Fitness/Exercise

Which Hard Would You Rather Have: Health or Illness?

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Stephanie HoaglundThere does not seem to be enough hours in the day lately to get it all done. My new job has me so busy and now that spring has sprung – there is so much to get done. I’m not alone in that feeling I am sure – we are all running at a thousand miles a minute now a days it’s hard to quiet your mind and slow down sometimes. I think that’s one of the reasons I workout – to have some time to really focus on how I feel physically. A few friends of mine recently made some comments about how I am always working out — well, first that’s not true. I work out regularly for about an hour five times a week. That leaves a whole lot of other hours during the week when I am not working out. However, after the years of doing this – it’s almost like an addiction. I crave a good workout for mental and physical reasons. I feel better when I move my body. Who doesn’t? Well according to a new study and the Wall Street Journal, a ton of people out there don’t exercise regularly 1 in 4 Americans to be exact…

“We are deep in a national crisis. We’re not sweating enough. We’re running away from sports. We’re fleeing from fitness.
The other day, the Journal’s Sara Germano reported on a mind-numbing survey from the Physical Activity Council which found…well, it basically found that 1 in 4 Americans didn’t exercise at all in the past year.

One in four. For a year. Yikes.”

It is a crisis – just look around suburban America. How many people around you are living less than healthy lives? We are all busy. We are all tired. We are all pushed and pulled in so many directions – but your health should be non-negotiable and top of the list of importance. Not only for you, but for the example you are setting for your children. They learn from what you say and do. You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete, just MOVE YOUR BODY! Go for a walk, stretch, do sprints – whatever. Do it and continue – it’s a long term journey with peaks and valleys.

It’s not easy I know- but have you seen people living with chronic illness or immobility? That’s not easy either. Which hard would you rather have in your life?

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Skulpt Aim: Changing How To Track Fitness

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Skulpt AIMAs I mentioned recently, I was sent a new device to try out called Skulpt Aim to test.

The Skulpt Aim uses a technology called electrical impedance myography or EIM. ‘Myography’ literally means “The description of muscles.” EIM measures two separate features of the tissue: its resistive properties and its capacitive properties

Skulpt Aim measures body fat percentage and Muscle Quality (MQ). One of the first questions I have been asked is what is Muscle Quality (MQ)?

According to their website:

MQ, or Muscle Quality, is a rating of your muscles’ fitness that was designed to be intuitive. Aim uses EIM technology to send a small current directly through your muscles. It uses 12 sensors and multiple frequencies to get very accurate readings. Since current flows differently in muscles based on their composition and muscle fiber size, Aim is able to evaluate the quality of each muscle.

Similar to the IQ scale, the average person has an MQ of 100. Higher MQ scores correlate with stronger, leaner, more defined and firm muscles.”

So in layman’s terms, the higher over 100 your score is, the stronger, leaner and more efficient your muscles are.  Higher numbers mean better fitness.

 

Skulpt Aim

Skulpt AIM When it arrived, I took it out of the box and found it pretty easy to set up. I put the device on the charger for a while before testing as recommended. To see how easy it was to use, I decided to have my boxing instructor Connor try it out. Without telling him much about it overall, I showed him the Skulpt website and let him figure it out.  It took him only a few minutes — and he began using it.

To get started, he watched some of the videos to learn how to properly measure using the device.  It’s different for males vs females.

How to get your Total Body MQ & Fat percentage

To measure your body’s MQ score and fat %, you’ll need to measure four areas: biceps, triceps, abs, and quads. There are videos available to help you learn where to properly place the device to get accurate readings.

Muscle Quality on Skulpt AIM

It took only a few minutes to measure and what’s cool is there is a Skulpt app available to help you track your stats so you can see progress as you continue to work towards reaching  your strength and fitness goals.

My instructor/tester, Connor, thought it was useful and cool. It gave him an idea of where he was at fitness wise – which for the most part, was right where he should be. There were a few areas that were not quite where he felt they needed to be and in his words “I have some work to do.”   

Connor will retest in a few weeks to track his progress as he puts in the necessary work…

Here are some recent articles about this revolutionary device:

My initial thoughts: For people who thrive when they have actual data at their fingertips while working towards their fitness goals, this device helps you see if your workouts really are making your body stronger, even if the scale isn’t budging!  And it’s easy to use and you can track it  — this is the kind of info that we never really had at our fingertips. Now you just need this device and a few minutes –and you get accurate readings to help you adjust your fitness programming or goals as necessary.

This is really the future of fitness – being able to track and evaluate how your fitness program is working at the touch of an app whenever you want to evaluate your progress. I love it.

 

Thanks to Skulpt Aim for sending me their device.  Even though I received it for Free, there was no expectation on their part to influence my review. My opinions here are my own. 

 

 

Bring Quality PE Back To Schools: La Sierra High PE

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NPR just published Learning To Move, Moving To Learn: The Benefits Of PE – encouraging schools and communities to bring back real PE classes. It’s no secret that “neuro-cognitive development is associated with exercise and can benefit from exercise”, so why aren’t we demanding that our children get more exercise??

Watch the video below that highlights the La Sierra High PE program in the 60’s. It’s exactly what our kids need to be doing today– real physical fitness classes in school. Not only will it help them physically but mentally as well! Our kids will learn to deal with the stress of life. Also look at the people featured in this video –they look younger and healthier overall. I bet it’s because they have been fit most of their lives, starting early on.


PE 50 years ago…compare to today! Help us bring quality PE back to our schools: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/la-sierra-high-pe

In 1962, JFK gave a speech to the nation challenging them to make a “great national effort.” He held the La Sierra High PE up as the model for the nation to follow. 4,000 high schools followed this program. This is the only known digitized copy of his speech. The footage shows one high school PE class. Remember, this is a normal PE class at the high school. This was PE 50 years ago in America! Help us make this happen again. Ron Jones, MS, founder of The Lean Berets (Executive Producer), Doug Orchard (Producer/Director).

2015 Scope It Out 5K – Washington, DC

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Sunday was the 10th Annual Scope it Out 5K.  It was my fifth year running to celebrate my husband being colon cancer free! Seems so long ago now that he was recovering from surgery and chemo. Every year, I run this race as a reminder of how far we have come from those days and to continue to do my part spreading the word about how important it is for anyone with symptoms or at risk for colon cancer get screened. Remember: the treatment for colon cancer is a lot worse than any colonoscopy!!

Scope It Out 5K 2015

Both my kiddos ran this year’s race too! Last year’s 2014 Scope it Out 5K, HB joined us and this year Nate Dogg committed and rocked it!  I could not have been more proud of both of them! Apparently,  Nate loves to talk while he runs and expects a two way conversation, so Scotty had the pleasure of counting cop cars, crowds of people and anything else Nate Dogg wanted to mention during the 3+ miles. Good times!

I still regularly visit blogs created by others battling colon cancer. When I got back from the race, I decided to visit a blog by a young women in Arizona:  Michelle Whitehead Hastings. She had not been updating regularly because the cancer came back and she was undergoing some painful treatments. I wondered how she was doing and was shocked to learn she passed away late last month.  Michelle was a women, wife, mother, daughter – a bright shining person, who tried to give back as she navigated her own treatment. I took a moment last night to say a prayer for her and her family. And although I didn’t know the news at the time – I ran the race in her honor. RIP Michelle.

Race Results

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my time was better this year than 2014 and 2013! Keep in mind that I am not a runner. I had not run since this fall and even then it was no more than sprints. While there is nothing amazing about my pace in the general sense, I am quite pleased with it.  And I came in the top 17% overall. Not too shabby!

  • 2015: 9:36
  • 2014: 10:13
  • 2013: 9:55
  • 2012: 9:03
  • 2011: 9:29

Scope It Out 2015 Results

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2015 Scope it Out 5K Event Photos

Scope it out 5K 2015Scope it out 5K 2015

 

10649662_10152772708013741_6033625574996435756_nScope it out 5K

Scope it out 5K 2015

Scope it out 5K

GWU Weight Management and Human Performance Lab

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GWU Exercise Lab I mentioned that last week I visited the GWU Weight Management and Human Performance Lab to check out the lab and get some tests done so I can really figure out what the key is that will help get me where I want to be.

Todd Miller who runs the lab and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Exercise Science and was kind enough to offer me some testing so I can share my experiences with anyone interested in experiencing the lab.

Todd ran me through a series of tests and then we sat down, reviewed the results and discussed ways to get me where I want to be.

GWU Exercise Lab - DEXAFirst, he measured my height and weighed me and then had me stand on a the Body Composition – BIA machine that measured my weight, body fat etc using electromagnetic pressure contact, not unlike the scales and other machines readily available. Then we used the Dexa machine…

Body Composition – Dexa (or DXA) -The gold standard for body composition assessment. The DXA scan uses a low-dose x-ray (approximately 1/10th the radiation of a traditional chest x-ray) and provides information about bone mineral density, fat, and fat-free mass in to specific regions of the body with an accuracy of ±2%.

GWU Exercise Lab - RMRAfter that test was complete, which took maybe five or so minutes, it was time to test my Resting Metabolic Rate – The resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the amount of energy (calories) a body burns while at rest, which accounts for approximately 70% of the body’s daily energy expenditure. This is the amount of energy needed to perform vital body functions such as respiration and circulation.

results - GWU Weight Management LabAfter the testing was done, Todd and I talked through the results.  I gained some weight in the last year and half. It was as much as I had thought – so while that’s not great news per se, it wasn’t shocking and it confirmed my own sense of where I am. The good news… all the fitness I do – does make a difference whether I am at an optimal weight or body fat %.  I am fit — and the weight i gained, once I lose it – I should be in the ‘good’ categories all around.

  • Bone density is good.
  • My RMR is high. That means I burn a lot of calories just being.
  • I have a good amount of lean muscle mass.

I’m not going to discuss my actual numbers here – they are irrelevant to anyone but me. What I will share is that we talked about how much protein I need based on my lean muscle mass and what would be my optimal amount of calories to get me back to where I will feel most comfortable. The thing is my goal isn’t about being super lean. I want to feel comfortable in my own skin without being crazy about every little thing I eat or drink. I did that years ago – and it consumed my life. My goal is to be healthy and fit – not an Olympian or champion competitor. I am living this way so I am able to move, have fun, try new things and age without the fear of being immobile. That is what I discussed with Todd – he made some suggestions on what would be a reasonable caloric and protein intake per day to get me there.  As for exercise, I clearly don’t need help in that area. I am fit!

The one thing that caught me off guard is how much protein Todd suggested I eat per day: 146g  He based it on how much lean body mass I have. I am not sure how one goes about eating that much protein in a day but i have been trying without upping my overall suggested caloric intake. It’s been quite a challenge – the closest I have gotten is 96g.

I have also begun to track my fitness and food intake using fatsecret.com. Todd sent me an invite and he can monitor what I am eating from time to time to give me advice. Check it out –so far I am liking it.

One of things that has always confused me is why is it so hard? Todd explained that most of it is simple math – which is not hard but it is hard to put into place. Knowing that there is science and data behind what we discussed helped me leave the lab with a sense of an actual plan to get me back to where I will feel comfortable. Before that, i have just guessed at where I am and how much I need to eat. With Dr Miller’s suggestions, I feel confident about being able to do it.

Protein Intake – How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day?

I will keep you posted on my overall progress – the good and bad of it as we head into Spring and Summer.

 

Know When To Ask For Help

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Clean-eating_thumbI’m not going to sugar coat my struggle – I am really slipping with my overall nutrition and can’t seem to muster the motivation or inspiration to re-focus and get back on track. So, I figured i need some real help. I made an appointment with the director of the weight management and human performance lab at George Washington University for later this week. He is going to do some lab tests after a 4 hour fast and then we can take a look at how to get me to where I want to be. It can’t possibly be this hard to get on track.

My thinking is that fitness is not the issue for me.  I need help figuring out a nutritional approach and he can help me get there. I realized this weekend — I need help, plain and simple. When you need help – ask!

I will be sharing the experience with you so we can all learn from it…

scope it outDon’t forget that March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month! I am running the Scope it Out 5K Washington DC Presented by Chris4Life on Team Hoagie’s Heroes to celebrate my hubby’s 6+ years colon cancer free. Will you join us on Sunday March 22 or donate to the cause? Scope it Out 5K Washington DC Presented by Chris4Life 

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Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Brilliant way to highlight our country’s serious infrastructure problem: America’s crumbling infrastructure: It’s not a sexy problem, but it is a scary one.

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Look fear in the face

Workout

  • Saturday: Cycle Scene 1 hour
  • Monday: 1 mile walk
  • Tuesday: Boxing 1hour

Cycle Scene: An Indoor Cycling Experience

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Cycle Scene _Ashburn Last weekend, I went to the grand opening of Cycle Scene in Ashburn. Cycle Scene is an indoor cycling studio with spice. I say that because it’s not just sitting on a bike and riding.

It’s an experience — there are specialized lights, including a disco ball, a great sound system, and motivational inspirations all over the walls. Depending on the instructor, the experience can be night and day each time you attend too. There are some that strive to boost you up, make you feel empowered and ready to conquer the world. There are others that are more traditional biking enthusiasts who take more laid back approach to your class experience.

Cycle Scene - Ashburn VA I have to admit, i am normally not a huge fan of the stationary exercise experience. Treadmills, stair climbers, bicycles all equal boring to me. I find that they lack the excitement to keep me wanting to keep doing it but this seems to be a bit different.  Having been to three classes so far, the instructor is the key. With good music and the right instructor to push and motivate me, it actually captures me. It also forces me to get a bit more inside of my head since I don’t need to worry so much about perfect coordination like in Boxing and CrossFit.  It’s very mental and it allows me to practice meditation to push through the challenging peaks.

Cycle Scene - AshburnCycle Scene is very boutique like – with towels and water offered freely and showers with all the amenities included. They have added touches as well -at the end of the ride, they offer eucalyptus infused wet towels to cool off, which was a much needed and appreciated touch because I was a sweating and overheated for sure. They also wipe down the bikes for you after your ride so you don’t need to worry about that.

I also like that you can do punch cards, which I did. It’s a way to add this into my overall fitness routine without having to have a bunch of different expensive memberships to different places. A huge part of being fit is to to continually vary what I ask my body to do and this way I can stave off burnout and boredom.

 

Solidcore: Pilates on Steroids

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I know I’ve been a bit behind in posting new updates for everyone. Real in person life has gotten busy – which is not necessarily a bad thing!

The next few posts will give you an idea of what I have been up to…

SolidCore in Ballston Saturday and Sunday, I did two a day workouts. Not because of any larger reason. I was given opportunities to step outside my comfort zone and try some new workouts.

Saturday

After my early boxing session, I tried [Solidcore] in Ballston.

What is it you ask?  Someone online described it as “Pilates on Steroids”. Ive never done Pilates, but I can tell you it was the kind of workout where I literally hated it while doing it but when it was over – i felt great and wanted to do it again to challenge myself to get the hang of it. You use a megaformer machine for the 50 minute class. It’s all slow, controlled movements focusing on core muscles. The classes are kept small so the instructor can give everyone the attention needed.  Depending on the movement, you would do a 4-6 count to ensure you are really working the muscle. Have you ever tried to go down in an lunge slowly to a 4-6 count on one of these machines? Talk about using core strength!

Megaformer at SolidcoreI’m in pretty good shape, and this was probably one of the hardest workouts I have done. I wanted to stop ten minutes into it. If you aren’t already in shape – this may not be the workout for you. They suggest that if you cant hold a solid plank for 1 minute or more, it will be too challenging.  I do not disagree with their suggestion. Almost from the start, I was sweating buckets even with no cardio and my muscles were twitching and I was shaking. As much as I didn’t like it – I loved it and that feeling. It meant that I was really challenging my body. Call me a glutton for punishment!

After SolidcoreMy friend, Mastaneh, who set up the class for us and who I was mad at the entire time (Just kidding!), felt the same way afterwards — we left with a love/hate feeling. A few days later, I am still feeling the burn. Not the “oh my gosh, i can’t sit down” type but the “that really works” type of soreness.

I would definitely go again if there were one closer to where I live. For now, It may have reignited my motivation to do yoga again and try a Pilates class.

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[Solidcore] Create the Strongest Version of Yourself

Let’s Talk About Gluten Sensitivity

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People ask me why I limit how much food I eat that contains gluten.  When I eat gluten I don’t feel well.  I become fatigued, my eczema starts to flare (which is also connected to eating dairy), and I start to gain weight.  I even find that my migraines come back when I eat too much. I used to be a lot more strict and avoid any and all foods that have gluten, but I have relaxed my focus a bit but it is not without consequences. I am sure there are those out there with no issues with eating gluten on the regular, but not me. I do think however that everyone out there should detox from gluten for a week or two, and then add it back in. See how your body responds.

Think about it – from age four months on, we have been fed foods that contain gluten. Oatmeal is one of the first foods kids try and it is a staple of breakfast choices. How do you know how your body responds to gluten if you have never gone without? You don’t know any different. If you are trying to lose weight, or suffering from symptoms you cant resolve, the first thing I would suggest is to detox. Start eating fresh, whole food for 12 -14 days and then add things back in one at a time. You will most likely find the culprit.

Gluten sensitivity can come in a spectrum of forms

“The gold standard for identifying gluten sensitivity is the elimination diet, in which a patient strictly eliminates gluten for three to six months and then reintroduces it, monitoring the effects.”

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Workout

Friday: Boxing

Saturday: CrossFit (back squat)

When is it good enough?

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There are just not enough hours in the day to get everything I want done lately. I had almost a year ‘off’ from the corporate life, which meant that I could take care of things on the regular. Now that I am back working full time, in an office, it has been challenging to adjust what needs to get done. And I have been finding it hard to spark up the energy to do some of the ‘other’ things – like write. But I am not a quitter, and I know that the spark with reignite if I keep at it.

As I am trying to juggle all of the things in my life, I keep asking myself When is it good enough?   

When Scotty got sick, I gave up the idea of an organized, super clean house. It just wasn’t possible and that has stuck years later. There is always a basket of laundry needing to get done and one needing to be folded in my house. There will always be stuff on my kitchen counters. I realized that my house has four different people living in it – and I can’t keep up. It just isn’t that important in the grand scheme of my life.  And my house is clean enough…

The other day I was looking at some old pics, before I started working out. I noticed how different how much stronger and better I look now comparatively. But yet, I find myself thinking I’m not good enough. My fitness level is not where it should be, my body doesn’t look like I think it should. In all fairness, I own that I have slacked off being 80% Paleo. I am more 60% now –and I can see the differences and it’s been gnawing at me. I am aware that I am my own harshest critic. I am also not the kind of person to sit back and wallow. I need to be challenged and seek out opportunities to learn, so I will never be able to just settle. But – will there ever come a time when I will be able to acknowledge how far I have come?

Which makes seeing untouched pics of ‘famous’ people re-affirming…

Boxing Buddies

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Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.Dalai Lama

Workout

  • Tues: Boxing: 1 Hour
  • Weds: CrossFit: 1 Hour

 

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