Embracing Change and Fear

The New Year is here and you, me, and everyone else out there is busy setting New Year Resolutions and getting after it! Whether your resolution is about getting healthier, working out, reading, cooking, or socializing more, you are planning on doing something that will require a change in your life. The end of the year is a great time to reflect on where your life has been going and what you want to improve on in the future. Reflection and change are necessary for a happy and successful life, but they can be the hardest things to do.

Those New Years Resolutions that you’ve set are there because you’ve identified areas in your life that you want to make improvements on. These improvements may be areas that you are happy with but want to get more involved with, or they can be negative aspects you want to change. Either way, you need to make change and with change comes uncertainty and the need to leave your comfort zone.

Change and uncertainty can be scaring for a lot of different reasons, but stepping outside your comfort zone is necessary when making changes in your life. So here are a two helpful tips and ideas to help you face those fears, embrace change and make 2018 your best year yet!

  1. Breaking Habits and Setting Routines Takes 21 days

This is typically a rule you’ll see when you are looking up information about quitting smoking, better eating habits, or working out more. By the end of the three weeks you will see that your cravings for old habits are all but gone. You will still have some urge to go back to the previous habits, but you have the recent memory (Recency Bias) of the good habits and that will help carry you through the resolution for the following months and years. Key tip here: Dive head first and all in to that resolution!

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FEAR Has Two Meanings

2. FEAR Can Have Two Meanings

The biggest obstacles that people run into when trying to make change is being afraid. There are many reasons for someone to fear change, but all the reasons have one thing in common. They are based in our minds and halt us in our place. I am someone who battles anxiety everyday, so I am very familiar with this experience. One of the thoughts that really help me embrace my fears and not be controlled by my anxiety is the following: FEAR has two meanings. Forgot Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise. Our fears are often based on uncertainty and our mind trying to make excuses for us. Getting outside your comfort zone is key to change and success. Face those fears and embrace the change!

 

Running With a Cold?

If you are a runner, you are almost guaranteed to run into some circumstance that will cause you to have to take a break from your scheduled training. Whether it is an injury, work, vacation, family emergencies, and so on. I’ve recently been struggling to get over a cold and cough that just will not go away. It has really put a damper on my training routine that I have had planned. So it made me ask the question, when is it okay to continue training when sick and when should rest take a priority?

I absolutely hate to take breaks in my training because too long of a break can throw off the routines that take forever to get setup. At the same time, I’m extremely cautious and make sure I do not work myself into an injury. Avoiding injuries can be easy with proper stretching, preparation and mindfulness. The one thing that you cannot plan for is getting sick. Eating healthy, drinking plenty of fluids, getting enough sleep, and removing stress from your life are great ways to stay healthy. But even the healthiest among us will catch a cold from time to time.

The week I have been fighting a cold that involved a sore throat, upset stomach, and headache. As much as I wanted to get out and put some miles under my feet, I had to listen to my body and rest. Three days of medicine and extra hours of sleep and the headache and stomach ache were finally gone and my legs were screaming “LETS GO FOR A RUN!” Unfortunately, the cough had not subsided. So now I’ve got to make a choice, go for a run or keep resting?

running while sick

 

My rule of thumb (and what you’ll most likely see other runners mention) is that if the cold is from the neck up, then you are good to go and train. In the past I would go running while congested and by mile two, the sinuses are completely clear. Honestly, I swear a good run will work better then most decongestant medicines. Just be prepared to be wiping you nose every other minute of the run. The reason for saying “from the neck up” is because if your stomach is acting up, then you are risking getting sick while training and throwing up (or it coming out of the other end). It’ll be messy and you really should be focusing on hydrating and eating properly until your stomach settles down.

stop coughing

The issue I was concerned about this time with my cold was the cough. The problem with a cough and running is that at any moment a coughing fit can arise and breathing becomes difficult. Add that to the exertion that happens when running, and there might be some trouble. I decided that I felt well enough to go for a short run and at a comfortable pace. This way if I had to stop mid run I could walk back, and not exerting too much effort by simply jogging means that if my cough does pop up, I can at least slow down and catch my breathe before continuing. Ultimately, it was a great workout. I decided to go for a 3 mile run at a 9 minute pace (that being my half marathon pace). As I turned home, I felt really good and no sign of coughing, so I went one more mile just to get some more steps in for my legs to be happy. Afterwords, I made sure to drink plenty of water and loaded up on the electrolytes by adding in NUUN tablets to the water. After that water was downed, I brewed some green tea to help sooth the throat soreness that had picked back up after the run.

Lesson here that I’ve learned, listen to your body but do not be afraid to push yourself. You can certainly train while sick but be extra cautious and make sure you are prepared to have to stop and take care of yourself. Also, the other lesson here is that it is important to stick to your training plan to insure you hit your race goal, but taking a few days off could and most likely would help your over all training by not pushing yourself into an injury or extended illness.

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on how you approach training while sick or injured. Please feel free to leave comments here and let’s get a discussion going to help out the rest of the running community!

 

Zucchini Noodle Chicken Bowl

Looking for a healthy meal but don’t have the time to get fancy and make something complicated? We’ve all definitely been there and it can be frustrating to try to find recipes that are quick, easy, and require few ingredients. One issue I always run into when looking at recipes is that almost all recipes require some sort of spice and seasoning that I do not have and it would be a waste of money to go buy them just for one meal. Below is a recipe that I love to make when I need to focus on eating clean but also need to have it be ready quickly.

Zucchini Noodle Chicken Bowl

This is one of my go-to recipes because it is only 5 ingredients, cooks fast, and tastes amazing. Zucchini noodles are just zucchini that have been spiraled instead of chopped. If you do not have a spiralizer in your kitchen, you can get a cheap one here. The idea here is to have the flavor and nutritional benefits of zucchini, but to create the texture of pasta. This will help trick your mind into thinking you are indulging in a bowl of spaghetti, when in fact, you are eating a low carb, low-calorie entrée. The best part of this is you can load up your bowl with as much zucchini as you want and not feel guilty about eating out of a large serving bowl. Another great thing about the recipe is that I mostly use chicken breast for the protein, but you can always change that up to steak, turkey, fish or any other type of protein so that it never gets old. Check out the ingredient list and cooking instructions below:

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Zucchini Noodle Chicken Bowl with a tomato salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 Medium Zucchini (spiraled)
  • 1 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 1/2 Cup Cherry Tomatoes
  • Garlic Salt
  • Pepper

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Chop the chicken breast into cubes and cook in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the chicken until the internal temperature is 165F and the inside is no longer pink.
  2. Set Chicken aside and let cool
  3. Spiralize the zucchini (if you don’t have a spiralizer, you can simply chop or julienne the zucchini)
  4. Add zucchini into the skillet and saute over medium heat. Add in garlic salt and pepper (Or whatever seasoning you prefer or have handy). Cook until it starts to become slightly translucent. Try not to over cook/steam the zucchini. If cooked for too long it will lose its density and will be mostly mush.
  5. Add zucchini and chicken into the bowl.
  6. Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves and on top of the bowl.
  7. Finish off the bowl with some garlic salt and pepper
  8. Enjoy a delicious and low carb dinner!

As you can see from the recipe, this is super simple and can be made in under 30 minutes. You can also throw in chili powder or pesto or curry and change the flavor palate so that it never gets old. This is a good trick if you are meal prepping and do not want to be tired of all the food you made for later in the week.

If you are a wine lover and/or want to make this for a special date night dinner, go ahead and grab a nice Chardonnay to pair with this meal!

Hope you enjoy!

 

Finding & Replacing Running Shoes

Anyone who has ever trained for a race and or just runs for fun knows that finding the perfect pair of running shoes is close to impossible. There are so many options out there that it can make one dizzy. There are shoes for short distance, long distance, road running, path/soft surface running, track running, heel to toe landing, flat foot landing, pronation, supination and so many more. So when we runners find a perfect shoe for us, it’s the best feeling in the world and we never want to let them go! Unfortunately, the shoes wear out and most like the company that produced the shoe has changed the design or move on to a new model. This means back to the beginning. So here are a few tips on how to  find that perfect pair of shoes and how and when to replace them so you don’t cause an injury from worn down shoes.

Tip 1: Finding The Running Shoe For You

  • GO TO A RUNNING STORE! This seems pretty simple, but most people shop online nowadays for the convenience. While shopping online is great and I definitely do that, it’s not worth the injuries you can get from improper shoes. Most stores have treadmills where the sales associate can watch you run for a bit to see what your natural gait is and what your foot strike is like.
  • Don’t worry about the look/color of the shoes at the store. Most will be very bland and we all know runners need something will a little spark to them. After all, “look good, feel good” is one of the more popular saying for runners. The focus of this is to find the best shoe that is the most comfortable for you when you run. If the store doesn’t have the color of the shoe you want, they can most likely order you one or you can order them online. Just make sure you get the brand, model and size information.
  • Once you find the shoe you want, ask the store what their return policy is. Most stores will offer free returns and exchanges for 7 days. This will allow you to take the shoes for a few training runs and make sure the shoes are perfection. Do not be afraid to return them if they are not perfect. Running shoes should fit you so that you forgot they are there and you can focus on the important aspects of running.
  • Once you’ve got those bad boys, hit the road and crush some miles!

Tip 2: When to Replace Running Shoes

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Fitness Hack: Boost Your Metabolism

Have you ever wondered how somebody can eat junk food all day every day and not gain a pound? Or how you can eat healthy a majority of the time but still cannot lose weight or fat? Yeah…me too. I remember being in college and watching my roommate eat Kit-Kats and Oreos and not gain a pound, but when I would eat that I would put on a least a few pounds. The reason behind this is pretty complex and there is a lot of science behind it, but simply put it comes down to ones metabolic rate. Some people just burn more calories than other people. Whether it’s from activity levels, height, weight, or just genetics. Knowing your base metabolic rate is key when it comes to trying to improve your fitness (lose weight, put on muscle, etc).

Overview

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Lady Gaga Bodyshamed? Really? 

Lady Gaga’s halftime performance his past weekend during Super Bowl LI received positive reviews by almost everyone who watched. From her entering the stage on suspension wires to her mic drop and football catch, she absolutely crushed the show.

In the middle of the show she had a wardrobe change and switched into an outfit that revealed her stomach. Watching this live, everybody at my watch party had the exact same reaction…damn she is in great shape! We all thought she sounded and looked great during the show.


Unfortunately, there were some online trolls who didn’t feel the same way and felt like they had to body shame her stomach. It’s disgusting how someone could shame someone for not have a defined six-pack and no extra skin. And you can guarantee that these same people would have body shamed here if she did have a six-pack. They would have called her “too masculine” or something absurd like that.

Thankfully, Lady Gaga has millions of fans that came to her defense. Many of her fans went to social media to praise her for herself-confidence to wear the outfit.

Body shaming is something that should NEVER happen! Everyone has their own story, is at a different part of their life, and we have zero reason to judge anyone because they do not have a “perfect/supermodel” body.

How great would this world be if we all helped build each other up instead of tearing each other down?

Super Bowl Workout: Commercial Edition

It’s SUPER BOWL time!! This year we should have another great Super Bowl Event. The game between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons is setup to one of the best Super Bowls in recent history. Then you add in a Halftime show with Lady Gaga and probably a guest star or two. All of this will be extremely entertaining, but we all know the main reason that most people will tune in is for the commercials (I mean who doesn’t love those Budweiser Clydesdale commercials)! The Super Bowl will be watched by an estimated 120 Million viewers this year, which means it’s going to be one of the biggest days of the year for TV advertising. The average commercial will run a company roughly $5 Million for 30 seconds and it’s almost guaranteed that they will make that back two-fold with an effective commercial campaign.

In addition to a great football game, halftime performance and hilarious commercials, there will be a plethora of snacks and fried food consumed by viewers. I know I’ll be eating and drinking my fair share of calories during the game. If you read my earlier post about food being consumed on Super Bowl Sunday, you know the average american will consume roughly 6,000 calories….yikes! So in order to help combat those calories, I’ve put together an easy workout to do while watching the commercials. It’s a little something to keep us active and off the couch while we eat/drink our body weight in chicken wings, pizza, and beer.

Concept: Watch the commercials like normal. After watching the commercial and finding out what the product is, do the workout listed below that matches up with that companies category. Each workout listed will allow you to do the exercise while still paying attention to the next commercial or the game.

Category Exercises:

  • Food/Drink – 10 Jumping Jacks
  • Alcoholic Beverage – 10 Squats
  • Automotive – 10 Push-ups
  • Electronics/Household – 10 Sit-Ups
  • Miscellaneous (gaming, movies, entertainment, etc.) – 10 Lunges

Feel free to tweak or change some of the categories or workouts to your desire. Hope you enjoy!

Super Bowl: Healthy Snack Idea

It’s almost game time! The biggest sporting event of the year is just two days away. Super Bowl LI between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons will be watched by an estimated 120 Million people. If you are like many of those people and myself, you will most likely be watching at a watch party surrounded with friends, family and a lot of food. On average, Americans will consumer 6,000 calories during the 4-5 hour game……yeah that’s the equivalent to how many calories one would burn if they ran a full marathon.

I’ll definitely be indulging more than usual during the game this weekend, but I’m going to try to make sure that there are some healthier options and snacks available. This way I can still indulge in some great food but not worry about what may happen to my waist line. My contribution to the watch party snacks will be a twist on the classic mozzarella sticks. I’ll cooking up some awesome Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks (yea, I’ll be the guy who brings something somewhat healthy and I’m not ashamed). Below is the recipe.

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Eat Clean, Train Dirty

Lately, I’ve been hitting the workouts hard. Improving my speed in my runs, increasing my weight training and trying out new body weight routines. Now this is all fine and dandy, but in order to see results you’ve got to pair the training sessions with consistent clean eating. Focus on eating for a purpose. Check out this quick and easy clean eating dinner I whipped up tonight in 30 minutes:


Ingredients:

  • Frozen Chicken Tenderloins
  • Asparagus (trimmed/chopped)
  • Green and Red Peppers (sliced)

Directions:

  • Bake chicken tenderloins at 375F for 15 minutes
  • Flip chicken and add vegetables to baking tray
  • Finish baking everything together at 375F for another 15 minutes or until the chicken’s temperature reaches at least 170F (I always tend to slightly over cook my chicken to insure there is no risk of food poisoning. Rather have it a little dry  and some salsa or dipping sauces than risk getting sick)

Workout Wednesday: Run, Run, Run

At the start of this year i was really into lifting weights and body weight workouts. I spent most of last year running and training for a marathon. It was great to finally get more muscle mass back, feel the after-workout burn and sore muscles. But the last few days I’ve got the urge to run again. So I sign up for a 5K this month and a half marathon next month. My goal this month is to get a sub 21 minute 5K (6:45/mile). I ran a 5k on Monday at 23 minutes (7:24/mile). So I’ve got some work to put in over the next three months.

Today’ Workout:

  • Bring Sally Up Challenge – Two sets of pikes and two sets of leg lifts
    • The goal here being to strengthen my core, back, and shoulders. All of which will help my overall speed and push off.
  • Run 4 miles – My plan here is run miles 1 and 3 at a 90% sprint. With miles 2 and 4 being recovery runs to control my heart-rate and breathing. Estimated pace will be 7:20/mile.
  • By sprinting and recovering, I’ll be able to push my body to a faster so that it is use to that pace when I run the 5k. The muscle memory from that pace will help me in the race as I start to feel fatigued.