Thursday, January 30, 2014

The proof is in, well, the results!

People say to stick with it.  They say the results will come.  Small steps.  But you swear you don't see changes.  You feel defeated, you are ready to give up and frankly, you don't want to hear it anymore.

So today I am not going to tell you any of that - I am going to SHOW you!

I have 2 ladies that have been working out with me steady since May 14, 2013; we'll call them Lady W and Lady J.  That is when they took their first "fit test" and neither have missed a workout since that day (well maybe 1 or 2).  And see the results for yourself....


59 switch kicks to 100?!  10 burpees to 18?!  These women rock my socks!  The fit test on the left is May 14, 2013 - on the right is January 9, 2014, almost 8 months to the day later.

There are no disclaimers here – this can be typical results for anyone committed to their own health. 

As I am sure these women will tell you, the numbers you see above can be credited to not only hard work, but with a lifestyle change.  They don't just come to bootcamp 2 days a week, they walk their dogs in the evening, they've cleaned up their diet, and they make all the small choices that have led to the big payoff.  It's all encompassing and it works!

So whether your path to health is driven by family, by friends, by health or by your desire to hike Pinnacle don't lose focus and don't give up.  You'll get there -- just like Lady W and Lady J.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Happy Trails to You!



Hiking is one of my favorite activities – even more so in the winter than in the summer.  It gets me out of the house a bit, throws some variety into my days, and allows me to explore new places and see new things – even if I’ve been on a trail dozens of times.  Nothing is ever quite the same. 

There are several great places around Arkansas, and the country, to take advantage of beautiful views and the level of hiking at each varies from easy/medium to strenuous. 

Rim Trail - Mt. Nebo, AR - Fall 2012
One of the best bonuses of cold-weather hiking?  Less traffic on the trails – you can stop and enjoy the views, take pictures and not feel rushed for “holding up the trail”.  Cooler temps tend to scare of the masses, but with a few small tips from Trails.com you can have a fun, safe, winter hike to cure that cabin fever.  

1:  Dress in layers. (Sound familiar?)  Choose a number of clothing articles you can take off and put back on independently. Wear a pair of long johns made from polypropylene over which you wear a pair of pants made of a lightweight, water proof and breathable material. On top, start out with a short sleeved t-shirt---also made of polypropylene--top it with long sleeved thin fleece shirt, add a turtleneck sweater and finish up with a jacket or windbreak made of a  material.

2:  Remember to dress the head.   Over 50% of heat escapes your head – remember this from our previous post?  If you are out braving the rain and snow you might want pick out a balaclava since it is perfect for keeping nose and ears protected from wind, snow and rain. It also prevents the heat loss from the head, which is a danger during longer winter hikes.   Be sure you wear sunglass to shield your eyes from the sun, and goggles if you are out in the extreme elements. 

3:  Choose a backpack made of breathable material.  Avoid the sweaty back and the sore shoulders by investing in an all-weather backpack made of breathable material, or a Camelback hydration pack with plenty of pockets and storage for snacks, extra socks, extra gloves and assorted odds and ends (I always have a snake bite kit and chap stick!)

4:  Wear cold weather hiking boots and vapor barrier socks. Choose an insulated, water proof boot that is not made from leather but is instead made of a plastic and rubber combination. Leather freezes in winter weather, while plastic and rubber will not.  Take it from me – there is nothing worse than cold feet on a hike.  You can make your already broken in leather boots work by waterproofing them with spray-on chemicals, but you might want to add plastic gaiters to add moisture resistance to your footwear. Dress your foot in vapor barrier socks to prevent excessive sweating that makes the inside of your boot slippery and uncomfortable.   I wear Merino wool socks when I hike.  Love them! 

5:  Bring food and water. Remember that during a winter hike your body burns more calories and requires more nourishment and water than it might during a summer hike. Bring plenty of food and plan on stopping frequently and replenishing your energy by eating moderately sized snacks. Plan on bringing along a gallon of drinking water; depending on the length of your hike, you might even drink more than that. If you keep a canteen in addition to the water supply in your backpack, carry the canteen upside down.

Happy Hiking! 

More than a physical journey

I saw this image on the I Love to Run (www.ilovetorun.org) Facebook page and started thinking about how much I've changed since making health my top priority - ALL DAY, EVERY DAY, not just from 5:30-6:30a 5 days a week.

The journey has been as emotional as it has been physical. Muscles have hurt and feelings have hurt and disappointment has hurt. Goals have been set and broken, as have bad habits and unhealthy choices. There have been so many ups and downs. True strengths, true weaknesses and achieving things imagined impossible. No more "I'll never be able to" - I want to prove myself wrong! Or prove myself right. But I want to KNOW IT.

My dress size is a 4, my heart rate is a healthy 54 bpm and my blood pressure is a steady 100/60. I feel energized. I have healthy skin and love my hair! That “2:30 feeling” rarely shows up anymore.

Most importantly I am HAPPY, challenged, and blessed to have relationships and camaraderie with people I would have never experienced without the bonds of fitness and healthy living.

Here’s to health and a healthy new year!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

There's a National Oatmeal Month!


I was riding to work the other day and heard on the radio that January is National Oatmeal Month! Because oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfast staples, I was intrigued and excited.  According to the folks over at Quaker Oats, Americans eat the equivalent of 420 million bowls of oats in January...amazing! 

Not a real surprise, since January is also the most common month for resolutions to “eat healthier” by adding whole grains, like oatmeal, to your diet (according to Michigan State University Extension), can:
  • Lower the risk of heart disease
  • Help reduce blood cholesterol levels
  • Prevent certain cancers
  • Help manage your weight
  • Prevent Type 2 diabetes
  • Prevent high blood pressure
  • Support a healthy immune system
A life-long fan of oatmeal (even having stayed several times at the old Quaker Oats Mill - now hotel - in Akron OH) I thought I'd help celebrate by passing on some of my favorite, self-designed homemade oatmeal recipes.  Enjoy!

  
Crunchy Oatmeal Breakfast Parfait
  • ¼ cup granola
  • ¼ cup rolled oats – raw/uncooked
  • 1 TB ground flaxseed
  • 1 sliced banana or ½ cup fresh berries (strawberry, blueberry, raspberry or blackberry – pick your poison or have a little of each!) 
Throw all ingredients in a bowl and top with ½ cup 2% milk

Warm Apple Pie Oatmeal
  • ½ gala apple, cubed
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1TB ground flaxseed
  • ¾ cup steel cut oats, cooked on stove with water
Sometimes this comes out a little thick, so I’ll add some 2% milk to thin it out. I also sometimes substitute pears for apples (especially around the holidays when the Harry & David packages start arriving)

Vanilla Cake Oatmeal
  • ¾ cup steel cut oats, cooked
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 TBSP ground flaxseed
  • 1 ½ scoops USANA Vanilla Nutrimeal (or ½ scoop of any vanilla protein powder)
Cook the oats first on the stove, and then stir in remaining ingredients. I often use this for lunch or a pre-workout afternoon snack – it tastes just like a piece of vanilla cake!

Overnight Chocolate Refrigerated Oats (modified from a recipe I found in a SHAPE magazine years ago)
  • 1/2 cup raw oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1 TB raw, dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1 TB ground flaxseeds
  • 1 packet or 1 tsp stevia
  • ½ banana, sliced
Combine all ingredients except banana in a covered container and put in the fridge overnight. In the morning, stir it up and add the sliced banana. You might need more milk to get the consistency to something you prefer, but I enjoy my oats a little thicker. 
150115_604356736258300_60659364_n.jpg 480×750 pixels
(Image courtesy of Pinterest)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy 2014 to you!



Health
Drink plenty of water. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.  Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.  Live with the 3 E's....Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.  Make time to pray.  Play more games.  Read more books than you did last year.  Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Sleep for 7 hours.  Take a 10-30 minute walk daily.  And while you walk, smile.  

Personality
Don't compare your life to others.  You have no idea what their journey is all about.  Don't have negative thoughts over things you cannot control.  Instead, invest your energy in the positive present moment.   Don't over do; keep your limits.  Don't take yourself so seriously - no one else does.  Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.  Dream more while you are awake.  Envy is a waste of time; you already have all you need.  Forget issues of the past; don't remind your partner of his/her mistakes of the past.  That will ruin your present happiness.  Life is too short to waste time hating anyone; don't hate others.  Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the future.  No one is in charge of your happiness except you.  Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn; problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class, but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.  Smile and laugh more.  You don't have to win every argument.  
Agree to disagree...  

Society 
 Call your family often.  Each day give something good to others.  Forgive everyone for everything.  Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.  Try to make at least three people smile each day.  What other people think of you is none of your business.  Your job won't take care of you when you are sick, your friends will.  Stay in touch. 

Life
Do the right thing!  Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.  God heals everything.  However good  or bad a situation is, it will change...No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.  The best is yet to come.  When you awake alive in the morning, than God for it.  Your Inner most is always happy.  So, be happy.

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