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Health and Fitness information to improve your quality of life


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Essentials Of The Long Run

runwithyourheart

I’ve starting running again; gradually increasing my mileage each week.  As I progress, I realize the importance of preparing properly for my run.  There are many factors that can affect your running experience such as your clothing, the weather, dehydration, poor sleep, and insufficient warm-up

  1. Carb load  and hydrate the day before your long run– commonly referred to as  Carbohydrate Loading or carbo-loading, is a strategy used by endurance athletes, such as marathon runners, to maximize the storage of glycogen (or energy) in the muscles and liver. Be sure to drink plenty of water during the day with your meals and avoid excess caffeine. Urine should be a pale, straw color which is the best indicator of hydration. Dark yellow usually indicates dehydration.
  2. Get plenty of rest the day before your long run and mentally prepare yourself for a good run.  Go to bed early to ensure a good night of sleep.  Be sure to set your alarm to get up early to prepare for your run. Check the weather for your planned run time and lay out appropriate clothing and running shoes for your run. Don’t forget your Garmin watch if you keep pace and mileage during your run. When selecting clothing, consider layering with a long sleeve running shirt, arm sleeves, compression socks, hat, etc.
  3. Pack a snack bag the night before to take with you with items for during and after your run.  I normally pack a water bottle and sports beans to carry with me on my run.  I also pack a full water bottle and a banana and/or energy bar for after the run.  It’s important to have snacks and water on hand due to issues you may have with low blood sugar, or electrolyte imbalance.  Per Dr. Bennett’s article:  Hydration and Electrolytes – Impact on Athletic Performance by Paul B. Bennett, Jr. Ph.D

The body performs delicate balancing acts to keep water and electrolyte levels optimal. If blood sodium levels drop too low, the kidneys are stimulated to produce more urine. This restores balance by lowering the amount of water in the blood. If sodium levels get too high, thirst develops, stimulating the person to drink. Hormones secreted in response to thirst cause the kidneys to produce less urine and conserve water. During intense exercise and sweating these systems are taxed and the endurance athlete must sometimes anticipate where the system (body) is heading in terms of water and electrolyte status in order to avoid problems. The take home message here is: If you are thirsty – drink water! Your body is talking to you.

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  • 4.  Plan to get up at least an hour before you need to leave for your run. Drink water upon arising and eat a good breakfast.  I’ve found that organic oats with sliced bananas and a scoop of whey protein is the perfect pre-run fuel.  The carb and protein combination helps provide sustained energy for a long run.
  • 5.  Always make sure you tell someone where you are running and if possible run with a friend.  It’s always best to run with someone in case of emergencies that may occur when running.  Remember safety in numbers.  Make sure you have your cell phone fully charged and carry with you if possible.  Per article on myrunningtips.com

 

  • Run With A Buddy

    As running safety tips go, this one is not always doable, but if you can find someone to run with regularly, great! – you can look out for each other and you are statistically less likely to be attacked if you are with another runner. But finding a running partner who matches the same pace as you, same running goals and so on, can be difficult. Maybe joining a local running club could help you find someone?

Remember preparation is key for a good run and as you increase mileage it become more important.  After your run make sure you take time to stretch, hydrate, and re- fuel to help aid in recovery.  Consider wearing compression socks to help with circulation and prevent muscle soreness.  Taking a little extra time for planning your run can make it a much more enjoyable experience. Happy running!

 

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Running, Stress Relief, And Gratitude

This week has been stressful due to dealing with some family issues and my mom’s poor health.  I’ve always been a worrier and the increased stress lately has been exhausting and affected my workouts, meals, and sleep.

I’m currently training for a half marathon and was scheduled to run 7 to 8 miles for my long run this weekend.  I tried to prepare myself for my morning run by indulging in healthy carbs and drinking fluids the night before but it didn’t help matters that I tossed and turned most of the night. I woke up several times during the night and finally got up at 5 am to prepare for my run.

My pre-run meal consisted of organic oats topped with walnuts and an expresso.I still felt exhausted after the caffeine, but interestingly enough was still looking forward to my run.  I still began to doubt my ability to complete my planned mileage but was meeting friends so decided to do what I could do.

I met my running buddies who both had issues with sleep too. This seems to be fairly common in runners .  I suspect it has something to do with the anticipation of getting up before the break of dawn combined with running for the sake of “fun.” Nevertheless, we all looked at the bright side and noticed that at least there was less humidity and it was in the low 70’s

 

runwithyourheart

The first couple of miles were grueling and went by extremely slow. My legs felt like bricks. I decided to drink some water and refuel with carbs half-way through my run.

I ate half a package of sports beans I recently purchased to see if that would help.

What are sports beans?

Sport Beans   are energizing Jelly Beans that are formulated to help fuel the body during intense exercise. Clinically proven to maximize sports performance, each bean is loaded with carbs for fuel, electrolytes to help maintain fluid balance and vitamins to optimize energy release and protect cells against oxidative damage”
I hadn’t tried sports beans in a couple of years but discovered them again while buying groceries last week. I had given them a try in the past but they made me sick. I began to experiment with other snacks but never found anything special.
I researched the sports beans later and discovered it’s important to drink plenty of water with them to avoid stomach issues. I definitely didn’t do that when I tried them.
The directions on the package of sports beans said to take the entire package thirty minutes before your workout.  I decided to refuel at mile four with half the package and made sure to drink plenty of water with them.  I definitely noticed an extra boost of energy and my legs felt lighter about 15 to 20 minutes later.
I was able to increase my pace and finished with a strong final push the last mile.  I love the quote “when your legs get tired run with your heart.”  I often do that the last few miles but it makes the finish that much sweeter.
The endorphins provided a good rush and reinforced my reason for running.  Running is such a great outlet for me. It helps to clear my mind and gives me a chance to enjoy and appreciate nature .
Running at the break of dawn and  watching the sunrise always fills me with gratitude.  It truly makes me realize what a gift our health is and how lucky I am to be able to exercise.

 

I always finish my run with a better perspective and realize that no matter what’s going on in my life right now, it could be a lot worse.  I am truly blessed to have a loving family, home, food to eat, and live in the USA “HOME OF THE FREE”


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Define The Muscle, Burn The Fat

runwithyourheart

6 mile run this weekend felt good!  The humidity was intense even at 6 am but I pushed through and got out of my comfort zone.  My legs were tired and I was definitely “running with my heart.”  My runs around 6 miles or more are great fat burning workouts for me.  I really can see more muscle definition when I combine longer runs and weight training.

I finished my run with lots of water to replenish fluids and a post run snack. IMG_20170709_150908This smoothie with avocado, spinach, and pear was delicious. I definitely moved out of my comfort zone during my run and this was a well deserved treat

After recovery, I followed up my cardio with some triceps and chest work. I did 4 sets of tricep pressdowns alternating with bosu ball close grip push ups to burn out my triceps.  triceppressdown

 


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Six Pack ABS -Try My Intense AB Circuit

Ready for an intense workout that will get your heart pumping and  will help you create lean, defined abs?

It’s the weekend, don’t let it destroy your progress and hard work you put in during the week 🙂  It’s ok to plan one cheat meal but offset it with a little more activity and clean eating the rest of the day.

The abdominal muscles can be the hardest to uncover and define as it is one of the areas many people store fat.  To see definition in the abs requires a clean diet and a workout plan that includes cardio, weight training and core work.  Check out my ab circuit that will help get you started.  20170613_075037

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You Control Your Health

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Although hereditary factors can play a part in some diseases, you have a lot more control of your health than you might think. Your body is an amazing machine designed to heal, but with continued abuse of unhealthy food choices and inactivity, you can end up with permanent damage. There comes a point where your body gives in and stops fighting. You are left with an increased chance of developing diseases such as: diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, or auto-immune disorders.

Once this occurs you have damage that can’t be reversed. Diabetes can lead to blindness, loss of limbs, and even coma. Heart disease and hypertension can cause heart attacks, stroke, and leave you dependent on others for your care.

You have the ability and the choice everyday to make good decisions regarding your food choices and activity level.  Don’t wake up one day and regret the opportunities you had to take care of yourself and live a better quality of life.

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Click on this link to read my article on six steps to reduce fat and get lean

Don’t wait another day to start making small changes to your diet and lifestyle. You will be amazed at how much better you feel mentally and physically as you begin to decrease consumption of junk foods and develop a consistent exercise program.

LAU HANLY reports in the article:

Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of a Healthy Diet

Over the course of your life, the benefits of a consistently healthy diet really add up. You are less likely to develop cancer, arthritis, memory loss, dementia and macular degeneration. You’re at a reduced risk of getting heart attacks, blood clots, of sustaining falls and fractures, of getting diabetes, and of having nutritional deficiencies that otherwise become more difficult to treat as you age. You’re also likely to live longer, and to be happier and more active than people who have eaten a less healthy diet.


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Ditch These Five Foods To Lose Weight

 

20170613_075037Would you like to lose weight without the stress of counting calories or embarking on another unhealthy fad diet? Try eliminating these five food items for thirty days. This is an inexpensive and simple method to help shed pounds without unhealthy diets, weightloss pills, or counting calories. 

Many people are unaware of how many calories they take in on a daily basis. Do you have a couple of glasses of wine with your meals or snack on sweets during the day? Alcohol and frequent snacking can add up to a substantial amount of calories and easily pack on the pounds overtime. Just one glass of wine can add up to 300 calories or more to your daily caloric intake.

Many people try low fat diets to ptevent weight gain or lose pounds. These diets include foods like pasta, rice, cereal, and bread.  However, high carbohydrate meals that include rice, bread, and pasta can increase insulin levels, stimulate your appetite, and leave you feeling tired and lethargic. You may be surprised at how much better you feel eliminating these items from your diet.

Keep a journal for thirty days to monitor your beginning weight, your daily food intake, and note your energy and mood after each meal. A food journal can help increase awareness regarding your nutrition and how your body reacts to certain foods. Swapping these high carbohydrate foods for healthier alternatives can make a significant difference in energy levels and weight loss.

The plan is simple. Eliminate bread, rice, pasta, sugar and alcohol for thirty days. Plan to shop for alternatives for foods on the list that you currently consume on a daily basis. Make sure to drink plenty of fresh water during the day and eliminate artificial sugar. Always check with your physician before starting this or any other diet or nutrition program.

1. Bread– Eliminate bread for thirty days. Try Ezekiel wraps on sandwiches and burgers for a healthier, gluten free alternative.

2. Pasta– Many people eat large portions of pasta with their meals which can add up to 300 or more calories per serving. Choose spaghetti squash for a healthier alternative. Experiment with recipes and make your own. Typically the pulp is shredded with a fork after the squash is cooked and all you have to do top it with a healthy spaghetti sauce.

3. Rice– Try quinoa as an alternative to rice. Quinoa has protein which helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. Choose organic if possible and check the nutrition label for appropriate portion sizes.

4. Sugar– Sugar may be a challenge to eliminate for thirty days. Sugar is hidden in many junk foods and restaurant menu items. Check the ingredient list on the nutrition label for sugar content when you buy groceries. Make a commitment to avoid all junk and processed foods for thirty days. Choose fruit as an alternative for sweet cravings and eat fresh vegetables for your meals and snacks.

5. Alcohol– Alcohol is high in calories and easily stored as fat. Eliminate all alcohol for thirty days. Try water with fresh fruit slices as an alternative to cocktails. If you drink alcohol to unwind after a stressful day, try yoga or meditation to relax and for more restful sleep.

Shop at the beginning of the week for healthy alternatives for bread, pasta, rice, sugar and alcohol. Make sure you check nutrition labels for sugar in food items you purchase during the thirty days. Try to eliminate processed foods and stick with fresh fruits, lean meat and vegetables. Keep a food journal to log your beginning weight and to make notes on energy levels and mood each day. Drink plenty of fresh water each day and add fruit slices for added flavor. Weigh yourself and evaluate how you feel at the end of the thirty days. Make notes of positive changes in your energy levels, mood and weight.


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Friday Lean Body Challenge

Try my new workout Lean Body Blast .

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Let’s finish the weekend strong with a challenging workout and good food choices.

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Fitness Friday

What you focus on will flourish!  Take care of your body and you will reap the rewards of looking better, improved health,  and feeling strong. Try my Lean Body Blast and let me know how you like it.

Don’t let the weekend destroy your progress. Let’s do this.