Friday, October 12, 2012

Feeling Sluggish, Tired, or Out of Sorts? Try A Cleanse.

I'm in the process of moving my blog to WordPress.  I'll post the link next week when it's all ready.

Baked Butternut SquashI’m a foodie and in autumn I think of warm and grounding foods.  Foods that are a bit heavier and more satisfying than what I ate throughout the summer months. Butternut squash, pumpkin and asparagus all come to mind right now.  I’m thinking cinnamon and ginger.
I enjoy eating so I used to kind of dread the word cleanse, to me it brought up fasting, not chewing and pain.  But then I discovered whole food cleansing and realized that I could do this.  I could eat delicious seasonal meals that were simple, still sexy, and still reset my eating habits
So why does the body need a break?  You may have a pretty clean diet but still breathe in toxins from the air or absorb them through your largest organ, the skin, if your water isn’t filtered.  Maybe you drink socially, have a lot of caffeine, eat sugary treats or just a few too many healthy treats.  It could be that you’re having a little too much pasta, bread, potatoes or cheese.  Many of our convenience foods have ingredients that our bodies do not recognize as food and they confuse our system.
It might be that you’re stuck in a rut and not sure of what your next step should be.  Your imagination could be blocked and shutting down your creativity.  If you find yourself irritable and not really sure why you might want to give a cleanse a try.
A cleanse is not a fast.  It’s more of a rejuvenation and a reminder to feed your body what it really needs and not just what you are craving.  It’s something I like to do, especially in the spring and the fall, a sort of prep for the upcoming seasons.  In the autumn we are prepping for winter, clearing congestion out so our immune system is in top form and can resist colds and flu.
Think this is something you would like to do?  I am offering a seasonal cleanse that includes:
Daily email support
An information packet that lets you know what to do before, during and after the cleanse
A recipe booklet full of seasonal recipes
Intrigued? Click here for more information
For a simple butternut squash side dish:  cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  Place in a baking dish with 1/2 cup of water and cover.  Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes. Make it sexy:  sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.  Use the left overs in place of pumpkin for a smoothie.
1/2 c canned or fresh roasted pumpkin
1 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 large banana
1 -2 tsp maple syrup (omit and it’s cleanse friendly)
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or more to taste)
2 Tbs ground flax-seed
Blend all ingredients until smooth, enjoy!
Serves 1

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Today's guest post is by Karen Welby.  Coach Karen is a Holistic Health Coach, Running Coach and Personal Trainer.  Today she shares a blog on building speed and learning pacing through track work outs.

Track Workout for Runners – Repeat 400s

Whether you’re training for a 5k or a half marathon, this workout is perfect to help you learn pacing. When I was a Cross Country Coach at Stevens Institute of Technology, we would run this workout every 3-4 weeks during the Cross Country season, increasing reps and decreasing rest (and speed) as the season progressed.
I recently had one of my half marathon clients run this workout and she did great – running every 400 faster than goal half marathon pace.

Running Workout = 16 x 400meters with 60-75 seconds rest

The breakdown:
Warm up for 1 mile run – nice and easy
Stretch – A mix of dynamic and static stretching
(4) 50- 70meter strides (Running at 75% of all out pace) This gets the legs moving and blood flowing.
Head down to the starting line. You will be performing 16 400s (400 meters = 1 lap, so 16 laps) at slightly under goal race pace. If you have any questions about pace, tweet me @coach_karenw.
The rest between each 400 is 60 – 75 seconds.
Cool down for 1 mile – nice and easy
Download the 400m spreadsheet here to record your times: 400M Repeats Track Workout.
The goal of this workout is to get you moving faster than race pace with rest, so that running at race pace with no rest feels comfortable.
About the Author: Karen Welby is a certified Holistic Health Coach, Running Coach and Personal Trainer.  For more about Karen’s integrative health and fitness coaching programs, visit Run With Nutrition. She can be found on Twitter(@coach_karenw), Facebook (Run with Nutrition) and Pinterest (coachkarenw)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Taking Charge of Your Health

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." Hippocrates said.  I believe that food is one of the best ways to take care of yourself.  A healthy clean diet goes a long way to  preventing disease and keeping you energized.  It supports you in you daily life in a way nothing else could.

But I also believe that there is a time for medicine and for taking care of yourself with preventative measures.  We tend to only go to the doctor when we are sick.  To have health care you need to schedule a visit when you are feeling well and get yourself checked out.  Otherwise you're just participating in sick-care.

This morning I had blood work done for my physical. While I don't enjoy going, it was not really a big deal.  Honestly, the worst part for me is not eating breakfast when I want to.  The lab takes appointments now.  One tube of blood, a little urine sample and I was on my way out the door 15 minutes after I arrived.

 I'll have a follow up visit with my primary doctor to discuss the results and see if there are any areas that I need to tweak.  I'm not expecting anything other than my iron not being as high as it could be, but I like to be certain.  And if something else does show up then I can work on correcting it.

I have family and friends who prefer not to know if something is wrong.  As if not knowing is going to make them better or change their diagnosis.  I get being afraid but being informed gives you some choice as to what to do as well as a chance to change the outcome.  A lot of diseases are reversible and can be affected by diet and exercise.  And if it requires further attention you should be able to avail yourself of it.

So take charge of your good health and schedule that appointment you've been putting off.  Take someone along for moral support if you need to, but just go.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Running With Friends For a Push

I was at the park on Saturday participating in a fun run sponsored by one of our local running clubs.  I like the camaraderie of running in a group.  It pushes me to run faster in a shorter run and it takes my mind off how long I'm going in a long run.  In this group no one ran at my speed, which was still fine.  I had people to speak with before and after the run and who waved and offered encouragement during the run.

I am not a fast runner and I'm okay with that.  I do want to work on my speed but I am more concerned with finishing a half marathon than running a 9 minute mile.  I'd rather finish smiling than hurting and sucking air.  On the other hand, I want my times to improve with each run; especially if it's on a course I've run before.

We all know that feeling of ugh, my time could have been better.  We think I should have run harder, faster or smarter.  I say be grateful for what your body did for you that day.  Maybe you were not at your physical or mental best but you finished.  Maybe you could have trained harder but you didn't and you still finished.  Your body did something amazing for you, thank it.  Figure out what didn't work for you and concentrate on improving that for your next race.

On another note, that morning another runner asked me what I thought of him eating meat.  I answered that we need protein and meat was definitely one way to get protein in.  He explained that he used to eat more carbs but he wasn't feeling his best.  Since he started adding lean meats in he feels much better.  I think it's brilliant that he listened to his body and fed it what it truly needed to function more optimally.

Protein is what helps repair the micro tears our muscles endure from running.  People who participate in endurance sports need slightly more protein than an average exerciser.  On average a person needs about .04 grams of protein per pound of body weight but when training for an endurance event you want to bump that up slightly to a range of .05 - .07 g per pound.  (a 150 lb athlete would need about 75 - 112 g of protein).

Most of us get adequate amounts of protein in our daily diet without even trying.  If you aren't feeling your best it is wise to listen to your body and see what it wants/needs.

Need help figuring out what foods make you feel your best?  Not sure where to start with a healthy eating plan?  Send me an email,, to schedule a 30 minute consultation so you can decide if working with me is right for you.  You can also visit my website,, for more information.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Running Along and Then - Ouch, What Was That?!

If you do any type of fitness activity I know you understand.  Things are going along just fine and then, there it is, that quick sharp pain.  Oh no, you know deep down that it's not going to go away but you are hoping that some ice and rest are all it needs.  In most cases that's true, but when it's not the frustration sets in.

The first time that it happened while running I was training with Team in Training for my first half-marathon.  I was excited, I'd never run the mileage that I was doing and I was eager.  I was running one night and something in my back hip didn't feel right.  A few days later I participated in a race and I was very sore afterward.  Limping sore and I rested a few days.  My next run had me in tears and limping again.  I just knew it was bad and it was not going to go away on its own.  

After a few sessions of physical therapy (yes, I was still hoping it wasn't too serious) I was not getting better.   Sitting for too long and even walking around Target would have me in pain.  I had to go see the sports medicine doctor and get checked out.  He was very kind and he knew right away that I had a stress fracture in my hip.  No race this time around, no running for at least 2 more months and more PT.

I cried again, I was so frustrated and I had invested a lot emotionally as well as physically.  I did the physical therapy and I did what ever other exercises I was allowed to do to keep up my fitness.  Biking, swimming and the elliptical machine were all okay so I temporarily joined the gym.

I watched my teammates get ready for their races and I was jealous.  I am not proud to say that I also wanted to trip random runners when I saw them out blissfully going about their routines.  I went to Florida as planned, since I already had the airfare but I could not watch the marathon.  I was just not there emotionally yet.  I was also worried that I would not be able to run again.

Another annoying thing was I had to adjust my eating again.  I wasn't logging in the mileage and I was starting to gain back some of the weight I'd lost.  I had finally figured out what worked for me as a runner and now I had to go back to the drawing board.

I'm happy to say that the work paid off.  I have completed two half-marathons, a few 10ks and several smaller races since then.  I've had other injuries to deal with that kept me side-lined at times but I knew just what to do until I could get back to my training plan.

Are you frustrated by being side lined and wondering what in the heck do I do now?  Not sure how to adjust your eating?  Send me an email,, for a 30 minute consultation to see if we can work together to get you back on track.  You can also visit my website,, for more information.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yoga & Running Workshop Strikes a Balance

Sunday I took a great workshop, Yoga for Runners, at 5 Boro PowerYoga led by Paulina Underwood.  If you've been reading this blog for a while you know that I'm a runner and that I also practice yoga.  I love running and it does put a pounding on the body.  Yoga stretches out and lengthens the muscles that running contracts.  It's pretty much the reason that I can get out of bed and walk around without too much grumbling.

So I was excited to see a 2 hour workshop dedicated to runners and yoga.  I've been to this studio before and I find the teachers warm, engaging, and very hands on.  Yoga at 5 Boro is done in a room heated to 85 degrees, which lets muscles be more pliable.  It's no where near as hot as a Bikram class so I felt energized rather than sapped at this temperature.  

We started with breath work and also learned why Ujjayi breath worka as well with running as it does yoga.  I've been working on implementing breathing through my nose while running but not with this particular breath work.  As an fyi:  breathing through your nose actually does let you breathe better while running although it does feel difficult at first.  You can read more about this in Dr. John Douillard's book Body, Mind, and Sport.

We then moved on to a series of sun salutations with a lot of hip opening exercises.  As expected there were a lot of warrior, triangle and pigeon poses.  There were blocks and straps to let you better access a pose.  While I don't always need a prop it really does let you focus on really lengthening a muscle rather than an ego based desire to get the pose right.  (I'm talking about my own ego but I suspect I'm not alone on this one).

There was also a tutorial on chattaranga which was enlightening.  It's a pose I've struggled with, I have a block in my brain that says I don't have enough upper body strength for this pose.  My aha moment was yes, I do have the strength to do this.  I've just been hovering too low and too far forward - hence my collapsing.  Honestly, that alone would have made my day.  

I left feeling stretched, enlightened, and part of a community.  Not bad for 2 hours on a Sunday afternoon.  I am definitely looking forward to more classes.  (note:  there are more workshops being offered in October and you can find more information on their website:

Are you struggling to find the right exercise for you?  Do you need support to get your eating and exercise habits in alignment?  Send me an email,, for a complimentary 30 minute health consultation.  Together we can come up with a plan designed just for you.  You can also visit my website,, for more information.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Training for an Event and Gaining Weight?

Frustrating isn't it?  I'm training for a big event, running 15 miles on a long run and that scale is going up - not down?!!  How is that even possible?  It seems crazy, especially if you're training for a half or a full marathon.  I'm doing all of these extra miles so how can I be gaining weight?

Part of it may be that your body is becoming more dense with muscle.  That will happen, in this case you really need to go by how your clothes are fitting and how your body is toning up.

Another possible reason is that you are storing some glycogen for your long run.  The body uses water to do this and you may fluctuate for a few days.

The third reason is really the most common, you aren't eating the right foods.  A lot of us think because we are in training we can eat whatever we want.  You are going to need extra calories the day of your long run but you should be eating nutritious foods and not empty calories.  The other days you do not need as many calories because you're not burning as much.

Think about what you are reaching for after your long run.  Is it a real meal or is it something out of a package?  Are you reaching for whole wheat pasta, veggies, and chicken or are you reaching for Ben & Jerry?  It really does make a difference as to what you refuel with.  The wheat pasta with veggies and chicken should keep you full and happy, ice cream is going to have you searching out more food in an hour or two.

This isn't to say you can't have a treat, heaven knows after a long run I love a good dark beer with dinner.    Just remember that treat foods:  a) are empty calories that don't build your body back up and b) are going to leave you with a sugar crash and searching for more food.

Keep your house stocked with the right foods so when you are hungry the first thing you grab is going to be nutritious.  Food/training logs also keep you honest on what you are eating and how much you are exercising.

Do you need help with a food plan for your endurance event?  Send me an email,, for a free 30 minute consultation to see if we can work together to come up with a plan for you.  You can also visit my website,, for more information.