Workout Wednesday: Motivation

Here is a little motivational quote to get you through your workout today. It’s the middle of the week and you may be starting to feel your motivation slip and feeling tired from work or school. Attack the day and get that workout in! Remember, the only person you are competing against is the person you were yesterday. Your goal everyday is to improve and be better than you used to be.

 

Recovery Tip: Ice or Heat an Injury

Should we ice or heat to recover from an injury? This is a question that all athletes and trainers have been asking for a long time. If you have ever seen the great 90’s movie, Rookie Of The Year, you know that some people have an interesting take on the recovery approach….Now we all know heating up ice cubes is ridiculous and won’t work, but Icy Hot products are one of the most popular recovery products in the market. They are great for aches and pains, but there are some injuries where heating or icing could actually cause added harm.

Exercising to stay healthy and improve your fitness is always great, but unfortunately at some point you will run into an injury. It’s to be expected when you are trying to push yourself to make improvements to your body and health. Set backs and injuries can be expected when training, but the good thing is that there are plenty of options out there to treat any injury. The bad news is that there is so many options out there that it can be confusing on which ones to use. So instead of trying to pick out the right product at the local pharmacy, let’s get back to the basics.

icevheat3

When to Ice an injury:

Ice should be used on acute injuries. These are injuries that involve swelling or bruising. Ice is almost always the answer to any fresh injury. It’s primary role is to help slow down and reduce any swelling and inflammation. Examples of injuries to ice:

  • Rolled ankles/joints
  • Freshly pulled muscles
  • Impact injuries (hit by pitch in baseball, tackles in football, etc.)

Always remember, when it comes to icing an injury that you do not forgot the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).

When to Heat an Injury:

Heat should be applied to injuries that involve tight muscles, spasms, and chronic pain. The key to heating injuries is to improve blood flow and loosen muscles. The key to recovery with heat will be stretching after heating. Here are a few examples of injuries to heat:

  • Back Spasms
  • Lingering pain in muscles (not freshly pulled muscles)
  • Stress Headaches and neck pain

It is important to not mix these up. If you were to switch ice or heat on these injuries, you could be making the injuries worse. Icing a spasm would cause more tightness and pain. Heating a rolled ankle would increase the blood flood to the area and increase the swelling.

Please make sure to go see a Physician for serious or lingering injuries. Major injuries require expert opinions and testing. Icing a torn ACL would be great for pain management and reducing swelling, but you will need surgery. Let’s hope you never have to experience that example or one like it.

Best of luck out there in your path to a fit and health life. Remember that small injuries will occur, but that is no need to quite or give up. Embrace the recovery time and hit the ground running once the pain is manageable or completely gone.

 

 

 

 

Health Tip: Cut The C.R.A.P

Just like how Teri Garr in Young Frankenstein had to PUT…THE CANDLE…BACK, you need to PUT…THE DOUGHNUT…BACK! Seriously, put it back. There is next to no nutritional value in doughnuts, cake, cookies and white bread. They may taste great and that sugary snack can get you from lunch to dinner but it does nothing good for your body.

There are about 1000 different diets and schemes to losing weight, being fit, or just being healthy in general, but the one thing they all have in common is that eating healthy is the key. One of the most common phrases you will hear in the fitness community is “Abs are made in the gym, but revealed in the kitchen” and it is absolutely correct. One of the prime examples of this that has been in the new lately is from Tom Brady. The dude is now 39 years old and in the best shape of his life. While most quarterbacks in the NFL are breaking down on almost every other play, he’s slinging the ball around like guys who has never been hit by a linebacker. The main reason for this is because of an overhaul in his diet. It’s absurdly strict and definitely not recommended for everyone, but the point is that what you put in your body is extremely important and affects everything from your weight to your attitude to your energy levels. If you want to read up more about how Brady keeps dominating the NFL, check out this article from Yahoo.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not perfect when it comes to my diet and eating habits, but I know that the healthier I eat the better I feel. A rule that I like to follow is the 80/20 rule. This just means that the I focus on eating healthy and natural foods 80% of the time and I allow myself to indulge in cheat meals 20% of the time. Now those cheat meals tend to be fries, chips, bread, or chocolate. I’m not going all out with fried food and extra fatty food. One way I focus being healthy is by cutting the C.R.A.P. and eating F.O.O.D!

crap

Cut the C.R.A.P.

Carbonated Drinks: 

By cutting these out, it means that you’ll be cutting out a lot of sodas and drinks that contain chemicals, sugars, and calories that have no nutritional benefit. These drinks are what are considered empty calories. They may taste great and help curve that sweet tooth, but your body doesn’t need them. When your body doesn’t need calories, it stores them as fat for later. This is why those diet drinks that are so popular do not actually lead to weight loss. Your body sees these chemicals/ingredients and doesn’t need them, so it’ll flush them out or store them for later.

Refined Sugar:

That white bread, white cake, and favorite breakfast cereal is doing nothing for you. Refined sugar has zero nutritional value (fiber, minerals, vitamins) and are extremely high in calories. Cut these out by switching to high fiber breads and oatmeal and you’ll notice how you’ll be more full, more often. That full feeling will lead to eating fewer calories and more weight loss.

Artificial Sweeteners/Alcohol:

Artificial sweeteners are those yellow, blue, pink sugar packs you see people loading up their morning coffee with and is one of the main ingredients in soft drinks. If it’s not natural and needs to be created in a science lab, it’s probably not ideal for your body.

Alcohol is another option here. Beer gut is a real thing. No don’t get me wrong, I love to have beer/wine as much as the next person, but alcohol is processed through the liver as a toxin and signals the body to store fat. So this is something you should definitely cut back on or cut out all together.

Processed Foods:

These foods are ones that have additives that allow the food to not expire or have longer shelf lives. Examples being cereal, fruit snacks, dried fruits, mixed nuts, and microwave popcorn. These are great because you can buy them in bulk and not worry about them expiring before you can eat them. But avoid them as much as possible because the artificial ingredients and additives are terrible for your body. There is great article here that explains more about why exactly you need to avoid these foods.

Consume Real F.O.OD.

Fruits & Vegetables:

There is a reason that health professionals want you eating multiple servings of fruits and vegetables every day. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber that your body needs. Replace those fruit snacks, candy, and sugar snacks with unprocessed and natural food. This simple change will boost your energy in no time. You

Organic and Lean Proteins:

The reason you should focus on these is that they are all natural. You know what you are getting when you are eating these organic and lean proteins. Now I’ll be honest, I don’t eat organic that often because they are expensive. So when I don’t eat organic, I look at the labels that and ingredients. The shorter the ingredient list, the better.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids:

Add these into the diet by eating more fish, specifically salmon. Omega 3s are great because they are anti-inflammatory and will help reduce overall swelling.Not only that, but they can help reduce risks of heart attacks and strokes, they can reduce anxiety and depression, and they can help improve sleep. For a full list of benefits, check out this article.

Drink Water: 

If you think you are drinking enough water, you are not drinking enough water. The majority of the human body is composed of water and is the key to life. By drinking more water you will not only have more energy and feel hungry less often, but your skin will clear up and your body will be flushed of harmful toxins. The recommended amount of water you that you should drink is 1 oz per 2 lb of body weight. So if you weight 150 lbs then you should drink 75 oz of water. Honestly, I think that is nowhere near enough. I’d recommend drinking 1 oz per 1 lb of body weight. I weight 155 so that is  roughly 1.25 gallons. When I’m working out regularly, I’ll definitely hit that amount and never have to worry about dehydration.See the image below for just a few of the great added benefits of drinking more water.

2e858170a4277bcb034b9aaa24486053

Now, I know that making all these adjustments at once will be tough but they will absolutely be worth it. If you do not feel like you can completely make these changes at once, then start small and slowly work them into your eating habits. I’d love to hear more about other eating habit changes that you have been making that have been successful. Feel free to comment here  or reach out to my social media pages with details. I always love learning new and different ideas to living a healthier lifestyle.

 

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

Continue reading “Finding & Replacing Running Shoes”

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!

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.

Midweek Motivation

Here is a little motivation to help get you through your midweek workout:

if-there-is-no-struggle-quote-by-frederick-douglass
No matter what, there will be struggles in all aspects of life. Do not give up or give in. Keep fighting and the progress and success will come!

Core Workout: Bring Sally Up Challenge

I’m always on the hunt for new workouts and challenges to help break up the monotony of my training. Recently, I came across the Bring Sally Up Challenge. Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards from the TV series, Arrow, posted some videos on their social media pages of them attempting it during their training for the show. It’s a crazy, intense finishing workout and I just had to give it a try!

Workout:

The concept of the workout is inspired by the song “Flower” by Moby. If you’ve ever seen the movie Gone in 60 Seconds, then you will instantly recognize the song. It’s a catchy song that is very easy to workout to, but the reason this song influenced this workout is because of the lyrics. The song is 3:26 and the following lyrics are repeated 30x in that span:

Bring Sally up and bring Sally down
Lift and squat, gotta tear the ground

For this workout, we are doing Plank-To-Pikes using a TRX band (example below). The idea being that you hold the plank for the duration of the song. When the lyric “Sally up” plays, you go up into a pike. When the lyric “Sally down” plays, you return to the plank position. As you can imagine, this workout will kick your butt. It’s a full body workout that will make your shoulders and core scream. I made it 1:25 into the song on my first attempt before I had to stop. My goal will be to complete the challenge by the end of February.

trx_saw_pikes
TRX Plank-To-Pike

Variations/Alternatives: 

Here are a few different variations and alternatives if you can’t use a TRX Band, don’t like Pikes, or want to workout different areas of the body:

  • If you don’t have a TRX Band, use a yoga ball instead. It will work the same as a TRX Replacement.
  • Push-ups – Hold the push-up position and follow the lyrics. Go down and hold the pushup with “Sally down” and return to push up position with “Sally up.”
  • Squats – Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, sit into a squat with “Sally down” and return to standing position with “Sally up.”
  • Sit-ups – This one would be the easiest in my mind. Sit up and hold when “Sally up” plays and then back to rest with “Sally down.” If you are just starting out, I would recommend this one as a base and then move up to the other options.

Good luck and hope you enjoy!

Scrambled Egg Muffins

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, not only because it gives you the fuel and energy you need to get through the morning, but because it sets the tone for how you will eat the rest of the day. For me, I need to have something packed with protein that will keep me full until lunch. This way I do not reach that point of feeling starved and eat way too much at lunch.

My go to breakfast is super easy and I make them when I meal prep for the week. They are Scrambled Egg Muffins and are so easy to make that someone like me, who doesn’t bake, can make without any effort. I’ll make a muffin tin full of them and they will last all week. Simply just grab a few and heat them up for a minute and you are all set. Below is my go to recipe:

scrambled-egg-muffin

Continue reading “Scrambled Egg Muffins”

Charity Miles

What’s Your Why? – One of the many questions you will get from friends, family and strangers when you are going through your fitness journey is “Why are doing this?” The journey to a fit and healthy life is different for everyone, which is why I try to give positive feedback, advice and encouragement to everyone I can. We all have different stories and are in different places along to this journey. I thought today that I would share what my “Why” is  that helps motivate me from day-to-day.

My main motivation to be healthy and fit comes from my Dad. Years back he was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer and when we were researching how to beat this particular type of cancer we found that healthy living, eating natural and clean food while exercising regularly, was the best way to prevent this cancer from forming. From that day forward, I promised myself that I would take care of my body and help motivate my dad to do the same. Unfortunately, he passed away a few years ago after battling and beating the cancer multiple times over the years. Over that time I developed a healthy lifestyle for myself and I’m motivated to keep that going and helping others as much as possible. I’ll be the first one to tell you that it is not easy staying on track with health and fitness. The temptations of Beer and Wings during sporting events and Netflix binge watching sessions are VERY real and I’ll fall into those routines from time to time. And that is okay. One key to healthy living is moderation.

One of the ways I keep my health and fitness motivation going is by using the App, Charity Miles. This app is awesome and I’ve been using it for years now (this is not a paid advertisement). I personally love giving back to my community as much as possible. Charity Miles let you give back to a cause that you care about by simply running an app in the background of your phone when you run, walk of bike. You will be doing all of those things when getting into a healthy lifestyle, so why not use the app for a great cause. Personally, I’ve logged 561 miles over 100 runs with Charity Miles. For every mile you run, they donate $.25 to a charity that you picked. This means by simply running and having the app tracking my distance, I’ve raised $140.25 for Stand Up to Cancer. Now imagine if we can get as all the runners, walkers and bikers out there to use this app. How much good could be done by simply using an app.

Here are just a few of the charities that are available to pick from on the app:

  • Stand Up To Cancer
  • Save The Children
  • Operation Smile
  • ASPCA
  • ALS Association
  • Feeding America
  • Wounded Warrior Project
  • Special Olympics

If you are a runner, biker or even just walk your dogs after work, How would you feel about pitching in to help others in need by simply carrying around your phone with the app logging your miles?