Have you ever said something along the lines of “I know I should do it..but I don’t”? I say that about yoga all the time..and yesterday I finally did something about it! I know the benefits of yoga: increased flexibility, balance and coordination, improvement in posture and strength, lower blood pressure and stress levels, etc. and after yesterday’s class, I realized that I need to make time to practice yoga more often. I participated in Catherine’s yoga flow class, which combines yoga and Pilates exercises, resulting in a completely new glistening workout sesh :p.
“I always start with a simple warm up like cat rolling and then from there introduce some of the major poses we will be flowing through like down dog and up dog,” explains Catherine. “For the main flow, I always try to find a really challenging format that pushes every level in the class.”
Here’s an example of a
my legs were shakingchallenging flow:
- runner’s lunge-warrior 1-twisting warrior 2-warrior 2
- reverse warrior-extended side angle pose (we connected our hands but that’s beyond my terminology :) )
Catherine finishes up her class with restorative-thank goodness-poses..
“so people forget how hard they worked and just concentrate on the relaxation. At the end there is always around 10 minutes for a series of meditative poses.”
Step out of your comfort zone and try a new class. You’ll experience a “new” sore, work muscles that you may not have known you had before, and if nothing else, learn a new technique you can take back and use in your respective class! It’s always fun to be a participant once in a while .
Anticipating our trail race, my friend Jessica had some very good questions about what to wear, eat, and basically do prior to, during, and after the race.
Here are a list of questions and answers that I feel a rookie runner will appreciate!
- What should I eat the night before the race? You’ve probably heard of pasta parties the race organization holds the night before-right? Right Katie..”carbo loading” the night before properly will store the needed glycogen (the body’s most accessible energy source) in your muscles and liver, preventing you from “hitting the wall” during the race.
- Okay..then what do I eat before the race? First, never try something new on race-day..this could cause GI distress and the lines are always waaay long for The John… Eat a meal that can be quickly absorbed and digested; peanut butter toast with fruit is a perfect breakfast for an early morning race!
- Where’s the best place to put my bib number? Place your bib number on the front side and only attach it to your top layer of clothing. This is important for 2 reasons;1) if your chip timer is on the bottom of your bib, the person ripping it off at the finish line can do so easily, and 2) if you get hot easily
and glisten a lot, you can take off your top layer without disturbing your bib.
- We’re only on mile 2-it feels like we’ve been running forever! What do you think about? Don’t think of the total miles as a whole; take each mile as an accomplishment towards your goal! For instance, instead of saying “only 7 more miles”, think “3 miles down-bring on the 4th!” Think of different ways to take your mind off of running-play I-spy, sing songs,
make fun of other runnersnotice how other runners are acting-it’s amazing how time will fly .
- How do I grab the water without it spilling down my arm?
Based on personal experienceTry this technique: hold the arm that you’re grabbing the cup with. Grab it. Let your arm holding the cup lag behind you slightly (instead of bringing it straight to your mouth=soaked arm and water up your nostril(s)). Bend your elbow and bring it to your mouth. Success! Or you could just slow down..
- I see the finish line! How should I stop? As your approaching the finish line, look past where you’ll actually stop and slowly come to a walk. This will prevent blood pooling. HUH? As your running, your heart is pumping oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to large muscle groups (lower body). Once the oxygen and nutrients are used up, the contracting muscles return the blood back to the heart to replenish. However, when you suddenly stop running, so does the force that returns the blood to the heart. Waste products like lactic acid then stay in the muscles, causing swelling and pain. Ease your pace to a slower jog, then to a walk.
- How will I know what place I came in? And can I really take all this free food? Based on your chip time and when you crossed both the start and finish lines, the race organization will post the results after all runners have finished a couple of days preceding the race. And yes..you really can take as much food as you want! The sponsors of the race encourage you to try all of the bars, drinks and goos in hopes that you’ll like it and actually buy it. Be greedy
All runners have their own preferences prior to, during, and preceding the race. Practice makes perfect-the more you participate in races, the more you’ll find what best works for you. Ultimately, all runners have the same goal- to finish and to finish strong!
Today was a very productive day! My friend Jessica told me a while back that she wanted to train for a half-marathon in the Spring, so I recommended she get some practice and sign-up for some races now (to get the feel for how these things go). When she told me she registered for the Tobacco Trail 10 Mile race, I was nervous that a trail race might be too much for a new runner, but I promised her that I’d be right there with her!
Turns out, the Tobacco trail was a flat, out and back course that was a great first race for any runner! I guess when Jessica said “trail”, I was thinking more of like an obstacle-type race.
We finished (together!) in 1:35 minutes! Jessica pushed herself through the entire 10 miles and didn’t even walk once; it was a great experience for both of us; Jess’s first race accomplishment and me being her motivator and running beside her
talking her ear off..
Sign up with a friend for a race instead of going at it alone! It’s less intimidating when you know someone who’s going through the same experience as you are. Partner training/racing can be motivating, supporting, and a much-deserved social hour at Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte following the race
Get your mind out of the gutter..I was talking with an instructor and a previous student of mine, Melissa, and she explained a new class format that I’ve never heard of before! It’s called 8 minutes in heaven and basically, it’s 8 different exercises performed for a minute each.
“I start with a lower body exercise, then an upper body exercise and end with a core movement; hold each exercise for 1 minute and rest 30 seconds before moving onto the next,” explained Melissa. “In between sets, complete 2-3 minutes of cardio (jumping jacks, high knees, etc.).”
Melissa uses this format with her Smart Bells class and changes up the exercises weekly.
Talk with your friends, coworkers, supervisors, etc. about different formats they use in their respective classes! It’s a great way to learn a new technique and/or incorporate new formats into your class. This doesn’t just apply to fitness instructing; sharing ideas in any field is a terrific way to keep things fresh and exciting!
In a previous post, I explained the importance of measuring your heart rate and knowing your numbers to see how hard you’re working while exercising. As you should still calculate and find your numbers, there’s another simpler test that will monitor your intensity-the talk test! Group fitness instructors and personal trainers use this trick all the time. It’s beneficial to us to see how hard you’re working, without you really knowing why we want you to talk when your exerting yourself .
A study by the University of New Hampshire validated to effectiveness of the talk test with a group of adults who recited the Pledge of Allegiance while exercising at various intensities. As the participants could no longer comfortably talk, they were reaching their lactate threshold. This test can benefit both beginners who are just starting out and experienced athletes who want to take their fitness to the next level.
Personally, I use this test ALL the time, especially with my group fitness classes. It’s an easy way to gauge how hard
and ifthe participants are exerting themselves in relation to the class format in a big setting. With one-on-one clients, I always keep a conversation flowing to see how they’re feeling.
If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, use the talk test to gauge how hard you’re working. If you find it silly to talk to yourself while exercising-grab a partner! Partner workouts can make you push yourself harder, thus increasing your lactate threshold=WINNING!
How do you think you did on the portion distortion quiz? Here are the
maybeSHOCKING answers and reasons to the questions:
- B) hockey puck. Many bagels, muffins, pastries etc. are actually 2 or 3 servings. If this is the case, split it in half and save the rest for later.
- C) tennis ball. All veggies should equal the size and volume of a tennis ball. Aim for 3+ servings daily!
- B) half of a tennis ball. Picture a halved-tennis ball (domed side up) when eating whole grains like rice or pasta.
- A) golf ball. this one shocked me! you’d think since it’s still fruit, you could eat more-wrong! Dried fruits tend to be higher in sugar, so visualize the size of a golf ball when eating them.
- C) tennis ball. The same goes with whole fruits, they should equal the size and volume of a tennis ball. When faced between whole fruit and juice, pick the whole fruit. Juice lacks fiber, vitamins, minerals and you’ll hungry soon after because your body doesn’t recognize fluids like it does solids.
- A) shot glass. yes, shot glasses can be used for more than one thing :p. Before spreading, imagine filling a shot glass (no packing!) and that’s the correct portion for all nut butters. Reduced fat or full? Your preference, but the reduced fat kinds have added sugar to make up for the missing fat. Fat=our friend!
- A) shot glass. It’s a small serving, but it’s easy to overeat nuts so portion out about a shot glass full and save the rest of the bag for later. The fat in nuts can help suppress your appetite and signal your brain that you’re full=a great snack!
- A) 4 dice. Choosing part-skim or 2% cheeses provides the same amount of calcium and protein in full fat versions!
- A) a thumb tip. Monounsaturated fats are a staple in a healthy diet.
Using common objects as visual aids for your meals is a foolproof way to ensure you’re eating the appropriate portions. Control your portion sizes-don’t let them control you!
Thank you Prevention for this eye-opening quiz!
Quiz time! Today’s post will require you to use your noggin. Portion control is a HUGE issue, especially if you’ve hit a plateau and are trying to find what’s the culprit.
This quiz is solely on serving sizes. Keep a tally of your answers and see how well you did at the end! Good Luck!
- What object shows the best serving of a bagel? A) golf ball B) hockey puck C) stack of CDs
- What object shows the best serving of baby carrots? A) golf ball B) half of a tennis ball C) tennis ball
- What object shows the best serving of rice/pasta? A) 4 dice B) half of a tennis ball C) tennis ball
- What object shows the best serving of DRIED fruit? A) golf ball B) half of a tennis ball C) tennis ball
- What object shows the best serving of orange juice (use your imagination) A) golf ball B) half of a tennis ball C) tennis ball
- What object shows the best serving of a nut butter? A) shot glass B) half of a tennis ball C) tennis ball (please be correct!)
- What object shows the best serving of mixed nuts? A) shot glass B) half of a tennis ball C) tennis ball
- What object shows the best serving of cheese? A) 4 dice B) half of a tennis ball C) tennis ball
- What object shows the best serving of oil? A) thumb tip B) 4 dice C) shot glass
Stay tuned for the answers!
Why is it termed “working out”?
Because it takes “work” in order to see results and reach your goals-duh! Pushing past your comfort zone will put you on the fast track to seeing results quicker, being able to exercise harder, more efficiently, and becoming stronger.
But how do you know you’re working out at the right intensity? By taking your heart rate. Since everybody is at different levels of fitness, knowing your numbers is crucial to exercising past “your” comfort zone.
The simplest method of measuring your heart rate is called the Karvonen method:
First, measure your resting heart rate- it’s best to measure this first thing in the morning, before getting out of bed, for 3 consecutive days (add #’s up and divide by 3).
- take pulse on the thumb side of your wrist for 10 seconds.
- multiply that number by 6 (how many times your heart beats in 1 minute).
- that’s your resting heart rate. 60-100 beats/minute is the norm.
Second, find out your max. heart rate:
- subtract your age by 220. why 220? Read for yourself!
Last, find your target heart rate: (there is math involved-
if I can do this, you can too )
- [(max heart rate-resting heart rate) x **intensity]+resting heart rate= target heart rate.
- **low intensity ~50% (.5)- high intensity ~80-90% (.8-.9)
TA-DA! There’s your heart rate all in a nutshell. Depending on your fitness level, goals, and time available, try to reach your target heart rate at least once during your weekly exercise regime. Yes it will be hard and challenging and not only work you physically, but mentally as well.
Listen to Cher “Fitness – if it came in a bottle, everybody would have a great body”;
exercise takes time, effort, and determination to reach your goals. But once you reach them, the possibilities are endless
Moving into a new apartment has its perks: new neighbors and surroundings, going to Target on a weekly (or daily-
not judging) basis, decorating and personalizing your space, new pool, and of course-a free gym membership! But what do you do when the gym has 4 machines? How’s a girl(or guy) supposed to get a total body workout!?
Easy! It’s thinking outside the box-my new “gym” has the following machines:
- leg extension
- incline chest press
- lat. pulldown
- back extension
- adductor (inner thigh) squeeze (not a fan)
- single leg extension–single leg standing hamstring curl (position pad so it’s touching your calf, foot flexed, curl heel to butt)
- chest press–wide grip bent over row (straddle the bench, grip handles w/ over/underhand grip)
- lat. pulldown–push-ups
- back extension–*treadmill plank (set the treadmill at a very slow speed, feet on the ground, hands on the belt & “walk” with your hands
*if you’re a newbie, work up to the treadmill plank-start with a stationary plank on the ground.
A total body workout with limited equipment is possible if you just put some thought into your workouts. Plan ahead, think outside the box, and get creative!