National Running Day

It’s National Running Day, a day in which various organizations within the running industry join forces to help promote running as a healthy, EASY form of exercise. All you need is a sturdy pair of shoes and a great attitude! For more information on National Running Day or to find out how you can participate, check out the official website đź™‚

To feel the warm, humid summer breeze in my face, see the dew on the morning grass and hear the silence of a day that has not quite begun makes it all worth it. -c.v.

Forks Were Designed to Kill.

The fork, spoon and knife were not designed to assist us in eating. Rather, these utensils were intended for use in battle.

At least, this is what I’ve been telling myself more and more as I struggle to make the choice between eating the orange that’s in my hand versus quietly resisting the urge to run out to the store, buy that king size Snickers bar that I really really want and SHOVE the entire chocolatey bar of deliciousness in my mouth.

Ah, decisions. decisions.

Up, up and away!

Don’t get me wrong; it’s perfectly fine to indulge in something that’s probably not-so-good-for-you every now and again. However, it seems as if too many of us find excuses for eating poorly, citing a lack of time, poor scheduling, etc. And the result that we end up with goes straight from whatever is on that fork directly to our stomach, hips, thighs or rear ends. Needless to say, we have become a nation of people who overwork ourselves at our desk jobs but probably don’t put as much work into improving our physical and mental well-being.

According to The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the prevalence of obesity has steadily increased in the United States since 1976 [source]. If you don’t believe these guys, all you have to do is look around you, and you are almost guaranteed to see someone who is packing on the pounds. Why, just the other day, my boyfriend and I were at a store, waiting in line, when he decided to make a game of counting all of the overweight people who passed by the window.

He couldn’t keep up.

Are we lazy? 

Recently, I have been studying up on the effect(s) that various foods have on my own body. When I went to the supermarket, I decided to test myself to see how long it would take me to food shop if I stopped to read every label of what I was purchasing.

It took me 2 hours to purchase roughly fifteen items.

  • My conclusion? Stop buying packaged crap from the middle of the supermarket.
  • My dilemma? Shopping the perimeter of the supermarket (where all of the fresh, healthier choices are) is expen$ive.
  • My solution? Set aside a few minutes at the end of each week to tally up what food items I will need for the following week, and STICK TO THE PLAN. Also, figure out what fruits and veggies are in season & head to a local farmer’s market.

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI),

Food labels play an important role in the battle against obesity and diet-related disease, which are responsible for hundreds of thousands of premature deaths in the United States each year. [source]

It’s no wonder that so many of us don’t really take the time to read the food labels while we’re at the supermarket: it takes too much time. When most of us shop, it’s usually in accordance with one of the following scenarios: we’re usually starving; we are with someone else (i.e. kids, husband, etc.); or we are in transit to some other obligation (i.e. heading home from work, etc.). And if we run into someone we know while we’re in there, or if the store is crowded…forget it.

No excuse.

Even if you claim you are pressed for time, the fact of the matter is that at the end of the day, only you can decide what was actually worth your time to fit into your busy schedule. Keep in mind that even if you don’t have the time to go for a 10 mile run in the morning, you can still squeeze in a quick workout from the comfort of your own home. Jumping jacks, dancing to your favorite song while you put away the dishes or make your kids their lunches for school…it all counts for something. That being said:

  • You control what food you put into your mouth.
  • You control how much or how frequently you want to exercise.
  • You control your mental capacity to get excited about getting in shape.

Now for goodness sake; put down that ungodly piece of junk food; pick up a pen and start charting out a better way to live your life!

When most people go on a diet, they are generally actually making themselves fatter. Each time they diet, they lose muscle. -Mark Hyman, M.D., Ultra-Metabolism

Finding Motivation

There are days when we don’t feel like working out, let alone get out of bed. Whether you typically try to work out in the early morning before heading off to work or later in the evening, the following are five quick ways to help you stay motivated to move.

5 Quick Ways to Get Pumped

  1. Plan it out-We are champions at coming up with excuses for why we didn’t work out. Avoid the guilt that is often associated with skipping workouts by planning your workouts in advance. For example, every day, people hire personal trainers; and these personal trainers then come up with schedules that tell their clients what to do. If you’re unsure what sorts of workouts are best suited to your fitness goals, do a little legwork and research. Head to your local library or ask friends who are already in good shape what they do to maintain their physique. Use your own research to help tailor a plan that works for you, and then write it down and follow it! You’ll end up saving yourself a ton of money.
  2. Create a playlist-While I do not advocate running or exercising outdoors with music in your ears, it is perfectly acceptable to plug in your iPod at the gym. A great way to ensure that you stay pumped during your workouts at the gym is to spend a little time compiling a “workout playlist”. Choose songs from your favorite artists (no matter how embarrassing) and crank up the volume to help you stay motivated while you’re on the elliptical 🙂
  3. Wind down the day- by reading a book, watching television or doing some other sort of non-exercise-related activity. Adequate sleep is so incredibly important to your overall health, which is why you should set aside time to do things that will relax you and prepare you for sleep. Meditation is a great example of this.
  4. Avoid the temptation- to work out too late at night. As a general rule of thumb, your last workout should be completed no longer than 3 hours prior to when you are ready to lay down to go to bed. Part of the reason for this is that when you engage in physical activity, you rev up the energy level in your body, which can make it incredibly difficult to settle down for sleep.
  5. Mix it up- by doing some cross-training. So what if you don’t feel like running one day. Skipping one or even two days won’t kill you. But if you are really in a slump where the very thought of going for a run is the last thing you want to do, why not try something different. Many runners out there engage in some form of cross-training such as swimming, cycling, soccer or some other sporty activity. The point is to participate in some activity that challenges you physically. Not only will your running benefit from it, but so will your body as your muscles will be challenged in new, refreshing ways.

The whole idea of motivation is a trap. Forget motivation. Just do it. Exercise, lose weight, test your blood sugar, or whatever. Do it without motivation. And then, guess what? After you start doing the thing, that’s when the motivation comes and makes it easy for you to keep on doing it. -John Maxwell

8 Observations from Today’s Run

  1. North Carolina is still trying (and failing) to figure out the benefits of having sidewalks that are:
    • located on both sides of the road
    • continue for more than 1000 feet at a stretch
  2. People drive way too damned fast in a rush to get nowhere.
  3. Around mile 7 out of 10.5, my stomach decided it was time to walk the rest of the way home.
  4. Feeling somewhat defeated, I decided to test the theory which claims that smiling makes you feel better.
  5. That lasted approximately 400 meters before I felt like a total idiot.
  6. Cell phone wanderers, People with strollers, dogs, and those with small children are obnoxious and almost always hog the entire sidewalk, thus naturally leading me to contemplate my own horrific death as I am then forced to run on the roads with the other folks from #2.
  7. The same used diaper has been laying in the same spot on the road for at least the last month or so. Every time I run by it, I wonder about its existence. The order is sometimes different, but the scenarios are always the same:
    • a) Passing motorist with baby gingerly tosses used diaper out of vehicle window due to stank.
    • b) Parent from #6 decides that the grass seems like a nice place for a poopy diaper…plus, it’s biodegradable, right?
    • c) Garbage truck accidentally “dumps” odious diaper by the side of the road where it will live out its final days being circumnavigated by lawn maintenance crews who aren’t being paid enough to pick up diapers; sniffed at by pets and other forms of wildlife; and habitually annoying the crap out of one fastidious runner who, with each passing day, is tempted to properly dispose of the damn thing if only she had a hazmat suit handy.
  8. Perhaps it’s time to find a different running route.

If we were faultless, we should not be so much annoyed by the defects of those with whom we associate. -Francois Fenelon