose that my patience will pay off in the long run (no pun intended), but for now, I'll just gradually work up to a higher mileage while my knee heals up completely.  
 
Today I want to motivate you to do something where you will A) break a sweat and B) get some blood flowing in your body AND IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE EXERCISE!!!

 
 
 
Did you know that some chores count as working out?
 
 
 
1. Walk up the stairs with groceries. Skip the elevator and walk up and down the stairs with your groceries. Studies have shown that you can burn up to 85 calories (for a 150-pound person).
 
2. Wash your car. You can burn up to 150 calories washing your car.
 
3. Cook. Besides the health benefits from eating a healthy meal at home, you can burn up to 180 calories by cooking for an hour.

 
 
4. Dusting. Dusting for an hour can burn up to 150 calories.
 
5. Gardening. Gardening can burn up to 180 calories in just 30 minutes. Weeding burns even more!
 
6. Scrub the floors. You can burn up to 130 calories in just 30 minutes.

 
 
7. Vacuuming. An hour of pushing that heavy apparatus can burn up to 238 calories.
 
 
Hmmm, I wonder how many calories I burned today while I dusted, mopped, broomed, scrubbed and washed clothes for 4 hours??
 
 
 
-----------------------------------------
 I'm grateful that I organized my new house
and everything is finally in order.
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Saturday, May 18, 2013

To stretch or not to stretch?

Today's Workout:
1 hour power walk
           &
1 hour massage by Jodie


As y’all may or may not know, I’ve been nursing a knee injury for an eternity about a month now, and although it’s progressively healing, I am now suffering pain and soreness in the calf muscle of the injured leg. This is most likely due to an over-compensation of my muscles when I engaged in physical activities. This is a common occurrence because the surrounding muscles near the injury involuntarily prevent the injury from getting worse so, as a result, the muscles work twice as hard (just my luck!).

Needless to say, I’ve had to back up from running and biking in order to rest my leg. During this time I’ve learned why stretching is so important. It has been determined that stretching before and after a run will reduce injuries, improve performance and avoid sore muscles. Whether this is true or not (there's mixed data on these facts), athletes have reported feeling better when they stretched because they felt warmed-up and more flexible.

For instance, stretching may improve blood flow and lubricate joints and muscles, which is why it helps to avoid injuries if you do it before a run. Flexibility is another added benefit of stretching. Research has shown that stretching can improve performance because your joints move more efficiently through an increased range of motion. Have you ever started a run without stretching and your body just feels awkward? That’s because your joints and muscles are not lubricated and warmed-up. Your chances of “pulling” a muscle increase because they are tight.

Stretching is not limited to just before and after a run. In my case, since I am already injured, stretching is also beneficial for me. Stretching will increase my blood flow and “wake up” my muscles. Massaging the muscle will also be beneficial for me since it’s an acute pain rather than a chronic one.

 
So what’s the best way to stretch?

Before a run: I usually perform dynamic stretches before a run. This type of stretching prepares the body for physical activity by enabling the body to be more flexible and smooth through a full range of motion. Studies have shown that dynamic stretches improves production and explosive power.

The stretches are held for about 3-10 seconds. The stretches include: walking lunges with and without a rotation, glute bridges, butt kicks, leg and arm swings, donkey kicks, Russian march, etc…
 
Leg swings
 
Butt kicks
 
Walking lunges
 
 
Donkey kicks
 
Glute bridges
 
 

After a run: I usually perform static stretches after a run (when I remember-I’m guilty!). Static stretching is a bit different because it relaxes your muscles and lengthens them. These stretches are more passive rather than explosive.

The stretches are held for about 10-30 seconds and repeated 4-6 times. The stretches include: shoulder stretch, tricep stretch, side bends, hamstring, quad, calf and ankle stretch, etc…
 
Shoulder stretch
 
Tricep stretch
 
Hamstring stretch
 
Ankle stretch
 
 

Do you stretch before and after a run?



----------------------------------------
I am grateful for the knowledge
that I have gained from my injury. 
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Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Best Running Store Ever: Footworks

Good afternoon friends!
 
 
Last night I had the pleasure of going to Footworks' 40th year anniversary party. Footworks was opened on May 15, 1970 in the "South Miami" area. They recently opened another Footworks in Miami Beach for the folks who are closer to the northern part of Miami.
 
 
The owners of Footworks, Laurie and Hans, have dedicated their lives to serving the running community by establishing the largest running series, The Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run. This is a series of 5k run/walks held in downtown Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami. The series is primarily aimed at the business community to bring fitness into the work place.
 
I won the Miami Corporate Run on April 2012
 
 
Footworks has also established a non-profit educational and fitness corporation called TeamFootWorks. Their goal is to educate the community about fitness via their fitness programs. The programs include, Fitness 101, Half-Marathon, Full Marathon and 5/10Ks.
 
 
TEAMFOOTWORKS
 



You can expect to see Footworks on Saturday mornings at "the circle" providing water and Vitalyte for the runners. Mondays and Wednesdays are the Fitness 101 classes, Tuesdays and Thursdays are the Fun Runs, on Saturday mornings the Half-Marathon and Full Marathon runners meet at the South Miami Hospital and on Sunday mornings they provide yoga classes.

Footworks is definitely number 1 for me and I am very thankful for their sponsorship throughout my marathon training.

Happy 40th Anniversary!
 
With JP Huseby (Laurie and Hans' son).
 
It's a partay!
 

JP, Hans, South Miami's Mayor, Laurie and the Vice Mayor of South Miami.
 
 
 
----------------------------------
I am grateful for the wonderful people
that I have met in Miami's running community. 
 
 


 

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wellness Wednesday: Achieving Your Health Goals

Today's Workout:
1-hour power walk

So it's mid-year and you may find that it's becoming a bit difficult to stay focused on your health and fitness goals because of all the demands that life has placed on you. Believe me, you're not alone. Life was not meant to be easy, but it doesn't have to be a struggle either.

I've heard all sorts of reasons why people can't stay focused on their health goals such as:

1. I don't have time to make breakfast.
Solution: Wake up a bit earlier or prepare breakfast the night before. Remember, it'll take you the same amount of time to stand in line to get a breakfast burrito.

2. I don't have enough money to eat the healthy stuff because it's expensive.
Solution: While organic food may be more expensive than conventional food, there's still a variety of healthy foods that can substituted for the least expensive and overly processed foods. For instance, instead of potato chips, grab a sweet potato and cut them into wedges and place them in the oven for about 45 minutes. Voila, you've got sweet potato fries. Instead of a Snickers bar, grab a Clif Bar which gives you energy and it's made with organic ingredients. Clif Bars can be as cheap as $0.99!

3. I don't have time to exercise.
Solution: If it's not realistic to exercise before or after work, consider an exercise session at your office during your lunch hour. For cardiovascular exercises you can take a brisk walk or jog around your office building, go up and down the staircases, or you can do a set of calisthenics. For strength training, you can take a set of dumbbells, kettlebells and/or elastic resistance bands to your office. The goal in this scenario would be speed and intensity.



 
Here are some tips on how to stay focused:
 
1. Pencil it in your schedule. Schedule your goals into your week. Add specific times to your calendar when you'll work on your goal.
 
2. Make yourself accountable. Tell your family and friends what your goals are. When people know what your plans are, you're more likely to accomplish them because you don't want to make yourself look bad.
 
3. When you fall off the bandwagon, get back on. It's okay to get deviated every now and then because we're not perfect. Just know that it's okay and get back to it. Don't get discouraged.
 
 

 
 


4. Believe in yourself. Research has shown that when people believe they can do something, they are usually successful at accomplishing their goals. Just be consistent because it takes about a month to create a habit. This is the most critical period!

 
 
5. Track and assess your progress. Keep an exercise log and a food diary. If something is not working in either one of those departments, then you can tweak them.
 
6. Reward yourself. You can schedule in a massage session or buy yourself new clothes for your new physique. Be kind to yourself!
 
 
 
What are other suggestions to stay on track with fitness and health goals?
 
 
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Despite the anxiety that my lack of running
has caused me, I'm grateful that I can
at least take a power walk around my neighborhood.



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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Tipster: Fun Ways of Using Protein Powder

Today's Workout:
1-hour power walk

Have I ever mentioned how much I love my Sunwarrior protein powder? Besides the fact that it tastes super delish, it also has the highest amount of raw, whole-grain sprouted, vegan protein. Here are some other fun facts about Sunwarrior:
  • It's a plant-based protein.
  • Free of gluten, solvents, GMOs, radiation, artificial flavors, artificial preservatives and artificial colors.
  • Naturally rich in vitamins and minerals, and other essential nutrients such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorous, iron, and potassium.
  • It comes in 3 flavors: Natural, Chocolate and Vanilla. Chocolate is my fav!!
 
I was perusing through Pinterest a few days ago and I found an excellent article on the ways that protein powder can be utilized to create fun and tasty meals. These were my favorite recipes:
 
1. Protein Powder Pancakes
 
Ingredients:
2 tbsp protein powder
1 egg

Directions:
Mix and fry in hot, lightly greased, skillet.

2. Protein Powder Smoothies

Ingredients:
Bolthouse Farms Carrot Juice, 4 oz
Banana
Vanilla Yogurt, .5 cup
Strawberries, frozen, unsweetened, .5 cup, thawed
Protein powder, 1 scoop

Directions:

Blend and drink.
 
3. Protein Powder Fudge

Ingredients:
Protein powder, 8 scoops
oats 1 cup
skim milk 1 cup (I prefer almond milk)

Directions:
Mix ingredients in bowl until it is batter, then dump into a pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

4. Protein Powder Yogurt

Stir 1-2 scoops protein powder into your favorite yogurt. Top with your favorite extras: nuts, fruit, etc.

5. Protein Powder Milkshake

Mix 1 cup skim or non-dairy milk (I prefer almond milk), 6 ice cubes and 1-2 scoops protein powder in a blender. For a creamier milkshake, use ice cubes made of milk.

6. Protein Powder Coffee

Just add a scoop of protein powder to your coffee.

7. Protein Powder "Ice Cream"

Mix one 6-ounce container vanilla Greek yogurt with 1-2 scoops protein powder. Mix to combine, then freeze, stirring every 20 minutes until it reaches the consistency you desire (about an hour).

8. Protein Powder "Cookie Dough"

Ingredients:
2 cups crunchy peanut butter (I prefer almond butter)
2 scoops protein powder (chocolate or vanilla)
2 ripe bananas, mashed2 tbsp ground flaxseed

Directions:
In a large bowl, mix to together peanut butter, protein powder, bananas, and flax seed. Mold the mixture into walnut-sized balls and place them in a container lined with parchment to separate the layers. Freeze at least 2 hours before serving, best if frozen overnight.

9. Protein Powder Oatmeal

Add one scoop protein powder to your usual oats recipe. I love chocolate!


I think these recipes are cool because they're super easy to make and they are very healthy. I don't typically splurge or cheat when it comes to desserts, so whenever I find a recipe substitute for a dessert that I love, I always give it a try.

You shouldn't have to compromise your health just because you have a sweet tooth (like me!) or a sugar craving. Knowing what foods to eat and learning how to substitute certain foods can go a long way. Trust me! For example, my version of an apple pie is slicing up red apples, sprinkling them with cinnamon and then placing them in the microwave for two minutes. Voila, you've got a delicious dessert that tastes just like apple pie minus all the calories =)

By the way, any protein powder can be used for these recipes, but I'm a huge advocate of Sunwarrior because it's very healthy and it's free of GMOs and other harmful chemicals that other protein powders contain.



In what recipes have you used protein powder?
 
 
------------------------------------
I'm grateful that my friend Xary is in
town from Philly. I haven't seen her
in about a year! 


 



 

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Weekend Re-cap: I just had to say NO

Hello Friends and Happy Monday!
 
 
It's been a couple of days since I have blogged and I'm blaming it on my super duper, fun-filled schedule this weekend. Ok, I'm totally kidding. I wish that were the case. Hubby and I spent the whole weekend unpacking, building closets, washing clothes and trying to accommodate our new house. What a pain! In the midst of all that, I got up on Saturday morning and went to a 1-hour spinning class. I had a blast.
 
 
 
 
 
After my spinning session, I went to my special "nail lady" who rescued my toes from ingrown toenails. Most runners would probably agree with me when I say that endurance runners have the most ugliest feet ever. The continuous pounding on our feet usually leads to ingrown toenails, calluses, corn and/or broken and torn nails. It's actually kind of gross, but I'll take these fast running babies any day =) Fellow blogger, Skinny Runner can attest to this...
 
Exhibit A: The toe next to the big one is broken. The big toe has an ingrown toenail. OUCH!
 
 
Anywho, I continued my day by getting a therapeutic massage from my masseuse/chiropractor Jodie Espinet. I explained to her how badly my left calf muscle was hurting. The pain started behind the top of my left knee and extended to the bottom of the leg. I can't run or jog and spinning feels mildly bad. Jodie stretched me, did an ultrasound of my leg, aligned my body and massaged the affected area. When she was done she flat out told me what I've been dreading to hear: YOU CAN'T RUN, JOG OR SPIN. YOU CAN ONLY WALK! I nearly started crying when she told me that.
 
She explained to me that because I suffered a puncture wound on my left knee, the surrounding muscles have been over-compensating when I run and spin. This has resulted in an inflammation of my calf muscle. She told me that I needed to rest for a week and she suggested that I apply ice compressions about 2-3 times a day for 20 minutes. What am I going to do with myself without any physical activity for one week? I'm really making an effort not to be stubborn, so I have taken Jodie's advice and I've been icing my calf muscle. I just had to say NO to running and spinning =(
 

 
 
What fun and exciting things did you do this weekend? Please make me jealous =)
 
 
---------------------------------------
I am grateful for Jodie's sound advice.
This may be a blessing in disguise. 
 
 
 

 

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