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Ways to Stay Active in the Winter

10 Jan

I can’t believe I start my last semester of grad school in one week. I’m excited that I’ll be finishing school and moving on with the next phase of my life. I know I have time to start looking for a new job, but I’m excited for all the new opportunities and adventures I’ll get to experience this year. Although I do enjoy my current job, it’s an entry level position and I’m already getting the itch to move on to something more challenging.

Last night I skipped my usual after work run and decided to go home and do some cleaning and laundry. I finally have all my Christmas cleaned up and put away. This morning I did a short 12 minute workout from BodyRock.tv called Turn Me On Fitness. At the gym today I did my 40 minute interval workout on the treadmill followed by this abs and arms workout (click on the picture to enlarge).

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I think I may have over worked myself today the arms and abs workout was brutal. I made up for it by enjoying  this delicious blueberry shake when I got home.

Very Berry Smoothie Ingredients:

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

5 whole frozen strawberries

1/2 cup almond milk

1/2 cup vanilla bean greek yogurt

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

1 Tbsp flaxseed oil

1 Tbsp ground flaxseed

That’s it! I just blended it together and it was the perfect amount for my cold cup.

Ways to Stay Active in the Winter

What I love about winter are all the activities that are typically pretty cold weather specific. In the summer it’s very easy to get out and be active, during the cold months a little extra motivation is needed to go out into the cold, but it can be just as fun. I tend to take my rest days on the weekends so instead I like to try to get out and be active. These are some great cold weather activities to enjoy until spring comes back around.

Snowboarding/ Skiing

This is a more expensive option, but not only is snowboarding fun, but it’s also a great workout. Recreational snowboarding can burn 250 to 630 calories per hour for a 110-200 lb adult, so a day or half day at the slopes burns some major calories while also having fun. This is still on my to-do list this year, it’s just a matter of setting a time to go.

Ice Skating

Many towns have indoor and outdoor rinks where you can rent skates for a reasonable fee. This is also a great date idea in the winter. I’m trying to convince Matt to go next weekend, I’ve never gone so it should be an interesting experience.

Sledding

In high school me and my friends went sledding all the time in the winter. I even went a a few times with my friends in college. Sledding makes you feel like a kid again and is a very inexpensive way to enjoy the winter and the snow.

Snowshoeing

If you like hiking in the summer, you should try it’s winter counterpart. This is a great way to check out trails in a new way. There are parks and other locations that rent snowshoes if you don’t want to purchase them.

Going for a Walk

This is one of  my go-tos. Matt and I tend to go on a lot of walks around the city. We will grab a hot cocoa and just take in the sites around Cambridge and Boston, or do some window shopping around Newbury. I always make sure to layer-up and this is another activity that’s free and great to do with a friend.

What are your favorite cold weather activities?

I enjoy snowboarding even though I’m still new at it and not that good, but this winter has been a lot warmer than usual and we’ve been lacking in snow. There was a dusting this morning! I’m hoping for a little more snow so I can get out and enjoy it and luckily there’s more snow in the forecast this week! I am excited to try out ice skating at some point, possibly next weekend.

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Turkey Trot Success

28 Nov

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I got back to Boston last night after an amazing weekend.

Thursday

I woke up bright and early for a 6:45 a.m. turkey trot. I was up a little before 5 a.m. since the race was about 40 minutes away. The race was a 5k and I finished it in 22:13.22 with a 7:14 split time.

Headed toward the finish line!

I just checked the results online and I also found out I placed first within my age group. I had no idea, I guess I should have waited for the award ceremony after. One thing that I liked about this race is they gave out medals as you crossed the finish line.

The medal I received crossing the finish line

I was number 90 overall and from what I heard medals were given to the first 150 finishers. There were 718 participants in the race.

Matt came to watch the race, it’s nice to have someone there for you when you finish a race. After we went back to my parents house to rest and then we had Thanksgiving dinner in the early afternoon. It was delicious! The spread included smoked turkey, stuffing, candied yams, green beans, macaroni and cheese,, cranberry sauce, biscuits, and gravy. Dessert included a delicious pumpkin cheese cake. Matt and I then went to Southbury to celebrate with his family.

Friday

Friday was another early morning. I was up around 4:45 a.m. to do some black Friday shopping. I finished most of my Christmas shopping which was pretty exciting.

Friday night I was able to see some of my good friends from high school. Some of them I haven’t seen in years and it was Matt’s first time meeting some of them. I had a great time just catching up with everyone.

Saturday/Sunday

Matt played some football with some high school friends on Saturday morning. Saturday night we helped his family decorate their Christmas tree.

Sunday I went to church with the fam. I spent the rest of the day eating leftovers and watching TV with my mom and dad before I had to take the bus back to Boston.

The whole weekend was sort of a blur, but I was so glad to spend time with my friends and family. I also love seeing my dog Sammy.

Sammy was begging for food all weekend. We let him have some turkey on Thanksgiving.

Today I was back to my regular schedule. I went to the gym and got a nice 5 mile run in. I will be spending the rest of the week working on school stuff. Finals are right around the corner and I have some major projects due so I may not be posting quite as regularly the next couple of weeks.

How was your Thanksgiving?

No Diet on Thanksgiving!

23 Nov

I’ve read a lot lately about ways to cook healthy Thanksgiving alternatives, eating smaller portions or cutting back calories and working out harder before you sit down for your turkey day dinner. I will say this right now, I don’t believe in dieting on Thanksgiving!

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I live an active and healthy lifestyle year round. Thanksgiving is one of the times of the year that I do like to indulge. I’ll eat a little more than usual, drink wine and have some extra dessert and I think this is absolutely OK. A lot of people that are worrying about calories on Thanksgiving, probably shouldn’t be.

I have a belief that life is all about balance and you shouldn’t deprive yourself. That’s why during a regular week if I want something sweet I will buy some chocolate or whatever else I’m in the mood for. If you deprive your body of something, you will only want it that much more. I also don’t think over-indulgence is a good thing either. I don’t buy large portions of sweets or snacks because I know there is a very good possibility that I will eat a sleeve of Oreos or way more Twinkies than I intended.

I definitely won’t be concerned about the amount of calories I take in tomorrow. I realize everyone is different, but no one should feel bad for taking a day off and just enjoying yourself. If you decide not to exercise, enjoy sleeping in. If you want another piece of pumpkin pie or another serving of stuffing, go for it!

I’m running a small road race tomorrow for fun, but after I’m going to enjoy the time with my family and all the good food.

What are your thoughts on Thanksgiving dieting?

Take Care of Your Running Feet

3 Nov

Today started out with a quick 15 minute workout via BodyRock.tv. I love getting in a quick workout in the mornings. I recently started the BodyRock routines a couple of months ago and I love that they are quick and intense. Some of the workouts require some equipment, but I make up equipment-less variations or they offer variations. They also have a number of workouts that don’t use any equipment other than an interval timer.

I switched it up for lunch this week and instead of my usual salad I’ve been making mini personal pizzas with some leftovers I had at home. I brought in some pizza sauce, low fat mozzarella and whole wheat pitas and left them in the fridge at work. We happen to have a small toaster oven so at lunch time I put about 3 tablespoons of sauce on the pita and sprinkled a small amount of cheese on top. I left it on the toast setting for about 15 minutes and voila, my own personal pizza. I ended up leaving it in a little bit longer than I wanted, but it made the crust crunchier and it tasted more like a pizza.

Delicious pizza, it was the main part of my lunch with some carrots, apple and yogurt

Tonight I got in a 5.75 mile run after work. Which felt great. I’m trying to work on keeping a consistent pace though I always start out quick and end up slowing down toward the end.

Love my Nike+

My foot is finally almost fully healed from the horrible blood blister that turned into a callus I got after running my 10k about a month ago. This got me thinking a lot about ways to take care of your feet since they are runners’ essential tool. These are some great ways to take care of your running feet.

1. Buy the right shoes

This is so important. Once I went to a store and bought a pair of running shoes simply because they were on sale. I think I only ran in the shoes twice because I was got awful blisters and my foot was cramping. Running shoes not only affects your feet, but your whole gait and running performance. Not all running shoes are made equal and everyone should buy shoes based on how they run.

Some shoes are made for people that overpronate, or turn their foot inward when they run. People with flat feet, like me, tend to overpronate when they run. In this case it’s good to buy a shoe with more stability support.

Other runners tend to underpronate and tend to push off more with the outside edge of their foot. For these types of runners you may want to look into more of a cushioned shoe.

Some lucky runners have a normal pronation where there foot gets equal impact. These runners should look for a medium between a cushioned shoe and a structured shoe.

Different Types of Running Pronation

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Some running shoe companies will list all this information on their web site. Also it’s useful to go to a shoe store that caters specifically to runners. I’ve heard New Balance stores provide a professional fitting. Many of these types of stores will be more knowledgeable about the type of shoe that is right for your running style. Buying the right shoes will prevent not only foot and body pain but calluses and blisters as well.

2. Exfoliate

I make a point of constantly exfoliating my feet. Since I run about 3 – 4 times a week I will get some tough skin on areas that my shoes rub against. I keep a pumice stone right in the shower and will scrub the problem areas at the end of my shower. When using a pumice stone you want your feet to be softened and soaked, not dry. That’s why this is the last part of my shower routine. It’s also important not to scrub too hard. Quickly and lightly scrub your problem areas and you will feel and see the results quickly.

If you aren’t much for doing it yourself, spas will exfoliate your feet as part of a pedicure appointment. This is a more expensive option, but to keep smooth soft feet it could be useful to do this about once a month.

3. Moisturize

Yes, your feet need to be moisturized too, so don’t leave your toes and heels hanging when putting on lotion. There are also some great feet specific moisturizers that you can put on overnight or first thing in the day to soften up those feet. Here are a few options that are great at moisturizing dry feet.


[Sources: Amazon: Heel Rescue,  Amazon: Dr Scholls for Her, Walmart: Freeman Bare Foot Balm]

Running can put a major strain on your feet. Taking care of them is a great way avoid pain and calluses. Buying the right shoes can make your run more effective and cause less foot and full body pain. As a runner it’s easy to feel confident in your running shoes, but what about a new pair of heels or strappy sandals in the summer? Taking care of your feet now will make the spring time that much easier to bear.