Friday, July 18, 2014

A few of my favorite things!

I'm not even going to lie to you.  I struggled this week.  I haven't posted in 10 days -- 10 full days!  And my mind has been racing....

What do I want to share?  What questions have I been hearing lately?  What do my readers want to know about?  What am I most excited about this week?  Ding ding ding! We have a winner!  There are so many things to be happy and thankful for this week - why not share some of those.



1)  “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero.  I read it every day for 2 weeks on my lunch break.  I laughed A LOT.  I highlighted A LOT.  I learned A LOT.  Whether you are looking to reinvent yourself, start a new journey or just need a good laugh, this woman will help you out.  Some of my favorite quotes include:
All this is to say it's not your fault that you're f***ed up.  It's your fault if you stay f***ed up.
Self-perception is a zoo.

You aren't a better person for feeling guilty or bad about yourself, just a sadder one.

You are responsible for what you say and do.  You are not responsible for whether or not people freak out about it.
And finally, my favorite: 
Love yourself more than you love your drama.
2)  Powdered Peanut Butter I think I actually let out a little squeal when I ran across this at Target.  If you know me at all you know how much I love peanut butter – in everything.  I add it to the pre-portioned Chocolate Nutrimeal I carry in my blender bottle for a quick shake between classes.  Just add 8-10oz of water and it’s transformed into Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cup goodness.  (I have also seen it in the organic section at Kroger & at a Smoothie King in Tennessee.) 

3) Going back to school.  Yes, I did it.  I bit the proverbial bullet.  I am officially enrolled as a full-time student and started classes on July 14, 2014.  If all goes as planned, I will graduate next summer with a Master’s in Exercise Science and Health Promotion.

4) Waterproof mascara.  BOOYAH!…no more raccoon eyes after class!  And it works!  I picked this particular tube up at ULTA for $6.00.  Sad to say it was the last one in the Rock – I was hoping to buy 2.

5) Lime Sparkling Water.  One sip was all it took – had one on Saturday when visiting our family in Louisiana and Sunday I ran to Kroger and bought an 8 pack.  It's refreshing, it's delicious and it beats soda every day of the week.  Yes, the best thing for you is water with a fresh slice of lime.  But for me, this is ok, too.  Just watch the ingredients – all sparkling water is not created equal. 

Have a happy, active weekend everyone!


Monday, July 7, 2014

5 Steps to Efficient Muscle Recovery

Last week was crazy to say the least - after a three-a-day Tuesday and a 4-peat on Wednesday I was worried my body might have had about all that it can handle. But, surprisingly even to me, I was able to complete our normal Thursday 4.6 mile run at an easy 9:38 pace and even managed a 14-mile bike ride with the family later that morning.

How does my body press on through all that activity? It's not luck, it is partly conditioning but it's all proper recovery.

So many things we do (in and out of the gym) impact our bodies ability to recover properly by:
reducing the risk of over training
reducing the risk of injury
Resulting in:
enhanced performance
increased quality and quantity of training.

It is important to understand that each persons rate of recovery will vary. Adapting these habits does not mean that 2-a-days are the right answer for everyone.  These habits, however, will give you the ability to work a little harder, recover a little quicker, and see results a little sooner.

Here are the 5 things I do to make sure I am adequately prepared for days when classes pop-up unexpectedly or a planned 12-mile run accidentally turns into 17 when I get lost (yes, it's happened).


5 Steps to Efficient Muscle Recovery.


1. Sleep!

I can't stress this enough to you - sleep has a profound effect on physical well-being and muscle growth. While asleep your body alternates between two forms of sleep: rapid eye movement, or REM, and non-REM sleep. This cycle repeats several times throughout the night. While REM sleep provides the energy to the brain that supports it during waking hours and is necessary for restoring the mind, stages 3 and 4 of non-REM sleep, are essential for restoring the body (organs, tissues, muscles) . 

You are considered sleep deprived if you get less that 4 hours of sleep - the National Sleep Foundations recommends 7 - 9 hours of sleep per night. Find your optimal and get there more often than you don't.

 

2. Drink plenty of water.

We hear it over and over - drink more water, drink more water - and yet, nearly 50% of Americans don't get enough. Our muscles are 75% water, so when you are more active you need even more water - it's crucial to muscle development and keeping water retention to a minimum. 

I shoot for 1/2 my body weight in ounces, and for every hour of exercise I refuel with 16-20 oz (or more) of water to replenish what I've lost. This is in addition to the 16-24oz I drink during my workout. 

There is a reason we can survive 30 days without food but only 4-10 without water. 

Fit it in.

 

3. Massage.

According to a recent study, massage not only makes you feel better, it helps speed up muscle recovery. Whether it's via foam roller, tennis balls or a massage therapist, regular massage reduces stiffness and inflammation, removes knots (adhesions), scar tissue and restrictions in the fascia (the tissue that wraps around larger muscle bundles, such as biceps or quads).

I used to be against the monthly membership options out there - who wants a massage to become a chore that they have to schedule in? After going almost a year without a massage and wondering whether or not I'd even get a good one when I got around to finding a place, I caved and joined the monthly membership. 


Probably the best fitness decision I've ever made! I feel great all the time, and have someone who really knows my body and works with me on my most troubled spots, without having to spend the first 10 minutes of the hour in a getting to know you session.

4. Reduce Stress.

I know - exercise to reduce stress...but too much stress isn't good for exercise? What is going on here?!

Many of us react to a stressful situation with our muscular system. Our shoulder muscles tense, our necks get tense -- whether we are mindful of it or not, our bodies are going into "flight or fight" mode. And each time a muscle is tensed it takes 20 minutes for it to fully relax again. If you have 75 moments of mini-stressors throughout the day (I haven't finished that report, I lost my keys, I forgot to call my mom.....) your body never full relaxes and your muscles never fully recover.


This is a hard one for some people - external stress is often beyond our control. But what we can control is the way we react to it. It takes time, but it can be done. For example: get in the habit of always putting your keys in the same spot. Create your own internal deadline and hold yourself to it.


One investment that I made was the Simply Being meditation app - if I'm having a stressful moment or day, I either close my office door or go out to my car on my lunch break, close out the world and tune into my breathing and my body. It's give me a new calm and I often come back with a new perspective on the situation. Even if I only have time for 10 minutes, it makes a huge difference in the rest of my day.


5. Cool down & Stretch

Easily the most underrated part of a workout. If you don't have time to cool down properly, schedule it into your workout time.

A 5-15 minute cool down/stretch post-workout will not only get your heart rate and core body temperatures back to normal slowly, it will allow the blood to properly move through your heart and body, giving your muscles time to get oxygen and blood flowing back through them. 

Not giving the blood time to properly redistribute can lead to more than just dizziness and nausea (the most common side effects) - it can also lead to blood pooling around the muscles in your legs and inflammation.

You can do this by slowly jogging, marching or walking in place. Static stretching is also a necessary final step, helping eliminate muscle soreness and fatigue.

A good rule of thumb: the harder your workout, the longer the cool down and stretch should be.

Top Posts