Snap Out of It

Well this has been a rough week for me when it comes to healthy eating.  My birthday was Wednesday so there was some eating of cookies and cake during the day at work, followed by dinner out and some wine.  Then Thursday was a late night at work so we ordered dinner in – Chinese food.  Friday was a night out for dinner at a yearly PTA function which involved more wine and restaurant food.  While I didn’t over eat at any of these events, my body is just not used to eating in this manner anymore.   I’m feeling lousy because my eating routine is totally off kilter.  I’ve been eating out, not home cooked, so I feel sluggish and tired.  I feel like I’m full of salt, chemicals and wine.  I need to snap out of this and get back on track, but I’m not feeling motivated right now to even move.  My bed is so comfy and cozy and it’s cold and dark outside right now.  I have a scheduled slow, long run today and I’ve yet to move.  I feel like slapping myself and yelling, snap out of it girl.

I think I need to do some detoxing this week to get myself clean and restart my mojo.  It’s so amazing how much difference a week of unhealthy choices can make on my overall feeling of health.  I’m tired, bloated and totally lacking motivation.  I feel myself struggling hard to get back on track.  I know how easy it would be to just say forget it and continue on this path, but I just can’t let myself do it.  I have got to get myself back on track and quickly.  It seems to take me six months to lose 10 pounds, but I can put them back on in less than two weeks.  Funny how life works sometimes, right.

I’m not a fan of pills and drinking powdered shakes when detoxing.  I am a firm believer in nutrition and using the power found in food itself to get myself back on track.  I am going to pull out a 10 day green smoothie cleanse I used a few months back and give that another round.  Yes, this plan does involve drinking smoothies, but they are filled with delicious vegetables and super foods, not powders and expensive products.

10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse

This cleanse is super easy to follow.  I do the modified version which involves drinking two green smoothies a day (breakfast & lunch) followed by a healthy dinner.  There are options in the book for the modified version, as well as the full version.  The full version involves drinking three smoothies and eating healthy snacks and drinking tea.  I like to eat food and the thought of ten days without does not appeal to me.  Doing the modified version and substituting breakfast and lunch are super easy for me because then I don’t have to worry about packing lunch.  The author also hosts a free Facebook group, so you can go on and network with other people doing the cleanse. This book provides shopping lists, recipes, and detailed instructions for the 10-day cleanse, along with suggestions for getting the best results. It also offers advice on how to continue to lose weight and maintain good health afterwards. Easy and far less money than purchasing a program!  Many programs will cost $200 or more to get started.  This book is under $10.  You know I’m going to say it, win – win.

This is just the jumpstart I need right now! How about you?  Are you ready to do some internal cleansing?  Do you want to jumpstart your spring healthy eating and just plain feel better?  Then join me in doing the 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse!  I’m heading out to do my shopping after my run.  I’m feeling better already and can’t wait to get some healthy food coursing through my body!  If you are joining me, leave a comment below.  I’d love to exchange recipes and good health with you.

 

 

Tuesday Training Tips

Work out Harder, Not Longer

This week’s tip is one I’m currently experimenting with and have included in my workout schedule.  I have included three high intensity interval training sessions in my current workout rotation.  One of the best parts has been that the workouts are considerably shorter – no more than 30 minutes.

For me, the HIIT sessions are running based, speed work sessions that I’ve been performing on the track.  I am using a free APP to prompt me as I run.  It tells me to run/walk, sprint at 80% and then either easy run, or walk to recover.  I love it and feel like I’m improving my stamina.  There are many known benefits of incorporating this type of workout in your weekly routines.

Increased Calorie Burn – research shows that performing high intensity interval training burns more calories in less time.  My 30 minute session burns almost 500 calories. Studies have shown that a HIIT session can burn more calories than jogging on a treadmill for 60 minutes.

Improved Weight Loss – Studies report that 8 – 12 weeks of HIIT could result in reductions in body fat.

Challenging – Plateau BusterThis is not an easy workout and I definitely can’t hold a conversation through most of mine.  But, because it’s short bursts, I’m working harder the entire workout and time flies by.  I feel like these sessions have helped me push through my most recent plateau AND increased my motivation.  You know I love win win situations.

Here’s how to incorporate the principles of HIIT into your current workout routine:

Warm up for at least 5 minutes

Exercise as hard and fast as you can for 30 seconds.  This should be hard, think gasping for breath and feeling like you can’t possibly continue.

Recover for at least 1 minute, still moving at a slower pace.

Repeat the cycle at least 4 more times, increasing to 6-7 as you improve fitness.

Cool down for at least 5 minutes.

Allow recovery time between sessions, so limit HIIT to 2-3 times per week.  This is not an every day event.

For my running routine, the warm-up is walking or a slow jog.  This is followed by a cycle of comfortable run, full on sprint, comfortable run/easy jog.  Cool down is a nice slow jog or walk, depending on the day.   The app I used to get started with this was called Running for Weight Loss.  I use the free version, but they offer a premium version of the app as well.

For biking or elliptical workouts, I just go fast and slower.  On the elliptical an easy way to do is to alternate – one song easy effort, one song harder effort.

My favorite HIIT weight routine is Tabata.  I haven’t done this in a while, but it was my favorite class at the gym.  So much fun and time flies by.

If you are currently including this type of workout in your routine, please comment below.  I’d love to hear what you are doing and how it’s going for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Training Tips

As a new feature to this blog, each Tuesday I will share a quick training tip that has helped me stay on track.  We all know there are a million excuses and reasons to skip a workout.  For me, I have always been pretty steady with my workouts and rarely skip them.  The first tip for my new Tuesday Training Tips post is to keep your workout routines interesting and fresh.

I have found that when I did the same routine over and over I would quickly burn out and lose interest and motivation.   For example, if you currently run for every cardio workout, try adding in days where you do something different such as biking, hiking, swimming, elliptical, rowing or even walking fast.  If you are training for a race, like I am, and don’t have the luxury of not doing a run, try mixing up the route you run or the tempo.

As you know, I am training to run my first marathon.  My official run plan starts in June, but I am currently running to maintain my fitness.  This winter I was using the treadmill most mornings, though I loathe it, because 5:00 AM is might dark, cold and desolate outside.  I found that I quickly began to lose interest and motivation to even run.  I realized it was because a) it is monotonous to run on a treadmill; and b) it was the same thing every day.  In my quest to reenergize my routine, I began exploring ways to make this routine more interesting.  Any of these ideas can apply to your current fitness routine and are easy and free to implement.

Schedule Different Routines

I found having a plan the easiest way to mix up the routines you follow.   Get out your calendar and schedule your workouts to build in variety and keep in interesting.  Below is a sample workout schedule that you could follow.  Just substitute the workout listed for the routine you prefer.

  • Monday – Easy run 45 minutes
  • Tuesday – Yoga class online – 30 – 60 min
  • Wednesday – Tempo training run – 30 minutes
  • Thursday – Strength class online – 30 minutes
  • Friday – Easy run 45 minutes
  • Saturday – Lap swim 60 minutes
  • Sunday – Rest day – easy walk

Another version I personally followed when recovering from broken bones involved only strength workouts.  These were streamed online and I used hand held weights.  The same principles applied in that I scheduled the sessions to stay focused and engaged.

  • Monday – chest/triceps
  • Tuesday – legs
  • Wednesday – back/biceps
  • Thursday – active recover – yoga/pilates
  • Friday – shoulders
  • Saturday – full body
  • Sunday – REST – easy walk

Scheduling workouts like this keeps it very interesting.  It also breaks them down into smaller, manageable parts.

Download an App

There are SO many free apps to choose from these days.  I’m currently loving the Running for Weightloss App, which has a free version.  I am in week 6 of using this app and it has really kept my interest on runs.  The one I am using is an interval training program which includes a coach who speaks to me on runs.  She tells me when to run, walk and sprint.  I find I look forward to these runs and include them into my routine three times a week.   I get a great workout and the session flies by.

Join a Club or Find a Friend

Everything in life is better with friends.  For me, finding someone to run at 5:00 AM is pretty impossible.  I joined an online running club and found many friends to network with.  We keep each other motivated and yes, sometimes meet up in person at races to run.  Just because you don’t have someone every day to workout with, don’t give up.  Even if you have friends you can talk to about your workout routines, you’ll find your motivation will increase.  My club is called the Sub30 Club and is offered through Runners World.

Vary Routine

If you are training for an upcoming goal race and need to just plain run, I’ve found the way to keep it interesting is to vary your routine.  Again, a schedule and a plan are most helpful to keep yourself focused and to ensure you are training enough to meet your goals.  When I trained for my first half marathon last year, I purchased a running plan.  I couldn’t believe the difference the plan made in my motivation to get out there.  I didn’t have a live coach pushing me along, it was just me and the road, but I was motivated and never skipped one planned run.  I am obviously schedule driven, but I think changing up the routines was the true key to my success.  Here is a sample week for my runs on the plan –

  • Monday – easy effort run 60 minutes
  • Tuesday – tempo run 45 minutes
  • Wednesday – easy effort run 60 minutes
  • Thursday – active recovery – walk/yoga/pilates
  • Friday – tempo run 45 minutes
  • Saturday – long run 90 minutes, easy effort
  • Sunday – REST – walk

The times increase over the course of 20 weeks for the long run.  The shorter runs generally stayed in the same range.  The plan I purchased was from Another Mother Runner.  There are many free programs available online if you are looking for a plan and can’t afford to buy one.

Do Just a Little Bit Each Day

I love the concept of doing short workouts every day.  It really makes it so accessible for anyone.  Seriously, who can’t carve out 10 – 15 minutes a day.  You may think it’s not enough and it may not be in the long run, but in the short run it will get you engaged and started.  For me, I use this concept to get my strength training in when I’m training for a race.  Running during training takes pretty much all my free time in the morning.  There just isn’t enough time to do a 60 minute run and get in a proper strength training routine.  My choice became either get no strength training, or add a little in each day and go for the compound effect.  I chose the later and added 10 – 15 minutes to the end of each run.  Here’s a sample of the add on to my current routine –

  • Monday – easy effort run 60 minutes/foam rolling 5 minutes/strength 10 minutes
  • Tuesday – tempo run 45 minutes/yoga burn 15 minutes
  • Wednesday – easy effort run 60 minutes/foam rolling 5 minutes/strength 10 minutes
  • Thursday – active recovery – yoga/pilates/walk
  • Friday – tempo run 45 minutes – strength 15 minutes
  • Saturday – long run 90 minutes – yoga burn 20 minutes
  • Sunday – REST

If I can’t fit the short add on into the routine in the morning, it is surely manageable to do at night.  I am the queen of excuses at night, so I make sure to fit it in, but you can certainly see that doing 15 minutes of something at night is much less stressful than carving out 60 minutes after work.

My routines are all available online and were inexpensive to purchase.  I use Yoga Burn, which is segmented into 15 minute segments.  I purchased Danette May’s Fit for Life subscription and it includes workout calendars for the month.  I just pick and choose the ones I wish to do for each day.  They are all segmented into 8 – 10 minute workouts.  Both of these are meant to be repeated three times, but for me I only really have time for one go around.  As I said, it’s not my only routine and I’m using it as an add on.  I’m also hoping for the compound effect and looking across the week rather than fitting it all in one session.

During the summer when I have more time, I will surely add more strength in, but if I want to stay in the game this works for me.   What are your routines to keep yourself motivated to workout?  I’d love to share some new ideas.  Please leave your comment in the section below.

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