Friday, March 17, 2017

The "Third Pillar" of Fitness

I came across this article from Business Insider this week. Ironically, I read it in the middle of a blizzard.

The short version is that fitness is made up of more than a healthy diet and exercise - the two assumptions we've long held. The third pillar, according to journalist and anthropologist, Scott Carney, is environmental stress: cold, altitude, heat, humidity, etc.

This makes total sense to me. 

It is a recent thing that humans have the technology to counteract or avoid these environmental factors (ex. air conditioning.)  Our ancestors had to adapt and cope with the natural elements in order to survive. And the amazing part is that our bodies are incredibly adaptable with practice and exposure.

So wouldn't it be totally logical that when we expose ourselves to these elements, we are strengthening and stretching our capabilities? And wouldn't we seem weaker and less capable if we cannot handle the variations of the environment?

The trick is to reframe our thinking about fitness. Instead of thinking "you're a real runner" because you choose to run in the rain - consider yourself fulfilling a bare minimum requirement if the goal is your fittest state. You are not doing something exceptional; you are doing what you were designed to do, possibly what your body needs to do.

It all seems so simple. And it makes running in the blizzard a little more appealing. 

Disclaimer: It goes without saying that you should still be smart and prepared if you decide to run in less-than-ideal conditions; I take no responsibility if you get lost in a snowstorm.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Motivation Monday: Dress to Improve

We've all heard, "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have." That is excellent advice when it comes to your work life, but it is pretty sound when it comes to your training goals, too.

I was thinking about this today, because my funds are limited since I've decided to stay home with the kiddos. But I still wanted to refresh my wardrobe a bit. Without question, I know that I will be "refreshing" my wardrobe with workout gear. Part of this is practicality; I chase a toddler and get puked on, so its important to be able to move freely and wipe easily.

The other part is that I really believe that if you dress like you're a serious athlete, you'll work harder to be one. And the inverse is true. If you put on something that doesn't make you feel good - feel fast - feel strong - then you're not going to believe those things about yourself. 

I'm sorry. No one feels good in loose sweat pants and the dumpy t-shirt they got in a swag bag.

You. Just. Don't.

So I am here to say: put your money where your motivation is. 

As far as athletic attire (a lot of people will disagree with me here) Nike is still my jam. Sleek. Fitted. Fast. I looove Nike clothes to an unhealthy degree (not shoes - New Balance all the way.) I will also suggest Oiselle gear for runners. BUT DO YOU.

And, no, it is not superficial to care about your appearance. You are your own brand manager. Represent the you that you want to be and you're much more likely to meet your goals. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Run Fast, Eat Slow

Every athlete I know has wanted someone to say, "These are the exact meals you need to fuel your workouts, to meet your protein needs, to keep you lean and make you strong." If you have Googled something along the lines of "Recipes to make me a fast hotty with muscles" - then I am talking to you.

Or if you have found yourself digging through Pinterest and Instagram and your go-to blogs to find recipes full of weird, expensive, impossible-to-find ingredients that take too long to make. And they NEVER turn out like the photos. Ever.

Thanks to runner superstar, Shalane Flanagan and chef, Elyse Kopecky - the dietary guessing game is over. New York Times bestseller, Run Fast. Eat Slow. is a comprehensive, no-gimmicks, no-trends cookbook that will have recipes designed to give you clean energy. I don't know about you guys, but I trust whatever Shalane is eating.

One of my favorite parts about the book (aside from the pretty photos) is that it will tell you what each recipe is good for: speed days, long runs, quick energy boosting snacks, etc. There are also many gluten-free and vegetarian options for those of you with specialized diets.

Let's be clear: the recipes require cooking. This is not a ten-minute-meals guide. But because many of the ingredients are plant-based or raw, these recipes don't take forever and they will be worth the small investment of time. I mean, check out these Mango Salsa Fish Tacos!

Even if you're just looking to clean up your diet, Run Fast. Eat Slow. is a good start. You'll reap the energizing benefits of whole, clean nourishment in your day-to-day life, too.

You can read more about Run Fast. Eat Slow. here

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Money Motivation - Monetizing Your Workout

If you guys are like me, you are motivated by money - or maybe by the thought of losing it (says the person who just volunteered to not work for a little while. That's different!)

via LoveBugandPeanut on Etsy
Some of you might have read my $$$ posts in the past (here and here) about my "Runner's Savings Account" concept. The premise is super simple: I pay myself a set amount of money for every mile I run and penalize myself for skipping workouts. 

Do work. Get money. Easy enough.

You can see that I wrote those posts wayyyyy back in 2013. In terms of technology, 2013 was like 100 years ago and since then, a few tech savvy people totally stole my idea and made an app for that.

Since I snoozed on a million dollar idea - I might as well pass along the apps making it easy for you to capitalize on your own effort. Cha-ching!

Pact - Get paid to meet your own workout/diet goals with funds provided by the slackers that didn't meet theirs! 

HealthyWage - Make bets and cash out based on your weight loss.

CharityMiles - Feeling like giving back with your mileage? Runners earn 25 cents a mile for charity through the app. Now you can really feel good about your work out! 

But if you are more of a DIY person (aka "old school") and you want to control your own "Runner's Savings Account" - I encourage you do so with my handy how-to here.

And stay tuned! I'm working on some new coaching opportunities so I can monetize MY workouts. Start budgeting now - you know you need someone to keep your ass accountable.

Or - run and take the money!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Staying Home: If It Don't Make Dollars, Then It Don't Make Sense

Here is my big news: I am staying home with my babies! YESSSSSSSSS. 

You read that right. At least - I'm staying home for now.

There are a million reasons why: my health, finding a not-horrifying daycare for two babies, my hubby's sincere and relentless begging. Mostly my gut feeling that I need to be with these babies.

I would never, ever bash anyone that chooses to go back to work or that has to go back to work for financial reasons. I mean, let's be honest - my hubby and I are both public school teachers - not exactly rollin' in the dough. This decision was made with careful consideration of that fact.

I have had a lot of people express both concern & curiosity when they ask,
"How the hell are you pulling that off?"

This is how - we have a dirt cheap existence:

1. We don't carry credit card balances
2. We bought and gutted a (really cute) foreclosure
3. We just refinanced said foreclosure, making the mortgage cheaper than our previous studio apartment 
4. We drive "crappy" cars that are paid off
5. We have money in savings
6. We don't buy "stuff" (I hate clutter. It makes me violent and panicky.)
7. We find free entertainment - like hiking or playing in our own yard
8. We eat mostly vegetarian and we eat at home
9. We have made use of loan forgiveness programs for student loans
10. To keep this option viable, we make money on the side

Ultimately, this post is about number 10. We already have a few ways of bringing in additional income from home - but I'll be looking into some new opportunities in the near future. When I look at where my skills and interests are, coaching and training seem like obvious answers, so I am definitely exploring that idea. 

I'm not sure which direction to go though - here are some thoughts:
1. run coach specifically for busy and/or new moms
2. fitness accountability coach
3. run coach for beginners (like a C25K model)
4. a combo of all of the above 

So that's where I'll end for today. Anyone have thoughts or ideas on this? I'm not into selling stuff so Beachbody probably isn't the path for me (though I do love all their programs.) Anyway - advice and go!