Monday, December 26, 2011

How to Make a Change that Will Last.

“A year from now you will wish you had started today.”
 -Karen Lamb

  Think back to last New Years. Did you make a resolution to lose weight and start exercising? How long did it last? If you are like most people, you stuck to your resolution for about two weeks and then went back to your same old unhealthy habits. And it's not because you didn't have good intentions; change, even when we want it, can be difficult to commit to. That is because change can make us feel, among other things, uncomfortable, deprived, uncertain, alone and afraid.  Therefore, when we are faced with the choice of continuing to stay as we are (even if it is not how we want to be) or changing, we choose to remain the same.
  So, if you are making a New Year's Resolution to lose weight, start exercising and/or eat healthy, how do you make the change last? Knowing that doing these things are "good for you" is just not enough.                                          
                     The key to making a lasting change 
                                     is to develop an 
                      Emotional Connection to your goal.

        Below are some questions and ideas to think about, to help you create this emotional connection. Since everyone's connection and goals are unique to them, pick the question(s) that are helpful for you, to start thinking deeply about your goals. Write down your answers somewhere that you can refer back to them, which will keep your connection fresh in your mind.
 When you are finished, create a positive mantra or word that represents your emotional connection. For example: "I can do this" "I am strong" "This is my destiny"  "Courage"  Use your special mantra as a type of active meditation. Say it to yourself  when you don't feel motivated to workout, when you feel like giving up or when faced with eating something that will sabotage your goals.

 Questions and Ideas
1. Ask yourself what it would really mean to you, if you achieved your fitness goal.

2. How would achieving your goal improve your daily quality of life?

3.What might the consequences be to you and your family if you continue to not exercise or remain overweight. What could the future hold for you if you do not change and how could it be different if you do?

4. Do you have negative feelings about yourself that make you feel as if you can never be a runner/swimmer/triathlete ?  Or that you can never lose weight and maintain weight loss? Think about when those feelings started and why they developed. Then think objectively about why that image of yourself isn't true.  

5. Think of something that you have accomplished in your life that was difficult. Remember all of the hard work that you put into achieving that goal. Think back to a time when you may have thought you were not going to achieve it. What helped you get through that period?

6. Imagine yourself achieving your goal. Really try to feel how happy you will be when you make that permanent change. Think about how great it will feel. See yourself as that "new person" Let yourself meditate on those feelings of pride and accomplishment everyday. Visualize how you will look. Start seeing yourself as that person instead of the image you have of yourself now. 

 Change is hard. Especially when it comes to diet and exercise. Establishing an emotional connection to your goals will help you stay focused and motivated  to create the life you want. Believe in yourself. I know that you can do it!


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cancer Prevention: Nutrition's Role

        No one food or combination of foods, will eliminate our risk of getting cancer 100%. But, there are foods that can help create an environment within our bodies, that makes it harder for cancer to develop. Some of the most potent compounds and vitamins that help fight cancer are: Folate, antioxidants**, phytochemicals and fiber. They help protect cells from damage, reduce inflammation and reduce the amount of Estrogen and other hormones, which encourage some tumors to grow.  There are also some foods that can increase our chances of developing cancer and these foods should be eaten rarely or not at all.

                                           FOODS TO AVOID
  There is a lot of evidence that alcohol is associated with an increased risk for cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, breast, colon and rectum.
Important news for women:
  Strong evidence shows that if you want to decrease your risk for breast cancer, you should severely limit or avoid alcohol.  1 drink a day, increases our risk by 10%, 2 drinks a day by 20%. It is believed that alcohol increases our risk because it increases Estrogen levels (which tumors feed on to grow), hurts our immune system and inactivates Folic Acid, which helps fight tumor growth.
Decreasing the amount of alcohol you drink, may be the most important nutritional change you make!

Processed Meats/Red Meat:
Cutting back on processed meats and red meat, will decrease your risk of colon and stomach cancer. Save these foods for special occasions only. Also cooking meat at a high temperature, over 350 degrees, can cause chemicals to form that promote cancer. 


1. Green tea: Studies have shown that drinking 3 cups of green tea a day may help prevent breast cancer by as much as 50% because of its high EGCG antioxidant content. You can put a little lemon juice into your tea and increase the antioxidant power 10 times.

2. Garlic: Garlic is an immunity booster and also has anti-inflammatory properties. You can add this to any veggie dish for a super cancer fighter meal!

3. The Cabbage family/Cruciferous Veggies
  Veggies with lots of color, such as broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, kale spinach, carrots and Swiss Chard have been shown to be great cancer fighters. Try to eat some raw,  because phytochemicals can be destroyed by heat. The green leafy ones bind estrogen in your GI tract and reduce tumor stimulation. They also help detoxify your liver.

4.  Blue, Red and Purple Fruits and Veggies:
 These delicious fruits and veggies are packed with Flavonoids.  Flavonoids are responsible for the rich purple and red colors. They have strong antioxidant properties which fight damage done by free radicals. Red cabbage is the vegetable with the highest amount of flavonoids . Blueberries, Strawberries, Cranberries, Pomegranates and Cherries are all packed with antioxidants and great cancer fighters. You can put them on cereal or make a frozen fruit smoothie with yogurt.

Grapes and Grape juice are rich sources of resveratrol, a natural phytochemical that belongs to a much larger group of phytochemicals called polyphenols Researchers found that not only does Resveratrol  suppress cell proliferation, it also activates caspase-3 the  “cancer-executioner protein”  which starts cells destruction of cancer cells, but inflicts no cellular damage to healthy cells. Resveratrol is especially potent against Colon Cancer.

5. Oranges:
 Oranges are high vitamin C content. They are also rich in many other anticancer compounds, including over 170 phytochemicals. Oranges are also rich in compounds known as limonoids, which have been shown to be highly effective anticancer compounds.

6. Tomatoes:
Tomatoes have Lycopene in them which has been shown to lower the risk of certain cancers such as Prostate Cancer. Cooking tomato products has been shown to increase their cancer fighting power. Some great yummy tomato foods are pasta sauce, salsa and tomato juice.

7. Monounsaturated fat:
   Monounsaturated fats like those found in Olive oil, Salmon, Borage Oils and flaxseed can help suppress tumor activity.

8. Turmeric and Cinnamon
 Turmeric is a delicious orange spice that tastes like curry, but a bit earthier. Turmeric is a fantastic cancer fighter because it helps decrease Estrogen. Studies have found that 1 teaspoon a day may reduce tumor growth. You can sprinkle it on Salmon (for a 1-2 punch), put it in salad dressing, rice or vegetable dishes. Cinnamon has also been shown to decrease inflammation and help fight cancer cells. Sprinkle some on apple slices or oatmeal.

9. Beans  
   Beans have many important compounds, including phytochemicals and protease inhibitors. Protease inhibitors are known to make it more difficult for cancer cells to gain a foothold in the body. They also have lots of fiber which has been shown to fight Colorectal Cancer.

10. Whole Grains:
Whole grains are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and hundreds of phytochemicals, antioxidants, phenols, lignans and saponins. They are a great source of Folate which is a key cancer fighter. Substitute all white processed bread and pastas for whole grain choices.

A word about water:
  Drinking plenty of water has been shown to decrease our risk of bladder cancer. Substituting water for soda or other sugary drinks, will also decrease your caloric intake; which can help you lose or maintain your weight. (another important way to fight cancer.)

  The great thing about all of these foods is that they do more than just fight cancer! They are all part of a healthy diet that will help you loose weight, fight heart disease,  lower high blood pressure and reduce your chances of developing diabetes. And they are delicious! 

 For each meal divide your plate into 2/3 plant based food and 1/3 animal protein.
 There are other vegetables and fruits that contain these important cancer fighting ingredients. So, aim to eat a rainbow of food everyday to ensure your diet is full of cancer fighting compounds !

 **An important note about Antioxidants and Cancer Treatment: If you are currently undergoing treatment for Cancer, you should check with your Doctor before increasing your daily intake of antioxidants. Many therapies that fight cancer such as Chemotherapy and Radiation do damage to the cancer cells in order to kill them. If you are taking antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage, you may be lessening the effect of your treatment.

**Always check with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cancer: What your weight and exercise has to do with it.


                                            THE SOBERING STATISTICS

   Cancer does not discriminate. It effects the very young to the very old. No one is immune from the possibility of developing it at some point in their lifetime. The average age of diagnosis is over 55 and the risk of contracting cancer increases with age.  Our current lifetime risk of either contracting or dying of cancer is 1 in 2 for men and 1 in 3 for women.
   There are currently 12 million Cancers survivors (people who are being treated and those who are finished with treatment) living in the United States today.  About 1,596,670 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2011 and about 571,950 Americans are expected to die of cancer this year, which figures out to be more than 1,500 people a day. Although researchers are making great strides in the fight against Cancer, there is still a long way to go until there is a cure.
                                                  PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

    New evidence is showing that 1/3 of our yearly 550,000 cancer deaths could be avoided if Americans maintained a healthy weight, engaged in daily exercise and ate a healthy diet. Very strong evidence is now available showing that being overweight/obese also increases your risk of cancer recurrence and mortality after you have been treated for it. In other words, if you are diagnosed with Cancer, losing weight  and becoming or staying physically active is extremely important to help you live a long and healthy life. For women, the risk of death from all cancers increases 88% if their BMI is >40. For men, their risk of death from all cancers increase 52% when their BMI is > 40.

  Click here to find out what your BMI is.

The American Cancer Society's nutritional guidelines for cancer prevention are the same recommendations that have been issued to decrease people's chances of contracting  other diseases, such as Cardiac Disease, Hypertension and Diabetes:
 Most importantly:
Eat foods and have your total daily calories at a level that will allow you to maintain (or lose weight to get to) a healthy BMI of <25.

 General Guidelines:

  Eat a diet that is mostly plant based.
  Eat 5 or more servings of a variety of vegetables and fruits each day.
  Eat whole foods, not processed foods.
  Eat whole grains instead of processed (refined) grains.
  Limit consumption of processed and red meats.
  Eat lean protein.
  Avoid fried foods and foods with saturated fat.
  Drink plenty of water
  Limit or avoid alcohol.
     The American Cancer Society's statement on alcohol:
   "Alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, and breast. For each of these cancers, risk increases substantially with the intake of more than two drinks per day. Even a few drinks per week may be associated with a slightly increased risk of breast cancer in women. The way alcohol increases the risk for cancer isn't 100 percent certain but the theory is that it may be due to alcohol-induced increases in circulating estrogen or other hormones in the blood, reduction of folic acid levels, or a direct effect of alcohol or its metabolites on breast tissue. If you have a high risk of breast cancer you might not want to drink any alcohol at all." 

 Engaging in daily physical activity is believed to reduce cancer risk by helping to maintain a healthy weight and by decreasing circulating hormones such as estrogen, insulin and insulin like growth factors. Physical activity after treatment, can decrease your risk of recurrence and dying of cancer. It can also give survivors a better quality of life, by helping them regain strength they may have lost during treatment.

 The American Cancer Society's recommendations for Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention:
     Adults should engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity, above their usual activities, on 5 or more days of the week.
    *45 to 60 minutes of intentional physical activity are preferable for disease prevention.
    *Strength train 2 times a week to increase muscle strength and maintain weight loss. Strength training has also been shown to aid people undergoing cancer treatment. It allows them to tolerate the physical demands of chemotherapy, better than those who didn't strength train previously.
    * Vigorous exercise has been shown to decrease the risk of breast cancer

                                                  A MAGIC BULLET?
          No, unfortunately there is no magic bullet. Despite all of the positive ways physical activity and weight management can help decrease our risk for Cancer, get through the treatment and live well after it, there is no guarantee it will prevent it from every occurring. As we know, there are many very healthy, athletic people that have had Cancer. Even professional athletes such as Mike Lowell, Bill Rodgers, Grete Waitz, Scott Hamilton and most famously Lance Armstrong, all  have had cancer, despite their superior level of physical fitness. 
  Therefore, it is very important to remember that if you do get Cancer, it isn't because you didn't do everything right. It isn't because you didn't eat all the right foods or because you spent a few years not exercising enough.
                      There is no blame. Cancer is still a mystery. Cancer sucks.
  However....despite the unpredictability of Cancer, more and more studies indicate that regular exercise and eating a healthy diet can help prevent many types of Cancer. Strong evidence also shows this healthy lifestyle can decrease the risk of dying from Cancer after an initial diagnosis. There are many risk factors for Cancer that are beyond our control such as; age, genetics and environmental factors, but there are things we have know for a while that we can do such as,  stop smoking and wear sun protection.
   Now we also know that getting down to and maintaining a healthy weight, exercising at least 5 days a week and eating a healthy diet can help prevent cancer.

 Having this information is about empowerment!  Until there is a cure, let's not give up without a fight!

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month I will be blogging all October about different aspects of exercise and nutrition and their role in the fight against Cancer.

Here are some great websites that have more Cancer prevention and wellness information .
American Cancer Society
Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation
Susan G. Komen for the Cure
The National Lymphedema Network

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Your Laundry Basket Will Never Be Empty

    This week I want to talk about something that I touched on briefly in last week's blog...
                     The importance of working out for both your body and mind.
      For the most part, women are the main caretakers of everyone in their family: kids, husband, parents...pets. They also might have a full/part time job outside of the house in addition to doing the majority of the housework. And of course, women want everything they do to be PERFECT. A clean house, home cooked empty laundry basket!

   So when Mothers think about trying to lose weight, eating right and exercising the first thing they think of is
                         Who has the time????

 As a wife, mom and personal trainer I totally understand that the thought of finding a free 30-60 minutes everyday, that you can devote just to yourself, seems ridiculous. It makes you feel guilty just thinking about it!  However, in order for you to be at your best physically and mentally, you need to spend part of your day nurturing yourself. When you don't, you can feel totally burned out and exhausted.
                     You are not being selfish when you take time to exercise

  Exercise and eating right is not something that you should wait to start when your kids are older.  Exercise can decrease the risk of heart disease, (the number one killer of women) high blood pressure, osteoporosis,  and a third of all cancers. It increases good cholesterol and energy levels. It helps you sleep better and increases your sex drive.  It also decreases stress and increases self esteem. All of these benefits will help you be around longer and stronger to care for the one's you love.
                                          Some ideas for fitting it in

1. Get up early before everyone else does.

2. Workout during the first half of your lunch hour and eat either during the second half or if you can, work out for the entire lunch break and eat at your desk while you work.

3. If you work a few miles from home, run/bike to work and change there. Run/bike back home.

4.  Invest in a treadmill or other cardio machine and workout when you are watching TV in the evenings with your family.
   Strength train in the living room when the kids are watching cartoons in the morning.

5. Change your weekly game night with your girlfriends into a workout night.

6. Postpone housework until later. Radical!
                                     Can we really do that?

   Let's face it, no matter how hard we try, there is always a dish to wash, dust to sweep and the laundry basket will never be empty. Even when we think that we have finally washed the last sock and folded the last towel, (I do love that feeling!) someone comes homes, gets undressed and fills up the basket again! UGH!  So why not lace up your sneakers after you drop the kids off to school and go for a run? Your laundry will be waiting for you when you get home. Plus, if you don't get to it, maybe someone will fold their own socks and put them away for you...or maybe not. Either way, you will feel renewed and ready to deal with it all!

How do you make time for working out? Share your tips with me. I would love to hear them!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back to School Means Back to Fitness

 The end of summer is always bittersweet. It's hard to say goodbye to extra family time and no homework. But summers are often the busiest time for Moms! All day chauffeuring and acting as the "cruise director"  can be exhausting. Looking back, you may find that you did not do as much exercising as you had planned.
                                                    No Worries!!
                        Here are 5 tips to help you get back to fitness:

  1.Decide what you want your fitness goals for the next 3 months to be and write them down.
 Would you like to lose 12-24lbs before the holidays? Or would you like to just lose the last 5lbs and build muscle. Maybe start running again? Whatever you wish you could accomplish, write it down as a concrete goal.

    2. Assess what your fitness level is:
If you were working out before the summer, and you didn't keep up with it, you probably lost some strength and cardio fitness. Start back at a lower level than you ended with, and slowly progress back to where you were. If you are just starting a fitness program after a long time of not working out, you might want to have someone evaluate the level you are at and give you a plan on how to progress so you can do it safely and effectively.

   3. Schedule daily time to workout:
    Look over your schedule and find time each week that you can workout. Put those times in your calendar. If you are looking over your schedule and are thinking there is just no way to fit in a workout, look again.  You might need to get up earlier than everyone else, you might need to workout on your lunch hour, maybe you can change your morning coffee time with friends into a buddy workout time. You might even need to take an hour when you usually clean the house and make yourself a priority. Say it ain't so!!

Remember working out is important, to your physical and mental well being, and you deserve to take care of yourself!

  30 minutes to an hour a day/ 3-5 days a week, is the recommended amount of time to workout for health and fitness. However, the amount of time and type of your workouts, really depends on your goals. 

Click here to read my blog about the newest ACSM exercise guidelines on how much is enough.

  ***  Many women find that right after dropping off their kids for school, is the best time to workout.  You usually have the most energy at that time of the day. It also ensures that other things won't "pop up" and leave you with no time to squeeze in a workout. Plus, working out in the morning helps you eat clean the rest of the day and makes you feel great.

 4. Become accountable to someone other than yourself.
 Sometimes we will keep a commitment to everyone but ourselves. That is why getting a workout buddy or personal trainer to exercise with, helps keep you on track to success.
 If you don't have anyone to workout with or you prefer to exercise alone, simply telling one supportive friend about your exercise plans, will make you more likely to keep your workout appointments.

 5. Record your workouts in a journal or calendar
 Every night take a few minutes to write down what workouts you did that day, some thoughts about how it went and what you ate.  Keeping track of your exercise and calorie count, can help you stay focused, plan progressions and stay motivated.

 Don't be upset with yourself if you didn't workout the way you had hoped to this summer. Fall is the perfect time to get back to fitness and make all of your dreams a reality.

Let me know what you would like to accomplish and how you are going to make it happen!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

How Much is Enough?

 One of the first questions I get with a new client is  " How much exercise is enough?"
    In June, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)  released updated recommendations on the quantity and quality of exercise for adults.

  "The scientific evidence we (ACSM) reviewed is indisputable,” said Carol Ewing Garber, Ph.D., FAHA, FACSM, chair of the writing committee. “When it comes to exercise, the benefits far outweigh the risks. A program of regular exercise – beyond activities of daily living – is essential for most adults

  Here are their recommendations:

  Cardiorespiratory Exercise
***•Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. (300 is better)
•Exercise recommendations can be met through 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (five days per week) or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (three days per week).
•One continuous session and multiple shorter sessions (of at least 10 minutes) are both acceptable to accumulate desired amount of daily exercise.
•Gradual progression of exercise time, frequency and intensity is recommended for best adherence and least injury risk.
•People unable to meet these minimums can still benefit from some activity.

Resistance Exercise
•Adults should train each major muscle group two or three days each week using a variety of exercises and equipment.
•Very light or light intensity is best for older persons or previously sedentary adults starting exercise.
•Two to four sets of each exercise will help adults improve strength and power.
•For each exercise, 8-12 repetitions improve strength and power, 10-15 repetitions improve strength in middle-age and older persons starting exercise, and 15-20 repetitions improve muscular endurance.
•Adults should wait at least 48 hours between resistance training sessions.

•Adults should do flexibility exercises at least two or three days each week to improve range of motion.
•Each stretch should be held for 10-30 seconds to the point of tightness or slight discomfort.
•Repeat each stretch two to four times, accumulating 60 seconds per stretch.
•Static, dynamic, ballistic and PNF stretches are all effective.
•Flexibility exercise is most effective when the muscle is warm. Try light aerobic activity or a hot bath to warm the muscles before stretching

Neuromotor Exercise

•Neuromotor exercise (sometimes called “functional fitness training”) is recommended for two or three days per week.
•Exercises should involve motor skills (balance, agility, coordination and gait), proprioceptive exercise training and multifaceted activities (tai ji and yoga) to improve physical function and prevent falls in older adults.
•20-30 minutes per day is appropriate for neuromotor exercise.

Here are some important new clarifications:
•Pedometers, step-counting devices used to measure physical activity, are not an accurate measure of exercise quality and should not be used as the sole measure of physical activity.

•Though exercise protects against heart disease, it is still possible for active adults to develop heart problems. All adults must be able to recognize the warning signs of heart disease, and all health care providers should ask patients about these symptoms.

•Sedentary behavior – sitting for long periods of time – is distinct from physical activity and has been shown to be a health risk in itself. Meeting the guidelines for physical activity does not make up for a sedentary lifestyle.
“It is no longer enough to consider whether an individual engages in adequate amounts of weekly exercise,” said Garber, who is an associate professor of movement sciences at the Teachers College of Columbia University. “We also need to determine how much time a person spends in sedentary pursuits, like watching television or working on a computer. Health-and-fitness professionals must be concerned with these activities as well.”***

 ****This is one of the most important findings. You must stay active in addition to doing your daily exercise.

 How much exercise you need to do, really depends on your individual fitness level and personal goals.
 The guidelines by the ACSM outlines the minimum adults should do to maintain their health.
  If you want to lose weight, or have another fitness goal in mind, you might need to work out more than 150-300 minutes a week.
 Always contact your physician before starting an exercise program.

How much do you work out? Do you think you need to work out more or less? Let me know!


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lick It, Don't Kick It!!

  I am now officially sorry for complaining about the cool May we had here in Chicago! I would love to be able to go out for a run on a 50 degree, cloudy day! But. the heat continues to bake us and we still have all of August and probably September until we feel the cool air of October!
  If you read my previous blog, I gave some tips and advice about how to deal with running in the hot weather. One of them was to run in the cooler part of the day, either early morning or late evening. However this summer it seems like it is impossible to even find an hour that isn't extremely humid and hot, even at 5AM!
  So, if you are like me and must run, here is one more piece of advice that might help you feel better running in this tropical weather.
                                          Lick some salt!!!

 I know, I usually talk about reducing salt from your diet. However, in the hot summer months, when you are working out, it is important to stay hydrated. So along with drinking plenty of fluids (your urine should be a pale yellow color) and consuming drinks like Gatorade to ensure a proper balance of electrolytes, increasing your salt intake might help you from getting dehydrated and feel better on your runs.
**** Always check with your doctor first before increasing your salt intake, especially if you have high blood pressure.

   Here's how to add a little more salt to your diet:

Eat it....
Consume salty snacks during the week, such as all natural pretzels or wheat crackers.

Lick it...
If you are going to be training or running a race that is 10k or longer, get two packets of restaurant salt. Pour one into your hand and lick it before you run. Lick the second one halfway through your run.

If you are going out for your normal run of around 30 minutes, pour a little salt in your hand and lick it before you go out or mix it with a little water or sports drink.

   ***Don't take salt tablets or pills because there is a decrease in blood flow to your stomach when you exercise, so these types of salt will irritate your stomach lining and not be well digested.

 If you "lick the salt" along with following my other suggestions from my post Baby It's Hot Outside, you should be able to get through the rest of the summer and continue to enjoy your running.

 Please remember that even with adding a little salt to your diet, there will still
be days where the humidity and heat are too high and you should just not run.
Also, get your doctors permission before adding anything to your diet and exercising in the heat.

   Hopefully we will have fewer and fewer extremely hot days and we will all be enjoying some fantastic Fall weather very soon!

 Let me know how your summer exercising is going, I would love to hear how you have been dealing with it!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Baby It's Hot Outside!

  Well the HOT weather is finally here, and it seems we've gone from winter to mid summer without any spring! AHHH gotta love Chicago! And although you might be glad about the change, it actually takes about 10-14 days of exercising in hot weather for your body to get acclimated. Studies have shown that when the temperature rises above 65 degrees, your heart rate will also rise by about 10 beats per minute. If the humidity is also high, add another 10 or so beats to that number. What does that mean to you? It means that your normal level of intensity might feel harder to achieve once the temperature starts to rise. It also means that your body can be compromised if you don't take the right precautions.

    So before you head outside on your next run or walk here are some tips to keep you safe outdoors this summer....

1.Go out to exercise early in the morning or late in the evening when it is the coolest. Usually early morning is the best time to go when the weather is going to be extremely hot. Find a shady path to run on.

2. Run slower than normal. Don't worry about hitting your regular speed when the weather is hot. You are still working hard when you slow down on hot days.

3 Drink before, during and after your run!. An hour or two before your run drink 16 ounces of water or sports drink. Then take a few sips every 15 to 20 minutes during the run. A convenient way to do this is to wear a hydration belt. (Click here to see my favorite one). There are alot of them on the market, you should try different ones on to see which feels the most comfortable for you.  When its hot or when you are running for more than an hour, drink a sports drink instead of water. Sports drinks such as Gatorade will help to replace potassium, salt and other electrolytes which are critical  to stave off cramps, nausea, and hyponatremia. (a dangerous condition caused by drinking too much water)  After your run, drink between 16 and 24 ounces of a sports drink for every pound of body weight you lost during exercise. If you are unsure how much you should drink, weigh yourself naked before you run, then do the same when you get back. If you haven't lost any weight, still drink about 16 ounces to ensure that you are adequately hydrated.

4.Snack on salty foods when the weather is very warm and you will be exercising.

5.Wear synthetic fabrics in light colors that wick sweat away from your body and feel light and cool. Do not wear cotton.
Click here for my favorite Nike Dri Fit Running Tank
Click here to see my favorite running shorts

6. Limit caffeine to about 2 cups of coffee a day so you won't get dehydrated.

7. Spray yourself with cool water when you run. You can do this by carrying one bottle of just water on your hydration belt.

8. Don't wear a hat because it traps the heat in your body. Instead wear sports sunglasses or a visor if you want to shade your eyes. And don't forget the sunscreen!

9. Apply ice to the back of your neck when you are done to help you cool off.

10. Listen to your body. Early signs and symptoms of heat illness include fatigue, discomfort, lightheadedness, cessation of sweating, disorientation and nausea. Stop exercising and find a cool environment as quickly as possible if you begin to notice any of these signs or symptoms while exercising in the heat. If you are feeling bad, get help.

11. Know when to take the day off!!  This may be the hardest tip to follow but the most important piece of advice I can give you.
   A young man tragically died this weekend during the Chicago Half Marathon, from the heat. It was a shocking reminder that even very well conditioned athletes, can succumb to the heat.
  So remember, there will be some days that are just too hot to go out and run. Instead run inside on a treadmill, run laps in a pool, strength train, cross train or just take a day off. It's better to miss a day or two of running then to put your life at risk.

  Let me know if you have any other hot weather running tips!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Baby It's Hot Outside

Well s                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Kara Goucher running Boston Marathon 2009  

      I love when I get inspired by someone's life story and achievements.
      The person who has been inspiring me as of late is Kara Goucher.
      Kara is a professional runner, and a new mom. Among her most recent accomplishments are coming in third (losing by only 9 seconds!) in the 2009 Boston Marathon and placing 3rd (first American women) in this years New York City half marathon.
      Her work ethic and natural ability are truly inspiring, running up to 120 miles a week!  But what I can relate to the most and what makes her other qualities truly inspirational, is her openness about her longtime struggle with fear.
   It's so easy to relate to Kara because we all have fears that we deal with on a daily basis. Sometimes we have a fear of failure, sometimes we fear success.  We often don't challenge ourselves because we are so comfortable with the way our lives are now.  Even when we are sure that a change would be positive, such as losing weight, the fear of the unknown keeps us from living our best lives.

  Kara recently wrote in a blog:
 "As a runner, I deal with fear almost daily. To prevent fear from defeating me, I have to fight back against it in my mind. Reminding myself that I am doing what I was born to do—that, win or lose, embracing the challenge is still worthwhile—is one way I do that."

  In the past, Kara has let fear overcome her during some of her most important races, but after a lot of hard work, she finally feels as though she has learned how to control those feelings of self doubt and inadequacy. One strategy she uses is to think of a word that represents how she wants to feel.  When she is going through a difficult part of her race, she thinks of that word and it gives her strength.

  She also wears a necklace that says "I am not afraid...I am meant to do this"
 I really love this. I think everyone is meant to do something that is truly unique to them. Sometimes we don't go for it because we are scared,  We need to remember that it is OK to have fear; and when we acknowledge fear and then move through it, we are truly brave.

  For me, as long as I have been running (ahem...over 20 years) I have never entered an official race. I have always said that I didn't run to compete against other people, I ran for myself. And that is still true, but I have been inspired by people like Kara and I now see that it is a great way to challenge myself. A great way to face any fears I might have. To see if I can accomplish distances and times that other people my age are capable of doing.
  So my husband and I have signed up for a couple of races this Spring and have our sights on a half marathon in the fall.
 And a future challenge, something I never thought I could or would do...running a marathon.  Can we do it? We will see, but I won't let fear hold me back from trying.

 As for Kara, she now has her sights on winning the Boston Marathon this year. Her power word for that day is going to be "Free". She said "I want to run this race free of both expectations and limitations," But make no mistake, she is going to Boston to win. And I will be rooting for her all the way!

If you would like to read more about Kara and feel inspired as I have, here is a great article about her struggles and triumphs:
Kara Goucher's Mind Games

She also has a fantastic new book out for women runners :
Kara Goucher's Running for Women
It has great tips for runner's of all levels and great stories from her life.

 Do you have any fears that have been holding you back from achieving the things you have only dreamed of? Has fear held you back from starting to lose weight? Maybe she will inspire you to take that first step to facing your fears...and changing your life!


Monday, March 28, 2011


   I know that a lot of people like to make New Years Resolutions, but for me Spring always feels like the best time to start anew.
   And this year I feel like I need Spring to hurry up and come more than I ever have. Of course, the calendar tells us Spring has already arrived, but here in Chicago it has been hovering in the mid 30's during the last week of March and it just doesn't feel like Spring.
  So if you are like me and are impatiently waiting for all of the things that the warm weather will bring, (especially exercising in it ) why not use this time constructively so that when it finally gets warm, you will be ready to take your workout outdoors!

 Here are some things to do now while you wait, to get you excited about exercising in the warm weather....
  1.  Buy a new pair of sneakers!
     Just like shopping for new pens and notebooks got you excited for the first day of school, nothing gets you more excited to workout more than a new pair of sneakers.
    If you are planning on starting a walk/running program ( click here for my blog post about how to start onestart it off the right way by going to a running store, such as my favorite in the Chicagoland area:
     Run Chicago in Forest Park 7512 W. Madison Ave.Forest Park phone: 708 771-7866
 and have them evaluate your walk/running gait. The way your foot strikes the ground is critical to helping you decide which sneaker you should run in. When you have the correct sneaker for your feet, you will reduce the chance for injury and increase your comfort level.
  When you go, the professional at the store will have you get onto their treadmill and walk or run so that they can see analyze your movement. They will also observe how you stand. Then they will make recommendations for the sneakers that would best fit your gait.  You will then go back onto the treadmill with some of the sneakers that they suggested, so you can see how they feel and so that they can observe if these sneakers help fix any problem you may have.
 I can tell you that it is really worth the trip! Having the right sneakers can make all the difference! I've always been loyal to Asics' (who are donating money and sneakers to the people affected by the earthquake in Japan) Gel Kayanos. I always thought I was an overpronator and really loved running in the Kayanos. But when I had my gait analyzed they saw that I was actually overpronating late in my foot strike which makes a slight difference in the shoe that would be optimal for me. They suggested the Asics Gel 3020 , and now I have a new love!
  Sneakers should be tossed after about 300 miles of walking/running or earlier if the cushioning or support feels as though it has worn away.

   2. Buy some fun exercise clothes:
    Even if you have some weight to lose, new exercise clothing always makes getting back into your exercise groove more fun!  Here are some of my favorites:

Under Armour Super Charged Cotton
Heat Gear (New) xs-xl 24.99


 Under Armour Heat Gear Compression Tights xs-xxl 39.99
Available at Dicks Sporting Goods/Sports Authority and online at

Oiselle is a cool running apparel company who makes (in the USA!) really comfy and fun running clothes. Check out their website at for an online store or a retailer near you.  Run Chicago in Forest Park also carries a lot of their products.

3. Set New Goals:
 Spring is the perfect time to set new goals. Think about what you want to accomplish as your long term goal and what would be a reasonable amount of time to achieve it. If you want to lose weight, losing 1-2 lbs a week is a safe and achievable goal. Then think of small weekly goals such as keeping a food journal or working out for a certain number of days, that will keep you motivated as you work towards your longterm goal.
 If you want to start eating clean, look around your kitchen and think about what you should stop buying and think about foods that would be a great replacement for them. Research clean eating recipes and make a collection of them that you can refer to when planning your weeks menu. Here is my blog that has my my clean eating shopping list
  If you have been jogging for a while and feel like you need something to inspire you to get out there and run, sign up for a race. It will give you a tangible goal outside of losing weight that will keep you motivated.  If you live in the Chicago area the CARA-Chicago Area Runners Association is a great running resource. There website has a race locator on it for all levels of racing.

4. Buy a subscription to a fitness magazine
   I find that reading about whatever I want to be involved in, helps me feel connected to that activity. This is especially true for exercising.
 One thing that keeps information current and fresh is receiving my favorite exercise magazines in the mail each month. They help me stay motivated by and connected to, other people who want to make fitness and health a priority in their life.
Here are a couple of my favorite fitness magazines:
Oxygen Magazine: A great magazine for women to learn about strength training and eating clean. It also has a lot of great pictures of fit women that will motivate you to keep working hard!

Runners World: A great magazine for all runners from beginners to long time runners.  They also have a great website filled with lots of great articles and videos.

OnFitness MagazineFor hard core exercise nuts,(or if your just craving more educational information about working out) Onfitness gives you great wonky info about cutting edge exercise techniques and nutrition info.

 So I hope these ideas help you pass the time until it warms up.  Don't is suppose to be in upper 40's next week!!!
 Let me know if you have any other ideas that you are using to get yourself excited about working out in the warm weather!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

I'll take one Johnny Depp, but hold the popcorn please!

     Ahh, the movies! Johnny Depp and the dark! What a perfect combination!

  And in the dark is just where the Movie industry wants us to stay.....
 The FDA is suppose to rule by the end of March,  whether they will force movie theatres to disclose the calorie count of food prepared at their cinemas such as popcorn, pretzels and hotdogs.  Last year the FDA passed a law that requires restaurant chains, with 20 or more restaurants, to post the calories of their dishes.
  This year they have been discussing adding movie theatres to that law. However, the Movie lobby is furious about this development and has been lobbying hard to have it stopped. The movie theatre owners don't want us to know how many calories are actually in all of those snacks because if we did we might think twice about buying them. This would severely hurt their bottom line because they make about a 1/3 of their profits from selling popcorn and sodas.
   And we know, when someone tries very hard to keep information from us,  it is something that we need to know.
  And it is.
  Studies have shown  that movie popcorn can contain as much as 1610 calories and 60 grams of saturated fat!  No wonder they are trying to hide this information. That's equal to eating 3 McDonald's Big Macs and 12 pats of butter! That's more than a lot of people should eat in one day! And waaaay too much fat!

 And by the way it's not just the popcorn that isn't a good choice...
 * Most movie sized candy boxes are about 450 calories and 22 grams of fat
 * Cheesy nachos are about 1300 calories
 * A five-ounce serving of soft pretzels can contain as much as 483 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, and 2,008 mg of sodium (the recommended daily allowance of sodium is 2,500 mg). And movie theaters often pair soft pretzels with cheese sauce, which easily tacks on about 200 calories and 10 grams of fat
 * A large movie soda has as much as 400 calories and 115 grams of sugar

  The fact that the movie industry is trying to keep the information about the food they prepare a secret from  the people who are consuming it, is very disturbing, but very typical of the food industry. People need this information so that they can make healthy choices for themselves and their families.
 I hope the FDA does the right thing and remembers that it is their job to protect the public not big business.

 Here are some things to find out before buying any food:
  What are the ingredients?
  How much fat/sugar and preservatives are in it?
  What is the calorie count?
  So needless to say, movie theatre popcorn is not a good choice, not even once in a while. But if you refuse to give up your popcorn with your movies, at least pop your own at home with an air popper. A cup of air popped popcorn is only 30.5 calories. And bring a bottle of water instead of buying a soda.

 Or you could just skip the snack altogether...
 I mean, if you think about it, Johnny doesn't really need anything to go along with him, does he?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dean Karnazes is hoping his run across the country will inspire you to start exercising!

  Ultra Marathon man Dean Karnazes, whose physical accomplishments include.....
*Runner up at the Canadian Death Race, 2009
*Overall Winner, 4 Deserts Race Series, which TIME magazine calls “The toughest endurance series in the world," 2008
*Competitor magazine Endurance Athlete of the Year Award winner, 2008, 2006, 2005
*ESPN ESPY Award winner, “Best Outdoor Athlete,” 2007
*Ran 50 Marathons, in 50 US States, in 50 Consecutive Days, 2006
*Winner, Vermont Trail 100 Mile Endurance Run, 2006
*Two-time Emmy Award winner, 2005, 2007
*American Ultrarunning Team, World Championships, 2005, 2008
*Men’s Journal, Adventure Hall of Fame, 2005
*Winner, Badwater Ultramarathon: World’s Toughest Footrace, 2004
*Eleven-time Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run Silver Buckle holder, 1995-2006
*Outside magazine, Ultimate Top 10 Outdoor Athletes, 2004
*Winner, Outdoor World Championships, 2001

 is running from California to New York in 75 days to raise awareness about the seriousness of the obesity epidemic in America. He is hoping to inspire everyone to be more healthy and active in their daily lives.The trip began on Feb. 25th in Disneyland. The money that will be raise during this trip, (through sponsoring runners in 5k and 10k races, that he will participate in along the way) will all go to the charity "Action for Healthy Kids". Action for Healthy Kids, is a non profit organization whose mission it is to improve the health of students across the country through exercise and healthy eating.
     Dean won't be stopping often, even to sleep! He will average about 50 miles a day. (woah)  but, when he does take a break from all his running, he will be visiting some schools and health clubs to speak about the cost the obesity epidemic has on peoples lives.
 Today more than 34% of adults in the US are obese and 1/3 of American Children, 25 million are overweight or obese. Dean will be stressing the need to eat healthy and exercise for our own health and to be good role models for our children.
 Dean's own charity Karno Kids also supports healthy living for kids. You can read more about Dean and his charitable work on his website
  You can also learn more about him and his trip in this video

 Here are some fun facts about Deans trip:
 He will go through about 12 pairs of sneakers
 Eat 20 bananas a day (among other things)
 Consume 10,000 calories a day
 Pass through 17 states and the district of Columbia
 Run almost 3000 miles!
 Run 50-60 miles a day, for 14 hours everyday!

 You can catch updates about Dean's Journey on "Live With Regis and Kelly" and on his facebook page.
  Dean's ultrarun should make us all stop saying "we can't" and inspire us to go out and achieve all our fitness goals!
  Let me know if you have been motivated to start your own walk/ run program, sign up for your first 5k or even half marathon! 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Heat Up Your Valentine's Day through Exercise!


                    If you are looking for a way to heat up your Valentine's Day,
                               skip the lingerie and put on your sneakers!

 You know that exercise helps people lose weight, but did you know it can improve your sex life??

                                                              OH YEAH!
       Both Cardiovascular exercise and Strength Training, improve your sex life.
            Here's how.....
    1. Exercise improves blood flow to all muscles in the body.
         When you have good blood flow, your sexual function increases.
    2.  Exercise decreases your stress levels.
         When we feel less stressed, our desire for sex increases.
    3. Exercise increases your endurance.
         Increases in endurance means better stamina, in other words, we are able to last longer and be more energetic!
    4.  Exercise helps you to lose weight and build muscle definition.
         When we lose weight and get "toned", we can feel more self confident. Studies have shown that when women feel more confident about the way they look, their sex life improves.
    5.  Exercise increases muscle strength.
        Plain and simple,  you need muscle strength to do what you want to do for longer than a minute.... Enough said.
    6.  Strength Training increases our levels of Endorphins, and hormones such as Testosterone and Adrenaline
        Increasing these levels have been shown to enhance sexual desire and pleasure.   
   7.  Exercise increases body awareness.
       When you exercise, you create a better connection with your body. You enhance your understanding of what your body wants and needs. You also have a greater control of your body in space. In other words, you feel more graceful and in sync with your environment. 
   8. Exercise increases your flexibility.
       I don't really need to explain the benefits of being flexible, do I?
          So, if you want to heat up your Valentine's Day, start working out now.
 Better yet, get your partner to do it with you. That way, you can both enjoy the benefits together, long after Valentines Day is over!!!! Now isn't that better than a box of chocolate?