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Athletic Nutrition Tips

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Sometimes people get really into the idea that they need to diet to be skinny. Occasionally this works, but it doesn’t always make you healthier. What does make you healthier and happier (and more attractive 😉 is doing an activity or sport you enjoy plus getting the nutrition right! You really can’t do them independently.

Exercise + Nutrition = Good health

What I’m talking about is “preventative healthcare.” You’ll have less visits to the doctor and less spending of money! So get outdoors find a fun active hobby-like activity and eat right. Eating healthy while exercising can be challenging at times. Here’s a few guidelines to begin with:

  1. Eat small meals every three to four hours.  Your first meal should be eaten within one hour of waking and before any type of exercise (when exercising in the morning).
  2. Portion Control! A serving of protein and carbohydrates should be the…

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Setting Goals: Twenty Fifteen

Well, the year has come to an end, and it’s time to start thinking about what you want to actualize in 2015. Here a little acronym to think of when setting a goal: S.M.A.R.T.

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Relavent

T – Time-bound

They are helpful for two reasons. First, they are effective in quantifying success. Second, they address unrealistic expectations. For example, you may want to finish a marathon in less than 3.5 hours. If this is your first marathon, you can see why this might be an unrealistic expectation. The key to SMART goals is to use both outcome goals, which focus on bottom-line results, and process goals, which address how you will train to achieve those results. For example, “To finish in the top five at the local Triathlon in my age group” is an outcome goal. The problem is that we have less control over outcome goals than they have over process goals. If you fail to accomplish an outcome goal, you may question the efficacy of your training, and get too self-critical. We have greater influence over process goals, such as “To run 2,000 miles during the calendar year.” Plus, in the end, this stuff is suppose to be fun! Enjoy life and have hope for what you can accomplish. It’s a new year and a new time to actualize your dream.

And remember, a goal without a plan, is just a wish.

Keeping on track through the holidays

I know that someone out there must also feel this indulgent tendency to overeat this time of year. It sucks: you want to sleep more, eat more and be less active.
You know how hard it is to shed the winter fat layer. It takes a lot of hard work and strict eating. Avoid putting on those extra 10 pounds in the first place, by just being a little less indulgent at your next holiday party. And by following some simple tips.fitnessSanta

1. Drink more water. About 8 x 8 oz glasses per day. Add a little mint sprig or lime slice to jazz it up.

2. Track What You Eat. The only way to improve upon your diet is to actually know what you’re currently eating. Keep a food journal, or download a free food tracker app, and input all of the calories that you consume over the course of a week. This will give you a broad look at where your low quality calories are coming from (high sugar, empty calories).
Your first step will be to eliminate these fattening calories and to start replacing empty calories with nutrient-filled whole foods.

3. Space Meals Apart. Much has been said over the past decades about the importance of eating small frequent meals throughout the day. This is old, outdated science. New research has proven that there’s more harm than good to eating more frequently than every 4 hours.
Stick with 3 meals each day, and fill in a protein-based snack if your meals are going to be more than 4 hours apart.

4. Prioritize vegetables. When you first sit down for a meal, eat the vegetable, salad, or other plant-based foods first, before moving on to the rest of the meal. The reason for this is to fill up on the higher fiber, higher nutrient foods first before eating the less-healthy items at your meal.

5. Lastly, have an attitude of gratitude. Eating well and being well studies have shown are linked to a healthy mind. Therefore lift your spirits, just by being grateful. The more you are grateful, the better you’ll feel, the better you’ll eat, and you may even go do that jog you’ve been wanting to do.

Have a happy Healthy holiday season!

Spring is in the Air!

If you’re trying to shed a few winter pounds, load up on the veggies of the season. And fresh spring produce is great from a Farmer’s Market, but if you can only make it to your local grocery store, try eating the following seasonal produce:

1. Rhubarb is the first harvest of the spring

and consists of heavy stalks and shiny skin.

2. Artichokes, shown above, grow largest in the spring.

Good signs are compact leaves and

stems that are freshly cut.

3. Radishes grow sweet and crunchy.

4. Mint flourishes best in the spring.

5. Asparagus season is from March through June.

Please note that thickness is not related to tenderness. Tenderness is related to how it’s grown and

how soon it’s consumed.

6. Peas mature in the spring and progress

into the summer.

7. Strawberries are local and are at their juiciest from April through June.

Now that the weather is improving and the sun is extending it’s stay for the northern hemisphere, get outdoors and get exercising! No more excuses.Image

Eating at the right time

Having a hefty meal for dinner, after skipping lunch and barely eating a sufficient breakfast seems to be what many Americans do in their busy lives. Eating a nice piece of chocolate cake at the end of dinner also goes along with this routine. Then a few hours later after consuming 90 % of his/her calories for the day, it’s bedtime.

If you’re gonna eat a donut, do it in the morning!

Is this possibly why we are getting a poor night’s sleep after we just loaded up on fat, sugars, carbs, etc.? How can we run around all day long and forget to eat properly? Easy, life is busy and eating isn’t always at the forefront of our mind. However, our bodies go without food as we sleep at night and when we awake it’s the best possible time to pack it full of calories and nutrients to be productive and burn more calories efficiently. Breakfast is crucial. Numerous studies have linked breakfast-eaters with a lower body fat percentage. Next, lunch is the second most important meal of the day. Try to eat a nice filling lunch full of complex carbohydrates, lean protein and plenty of vegetables. Then, make dinner your smallest meal of the day. If you’re at a restaurant for example, just eat an appetizer.

Another big mistake with the right timing of meals is just after a workout. No appetite after your workout? Try drinking a smoothie, or a protein drink such as Kefir. Drinking flavored kefir, like blueberry, pomegranate, strawberry, etc, is full of the protein and carbs your body desperately needs after working out. If you deny your body the post-workout food, you’ll have a much more difficult time losing weight. In fact, some studies show that if you don’t have a post-workout meal, your body goes in to a sort of “starvation mode” and stores more fat out of a survival instinct.

Lastly, the further time goes by after your workout, the less junk food you should eat. That means, no late-night desserts if your workout was at 8 AM. Are you just dying to eat a piece of pie? Then eat it first thing in the morning! Right before or right after your workout! I know it seems crazy, but think of food as fuel. You start out the busy day with no fuel in your tank, things could get ugly. On the flip side, you fill up your tank right before you turn your car off for the day the fuel will not get burned up and will just sit in your tank turning to fat. It’s all in the timing.

Interested in getting in to triathlons?

Ahhhhh! The rewards of biking!

As we wind down 2012, the new year is right around the corner. It may be time for you to try a new challenge. One of the most calorie-burning sports out there is triathlon. It’s also a great way to keep fit in a diverse set of movements, not to mention all the benefits to your lungs and heart. It’s tough to find many other sports that compare. Plus, the sport has transformed by life, my body and my mind’s expectations of what I can accomplish! So, I hope you get inspired!
A few tips on breaking in to the sport:
1. Work on your weaknesses: if you come from a running background, get out and start swimming. If you come from a swimming background, get out and start pounding the pavement on the bike and run. We are all drawn to do things we’re comfortable with and feel that we’re good at, but this is not how you become the best triathlete. Keep focusing on how you can improve.
2. The bike! It’s usually the biggest proportionately in any tri. So, it’s good to get a good bike and ride it often. If you’re trying to ride a Tri Bike, check out this article: http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2012/11/07/seven-tips-for-getting-comfortable-in-the-aero-position/
3. Consistency: as with accomplishing any other goal you need to have consistent diligent efforts. That means do not take off two weeks or even one week randomly just because you’re feeling lazy. Get up and get going! Don’t make excuses. You only have one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do in life. One step at a time consistently train for your race.
4. Lastly, get a coach. Even if you just need that extra guidance for your first race. They can offer expertise, knowledge and know-how to avoid all the mistakes they made or that you could possibly make. It’s worth a few extra bucks to get to the starting line well-prepared.

Triathlon is a fun challenging and very rewarding sport! Good luck.

Running shoes: back to the basics

I am a runner. I have been a runner all my life. It’s funny that although we are all able to run and do so all throughout our childhood, some of us do not consider ourselves “runners.” If you are a slow runner, you are still a runner. Maybe you do not have the genetic predisposition to be the next Usain Bolt. However, you are able to run. “Run for your life!” is a saying essential to survival. But, instead of running everyday, we sit everyday. We sit as we drive, we sit as we eat, we sit as we use our computers, we sit until our bodies are chronically aching and obesity is rampant. Then we try to go for a run wearing these big bouncy rubber-soled shoes that prohibit all our sensory abilities of our feet. Yes, we have more cushion wearing the modern running shoes, and more protection from dangerous terrain. But, how was it that the human race coped with “running for their lives” without these extra thick-heeled running shoes up until the 1970’s? You’d think that since then the amount of injury to knees, feet ankles would have dramatically dropped, or at least we’d be fitter and less overweight. However, it’s not the case. In fact, there are more running injuries than ever before. The large over-built stability shoes have actually robbed the body’s ability to stabilize! 

If you want to improve your stability in your feet, ankles and knees, then try this: Find your local track and go to the nice soft grassy in-field. Take off your shoes and socks and do a few laps on the grass in-field. It may feel weird, but this is natural and how our bodies can naturally perceive your own best running gait. Another option if you live near a beach, try a mile or less at a time, running barefoot on the hard packed sand – you may be on sensory overload! I tried it last week and it felt awesome!

Once you get more comfortable with running barefoot, I urge you to begin diminishing your running shoe. Start little, by little, inch by inch, reducing the thickness of your sole of the shoe. Really pay attention to what your body is doing and how it is changing. It may take you a year or more to adjust gradually to this new type of shoe. Also, begin with shorter runs and progress at most 10% longer distances at a time to get more comfortable. Be conservative in your process of learning to run back to the basics.

Lastly, just try taking off your shoes more, whether at home around the yard, at a park. It feels very liberating, to say the least. Imagine if we went through life with thick rubber gloves on our hands, not being able to use the sense of touch. Maybe some glove company would even make loads of money, and we’d be left senseless.

If you’re more interested in this topic, check out a great book “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall. I highly recommend it.

Happy trails!

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