Frequency over Duration

I have to admit it’s been difficult keeping up with a steady post schedule. My son has entered school age and between homework, his sports schedule and my own training and race schedule I am utterly exhausted after lunches are packed and we’re ready for the next day!!! And I know I’m not alone in the daily battle to keep up and there are plenty of parents doing the same as me with more than one child.

Where you will see the difference is between those moms and dads who keep up with daily life demands and still manage to get a workout or a run in on top of everything on a regular basis. It’s hard enough to make sure you’re eating right, avoiding the drive through but to spend hours at the gym? That’s a big commitment.

What’s the trick? The answer is it depends on you and what your goals are.

I know a mom with four kids who gets up really early to hit the gym and is home by the time the kids are up. I have a friend who runs after work and goes to a weekly cross fit class. There is another ‘soccer mom’ I know that gets her running in just on Saturday mornings. You have to find something that works for you and your schedule but doesn’t hurt your family time.

So the easiest way that works for me is I have a ‘Frequency over Duration’ mantra. I can’t always go for a long Sunday morning run but if I have 15 minutes I run or ride my bike for 15 minutes. If my son is at practice I can sneak in some interval training. I can do my abs for a few minutes before I get into bed if I didn’t get to the gym that day.

Don’t ever thing that a few extra minutes isn’t enough time because a few extra minutes every day can make a big difference at the end of the week. And what would those 15 minutes add up to at the end of the month? The end of next month?

Does anyone else do this? How to you maximize your exercise time?

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It’s freezing out there!

Although it hasn’t gotten down into bitter cold temperatures (around here anyway) it’s still cold enough to keep a good portion of us inside. While you may be comfortable in the temperature controlled gym on the treadmill that is helping you keep your pace you’re missing the brisk energizing winter air.

I know it’s not the optimal running conditions but a nice run or walk in the cold air can break up the monotony of the gym in the winter and if you can bear that initial chest pain you will find yourself invigorated.

Make sure you have all the proper cold weather gear and don’t forget reflective clothing if your workouts have out there in the dark. Make sure you’re in a safe place and run against traffic so you can see what’s coming at you. Cover your ears and your hands to keep warm too!

Even a quick mile run or walk will make a difference. Try it!

Happy Training!

New Year

I can’t believe it’s been 3 months since I’ve posted last and what a crazy 3 months it’s been. I’ve run my second marathon since then and enjoyed my holiday season to the fullest without feeling the least bit guilty. I feel I’ve earned it!

But the difference between this year and the last few is that I continued to run over the holiday season. In previous years I told myself that i can take 3 months off after you run such a big race. While that may be true…3 months usually turns into 6 and by March I could feel the pain and burn as I tried to get back into in with a 5K.

This year…this year I continued to run. I certainly wasn’t putting in 15 mile long runs – far from it! But I squeezed in 1 mile here, 3 miles there, some strength training, and a round or two on my heavy bag. I did anything to keep moving and I feel great! Yes I put on just a little bit of holiday / post-marathon weight but it’s very little and I don’t feel out of shape. Spring running season will be that much easier when the weather gets warmer. Plus the beach body is built in the winter.

So this is what the “off-season” feels like. It’s very different from a total veg season! My point of recapping my holiday season running is that you just need to get out there and move. Do something. Your New Year’s resolutions are great, but start small. You can always build as you go. The more incremental progress you make the more rewarding the experience will be and the more likely you are to stick with your new healthy habits.

Happy Training!

What a healthy day of eating looks like

I’ve had many people ask me what I eat. What do I eat for dinner? What’s a good breakfast? What do you snack on? I do plan out what I’m going to eat the day before and make sure that I have my snacks lined up (very important) and make sure I’m sticking to my appropriate calorie intake per day. We know that input = output. What you put into your body is what you will get out of it. You can’t take in more calories than you expend, otherwise you will gain weight. I follow a really easy way to figure out if I’m taking in too much. Chef Candice Kumai says it best – take your ideal weight, add a 0 to the end of that number and that is the net caloric intake you should have per day. Visit her site for good for you recipes – http://www.candicekumai.com/ Now this does mean that you have to count calories but after a few days it gets easier to calculate.

Here is an example from my own nutrition plan. This is what I had to eat one day this week:

Breakfast
2 coffees with cream & sugar = 102 Calories
oatmeal with 4 strawberries and 1 tbs flaxseed = 170 Calories

Morning snack greek yogurt = 100 Calories

Lunch lean cuisine 250 Calories

Afternoon snack banana = 72 Calories

Dinner
broiled chicken breast with garlic & olive oil = 175 Calories
red skinned baked potato with salt & pepper = 130 Calories
broccoli = 80.00

Evening snack handful of dried apricots = 75 calories

Total Calories = 1154 Calories

Try counting calories for a week. You can use a tool to assit you. The one I like is http://www.calorieking.com/foods/

Good Luck! Let me know how you do!

Pasta does not make you fat!

I repeat – Pasta does not make you fat!

What puts on the pounds is how much we eat and what we put on our pasta. The full plate of fettuccine alfredo..although yummy…is not the most healthy way to make pasta. The USDA recommends we eat 6-11 servings of whole grains per day. This includes pasta and it’s good for you. It fills you up, gives your body time-released energy, and is usually enriched with folic acid which is known to support a healthy heart and prevent birth defects. Runners eat it before races because of the steady energy it provides.

There is also the whole wheat variety which is widely available now. This kind has more fiber in it than regular pasta but not everyone likes the stronger ‘wheaty’ taste and it’s double or triple the price. Sometimes, I’ll mix it in with regular pasta to get the best of both worlds!

And back to the serving sizes…one serving size is roughly 1/2 cup of cooked pasta. That’s it. I don’t know about you but I’m still hungry after that 🙂 BUT, remember we get 6-11 servings of whole grains spread throughout the day and we don’t need to eat them all in one sitting. So, if you have 1 cup of cooked pasta (equaling 2 whole grain servings) you get 4-8 servings left…plenty of room for cereal in the morning! Still hungry thinking about only 1 cup of pasta? Add 2 servings a veggies &/or a serving of protein (chicken, shrimp), drizzle a little bit of antioxidant rich Extra Virgin Olive Oil and you have a pretty satisfying and healthy meal that’s not heavy on the carbs or calories.

Try it this week and let me know how creative you can make your healthy pasta dishes!

Blackberries for Health

I was at the farmer’s market this morning picking up my weekly stash of fresh fruits & veggies and the very first thing I put in my basket were blackberries. And then I had to move them because they would have been squished by the cantaloupe :-). Blackberries are one of summers best fruits because they are not only convenient, but they do triple duty for your health!

They are sometimes a little pricer that strawberries or blueberries but they are well worth the splurge. The better known benefits are they the are high in Vitamins A & C but did you know they are stocked with fiber, folic acid, and potassium too? They battle free radicals which helps against cancer AND wrinkles! The fiber in them helps keep you fuller for longer. And there’s yet another benefit – the same compound that reduces these free radicals is linked to reducing the effect if histamine. How timely that these little berries are ripening around the same time that allergy season hits. Hmm…nature’s way of telling us something?

So, by eating these little powerful jewels you can get all these benefits with fewer calories. Eat them fresh and within 2-3 days of purchase for maximum freshness & nutrition. You can also get them frozen or freeze them yourself. I love to save a few of them in the freezer to add to yogurt to make a smoothie – perfect for a spring/summer afternoon snack. Yum! You can also put them in your cereal, pancakes or salad.

Do you have any good ways to make blackberries part of your diet?

References: Jerry Baker’s Kitchen Counter Cures

Wheatberries – good for weight loss!

Wheatberries are a funny little grain.

While they are sometimes hard to find (I get mine at Whole Foods in the bulk aisle), they are worth their weight in gold when you add them to your regular diet. They are good for maintaining and balancing your regularity and help with weight control because only a small handful fills you up! And they are fat-free.

Wheatberries, also known as Hard, Red Winter Wheat, are a whole grain that is very high in fiber (the insoluble kind which keeps you fuller for longer), Antioxidants and Vitamin E.

If you are able to find them then they are very easy and versatile to add to your weekly menu. You can add them to your cereal or oatmeal in the morning, your salad at lunch, and your stir-fry dinner. They can be a replacement for rice or pasta and added to soups or breads. Sometimes you can find ‘Wheatberry bread’ – check by the organic breads at your supermarket.

To prepare wheatberries, put them in a pot with water, bring them to a boil, then reduce the heat to med-low and let them perk for about a half hour. When they are done they will be a nutty-tasting plump little chewy grain. You can store cooked wheatberries in your fridge for the week and uncooked ones will keep in the cabinet for about a month.