May 15, 2013
It’s been a month since the awful tragedy at the Boston Marathon took place. As a former resident of Boston, MA, watching the tragedy unfold on TV was heartbreaking and made me sick to my stomach to know two people could be capable of such a horrific act of violence. Innocent runners who trained months in advance with the goal of accomplishing the elite Boston Marathon were prevented from earning their medals. No matter if they finished or not, they are all winners in my eyes!
The very explosions that brought horrific tragedy to the Boston Marathon also brought out a powerful response of human strength and compassion that swept well beyond Boston. The outpouring of caring and comfort after the attack was put into action with prayers, vigils, and 5K’s popping up across the country to support families and the One Boston Fund. Within days of the bombings, I received an email for a Compatriots 5K in the beautiful neighborhoods of Charlotte, NC where I immediately registered and donated money to the One Boston Fund. With such a horrific act of violence, it also brought together communities across the country in a way that no one could have ever imagined.
The events of Marathon Monday are in no way forgotten, but the city carries on. If Boston keeps running, I will keep running! For all the runners out there that are either just starting out or hit the pavement frequently, my advice to you is this, DON’T STOP RUNNING. One thing that has not been shaken is my resolve to keep running. It’s just what I do. I’m currently training for a 15K and plan to volunteer at the 2014 Boston Marathon. Lace up your sneakers and run for Boston today and everyday!
February 22, 2013
Move over yoga and cycling classes, CrossFit is the latest rage for people wanting to challenge themselves and take their fitness routine to the next level! CrossFit is a worldwide strength and conditioning fitness program designed for all ages. Whether you’re a beginner or a professional athlete, the CrossFit program is designed with universal scalability, making this the ideal exercise program for anyone, regardless of age or experience!
Whether your goals are weight loss, gaining muscle or increasing endurance, all is attainable if you commit to CrossFit. The daily workouts include a mixture of cardiovascular and respiratory endurance based exercises. So what are the benefits of CrossFit? Increased stamina, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy. Sounds good to me, where do I sign up?!
CrossFit is a perfect program for those that get bored easily with the same gym routine. It uses a wide variety of exercises, including running, rowing, plyometrics, gymnastics, weight training and Olympic weightlifting techniques. The CrossFit program is sure to challenge you, despite your current athletic abilities.
Women’s Health shares with us 6 moves anyone can do at any fitness level. Plus, you build muscle and torch megacalories in under 20 minutes! This versatile workout requires no equipment and only a few feet of space, so your makeshift gym can be a hotel room, a park, or even the beach. Below are a few moves we know you can rock out!
February 14, 2013
You know the feeling when that pump-up song comes on right as you’re thinking of quitting. Suddenly your second-wind kicks in when the song matches perfectly to your pace. The right song can inspire you to crank up the volume and challenge yourself to another mile or kicking it up a notch through a song where you feel like you’re not even exercising! Adding music to any routine will not only keep you motivated, it will lift your spirits and help keep you focused on the activity at hand instead of what time it is and what you need to be doing after your workout.
Workout music keeps the body in rhythm and compels us to move forward and stay on task. Aerobic fitness music should be upbeat and make a person want to move with the rhythm. Don’t know what music to listen to for a particular workout? Below are a few tips that will help you decide what type of music will keep you moving for the duration of your workout!
1) Rock music is excellent for women to workout to! When we’re lifting weights or working hard on the treadmill, it provides us with a solid beat to break a sweat to.
2) Hip Hop/Reggae styles of music are great for more laid back types of exercises. Slower beats can help women who are just starting out establish a pattern that sets the tone for their workout routine.
3) Latin Salsa music is perfect for people who are into aerobic exercise. Step exercises combined with Latin dance moves can be used together to raise heart rates and strengthen joints.
4) Pop Remix music is awesome for spin class enthusiasts! The upbeat style of music keeps you guessing for the rhythm so you never get bored of what’s to come on next. Pop remix music gets you through a tough hill climb or a flat road where you feel like you can hold your pace for longer.
Matt Wilpers, cycling coach at Equinox in NYC as well as a triathlon and running coach has his hands full and his iPod packed with great music for any workout! You can find Matt’s weekly spin playlist by CLICKING HERE
What’s YOUR favorite music to workout to?
February 8, 2013
Want to try something different on Valentine’s Day this year instead of a yummy dinner and wine? (although we love a nice meal and a glass of red!). Couples yoga is not only a great way to get creative and enjoy practicing yoga postures but a sweet way of connecting with your guy. You can do the same pose at the same time, intertwine a pose to create a new one pose, or support each other in a specific posture. The main focus is to gain sensitivity and build trust to your partner’s needs.
Working together with another presence while supporting each other can help build trust and communication. Your partner serves you like a mirror, to help you with proper alignment, balance and concentration. At the same time there is a level of playfulness, fun and laughter. The shared touch in yoga can do wonders for your soul. The gentle touch, breathing and focused attention to each other while engaging in postures together can revitalize your spirit. You can try a few postures with a blind fold, as you totally rely on your partner for support! Women’s Health shares with us a few yoga exercises that will help you relax, work together and heat up your relationship beyond the mat. CLICK HERE for more couples inspired yoga exercises! Not a fan of yoga? CLICK HERE for other fun activities to do as a couple to mix it up this Valentine’s Day
First, one of you get into downward-facing dog pose. Then, other partner, position your feet on either side of your down-dogging partner’s hands and use your hands to lower yourself onto your partner’s back. Then, partner on top, stretch your arms overhead, letting your weight fall back onto your partner. This should feel great for both of you. Stay for several breaths, then trade places.
One partner take a seated forward bend either bound angle pose or for greater intensity seated forward bend. Other partner, sit on your seated partner’s lower back and recline into a backbend. Then take your arms up and out into cactus position. Your seated partner can gently reach up and pull your wrists forward to add a shoulder opener. Stay here for about 10 breaths, then trade places.
Hand-Holding Seated Twist
Both of you sit in a comfortable cross-legged seated position facing each other. Inhale and lengthen your spine up and away from your tailbone. Then exhale and each of you twist toward your right, reaching your right arm behind your back to take hold of your partner’s left hand and your left arm out to take your partner’s right hand. Help each other deepen the twist by gently pulling on your hands.
How are YOU celebrating Valentine’s Day this year? Whether it’s a beautiful meal, a nice glass of wine, dark chocolate or yoga with your significant other, always love yourself and others!
January 31, 2013
I love running, spin class and yoga, but I’m not always motivated to get my gear on and work out, especially in the winter! It’s cold and dark (yes, even Charlotte, NC gets cold!) and your couch or bed is more comfortable than forcing a workout. When a new year begins, there’s a motivation and excitement that gets you to the gym for a great sweat session, but as the weeks progress and the dreary weather starts to weigh on you, your desire to exercise starts to weaken. Instead of giving up or finding other activities to keep you busy, here’s what I do to get me back on track.
Create a plan
When I feel like I have lost some motivation to workout, I create a plan to get me re-focused, which often includes a meal plan of healthy protein, fruits, veggies, water, and plenty of sleep. I also make sure to include at least 30 minutes of exercise, whether it’s walking/running with my dog, taking a cycling class or going for a run, I have to break a sweat for at least 30 minutes a day. When I take the time to visualize my goals, it motivates me to stick with a plan and knowing I can do anything I set my mind to!
Do one healthy thing immediately
Everyone has a day, week or month that goes by where you realize you haven’t been the best eater or haven’t given 100% to your workout goals, but instead of throwing in the towel, I’ll commit to one healthy thing immediately. Running is my go to for clearing my head so I usually lace up my sneakers and enjoy a long run. If I’m not feeling up to the challenge of exercise, I”ll search Pinterest for a yummy new recipe to share with friends or increase my water intake and cut out sweets for a little bit. As long as I’m committing to one healthy goal a day, I will continue to be motivated.
Challenge yourself with a lofty goal
I’ve been running since my days of winter track in Junior High School, and after countless 5K’s, 8K’s and 10K’s, in the back of my mind I wanted to run a half marathon. For years I had put it on the back burner and in 2012 I ran my first half marathon a month shy of turning 30! I wanted to kick off my 30′s in a big way and decided to finally run the race I dreamed of for years. Whether you decide to run a half marathon, train for a tri-athlon or commit to something you never have before, a big goal is a great way to keep your eye on the prize!
Get new workout gear
Tired of your old workout clothing and beat up sneakers? Get new workout gear! I recently bought a new pair of Mizuno Wave Inspire 9 sneakers (my go to choice for running kicks) and I LOVE them! There’s a gitty feeling when you get new gear, it makes you want to go to the gym right away which is never a bad thing. I also love my ellasport Chloe Long-Sleeve Tee and New Power Capris this time of year for my cold runs! Whether it’s new sneakers, a great winter running jacket or dri-fit apparel, buying new gear will keep you motivated to strut your stuff!
How do YOU keep your resolutions going even after the new year begins?
January 24, 2013
Whether you want more fiber in your diet, an easier way to get your veggie fix or a quick and easy breakfast, smoothies are a yummy choice for any athlete on the go. Smoothies can include several food types for ultimate nutrition. Fruits, the main component of smoothies, are water-based, offering you needed fluids after a tough workout. Fruits also include carbohydrates, which are essential for your energy and recovery needs.
In honor of National Peanut Butter Day, add some protein to your smoothie as well to boost its nutritional content. Toss a dollop of peanut butter in your smoothie for added flavor and nutrition. Below are a few good recipes to keep you full and focused!
Bananas provide you the complex carbohydrates that your body can use for energy. Almonds are rich in natural heart-healthy oils and contain fat-soluble vitamins, essential fatty acids and minerals that you will need for muscle-building.
2 large frozen bananas, cut into pieces
8-10 almond nuts
285 ml (1/2 pint) milk of choice
Blend on high for 30 seconds
This flavorful, rich smoothie will provide you the calories and essential oil that you need for those tough strength sessions!
1 cup non-fat milk
1 cup strawberries
1 frozen banana, cut into pieces
2 tbsp protein powder
1 tbsp flaxseed oil
1 tbsp lecithin granules
Mango and pineapple are loaded with vitamin C and potassium that are important for proper muscle function, and to replace lost electrolytes. Pineapple contains bromelain that reduces inflammation caused from strenuous training.
1 cup pineapple juice (juiced separately)
1 cup frozen mango pieces
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk of choice
1 scoop protein powder
1 tbsp flaxseed oil
Avocado is another rich source of potassium that sportsmen need during continuous trainings. For all you avocado lovers out there, this is the recipe for you!
1 cup milk of choice
1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 ripe avocados
1 tbsp raw honey
1/2 cup chopped dates (optional)
This recipe provides the needed magnesium and potassium during endurance exercises to improve muscle strengths. Silken tofu is a rich source of EFA, protein and calcium that gives you that extra boost.
1 cup carrot juice (juiced separately)
2 frozen bananas, cut into pieces
1 cup silken tofu
1 tsp brewer’s yeast
1 tbsp blackstrap molasses or raw honey
What’s YOUR favorite smoothie you drink before or after a workout?