Resolve Now

So many people wait until January 1st to start a new diet, start a new exercise program, start doing this, stop doing that... blah blah blah.  I say, DON'T wait.  Don't wait for a new day of the week, month, or year.  Don't wait for your schedule to clear.  Don't wait for the holidays to be over.  Start now, before Thanksgiving, before all of the treats of Christmas, before the celebrations of New Years.  Start now.

True story:  I used to HATE Thanksgiving because it meant feeling full and sick all day.  It wasn't until college one year that I discovered Thanksgiving didn't have to mean eating and eating and eating and eating and eating.  I had a nice meal and that. was. it.  I actually felt like I could enjoy Thanksgiving a little more because I wasn't feeling the crazy urge to take a nap and sleep away the fulness, only to wake up and stuff myself some more.  I really used to do that.  (And also on other holidays or for random Sunday dinners).

What prompted this post is an article I read by the National Calorie Control Council (seriously, that's a real council) about Thanksgiving Day totaling more than 4500 calories for the average American!  Are your freaking kidding me?!  That's nuts!  Read the article here, if interested.  So yeah, let's resolve NOW to practice moderation, keep up with our workouts, and better enjoy the holiday season :)

Obsessing much?

I never weigh myself.  I just don't believe in obsessing over a stinkin' number, when in reality that number may not mean much at all, because, let's face it: we're all built so different from one another.  Not to mention lifestyle differences that contribute to weight, or mass, I should say.  A couple weeks ago I was at a friend's house and there was a scale sitting out so I thought, what the heck, why not.  I hopped right on, fully expecting a far lesser number than what popped up.  This really chapped me--all day, in fact--because I feel like I've been especially consistent lately with my running goals... yet, here was this darned number telling me otherwise.

Or WAS it?!?

I think we can all agree that it's a foolish idea to obsess over a number, right?  But we need something to mark our progress, which is the convenient thing about a scale because it provides a pretty solid idea of where we're at.  I would offer a new idea: weigh in twice monthly.  That whole saying "a watch pot never boils"?  Yeah, well here ya go: weigh yourself daily and it's much harder to see the benefits of your hard work because you're trying to track subtle changes. 

Here's an even better idea: use how you feel each day as a marker of where you're at with your goals.  Do you feel better about yourself?  Were you able to run a little farther today without stopping?  Have you completely forgotten about your kids' Halloween candy hidden in the closet?  Do your pants seem to fit a little looser? 

I love to use MapMyFitness because it allows you to log your daily exercise and diet AND allow room for comments on how you felt that day.  What's awesome is being able to look back and SEE your improvements!  No matter how subtle the improvements may seem, when you're looking at it at the end of a week or month it's surprising to see how far you've come.  Also awesome: you can add friends so that when you update your diet or exercise you can share it with no one, just your friends, or make it public.  That's a great way to hold yourself accountable!  What's even MORE awesome is that they have a great app for iphones and androids.  Go check it out, if you haven't already.

First mobile post!

Okay, a little disclaimer before we begin.  If the wording seems especially odd or inappropriate, its likely my phone's auto correct feature is doing what it was clearly designed to do: make me sound like a fool.  I have learned my lesson after a really embarassing text so am pretty dutiful about proof-reading, but I may miss something here or there :)

The plank is a yoga-inspired static exercise that is one heck of a workout for your core.  I like the plank as part of a circuit of core exercises... It appears easy but is NOT!  Some things to remember when performing the plank: keep your back straight--it should not sag.  Also suck in your stomach...imagine drawing your belly button back to your spine.  Don't let your back end pop up, keep your glutes flexed.  Lastly, breathe!  Go ahead and give it a try--see how long you can hold it!!

Fall Soup!

I recently tried a recipe from for Creamy Corn Chowder and tweaked it just slightly... it's delicious, easy, filling, and is great the next day as leftovers!

Creamy Corn Chowder
Recipe adapted from Our Best Bites

2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. water
2 1/2 c. milk skim or 1% milk
2 regular-sized chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 lb. bacon or turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 small onion, minced
5 red potatoes, diced into small cubes
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans corn, drained
Salt and pepper to taste
Tabasco sauce to taste (I added about 1/4 tsp)

Melt butter then add flour and water to form a thick paste.  Add milk and bouillon and whisk together well.  Stir in bacon, onion, potatoes, garlic, and corn.  Simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  At salt, pepper, and Tabasco to taste.  Enjoy!


I was on the cross-country team one year when I was in high school and I can remember how before we would go out for our runs, the team captains would lead us through about 10 minutes of stretching.  I always just pretended like I knew what I was doing, or why I was doing it, but in reality I didn't.  I stretched because everyone else was.  And it made us look like serious business before a meet.  Or at least it made the rest of them look that way... because, with the speed of a turtle there's not a lot that can make me look fast.  But how often do we, or do we observe, people stretching before a run, a game, or practice?  It is very common!  There are four basic types of stretching, which we will review here.

  1. Static Stretching is slow and constant movement to the end of the range of motion, held for 30 seconds.  This is stretching technique is best AFTER activity, and not as part of a warm-up.  Recent studies have shown that there is not a link between pre-activity stretching and risk of injury (Weerapong et al, 2004; Weldon et al, 2003; Witvrouw et al, 2004) <---must they all start with W's??  However, there is evidence that static stretching immediately prior to training or competition can negatively affect performance in strength and power-dependent activities (Cramer et al, 2004; Evetovich et al, 2003; Papaclopoulas et al, 2005; Power et al, 2004; Behm et al, 2006; Wallmann et al, 2005; Young and Behm, 2003; Fletcher and Jones, 2004; Siatras et al, 2003).  {That's a lot of studies!} 
  2. Dynamic Stretching is functionally based stretching that mimics the activity you are about to perform.  An example of this is a light jog before a run.  This is the recommended stretching technique before activity in particular, but also helpful after activity.
  3. Ballistic Stretching is a bouncing-type movement in which the end point of the range of motion is NOT held.  An example of this is rapidly swinging your leg from flexion to extension before performing hurdles.  This is NOT a recommended method for stretching except in extreme cases where the athlete must reach beyond normal ranges of motion for their sport (i.e. gymnastics) because it may very easily cause injury to muscles or connective tissue.  **Side note: if you do p90x, skip the ballistic stretches in warm-up and cool-down and instead use static stretching!
  4. PNF Stretching is Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation and is a common method in rehabilitation.  It is a partnered stretch with active and passive components and has three types of stretches: Hold-Relax, Contract-Relax, and Hold-Relax-Agonist-Contract.
 And that's the skinny on stretching!  Make sure to include stretching as a part of your exercise routine--it is shown to improve overall flexibility, posture, and can help your mind and body relax.

Nutrition 101

I'm sure you have all heard of the terms macronutrients and micronutrients.  Nutrients are broken down into two categories: macronutrients and micronutrients.  Macronutrients are what most of us consume, often missing out on essential micronutrients.  Macronutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.  Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals. 

              1. Macronutrients
              2. Micronutrients

I recently found an article from Runner's World, written by Liz Applegate, Ph.D., about diet pertaining to runners in particular, but good for any individual.  According to Dr. Applegate:  
Most are taking in lots of calories and nutrients--but it's in the form of energy bars, nutrient-enhanced drinks, and fortified packaged foods. The problem is, "real" foods--fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats--are better for you than fortified products.  

I have to admit, I am guilty of this.  It is all too convenient to just grab an energy bar and call it good.  But there is a lot to be said for eating whole foods!  Check out THIS article for more information. 


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