Increasing your Mileage; NOT your Waistline

Back in 2010 I was a newlywed and looking for something fun to do.  I always wanted to run an endurance race and found the organization Team in Training.  I signed up to do a half marathon and just like that I was hooked.

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Baby Jessica @ the Long Branch Half May 2010, it was hot (like 90F) but great!

Fast forward 7 years & two kids I wanted to find a way to keep coaching and give more back to the community so I turned to TNT yet again, but this time as a coach with 3 more half marathons under my belt!

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Since I am a new coach, my county doesn’t have many participants yet.  We had our first training run this past weekend on the trails in the snow and we had such great conversations I was reminded how much I love this organization and how much it gives back.  During our chat, so many running related questions came up I wanted to remember them so I could dedicate some time to answer them properly.  Not just for my team but for everyone!

The first thing we spoke about was how to  maintain a weight loss (or lose weight) when training for an endurance event.

I can’t tell you how many people think that once they start training for a run they will “lose so much weight.”  Here are a few common mistakes people make and end up with a gain at the starting line:

Overestimating the amount of calories burned during a workout and underestimating the calorie count of food

This in turn leads to a lot of “well I just ran 10 miles today, I can finish my kids plates and eat a few brownies too…”  The average mile run burns 100 calories.    When you begin training, and start by running 3-4 miles.  You are burning 300-400 calories.  The other day I looked at the bag of Cheetos I let my daughter have as a treat (no judgement please!  It’s an occasional treat) and I nearly fell over when I saw the bag was a whopping 300 calories and 20 grams of fat.    My go to mid-morning snack is Oatmeal with 1 tbsp almond butter and half a banana.  It has the same calories, more protein, less sodium and keeps me fuller longer!

Calories Carbs Protein Fat Sodium Sugar
Cheetos 310 26 3 21 500 2
Oatmeal, Almond Butter, & banana 308 44 12 10 1 9

cheetos

Starving Yourself

This is a tricky one.  We need a calorie deficit to lose weight, but we need food to fuel our bodies (and our brains!)  According to Runners World, Kyra Williams, a weight loss coach certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine says this is a faux pas almost all of her female clients are guilty of. If you are working out and burning 2,500 calories a day—but only consuming 1,200—you’ll force your body to store fat,” she says. Not only that, the calorie shortage will slow down your metabolism, making it tougher to build muscle.   Your new weight loss mantra: Don’t be afraid to eat! Fill your plate with plenty of healthy carbohydrates (think fruit, starchy veggies, and whole grains), lean proteins (fish, turkey, chicken, and tofu), healthy fats (avocado, oils, nuts, and seeds), and an unlimited amount of greens and other non-starchy veggies. Bonus: Eating 1,800 to 2,000 calories of these healthy eats will keep you so full and satisfied you’ll be less likely to binge on junky foods, says Williams.

Rewarding with Food

This kind of goes back to point # 1.   I have been trying to tell all my clients (and family members) this for a while.   When you work out every day, or in the case of my toddlers eat all their veggies try a reward that isn’t food!   Reward yourself with some new running gear, or get your nails done.  For my kids I try to reward them with a trip to the movies or a game night.  Make it fun and enjoyable.  For example, if they eat (or at least try) all of their veggies for an entire week then on Sat. we can go to the movies/get a toy/go to the jungle gym etc.

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Dehydration

This one hits so close to home.  I never liked (and still don’t) like drinking water.  So many people mistake hunger for thirst.  In my case after a long run I would start eating, then get a headache, and just eat and eat and eat and then pop some Tylenol.   That whole time I felt STARVING I was actually dehydrated!   Once I figured that out, I started trying to drink a ton of water, but I was still getting headaches!   Now, as I said I dislike drinking water, and I found that even water didn’t do the trick for me.  Here comes Coconut water.  My sister in law recommended I drink it.  I sweat A LOT during tough workouts and with sweat you are eliminating all the salts (think sodium and potassium) from your body.  I was not only deprived of water, but I was deprived of electrolytes that kept my cells functioning properly.  Sodium and Potassium are essential to the functioning of our bodies.   Sodium maintains fluid balance in your cells, helps to transmit nerve impulses throughout your body, and helps muscles contract and relax.  Potassium keeps the blood from clotting, maintains the body’s pH balance, carries nutrients to the cells, protects the stomach lining from the damage that could be caused by stomach acids, maintains healthy blood pressure, promotes heart health and preserves bone health.  WOW!   Athletes should be especially concerned with their potassium intake; potassium plays a role in the storage of carbohydrates to fuel your muscles.  Once I started drinking coconut water I miraculously was not starving and the headaches went away!  It has 4x the potassium of banana, so having a serving of coconut water, with regular water and the adequate recovery snack made all the difference.   I also like the NUUN tablets added to my water.  This leads me to my next point, not recovering properly…

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Not Recovering Properly

When you don’t replace what you sweat out, you will feel hungry for hours afterwards. To avoid this, make sure to drink as soon as your run is over and more throughout the day as well as eat a well-balanced recovery meal or snack.  For optimal recovery, eat 15 to 25 grams of protein within 30 minutes after a workout. The protein will help stop muscle breakdown and begin to repair them.  Add some carbohydrates—about 2 to 4 times as much carb as protein—to this small meal or snack in order to restock your glycogen stores and prime your muscles for performance.

This is a good start for post-workout meals.   I have been reading the cookbook Run Fast, Eat Slow by elite runner Shalane Flanagan and her college bud Elyse Kopecky and I LOVE the descriptions on all the foods, like antioxidant, recovery food, etc.    I’ll see if I can pull any good recipes from there too.

What are some of your favorite recovery foods?

Any fun races you are training for?

Do you have any sports drinks you can’t live without?

If you want to learn more about Team in Training, please send me a message and I can connect you with your local chapter.

Run as if someone's life depends on it.  Team in Training benefits The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.:

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What does “healthy” mean?

On October 8, 2016 I crossed the finish line of the Rock n Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon, then stopped running.  I did not run again until almost one month later.   I took that time as an opportunity to slow down and reflect.  I thought about the past six months of training, about what I want to accomplish in the upcoming months.   I also took a step back and thought about my overall health.

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 For almost a year I was a bit obsessed with fitness and looking back now, it was probably an unhealthy obsession.  This time to reflect has made me dig deep and think about what health means to me.   One thing I learned about myself is I can accomplish amazing things if I set my mind to it, so that was pretty cool.  But what I am figuring out is how to weigh the risk and reward.  

I was so fixated on body image as a measure of my health.  I would constantly look at my abs and think they weren’t good enough.  I rarely had dessert and almost never drank alcohol, even at BBQs and parties.  I had to exercise every day, and if I didn’t I was very cranky and sometimes mean.   I think something that opened my eyes was I kept trying to buy smaller and smaller clothes.  At one point I bought a pair of LUCKY jeans which were two sizes smaller than my average size.   I got them over my thighs (which is usually my largest area) and bought them immediately, feeling so proud of my accomplishment of fitting into this pair of pants.   Then, the first time I wore them I was so uncomfortable!  The band was cutting into my hips!  It suddenly dawned on me, no matter how hard I exercise, and deprive myself, these pants, or any size smaller for that matter, will never fit.  These are bones,  They are not going to shrink!  I am 5’9’’ tall and have had two children.  This is my physiology.    So, why am I killing myself?  My family does not care if I am a size 8 or a size 12.  They love me no matter what.  My kids won’t remember if I have tight abs, but they will remember if I am cranky around them.  My friend’s won’t care how I look in a bathing suit, but they will care if I keep saying no to desserts they lovingly bake in their kitchen for my enjoyment.  My pants will never love me, but my family does and I need to love myself.  

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Now, this is not to say that I still don’t LOVE fitness, and setting goals, and challenging my limits!  I will continue to do so, but maybe I will be a little kinder to myself, indulge a little, and live a lot more.    Keep my honest guys 🙂 

Happy New Month!

Hello August | via Tumblr on We Heart It.. Summer will soon end and once gain fall comes calling with it's crisp air and burnished leaves of gold.  TG:

Happy Monday everyone.  Today not only ushers in a new week, but a new month.  There is something magical about new beginnings.  A chance to start over, a time to make goals.  January 1st everyone is so set about what the new year will bring them.  I am not that excited about new years, I prefer to look at new weeks!  Making small, manageable goals ladders up to something phenomenal in one year.  Think about it.  If you made a point to make a small change every Monday- imagine what 52 Mondays of change look like!
Last week I was so happy I hit every one of my workout goals.  Sometimes it isn’t always possible and I see there are obstacles already popping up this week.  Preparation is key to success.
Back to goal setting for the week and month ahead.  Sit down with yourself and come up with 4 things you want to focus on this month.  Then actually write them down!  Pick one a week to really focus on, then the next week try to do 2, then 3, then 4.   For example, they may be things like:
– Drink 1/2 my weight in water every day (this one is my downfall)
– Log my food this week
– Bring my lunch instead of buying it
– Eat breakfast every day
– Eat fruits and vegetables every day
-Try a new recipe/new food this week
– Exercise 2,3,5,7 x this week (you choose!)
– Incorporate strength training into my week (especially if you favor cardio)
– Incorporate cardio into my week (especially if you favor lifting)
– Incorporate stretching into my week
– Give a compliment to a stranger every day this week
– Do something nice to someone without being asked (or thanked or expecting something in return)
New month, new beginning! Make a change and Sign Up for the Skinny Ms. newsletter! Never miss out on fitness tips or healthy recipes from Skinny Ms. #cleaneating #fitness #weightloss:
I can’t wait to see what you all accomplish!
Share with me, comment here:   What are 2 things you are going to focus on this month?

5 Things that Hold us Back from Happiness

For anyone who knows me, my number 1 pet peeve is excuses.  Not just excuses about exercise, but excuses in life.   I have always had goals for myself and when I see something I want, I ask myself- “how did that person get there?”  Then I make a plan and set it in motion.  You can achieve anything you set your mind to with determination, consistency, and a solid plan in place.

I think reading helped me keep that spirit and “can do” attitude alive.  Since I was little I loved self-help books like SARK Eat Mangos Naked (a favorite in high school).  Then, as I got older I found other books like “The Compound Effect,” “You are a Badass” and “Crush it.”  It never hurts to keep learning.

On this continual quest for knowledge and empowerment, I was introduced to a podcast called “The Model Health Show.”  A podcast I listened to struck such a cord with me, I decided to listen again and take notes.   99% of this blog post is courtesy of Shawn Stevenson’s Podcast from June 14, 2016- “5 Things that Hold Us Back from Happiness”  with my own little quips inserted here and there.

In Shawn’s podcast he notes a study from the University of London that states people are 35% less likely to die if they felt happy and content on a typical day.  Generally we are happy as children, then happy again as seniors but it is those in between years of the rat race that really wear us down.   I can totally see that!  Being a working mom with 2 kids, training for races, helping others, and trying to keep my family happy is no easy feat.

So, what holds us back from happiness and how can we turn it around?  Here are his top 5 reasons (in no particular order)

1. Excuses.

This is probably why I loved this podcast so much.   Our primary excuses are usually work, money, and health.  Things are always so much harder when life isn’t going your way.   Tony Robbins said we all have a blueprint set for our lives.  For example, maybe your blueprint is you wanted to get a job, get married, & have kids before 30.   How would you feel if your blue print did not match your life condition?  What if you were 31 and single or unemployed?    It isn’t a horrible thing, but since your blueprint does not equal your life condition you may feel unhappy.   You have to be mentally aware of this and re-adjust your blueprint.  Maybe because you are single and unemployed you can travel the world and paint or volunteer for the Peace Corps?  The world is open and you are unencumbered.  Change your perspective and make the most of the life you have.

2.  The if/then syndrome:

If this happens, then I’d be happy.  If I get this raise, then I’ll be happy.  If the kids get into college, then I’ll be happy.  If I got this beach house, then I’ll be happy.  If I got this divorce, then I’ll be happy… This is what Jim Rohn calls living on “someday I’ll”.   We can’t wish our life away.   Live in gratitude.  What do you have now?  Sure, you can have ambition and work towards something but we need to enjoy the journey!

3.  Skip the Drama!

I never thought about this really before, but I absolutely love it.  Don’t bring the drama around you, don’t look for it, and don’t live into it.   *To do something for someone else, WITHOUT expecting anything in return is the secret to long lasting happiness*.  Oh My Goodness YES.   There is nothing worse than having to keep score, make sure everything is fair, and decide when to be nice to someone else based on how they have treated you in the past.  I am a HUGE believer that if I choose to care about someone, I will be there for them.  I will buy them birthday gifts; I will go to their events… I will be there for them whether they make the same effort for me or not.  I don’t measure my kindness or my happiness by how others treat me, but how I treat others.   Nit picking and living into the drama does not do me any good.  Maybe this is because I believe everyone is genuinely good at heart and everyone’s intentions are pure.  Even if that isn’t the case.  It makes me happy and I don’t want to turn into a cynic.

4.  Future/Past Paradox

Do you mentally visit the past to predict the future? It is a blessing and a curse to think externally.  People think past = future.  We need to see the beauty in our current situation.  If you still live in the past, you miss the power to change your future.    A challenge for you is to change your perspective and CHOOSE to show up differently.  Bring YOUR energy and happiness to the situation.  When you walk into a room brighten that room.  YOU bring the LIGHT.  Living in gratitude is a reflection of the good things that are happening at the current moment.  On a side note, I am LOVING the Instagram challenge #100happydays.  It is forcing me to find the beauty in every day.  Today it was eating a juicy peach.

5.  BELIEF THAT YOU DESERVE IT!

I am amazed at this one.  I remember watching “the Biggest Loser” last season and a speech Bob Harper gave to one of the contestants.  They were having a heart to heart and her biggest roadblock was her deep rooted belief that she didn’t deserve to be fit, to take the time for herself, to win etc.  Once she changed her mind set and told herself that she was worthy and she did deserve it, she started kicking butt!    Realize how much you do matter.  Enjoy the process, and overcome whatever challenges come your way.  You have everything you need to live a good life within you, they just may be dormant.  No one is better than you, but people may be different than you.  Be 100% unapologetic for who you are.  Like Sarah Jessica Parker was told in the movie “The Family Stone”  Let your freak flag fly!  No one will ever exist like you again and no one was like you before, so be the utmost you.

I just loved all this so much and it is great to be reminded again and again of these important points.  Now lastly, being happy doesn’t mean being stagnant.  You can have goals and be ambitious.  Heck, you should!!!  But, enjoy the process.  You deserve to be happy if you choose to be, and if you need to make some life changes, make them.

Have a great Monday.

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Motivation Monday- Finding your why

I’m pretty sure I wrote this before, but it bears repeating.  The VERY first thing I ask anyone interested in starting any health journey is “why.”  Why do you want to lose weight?   Sure, looking great in your clothes and fitting into those jean from high school is nice, but that won’t keep you on track.  Cupcakes and alcohol are way too good.

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Most people know my story (and if you don’t you can check it out in about me section), but my why is making sure I am taking care of me so that I can have more energy and patience for my family.   I have 2 toddlers, I also work full time as a scientist.  I know that when I indulge too much and don’t exercise I am just a nasty person and my family gets the brunt of it.  I feel tired, bloated, sluggish and screaming toddlers make me lose my sh*t.

What also keeps me motivated is having other people help keep me accountable or incentives.  This week I have a private facebook group going.  We are all going to post every day something we are doing to stay healthy, whether that be a workout or a healthy meal.  At the end of the week I am raffling off a prize to a randomly selected winner.  The only rule to be entered into the raffle is to post something in our group daily.  If you need some extra accountability and want to meet some like minded people,  I would be happy to add you too 🙂

today is the day

I urge you this week to sit down with yourself, grab a piece of paper, a journal, a napkin, anything and be honest with yourself.  Why do you need to stay on track this week?  Maybe there is a history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes in your family and you need to lose weight to stay healthy, maybe you need some extra patience for your kids, maybe you have a stressful week coming up and a few good sweat sessions will help make you feel better.  Endorphins are a powerful thing.

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Let me know your why in the comments below.  I believe in you.

Won’t Stop till Brooklyn

I can’t believe it, it is now official!  I registered for the Rock n Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon! 

I have been doing at home workouts exclusively for 1 year now.   While I got phenomenal results, it was time to get outside and switch things up.

A few weeks ago, my awesome sister in law invited me into her “summer running streak” group, in 3 weeks I logged 44 miles so I figured if I could do that I could sign up for a race.  Nothing keeps me motivated like a race date.    Super excited for this puppy, and yes I get excited to add a medal to my wall.

Brooklyn - Half Marathon

Now comes the hard part.  For me, it is scheduling in those long runs.   My husband works Saturdays, and my kids are 2 and 4 so I will either be headed to the gym for a date with the treadmill and Netflix, or an early morning Sunday before our family day.

Anyone else running this race?  Anyone interested in training with me?  I’d love to interact with fellow runners during the training.  It is always more fun to train with a friend, even a virtual one.

Running through Summer

I don’t know about you, but I always have to switch things up to keep my fitness routine exciting.  If you don’t look forward to exercise, you won’t do it!

Last May (2015) I started my Beachbody fitness journey.  I did 21 day fix extreme, and over the subsequent year I completed a few rounds of extreme, body beast, hammer and chisel, and on demand challenge du jour.  It was last Sept/Oct. that I started waking up at 5am to get my workouts in and converted  part of my basement to a gym.  With warmer weather and the sun up so early, I can’t force myself to go downstairs so I have started running again!   I am considering registering for a half marathon (or 2) in the fall to keep myself on track.   I love sticking to a workout calendar/training plan.

Feels so good to get outside!


This morning I was doing an upper body workout downstairs and my daughter came down and said “mommy, its gorgeous out!  Why are you working out inside?”  Wise girl.  I will still utilize my “basement” gym because I have a new love for weight training, and it will only help my running performance… And sometimes we can’t leave the house.  I really don’t feel like running with 2 toddlers.


Questions for you:

Do you have any fall races lined up?  If so, what are they?

What is your favorite race distance?

Do you like running alone or with a running buddy?

I am thinking of creating a facebook group for people training for the same race… would you be interested in joining us?  The races on the table for me are the Philly Rock N Roll Half Marathon and the Brooklyn Rock n Roll Half Marathon.


You in?

Stuck between two passions


This is so how I felt at 4:30 this morning getting up to go to the airport.   Been doing a LOT of soul searching lately.

I actually didn’t know I had two passions until less than a year ago.  

My first has always been science.  I’m a chemist.  I have the privilege to work for one of the worlds largest health care companies.  I’ve liked science and facts for as long as I can remember.  Santa got me an invisible man anatomy set for 5th grade and a microscope by 7th grade.   This weekend we took the kids to the museum of national history in NY and I was so excited to donate my microbiome to science.   Ironically I’m a chemist for skincare and not a doctor or biologist. 

  

I proudly wore my sticker “I swabbed for science today”


My second passion is helping people achieve their health and fitness goals. (Which I guess ties into biology).  

 I am starting to realize it’s all science.  I’m amazed at what the human body is capable of and what you can achieve through exercise and nutrition.  
I was really shocked by my own transformation when I honed in on my nutrition and treated food like a science last year.  I weighed it out and counted my nutrients.  My “macros.”  I’m not as strict now as I was last year because I like ice cream and wine, so I’m struggling to find the right balance for me.  As always these guys come first…

The other portion of a health journey is mental.  Through helping others it seems to me that health, fitness, and achieving goals is more mental than anything else!  Another science, the science of the mind.

People have the hardest time mentally, we make excuses for everything (myself included).  I’m tired, I don’t have time, I’m “too” out of shape, I don’t have money, I don’t know how to cook, I’m too busy, I don’t like (insert physical activity here), I’m stressed…I’m in a rut. 

So I guess thats where I am right now.  In a rut.  I want to continue helping people reach their health and fitness goals, but I feel like I can no longer use Facebook as a platform for connection.  Too many negative people, too many co-workers, too much judgement of how I spend my time.   

Since I’ve been in my “rut” I’ve been horrible about keeping up with my exercises (daily) and indulging way more than I should.  Coaching kept me accountable.  

So, what’s the point?  I guess the point is I am still figuring stuff out, how to live into both passions.   I have a very small group I’m hosting for summer now. 
Questions for you

– how do you connect with new people?

– what is your biggest excuse?

– what are you passionate about and are you living your passion? 

– would you be interested in joining us?

Thoughts on life & Fitness is a journey 

Thank you all so much for your kind words after the passing of my Opa.  It has been a crazy month.  I was traveling for work and getting a few workouts in at the hotel, then as soon as I came home I was told my Opa would be going on hospice.   He was brought to my parents house on Monday.  I was planning on spending the day Friday but my father told me he wouldn’t last that long.  Tuesday was my daughters very first swim lesson, so we didn’t go Tuesday.   She loved it…


Wednesday I picked the kids up early from daycare and we shot up to my parents house.  By then he was barely able to keep his eyes open, but when he did he registered that me and the kids and James were there.  We talked to him and squeezed his hands.  He tried to open his eyes and focus but it took so much energy.  

My husband urged me to stay the night and at 4:30 am my mother called me down.  “It’s time,” she said, just like the doctor said to be during childbirth.  We all held his hands and he slowly just stopped breathing.

It was remarkable to see a body so full of life, that contained such a a HUGE personality, just stop.  The last breath was gone and in that instant, so was he.


I don’t often talk about faith, but at that moment, I was so glad I had my faith, to know that he is not just gone but in heaven with his wife and they are looking down on us.   He is at peace and no longer in pain.

We called my brother to tell him and he came to the house by 6am.  We called the hospice nurse to pronounce him after 8 and spent time with him, drank our coffee and remembered the good times.  

There was so much to do, so many arrangements to make.  We had the wake on Friday and the funeral Monday followed by the mosileum.   There was a lot of drinking, a lot of German beer songs, a lot of family.  He was honored to have a 2 soldier solute at the mosileum for serving our country in the army and my dad was presented with the flag.  

Jimmy sang Ein Prosit on the way home… 


I thought things would calm down and I could rest Tuesday but there was urgent things to do at work- so off I went.

Now, finally today I was able to get back into a routine.  I felt so at peace and at home when I walked downstairs this morning 


I was nervous about exercising because it had felt like AGES since I had.  But I pressed play and it felt amazing.  


All these emotions I had been carrying seemed to be sweat away.  I feel so alive and so blessed to have such an amazing family and be surrounded by love and have a body young and healthy enough to exercise.  Life happens, fitness is a journey.  The best we can do is for it in with the time we are given.  


I hope everyone has a happy day. 

Call to Action- Let’s Get Fit For Summer

With the warm weather upon us, we are reminded that summer is coming. I for one am so excited to do more outdoors. I just wish I didn’t have to cook dinner when I come home! Looks like I’ll be making more on the grill.

That being said, what I also love about this time of year is how committed people are to their health and fitness goals.

What are you doing to get fit? Is it working? Are you open to something NEW?

Last year, I started helping people achieve their health and fitness goals, and it has been the most rewarding experience.  A few highlights include

  • A mom who was on the verge of tears daily who is now content and enjoying her kids childhood
  • SEVERAL running PRs (2 5Ks improved by 4 minutes and a half marathon by 20)
  • 30 lb weight loss
  • A few women who were able to advance their yoga practice (hello headstand)
  • New friends made by all

I am looking for women, specifically working moms with little time on their hands. People who aren’t the best cooks and need quick and easy kid friendly recipes. Women who rarely take the time to take care of themselves and always put everyone else first. Women who are exhausted and just don’t know how they could possibly even find time to exercise. Women who have a gym membership, but never go. Women who are living on coffee for breakfast or their go to cereal they have been having since their college days. Women who used to have time to train for races before they had kids but now running takes too long.

I’m looking for you, because last year I was you! 30 minute workouts, easy food, and most of all SUPPORT have changed my life.

I’m not saying I can change your life, but you can. The power is in your hands and I have had the pleasure to connect with so many women this year, women who were hanging on my a thread and now just feel good.

MAY 1st is the start date. Send me a message and we’ll work together to find something that will work for your unique situation and preferences.

We are going to have an awesome summer, you ready to join us?

Jessica Heidi's photo.