Fitness/Exercise

The Scoop on Vitamin D

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Vitamin DIt’s been quite a ride the past week or so for me… With the Jonas blizzard and a bunch of other crap going on, I am finding it hard to breathe. I am feeling anxious and restless. I know it’s due to stress, but man it’s hard to deal with. My to do list is getting longer and I am starting to feel like I can’t keep up. And I have asked for help, but sometimes getting help means more work for me.

I am trying to remain calm and remember to take each day as it comes — but man, I would like a break from ‘adulting’ please. When I start to feel this way, I also remember it’s February. Right around this time every year I find myself in a funk. Lack of sunshine, Seasonal Affective Disorder, stinks! I have to start using my Light Therapy Lamp again so I can ensure I get enough Vitamin D.

Winter 2016

Speaking of Vitamin D, a friend of mine recently asked me if I knew anything about Vitamin D. I didn’t really know, so I did some research. Here’s what I found…

According to this blog: DO YOU NEED TO TAKE VITAMIN D?

Skin type affects how much sun you need. Generally speaking, paler skin types tend to produce more Vitamin D and darker skin types tend to produce less. A fair skinned person might only need 10 minutes of exposure around noon while someone that is darker could need up to 2 hours of exposure [8].”

The climate you live in will likely determine whether or not you can get enough Vitamin D through sun exposure alone

Just taking a Vitamin D supplement won’t always fix the problem. Vitamin D and calcium exist in balance. More Vitamin D is produced when calcium is low to increase absorption, and through a negative feedback loop, the body suppresses Vitamin D production when calcium levels are high.

So, you need to get your Vitamin D levels checked to see if you really need to supplement, however I tell everyone to go get a sun lamp if you live in an area where the amount of sunlight varies depending on the season. I feel better after using it consistently and it’s not just in my head.

Kindness Matters

300 Union Plumbers Spent The Weekend Installing Water Filters For Flint Residents For Free

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Its your choice

 

 

Behold the View

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Climb the Mountain for the Challenge“Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.” ― David McCullough Jr.

I’ve been thinking about how much simpler life was when I was a kid. We didn’t have the constant barrage of distractions and choices were limited. If we were sitting on a train or travelling somewhere, what did you do? You slept, talked to someone, played some sort of game or simply got lost in your own thoughts. Now, our choices are endless for almost everything. It has created some wonderful opportunities, but it also has a lot of disadvantages.

Someone recently asked me why I think the world seems angrier and less tolerant. You could argue that the world isn’t any worse, we are just getting information from more sources so we are getting more of a full picture of whatever is going on. I don’t know, but if people have always been this angry, that’s pretty sad.

We are so connected that we don’t stop and just take it all in. I traveled into DC this week for work and while my co-worker and I were walking to the Library of Congress, I was stopping to take it in. I mean – it’s awesomely cool to walk around the monuments and recognize the history. I was snapping pics and just enjoying it even though it was cold and we were late to the meeting (through no fault of our own). I think it was annoying my co-worker, but you know what? People all over the world dream of seeing these buildings and being here. It was not going to kill us to take a few extra minutes to enjoy the view…

Watch This (and Laugh)

Personalized Diets Work Best

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Morning SunriseIt’s January, which means we are all being bombarded with lots of articles about how to get healthier, more fit, which diet works best etc… Keep in mind that new research suggests that there is no one diet approach that fits all.  A few months ago, Science Daily published  ‘Healthy’ foods differ by individual that highlighted that we all metabolize food differently and a personalized approach is what will work best long term for anyone looking to improve their overall health and wellness. I’m sure that most people don’t need research to prove that -we have seen it personally.

“Ever wonder why that diet didn’t work? A new study tracking the blood sugar levels of 800 people over a week suggests that even if we all ate the same meal, how it’s metabolized would differ from one person to another. The findings demonstrate the power of personalized nutrition in helping people identify which foods can help or hinder their health goals.”

I see it each and every day – I have a ton of friends who eat like crap but don’t gain a pound and it seems that I can’t eat a cookie without putting on a pound. It is what it is -and in order for me to maintain a certain level of health and wellness, I need to be very mindful of what I eat. It sucks but it is what it is. You can’t change genetics.

Related articles about the same study:

Now, let’s be clear though, this study doesn’t mean you can eat all the crap you want if your body metabolizes it quickly and be uber healthy. Eating processed, high in sugar foods are not good for anyone no matter who you are, so a solid foundation of whole, natural foods is still key for long term health and wellness. You can’t be at your best if you eat crap food. You may be one of those ‘lucky ones’ who doesn’t gain weight when you eat crap, but you won’t healthy and at peak performance where it counts.

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I still have David Bowie on my mind – It was clear that he was born to be an artist and it showed in everything he did. What an amazing talent the world has lost…

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Get Close to Your Goals

Girl Push Ups Are Not A Thing

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I have to get something off my chest – What is up with “Girl Push ups” aka GPUs?  First off, there is no such thing as a girl push-up (a push up but you are on your knees).  For those that automatically do these type of push ups without even attempting a standard push up – YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GET ANY STRONGER or ANY BETTER AT PUSH UPS! Stop doing them this way. It irks me to see and it irks me more when trainers don’t correct or encourage people to do them the correct way. There are modifications that can be done that will get you stronger and are not ‘girl push ups’. I can’t tell you how many times I look around my boxing class and I am one of the very few women who are actually doing a true push up.

How do you train for push ups?

When you get a chance read this “Girl Push-ups” Aren’t a Thing. If you don’t have time, here are some key points to realize:

“Many people don’t realize that the push-up requires more than just the chest and arms. It also activates the shoulders, upper back, abdominals, lower back, quadriceps, and hamstrings. Your body needs to maintain a plank position throughout the movement, requiring a straight and tightened core from neck to toes. Push-ups are awesome for full-body development and everyone who has the right moving parts should do them.”

How do you train for Push Ups?

“To train for push-ups, you need to do push-ups or a movement so truly analogous that there is no practical, functional difference other than the resistance experienced by your body. This means that you need to force your core into a tight, steady plank while experiencing resistance on your chest/arms and moving between contracted/extended arm positions.”

I am constantly urging my friends to do modified push ups instead of on their knees. It means that they change the angle or widen their legs as they are going down. If they insist on doing knee assisted push ups,  I give them a disappointed look and then challenge them to do as many modified push ups as possible before going to their knees. They will NOT get any better at push ups doing GPUs – period, end of STORY!

As a side note: where did this idea that girls can’t do real push ups come from? Is it from the same urban legend creator as the girls can’t do Pull Ups myth? I can do both and know many other women out there who bust the hell out of both of those myths!  We need to rethink how we encourage people to do push ups. I wonder if knee assisted pull ups (GPUs) are how young girls are encouraged to approach push ups day to day. I am going to ask around and see if this is the case and then share information about the modifications that should be encouraged instead.  It only takes one person to start a ripple of change…

Here’s another great write up about Why Knee Push Ups Won’t Make You Any Stronger that includes alternative movements that will get you stronger and on your way to being able to do a full proper push up.

Be Inspired

Goals: Wake Up Earlier

New Year: Time for a Healthy Reset

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12434686_10153377842913741_300310168_nWe decided to adopt a puppy. We have been thinking about it for a while – and the kids are at an age where they can help at least a little with him. So, without further ado – Meet StormTrooper aka Trooper. He’s a 5 month old White German Shepherd and full of energy. He calms down nicely though and seems to be scared of everything around him which is a bit of a bummer. I am hoping it’s the new surroundings and he needs time to warm up.  Almost everyone that has seen him, has shared that German Shepherds were their favorite dog growing up, and they make good family dogs. I’m going to enroll him in training in January which should help. He’s super smart and already sits and fetches – and we are training him to sit and wait at feeding time.  We figured with the kids out of school for a few weeks, it would be a good time to get used to him being a part of the family. It will be interesting to see how he’s going to be next week when we all go back to our regularly scheduled routine and he will be alone for a block of time during the day.

Trooper - 5 months

Post Holiday Reset

Let’s talk about the holidays shall we? I have been out of control eating. I consciously know that I shouldn’t be shoving 80 bazillion cookies in my body, but it doesn’t seem to matter. The past few days I have been getting back on track though – becoming more mindful of what I am choosing and my plan is to start eating according to the Whole 30 approach in January.

The Whole30 program is a good option for those looking for a way to do a healthy reset or discover what food sensitivities you may have. For those interested in learning more about it, here are some great Whole30-related resources, compliments of Melissa Joulwan, author of the Well Fed book series, including 4 weeks of food plans, no recipe required meal ideas, motivational tips, and more.

One of the great things about doing the 30 day program is you can break your sugar habit if you follow the program religiously. It’s not easy, but craving sugar is one of the biggest issues for most people. Once you break that, which makes the first 10 or so days of this program the most challenging, you will begin to feel completely amazing. Your skin, your hair will look healthier. You will sleep better, wake up feeling better. Food will taste better. The list of benefits goes on and on.

Mobility

In the coming year, I am going to spend more time working on my flexibility and mobility. I can feel the tightness in my shoulders and neck and have been having issues with my lower back. Nothing serious but I am smart enough to know it’s only takes an off balance move or a quick jerk and I could be feeling more than tightness. I started rolling out my shoulders and back with a Lacrosse ball after my boxing sessions. I have been introducing some friends to the painful joy of myofascial release after my sessions to. It’s amazing to me how many people don’t realize how important and effective it can be. I know many people use a foam roller, but I have found that using a Lacrosse Ball gives you a deeper roll out which is what my tired, tight muscles need.

Be Inspired

Be Inspired

Wellness: No Room for Excuses

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No ExcusesI really didn’t want to get up and workout this morning. I had such a hard time falling asleep last night and when I did, it was after 1AM and I was restless. I am normally a solid sleeper so not sure why it was so tough.  When the alarm blared at 5:00AM I hit snooze – thankfully my internal dialogue started fighting the battle against the ‘sleep monster’ who wanted me to stay in bed. It sounds corny but I name that pull to stay in bed ‘the sleep monster’. The pull seems to have such a strong personality and the ability to talk people out of working out it deserves a name.

When I first started working out and needed to get used to a super early wake up time, I found that having everything ready to go the night before was key in making it easier. I also purposely refused to talk to myself when the alarm went off. That’s when the internal dialogue starts to convince you to go back to sleep. So – I found that being almost like a robot –alarm goes off, get up without even thinking and go get ready. No questions, no excuses, no chance to find a reason.  And like a skill, it takes work but the more you practice – the easier it gets. I am proof of that – I got my butt up this AM, even though I didn’t want to and it would have been easy to hit snooze. I know I was going to feel better physically and mentally when my workout was done and guess what? I did!

The point is if you want to reach your health and wellness goals, you have to work at it – each and every day-even if you are in shape. There is no way around it – with the type of lives most of us live, the less than stellar choices available tend to be much more convenient which makes focus key.

Read This

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Quotes: wake up earlier

 

When I eat like Crap, I feel like Crap

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When you eat like crap, you feel like crapI’ve been struggling with my food choices the past few weeks and it has reminded me that when you eat like shit, you feel like shit.  I’ve been so locked up in my head – not feeling my best – and it has translated to purposely not acknowledging what I am putting in my mouth.  I am dealing with cystic acne on my face. I am a lot more fatigued and lose stamina during my workouts and not to mention the slow bloat (weight gain) I am seeing.

We have also gotten in the habit of ordering take out many times a week. Eating out all the time makes it hard to really know what you are eating and how it is made.  With both Scott and I working, and with the kids’ schedule – we have been opting for convenience rather than health.

Last week, I started getting back on track.  I started paying attention again to what I am eating which is half the battle, and making conscious decisions. I also made plans to make dinner at least four times this week at home. I think it can only help the entire family in the end. Planning and preparation is really key to making it work.  It’s not a new concept – there is no magic bullet and it seems to get harder as you get older.

I have a sweet tooth (SUGAR ADDICTION) and I crave it  — when I eat some, I want more and more. I am starting to consider doing a sugar detox – it’s a big commitment and I want to go all in if I decide to do it. Maybe something for me to jump into in January…

Laugh

Let’s all start the week with a laugh compliments of Saturday Night Live and Will Ferrell. This is a brilliant sketch full of wonderfully, subtle shots at the 2016 Republican candidates. Some of the things they are talking about downright frightening….

Move Out Of Your Comfort Zone in 2016

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Here we are in December, weeks away from the New Year and the beginning of winter. Colder weather, darker days, a lot of stress for some trying to survive the holiday season.

Move out of your comfort zoneFor me, it can be the perfect recipe for losing motivation and momentum – if you let it.  I used to think that this time of year and into early January, when all the gyms are full and people start creating New Year’s resolutions, was the time for renewed inspiration. I find myself starting to feel the pull of the warm bed in the early morning and find myself staring at the clock during some of my workouts wondering how much longer I have until it’s done.

It’s a good thing to recognize because as someone who loves working out – the feeling of a good sweat and the feeling of strength that comes with a great workout. There’s nothing like it, I can’t imagine drifting away from this lifestyle – but it becomes more chore-like if I don’t continue to challenge myself by trying new things or switching things up.

So – for those who are active on the regular and reliably focused on leading a healthy lifestyle – I challenge you to switch things up in the upcoming year. If you find something you love already – great – keep it up but also try a few new things to spice things up. Try a new class – ZUMBA anyone??  Try weight lifting, try Barre. Get outside of your comfort zone — your body and mind will actually benefit from it!

Read This

Watch This

Star Wars Kraft Macaroni & Cheese “Can’t Play”

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You are a work in progress

Christmas Abbott: BadAss Body Diet

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This past month has been pretty stressful for me – and I’m not going to sugar coat it. My eating has gone to shit. The little excuses I have made have added up and now are full blown standard operating procedure and it’s not good.  It’s being triggered by stress and emotional stuff going on but sliding back into old habits is not the path I want to revisit so it’s time to refocus. I am heading out on vacation next week. My long road trip will give me time to think about what’s going on and some much needed time away from what is triggering all of these feelings.  Not to go into detail – it’s related to professional career issues and I know it’s only a matter of time before I need to make some hard choices.

But, let’s talk about refocusing on health and wellness…

the BADASS Body Diet - Christmas Abbott I have mentioned before that I am a big fan and a long-distance friend of Christmas Abbott.  She has always been kind to me and has embarked on an amazing path of helping others in a big way. She recently sent me a copy of her book: The BADASS Body Diet. I haven’t gotten all the way through it but when I am back from vacation, I plan to start the diet and workout plan recommended.

I already am appreciating that she doesn’t write for a one size fits all body type. She identifies three types of dieters -—Modifiers, Gainers, and Maintainers—and the suggested approaches can be tailored depending on which one you resemble.  From the reviews I have read, many mention the suggested approach is simple and you aren’t left feeling super hungry.  Although I have heard that many times from many other fitness and wellness advocates, I trust Christmas. She comes from the same world I am used to – women who lift and aren’t afraid to be strong.

Some of the book is fluff and entertainment but, that’s all part of selling the approach to those who still believe thin is better than strong. Those that live and die by the number on the scale.  Just like any diet or approach recommended, one size does not fit all. My advice is to read the book –  ‘meet’ Christmas, learn her story and understand how she approaches diet and fitness. From there, you can tailor it or not – to meet your own health and wellness goals.

I’ll share my experience from time to time as I start to incorporate her advice in my own fitness and wellness approach…

 

Christmas Abbott - Badass Body DietBuy the BadAss Body Diet by Christmas Abbott directly from Amazon and let me know what you think!

 Christmas Abbott: The Badass Body Book (Amazon Affiliate Link) 

 

Time Flies: An Abrupt Wake Up Call

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I have had a series of recent light bulb experiences that have thrown me for a loop and served me a helping of reality…

Ack! My Parents Are Getting Old

I have 4 brothers and sisters and we have a half sister that is quite a bit younger. My Dad has been married to her mother since I was 6 – so a very long time. Since the early 90’s, my dad and step mother have lived in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Their health is failing and they have had serious financial setbacks for a myriad of reasons that I won’t go into. The bottom line is they can’t afford to stay in the Phoenix area and none of the family lives nearby. So, they decided to move to Ohio to be closer to their daughter, my half sister and they arrived there last week.

Seeing pictures of them during their drive out to Ohio shocked me. You know how you have this vision of your parents? Well, my vision didn’t match what I saw and it was a jolting reminder that time marches on and my parents are aging. Scott and I are very lucky to have both sets of parents still around – but health problems are starting to creep up and the unstoppable hands of time are spinning.

Seeing them look so frail, was a great reminder to me why taking care of my health and wellness while I am young is important. Exercise, eating healthy and maintaining a positive attitude towards any situation will go far as you age. Trust me on that one! Seeing the differences in how my parents are aging based on their life outlook and how they have taken care of themselves has been very educational for me. It’s night and day.

Oh No! I’m Feeling My Age

Brittany Marklin Britt’s wedding this past weekend was beyond lovely.  Not sure if I have mentioned, but Britt is a bit younger than me – and hence, the wedding crowd was young. It was one of those experiences where I felt old. Not old enough to be a granny or anything, but old in the sense that I really didn’t want to ‘hang’ out. It’s not a bad thing  — the wedding guests were nice but I don’t enjoy drinking and getting shit faced and it takes me forever to recover!

On top of feeling old at the wedding, yesterday, my tween daughter sent me pics her friend took of her (included below). Talk about feeling my age – she looks so grown up. How the heck did my little baby become a young woman? And to boot, she is about an inch or less away from being taller than me. She just seems so grown up.

It’s inevitable-we age, grow up, become adults, get old and eventually we will pass. The reminders this past week have left me feeling somewhat blah and melancholy about things around me.  I will get out of my funk but it was an abrupt wake up call…

Life is short.
Act with good intentions.
Say what you need to say to those you care most about.
Cherish the moments.
Be Kind.
Laugh a lot.
Spread Love

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