Monthly Archives: August 2015

Healthy Holidays – Labor Day

Healthy holidays are hard work.  Parties, treats and travel making eating right and exercising an added challenge bu Labor Day is swiftly approaching and with it come back to school, football, cross-country and a brand new series of PR opportunities.  One of the best ways you can get ready for a great fall season is to stick with your healthy holidays plan over one of the biggest party weekends of the year.

Here are a few ideas to help you have healthy holidays from one Labor Day to the next!

Plan to exercise.  Healthy holidays are easy when you find a way to fit a long walk on the beach into your day or play a few games of backyard football with family.  If you’re traveling, check out a new gym or use MapMyRun to discover an awesome new running trail.healthy holidays

Make good choices.  Survey buffets, know what your choices are then step back and make good ones.  Choose fresh veggies over baked beans from a can or an extra slice of sweet watermelon over a chocolate chip cookie.

Bring your own!  Bring your own dish to the barbecue.  Healthy holidays don’t require much thinking if you’ve prepared it yourself.  You know what’s in the dish, how much you can safely eat and it’s a great way to learn and share recipes with friends.

Go easy on the sugar.  With parties all over the place, healthy holidays can easily get derailed by too much alcohol.  Full of sugar, booze can take a weekend full of good food choices right off track.  Two sugary glasses of wine, a few empty carb filled beers or even indulging in a mixed drink full of soda can quickly add many unwanted calories to your day.

Take these tips to your next Labor Day bash and you’ll be guaranteed to have healthy holidays for years to come.

Coach Meredith

3 Benefits of a Workout Buddy

Making friends is just one of the many benefits of joining a gym, a running group or taking up yoga.  Having someone to chat with before and after a class or workout is wonderful but what about a workout buddy?  A workout buddy will makes plans to attend training sessions with you, push you through a tough day and be there for you even when they can’t make it.  Find your friend on Facebook or send them a Tweet to make plans to hit the gym together.  Why?  Here are 5 reasons a workout buddy rocks:workout buddy

Sweating with a workout buddy is more fun.  Fun means you’ll stay with it longer and see better results.  Even while you push each other, a few supportive words and a good laugh make every minute seem a little shorter.  One of the hardest things about a fitness program is staying motivated day after day, having better workouts keeps you coming back.

A partner provides some serious accountability.  If you tell your buddy you’re going to be there, you better show up.  Your buddy needs you just as much as you need them.  If you’re trying to lose weight, having someone on your side makes resisting temptations a little bit easier.  A buddy encourages while pushing you to stick with a program through the ups and downs.  A phone call or email after a workout keeps both you and your buddy motivated.  Have an injured buddy or are injured yourself?  While you might not be able to do the same things you always do, cheering your buddy on from the sideline is still important.

You get the chance to be competitive in a friendly way, knowing that finishing each day is a reward of its own.  Training for a common goal such as your nest half marathon pushes you harder than you would on your own and can lead to new personal bests.  Having a buddy also gives you someone to try new classes, race distances or even a new sport with which makes whatever you choose to do less intimidating.

Start chatting with the people you see on a regular basis and see who has a schedule that matches yours.  Make plans to start hitting workouts together and reap these three major benefits of having a workout buddy.

Coach Meredith

5 Tips to Rock Your Fall Fitness Goal

Fall is a great time to aim for a new fitness goal.  Whether it’s a half marathon PR, a new one rep max deadlift, shedding those last few unwanted pounds or making it through an entire yoga class without losing your balance once, fall is the perfect time to work for it.  Schedules are settling down after busy, fun and hot summers, the weather is a little bit more workout friendly and you can find an event any weekend you choose.

Once you’ve picked out your new fitness goal working towards it can seem daunting.  Here are 5 tips, the S.M.A.R.T method, to guide you to success on your fall fitness goal journey.

Have a specific goal.  A desire to ‘get faster’ or ‘lose weight’ is vague.  How much faster?  How much weight?  It’s important to develop a road map for dropping those unwanted pounds or reaching your new PR.  Work towards your fall fitness goal by working on a specific thing such as losing 5 pounds, running a distance of 5 miles or a certain time in which you’ll finish your next 5, 8 or 10k.  Picking a numeric weight, distance or time goal will help you focus.

Make sure your goal is measureable.  Setting a specific goal, keeping a journal, potentially getting a coach and using a scale or stop watch to measure progress will help keep your morale up as you reach each mini fitness goal you set.

Achievable goals are a must.  A new weightlifter might have a deadlift goal of 450 pounds, which is both specific and measureable, but is also unattainable in the short term.  Setting challenging but not impossible goals like increasing weight lifting maximums by five pounds at a time or losing two pounds per week make progress easy and keeps motivation high.fitness goal

Be results based.  Hitting each step on your way to a bigger fitness goal is important.  If you aren’t reaching small short term goals, it might be time to rethink your training method or the bigger goal you set.  Being aware of your results helps direct future training and will make working towards any fitness goal easier.

Time oriented.  Have a desired amount of time or end date for reaching your fitness goal.  Pick your next 5k as the deadline for increasing per mile race pace.  Decide to lose two pounds per week for the six weeks leading up to your family vacation, then write each weigh in on a calendar.

Most importantly make sure you find an activity you enjoy.  Going out for training sessions will be more fun, especially if you have a training buddy.  Be sure to allow for life’s ups and downs as you use these five tips to steadily and safely work towards your fall fitness goal.

Coach Meredith

Get Stronger Running on the Beach

Tired of the treadmill?  Too many bugs on the trails?  Try the beach!  Running on the beach can have great benefits but can also cause injury, so proper planning for running in the sand is important.  Here are X tips to help you get ready to enjoy the cool breeze, warm water, sunshine and scenery you’ll find running on the beach.

Be ready for a workout.  The softness, slipperiness and lack of stability on sand forces your ankles, calves and arches to work harder, even if you’re wearing shoes.  Great for building strength in the lower leg, the give of sand protects your knees and hips when you land with its Running on the beachsofter surface at the same time.  Running on the beach also increases the time a running foot is in contact with the ground, forcing quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors and gluteus muscles to work harder as well.

Start on wet sand.  Wet sand is usually the flattest and firmest, making it easier to run on than the deep, soft sand above the water.  As you grow comfortable on the packed, wet sand, slowly weave in a minute or two on the soft sand, gradually increasing until you feel comfortable spending your whole run on soft, dry sand.

Plan your route.  Check tides and head out when they’re low.  The flattest part of the beach will be exposed and there will be more wet sand for you to choose from.  Running further from the water means running on at least a slant and at worst deep fluffy sand.  Picking an out and back route, which will help prevent an uneven pounding as you run even if you do end up on an angled surface, is always a great choice.

Choose the right shoes.  Running on the beach invites plenty of water and sand into your shoes and socks.  Taking a brand new pair of running shoes onto the beach is asking for them to get wrecked.  Wear older but still supportive shoes, or wear very old shoes and get new insoles for them.  You can take the insoles out after your run, which helps shoes dry as well.

What about no shoes?  Barefoot is a great option for beach running but just diving into it can cause injuries.  Start with 15 minutes of barefoot running and build up.  Strengthen ankles and arches slowly, using these tips for stable lower legs to guide you.

Know you will be slower.  Expect to run a slower pace on the sand because while pavement springs your foot back up, sand pulls it in.  You are in contact with the ground for a longer period, your legs and feet have to work harder and each step on sand is shorter than those on pavement.  A two mile run on the sand is just as good as running further on the pavement or cement.

Now that you’re ready to go running on the beach, remember your sunblock, hat and sunglasses.  Be sure to stay on the lookout for holes in the sand, small children scampering about and most importantly, have fun!

Coach Meredith