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.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Losing Motivation? How To Hang on to the Goal.

Let's face it, any long term goal can seem impossible to reach.  It seems that we're chugging along and still the end goal is not quite in sight. It can be so frustrating.  The first key is to remember why you want this goal in the first place.  It has to be something that motivates you and you alone.  It cannot be something you are doing for someone else.

Are you running a race?  Why?  What are you going to get from finishing that race?  Imagine the tangibles:  how will your body feel?  how will your self-esteem be impacted?  how will you look?  (it's fine to be a sweaty mess - you just completed a race)!  Now think about what else it might realistically lead to, your possibilities are endless.

Do you want to lose weight?  Again, ask yourself why.  It could be for health, to fit into clothes, to improve your quality of life.  Again, imagine the outcome.  How will you feel and how will you look?  What else could you accomplish? Be realistic - weight loss is not a magic cure for all of your troubles in life.  You will, however, enjoy the new found energy you have.

Post these goals and reasons every where.  I'm not kidding.  Use them as your computer log ins, put post-its on your mirror and the fridge, stick notes in your wallet or purse, put reminders in your calendars, your car, and anywhere else that will jog your memory.

The other tip is to break down the long term goal into smaller bite size chunks.  I do this with my clients in my coaching programs and I do this myself as a runner.  I know darn well that I'm not going from running 3 miles to 13.1 in three weeks.  There has to be build up, 10% mileage increases, speed drills and hill training.  I set a goal for the week and work at it.

It's the same thing for weight loss.  I'm not going to lose 20 pounds in two weeks and keep it off.  But I can add vegetables to my meals and next week I can eat one less treat per day.  I can swap a sweet drink for seltzer with mint and lime and another week I can add in exercise.

Make it a game.  What makes you feel your best?  Notice what meals or workouts make your body feel alive and doing what it is meant to do.  Notice what makes you feel sluggish and drained.  Write them down so you can repeat what works and discard what doesn't.  Journaling is one way to notice and keep track of progress and goals.

Do you need help resetting your eating?  I'm leading a whole food cleanse on October 14th.  You can visit the events link in my website for full details,

Friday, September 14, 2012

Exercising & Eating Well But Not Losing Weight?

I've had several people tell me recently that a) they're exercising and not losing weight and b) that they're not eating a lot of food.  I understand, I've been there too.  You're watching what you eat, working that cardio, and still you're not getting the results that you want.

You're starting off on the right path and to get the most out of exercise you need to mix it up.  Strength training is going to rev up your metabolism and keep it stoked.  You will burn more calories throughout the day since muscle uses up more energy than fat does.  Your body needs to repair itself after strength training and that helps keep you burning calories.

Another way to rev up your metabolism is through interval training.  Adding short bursts into your cardio routine maximizes your workout.  They should be repeated regularly throughout your workout.  So if you walk briskly add in jogging spurts.  Do you ride the bike or do the elliptical?  Crank up resistance and pedal like you're being chased.  Even your regular aerobic workout can have higher intensity bursts.  Your body has to work harder and it will also need to recover afterwards.

Another reason you might not be losing weight is due to food sensitivities.  When your body feels as if it's under constant low level attack you develop inflammation.  Your body is defending itself and it's not likely that it's going to shed pounds.  I recommend doing an elimination diet for 10 - 21 days to rid yourself of any toxins that are accumulating in your body.  After this period of time you start slowly adding foods back in to your diet.  Your body will react to the foods it has sensitivity to.

A sensitivity is not a full blown allergy.  An allergy will trigger symptoms right away and your body cannot tolerate the offending item.  It is an immune system response and it mistakes foods for an invader.  Some of these allergies are very serious and can prove to be fatal.  A sensitivity is a caused by a food that you cannot digest properly or breakdown easily which can lead to bloating, cramps, headaches, or irritability.

Do you feel that this applies to you?  If so send me an email,, and we can set up a 30 minute consultation to if we would like to work with each other to solve your challenges.  You can also visit my website,, for more information.

Friday, September 7, 2012

My New Breakfast Obsession

I've had this breakfast every morning for the past three days.  It's like a pudding rather than eating oatmeal.   I'm thinking of making it again with some different flavors for tomorrow.  What can I say, I love my overnight oats?  I find regular cereal does not keep me full, even when it's full of fiber and low in sugar.  I don't always want a smoothie and it's been too warm for cooked breakfasts.  Plus, honestly, I don't usually feel like cooking in the morning.  I've got other things to do and I want to get out the door quickly.

This is quick to put together the night before.  It needs time to set up and for the milk to be absorbed so it doesn't really work as well in the morning.  On the other hand, it only takes 5 minutes to put together; including chopping any fruit that you want to add.

I find that if I use banana or mango it does not need any added sugar but you might want to add a little maple syrup or honey to yours.  I use rolled oats, steel cut oats will not soften properly and quick oats can get mushy.  The chia seeds, which can be found in health food stores, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe's, give the cereal its pudding consistency.

The below recipe is what I've been eating.  For tomorrow I'm thinking of using mango, coconut, and vanilla protein powder and eliminating the cocoa, almond butter, and strawberries.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats
1/3 c rolled oats
1 c milk of your choice (I use coconut milk beverage -  not the canned one)
1 Tbs chia seeds
1 Tbs raw cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbs peanut or almond butter
1/2 banana, chopped (or fruit of your choice)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
4 or 5 strawberries, cut into bite sized pieces (or fruit of your choice)

Mix all ingredients, except for strawberries, in a large cereal bowl or a container with a lid.  When there are no lumps add in the berries.  Cover and put in the fridge overnight.  Uncover in the morning and enjoy.

You can top this with coconut, cacao nibs, extra milk or a little natural sweetener.

Tired of the not having energy during the day?  Bored with your same old meals?  Send me an email,, for a free consultation.  You can also visit my website,

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Other Ways to Get Some Exercise

A client and I were speaking recently and he mentioned how annoyed he gets by women who say that their housework is exercise.  I had to get him to say a bit more about that before I gave a reply and to not voice the first response that sprang to my mind.  He went on to say that going up and down the stairs with laundry a few times wasn't really exercise.  To which I was able to reply, no, it's not.  But giving the house a thorough cleaning for at least an hour; including scrubbing, vacuuming and mopping is quite a good workout.  You work up quite a sweat on a good house cleaning jag.

Another great way to build in exercise?  Gardening.  You get to be outside and connect with nature.  I trimmed the ivy and dug up some rouge trees this morning.  My shoulders and arms ached pleasantly by the time I was done and I worked up another good sweat.

If you live in a walkable area you can leave your car at home and do your errands on foot.  There is no need to take the car on small errands such as going to the bank or the drugstore if you can walk it.  (I know this is not an option in all areas).  Walk like you have somewhere to be and you can get a decent workout in there too.

Do you have a pet?  Give your pooch a good walk or explore your local park's hiking trails.  If you don't have a pet can do some good by walking a shelter dog.  He or she will love the attention and you get a walk or run in as well.

Stuck in an office all day?  Use your lunch time to walk or use the stairwell for a great workout.  Jog up a few flights of stairs and then make games out of stepping to the corners of the steps in a zig-zag motion or skip every other step for a few more flights.  You can also use the steps for some lunges or do sets of squats on the landing.  Just have some baby wipes handy for a quick clean up after your stair session.

So on days when you aren't able to hit the gym or get a run in, you can still sneak some fitness into your day. And your house, yard or pet can also benefit.

What's your favorite way to sneak some exercise in during your day?

Do you want to start an exercise plan but don't know where to start?  Send me an email,, and we can set up a free consultation to see whether I can help you with your goals.  You can also visit my website,, for more information.