Friday, June 26, 2009

Fabulous Food Friday

I am going to start something new. One of my favorite parts about making healthy choices and dietetics is finding out what food is made of; especially FRUITS & VEGETABLES. Ever since my kids were REALLY little we would always bribe them to eat their food by telling them all the amazing things that that specific food could do for their bodies. Now sometimes I didn't know what that food did so we would make things up; being silly mostly. They really think that carrots will make them see in the dark and that potatoes help them be good diggers! They know that meat and beans have a lot of protein and that will help them be strong. They know that calcium helps build strong bones. I think it's important that they know these things.

But is it only important for them? I'm pretty sure that it's good for all of us to know what we're putting in our bodies and that we know the benefits and pit falls of those things. It's a MAJOR part of overall health, if you ask me! So every Friday I will showcase a food. We'll find out the skinny on those good & bad things. Hopefully it will help us to make better choices but also broaden our horizons and try new foods too!

Today our Fabulous Food is the ARTICHOKE! I LOVE artichokes! It's our favorite game night snack. We cut them in half and boil them. Then peel off the leaves and dip them in hollandaise sauce and toss them in a communal bowl in the center of the table. I have LOTS of WONDERFUL memories playing cards and eating fresh artichokes! I found THIS wonderful website that had this info:

*Artichokes come from the Mediterranean, where there is one of the LOWEST rates of chronic disease and the HIGHEST life expectancy rates! {they eat A LOT of fruit & veggies & little saturated fat}

*New studies {by the USDA} have shown that artichokes have a HIGH level of anti-oxidants. It ranked #1! These anti-oxidants come in the form of phytonutrients like Cynarin and Silymarin; both of which are really good for your LIVER! **They noted that artichokes have long been thought to help fight liver disease, liver cancer and even cure hangovers.

*One medium artichoke has more FIBER than a cup of prunes!

* One LARGE artichoke has:
Calories - 60
Total Fat - 0
Cholesterol - 0
Sodium - 115 mg or 5%
Total Carbohydrates - 13g or 4%
Dietary Fiber - 6g or 24%
Sugars - 1%
Protein - 4g

Vitamin A - 4%
Vitamin C - 20%
Calcium - 6%
Iron - 8%

The way to pick out a good artichoke is make sure the leaves are closed tight and avoid dark spots. Boil whole or sliced in half. It's cooked when the leaves pull away easily; the edible part is where the leaf was attached, it is soft and easily scraped off with the teeth. You can dip it in Hollandaise or melted butter. In the very center, right above the heart, you'll want to scrape and discard a small fibrous/fuzzy part of the artichoke {I'm not sure if those are the right words to discribe it}. The heart is the best part and well worth all the "effort" to get to the center!

There you have it. The ARTICHOKE. One of my very favorite vegetables!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pilates Please

Occasionally we like to change things up at our Turbo Jam session and do PILATES instead! OH MY GOODNESS!!! It is so hard but I LOVE IT!!! On Tuesday we worked our Gluts & Quads and I am STILL feeling it! One of our ladies keeps asking, "What is this GOOD for?"!! So I thought, hmm... lets find out!! So here's the run down:

An article on SparkPeople says:
* Its goal is to improve FLEXIBILITY and STRENGTH, creating a BALANCE between the two
*The overall goal is to make a TONED body without adding bulk, while lengthening the muscles
*It improves their COORDINATION and relieves stress
*It focuses on the CORE so it improves posture and eases back pain
*It’s something that can be tailor-fit to anyone’s specific fitness level, adapting as that person becomes more SKILLED and flexible
*It’s low impact, Pilates can assist the REHABILITATION process for certain injuries

WebMD says:
#1. BODY AWARENESS: you learn to read your body. How you sit, how you stand; the attention required in the exercises that changes your awareness of yourself.
#2. STRONGER CORE: Stronger doesn't mean Flatter!! We want & need a strong core... is a tree strongest in its limbs or in its trunk & roots? Flexible muscles are stronger muscles.
#3. BODY CONTROL: Pilates works the WHOLE body in synergy; which is how we should be moving on a daily basis.

Sounds good to me!! Feels good too!! We've got a WIN/WIN here!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Now What?!

So I found out this morning that my friend who does our Turbo Jam classes is MOVING in TWO WEEKS!!! MAJOR BUMMER!! We'll still have class for the next couple weeks then she promised she'd still come & teach {they haven't sold their house yet} but she might have to do it at a later time! I have LOVED this morning class! It's only two days a week but it's two days that I KNOW I am going to get a good workout.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dam 5K

Yesterday was the big race! Our first competitive 5K; part of the Dam Marathon!!

"On June 5, 1976, the collapse of the Teton River Dam unleashed a savage flood which caused $500 million in damage, took eleven lives, and made thousands homeless in Wilford, Sugar City, Rexburg, Salem, Hibbard, Firth, Blackfoot, and Roberts. This tragedy was turned into triumph by the victims own faith and courage and by an outpouring of aid by many volunteers from Idaho and nearby states. For this reason over a thousand runners flood the streets to take on their own personal challenge of running a race."

It was AWESOME!!!! It was amazing to run with my family. At the very finish my dad came and we pushed through to the finish line. I knocked over 8 minutes off my previous PR!!! I was totally blown away!

It's a tough little 5 K. It start on an uphill and stays that way for a little over a mile where it dips down and around before it hits another uphill. After that it's all strait downhill!! It's a fun run! Travis' course starts out with about 1.5 miles of flats before it meets up with the 5K course. It follows it on the first uphill part but continues strait ahead for another 1.5 or so before coming back and finishing on the 5K course.

I started out with Dad & my sister. She dropped back with Dad after 1/2 mile or so. I thought I was on my own. Not long after my brother came running up and told me that he had WALKED with his wife already!!! I told him not to wait for me, so off he went. Right at the last turn my Dad came up and we pushed it to the end together {he was RIGHT behind me the entire time}! I think he let me beat him by 2 steps!!! It was really cool for me to finish with my Dad!

Here we all are before the race.
And AFTER!!My BEAUTIFUL familyMy Mom & Dad each got 1st in their age divisions. My husband and I took 2nd in ours. And my little brother took 3rd in his; though he came in before the rest of us! I came in with a time 28:38.8; only 24 seconds behind the girl who got 1st in our age division!!! My goal was 35 minutes!!! I am so PROUD of myself; I've been working hard and it's paying off! I am AMAZED at what our bodies are capable of. It's AWESOME!!! With my Dad and my sisterSilver MedalistsIt was a GREAT day! I learned a lot about racing and will be better prepared for next time! two major things I have to remember is #1. REFUEL and #2. STRETCH! I am HOOKED; I am hoping to get signed up for some more races this summer!

Friday, June 12, 2009


Stretching is very likely one of my FAVORITE parts of working out! I LOVE a good stretch. Typically I do a warm up, then I do a light stretch. After my workout I like to have a REALLY GOOD stretch session. The past few weeks I've been running outside more and I've come across a lot of others who are engaged in the same activities. I have heard OVER and OVER people's comments about their lack of stretching after workouts. Some have been friends I'm working out with but others have been "strangers" talking to each other as they are running/walking past me as I'm stretching and can't help but overhear! It's SO important!!!!! Of course, I had to come find out the REAL benefits of a good stretch.

At Body & Mind they had these points:
*It improved BALANCE around a joint, so you improve your posture
It will REDUCE chance of injury, from daily activities to playing sports
*It INCREASES blood & nutrients sent to muscles and cartilage; REDUCING muscle soreness!

* DO NOT stretch cold muscles!!! Warm up AT LEAST 3-5 minutes, then stretch, then get on with your activities.

Each major muscle group should be stretch SLOWLY and with CONTROL; holding each stretch for 1-3 sets of 10-60 seconds. Hold to the point of TIGHTNESS NOT PAIN!
* Muscles tighten and shorten when performing any exercise. Stretching them helps RESTORE and improve their length!

There are two different kinds of stretching. STATIC and BALLISTIC. Static is used when your body is at rest. Holding "poses" for a duration of 10-60 seconds Ballistic is a bouncy kind of stretching. It involves fast "jerky" motions. Seen most often the moments before an athlete is set to "go". With any stretch you should be careful, it should NOT hurt!

Why I stretch:
* It feels SO GOOD!!!
* I am less likely to get cramps
* It increases range of motion, INCREASING my performance
* It DECREASES muscle soreness the next day

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hill Climbs

This morning I drove up to run the 5K course I will be racing in on the 13th. It's been a VERY long time since I've ran hills. So I wanted to run the course a few times before the actual race. I am SO glad I did! First of all, I will know where I can push myself harder. But it felt AWESOME!!! It's a beautiful run. The first and last parts are through neighborhoods and along the college campus. But the middle is along a ridge with nothing but rolling hills of newly planted fields, it's BEAUTIFUL!

But I got thinking about hills and whether there are any tricks to running. Whether it be for increasing speed, decreasing risk of injury, or whatever. So I got looking and these are some of the things I've found. These first tips are from Cool Running. {Click the link for the full article}

* Running hills builds the muscles around the knee... therefore it helps PREVENT knee injuries!

* The muscles used to run hills become stronger and help increase PERFORMACE on the flats.

* Helps increase the frequency and length of stride... so you run FASTER!

* You should STRETCH, especially your calf muscles as Achilles tendon when doing hill workouts

* NEGOTIATE the hills so that your rhythm remains the same

* Relax your upper body and let your legs do the work

* For gradual inclines, try to run a bit HARDER than you had been running on the flat before the hill.

* On the steeper inclines, concentrate on LIFTING your knees and pushing off hard with every step.

* Raise your knees; the steeper the hill, the more you need to raise your knees.

* Be careful on the downhill! Lean INTO them and use short quick strides.

RUNNERS WORLD has an AWESOME article that you MUST read {again, click link}! But here are a few highlights:

* Keep your head UP! Otherwise you're wasting energy and messing with your form.

* LOOSE hands help keep your whole body loose; so LOSE the fists!

* Pushing off and UP helps you feel light; don't push INTO the hill!

* Lean FORWARD; keep your momentum up

* UP & OVER; imagine the top of the hill 20 meters PAST where it actually is.

* BIG arm motions. Overuse your arms to really POWER UP

* On the downhill make sure your feet are landing UNDERNEATH you to reduce shock

It makes me think of the little train that could. "I think I can, I think I can" Right?!

Surprise Surprise

So I've said it a HUNDRED times but I really can't stress enough... it DOESN'T MATTER what number that scale says!!! But I will admit that regardless of that, it feels good to be moving in the right direction. I also will admit that YES, I am trying to LOSE weight {I did have a baby nearly 9 months ago}. But am I trying to lose a specific number? No, not really. After I got the okay to start working out again I took my body measurements and figured my ideal BMI range. I weigh myself ONCE a WEEK. I also take body measurements ONCE a MONTH. Anything more than that is not a good thing FOR ME. I also take pictures; Tony Horton {P90X} and Jillian Michaels {Biggest Loser} call them Goodbye pictures or something like that... & no, they will NOT be posted!

So LAST month my weight had gone down but there was ZERO change in my measurements. Even when I swear a number means very little {if ANYTHING} to me, it's hard to see zero change. I got over it pretty quick; it's better than going in the WRONG direction... right?!

THIS month {today} is a TOTALLY different story. In the past 30 days I have lost 4 pounds; a pound a week is right where I want to be. I have dropped 6 inches on my waist and 2.5 on my hips. My chest is bigger {no griping there}. My arms and legs are stronger. It was thrilling to see my pictures from before and now. I FEEL great and it's nice to see that I'm starting to LOOK great too.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The President's Challenge

I've been working on The President's Challenge. It's a simple program that is geared toward encouraging active lifestyles. You can choose what level you want depending on your current activity level. For beginners {those who are active less than 30 minutes a day, 5x a week} the goal is simple: GET OFF YOUR BUTT!!! Ok, so THEY don't use those words... they say to set & MEET an activity goal of 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week for 6 weeks {you get 8 weeks to complete the program}.

For those who are already ACTIVE there are more difficult programs for you. You log your fitness activities and earn point values depending on the amount of energy expended. There is a daily cap of 750 points. You earn the BRONZE award at 20,000 points. From there you can continue to work toward the SILVER or GOLD awards. {You actually get something too, not sure what it IS but I'm sure that it's PRETTY COOL... yes there was a tiny bit of sarcasm there, sorry that's how I am} Seriously though, you get a certificates or you can purchase medalions, pins, t-shirts... that's pretty cool right?!

Then there is ANOTHER program for those who are even more INTENSE and COMPETITIVE!!!

You can create groups and WORK TOGETHER with FRIENDS or FAMILY!!!! {Can you tell I LOVE that idea?} Check it out. Sign up between MAY 1 - JULY 24!!! GET ACTIVE!!!

What a Workout!

Last night I went on a little 3.5 mile run. I ran the 3.5 miles in 33 minutes and had a .5 mile warm up and cool down on top of that. It felt GREAT! I had a bit of a stressful day and it was FABULOUS to hit the pavement and get some endorphins flowing! I especially love running past the canal and hearing the water, past crops and the wonderful smells, and of course past the fields of cows and how they turn their heads and look at me... some even say hello. I DON'T love the dogs that want to come remind me that I'm breaching their turf. I really should get some bear spray to show them a thing or two.

I've got my first 5K race EVER on the 13th; I ran distance in high school but I haven't raced since then! I am hoping to go run the course a couple times before; it's all up hill for the first half!! I think it would do me a lot of good to try it on for size!!! My whole family is running too; it's going to be quite the day!

Today I woke up and did the chest & back P90X workout with my husband. I am sure feeling it!!! I even took it easy {I have a lovely cut on my hand that is trying to heal and is still stinkin sore, darn box cutter!}!!

I ALSO mowed the lawn today. No I do NOT have a riding lawn mower {ok, yes I do but it's in the shop getting fixed} and No I do NOT have a self propelled mower. It took me 2 hours which means I burned an AWESOME 580 calories!! How SWEET is that?! Pretty sweet if you ask me!

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