Health

Running: Do’s & Don’ts!

Running (and walking) is an incredibly functional movement; your body is literally built for it! The cross-body movement pattern of driving the opposite arm and leg forward in unison helps improve our coordination and stability by nurturing the relationship our disparate muscles share via the muscle fascia.

What is Fascia?

Basically, Fascia is connective tissue superficial to the muscles that helps connect them to other parts of the body. It’s been described as big rubber bands that help us transfer energy during certain movement (such as the see-saw/back-and-forth type movement involved in running….left, right, left, right). But this fascia can get stuck and lose some elasticity when we don’t move it to keep it loose! Then we are stuck with this rigid strap limiting our movement, instead of a supple rubber band which allows us to move and then “snap” back in place.

For more reading and understanding of fascia check out this link below to see how unhealthy fascia can lead to low back pain
http://traineradvice.blogspot.com/2013/01/thoracolumbar-fascia-forgotten-culprit.html
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RUNNING TIPS:

DO

– Your Research! Shoes are a major factor contributing to an effective running program, especially if you’re intending to run on asphalt and/or concrete surfaces.

– Your Homework! If you’ve set your sights on an upcoming run be it a 5k, 10k, marathon or more you need to give yourself adequate time to prepare if you want to finish without injury! There are “proper” running mechanics that will help you not only land a better time, but protect your body from the repetitive stress of running. Bend your arms at 90 degrees and pump them along with the opposite leg during stride, engage your core muscles for stability to avoid excess strain on your low back throughout the run, Relax the shoulders down onto the back and don’t over-stretch your stride length – keep it comfortable and you will be able to hold a steadier pace for a longer period of time. Seek the advice of a professional for help analyzing your gait and setting up an appropriate training program to prepare for your big run.

– Prepare! Be aware of your environment! Don’t decide at the last minute to go for a run at night, through a neighborhood with no sidewalks in all black! It sounds funny, but be aware that it is VERY difficult to see runners! Wear bright colored clothing – even reflective material if running at night. Also, be mindful of WHERE you are running. If you’re trying to achieve a multiple mile run you might easily find yourself in an area of the city that is not runner friendly or safe for that matter. Run with a buddy if possible or plan and drive your route ahead of time.

– Hydrate!

DON’T

– Be a Hero! Running is one of those things people seem to think they can just pick up at any time and go-go-go! While we applaud your motivation, it’s important to approach it just like any other physical activity and ease into it to avoid injury. According to Runner’s World up to 66% of runners suffer an injury every year!!

– ALWAYS Run as FAR as you can! the 80/20 principal is widely used by many top endurance athletes. This means that 80% of their training is in the “low intensity” range (<77% max HR or breathing comfortably through the nose) and only 20% is at the moderate or higher intensity. For instance if you run 100 minutes per week, 80 of those should be in the low range, maybe 15 at moderate intensity (77 to 92% max HR, able to speak in short sentences) and 5 at high intensity (over 92% max HR and breathing as hard as you can after just a couple minutes). HAPPY TRAILS

Building Blocks: 2 Ingredient Recipes

Hey Fit Family!

The road to Health is paved with good intentions…

The best way to develop clean eating habits for the long term is to start with BASIC ingredients that you recognize!
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Love Pizza?
Don’t deny yourself the things you love! Try this simple recipe that cuts out loads of unsavory ingredients in take out pizza:

1 C of Plain Greek Yogurt
1.5 C of Self-Rising Flour

Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes. Create your pizza shape and top with choice ingredients. Bake at 500 degrees 10-12 minutes.
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Pudding the right way?

Soak 2 TBSP of Chia Seeds in 1 C Almond Milk for at least 10 minutes. Make it smooth by blending or sweeter by adding a little honey. An Omega-3 and Protein rich snack!
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Banancakes!

Blend 1 Ripe Banana with 2 eggs until slightly frothy. Batter will be thin. Play around with toppings or roll them up with Greek Yogurt and Fruit!

and let’s be honest, pancakes are awesome – so here’s another recipe to try!

Blend 1 Ripe Banana with 1 C of Oats for thicker, more filling pancakes.
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Chicken + Salsa

Layer 3 – 4 Chicken Breasts in a slow cooker with a jar of salsa on top. Cook on low for 4+ hours and you’ve got ready to serve chicken for tacos or over rice, Mexican chicken salad, or get creative with your own idea!
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Homemade Snack Bars

In a food processor (an essential kitchen tool to make clean eating easier!) pulse together 1 part Dates and 1 part Oats. Combine until they are the consistency of jam (add just a little bit of hot water if too dry). Press the mixture into a 1/2″ deep pan and freeze for 1 – 2 hours.

Cut it into bars for a super-quick whole food snack for energy on the go!
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Until next time, remember to keep it simple at first! Nothing derails your best-laid intentions faster than jumping into the deep end before you know how to swim! Build up your repertoire one simple recipe at a time.

It’s Easy as 1, 2, 3…

Today we are going to highlight ONE ingredient recipes!
wait is that a recipe or just food..?

Food…in a different way!

Hard-Boiled Eggs are one nearly essential source of simplicity for anyone interested in building healthy eating habits. Protein at breakfast is sometimes a challenge. Cereal? Nope. Bagels? Not really… Even oatmeal? Only about 6g of protein per 27g of carbs!
Enter: Hard-Boiled Eggs. 7g of protein; 5g of fat; ZERO carbs. Worried about the fat? Egg whites contain over half the protein of the egg, and NO fat nor carbs. Adding these into your diet is an easy way to boost your protein (which is essential for those cutting it close on calorie intake), and help you make better choices the easy way.

Chickpeas – Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Drain chickpeas and blot with a paper towel to dry, then toss in olive oil and a little salt (or cayenne/paprika if you like it spicier!). Bake about 35-40 minutes until browned and crunchy! Delicious

Grab a Date! No, not that kind…The sugar addiction is very real, and when you get hit with that craving it is hard to ignore. Dates – unlike processed sugar – are a natural, whole sweetener complete with fiber, antioxidants, potassium and magnesium (all major sources of “craving” feelings). Snack on a date to satisfy your sweet tooth, add sweetness to a protein shake, or re-fuel during an endurance activity (running/cycling)!

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Now, into the freezer!

Banana “Nice” Cream they call it: Take your ripe/over-ripe bananas and freeze them overnight. Peel and cut into 1″ chunks for the food processor or blender, and blend about 1 minute or until they become a smooth, creamy, frozen dessert! Top with blueberries, a little cocoa powder or even peanut butter! Whatever floats your boat.

Or perhaps you prefer sorbet? Watermelon when frozen and pureed makes a delicious, scoopable delight. Freeze on a baking pan to avoid them clumping together and puree them in batches. Pack the puree into a bread loaf pan or other container for storage.

Grapes make an excellent frozen treat as well! Flash freeze about 10 minutes on a cookie sheet (so they do not all clump together when you transfer to freezer bag). The texture and taste is fresh and pleasing, especially on a hotter day.

That’s all for now!
Look out next week for TWO Ingredient recipes!

Mind Over Matter

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”

Henry Ford

Mindset is often hard to grasp. It’s so abstract and subjective. Regardless of what your goals are, the reality is that the proper mindset is backed by science and proven to positively influence outcomes. Have faith in yourself!

How many times have you found yourself saying, “Can this day get any worse??” only to find later in the day that – yes…yes it can. Now, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a person who is constantly telling themselves, “I can do this. I will be better. I am strong enough to achieve what I have set out to.” is MUCH more likely to achieve their goals than someone who keeps beating themselves up, “Why did I even try? This is impossible. I should just give up.”

But we all do it. Things get tougher than we thought and we doubt our ability, or worse yet we get fixated on how far away we are from our goal instead of focusing on how far we have come! Luckily, there are concrete, simple steps you can take to greatly increase your chance of success:


Write it Down!
When you write down your goal and actions you can take to reach it, everything becomes more real. But don’t write it down and throw it away! Out of sight; out of mind. Write it down and put it somewhere you will see it. Edit and rewrite along your path towards the end goal to keep yourself motivated and continue to keep your mind in the right place.


Share Your Success!
Not everything must be as public as sharing on Facebook. Choose a confidant and keep them updated on your specific achievements, and make sure they are keen to why you are sharing with them! One study in particular (link below) showed that people who wrote down their goals and actions, rated them by difficulty, and sent a weekly progress report to a friend were far more likely than any other group to achieve their goals. In this study, 73% of that group were marked as successful as compared with only 43% for those who did none of the above.


Stay in the Present!
Build a ritual: Wake up every morning and identify ONE thing you can do TODAY that will bring you closer to your goal. It can be as small as “Go workout!” or “Drink a glass of warm lemon water”. Or go big! Change careers to offer your life more flexibility if you find you just never have time to commit to the life-changes you want to achieve.


Trust the Process!
We all can be impatient, we get it. 10 days into your new routine and you step on the scale…UP 2 POUNDS?!?! WTH? First off, it is important to note that it is recommended that you seek the guidance of a professional when it comes to making nutritional changes and engaging in high intensity exercise, but if you are eating right, exercising regularly, and keep your stress in check it WILL happen. Sometimes success isn’t measured in numbers and doesn’t occur at the speed at which you think it should. Trust the process of change. Stay the course, and don’t let life derail you! One bad weekend over the holiday? So what! Get back to work on your goals the next morning.

And last, but certainly not least…

Don’t Be A Crab!
If you watch crabs in a bucket, you’ll eventually see that when one tries to climb out that the others will pull it back to its eventual doom. Rather than everyone getting out individually, they collectively pull each other back in and die together. It almost sounds morosely poetic in some kind of darkly romantic way…

Not for the one getting pulled back! If you surround yourself with people that do not support your goals – perhaps your new “fit” lifestyle – you need to change your environment. First, discuss with those people close to you that it is important that they support you, and if they don’t? Find people that will lift you up and share in your decisions and successes, not tear you down or temp you to fall back into the habits you have spent so much effort breaking.

“There is nothing impossible to him who will try.”
– Alexander the Great

http://www.dominican.edu/dominicannews/study-highlights-strategies-for-achieving-goals

Make Your Life Easier With These Baking Soda Life-Hacks!

Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) is a chemical salt – a crystal actually – that occurs in its natural form as the mineral nahcolite and neutralizes the PH of both alkaline and acidic substances.  There are deposits of pure nahcolite which occur naturally in the Green River Formation, which spans a few states in the Central US that has enough to supply the entire world with baking soda for many hundreds of years! This gently abrasive, neutralizing substance can save you lots of money and make your life easier!

Boxing gloves less than fresh?  Put some baking soda in an old sock and store inside your gloves or sprinkle baking soda directly in the glove.  It will not harm your skin and will absorb the moisture that causes the odor!

Do you have a Glass Stovetop? Stop buying over-priced, chemical-laden cleaners to keep your stovetop sparkling! Drop spots of dish soap on, sprinkle top with baking soda, then pour on some hydrogen peroxide.  Scrub with a soft sponge.  Wait a few minutes before washing it off. and voila! Now you can toss all those expensive commercial cleaners.

Ice Tea or Coffee stains on your plastic and ceramic?? Storage containers and mugs can take a beating and develop a permanent brown look…or not?!  Pour some baking soda on the stains and scrub it right off!  Really, that easy!

Buildup from Hair Products can really weigh down your hair! Add 1 TBSP of baking soda to your normal amount of shampoo you use for a single wash. Wash and condition as normal. You might be amazed at the difference!  You can also clean your hairbrushes and combs by soaking them in a small container with 1 tsp baking soda.  Rinse them off and air dry.

 

Try making your own simple Toothpaste and Air Fresheners naturally with Baking Soda:

Toothpaste:
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, finely ground
1 drop peppermint, spearmint, sweet orange, clove, or cinnamon bark essential oil
A few drops tap water

Air Freshener:
1TBSP baking soda
5-6 drops (your favorite) essential oil
Distilled water to fill a spray bottle.
Shake and spritz away!

Stress Incontinence? Don’t Worry. Pee Happy!

Have you ever experienced urine leakage while exercising or even coughing?  Do you think it only happens to mothers or females in general?

We are so lucky to have an Ellipse Fitness super hero member whose alter-ego is an expert on the pelvic floor. Veronica Lane, MHS, PT works with women all the time to strengthen their pelvic floor and stop the evil villain, we call, Stress Incontinence in its tracks.

Veronica noticed women heading off to the restroom during activities such as jumping jacks. Some members would joke, “darn kids,” and some coaches who empathize, “happens all the time.”

Lane says, “Yes.  It is common, but it doesn’t have to be tolerated, accepted, or considered a new normal.” Leaking, or incontinence, is not a hopeless result of vaginal births. Similarly, getting up in the middle of the night, at any age, can be resolved.

First, what is the pelvic floor and what does it do?

Confused emoticon

These are the muscles that control urinary and fecal continence.  Strong pelvic floor muscles help to lift the bladder higher in the pelvic cavity, stop the flow of urine, and, along with the anal sphincter, control gas and stool. Poor muscle function can lead to problems with prolapse!

Functions of the Pelvic Floor include

  • Support
  • Sphinteric
  • Sexual
  • Stability

The pelvic floor is part of the core and works with the abdominal cylinder. These muscles need to be able to relax and contract. It is important to build your pelvic floor muscles to support other muscles of the torso.

Stress incontinence is the most diagnosed type of incontinence.  This often occurs when laughing, sneezing, coughing, and participating in physical activity. These activities are directly related to abdominal muscles more commonly referred to when trying to build a six pack.

Do I have to have surgery?

There are some procedures that should be discussed with your doctor. Of course, there are several methods of relief to try in advance of surgery. Lane suggests physical therapy for incontinence, prolapse, frequency, etc. “Conservative treatment should always be the first option!  Also, I still see many women following procedures such as bladder slings. The procedure may fix one problem, but cause another, or maybe it helped the problem(s) without complete resolution.”

Reduce Bladder Irritants

Alcohol*Beer/Wine              Carbonated Drinks*             Caffeine*

*evidence-based

Coffee/Tea (decaf & reg)

Citrus Fruits/Juices             Tomatoes

Spicy Foods                             Sweets                                    Chocolate

Dairy Products                                                                         Artificial Sweeteners

Top 10 Activities  to Increase Bladder Fitness

  1. Go to the bathroom every 3-4 hours or 5-7x in 24 hours
  1. Go for 8 Mississippi’s
  • A full bladder typically takes this long to empty. This can help individuals to determine how full their bladder is when the sensation to go
  1. SIT on the toilet
  • Don’t hover. Yeah. Easier said than done in many public situations!
  1. Go before and after sex
  • Voiding before and after sex is part of the contracting and relaxing process, as well as the cleansing process.
  1. Avoid using the wrong pads
  • Use pads specifically for incontinence. Others can irritate the vagina when worn regularly.
  1. Abdominal strength
  • Participate in exercises that strengthen your abdominal muscles. Try diaphragmatic breathing through a straw, single-leg lowers, and hollow body holds.
  1. Drink plenty of water.
  1. Kegal
  • Correctly! Completely contract. Completely relax. Avoid just squeezing over and over.
  1. Orgasm
  • We will leave the “how” that gets done up to you!
  1. NO “Just in case” urinating, aka JIC-ing. Not even in the middle of the night!

Just In Case Peeing or JIC-ing

JICing pronounce /JIK-ing/ is “just in case” urination. This practice is often supported by society in many ways.  We teach our children from a very early age to go JUST IN CASE before leaving the house, during school, or prior to a sports activity.

JICing trains the bladder to empty before it is full.  JICing regularly will increase the need to go at the first sensation recognized by the bladder. Sometimes that sensation will be laughing, coughing, sneezing, jumping, bracing the abdominal muscles in general, or even riding on a bumpy road.  Ever scurry off to the restroom during a workout because of a strong urge to “GO” yet only to have a few drops?  That is the result of chronic JICing.

The duration between trips to the restroom will also shorten. For example, many people get up in the middle of the night several times to empty the bladder.  Try to avoid going at the first sensation.  Breath and relax to see if the urge passes.  Sometimes habits are so deeply rooted, waking up seems to be normal. This may create some nights of poor sleep.  If we can play the long game, sleep hygiene will only improve.

Lane stresses, “I see a major issue, not as much with weak pelvic floor muscles, but we never ‘let them go’ or relax.  This is common when we have leakage, go too often, and/or have pelvic pain.  Think of bicep muscle.  If we always had our elbows bent and biceps contracted, not relaxed, we would not be able to pick up a gallon of milk.  The biceps would fail.  The same scenario occurs with PF muscles.  If we never let them relax for fear of leaking, going way too often, etc. these muscles will fail when it is time to stop leakage.

We would suggest eliminating just one bladder irritant and adding just one action item in the beginning.  Practice makes permanent. Be patient. Practice. Pee happy!