THINGS I HATE ABOUT SWIMMING:
The thought of it;
Packing up gear for changing after the actual pool workout;
The first jump into the pool because I always THINK it's going to be cold;
If it is cold;
The racoon eyes I have from my goggles for hours after leaving the pool;
Waiting for a lane if I haven't gotten to the pool at the exactly perfect time to not have to share a lane;
Bad lane sharers who kick, go too slow or want to rest after each lap;
The boredom and lack of distraction of the pool;
Having to go through the process of drying, changing in the locker room and either leaving looking like a drowned rat OR actually having to go through the ritual of really getting dressed (which means having been organized to pack it all up in the first place; see the first item.THINGS I LOVE ABOUT SWIMMING:
Swimming - I love to swim;
The feeling of the water;
Working on the different strokes;
The quiet in the pool - it's the perfect place to think, plan and work through things in my head;
The long, lean feeling after a pool workout;
The lack of aches and pains in my joints;
The all-day energy I feel after swimming;
When it's over I am SO glad I made the effort!I'm thinking the good always outweighs the bad
You see, I've had this love/hate thing for swimming workouts for years. I swam for years for my tiny little swim team in my hometown, but I was never the blue ribbon champ. Even though I LOVE the water and water sports, swimming laps is something I have to make myself do because "it's good for me." I've gone through fazes where I swim rather than run or other body pounding types of exercise. In law school, I attempted to get over the "hate" by taking to the pool that happened to be in the bottom of the really old gym where I taught aerobics. There were no windows, it was really dark and always cold and really creepy, plus the fact that I would show up to Property Class with raccoon rings around my eyes. That faze didn't last long.
Later, I tried it at a new pool that had bright sunlight streaming into the indoor pool. That was a little better, but I think that time I was only doing it because I had a bum knee. That was also my first foray into teaching water aerobics. That faze lasted until I got over my knee injury.
I have also taken to the pool in order to train for the swim portion of triathalons. Needless to say, the minute the triathalon was over, so was the swimming day of my workouts.
I also seem to take to the pool because I'm having some other sort of trouble or injury that makes my other workouts too painful. Recently, it has been my hamstrings so I've been passing up the treadmill and sprints for the pool. I've learned exactly when to show up at the pool and when to stay away. I also had a friend tell me to put on my bathing suit first thing in the morning, then there was no excuse. That was a good tip and really helps on the days I need to get there early.
I must say that something is working because my hamstrings are feeling almost normal, which means I am not
feeling them all day long, AND lo and behold, I am actually starting to LOVE my time in the pool. I'm actually sorry some days when it's time to get out. Sometimes, it does help to know I can slide into the steam room for just a bit before doing the whole shower, dress thing.
I tend to do my own workout that I came up with that works for me. I do use goggles, a swim cap, a kickboard and a buoy that you put between your legs so you only use your arms. I do not use flippers or hand webs. I don't really understand that - the point is to use your muscles and strength to get to the other end of the pool. I know flippers and hands would make me faster, but that's not my goal.
This is a good workout if you are jumping into the pool and don't have a plan. It's from Women's Health magazine - one of my favorites. MIX MASTER WORKOUT STROKELENGTH
(yards or meters)*
(for a longer workout, repeat the main set)Rotate: breast, free, back, free50410-205-6Rotate: breast, free, back, free
|MIX MASTER WORKOUT|
(yards or meters)*
(for a longer workout, repeat the main set)
|Rotate: breast, free, back, free||50||4||10-20||5-6|
Rotate: breast, free, back, free
|Any (except free)||50||1||10-30||7-8|
|Kick (on your side or back, or using a kickboard)||25||2||5-10||6|
|* Most lap pools are 25 yards or meters long, while Olympic-size pools are 50 meters. If you're unsure, ask the pool manager or lifeguard.|
50410-206-7Free100120-305-6Any (except free)50110-307-8Kick (on your side or back, or using a kickboard)2525-106COOLDOWNAny1001 3* Most lap pools are 25 yards or meters long, while Olympic-size pools are 50 meters. If you're unsure, ask the pool manager or lifeguard.
I tend to do a workout similar to this, but usually do freestyle for 100, then breast stroke for 50 as that is the breast is my fifth lap and it helps me keep track of counting. I then repeat that 4 times and then do the arms and leg portion, then add backstroke instead of breast stroke. The best part is the stretch at the end and how good I feel getting out of the pool! Do you have a love/hate workout? How do you get over the hate?
Recently, in one of my classes I asked the participants if they had seen a local billboard sponsored by the Storng4Life Campaign. My boys and I pass by the billboard everyday on the way home from school. They were the first to notice it and they were APPALLED. I polled the class participants, and while the message is definately strong and clear, I am not quite sure it can help fix the problem.
I was surprised to find that one of the fitness blogs I often check out discussed the very same billboard. Sarahfit.com had the following posted:Have you heard about the new Strong4Life.com campaign against Childhood Obesity? I haven’t formed my own opinion yet since I just heard about it this morning but my initial reaction is:
-Those poor poor kids in the ads. Can you imagine the bullying they are going to endure at school?
-Is this really how you want to combat childhood obesity?
-Much of childhood obesity starts with the decisions of the parents, school, family income, this doesn’t seem like it’s helping solve any of these except making larger children feel bad about themselves.
Taken from Sarahfit.com
If you live near me you pass by one of these right near the Steak and Shake - that might be a bit ironic, you think? You may see them anywhere as this campaign is not just a Georgia campaign. The billboards definatley make you look are definatley a slap. I'm guessing that was the intent. I'm just not sure that slap will help the problem. Isn't it education? I know I don't have the answers and this is a problem with many issues that needs answers - SOON.
I also know that Strong4life is a great organization with a wonderful philosophy. They have other great photos on their website showing kids being active, having fun and participating in healthy habits. I am in NO way downplaying the organization or their purpose. Obviously, there need to be more folks out there getting involved and tackling the health risks occurring and that will occur in the future if obesity continues to rise in our nation.
- What are your first thoughts when you see these photos?
- Does this part of the Strong4life Campaing work for you?
So, if you are trying to be healthy and keep away from all of the junk and sugar we are constantly bombarded with, Halloween can be a bit SCARY! All the temptation at every corner! I have to be honest and confess that my sweet tooth often takes over and I will grab a piece of whatever concoction is in front of my face. As long as I don't let that one piece turn into TWELVE, I think I can survive! Therefore, just so you'll know what is what, here is what you can get for 100 CALORIES! (and you can burn off about 100 calories by walking 1 MILE at a good pace). If you can't get that mile in, or some other activity, you might need to think twice before indulging!
100 CALORIE HALLOWEEN TREATS
3 1/3 snack size Twizzlers
13 1/3 pieces of Brach’s Candy Corn
28 Milk Chocolate M&Ms
1 2/3 Snack Size Peppermint Patties
2 Twix Minis
1 1/2 Snack Size Kit Kats
3 Milky Way Midnight Minis
1 1/4 Snickers Fun Size Bars
4 Mini 3 Muskateers
4 1/2 Tootsie Roll Midgees
Depending on your craving, you can quench it with 100 calories, OR, you can take a walk until the craving disappears! Whatever you decide, just keep moving! That's the key!
What's your favorite Halloween candy? I don't have Almond Joy on the list, and that's the one I gotta have! What's yours?
While Fall is not my very favorite Season (I really don't like the mess falling leaves make in the yard) I do love the crisp weather, the smell of a fire and a reason to make a big bowl of soup or chili. That's not what this post is about, though . . .sorry! Fall also means pumpkin season. I am so excited this year, too. Husband and one of my sons were invited to a friend's farm for the weekend and brought back about 10 beautiful pumpkins they had picked from the owners pumpkin patch. They are all sizes and range from the typical giant orange ones to green and misshapen pumpkins. We will have a job deciding which ones to carve and which to leave for more Fall "yard" decorations.
We always make the HUGEST mess carving pumpkins, but we ALWAYS save pumpkin seeds for roasting.
I'm happy to say that this Fall favorite is packed with healthy nutrients. Here are a few of their benefits:
- They make an excellent complete protein source.
- Source of 'good fat'. Yes! Fat can be good and can help regulate blood sugar, improve your hair, skin and nails.
- They have vitamins C, E and D and are a great source for calcium, potassium, zinc and iron.
There are a lot of ways to roast pumpkin seeds, but this is my favorite and is SO easy! By the time you've cleaned up the pumpkin mess you will have a great snack!
SPICY PUMPKIN SEEDS
1 cup Fresh Pumpkin Seeds (washed and cleaned from all the slimey pumpkin as best as you can)
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Cayenne Powder
1 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Cinnamon
Dash of Sea Salt
(I normally have more than 1 cup of seeds, so I tend to guess on the spices)
Preheat Oven to 350. Mix all the ingredients and toss with the seeds in a bowl until they are evenly coated. Spread the seeds evenly in a cookie sheet or jellyroll pan. Bake 30 - 45 minutes or until the seeds are toasty brown.
There is your easy, healthy Fall snack! They also make a great salad topping.
What's your favorite Fall snack or way to use leftover pumpkin or seeds?
This was a "fun" workout the other day . . .It was supposed to be a "day off". I told myself I was going to give my tired hamstrings a rest, but when Husband asked if I wanted to go to the track I couldn't say no. It would be a little time together (which is really sad if this is our only time together without the testosterone filled beings in our home) AND I couldn't seem LAZY and say I was taking a day off either. So, this is what we did. It was a great way to spend a sunny afternoon, get moving AND, although it was tough, it was not absolutely evil.
We went to a nearby school track that had the pictured stadium and steps. Looks kinda daunting in this photo, I think! We walked a lap around the track at a good pace and then hoofed it up and down each set of stairs on the stadium. At this particular stadium there are five sets of stairs. We ran up one set and down the next until we reached the end of the stadium. We had to do a repeat on the last set of stairs in order to end up at the bottom and head back around the track. Running the stairs was really quick and a really great way to increase our heart rate. (I liked having the bar by my side on the run down just in case my clumsiness came out). The recovery was the walk around the track and, mind you, it was not an enjoyable meandering walk. In fact, at our pace it would have been easier to jog around that track! All in all, we did the loop around the track and stadiums eight times. That means we walked 2 miles and got some good cardio intervals in between. I think we were at it for a total of 50 minutes, with an extra lap added at the end for a cool down. That's pretty good. I'm a fan of the 50 minute workout, you know.
My calorie counter was really humming along so I was pretty happy. It was a quick, effecient workout that can be tailored to anyone's level. You could walk up and down the stairs if needed, or if you wanted to ramp it up, you could run the loop around the track rather than walk.
I will say my hamstrings were not so happy from sprinting up those darn stairs, but a little extra stretching helped. We did manage to talk while we walked, which can be difficult to do at home. This might not be your typical "date" but it worked for us. I say head to your highschool and give it a try.
Or, maybe just try to head out to dinner. . .
What's a different workout you like to do? Or an activity to do together?
It's Halloween time again. If you have been into the stores lately you would have thought Halloween was at least four weeks ago . . . I think shelves had Halloween candy and decorations out before we stopped wearing white shoes. But, that whole pushy marketing thing is for another day. I'm thinking of this holiday that makes us all feel entitled to scarf down pounds of sugar just because it is in an orange bucket and also makes us feel compelled to freely hand out the sugary, chocolately, mounds of goo to any little orange bucket that rings the bell. Don't get me wrong - I love Halloween! I love decorating with pumpkins, spiders, webs, skeletons (and what else do I have in my yard?) and I love dressing up every year. Yes, I DO dress up! Although I think my boys will soon become really embarrassed by that. I love thinking of the costumes, running around for the pieces and creating something fun. My favorite was when I dressed as Cher . . . and my children had NO idea who that is!
What makes me crazy is the amount of loot my boys come home with every year. It is insane! It is sinful! It is so wasteful! They don't need to be given THAT much candy! It's just too much. I think they must be given at least 5 pieces of candy per house. In one night they receive more candy than should be eaten in a year. And those folks that just leave a bucket out and a sign for the trick-or-treater to just take two. Who are they kidding? Handfuls are being taken out of that bucket!
I don't mean to sound so crazy, really I don't. I've got the biggest sweet tooth out there, but there is a limit to what one human should consume. I get that the candy is a treat. In fact, I think it WAS a treat when I was growing up. My candy would last forever because it was so precious. That was MY time to get candy and it didn't come around again for a very long time. I think those days are gone. Candy is given out at every turn . . . kindergarten classes, pediatrician's offices, stores, school and sporting events, you name it. It just doesn't seem to be much of a treat anymore and that is a shame.
I'm not even touching on the rise of childhood obesity and diabetes caused by the high sugar intake in this country. That's a very serious issue that distresses me enough. I think there's just got to be a limit to all the treats all the time.
So, for a holiday centered around giving candy, what are the options? Those cheap pencil erasers, rings, stickers? I hate that stuff coming in and cluttering up the house! I'm not trying to nix candy at Halloween. As my 9 year old, who was reading over my shoulder, just stated, "but it's Halloween. That's what you do at Halloween." I know it's what you do at Halloween, but isn't there a limit?
We do have one gentleman in our neighborhood who gives a dollar bill to each trick-or-treater who comes to his door. My boys love to go to his house! With the price of candy these days, that might actually be cheaper. I'm not sure why I am worrying so much about all those children out there who are getting too much candy and eating junk. Why should I feel like it is my responsibility to take care of other people’s kids and worry about what they are eating? Shouldn’t their parents be policing their sugar intake? If they didn’t want their kids bringing all that loot into the house shouldn't they just find their own way to handle the problem? Well, sure. In a perfect world that would work just fine. If that worked then we wouldn't have obesity campaigns going on, state funds being spent on obesity issues, health issues in kids that are weight related, and the list goes on. Guess I do feel a bit responsible.
In our house, at the end of trick-or-treating we let the boys spread out all their loot and divide it. They keep one fourth of the pile and we find other ways to use the rest of the candy. Last year I boxed it up and sent it to an organization that sent it to the troops overseas. Other times I have donated it to charitable organizations that can use it for real "treats" for kids. I feel better with options like those. We get plenty in our house (I even make sure there are some of my favorites I can snatch out of their piles) and we don't have to waste it by throwing it out and, hopefully, others are being "treated" by some of the candy.
So, what do you do for Halloween? Am I micromanaging too much? Or do you also think it can be just too much?
You may be seeing a lot of pink out there these days. It's everywhere! As you know I live in a house with boys so football is a constant on the TV in my house. I do not watch pro football, but I will say that I LOVE to see those big burly players wearing their PINK during the month of October in Support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month! If you see me around these days you will see that I am also sporting some sort of pink. In this photo is the pink hat I wore when I walked the Susan G Komen 3 Day Walk, as well as one of the bands I got during the Walk and the Bub all the walkers received and wore. The running shoe is my 10th grader's, adorned with pink laces. My husband ordered several of the lapel pins seen here to give to clients or such and the tic tacs were given to me by one of the women in my body sculpt class. (She rememberd that I was looking for these last year to give out and couldn't find them!) So, I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and bought all they had! You may be seeing these again! My 7th grader even wore pink ribboned socks to school! As you can see, the family supports the cause.
I have talked to different people, mostly strangers, who are walking the Walk this year and I am thrilled for them and jealous of them. I will talk about the Walk with Anyone! If you have not done a Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk, I urge you to put it on your Bucket List. If anyone asks me about my experience, I ALWAYS say it was the only time I have ever experienced 3 days of only Positive things. It was an unforgettable experience! I did the walk here in Atlanta with a group of truly remarkable women. I can't believe it was four years ago!
The morning of the Walk
Every year I would think about organizing the group again, but life would get in the way. I also think I was secretly worried it wouldn't be as great as the first time and I would be disappointed. Well, really, what a selfish reason to shy away from raising money for such a great cause, meeting tons on new, and often, very inspirational people and getting out and WALKING. So, that being said, 2012 is now on my calendar and I hope on the calendars of the rest of the women who shared the 3 Day with me last time, plus a few new faces and anyone else out there who wants to join.
The 3 Day has special meaning for me, personally, as I lost my grandmother to breast cancer. She was a dynamic, Southern woman who we still talk about. In fact, my boys never met "Bigmama" but still quote her and repeat her many expressions!
Maybe walking isn't your thing. I get that. (Although, I will say my legs looked pretty good during our training for the 60 miles!) I will also say that if you are not an exerciser, don't let the 60 miles deter you. It is SO doable! It is not a race! You can walk fast or slow or in between. (Unless you are one of my team mates who made it her goal to finish first each day!) The goal is to finish 20 miles each day without getting giant, golf ball sized blisters AND as long as you have spent some time in your walking shoes you will be safe from that.
If a Walk is not your thing, find another a cause that gets you moving. Whatever sport it is I think it is such a motivator to have a cause to get you out the door and moving. It also keeps you accountable so you actually put in work and know you can't let the Cause down. Whether it is a Team in Training for Leukemia, a Relay for Life for Cancer, a Walk for Autism, a bike ride, swim, you name it, it's out there. Completing any kind of "athletic fundraiser" is a Win/Win - money for a good cause and exercise for your own personal cause (your health).
Therefore, find a Cause and Support the Cause!
San Diege 2012 . . . I'm there!
You haven't lived until you have slept in a pink tent!
Celebrating at the end!
Yes, this is me and this is how I started my morning. My husband couldn't figure out why I wanted to get out of the house so early and when I told him I was going for metobolic testing
, all he could say was "Why?"
I love this stuff! I love educating myself about how our bodies work and function. The science, and to see it in black and white, is really cool to me. I had been wanting to do this for a while, so this morning I met my friend Milen at New Edge Fitness
and he promptly hooked me up with a mask and attachments to his computer so that I felt like Darth Vadar. If I'm speaking greek here are some simple explanations.What is Metabolic Testing?
The scientific definition is "physiologic evaluations based on actual oxygen consumed and carbon dioxide produced for: Resting Metabolic Rate
– a measurement of calories used to maintain basic life functions such as circulatory, respiratory and brain function. RMR typically accounts for 60-75% of total energy used in a healthy person.
- Exercise Metabolic Rate – measurements used to determine the efficiency and types of fuels used (fats or sugars) during exercise.
- Aerobic Base – a zone based on heart rate that tells you where you are most efficient at utilizing fat as an energy source.
- Lactate Threshold (LT) – a marker that determines your maximal sustainable exercise intensity during which you burn fat and sugars. Beyond the LT, anaerobic metabolism begins to take over and glucose is predominately used as an energy source.
- VO2 Max -the maximum volume of oxygen that the body can consume during intense, whole-body exercise, expressed as liters per minute (L/min) or milliliters per kg bodyweight per minute (ml/kg/min).
- What are the benefits of metabolic testing?
- This information can enable you or your trainer/coach to design individualized programs to help optimize your health and performance. For me, it was a great way to see where I am on the "fitness level". It is a great indicator of whether you need to find a plan, tweak your plan, train more, less or, depending on your goals, change your eating habits one way or the other.
- Learning to exercise at an intensity relative to your metabolism determines the efficiency and effectiveness of your workouts and weight management program. When exercising too hard, your metabolism uses primarily sugars which can leave you feeling hungry, tired and sore afterwards. Too low of an exercise intensity doesn't challenge your metabolism to reach optimal levels and diminishes fitness improvements and weight goals.
The first part of the test is to test the Resting Metabolic Rate. This is done by simply sitting for 10 minutes breathing normally into the mask - very painless!
Next, I moved to the treadmill where I was again hooked up to the mask and the computer. (It's a really good look isn't it?) Milen then had me begin walking at a normal pace. I will say it felt awkward with the mask on as I felt off balance or as if I couldn't see where I needed to be on the treadmill. At set intervals he would raise the incline and gradually increase the speed. When the incline was on level 7 - 8 and I was race walking I started feeling it -it was getting more difficult to breathe. By the time the incline was on 10 and I was running I was sweating! The last minute was a very long minute - and I was thrilled when the 10th minute was up!Is Metabolic Testing Right for You?
Absolutely! Understanding how your body works - how many calories you burn at rest, while doing everyday activities, how quickly your heart rate becomes elevated and how quickly you recover will give you the tools to lose fat while retaining muscle, increase your energy levels and get or KEEP that Spring in your step!
Personally, my results are good and bad. They showed I have a really good fitness level, which since I exercise pretty regulary, I was glad to see that the hard work does pay off. However, the test showed that my metabolism is FAST
. How can that be? I always say I have a slow metabolism
and that is why I cannot lose those last 5 pounds! Now I don't have that excuse, so I know I must just eat too much! If you do have a slow metabolism you can change that by adding exercise to your routine. I think that would be really cool to see and a huge incentive to continue an exercise program!
Now, I can use these results to guage how many calories to eat on days that I work out in a low zone and when I work out in high zones. I know the "maintenance" zone and the weight loss zone. I may test as being fit now, but that's no excuse for slacking off either!
Don't they say a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing?
Have you had metabolic testing? What did youthin
I have been known to wear a calorie counter while leading classes and, as incentive, will tell the class how many calories we have burned or set a goal to burn a certain amount in our 50 minutes. Sometimes we are SO pleasanatly surprised!! And, what I think is best of all, within the hour the counter continues to show even more calories being burned (all thanks to interval training!) Sometimes, however, the number is not so pleasant. Sometimes it doesn't really seem consistent with how hard we feel we are working. That leads me to the question: How reliable are these handy little tools?
When I first began wearing a heart rate monitor/calorie counter I wore the Polar brand with the strap around the chest to measure the heart rate and the watch on the arm which worked along with the strap. I loved seeing my heart rate climb and the calories add up during a spinning class! Recently, I have been wearing a Sportsline brand that is the wristwatch type only - no strap required. Therefore, I basically wear it ALL the time like a normal watch. (I can track calories burned throughout the entire day). I had been told that this device was much more accurate than the calorie counters found in exercise machines. The following is what my research brought to light.
First of all, I will address the calorie calculators found in most exercise equipment found in gyms. ABC15.com presented an article on this subject where they put the machines to the test. They put an investigator, Joe Ducey, through a V02 test (which is the most accurate test known for measuring exactly how many calories are burned doing an activity.) They had him perform a ten minute walk on a treadmill. Using the V02 measure he burned 60 calories. He then walked on the treadmill for 10 minutes using the treadmill's calorie counter. It showed he burned 57 calories. The difference was only 3 calories - or five percent difference. I can live with that difference! That being said, you do have to keep in mind that the gym equipment is programmed with a textbook equation and "we all differ how we metabolize calories when we're doing exercise."
The same investigator performed the tests on a Stairmaster machine and stationary bike. Both machines underestimated the amount of calories burned. I personally found this interesting as I have always assumed that the machines would OVER estimate the amount of calories burned. Either way, I think the exerciser needs to realize the number is a ballpark figure as each person is different and exercises differently.
"Treadmills, ellipticals, stationary cycles and similar units display two metrics. . . . The displays of heart rate, speed and distance are straightforward and fairly accurate. . . But the calorie counter is crafted to reflect the burn of an average exerciser, not you in particular, and thus it could be off by a bit." The Washington Post; Lies, Damn Lies and Calorie Counters.
Now, as far as personal calorie counters, I use a Sportline heart rate monitor that has touch sensors on the watch face. Others may have a wireless chest transmtter. This particular company has various devices ranging from $60 - $120. Just as with the machines, the calorie counters give a rough estimate of the number of calories you burn during a workout. Some can have a margin of error of 20%. There are so many variables that are considered in determining the amount of calories burned for each individual. Many factors affect your caloric expenditure, and a pedometer or heart rate monitor cannot calculate some of these factors, such as body composition or metabolism rate.
An article in www.livestrong.com on this subject states, the "more personal information you input into the device, such as your weight, age and gender, the more accurate the calorie information will be. Even if the numbers aren't exact, you can use them in relation to each other. You burn 200 calories in Monday's workout and only 150 calories in Wednesday's workout. If the length and style of the workouts were the same, you did not work as intensely on Wednesday." I say that does make sense. I think other considerations are how you feel on that given day, how much sleep you had, what you had to eat the evening before or the hour before your workout. Lots of things can contribute to varying numbers, but, all in all, I think the ballpark range is great information to have. I don't want my day (or anyone else's) to revolve around calories! If you ARE trying to drop a few pounds, though, this knowledge is helpful, as we all know it comes down to calories in versus calories out! The types of personal devices that contain heart rate monitors are also helpful in making sure you are actually working hard enough to get your heart rate up, and also make sure you are not overdoing it by allowing it to get too high.
So, long story short, it seems that the calorie counters are reliable enough. They are a great tool for looking at one workout in relation to another and are a reminder to make us work just a little harder at times!
Do you wear a calorie counter? What do you think about the numbers?