Core! Activate!

Hey everyone!

Sorry it’s taken me so long to write! I’ve been dealing with papers and other collegiate like things. The other day I went running outside and there was so much black ice! I thought I had made it safely and fell in my driveway… again!

In my yoga practices and running sessions, I’ve been trying to get more in touch with my core. It’s always been the hardest thing for me to do. “Engage the core! Suck the belly button into the spine!” I’m trying, I’m trying!

When engaging you’re abs, the idea is to create a solid ring around your midsection. This means activating your core to create a cylindrical effect around your abdomen. Although it sounds silly, some of these techniques help you get a feel for your core flexing so you can mimic that sensation while working out to reach maximum efficiency.

  • Gear up like someone is going to punch you in the stomach. But really!
  • Rest your hands on either side of your abdomen and try to push your hands away from your body by just using your abs
  • exhale air forcefully, either by a laugh or a cough
  • lay down on your back and tilt your pelvis. You’re back will arch when you tilt it one way, and flatten completely when doing another (this is a fundamental Pilates technique). Exercises should be done with a neutral spine- which means leaving a small space between the mat and your lower back.
  • yoga bridge pose: feet hip-with distance apart, arms down by your side, lift your hips and keep your shoulder on the ground
  • planks! both front and side (can be done on knees)

Engaging your core comes in handy for all sorts of activity! Running helps to scoop your stomach in and curl your tail bone. This especially helps for slow, long, steep inclines. Any sport that requires foundation and balance stems from core strength. Back strength is also an added bonus- when we work one muscle group we need to work it’s opposing muscle group too.

Today I tried these planks at the gym. Ouch!

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Sorry the picture is so small! click to make it bigger!

I have some exciting news! My fitness guru mission is now becoming a reality! I’m currently enrolled in the ACE personal training program! There are plenty of programs out there and I did my research. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, it kind of depends on where you’re at in life and finances. The ACE program fits best with my life style. The person makes the certificate, not the other way around.

Wish me luck!

Fitness Doesn’t Just Mean Exercise

Hi everyone!

Today I wanted to post about two important topics that deal more with the mental aspect of fitness!

Do you all remember my running schedule I posted a while ago? Turns out my body isn’t quite there yet- which leads me to my first topic: listening to your body.

It’s important to listen to your body, whether it be an illness or an injury. I fell in my drive way a month ago and I think I tore something! I iced and stretched like a good little girl, but it’s still bothering me! So, I decided to modify my running schedule. I also just got new shoes, so I need to break them in! It’s important to make compromises with your body and your schedule. Listening to your body is smart. It makes the difference between running for a few years and running for the rest of your life. Hopefully stretching, more ice and new shoes help the healing process!

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ASICS GEL- Nimbus 15. Neutral, narrow shoe.

Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but… I am a horrible stress eater. When I was a child (okay… and through high school), I suffered from pretty bad anxiety. I don’t really know why, I guess I just worry a lot about the world and everything in it. Any who, I would eat all day and all night. Anything I could get my hands on- I know, not a pretty sight. As I started to explore the fitness world and learn to listen to my body, I begin pinpointing my triggers:

  • I would eat while watching TV. Such a bad idea. If you don’t pay attention to what your eating and how much, you’ll stuff a whole pizza before realizing it.
  • I would eat when I was nervous or upset. Yes, I did think that food would give me a comforting “full feeling”. Nope, it just filled out my pants haha
  • I would eat before sleeping. No no no! Eat 2-3 hours before sleeping. Laying horizontal makes digestion harder since gravity isn’t helping.

Since finding out my flaws of emotional eating I have figured out several methods to help deter myself from binge eating:

  1. Drink water before thinking about a snack
  2. Brush your teeth after dinner so you won’t be as tempted to eat
  3. Sit down and realize what is stressing you out
  4. Go work out!!!

Life happens and so does eating 10 homemade cookies… oops. But don’t punish yourself. Accept that you did it and move on- you’re only human. Dieting should be: 80% hard work and 20% indulgence. It makes treats that much more rewarding and really makes you think about what you’ll choose.

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Great yoga poses for runners! Stretches legs and opens hips

Since my new running schedule, I ran today, yoga tomorrow, run 5 miles Sunday, cardio Monday. I can post the edited running schedule next time.

Hope everyone is staying warm!

PS- looking for new workout music! I’m into anything with a good beat, suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Snacks on Snacks on Snacks

I have a really hectic Tuesday/Thursday schedule. I have class at 8:30-9:45, 11:30-12:45, 2:30-3:45, a Tuesday seminar from 4:05-6:45 and a Bikram yoga class from 4:30-6 on Thursdays. Needless to say Tuesday/Thursdays are days where I primarily graze as apposed to eating a big lunch or breakfast!

Besides the common fruit/veggie snacks, I’m usually a energy protein bar kind of girl- but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t jumped on the greek yogurt bandwagon. But with all the different brands its hard to figure out which one has the most bang for your buck! I did some research and here is a comparison of popular energy protein bars and yogurt. Granted, these are the ones I’ve tried or heard good things about. If one of your favorites isn’t on here, feel free to compare and contrast with your own pantry!

I used one example for each, to give a general idea. Each brand has different flavors and therefore each item has it’s own nutrition variation.

Lets start with energy protein bars!

Brand

Calories

Fat (g)

Sugar

(g)

Carbs

(g)

Sodium

(mm)

Fiber

(g)

Protein

(g)

Kind Bars: Plus Cranberry Almond + Antioxidants

 190

 12

13

19

10

2.5

4

Cascadian Farms Chewy Granola Bars: Vanilla Chip

140

140

3

26

95

1

2

Odwalla Original Bars: Super Protein

240

5

20

31

190

3

16

Nature Valley: Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Protein

190

12

6

14

170

5

10

Cliff Bars: Chocolate Brownie

100

2

9

18

60

2

4

Special K Bars Protein Meal Bar Chocolate Peanut Butter

180

6

15

25

250

5

10

Pure Organic Pure Ancient Grains Bars, Triple Berry Nut

160

9

8

17

50

2

5

Kashi: Trail Mix Chewy Granola Bars

130

5

9

20

90

4

5

Luna Bars: Cookie Dough

180

6

15

21

230

3

12

South Beach Diet Protien Fit Bars with Greek Yogur, Vanilla Caramel

200

8

8

22

230

10

16

 

With any protein energy bar, you have to think about a few things: what are you looking for the most? What is the hardest thing to maintain in your diet? For me, I worry about protein, calories and sugar the most. I’m sitting in class but I need an energy boost. Therefore I’m going to look for something with nuts (nuts=protein, fruits=sugar). Although I stay far away from anything with sodium! That will cause water retention! My favorites are Kind bars, Cascadian Farms, Nature Valley and Kashi.

Next, yogurt!

Brand

Calories

Fat

(g)

Sugar

(g)

Carbs

(g)

Sodium

(mm)

Protein

(g)

YoCrunch: Strawberry Lowfat Yogurt with Granola

180

2

25

35

85

6

Fage USA: Total 2% Greek Yogurt with Peach

130

2.5

17

18

40

10

Chobani: Nonfat Pomegranate Greek Yogurt

140

0

19

21.1

75

13

Oikos Greek Yogurt Vanilla

100

1.5

10

13

30

8

Yoplait Key Lime Pie

90

0

10

16

80

5

Stonyfield Organic Greek: 0% Plain

80

0

6

6

60

15

Dannon Activia Light Vanilla

150

0

15

27

135

9.1

 

Right off the bat let me say, Yoplait is not good for you. It’s sugar to calorie ratio is horrible. I stick to Chobani, but I should make it a point to try other brands too. Like energy protein bars, if you want a fruit flavor, you’ll have more sugar. If you don’t want the sugar you can always go plain (vanilla and plain are different). I think plain tastes like chalk, but you could also add real fruit- something I need to try!

Hopefully this helps, I thought it was pretty educational. I’m really proud of myself for figuring out how to make a table in wordpress!  I haven’t tried all these brands and there are plenty more I didn’t mention. Keep your eyes open for any other good brands!

In other news, we are getting some hardcore snow up here in Vermont! I couldn’t even run outside because I didn’t want to slip! Instead, I went to the gym and used an Arc trainer for 45 minutes and I ran for 2 miles at 6.0 on the treadmill. Tomorrow is hot yoga, Friday is 2 miles and snowboarding, Saturday is Yoga for runners, and Sunday is 6.5 mile run (weather permitting!). What are you doing?

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