Snacking Healthy

I love chocolate. There, I said it.

So if you’re anything like me, you may have some challenges when it comes to snack choices. I’m always looking for something sweet, especially after dinner. I was doing my due diligence to make sure my meals were healthy, but by not planning my snacks, I was sabotaging my own efforts.

Your body does a pretty good job of regulating blood sugar and it’s a very efficient process (unless you are diabetic) assuming that you feed it the proper nutrients at regular intervals throughout the day. However, the typical American diet dictates that we eat three meals a day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In those three standard sittings, we’re sometimes overly hungry by the time we sit down to eat and wind up consuming more calories than we need. When we’re overly hungry, our blood sugar is lower and our body tries to compensate by craving calories quickly – usually empty ones – and we oblige. And the cycle continues…

The solution? Plan your snacks!

Ensuring that you have 2-3 healthy and gratifying snacks in your back pocket greatly minimizes your risk of overeating at mealtime. Our blood sugar begins to drop about two hours or so after we’ve finished our last meal.

Try this:
1 – Mid-morning snack – eat it about 10-10:30 am and try something with calcium that’s low fat like yogurt, cheese, or cottage cheese. The protein in these snacks fills you up to keep you satisfied to lunch.
2 – Mid-afternoon snack – eat around 3-3:30 pm. You want some belly-filling fiber here becuase this needs to carry you to dinner time. Try raw fruits or veggies because your body takes longer to break these down but they won’t weigh you down like the more complex carbs. Apples, bananas, carrot sticks, broccoli, etc. Extra pionts for a smear of protein like peanut butter or hummus. I also like a granola bar here – Kashi makes one with almonds and mocha…yum! Watch the sugar on these though – check the labels!
3 – After dinner snack – This one is tough for me and try not to eat it too late. About 8-8:30 should do it but if you’re hungry earlier that’s fine too. I like to have whole wheat pretzels or pita chips dipped in hummus, guacamole, or even salsa. You have a little bit of carb, little bit of protein, and it still feels like you’re having a fun snack. You can also have dried fruit. It’s gives you the sweetness without the unnecessary calories as long as you get the kine without the added sugar.

Happy Training!

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9.3 mile run

The Bucks County Road Runners are hosting the “Terrible Tyler” this Sunday 1/29/12. Start time 9:30 am at Tyler State Park. This race is part of their winter series.

I’m not exactly ready for 9.3 miles. I’ve been on maintainence mode since the marathon, plus I enjoyed myself over the holidays. I don’t particulary like running the cold, but it’s a necessary evil since I dislike the treadmill more than the cold. I used to go into hibernation in the winter much like many others. The gym was still very much a part of my life, but cardio was not a priority. This year it’s one of my goals to continue running through the winter either way. I’ve also incorporated swimming into my routine year-round instead of just during Triathlon training. Swimming is an excellent workout but more on that later…

Luckily I’ve managed to coerce a few others with me on Sunday so we can all be one step ahead of everyone that will still be in bed. You’re always faster than your couch! It’s not supposed to rain or snow so that’s a plus. I can’t wait until spring…

Happy Training!

It’s all about abs

I think if you surveyed people on which body part they want to get in shape the most, it would be their abdomen. It makes sense. It’s usually the first part of us that starts to show our age and/or our lack of attention to our bodies and for some of us it’s stretched during pregnancy. For some of us it was never really flat after the 8th grade. But it’s also one of the most important parts of our whole self and why we need to take better care of it.

Our abdominal muscle group not only provides support for our body’s general movements and posture but they assist in our breathing and protect our vital organs. Pool muscle condition in this area leads to a wealth of health problems with the most common being chronic low back pain.

So, to those of you who are slaving away on the ab machines at the gym or curled up on the floor doing crunches – keep doing what your doing becuase it’s doing wonders for your overall health and not just for bikini season. But if you wanted to try something differnt and more challenging, try the plyo ball (aka exercise ball or body ball).

Spending just 10 minutes or so working with the body ball will engage more parts of your abdominal muscle group than the ab machine or crunches alone. The reason for this is because these exercises incorporate stabilization and balance into the mix. You have to maintain your balance and keep steady while still performing the crunch on the ball, so you get an added benefit from both sides of the crunch – on the way up and the way back down. The machines and regular crunches hold you in a particular position without forcing you to balance because the floor or the chair is doing that for you.

In addition, the plyo ball is cheap – about $10 at Wal-Mart. You can get then at any sporting goods store too and they come with their own little pump. They’re not an overwhelming size either so they can fit in either a closet or corner of a room…just make sure they don’t collect dust there 🙂 Many gyms have them as well. I recommend making sure you have sneakers on when you’re working with the ball…I tried it in socks once and I slipped.

If your ready to throw something different into your ab routine then try this:
1-lie on the ball with the arch of your back supported, keep your feet flat on the floor, & cross your arms behind your head
2-curl your upper body squeezing your abdominals and lifting your shoulders and upper back
3-return to your starting position
4-do 3 to 5 sets of these with anywhere from 10-20 reps in each set (this will depend on your ability-do what feels comfortable)
5-when you have that part down then add a little twist when you are at the top of your crunch to work more of your obliques.

Happy Training!

About me…but get motivated.

I’m currently a busy full-time working mom who loves to run, tries to stay in shape, and eat & live healthy while trying to balance everything in else in life…oh and find time to stop and smell the roses.

I’m usually running in local races and I’ve gone as little as a mile to a maximum of 26.2 this past year.  I’ve managed to drag a few other crazies with me 🙂 (you know who you are).  I formed a running club at work – The Wicked Blisters – and we find time to run during the week. I was on a Track & Field team for a good portion of my life – from elementary school through college. Running is both an individual sport but also a team effort.

We eat organic when we can, although sometimes it can get a little expensive, so I try to make sure our food is as all-natural as possible.  My family has always eaten healthy so I think it was ingrained in me at a young age.

I also have a degree in Sports Medicine from West Chester University, am a former Athletic Trainer, Personal Trainer and Strength Coach.  I’ve learned a tremendous amount about the body & mind, how it works, and what role nutrition and exercise play in our lives.  It’s amazing to me how the human body works and how much we still don’t know.

My experience has given me the opportunity to work with many different types of people from young athletes to collegiate athletes, recent mothers, patients with recent surgery, and those just wanting to become more active.

I’ve gathered bits and pieces of knowledge from various places and hopefully you can find something that motivates you to be a healthier person.  My favorite author, Jim Rohn, had a saying – “I’ll take care of me for you, if you take care of you for me”.  If you take care of yourself, then you can better take care of those you care for.  I take care of me for my son.

Stay tuned for training tips, healthy & easy recipes, work out ideas, etc!