Saturday, February 28, 2009

See Megan Run...

15 miles. CHECK.

I was uber nervous about today's run for the following reasons.
A) My 7 mile run on Tuesday was killer for me. My knees haven't really ever given me trouble. Which is quite surprising judging by the family history. (I come from a line of feeble knees.) Anyways...I was in so much pain Tuesday running I thought this might be the end of it. I'd finally been taken captive by the Smith family genes. Don't worry, I don't give up too easily, so i preceded to finish out the rest of the weeks workout too much of a problem. I attribute Tuesday's trauma to over usage and tiredness. I've been kind of a maniac these past few weeks.
B) 15 miles is long. I usually like to do these runs outside so I can pick route hammer it out, and be done. It's still a little too cold for me in the morning to be able to run outside comfortably, so yep, 15 treadmill filled miles were in my future.
C) When my mileage gets up into these high miles it's necessary to replace your body's stores of carbohydrates while you're running to keep your energy up. Eating while never know how the body is going to react. I like predictability.

With these qualms in mind I prepped myself for the 15 miles that were to come. I set up the rest of my workouts for the week so I could have Friday to rest, which I think really helped. My body and my knees felt really good today. I got a good nights rest, and I woke up and had a good breakfast. I always allow myself about 30 mins before I start working out to let me food settle. I went to the gym and was lucky enough to snag my favorite treadmill in the cardio cinema. (That is when you know you're spending too much time @ the gym...when you have a favorite treadmill.) Fortunately the movie had just started. How did I know this? Because unfortunately I recognized the movie instantly. The new Indiana Jones. Now don't get me wrong. I love me some Harrison Ford. But, I found this movie to be a painful, boring attempt to making Harrison look as young and vivacious as he did in the golden Indiana days. Lucky for me that movies is...oh...about 6 hours long, so I got to take in every captive moment. (Followed by the beginning of the next feature film...some heartfelt Disney Production with Ravon Simone. Lucky me eh?)

I saddled up on the treadmill and got mentally prepared. I had already decided how I was going to break it down.
6 miles, restart treadmill, walk for two mins, eat two Clif Bar Shot Bloks, water, resume running. Ipod in, 6 miles, water, walk for two mins, resume running.
3 miles, bust it out, pray, try and destract myself until finish.

It really went pretty much just like that. The first 6 miles went by SO fast. It was amazing. I felt really good. It REALLY helped me to break it down into sections. Running is SO mental for me. I have to set small goals, and those small goes add up to big accomplishments. If I look at the big chunk of mileage I feel overwhelmed. Towards the end of the three miles I started to feel it. My body was getting tired, but I felt good still. I was so happy about that.

One thing that I know helped me to soldier through was my refueling. Most runners turn to the Gu or Shot Gel for instant carbohydrates, but I'm a total texture person. I can't do it. This is something I've had to figure out through trial and error. The two things I like most are Clif Bar Shot Bloks and Jelly Belly Sports Beans.

The Shot Bloks are like giant fruitsnacks and they're really good. The Sports Beans taste just like Jelly Beans. It is definitely weird to get used to eating while running, but these are good alternatives. Many runners will skip the fancy shmancy and use hard candies or starbursts. Basically you need quick, easily digestable carbohydrates. I reccomend refueling for any exercise over one hour. Yes, you may be able to "soldier through" without it. You're tough, I get it. BUT why would you make something more difficult than it has to be? If you have the option to make your run doable, and enjoyable DO IT. It is also really important to remember to consume enough water while you're running distances. Your body needs it.
I'm glad I did it. Glad to be done for the day. Next week's long run calls for 16 miles. Let's hope all goes well. Thanks for all your support!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Cheery Up Sleepy Jean...

Sleep. One of my favorite topics. One of my favorite things to do in fact. I love a good nights sleep, and I become somewhat dysfunctional when I'm super tired. Can any of you relate? What if I told you that getting a good nights sleep could help you maintain a healthy weight, or even lose excess weight? Too good to be true?

It is the very concept that doctors are have been questioning for several years. Is there a connection between sleep and weight loss? Studies have shown the answer is Yes. Those who get fewer hours of sleep per night have higher BMI's.

During your sleeping hours is when your body rests and regenerates itself. The muscles of the body are relaxed while you're sleeping, allowing the tissue to repair and rebuild itself. This is key for those who are involved in exercise, and especially those who lift weights. Not allowing your body time to recuperate can lead to fatigue, injury, and other potential problems. Be good to your body. If you expect it to work for you, you need to give it adequate rest.

Research shows that fatigue leads to overeating. This is a result of the change in hormone levels as your body becomes tired, leading you to crave food and not feel full. Hence...midnight snacking, late afternoon snacking...etc. These snacks tend to be high calorie sweets and starchy foods which when frequently over consumed can lead to weight gain.

So, how much sleep should we be getting? 7-9 hours is what is recommended. Allow yourself to develop a pattern. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Use your bed solely for sleeping. Don't read or study on it. Give your body time to wind down before you go to bed. Don't eat or drink anything right before bed time. Take a warm bath or shower to let your body relax. Get in a routine of waking up consistently in the morning. Avoid pushing snooze when your alarm goes off. Although those extra nine minutes may seem worth it at the time, your body won't go back into a deep sleep cycle, and it actually won't give you any rest. It may, in fact, make you feel more tired throughout the rest of the day.

When you get enough sleep you'll have the energy to get in a good work out which will leave you more energized throughout the day, and it has been proven that exercising also helps you to sleep better. (Crazy chain of events eh?) So...get some shut eye! Make it a priority. Make it a habit. It will be worth it to you and your body!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tunes to Jam to...

As requested...this new playlist is dedicated to Ally B. Good luck with your training girl! You all know by now how much my music helps me in my running, so I'm constantly looking for new good tunes that I can jam to while I'm pounding the pavement.

Halo - Beyonce

Beautiful - Akon

Circus - Britney Spears

The Dirt Whispered - Rise Against
Merry Happy - Kate Nash

Your Call - Secondhand Serenade

Untouched - The Veronicas

Heartless - Kanye West

Single Ladies - Beyonce

Dead and Gone - T.I. (a definite favorite)

Diva - Beyonce ....the answer is YES, i'm on a Beyonce kick right now...

Camera Phone - The Game

Poker Face - Lady Gaga

Make Your Own Kind of Music - The Mama's & The Papas (any LOST fans?)

The Fear - Lily Allen

Green Light Feat. Andre 3000 - John Legend

Hopefully these can help get you in the workout groove! I'd love to hear any favorites you have to add to my list!

If you're new check out my previous playlists HERE Guestpost

My darling friend Jenna has been doing some posting on her weight loss journey and how she has overcome a lot of the hard obstacles that come with it. She is the one who introduced me to years and years ago, and we both are addicts. She asked me to do a guest post on her blog explaining how to use the website, and why I liked it so much.

Cick HERE to read my guest post!

Monday, February 23, 2009

oh glorious sweets....

Well, you've heard me speak of my not eating sugar/candy/crap challenge more than you probably want to. But in my speaking about it I've had a lot of you ask me what I do to fight the cravings, you know, to curb the sweet-tooth (you may not believe me...I promise I REALLY do have one). This is my formula for success:

1. I don't buy crap. If it's there I'll eat it. I know myself far too well. I avoid the M&M peanuts, the Mike n' Ikes, and the Cadbury Mini Eggs.

2. I always have a plethora of "good snacks" on hand. Fresh fruits and vegetables, peanuts, bran muffins, rice cakes, healthy cereals, air popped popcorn, chrystal light, sugar free popsicles and fudgecicles, fat free sugar free jell-o pudding packs, etc. I replace the candy and treats with other, better snacks.

3. I allow myself to have fat free frozen yogurt, diet dr. pepper, sugar free mentos and hard candies. This cuts the cravings when i'm dying for a treat. Although the fat free frozen yogurt does have sugar in it I feel like it's a better choice than say...a candy bar.

4. I am constantly reminding myself that it works, and that makes it worth it. It's funny because when i cut out all the crap I notice the mindless calories that I eat normally. Grab a few pieces of candy from the candy dish....every time you walk by. The harmless cookie here and there. Now, remember that I do completely believe in moderation in all things, and cookies can be harmless here and there, BUT I'm just pointing out the fact that this is where excess calories sneak in without your noticing.

5. In the past I've allowed myself one "Sunday Treat." I'm not doing that this time, but when I did it, it was helpful to know that I had one indulgence on sunday and I could hold off until then.

I dare you to try it. Try it for a day, for a week, for a month. Just see if you can do it. I promise you'll be surprised at how much will power you can muster up. You'll also be amazed at how much better you feel!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

See Megan Run...

I was actually looking forward to yesterday's run due to the fact that it felt like a bit of a break. Is it sad when 10 miles feels like a break? Looking back to last week's 13 miles, and projecting next weeks 15 miles, it does! It was harder to get through than I thought it would be. I'm going to attribute that to not having a very good night's sleep the night before, and my battling a cold all week long....breathing is an important component to the whole running aspect, and i'm quite the stuffed up lil' thing. This past week was also the beginning of the increase of my mid-week run's. We start to get up into the 8's and 9's for my wednesday run....bring on the mileage. We're getting serious here!

Workout Order

Is it better to lift weights before you get your cardio in or after?
This is a question that I've been asked several times, so hopefully I can bring some light to the subject for you. Like many other aspects of exercise there are a lot of factors that go into determining which order of working out will work best for you.

The body get's its energy to exercise from glycogen. Glycogen comes from the food we eat, mostly carbohydrates. When we exercise we deplete the glycogen stores in our body. There is a "chain of command," so to speak of how our energy stores are used. Your body will use your glycogen stores first, and then it will begin to burn stored fat once the glycogen is gone. How you workout can determine which energy sources you're using.

First, you must determine what your goals are.

If you are seeking to increase muscle size it is better for you to warm up and then lift weights first while your muscle glycogen stores are fresh. This way you'll be able to have maximum energy for your weight lifting routine.

If your goals are geared more towards decreasing body fat and weight loss it is better to do your cardio first and lift afterwords. There are a few reasons for this. Most people are more likely to get a better cardio workout in (burning more calories) if they do it first, while their energy is fresh. Your heart rate will be elevated from doing your cardio, and if you can keep it up while lifting, you'll continue to burn more calories. The key factor to remember when you're looking to lose weight is the necesity of total calories burned. You want that number high!
*It is more likely that you'll be able to get in both your cardio workout and your weights workout if you do cardio first. Lifting tends to fatigue the body more than cardio does, making the cardio workout more difficult if your weight routine is done first. Remember that calories burned are calories burned regardless of what order you're exercising.

A great way to avoid the problem of fatigue, and to use your energy stores efficiently is to do circut training. This is a combination of lifting weights and cardio. It burns a TON of calories and gets your resistance training in at the same time. It's a great way to mix up the normal routines we all get stuck in!

If you're looking to try circut training on for size try out my
Super Bowl Inspired Cardio Circuit
or my Jump Rope Circuit
I promise you'll be sweatin'!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Warm up, it's worth it.

The warm up.
Something that many exercisers leave out of their routine.
Many feel like it's a pain. They don't have that added time. They don't see the benefit. Too good for the warm up, huh? Well, let me tell you why I think you're wrong.

Warming up DOES...
increase your heart rate
increase the blood and oxygen flow to your muscles (prepping them for the workout to come, and making them work more efficiently once warm)
increase range of motion in your joints
help avoid injuries such as muscle tears and pulls
helps with mental preparation
ultimately, enhance performance (more blood going to the muscles = better performance)

Warming up SHOULD...
be about 3-5 minutes long
warm up the muscles you'll be using while exercising
i.e. If you are running, walk for a good warm up. If you are going to be lifting the elliptical gets your arms and legs warm.
be at a lower intensity than your workout, the point here is to prep the muscles. That is why it's a warm up.
get you to a point where you're breaking a light sweat

Warming up CAN BE...
walking on the treadmill, increased to a slow jog
a low setting on the elliptical
jogging in place
a few intervals on a recumbent or spinning bike
Jumping Jacks

Trust me, from someone who's been injured. Injury prevention is FAR better than injury recuperation. It's worth the 5 minutes it may take to prime your muscles...after all you're still burning calories!

It's also been asked if stretching should be involved in the warm-up routine. I would recommend you stretch after your workout when you're muscles are at their warmest point. This will help to increase your flexibility.

Monday, February 16, 2009

This is why you're fat. Seriously.

I've stumbled upon an entertaining, yet sadly truthful website.
Proof. Caught in photos of why America is growing increasingly more obese.
People send in photos of the disgusting concoctions that they love to eat.
Some of my favorite examples...

Deep Fried Peanut Butter-Covered Brownie Wrapped In Cookie Dough
The Gastronomic Surprise Maxi Rainbow 24 Scoop Ice Cream Sundae
Sloppy Joe on a Krispy Kreme Doughnut and my favorite....the French Fry encased Hot dog.For more proof of "why you're fat" check out the website

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Indulgence Day Results

First of all, Happy Love day :) I love Valentines Day. Such a fun day full of pinks and reds, X's and O's, and so much love.

As I've mentioned before, I've been really focusing on getting to where I wanted to be goal-wise, and being dedicated to doing so. Part of my plan involved cutting out sugar, candy, and treats from my diet. I know, it sounds so harsh and drastic. Now, let me tell you that I am a firm believer in moderation in all things. I think that there is room in your diet for treats, and indulgences. BUT I also know my body pretty well. I know what works for me and what doesn't work. So, since Dec 26th I haven't had any sweets. Let me tell you, it HAS paid off. I've seen changes in my body that I've been trying to work at for years. It has been really hard, it has. But, the "moderation" way of doing things wasn't getting me to where I want to be, and since I've found the things that curb my ridiculous sweet tooth, I've been completely fine.

Well, today, Feb 14th, was the day I declared indulgence day. I told myself I could have sweets. Anything I wanted. My favorite treats. The results. I ate them. I feel sick. I regret it. I feel off track, and I don't like feeling that way. I like feeling like I'm in control of what I eat.

HOWEVER. I'm glad I had this day. To keep me from slipping. I got to experience the things I felt like I was "missing out on." Do I suggest this method of completely cutting everything out to everyone? Not necessarily, I am a firm believer in the idea that it is possible to lose weight, and be healthy while still allowing yourself to enjoy the food you are eating. That being said, I want you to think about making conscious food decisions. Don't be a conveyor belt mindless eater; eating whatever you're given, whatever is put in front of you, or whatever you stumble across. Ask I hungry? Do I really want to eat this? Is this even worth it? A lot of the time you'll find that, No, you aren't hungry and it's not worth it. This could save you hundreds of calories per day.

I can honestly say I'll be glad to be back on track tomorrow.

Friday, February 13, 2009

See Megan Run...

my apologies for the lack of posting...I'll try to catch up this weekend. I am in Arizona visiting the fam :)
I did however manage to get my 13 mile run in todayl gotta keep up with the training. Here's a few highlights...
- I woke up early and ate my breakfast so I'd have energy to last. I have people ask me all the time if you should eat before or after your morning workout. The answer is before! For so many reasons. It gets your metabolism going, it gives you energy so your workout is worthwhile, and it will make you feel better. It may take some getting used to if you aren't a regular breakfast eater. But, workout or not, eating breakfast is SO important to maintaining a healthy weight. EAT BREAKFAST!
- It was about 30 degrees outside when I stepped out the door. I am used to running outside here in the summer when getting out before the sun comes up is essential to not sweating to death. Not so in February, apparently. I had on my Nike Dry Fit Capris...If you haven't heard me rave about them. They are phenomenal...and an American Apparel V-neck. Let me just say I FROZE. For the first 4 miles I couldn't feel my arms. I'm not joking. I passed several fellow workout-ers and they were decked in fleece jackets and ear warmers. Hmmm...can we say Utah native meet's AZ, in hopes for warm weather. I finally semi-thawed about half-way through. It was chilly.
-I thank the city of Gilbert, AZ for having mile long blocks. It makes for easier mile counting for an out-of-towner.
-13 miles is long. Two Hours and twenty minutes, long.
-I made a new running playlist last night, so I could have a variety of tunes to sing to while I run. (I don't sing out loud, but I may, or may not mouth the words as I run. Shameless.) I didn't skip through any of the songs, unusual for me, I'm a regular skipper on the Ipod. When I walked through the door I was on song #38. THAT is when you know you've been running for a long time. Song I'm loving to run to right now? Halo by Beyonce. Love that Sasha Fierce.
- It was nice to run outside again, but it took it out of me today! Glad to have it done.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


in answer to Marisa's great question....
I thought a post on Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, aka: DOMS, was appropriate.

WHAT IS IT? DOMS is a common condition that occurs 12-48 hours after exercising, usually lifting weights. This is a common occurrence when new program is implemented, new type of exercise is tried, or the intensity or duration of exercise is dramatically increased. The pain you're feeling is part of the muscle adaptation process that occurrs as your muscle stamina and strength grows.

Although any movement can cause soreness, eccentric muscle contractions seem to seem to cause the most soreness. Eccentric muscle contractions, are muscle contractions in which there is tension on the muscle while it's lengthening. (Think, the last 1/2 of a bicep curl when the weight is lowering and the muscle is lengthening.)

IS DOMS A BAD THING? The answer here, nope. Unfortunately, soreness is something that often accompanies exercise. I like to feel a little soreness every now and again because it's a sign to me that my body is changing, and THAT is part of the reason we're excercising in the first place, now isn't it? However, the more you exercise the less you'll feel the soreness. Aside from consistency in exercise, some other things you can do to keep the soreness to a minimum are; warm up for 3-5 minutes before, don't make too many drastic changes in your workout at once, gradually increase the weight you use over time, and cool down afterwards with some stretching.

With my clients I've found that day 2 after the workout is usually where the most soreness occurs. This creates a problem for those of you who are on the every-other-day type lifting schedule. If your soreness is really severe, (we're talking painful to walk sore,) you may want to take a break from your lifting schedule, or avoid lifting those sore muscles. If the soreness is manageable I'd say continue with your routine. Be sure to warm up before you begin which should help to get those muscles moving. Lighten your weight if needed. Like I mentioned before, the amount of soreness should decrease with time. Ibuprophen also works wonders in decreasing inflammation and pain.

My best advice to you?? Stick to your routines! Fun as it may NOT be, I promise the soreness factor will decrease. And in the mean time, remember that it's your body telling you that something is changing. Change is good.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Exercise of the week: Workout like a football player...or atleast sweat like one

Here is an AWESOME...and challenging workout circuit that you can do at home or at the gym. This is a GREAT way to mix up your workouts, get that heart rate up, burn fat, and tone those muscles all at the same time. The key here is try try and keep going without taking big breaks. The circuit is set up to get that heart rate up and then let you recover for a bit, so try to stick to it as much as possible. If you do need to take a breather try to walk slowly for a bit or keep those feet moving in place to keep that heart going.


60 jumping jacks

20 pushups - try to start out on your toes, doing as many as you can. Drop down to your knees when you have to.
20 walking lunges

20 mountain climbers
- Get down in a plank position. Bring your right knee in to your chest and then back to starting position. Bring left knee into your chest and then back to starting position. Try to speed it up so it's almost a running motion with your hands on the floor.
45 second wall sit
- you may remember this one from jr. high PE. Sit flat back against the wall so your knees form a 90 degree angle. Hold this position with your arms out in front of you.
20 prisoner squats - Do a regular squat in place with your hands interlaced behind your head.
30-60 second plank
- try and go for the full 60 seconds if possible
10 Burpees - start from a standing position. Put your hands on the ground and jump back to a pushup position. Do a pushup if you can. Jump your feet back in and jump up as high as you can with your hands in the air. That counts as one.
20 high knees in place
15 jump squats

15 cherry pickers
- sitting down on the ground balance your weight so you can lean back and pick up your feet. interlace your fingers and twist all the way to the right touching your hands down on the ground. Try to keep your abs tight and legs still as you twist and touch down to the other side. A full rep counts as one touch to the left one touch to the right.

Repeat this as many times as you have time for! I'd suggest two or three times through. Keep that heart rate up, and feel free to add weights to anything you can!