I stumbled upon a page with a few reminders of the good a workout does for your body. Besides the typical weight-loss reason people typically go for, this article will give you a few other motivators!
Nike’s “Rise and Shine” commercial will make you never want to give up again.
When cravings strike, it can be a challenge to strike back. Especially if it’s a chocolate and peanut butter craving.
Usually this delicious combo packs WAY too much sugar, fat and calories to make it a staple in any diet. Then I discovered a way around it: Chocolate Peanut Butter flavored Coffee!
Made by the brand Good Life Coffee, this cup of joe packs a ton of flavor and is actually better for you than regular coffee. Since coffee is a diuretic and can deplete your body’s vitamins as you drink it – this coffee has added vitamins to counteract that. It’s still extremely low in calories, wakes you up with caffeine and boosts your metabolism. I also find that a cup of coffee does put a dent into my hunger for awhile.
Making a cup of this coffee FAR beats the downsides of eating Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. If you are in the Syracuse, NY area, this can be purchased at your local Fleet Feet Sports. If not, you can purchase it through the above link. Happy drinking!
Besides the obvious “get enough sleep” and eat breakfast that I cannot put enough stress on, I have a new, quick trick that helps me wake up and get moving. It isn’t a coffee substitute – I will never look for one of those. It’s a short and sweet yoga morning sequence that I am actually motivated to do every day because it wakes up every body part in 15 minutes.
The poses get my blood flowing and stretch my tired limbs (that are typically sore from my workout the day before.) Meditating during yoga also helps get my mind right for the day. The meditation part actually proves to be the most difficult for my wandering mind, though it’s easier in the morning before my brain is awake enough to completely run through an endless stream of consciousness. A trick I learned to help on the days I can’t keep my thoughts in check is to think along with your breath. On your inhale, think “I know that I am breathing in” and on your exhale, “I know that I am breathing out.” It sounds hokey, but the yoga instructor who gave out that tip really improved my practice with it.
I get it, yoga isn’t everyone’s thing – but think of it as a way to get more in-tune to your body and mind. Guiding your body and mind together brings to light many things your body may be feeling that your mind was completely unaware of. Once you gain better control over your mind, you’re also ready to say no to cravings more readily – so while yoga may not burn mega calories, it makes up for it by helping you not to fuel your body with junk.
On November 20th, 2013 I ran the Philadelphia marathon: aka the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Training did not go well for me, I was plagued with injury from the first 6 weeks up until the day I ran the marathon. I finished a sold 40 minutes slower than my goal – coming in at 4:12 – and walked a large portion of the second half. Finishing was a truly amazing experience, and getting through it even though my right knee was in excruciating pain from ITBS meant I was on cloud 9 – until the next morning, when I woke up to find I had developed ITBS in my left leg as well.
I would describe ITBS pain as two midgets keeping pace with me as I am running, each armed with a knife that they casually stabbed my knee with every time I took a step. Considering efficient running usually means each foot strikes the ground 80 times/minute, that is a LOT of stabbing in a short amount of time. ITBS also won’t heal if you continue to run on it, so post-marathon I kissed my dream of running goodbye for awhile.
I have been running since I was 12 years old, so this is NOT an easy task. I am one of those lunatics who actually enjoys running for long periods of time. It brings me mental clarity and I am pretty addicted to the feeling of challenging myself physically. No longer being able to feed that addiction with running felt like a huge setback to me – so I started viewing it in a different way.
Instead of letting myself wallow in the fact that I could no longer participate in my favorite hobby, I took it as an opportunity to experiment with other forms of working out. I became much more rigorous in my yoga and tabata practices and started going to a “boot camp” class that incorporates calisthenics and high intensity bursts of exercise. It is different every time I go so it really keeps me guessing.
Without running burning a crazy amount of calories for me every day, I also looked at what I was eating more. I went back to using myfitnesspal to get an idea of how much I was eating every day and what it was I was fueling my body with.
It turns out the combination of HIIT/circuit training, yoga, and watching what I eat was the best thing to happen to me physically. I am stronger and more in tune with my body than I was when I was repeating the same motion of running day in and day out. My body looks and feels infinitely better and I learned that while running is something I love, it doesn’t make me who I am. Resilience and not making up excuses to be unhealthy have much more meaning in my life and defining me than running ever did.
While I still categorize myself as a “runner” and do admittedly sneak out for little 1-2 mile jogs every few days, I really feel like decreasing my relationship with running has made me so much more. I also suggest that if you want to really see changes in your body, HIIT and watching what you eat are a great way to get yourself there.
At the end of the day, what has done well for me may not do well for you. That’s why I challenge you to experiment with different forms of working out and see what challenges you and keeps you motivated. If you don’t love it, it will be a lot harder to make yourself do it. Also remember if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you and if you don’t stick with it long enough to reap the benefits, you are shortchanging yourself and wasting your time.
As I wind down before my marathon this Sunday, I have been increasing my yoga practice. Yoga and running go hand in hand, because running leads to increased tightness in many areas of the body (typically varying based on your form) – and yoga releases most of this tightness. I highly recommend yoga as a supplement to any physical activity – the benefits are endless.
I prefer yoga that keeps me moving and gets my heart rate up, with lots of core strengthening poses. I have found that in my latest favorite yoga video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6vhwat41lI&list=TLdanMpIi0pO2JhNAJYZ-lViyKAXK1fepx. It has also encouraged me to subscribe to Sarah Beth Yoga on youtube!
I also have found that my hips are particularly tight (due to running) and use this great 10-minute routine before my runs: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?annotation_id=annotation_510239&feature=iv&list=PL22D86CB788445480&src_vid=Yv_XK6xV7n0. Tara Stiles has a 10 minute video for pretty much anything you want to get out of yoga. She is one of the most famous names in yoga and keeps the spiritual side of yoga out of her practice for the most part – making yoga easier to relate to for those who aren’t into that.
If you haven’t tried yoga yet – I’m not sure what’s stopping you, but that is part of what yoga is about. Letting go.
Don’t get my wrong – my primary reason for working out is purely selfish. I love the feeling it gives me and I live for the challenge. Beyond that, hearing from other people that I helped or inspired them in some way by passing along my knowledge and motivation makes it all the more worth it.
While hanging out with friends this weekend, a few asked me if I was still blogging. I didn’t know my guy friends even noticed that I had a blog, let alone were motivated by reading it. It spurred into a discussion of my desire to be a personal trainer and their support of the idea.
Now, if only I had the same level of motivation to blog as I do when it comes to running..
Fall is the time of year when pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING is in abundance – but I am more of an apple cinnamon kind of girl myself. As the weather gets colder, people also start to take comfort in warm desserts – something it’s typically difficult to stay away from.
That’s why I decided to make my own version of apple crisp! It gives me the flavor and texture that I crave, minus all the junk.
- 1 apple, chopped
- 1 serving of STEEL CUT oats
- Unsweetened almond milk (amount varies depending on how thick you like your oats – this is the water/milk substitute)
- Agave nectar or honey
- Chia seeds
To make: Follow the cooking directions on your Steel Cut Oats – I use Wegmans Organic Steel Cut Oats, and use less liquid than they suggest because I like a thick consistency. Chop apple and mix into oats when they’re finished. Garnish with cinnamon (a metabolism booster!) to taste. If you want it sweeter, agave nectar or honey is a better alternative to sugar. To give it even more of a health kick, sprinkle chia seeds in as well!
Why is this better? This version of apple crisp is higher in fiber and protein, keeping you fuller longer and fueling your muscles. It is also lower in sugar.
Let me know what you think!