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?