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

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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 🙂 

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. 

Doing it all

I’ve been listening to a ton of books on my commute to and from work (thank you audible) and this theme has been resonating with me a lot, I wanted to bring it up.

When we do what is in line with our values we are at peace.

If you value time with your family, but whenever you are home you are on your phone there will be an internal struggle within yourself.

These guys are the ones I need to put first.

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But the struggle is so REAL!

I want to learn about new innovative products for skincare, dive deeper into the acne category, explore new ingredients and run a million experiments.  I want to exercise, train for a marathon, lift, swim, bike, and get yoga certified.  I want to learn about the biochemistry of nutrition, I want to understand carb cycling and macros in addition to other modes of calculating how much of each nutrient you should be eating.  I want to read motivational books, and journal, and reach out to as many people as I can and help hundreds of moms get in shape and start taking care of themselves.  BUT, at the core of everything I don’t want to miss my kids childhood.  Seriously, because I mean, how cute are they?!

I REALLY want to do all these things and I want to give 100%, but in reality I just can’t!  There are only 24 hours in a day.

I had to find a way to do some but make sure I was putting my kids and husband first. I started realizing that I was spending so much time away from my kids because I was working and I started to not enjoy my work as much. I made it a point to put my phone away from the moment I walked in house until the kids went to bed. By just making that small change, those 2 hours are for my kids. I mean, sort of. I am still cooking dinner and cleaning up during that time, but if they are talking to me, they have my attention. I am not being distracted.  I may pull it out to snap pictures here and there of dinners we are making.

I found ways to accomplish most of what I want to in the 24 hours a day that I am given.

I have my entire life to become an expert in any of those field.  I will run a marathon some day and I will get my yoga certification some day.  That day is just not today.

Think about the things that you value in your life, put them first and the rest will fall into place.

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We may just have to prioritize the amazingness.