Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The 15 Best Fall Marathons

Howdy friends and Happy Hump Day!
 
For many people the summer months were spent lounging on the beach, barbecuing with friends and going on vacations, but for runners, that was training prime time. In my opinion, the best marathons are held during the Fall season. Besides the fact that it's my favorite time of year, this season offers the best weather and the most scenic marathons (Click here to learn more on what the Fall season offers runners).
 
As a competitive marathoner, I have had the chance to run at some really cool Fall marathons, which included the Chicago Marathon, New York City Marathon and the Las Vegas Marathon (This is what I have to say about that). All three races were very unique and different, but they were all alike in that they were held during an ideal time of year.

 
 
According to the Daily Mile, these are the 15 best fall marathons: 
 
Location: Dayton, OH
Date: September 21, 2013
 
Location: Jackson Hole, WY
Date: September 22, 2013
 
Location: Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN
Date: October 6, 2013
 
Location: Portland, OR
Date: October 6, 2013
 
Location: Corning, NY
Date: October 6, 2013
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
Date: October 12, 2013
 
Location: Chicago, IL
Date: October 13, 2013
 
Location: Scranton, PA
Date: October 13, 2013
 
Location: Lowell, MA
Date: October 20, 2013
 
Location: San Francisco, CA
Date: October 20, 2013
 
Location: Washington D.C.
Date: October 27, 2013
 
Location: New York, NY
Date: November 3, 2013
 
Location: Avalon, CA
Date: November 9, 2013
 
Location: Richmond, VA
Date: November 16, 2013
 
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Date: November 17, 2013
 
So no matter where you live, there's a marathon near you! I always encourage people to "go big" when they choose a race. These marathons are beyond indescribable. They are fun, glamorous and quite epic. Some of these races may be sold out, but there's always next year. Plan a few months ahead and you too will get the chance to say "been there, done that."
 
 
What has been your favorite Fall marathon?
 
-----------------------------
I am grateful for the mechanic
that didn't charge me a penny
for fixing my tire today. Good
Samaritans still exist!

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Grilled Chicken Smothered with Peppers and Onions

Hello friends! Pardon my absence from blogging, but I had to attend a Hostage Negotiation training at work. The training lasted until the night time, so I was completely beat by the time that I got home last night. Anyway, here's what I did on Monday and Tuesday for training:

 
Monday:
Easy 8 mile run
 
 
Tuesday:
20 minutes on the elliptical
 
Weight-lifting session:
Smith machine squats 4x15
Leg extensions 4x15
Leg presses 4x15
Calf raises on the leg press machine 4x12
Dumbbell wide squats 3x15

This is not how I normally do the squats. My hands are placed on the bar.

Watch me grow!!
 
 
Today I was in the mood for some grilled chicken fajitas, but since I don't eat tortilla wraps or cheese, this is the best thing I could come up with. Trust me, it's delish!!
 
Ingredients:
2-3 boneless chicken breasts
2-3 green peppers
1 Vidalia onion
garlic powder
oregano
basil
parsley
 
Directions:
1. Add the garlic powder, oregano, basil and parsley to the chicken breast and saute in olive oil for about 10 minutes (I like to cut the chicken breast into slices). Set aside.
 
2. Cut the peppers and onions and saute in olive oil for 10-12 minutes. Mix the peppers and onions with the grilled chicken.
 
*You can add shredded cheese on top of the chicken, peppers and onions if you'd like. Some guacamole sounds good too!
 



 
 
Now isn't that easy peasy? I am making grilled plantains and baked sweet potatoes as a side dish.
 
 
How do you make your non-fajita chicken?
 
 
--------------------------
I am grateful for all the delicious
recipes that I find on Google-
it's a great tool!
 
 
 

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Running in the Fall

Hello friends and TGIF! Have I ever mentioned that Fall is my favorite season? There's something about that time that just captivates me and makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. It's the time when coffee shops brew up pumpkin spice lattes and when stores begin to smell like sweet cinnamon. Unfortunately for me, I don't get to experience the leaves changing colors or the change of air in the atmosphere, but that's okay because I bring the feeling home.

My little scarecrow with my harvest apples candle holder. I love yellow daisies.
 

My pumpkin salt and pepper shakers in the kitchen.
 

My yellow accent pillows, green throw and pumpkin adornment.
 

My house smells like a cinnabun. YUM! =)~
 
 
Fall is also my favorite time to run. I love it because the temperatures cool down, it becomes night faster, the views begin to change and there's a sense of camaraderie between runners as they gear up for Fall races. Oh, and racing in the Fall is also my fav <3. 

Here are a few tips on how you could take your training up a notch during this ideal season:

1. Run longer. Because the temps are cooler, you could add a few more minutes to your training session. You won't have to worry about the scorching heat or the dreadful humidity.

2. Run faster. Try to implement some fast intervals during your runs. I would suggest doing about 8-10 fast intervals within your run. By fast I don't mean a sprint, but more like a quick stride. You could do this about 2 to 3 times during the week.

3. Add miles to your long run. The rule of thumb is to add 10% more mileage every week. That usually comes out to about 1/2 to 1 additional mile a week. Take more walking breaks if necessary.

4. Add a day of running. You could tack on a short and easy run during the week. So if you're running 4-5 times a week, add one short running day. I would suggest to add this day after your long run. You will probably feel sore from the previous day, but running the day after may actually improve fitness and speed up recovery as you get your blood flowing to your legs.

5. Sign up for a race. You won't regret running a race during this time. There's plenty of 5Ks, half-marathons and full marathons during the Fall. Sign up for the distance you feel most comfortable with.

Do you enjoy running in the Fall? Why or why not?
 
 
-------------------------------
I'm grateful for the amazing
pedicure and manicure I got today.
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mexican Pulled Chicken Stuffed Peppers

Hello everyone! Today's workout consisted of a 3 mile run and a short and sweet weight lifting session. This was my workout:

Dumbbell upright rows 3x15
Leg extensions 3x15
Lawnmower rows 3x15
Assisted squats 3x15
Incline bench press 3x15
Dumbbell plie squats 3x15
 
Today's blog post was purely inspired by the new Crock Pot that my hubby bought me at Costco. Quite frankly I think he was giving me a subtle sign that my cooking needs some assistance =/. Anywho, now that I have this fantastic piece of equipment I want to experiment with it. First experimental recipe will be:
 
Mexican Pulled Chicken Stuffed Peppers
 
Ingredients:
4 large bell peppers
3-4 chicken breasts
2 tbs chopped jalapenos *optional
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup chopped green peppers
2 cups salsa
shredded cheese *optional for dairy free eaters like myself
 
Taco seasoning recipe:
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
 
Directions:
1. Place the whole chicken breasts with all of the ingredients inside of the Crock Pot and stir and set on low for 6-8 hours.
 
2. After 4 hours, shred the chicken and mix well.
 
3. Cut the top off of the 4 large bell peppers and remove remaining seeds inside.
 
4. Stuff the peppers with the chicken mixture and cover with salsa. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the pepper is soft.
 
5. Top with the shredded cheese and salsa.
 
ENJOY!
 
 
 
-----------------------------
I'm grateful for the convinient things
in life- like a Crock Pot =).

 

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Core Exercises for Runners

Hello friends and happy hump day!! Today I ran 4 miles and did a quick weight lifting session that consisted of:

Squats 3x10
Bicep curls 3x15
Leg presses 3x10
Dumbbell tricep extensions 3x15
Lunges 10 per leg
Dumbbell flyes
 
Many runners think that by simply running they will improve their running times and become better athletes, however what they fail to realize is that core exercises are an essential part of their training. Core exercises helps prevent injuries, such as back pain and it helps people run faster because they become stronger and better equipped to support their pelvis and hips when they run.
 
It's important to understand that an athlete's "core" isn't just the ab area. The core includes, your back, hamstrings, glutes, obliques and hips.
 
Here are a few standard exercises that many runners do to strengthen their core:
 
 
2. Planks
 
3. Bridge
 
 
 
 
 
The following exercises strengthen the hips and glutes:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
You should perform these exercises at least two times per week after your running workouts. I would suggest doing about 5 or 6 of them 2-3 times for 1 minute. Give it a try!
 
 
 
Do you perform any of these exercises after you run?
 
 
----------------------------
I am grateful for the gifts I
received at work today for baby Myles.
 
 
 

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Tipster: Fueling After a Long Run

Hello friends! I decided to workout during lunch today, so I ran 4 miles and then I did a quick 25 minute weight lifting session that consisted of:

Smith machine squats 3x10
Dumbbell bench press 3x15
Smith machine leg press 3x10
Lat pull downs 3x15
Dumbbell squats 3x10
Dumbbell shoulder press 3x12
 
 
I kind of look like a kangaroo don't I?
 
 
Anyway, today I want to talk about the importance of fueling after a long run and what type of quality foods you should be consuming throughout the day after your run. Most people think that training ends when you run, but truth be told that training is the first part of the process and refueling is the second part of it. You may have had an amazing long run, but if you don't eat the proper foods after the run, you will feel drained and fatigued for the following days after the run.
 
Basically, when you go on a long run, your body breaks down muscle fibers which causes tears in them. It is extremely important that you repair these tears so that you may work out the next day. However, in order for your body to complete this repairing process, you must eat the right kinds of food after the long run.
 
So, when should I eat after I run? 
You should eat as soon as practical, but no later than 30 minutes after you finish running.
 
What should I eat after I finish running?
I would suggest drinking a protein shake, such as the Sun Warrior (that's what I drink!) protein powder as soon as you're done running. Then, for the next 90 minutes, you should consume a high quality meal that consists of a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein. This means that for every 4 grams of carbs you consume you also need 1 gram of protein.
 
Sample Meal Ideas:
1. Almond butter and organic jelly sandwich on whole wheat
 
2. Grilled chicken sandwich
 
3. Tuna sandwich
 
What should I eat for the remainder of the day?
That's totally up to you, but just make sure that the meals are high quality in order for your muscles to repair.
 
10 foods that are good to eat after a long run:
1. Oatmeal
2. Greek yogurt
3. Hummus (Think lettuce wraps, yum!)
4. Chicken breast
5. Salmon
6. Sports bar (Be careful with these because some are high in sugar and fat)
7. Banana
8. Fruits (Think berries, grapes, oranges, blueberries, etc.)
9. Raw almonds
10. Veggies (Think dark-leaf veggies, such as kale, spinach, broccoli, etc)
 
Sample dinner meals:
1. Grilled salmon with a baked sweet potato drizzled with olive oil
 
2. Organic-fed steak (or grilled organic chicken breast) with sauteed spinach and brown rice
 
3. Quinoa with black beans topped with tomatoes and avocados
 
What are non-quality foods?
Non-quality foods are basically low in nutritional value and tend to be high in sugar, fat, salt and calories (Think french fries, burgers, pizza, candy, etc).
 
*Point to remember: Don't be too strict on yourself the day that you do your long run. For me, my long run days were considered my "cheat days" of eating because I would consume high-carb foods that I normally wouldn't eat on my other days of running. Cheating wasn't defined as eating junk foods like pizza, but rather, eating foods high in carbs.
 
 
What foods do you consume after your long runs?
 
---------------------------
I am grateful for my new Mr. Coffee
machine that hubby bought me. It
makes such delicious coffee.


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Monday, September 16, 2013

Pregnancy Running Chronicles

Hello friends and Happy Monday!
 
How was your weekend? I had a pretty productive weekend, but I mostly rested and watched a bunch of Scandal  episodes- it was just perfect! Let's see on Friday morning I went to the Pearson Vue testing center in Miami and I took the Florida Real Estate Licensure exam. It was a pretty tough test, but thankfully I passed. Later that day, I went for a 5 mile run at around 5:30 pm and I thought I was going to puke all over myself. Could it be because of this big and fat belly?
 
 
 
Or maybe because the temps were in the 90s with a humidity of 100%? I don't know why, but running in the afternoon versus the morning is a completely different animal. Needless to say, I felt like I was running with anchors on my ankles and I was huffing and puffing like the wolf from the "Three Little Pigs." It was dreadful!
 
I woke up on Saturday morning at 6:30 am for my usual long run. My body practically yelled at me and said, "Don't you dare get up from bed!" I was tired and sore from the 5 mile run. "Are you kidding me," is all I could say back to myself. How could I be sore from such a short run? I succumbed to my inner thoughts and stayed in bed until about 8 am.
 
You'll notice a bit of whining in this post as I complain about gaining weight, running slower and being tired all the time. The truth is that I am truly blessed to be running at this point in my pregnancy. I take my tiredness as a sign that I must slow down a little, after all, my body is creating a human being within it.
 
Anyway, I ran a bunch of errands on Saturday (that's about the only running I did!) for my baby shower and later in the evening Milo and I went to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. I had the "Luau Salad."
 
Lettuce, carrots, mango, macadamia nuts and grilled chicken.
 
 
On Sunday morning the hubs and I went to church and then to our birthing class. Fun! NOT! I nearly cried during the class when our instructor showed us a video on natural labor. It just didn't look natural! It looked quite painful and uncomfortable. Oh, in case I haven't mentioned it, I am planning a drug-free birth, so I am taking a birthing class that teaches us pain coping mechanisms. The premise of these techniques teaches us how to use certain strategies to distract ourselves during a contraction. For example, there's certain ways of breathing, there's auditory stimuli that can distract us, there's visualization techniques that could be used, etc. Sounds pain-free huh? =/
 
Anywho, after all that was said and done, I went home to release some tension. Can you guess how? No, I didn't grab a bag of potato chips, I went for an 8 mile run. Oh what a feeling it brought to my body!!
 
Happy feet =)
 
 
Dinner followed...
 
Baked eel roll and a vegetarian roll on brown rice. It hit the spot ;)
 
 
My fortune cookie said...
 

Hmmm, I wonder if my mind could distract itself from labor pains... Gulp...
 
 
So there you have it, my bitching about being pregnant and fat pregnancy chronicles of the weekend.
 
 
How was your weekend?
 
-----------------------------
I am grateful for the sweet smelling
cinnamon bun candle I bought at Home Goods.
It smells like Fall inside of my house.
 
 
 
 
 
 



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Friday, September 13, 2013

Fitness Fridays: The Truth About Cheating on Weekends

Today's Workout:
5 mile run
 
Hello Friends and Happy Freaky Friday!!!
 
Did you know...?
 
According to the Daily Mail, weekends prove fatal to dieters who think it's okay to binge eat during the weekend. On average, people tend to consume about 10,000 calories in two days with little or no exercise either. Here are the stats:
 
-83% of dieters succumb to weekend blowouts
-Alcohol, dining out and snacking in front of the TV all contribute to the calories adding up
-73% of people say they abandon their diet routine during the weekend
-7 in 10 people say they have fattening takeaways during the weekend
-Many people follow a 5:2 diet where they think it's ok to binge during the weekend while eating healthy during the week
 
Ok, I don't know about you, but that's ridiculous. I know weekends are meant for fun and going out, but really, there needs to be a sense of portion control during the weekend. Contrary to what people may think, binge eating on the weekend will not help you lose weight. Even if you're a saint during the week, what you're really accomplishing is a balancing act. You're neither losing nor gaining weight. I'm not saying you can't have a decadent piece of cake when you go out to dinner with your family, or to say no to the delicious biscuit your grandmother made from scratch, but what I am saying is that eating 3 heavy meals a day is not so healthy. By heavy I mean a meal that's about 1,500 total calories (think Whopper at BK with fries).

 
 
If you tend to fall in this category and you think it's ok, my only humble suggestion would be to at least workout during those two days. Many people tend to "take off" from working out during the weekend, but a quick workout can do wonders. My philosophy is "It's better to do something than nothing at all." So with that being said, I will offer you a few easy and quick HIIT workouts that take about 20 minutes each. I promise that you will enjoy them! ;)
 
 
One:
20 squats
20 jumping jacks
30 butt kicks
20 mountain climbers
30 bicycle crunches
plank to failure
 
*Repeat 3 times
 
 
Two:
100 squats
90 sit-ups
10 burpees
80 bicycles (abs)
10 burpees
70 push-ups
10 burpees
10 burpees
10 burpees
10 burpees
10 burpees
10 burpees
 
*Repeat 2 times
 
Three:
20 squats
15 lunges each leg
10 high knees
10 push-ups
*5 rounds
 
15 jump squats
12 alternating jump lunges each leg
10 burpees
10 push-ups
*5 rounds
 
10 jump squats front and back
10 static lunges each leg
10 alternating front kicks each leg
10 push-ups
1 minute wall sit
*5 rounds
 
Give it a try. What do you have to lose?
 
Which of these HIIT workouts did you like best?
 

--------------------------------
I'm grateful that I passed my Florida Real
Estate Exam today. 
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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Freedom to Run

Today's Workout:
4.5 mile run

Hello friends and happy hump day! As you all know, today marks twelve years since the occurrence of the 9/11 events at NYC. Every year since 2001, I reflect upon that grim day and I thank God that I live in the best damn country in the world. It was undoubtedly the most horrific event that I have lived through, but every time I re-live that day I remember how proud I felt to be an American. I still remember how the citizens of New York helped each other in the most selfless ways and how the United States, as a whole, helped the families of those who lost loved ones on that unforgettable day. As I reflect yet again this year, I just want to say that I am happy I live in a country that values every aspect of freedom.

By definition freedom stands for "the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint." When you analyze the phrase "act, speak, or think," those mere three words encompass a medley of rights that many people take for granted. One of those rights that I thoroughly enjoy and I am grateful to have is the freedom to run without social or physical persecution. Did you know that women are not allowed to run in Saudi Arabia? And did you know that in Ancient Greece women were forbidden to compete in the Olympic Games? It wasn't until 1928 that women were allowed to compete in running events for the first time. That year, a woman collapsed in the 800 meter event and the International Olympic Committee ruled that women were too fragile to run, which led a ban on women's running again. The ban was later lifted in 1960, but it was frowned upon if a woman would run because it was a "man's sport."

Fast forward to 1967 when Katherine Switzer signed up to the Boston Marathon as "K. Switzer" in order to hide her gender in her application because women were not allowed to run in marathons. Katherine completely defied the rules and was even pushed out of the course when they realized she was a woman. Thanks to her, women in the U.S. enjoy the freedom to run in every event that we want to participate in.



Today's post is just a reminder that it's a privilege to be able to run, no matter how fast or slow you may be, just be thankful for the rights that we enjoy in this wonderful country!

Fun fact about women who run in ultra-marathons:
 
  • Women ultra-marathon runners have greater fatigue resistance than do equally trained men. At about the 90K mark is where women exceed men in the performance.
 
References
 
 
 
----------------------
I am grateful to be an
American citizen.
 

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Tipster: Want to be happy? Exercise!

Today's Workout:
5 mile run (with strides at the top of every minute on the last mile)

Hello everyone! While driving to work today, I heard an interesting fact on the radio that raised my curiosity and quite frankly made me a little concerned. Apparently, a study conducted by the United Nations revealed that the United States ranked #17 in the World Happiness Report. The study was based on 156 countries with Northern Europe ranking in the top 5 spots. These countries included, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden. The U.S. actually fell from #11 to #17 and the attributing factors to the fall were:

  • Mental illness
  • Falling healthy life expectancy
  • Perceived inability to make life choices

So basically, people in the U.S. are frowning because of depression, unhealthiness and an overall lack of well-being. How can one of the richest and most educated countries be the unhappiest? We obviously have the resources to be happy after all, we have money, jobs, homes, cars, expensive clothes, flashy accessories, etc. So how could we be depressed and unhealthy? I'm not going to go on a tangent here and start talking about how materialistic things don't make us happy, but what I will talk about is how doing one simple thing a day can make you happier. Can you guess what it is? Nothing more than EXERCISE!

Have you ever noticed how your mood changes when you exercise? You may be feeling positive because you're anticipating health benefits, or perhaps you're feeling in a good mood because you trained with friends or maybe you're just happy to be running on your own. Research has actually attributed these blissful feelings to the release of endorphins. Endorphins act like opiates and are released when the body is under pain or stress. This is why people have reported feeling the "runner's high" during long and intense cardiovascular activities.

Other research suggests that the real culprits may be endocannabinoids. If you're thinking of the cannabinoids found in THC you're absolutely right. Apparently, our endocannabinoid system activates when we exercise, which reduces pain and induces tranquility.

So what's the moral of today's story? EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE if you want your mood to change. The vicious cycle of getting sick and taking medication can possibly be supplanted by exercise, so just give it a shot. Mental illness and diseases have become an epidemic in the U.S., so why not give exercise a chance to make you feel healthier (both mentally and physically) and happier?



Want to burn more calories doing something that will make you happy? LAUGH! That's right, laugh! Laughing may lower blood pressure, burn calories, change people's mood and provide an overall sense of well-being. Did you know....

Fun Facts About Laughter:
 
1. We used to laugh about 20 minutes in a day in the 1950's. That number has lowered to 6 minutes a day.
 
2. Children laugh 400 times a day. Adults laugh about 15 times a day.
 
3. A daily laughter workout of 15 minutes can burn 40 calories and melt away 4 pounds in a year (By the way, your brain can't tell a fake laugh from a real one! Food for thought).


*Don't take life too seriously!*


What form of exercise do you do? Does it change your mood?
 
 
------------------------------------
I am grateful for the protein bar that
was given to me today by a man that
I didn't even know. He saw a hungry pregnant
woman and offered me his only snack. 
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Monday, September 9, 2013

Painting Party and Some Running

Hello friends and Happy Monday! I don't know about you, but my weekend flew by. No matter how long my weekends are I always feel like I could have a few more days off. I am truly blessed that I am able to work and run, but I am just getting tired more and more each day.

Anyway, forgive my MIA-ness (Missing In Action) this weekend, but I was too busy playing interior designer at my house. I woke up on Saturday morning at around 6 am and decided to go for a 10 mile run; BIG MISTAKE. Don't get me wrong, I felt amazing during the run. The weather was pretty humid, but breezy- it was awesome!



What I failed to acknowledge was the fact that I had told my family to come over my house so they could help me paint. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate painting? I can't stand it. But of course, this is all for Baby Myles right? Right!

My family came over at around 9 am and immediately starting working. We were determined to paint the house by the end of the day.


That's my mom painting the living room. She's definitely the hustler.
 

That's my mother-in-law Terry. She placed all the paper on the floor to avoid paint spills.
 

That's hubby painting our room. Not looking too excited huh? He loves to paint as much as I do =)
 

That's my dad painting my bedroom. He's more of the "detail-oriented" worker.


That's my sister Angie cleaning all the blinds of the house. Ugh =/
 
 
So you're probably wondering what I did? Well, thankfully my family forbad me from picking up a paint brush, so I was the designated errand runner. I picked up Subway for lunch and Flanigan's Seafood for dinner. I also served them cold beverages and coffee when they were getting tired. I have the best fam don't I? =D
 
Ok, so it wasn't much of a painting party. There wasn't any crazy music playing or liquor going around, but I did have a great time with them. We finished painting at around 8 pm- I was exhausted! I was in bed by 8:30 and asleep by 9!
 
Sunday also turned out to be a rather interesting day. Milo and I went to our first birthing class. Ever heard of Birthing From Within? It was very different to say the least. We learned about "enjoying" pain and learning to accept pain as part of the amazing journey of child birth. They view child birth as a rite of passage. It's a holistic approach that encourages a drug-free and natural labor. What have we gotten ourselves into? I can't wait to see what our instructor has in store for us! =)
 
Well folks, that was my not-so-much-partying weekend. How was yours?
 
 
------------------------------
I am grateful for the help my
family gave me this weekend.
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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Healthy Skin by Emily Stone

Today's Workout:
4.5 mile run (with ten 30 second strides on the last mile)

Hello everyone!! Today I would like to introduce you to Emily Stone. Emily is a stay at home mom, proud wife, fitness freak, health food addict and an animal lover. She was kind enough to write a guest post today about the negative side effects caused by the sun and some of her secret skin treatments to help skin look young and healthy. Here's what she had to say:


Healthy Skin

Summer is my season. I soak up as much sun as I can. There's nothing quite like watching my skin turn tan after a day at the beach. Unfortunately, my fondness for the sun's rays has started to take a toll on my skin.
Last fall I noticed crow’s feet and other little wrinkles peeking through on my forehead and near my mouth. It looked like my years in the sun finally caught up with me and knew I had to make a change. This summer I made it a priority to limit my time in the sun. Hats, sunglasses, and most importantly, sunblock became my new best friends.

Of course there is more that goes into my skin-care process. It involves diet, protection and Derm Exclusive, which I call my secret weapon.

Here's how it works:
Diet: It's natural!

Changing my diet was the hardest part of my plan because I like to eat something salty while I'm at the beach. Pretzels, potato chips and even sunflower seeds were a staple of my diet last summer. Obviously all that sodium caused some serious bloating problems for my face. Not to mention small that most likely came from the grease.
So this year I'm not eating pretzels and potato chips. Instead, I eat a lot of blueberries, almonds, avocados and tomatoes. According the research I did, all of these foods are really good for your skin.

Blueberries are full of antioxidants, which help my body get rid of toxins that can cause pimples. Almonds have a lot of Omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and vitamin E, all of which keep my skin looking firm and healthy. Avocados and tomatoes, too, are full of vitamins and nutrients that are good for skin. I found some great information on WebMD; they break down which vitamins are best for common skin issues.
My skin looks healthier. But all the credit can't go to the foods I eat. I also drink less beer (not that I drank a lot, anyway) and a whole lot more water. I also focus on protecting my skin from the sun's harmful rays.

Protection: It's all about looking great.
They say the sunscreen industry is worth more than a billion dollars a year. That's a lot of money, but I can tell you that before this year, I never used more than SPF 15 on my face.

I wanted to get that deep, dark tan, so I used tanning lotions over sunscreens or blocks.
Not any more, now I use an SPF 30 that's all natural. It's not greasy at all and it still allows my skin to develop a nice little tan. There are plenty of options, so my advice is to try samples, if possible, and see what will work best for your skin.

Sunscreen isn't my first line of defense against the sun's rays. My primary source of protection is a big, fun floppy hat and a stylish pair of shades. Actually, I went out and bought several pairs of shades, which is just another reason I love my summer skin-care strategy. Not only do my hat and shades look great, they keep me from squinting, which causes those crow’s feet.
Diet and protection have worked really well for me, but also have to give credit to my secret weapon: Derm Exclusive Anti-Aging.

Earlier this year I ordered some Derm Exclusive after finding it online. There's a whole line of products, and each one is designed to help your skin look younger. There's the Firm & Freeze wrinkle treatment, the resurfacing pads, the Intensive Repair Serum and the Collagen Lift.
I use them every day, and they work. In fact, I noticed a difference after the first day!

It's amazing what a simple change in my diet, combined with a little protection and my secret weapon has done to make me look younger this summer!



Emily does not have a blog right now, but you can email her at estone292@gmail.com or you can find her on Twitter @FitMommaEm.

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Thirty days ago, I posed a challenge called the "Transforming Your Morning Challenge." I encouraged you to do one of the four things listed below upon waking up each morning:

1. Write something down that you are grateful for. You could write this down in a journal or diary.

2. Read something inspiring, such as a quote or daily devotional.

3. Have a mantra/positive affirmation for the day.

4. Meditate or pray.

For the last 30 days I have written something that I am grateful for each day, I have also included a positive quote and a positive affirmation to help you out. They say it only takes 21 days to create a habit, so I encourage you all to continue doing this on a daily basis. You will find that the positive words and thoughts will reverberate in your mind and the days that appear to be going crazy will actually not seem so bad. So go ahead, give it a shot =).
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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What's next, crotch pain?

Today's Workout:
5 mile run

Hello friends and happy hump day! I woke up this morning at 4:20 am to go on my typical easy run. As usual, I was excited to dash this fat belly down the road as I listen to my huffs and puffs in amusement. However, today's run took a slight turn. As soon as I started jogging, I felt a piercing pain on my bikini line. The pain shortened my strides and forced me to wobble jog with a limp. "Here goes Quasimodo again," I thought. As I continued jogging, the pain in my groin grew worse before it got better. It felt as if my groin was super tight. "Should I stretch out?" I began to wonder what could be causing this pain.

I thought about going back home, but in my complete stubbornness I continued running. The pain eventually subsided and became more of a discomfort. "What the hell could this be? I am NOT going to stop running!" Those were the only thoughts going through my mind.

Anyway, when I got to work, my co-worker explained that those aches and pains in my groin are quite normal. She said it's part of the pregnancy process and it's suppose to hurt like crazy. She said it's called "round ligament" pain. Just my luck! So, I decided to do some research and here's what I found:

What's round ligament pain?
When women are pregnant, their uterus grows to accommodate the fetus. Ligaments are what hold the uterus to the abdominal cavity. As the uterus grows, the ligaments, particularly the "round ligament," stretches like a rubber band and irritates the nerves that are nearby.


The pain starts at the groin and it moves up to the hips, but it only lasts a few seconds. YAY! Certain activities can cause the ligament to stretch out which inevitably causes pain. These activities include, coughing, sneezing, standing up too quickly, rolling in bed and physical activities, such as RUNNING. What's next, crotch pain? Ugh!!

Remedies for round ligament pain:
The literature I read suggested that certain yoga poses help alleviate the pain. These poses are the cat cow pose and the savasana pose.


Cat Cow Pose
 
Savasana Pose
 
 
If you're a runner like me, they suggest wearing a compression support band. If that doesn't help, then try reducing the intensity of the run, stick to flat surfaces or walk.
 
My support band.
 
 
Clearly this band is not working on me, soooooo, does that mean I have to slow down? GULP! =/
 
 
Have you ever experienced round ligament pain?
 
 
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Gratitude Journal: I am grateful for my physical resilience.
 
Quote: "A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds." -Francis Bacon
 
Positive Affirmation: When I believe in myself so do others.



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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Tipster: 10 Exercises to Avoid When Pregnant

Hello friends! Today's tip is catered to my fellow pregnant women who are still actively working out and for the preggo's who are scared to exercise for fear of harming their baby. Doctor's recommend that pregnant women engage in "moderate" intensity exercises for 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week. The word "moderate" is relative to the woman's fitness level, so I suggest doing the "talk test" to gauge what moderate means to you. If you cannot talk while you're exercising, then chances are you are over-exerting yourself.

While doctors suggest to do moderate exercises, they also recommend NOT doing certain ones. These include:

1. Heavy weight lifting. This can put too much stress on your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal system.

2. Certain positions in yoga. They advise that if you must hold your breath for long periods of time, then you're clearly over-exerting yourself.

3. Exercises lying on your back after the first trimester. This can affect the blood flow to the baby and may compress the vena cava.

4. Exercises lying on your stomach. This is clearly uncomfortable.
5. Some abdominal exercises. This may feel uncomfortable to do because of abdominal weakness and in some cases because of abdominal separation. This condition is known as diastasis recti.

6. Contact sports and high impact sports, such as ice hockey, soccer and basketball because of the risk of injury to your belly.

7. Scuba diving. The pressure can cause birth defects.

8. Activities that increase the risk of falling, such as gymnastics, horseback riding and skiing.

9. Activities that require changes to the center of gravity. This includes racquet ball and tennis. Pregnant women tend to lose their balance when pregnant, so be aware that certain exercises may make you fall.

10. Activities at a high altitude. This may reduce the oxygen supply to your baby.



So what activities and exercises can you do?
  • Walk
  • Water sports, such as swimming, water aerobics and water walking.
  • Stationary cycling
  • Light weight lifting
  • Run (if you were doing it before you got pregnant)
You can even do CrossFit while you're pregnant. Click here for the do's and dont's of cross fitting while pregnant (*you can still squat, lunge, lift, jump and run, but with care and caution!).

Whatever exercise program you decide to do, just talk it over with your doctor to make sure you are not at high risk and healthy enough to do them.

Enjoy!
 
 
 
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Gratitude Journal: I am grateful for the family that surrounds me.
 
Quote: "If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier." -John Wooden
 
Positive Affirmation: You are capable of all things good. 

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Sneak Peek at My Lunch Box

Today's Workout:
11 mile run
 
Howdy friends and Happy Labor Day!
 
As I was getting ready for the work week (laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc.), I put together the contents of my lunch box for tomorrow's snacks and lunch. I wanted to share with you what a I eat on a typical day. I suppose "typical" has taken a new meaning since I became pregnant because I find that I crave different things on different days. I normally prepare my meals for the week on Sunday night, but lately I haven't done so because my taste buds are all out of wack.
 
For example, I used to eat hummus and carrots as a snack and now I can't even come close to hummus. The same holds true for hard-boiled eggs. So, since my taste buds are dictating what I eat on a daily basis, this is what I put together for tomorrow's meals:
 
 

From left to right:
 
Lunch: Leftover ground lean turkey, steamed sweet potato, broccoli salad with balsamic vinaigrette.
 
Mid-morning snack: Veggie scrambled eggs and avocado.
 
Misc. snacks during the day: Homemade trail mix (raw almonds, chopped walnuts, organic raisins, and coconut flakes),  green grapes and protein powder for a protein shake.  
 
 
 
This took absolutely no time to prepare. I basically cooked my dinner tonight, which consisted of turkey lettuce wraps and I saved some for tomorrow's lunch.
 
 
Tonight's dinner: Turkey Lettuce Wraps 
 
Romaine lettuce for the wraps.

Ground lean turkey.
 
 
What's inside your lunch box? Share it with me =)
 
 
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Gratitude Journal: I am grateful for having the experience of going to Tire Kingdom and having the mechanics (trying to) persuade me that my car needed $1100.00 of repairs. I learned the art of nicely saying, "Do I have stupid written on my forehead?" =)
 
Quote: "The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude." -Oprah Winfrey
 
Positive Affirmation: I am lucky to have a family that loves me unconditionally.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Labor Day Weekend: Workout on the Run

Howdy friends! I'm guessing that most of you are either on vacation or just relaxing this holiday weekend. But just because you're chillaxing and enjoying a bunch few alcoholic beverages doesn't mean you can't squeeze in a workout or two this weekend. And I'm not talking about drinking as a workout!


Let me show you what I did today as a quick High Intensity Interval Training work out.

 
Jump rope:
300 times
250 times
200 times
150 times
100 times
50 times
With 30-90 seconds of rest in between each set depending on your fitness level.
 
This workout should take about 20 minutes. You could do a quick warm up to start, such as a 1/4 mile run like I did and you can end with a cool down, such as stretching. It's easy and quick!
 

 
If this preggo can do it, so can you!!
 
 
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Gratitude Journal: I am grateful to have spent Saturday with my sister <3.
 
Quote: "There is nothing good or bad, only thinking makes it so." -Hamlet
 
Positive Affirmation: Every thought I think is creating my future. 

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