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Train…Race…Inspire

Ancient Fitness Secrets

January is the hallmark month of weekend warriors. It is the a month of pledges, promises and possibilities. It’s the month of commitment, causes and conviction. It’s the month of gyms, joggers and jumping jacks. January necessarily beckons every American adult to set their sights on lofty goals and new achievements. What do you think is the top resolution for 2013?

You probably don’t need to call a friend or use a lifeline. You guessed it, it’s to get fit, according to the Washington Post.  It’s an admirable goal. You can count yourself exceptional if you actually follow through, that according to Time magazine online. 

I wonder what makes the difference between successful strategies and failing philosophies when it comes to getting fit? Could it be motivation? I won’t pretend to know what motivates you. There are dozens of articles with lists of 50 suggestions, 25 solutions, 12 scenarios and a half dozen secrets to achieving your fitness goals. But certainly, finding the key to your stick-to-it-iveness is what will work.

As we closed the chapter of 2012, I read through the Christmas story one more time. But this time, the familiar story brought new questions to mind. I wonder, have New Year’s resolutions always been a practice of forward thinking, successful people? Did Mary ever worry about her waistline? Did Joseph ever measure his biceps? I doubt it, but there’s no doubt this couple was fit, healthy and strong. What was their method?

The road from Nazareth to Bethlehem was no 5K. And with being pregnant before the journey started, Mary hardly had time to train. Despite the hazy, glowing portraits, there is no mention of Mary ever riding a donkey. No, the path that Mary and Joseph probably traveled was 80-90 miles, on foot.

Then, consider this: After Christ’s birth they traveled from Nazareth to Egypt and later back again.
Although only five trips are mentioned, Jesus himself likely made the trek from Jerusalem to Galilee nine times. Each trip was approximately 68 miles walking distance. *

New Year’s resolutions can seem daunting. That’s why most of us last until March before shrugging our shoulders in resignation. This year, instead of making big promises, paying big bucks for gym memberships or setting your sights on a marathon, what if you just said you’d walk more?

Do you think that’s doable? An achievable goal maintained is much more profitable than a daunting goal forfeited.

* Source: The Official Website of Arthur Blessitt and Yahoo Answers

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You are NOT Invincible!

What do you think is the most common misconception about exercise? Now, this answer isn’t scientific, but it is based on personal experience and observation.

I would argue that the most common misconception is that more is always better.

It’s this little lie that has led to countless injuries. Which, coincidently, force the participant to workout less for an extended period of time. So, my next gift to you this Christmas season is some tips on avoiding exercise related injuries.

First off…Know your body.

Are you predisposed to knee problems? Did you sustain a shoulder injury in high school? My mom remembers doing a handspring in high school and landing on her neck. Although she fortunately got up and walked away, to this day she has upper back pain. She needs to be aware of that when she begins a new activity.

Picking on my parents here, my dad has had the cartilage removed from both of his knees. Lateral movements like those involved in basketball and racquetball are not good choices for him.

Second…Are you from Mars or Venus?

It has nothing to do with a superior sex, but come on, admit it, we’re different. I confess to once feeling challenged to bench as much as the guy next to me. He was only in his second set, so luckily, my stupidity didn’t kill me. But I did drop the bar on my chest.

Women are generally more flexible than men. Gymnasts aside, most men won’t perform as well in yoga or Pilates, as women will.

Interestingly, some studies show that women are more susceptible to injury during their menstrual cycle. So, be extra careful during that time of the month.

Third…Be willing to ask for help. 

Hint, hint. Bootcamp is a great idea. Working out in a group gives you some accountability. A good friend of mine was anxious to get back to running after an injury. If not for her running partner pointing out that she was limping, she might have done too much too soon and really exacerbated her injury.

Also, at Moms Who TRI, trainer, Kristen Hench has a BA in sports medicine. Having a trainer who can offer solutions and alternatives when a certain activity is not good for you, is invaluable.

Next…Grow up. 

Or don’t. The possibility of injury is related to your age. As a rule, youth should not engage in heavy weight training, it’s not conducive to the maturation of their bones. On the other hand, the older you get, the more important resistance exercise is for the protection of your bones and prevention of osteoporosis.

Older individuals should not participate in high impact sports, simply because broken bones and other injuries take much longer to heal.

Fifth…Warm up. 

Who among us hasn’t been tempted to skip the warm up? It seems so pointless, like a waste of time. Shouldn’t we just get going? NO! Even if you’re short on time, do not skip the warm up. If you want to tear a muscle or sprain something, go right ahead full steam into an intense workout.

Muscles are like a rubber band. A good article on this can be found here:

The cold rubber band is the classic example of what a muscle is like prior to activity.  We need to heat the rubber band, or muscle, prior to activity.

Sixth…Back to our original concept… more isn’t always better… don’t overdo it. 

Don’t take it from me,

Rest and recovery in sports is just as important as training. Without allowing the body to recuperate, you compromise performance. Make it a priority to prevent injuries through rest and recovery. You sacrifice form when muscles are tired, and you are more prone to injury.

Everything needs rest, you are no exception. Cars overheat. Your laptop overheats. Things wear out and break. Lightbulbs burn out. So, do yourself a favor, if you don’t want to overheat, break or burn out… sometimes you just need a rest!

 

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Once a Year!

It’s awefully  hard to write about anything that doesn’t have something to do with the holidays this time of year. So bear with me, I have a few “gifts” for you and a little encouragement and a couple suggestions.

Gifts first. I heard that the best way to offer someone advice is to encourage or compliment them first. So, in the interest of hoping you’ll hear me out, let me give you something to chew on, literally. (:

Here are some great holiday recipes that are so good for you, you can eat them every week of the year if you like. And, I promise you, I’ve tested them out on company and they have passed with flying colors. First off, who can do Christmas without pie? Pumpkin or pecan, anyone?

It’s relatively easy to find a healthy pumpkin pie recipe, so let me offer you a great version of pecan pie. Brought to you courtesy of Chocolate Covered Katie. (I recommend her as an excellent resource for dozens of recipes.)

vegan-pecan-pie_thumb_3

Secondly, you won’t find eggnog on the shelves past New Year’s. That’s probably in your best interest, but still, who can avoid indulging once a year? So, here’s a version you can make that is ridiculously light, and the ingredients are available year-round. This one is courtesy of Hungry Girl.

1nononsensenog_sml

Now, for the encouragement. Another excellent health resource is Chantel Hobbs. She has a remarkable story of losing over 200lb. and keeping it off. However, that was after yo-yo dieting to despair. Now, she is an athlete, a bold Christian, a nutritionist and a personal trainer. Here’s something to keep in mind as you face down the holiday table:

Food isn’t the enemy.

In fact food is a gift meant to be fully enjoyed. Why else would we have built-in taste buds? The issue for someone who is struggling to loose weight, is how to find the balance between loving food in moderation and loving food too much, too often.

Lastly, I promise to keep the advice to a minimum. When you’re trying to decide what to put on your plate, consider choosing only those things you can’t have all the time. You can usually find mashed potatoes without too much trouble. Grandma probably makes her chocolate chip cookies fairly often. But, like the recipes above, there are a few holiday treats that only make a showing once a year. Enjoy them. And get your mashed potatoes next week.

Merry Christmas!

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Don’t Do Your Workout In the Kitchen!

I’m willing to bet that you’d rather put in a good, sweaty workout than join the crazy kitchen marathon that always ensues around the holidays. There are races to be run down supermarket isles, heavy lifting with shopping bags, too much work, too little rest and then more pounds to show for it! How does that work? At least with a quick bootcamp you can shed the extra pounds!

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot from my little sisters. But this awesome tip from my baby sister, Rachelle, has to be one of the best. Before I share it, let me also tell you that Rachelle is the founding artist of WeavingSunshine.chelle

Rachelle and her husband both work full-time. Living in Dallas, she will spend half of her life stuck in traffic. She’s expecting and she has a fun puppy. She has far too many things to be wasting time in the kitchen. So last week, she decided to put in 5 hours in the kitchen one Sunday, so that she could reap the benefits of many a restful weeknight in the future. The recipes she used make more than enough for 2 people, so they will enjoy at least two dinners from every meal.

I found this set of recipes and the grocery list, courtesy of another group of sisters. I hope this saves you oodles of time and energy both during the holiday season and in the midst of many future busy, delightful days of life!

Six Sisters’ Stuff

 

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