Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Rest and Recovery - Why you need it.

Most athletes know the importance of rest and recovery. Most include this in their fitness training schedule. It becomes routine and therefore they avoid the risks of overtraining. But there are a few out there who still don't understand the importance of R&R nor what to do in that time period and when they do rest they find themselves feeling unhappy, edgy, and often say...

"Rest and Recovery day is not for me." YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!

Rest and Recover or R&R IS for you. It is for everyone and here's why...

During this period your body begins to adapt to the stresses of exercise by repairing damaged tissue and replenishing energy stores (glycogen).  Without recovery muscles continue to break down eventually leading to overtraining.

Active recovery means you allow your body to heal while still engaging in light activities.  It does not mean "do nothing" at all.  Light activities can range from Yoga to short light jog, swimming or biking, dancing or playing ball with the kids.  This is also a time when you replenish fluids and optimize metabolism of protein which allows muscles to become stronger as they heal.

Long term recovery refers mainly to sleep.  Disconnect at the end of the day and change your routine if you must but put sleep at the top of your long term recovery schedule.  Sleep deprivation has been linked with decreased aerobic endurance and increased levels of cortisol. Then there are those mood changes and fatigue.  Your body can only tolerate so much stress before it starts to break down.  There is a balance to getting and/or staying in good physical health -- too much, too quick without recovery leads to injury, too little and you will see no results.

According to a number of fitness sources, here are the top 10 signs you are overtraining:

1. Decreased Performance: slower reaction time, reduced speeds and lower endurance levels

2. Agitation, moodiness, irritability or lack of concentration

3. Excessive fatigue (legs feel heavy)

4. Increased perceived effort during normal workouts (workout that was easy feels harder)

5. Chronic muscle aches and joint pain

6. Reduced immunity (getting sick more often)

7. Insomnia or restless sleep (inability to slow down and relax)

8. Loss of appetite

9. Chronically elevated heart rate at rest

10. Changes in menstrual cycle in women

Exercise is supposed to improve mood, give you a sense of accomplishment and leave you happy and glowing.  If you don't ever feel good immediately after and in the hours that follow a good workout then you might already be experiencing the symptoms of overtraining.

Rate yourself... are you experiencing some of these symptoms? Let's talk about this and what you can do to avoid overtraining.

Stay well,


Sunday, April 27, 2014

PopSugar says... have the best night ever

I really enjoy reading just about anything fitness posted on PopSugar.  Tonight I was looking for something specific. I was writing some things down and then came across this article from PopSugar:

20 Ways to have the healthiest night ever
by Leta Shy

  1. Make a healthy dinner. Those who make their own food at home are more successful at losing and maintaining weight. Get inspired with our favorite healthy recipes and then whip up a delicious dinner at home.
  2. Relax with herbal tea. A calming, warm mug of herbal tea can help you wind down and prep for bed.
  3. Pack your gym bag. Every little bit helps when it's about making sure that you stay consistent with your gym habit. Running around in the morning looking for a pair of socks, on the other hand, can discourage more than motivate.
  4. Go ahead, have a glass. There's nothing wrong with unwinding with a glass of red wine every night — it's even good for you! Just make sure you keep the pour steady, not heavy, with these serving-size tips.
  5. Stay organized. Make tomorrow less harried by doing what you can to organize tonight. Pack your work laptop, put away the dishes, and finally get to that growing pile of laundry so the rest of your week doesn't look daunting.
  6. Stretch. A good stretch can help you become more flexible while helping muscles repair. Try this relaxing yoga sequence to prep for bedtime while mending muscles.
  7. Make sleep a priority. Skipping out on sleep can cause high blood pressure, a frazzled immune system, and even weight gain. Ensure you set a bedtime that gives you at least seven hours of shut-eye.
  8. Let it go. Whether you've downed a whole box of cookies or missed out on yet another workout, don't dwell on it. Tomorrow's another day!
  9. Take the electronics out. Answering emails and scrolling through your iPad can make it hard to wind down. Set a limit for your electronic use, and make sure you don't spend the night staring into your screen from your bed.
  10. Relax with a bedtime routine. Having a bedtime ritual helps prep your body for sleep. Whatever yours is, make it consistent so you can get the best sleep possible.
OK yes there are 10 more but you should really go to her website to read the rest and then some.... good stuff!!


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Eating for Health NOT Weight-loss

The the last six months or so I've been reading and learning about food, where it comes from, what it can do for me, how I can change my eating habits and yes I've thought about it because I want to lose at least 10 pounds and like many of you out there, I want to lose weight over night.

As a trainer I realize that's not healthy or even possible unless I cut off an arm, now that's not happening so my approach to better eating is going to have to be the plan.

In my lifetime I have tried every diet out there and I admit, I could never stick to any diet that restricts what I eat, i.e. no carbs, no fat, no sugar, leaving me craving all of the above.  However as a read and learn I've come to understand or I should say, I am allowing myself to understand food and eating for my health.  After all, the word "diet" just makes me want to eat more and all those restrictions are even worse.

Again, I'm a trainer.  I love fitness, love a challenge, enjoy running and spinning and helping others reach their fitness goals.  Sometimes I'm so focused on helping others that I forget to help myself.  Lately my energy levels have been low, my sleep is a little out of whack, and my focus and concentration have been a little off.  It's like a vicious cycle -- I work hard teaching and training people from age seven to eighty-seven, I spend time preparing classes, then there's our home and our kids. I will drink a coffee mid afternoon just so I can make it to dinner and by the time that comes around I have no energy to plan.  I go to bed or pass out by 9:00 pm and then wake up six hours later feeling tired and achy.

Don't get me wrong, we don't eat extremely unhealthy.  I make it a point to keep snacks to a minimum for the kids, I do read those nutrition labels, we do whole grain, lean meats, vegetables most nights and fruits always but eating shouldn't have to be boring or a struggle.

I once suggested to my husband that we follow the ideas found in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life—vowing that, for one year, they’d only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. 

Well that did not go over very well because that would mean MJ would have to give up eating apples when they're not in season even though I've proven to him how amazingly delicious they are when freshly picked.  I've tried to implement many changes with no give from him. Many of the changes I've made have gone unnoticed and that's OK, less to fuss about.  The kids ask why I don't buy soda and my answer, "because that's all you would drink."

This week, after getting sick 4-5 times in a period of eight weeks, my husband suggested we look at challenge to cut out sugar.  Needless to say that made me a little anxious.  There's that word limiting what what eat.  I don't like it. I feel it immediately sabotages my "diet" before I even start.  It also made me a little mad that when I suggested simple changes he did not want to hear about giving up his favorites...humph! Apparently, he is now ready for some changes and so am I.

We are going to make some changes but we are going to do this slowly.  I am want us to be smart about making changes because we already know that drastic changes only lead to failure and that's not acceptable.  I've been reading about the Paleo nutrition plan because it is the one that most closely meets the criteria we are looking for in our life.  It limits sugar intake and processed foods but you get so much more and there are so many creative ways to get what you need and sometimes even what you want. So we are going to read, do our homework's and start making changes a little at a time.  I've been reading a blog called Nom Nom Paleo which happens to be informative, creative, realistic and funny; she has an APP filled with recipes so that right there makes it a favorite. So far, a positive inspiration to help get us on the right path.

I hope you'll join us on this journey and if you have experience with Paleo, share your ups and downs and in between!

Stay Well,


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Start the journey--ignore the negative

I've heard more times than I care to count someone say "running will not help you lose weight..." and I have to wonder where this comes from. If a person decides to finally take charge and start a program to improve their health and lose weight, whether it's running, walking, swimming, biking, whatever, why would anyone think it's OK to tell them that what they're doing will not work? 

EXERCISE works, physical activity, an active lifestyle in general work.  Do what you enjoy, have fun with the kids, your friends, dance like no one is watching because the idea is to get moving and eventually to get motivated to do more to improve your health and/or to help you reach your goals.

YES, nutrition is a key factor in your weight loss goals.  You HAVE to eat healthy foods, you have to limit or cut out fried, breaded, creamy anything and opt for fresh, baked, grilled, non processed food, you have to create a deficit in your caloric intake without falling below 1200-1800 calories per day. 

It is a combination of exercise and nutrition....maybe they should say "running will not help you lose weight if you continue to eat every calorie you burn and then some." 

When you decide you're ready to get healthy (not skinny) just healthy, do whatever physical activity you find makes you happy and go for it because it will likely be more beneficial than doing nothing at all.
"It takes a lot of courage and motivation to start exercising and it doesn't take much for people to stop.  A discouraging word, an invitation to eat or drink, a change in weather... I know, I've been there.  I've started and stopped when I was told my plan wasn't going to work."

It turns out my plan did work.  It took some tweaking and I had to do a lot of ignoring but it worked.  I started easy, walking when I could, eventually running, always dancing...always active and, of course, eating just a little healthier...OK well, I cut out one thing at a time starting with my daily Starbucks heart attack coffee.  That alone knocked out 500 calories a day, at least.  But I continued to see changes in my body, mood, energy, and that motivated me to do more.  It wasn't the changing scale, it was how I felt and those few encouraging words from people around me that kept me going.

I'd like YOU to take the challenge to either start and stick with it despite what anyone says or encourage someone for doing anything physically active, no matter how small; help someone get started, and don't give up on them when they make mistakes, because they will.  Simply say forget it, what's done is done and there's no turning back. Start again, right now!!

Stay well,

~ Terie

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Avoid holiday weight gain

Is that even possible? You know, to not gain any weight over the holidays?  Well for some people it is. They are the ones who can easily say no to the sweeter things in life.  Just so you know, I'm not one of them. For some reason, holiday baked goods just taste so much better between November 1st and January 1st.  It's like comfort food for the soul.  Except the only thing getting padded around here are the hips, waist, back, legs and arms.  

But seriously, why is it that we require food to enjoy the holiday season? And it is a requirement I tell you.  I've conducted an experiment and invited friends over for coffee and the first thing they say is,"what can I bring, I can make cookies or a quiche?" Hmmmm, that sounds yummy! I have to admit that the first thing I think about is "what should I make?" you know, to serve with the coffee because it would be a sin to have JUST coffee.

Well, this is who we are and this is what we do.  We are trained to celebrate everything with food and there's no better time to "get away" with over eating like the holiday season.  The media and every medical profession in the media has been telling us that, on average, people gain five to seven pounds during the holiday season.  OUCH!  They say from November to December, more accurately it all begins on Halloween, October 31st and ends on New Year's day, January 1st.  So, even though we know this to be pretty accurate, we still manage to fall into the trap of the holiday weight gain.  We eat the tasty treats, the delicious foods, and the drinks and begin the process of putting off fitness as a new year's resolution. We simply give in to the fad.

So what do we do now?  The "weight gain season" has already begun.  Do we just stay on this slippery slope and start our healthy habits next year OR is it possible to avoid becoming a statistic? Of course it is. Anything is possible if you really want it to be.  I have tips, you have wants, so lets put it all together and see how we do.

 1.  Start moving NOW!  Why wait until after you've gained the weight to realize you need to get back in shape.  Start now!  

Exercise: Measure out an area that is safe for you to walk from your home and back.  Invite some neighbors to join you after dinner, early in the morning or middle of the day.  Do the math.  Walk two miles a day, times seven days a week-- that is just over a marathon in 2 weeks.  Challenge yourself and add a mile to your walk OR cut back on the time it takes to walk 2 miles. Make it fun for the entire family and take the kids for a bike ride, roller skates, or a hike through the park. However, if you feel inadequate about walking alone or working out alone, then by all means join a gym, hire a trainer, start taking classes.  Arm yourself with a fitness routine that does not allow you to cheat yourself out of enjoying special holiday treats.

2.  Eat well, everyday! If you haven't already started, spend a couple of days logging everything you eat before making any changes.  This will help you identify problem areas with your current nutrition plan (because we all know we have one right?)  

Nutrition: Ask yourself, am I eating enough fruits and vegetables? Five a day is what they say. Make them fresh or frozen, raw or cooked.  More is best.  To keep the fresh vegetables from going bad in the fridge, eat them within a few days or cook and refrigerate or freeze them so that they are ready to be used in soups and stews over the colder months.  

Speaking of soups and stews, stay away from creamy soups that only add on the pounds.  I know, it's the comfort food we crave when we're cold and it's OK to have them in moderation. But if you don't think you can have just one serving then stick with the less creamy soups loaded with vegetables, legumes and lean meats.  Best to choose good carbohydrates such as fruits and vegetables, whole grain, sweet potatoes, etc.  Low fat dairy, lean meats and fish are also important in your diet as they provide you with well needed protein your muscles will crave. Take this opportunity to teach the kids what a serving is and what's in that serving of food. Lead by example.

3. Rest, de-stress, sleep! I am so bad at doing any of these.  It seems I'm alway running somewhere (and I don't mean that literally, otherwise I would have nothing to worry about if I was really running,) cleaning, teaching, kids homework, and staying up late for no good reason, well, it's my quiet time.  

A lot of women do this in search of quiet, meditative time and that's great if #1 we can still manage to get enough sleep and #2 if we use that time wisely, i.e. meditating, stretching, etc. I'm back to putting meditative time on my schedule.  We don't need a lot all at one time, 10 - 15 minutes of being with oneself, in our thoughts, in our minds, and revisiting our souls is all.  Do it a few times a day, do it while waiting in line at the store, or upon rising, before bed.  There are opportunities, we just fail to seize them and instead go to bed with a mind full of junk we can't resolve in our sleep.  So rest your mind, sleep and the result will be = controlled stress management. Again with the family, take some time to read to your kids or with your kids; teach them how to be silent for one whole minute - make it  a game and then ask what they were thinking when they were still.  You'd be amazed at the stories you get. 

4. Drink Water.  Oh yes, this is a biggy.  I am terrible at drinking water in the winter time.  Did I mention I'm from the Caribbean?  As much as I love the beautiful fall foliage and a crispy cold winter's day, it is not my cup of tea to live in it everyday.  Definitely tropical and if I want winter I can drive to it instead.  That's ideal.  

Back to water.  Since I know that drinking anything cold is not all that attractive to me I make it a point of drinking plenty of water before, during and after my workouts.  Carry water with me wherever I go so that I'm not tempted to buy coffee or food.  I also keep my water bottle on the counter to maintain the room temperature.  I find that my kids don't drink nearly as much water as they should - I think sometimes they skip it all together, so new rule:  when they say they are bored or hungry I offer them a glass of water while I make a nutritious treat or plan an activity like going out to play in the piles leaves.  One other option if you don't like cold water is a cup of warm water with a twist of lemon in the morning is actually pretty good too.  My dad was told (prescribed by his doctor) to drink this every morning to keep his digestive system running smooth.
The Challenge:  To avoid any weight gain over the holidays.  Go ahead,challenge yourself to be different this year.  Don't bother making a resolution to get healthy, do it now.  Get in the best shape of your life starting right now.  Get the family involved in getting and staying active, even if you don't have weight to lose, living a healthier lifestyle IS the new fad.

Disclaimer: If you want to lose weight, PLEASE, keep in mind that this process takes time, it's not going to happen over night, it's not going to happen in ONLY 10 minutes a day.  However, with a little determination and motivation, it will happen as you burn 500 calories a day exercising, cleaning, even chasing the kids around.  As you eat 300 less calories a day replacing junk food with good-for-you food.  It will happen as you burn off 1-2 lbs a week and replace body fat with lean muscle mass.  It will happen if you want it bad enough!

Let's do it together!! What are you waiting for?  Tell me, how will you avoid the holiday weight gain in 2009? I want to know! 

Stay Well,