Monday, August 30, 2010

Check it out!

You need to check this out:

This is a link to a website for The Primal Blueprint - a diet/way of life that is based on research (supposedly - I haven't read it personally) & focuses on eating & living the way humans have evolved to live and eat!

Here are the 10 basic principles from the book. Again - I haven't read the book, nor checked the researcher's credentials, but this sounds all very intuitive and makes sense to me.

1. Eat lots of plants and animals: nuts, seeds, meat, fish, foul, veggies & fruit. We've evolved to eat these things! (Careful though - fruit should be eaten sparingly & it's best to stick with foods that are in season!)
2. Avoid poisonous things: neolithic agents like hydrogenated fats & oils, including seed oils are dangerous and should not be put into our bodies! Poisonous things also include cigarettes, etc.
3. Move frequently at a slow pace: walk more! Move more! This is NOT about burning calories, it's about movement - getting oxygen into the muscles!
4. Lift heavy things: this translates to 2 full body resistance activities per week!
5. Sprint occasionally. This promotes human growth hormone (which gives you energy and makes you look younger!) It also promotes testosterone. Ancestral humans used to have to sprint on occasion (to avoid a predator or catch a prey animal)....we should too!
6. Get adequate sleep: no brainer!
7. Play, Socialize, & Relax. Humans used to spend much more time playing, socializing, and lounging around or relaxing than we currently do. To stay healthy and be balanced, we can't neglect this important part of life.
*How to multi-task? Make some of your PLAY stuff that is also going to help you stay healthy & exercised. Join your friends for a hike, play a game of tennis, or volleyball, go for a swim, etc.
8. Get lots of sunlight: be safe (use sunscreen), but it's a misnomer that we should stay out of the sun. We've evolved to have at least 30 minutes a day of direct sunlight to get the requisite vitamin D that we need. Again - be safe about it, but its' important to get sun light!!
9. Avoid stupid mistakes. Hello! Don't drink and drive, or other stupid things!
10. Use your brain! To age well, we need to use our brains! If you have a mindless job, make sure to stay cognitively active in another way! Get a hobby, play sodoku, etc. but just make sure to exercise your brain!

I got all this info from the cutthefatpodcast - I've told you about it before!

This weeks' training plan:
Monday: 2 miles fast run; 2 sprint runs
Tuesday: gym - weights, plus a little cardio (bike)
Wednesday: 2 miles fast run; 2 sprint runs
Thursday (or Saturday depending on how I feel): 6 mile run
Friday: OFF
Sunday: relaxation yoga for stretching/relaxation! : )

I know I've gotta get a 6 mile run in this week, but I haven't entirely decided if I'll go on Thursday morning or on Saturday. We'll see how I feel & how early I need to get to school on Thursday.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sleepy Saturday

I've been doing really well with my training plans - I'm pleased that I've been able to stick with it so well now that school is back in full swing. I just got home from a lovely 5 mile run around my new neighborhood.

I thought my move was going to put a huge cramp in my running style. Our old place was walking distance to a beautiful trail on the Rillito River that stretches on forever, with several bridges that allow you to make the path as long or short as you want (just cut across the bridge & head back home when you're done). I definitely miss the path, however, I'm really liking my new neighborhood runs more than I thought I would! The streets are really wide, there's tons of other joggers, bikers, dog-walkers, etc., & it just feels "homey." Since I've moved out of the parents' house at 18, I've lived in a lot of CHEAP places (read = scary, ghetto, unsafe). This is one of only 2 houses that I consider myself to have lived at that is housed in a SAFE neighborhood with home-owners rather than renters (generally home-owner neigborhoods are safer than those dominated by offense - I'm a renter!!!! That's just the truth though).

I love the big, mature trees that shade the streets, & there's a beautiful view of the mountains, too. The only problem is that where I live is pretty boxed in....I have to really weave back and forth on streets to make up some mileage and even at that, I can only get up to about 5 miles (I'm boxed in by busy intersections that I don't want to cross while jogging). But, I've been looking at it as a good thing - I can pass by my house multiple times so if i need to stop in for a drink of water (or if I want to take Rocky just part of the way, then drop him back off at home), I can totally do that. Still - when my long runs approach I'll probably drive back up to my Rillito River path.

Yesterday we celebrated one of my lab-mates' successful dissertation defenses (which means he is officially a doctor!) Chris & I made plans to go play some doubles tennis on Wednesday, which I'm really excited about. We both played in high school & its been forever since we've gone and played together (I think the last time we went was last summer). Should be fun! Also, there's talk of starting up a just-for-fun weekly volleyball game. We'll see where that goes. I feel like we just keep making plans but I have no idea when we'll fit all this stuff into our busy schedules!!!

Speaking of busy schedules, I've got to hit the shower & hit the road to get some errands done!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rejuvinated : )

I love yoga! So wish I could be a yoga instructor, but it's just not in the cards. Luckily, I got a great deal on yoga through Tucson's Groupon a couple days ago (3 classes for the price of 1) so of course I snagged it. I've varied my workout plan a little from what I posted on Monday, but I'm quite pleased with how well I've done (and I don't stress about changing stuff around as long as it all gets done).
So Monday I did my 1 mile fast run
Tuesday I went to the gym with a friend who KICKED MY BUTT with weightlifting!!! I also ran another fast mile.
Wednesday I did a 3 mile relaxed run.
Today I hit up Tucson Yoga for their "Relaxing Yoga" class. I'm still quite sore in my upper body from the weightlifting & I thought this class sounded perfect.
Tomorrow I'll do my 2 sprint runs (sans the 1 mile, since I added it to Tuesday)
Saturday I'll squeeze in my 5 miles
And Sunday I may hit up another yoga (also unplanned).

Completely coincidentally I ran into a fellow grad student from my department at yoga this morning. He told me the Sunday morning class is AWESOME & I want to check it out for myself!

School officially started back this week & although things are already crazy (already coming early & staying late), I've done well to find time for exercise. It just goes to show that you make time for the things that matter to you. I've yet to miss a meal, right? ; )

During the beginning meditation in today's yoga class, the instructor said to think about someone we wanted to dedicate our practice to. Someone else who could use the calming, relaxation, mediation, etc. I sent my relaxation my sister's way (who has just as demanding a school schedule as I do). Find a moment for yourself today - for relaxation, meditation. And maybe dedicate your time to someone you know and love, too. : )

Monday, August 23, 2010

New week, new plan

Here's my plan for the week:

Monday: 1 mile fast run
Tuesday: cross training (gym) + weights
Wednesday: 3 mile run
Thursday: 5 mile run
Saturday: yoga
Sunday: 1 mile + 2 sprint runs

Over the past couple weeks (the second half of my time in Austin + the time since I've been home), I've been eating more processed foods than I care to, including refined carbohydrates (yikes!)

Today was the first day of school & I decided that I should start back up with my strict(er) food rules. So, I spent a good chunk of Sunday prepping my foods for the week. I like to wash, peel & chop up carrots & celery & place in ziplocks for snacks throughout the week (along with small portion size containers of almond butter & hummus for dipping). I also cooked some homemade chocolate chip protein bars that I found a recipe for online - Delish!! I find it so helpful to prepare foods for the week ahead of time. It definitely helps me to stay "good.'

I'm excited to hit up the gym tomorrow - it's only available during the academic year so I haven't gone all summer & it's really a beautiful facility. I've been missing it! Plus, now that school is back in session, this is the time for me to really prove to myself that I can stick with my (new) healthy ways even amidst the insane schedules imposed on those in academia. So far, so good! : )

I also just downloaded a couple cut the fat podcasts to listen to while I work out tomorrow. They're kinda amateurs in terms of radio performance, but their content is awesome & they really have a lot of knowledge about health & fitness. If you haven't already, I totally recommend giving them a listen!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New Training Plan

This week marks my first official week of training for my half-marathon in January. I know it's a lot longer than typical training plans (starting 5 months before the marathon is kind of extreme), but I am starting by also mixing in a lot of cross-training & speed bursts, leaving long runs (anything in excess of 7 miles) until later (in fact, I don't break over 7 miles until the end of October).
This week starts easy:
Tuesday: cross-training (workout video)
Wednesday:2 miles of fast running (pushing myself)
Thursday: 5 miles at a moderate tempo
Friday: 2 sprint runs (sprint as fast/long as I can, break, then repeat)
Saturday: cross-training (apartment gym + weights/stretching)

I'll keep you guys updated on my training plan each week. I made this myself from copying ideas I've seen in several different training calendars and adapting them to fit my needs and my body's experience level.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Know your protein

Protein powder is something I'd always thought of as a "guy thing." Seeing it in stores brought back memory of my older brother in High School, holding his nose & chugging a water/protein powder mixture because it was too disgusting to drink normally.

But protein powder isn't just for boys anymore, lol. It's actually become almost a daily part of my diet. But you need to know what protein is right for you.

Here are some questions:
Are you using protein powder specifically for muscle strength and repair before or after exercises (if so, whey is good for you - it absorbs quickly!)
Are you using protein powder just so that you get more protein in your diet? (if so, whey is NOT good, because if left unused you just excrete it out through urination; But, all other kinds of protein would be good!)

What's your use for it?

You should also know that to be most effective, it's best if you VARY your protein intake. This way, your body doesn't "get used" to the added components of protein, vitamins, carbs, etc. You need to "trick" your body by keeping it mixed up. I use soy, whey, hemp, and egg-white protein powders, each with a different mix of the components I need most.

Also, make sure to check out the carbohydrates! I try to eat high protein/low carbs. A lot of protein powders, however, are full of carbs because they serve as an extra energy boost that big-time weight lifters, etc., need to get through a workout. I find that I get enough carbs just from fruits & veggies. I want my protein to be mostly protein!!!

So there you go. Don't be scared of protein powder. Chances are, you could use a little extra protein in your diet, too! If you're still just as confused as ever, I've found that the salespeople in LOCAL health food stores (not big chains like GNC, etc) are SUPER helpful & knowledgeable & can point you in the right direction for whatever would work best for YOUR body and YOUR diet!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Staying the course

Vacation is probably one of the hardest times to keep a normal schedule, so here are some tips that I've been trying to employ:

-Prepare for LONG days of running around. I have "adopted" a little mini-cooler from my Mom and pack it each morning with water bottles, almond butter, baby carrots, chopped celery, and a bag of pre-washed fruit. That way, I am always able to stay hydrated & to have healthy snack choices around so I don't cave at the snow-cone stand, the Tex-Mex restaurant, etc. It's also helpful because that way I don't overindulge at meals because I'm not famished from running around all day!

-Exercise EARLY. If you're like me, your day fills up FAST on vacation. It's constantly go-go-go and no stop until your head hits the pillow at the end of the day. No way I'm going to muster up the energy or will power to exercise then!!! So start the day on a positive note! Thank goodness my Mom has an elliptical machine upstairs - it's been a total lifesaver! But even without, there are plenty of low-fuss exercises: neighborhood jog, yoga session, or log into & download any number of mobile workouts that they have available for FREE!!!

-Weekly weigh-in. I used to do a weekly weigh-in to keep me accountable for how I've been doing during the previous week. Since my weight has stabilized I've stopped announcing it to the world (although I keep doing it, just for my own benefit). But even if you aren't accountable to anyone else, its important for YOU to weigh-in regularly so YOU know how you're doing. This is especially important on vacations when eating and exercise habits tend to go out the window! I weighed-in this morning and *woo-hoo* no changes! Success!!

-Set (manageable) goals. I'm a big believer in goals for all aspects of life (career, health/fitness, even relationship goals are great!) But goals don't do any good if they're unattainable! Ease up a little on yourself when you're on vacation, but don't give yourself a free pass to do whatever! This week, my goal is to have 4 planned sweat sessions. So, just running around doing errands doesn't count (although they do make me sweaty!) Today I knocked out 1. I have another planned for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. That meets my weekly quota, and still leaves plenty of room for sleeping in (if that's even possible) and spending time with family!
Bonus: rope your family INTO your sweat session! My Friday morning exercise will be done with my sis-in-law, Jenna. I get to catch up with her while getting fit! Two birds, one stone! : )

That's it for now. Happy Summer, Y'all!!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Vacation fitness goals

How does anyone eat healthy and work-out on vacation? Especially when that "vacation" is going back home to be with family (at least, if you have a family like mine that loves to eat GOOOOOD *translate = fattening* food!!!)

So here's what I've done:

My weight has stabilized anyways, so I'm not really trying to loose anything. I'm still, however, making active efforts to eat well & stay active. So far, so good. My bridal portrait was this morning & my dress fit like a glove - can't wait to get the pics from the photographer!

I'm not going to lie - I love food & it's been a struggle to stay on the straight & narrow. But I feel so much better when I do - I'm sure it's the same for everyone else!

I'll keep you posted. I've got another 8 days in beautiful Austin, Texas! : )

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New plans

Over the next 10 days I'll be out of town (August 4-14th), so my blogging may be irregular. But, I've already mapped out a new workout plan of action for my return. I'm going to be training for the half-marathon in January, while also mixing in other cross-training type activities (and YOGA...I <3 yoga!)

So, blogging may be irregular for the next couple weeks, but have no fear. My return will hit the ground running. And that's what this blog is really about - health and fitness in the REAL world! Sure, I've been working this summer. But anyone familiar with academia knows that summer is a cake-walk compared to the regular academic year. Additionally, I'll be preparing for my upcoming wedding (in November!!!), so this is going to be probably the craziest/most stressful semesters of my life!!!

Stay tuned for my weight loss, health & fitness routines.