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“How I Became Happy and Healthy”- The 10 Lessons I Learned During My Health Journey

17 Jul
Version 4

About The Author: Hi! My name is Hanna and I am a Junior at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism with a Sustainability Certificate. At the University of Iowa, I am a member of the public relations team of my sorority and starting in the fall, I will hopefully be writing for Iowa’s school newspaper, The Daily Iowan. After graduating from Iowa, I hope to be attending law school to study Environmental Policy and Law. Outside of academics, I enjoy practicing yoga and channeling my creativity through different forms of art. Being a vegan for over a year, I am frequently spending my free time learning more about the vegan lifestyle.

Hi Everyone! Like many others, living a life that promotes both physical and mental health is a top priority, which is why I have spent the past year discovering different strategies that keep me healthy from the inside out. These 10 themes I learned are based off my personal experience, but anyone can apply these topics to their lives regardless of where they are! Each of these tips falls into one of three categories: nutrition, exercise, and mental health. So here are the top 10 lessons I learned while on the path of living a physically and mentally healthy life 🙂

1.    Fuel your body with the proper nutrients!

healhtyeatEating nutrient dense foods is the first step to becoming your healthiest self! A plant-based/vegan diet has all the necessary nutrients your body needs to become strong, toned, and healthy! Consuming our essential macro nutrients (Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat) in whole  plant foods will leave you feeling energized and nourished.

Proteins= The building blocks to our bodies! Proteins make up the structure and function of our tissues which is very important when building muscle! It is extremely easy for vegans to not only consume enough protein for their body’s everyday-function, but also to consume enough to build and maintain muscle mass. My go-to protein providers are quinoa, buckwheat, beans, chickpeas, tofu, and Evolve plant protein powder (it’s so good)! Don’t forget that all plants have protein so don’t worry about not getting enough! Here is an awesome piece about plant-based protein!

Carbohydrates= Energy! All fruits and vegetables have carbs in them which our bodies use to create glucose. Glucose is the sugar that gets used for energy immediately or stored for later. Not only do out bodies need glucose, but so do our brains! With the bad rap carbs get, it’s important to understand that in order to be a functioning, healthy human we need to consume carbohydrates. My favorite complex carb-dense foods are bananas, sweet potatoes, lentil pastas, brown rice noodles, and home-made treats!

Fats= Absorption! It is essential to have healthy sources of fat in your meals so your body can absorb and receive the benefits of all the nourishing vitamins from whole foods! Healthy fats also help you feel satisfied, satiated and can curve cravings. I like to get my servings of fat from avocados, coconut oil, nuts, vegan chocolate, and almond butter!

2.    The timing of your food matters!

nourish bodyNot only is it extremely important to eat the right types of food to be healthy, but it is also important to know when to eat specific foods!

If you have a day packed with activity like walking a long distance, a tough workout, or a race to run, you’ll want to prep your body with a carb-dense meal. Leading off your most energy-expending activity of the day with a substantial, carb based meal will guarantee that you will have a steady flow of energy throughout!

One of the most crucial steps to being fit is making sure you are providing your body with enough protein to gain and retain muscle mass. After an activity where you are exerting large amounts of energy from your muscles (lifting weights, HIIT sessions, long cardio sessions, a challenging hike, etc.), consuming 20-40grams of protein will give your body all the necessary amino acids to repair, maintain, and increase the muscle tissue!

3.    Discover the type of training that works the best for your body!

There are endless benefits to exercise that leads to a healthier body and mind; so in order to be your healthiest and fittest self, finding a workout routine that you love, gets you results, and is sustainable, are key pieces! Whether your goal is to gain muscle, lose body fat, gain speed and endurance, or just to be active overall, there is a style of training that will help you get there. Everyone’s body and goals are different, so find a style of training that makes you the happiest and healthiest!

After trial and error periods, I have found that a routine centered around explosive and body weight exercises consistently gets me to my goals! My workouts always involve exercises that require more than one muscle group like jump squats, push-up-burpees (aka death), walking lunges, and commandos. These are just a few exercises that get my heart pumping and leave me dripping in sweat! Despite the fact that I sometimes think I am going to collapse during a difficult workout, this type of training is what I enjoy, what is sustainable for me, what pushes me, and what keeps me fit!

4.    Find your motivation!

We can’t forget that it takes hard work, discipline, and patience to be the healthiest version of yourself! Ask yourself why you want to commit to this journey. Is it because you’ve played sports or been active your whole life and want to continue? Is it to be confident and completely comfortable with how you look? Is it to get stronger? Leaner? Faster? Do you want to feel your best and be energized? Is it all of the above? Whatever your reason is, find what motivates and inspires you to put in the effort even when you don’t want to! My recommendation is to try to find a mentor or role model that reflects your goals in a healthy and safe way (I have listed my personal favorites at the end). There are so many amazing young men and women that share their fitness and health journeys that provide the opportunity for anyone to follow so find someone who you trust and look up to!

5.    Develop a Healthy Mindset

There is an extreme amount of pressure put on both young men and women to look a certain way, for women to be “thin” yet “curvy” and men to have the “triangle” shape with broad shoulders and a six-pack. These difficult expectations are not only promoted through advertising campaigns but also found through different social media platforms. It is challenging for young men and women to avoid comparing themselves to these unrealistic standards. With the constant pressure to look a certain way, it is crucial that you retain a healthy mindset regarding yourself, your food, and your workouts!

body careI have experienced first hand of what an unhealthy mindset looks like; I counted calories, restricted myself, counter-acted any “slip-ups” with 2 hour long workouts, and sometimes I would even go to the gym twice a day. But the unhealthiest part during this time was that I put an extreme amount of pressure on myself to be this impossibly “perfect” person. After much needed self reflection, I decided that I was no longer going to sacrifice my health and happiness to meet these expectations. I now look at my health and fitness journey with these 3 attitudes.

View food as your friend, not your enemy! Nutritious, whole foods are the necessary support to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Nutrient dense plant foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, and grains will be your allies in being your fittest self! When you do decide to indulge in your choice of “junk food”, try to remember that having a vegan doughnut (my go-to) or a vegan double-cheeseburger is not going to ruin your progress or require you to spend 3 hours at the gym the next day. Don’t be hard on yourself if you “treat yo-self” once in a while!

View your exercise and workouts as a time to make progress toward your fitness goals, not a counter to not-so-healthy choices! Viewing exercise as a time for yourself and a way to increase your strength, speed, endurance, and overall health leads to a healthier mindset. Also, don’t be hard on yourself if you miss a day of exercise! Our bodies require time to recover so don’t force yourself through a workout if you’re sore or if you aren’t up for a gym session! Listening to what our bodies are saying will lead to a healthier self inside and out!

If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself. We tend to be the biggest and toughest critics of ourselves so it is crucial that we maintain a healthy mindset towards what we see in the mirror. Understanding that people see you differently than you see yourself can switch your self-criticism to self-acceptance. No one is going to notice that pimple on your forehead, that you’re a little bloated today, or whatever insecurity is on your mind. Positive self-talk is so important for your happiness and self esteem, so expressing gratitude and appreciation towards how amazing your body is and everything it does will help you feel confident throughout your journey!

These last few lessons I learned are concepts that I follow in order to be in-tune with myself and my happiness!

6.    Don’t forget about your passions!

Each of us has small passions that provide a way to express our creativity and ideas! When we’re trying to keep up with the pace and demands of our lives, sometimes it can be easy for us to forget about our little hobbies that make us happy. Whether you love to create art, build things, take photos, make fire mix-tapes, write poems, watch old movies, whatever it is, just do it! Carving out the time to do something that you love enhances your individuality and will leave you feeling accomplished, content, and proud of who you are. Your passions are what make you, you!

7.    Put yourself first!

This might sound selfish but hear me out. I believe that taking the time to provide space for yourself to decompress and do what is best for yourself benefits not only you, but others. Putting yourself first dedicates the time and mental room to ground and recharge yourself when you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or a little off! If you take the time to support yourself, love yourself, and understand yourself, you then can support others, love others, and understand others!

8.    Learn how to be alone

The wise lyrics of Lil’Boosie and Lil’Phat, “I-n-d-e-p-e-n-d-e-n-t, do you know what that mean mayne?”, asks an important question of the meaning of independence. Being independent doesn’t just apply to your ability to support yourself, it also applies to your emotional and mental independence! There will be times in our lives we won’t have our family and friends surrounding us; maybe we are away at school, or we moved to a different city. Whatever the reason, eventually we will need to learn how to be alone. Spending significant time by yourself allows you to really think about who you are and who you want to be. I am not saying spend a month in solitude just to figure out where you want to go to college, but being alone can lead you to your own conclusions and decisions without outside influence! Spending time in your own company will inevitably create a strong support system for yourself and solid coping skills that will be necessary when making big decisions and struggling with conflict.

9.    Allow room for growth

grothEveryday we are presented with both big and small trials and decisions whether they relate to our careers, home life, school work, or health! These areas of our lives offer the opportunity for us to challenge and push ourselves outside our comfort zones. This final push over the threshold of comfort is where we find the most growth! It may be challenging, uncomfortable, nerve-racking, and even a little scary to challenge ourselves to keep growing in different areas of our lives, but the outcome of our progression is completely worth it. We all have dreams and goals we wish to reach and achieve and its our job to push ourselves to be the best we can be!

10.    Take one step at a time

Life is hard. We get dealt hands we don’t want and we get thrown curve balls we don’t expect. Sometimes we have to adjust our lives, plans, and dreams in order to accommodate our new situations. It may seem overwhelming and daunting when trying to become the person you want to be; but I promise if you just take one step at a time, soon you will be able to look back and see how far you have come!  It doesn’t matter what you are facing; it could be the start of your fitness journey, a mental health situation, relationship problems, uncertainty about your future, whatever it is we’ve probably all experienced it. Just keep moving towards your end goal and I promise that you will make it out on the other side stronger and wiser!

I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to read this piece; I hope I could provide beneficial advice and a helpful point of view!

Here are links to just a few individuals who inspire me to continue on the path of healthy living!

Tess Begg – Both a fitness and vegan inspiration! Tess has delicious recipes and great workouts!

Sarah’s Day – My go-to girl for great workout routines and exercise plans! **Disclaimer: I do not agree with or promote Sarah’s food choices, I only recommend her workouts!**

Hanna ❤

Connect With Hanna!

 

Top 5 Benefits of Getting Hot and Sweaty

1 Nov

Can’t beat the heat?……Then don’t….you will actually benefit from it!

Top 5 benefits of getting hot and sweaty:
This can include training outside in the heat, relaxing in a dry sauna, or doing some hot yoga! Be sure you are pushing yourself to feel pain. Short term pain, long term gain!

1) Helps grow neurons and makes you smarter: Increases norepinephrine which increases focus. Increases prolactin which increases myelin growth in neurons and therefore increases brain function.

2) Helps grow muscle: Increases growth hormone. Decreases muscle degradation increases insulin sensitivity. Decreases insulin resistance.

3) Helps increase endurance: increases bloodflow to muscles. Reduces need to use glycogen stores. Increases blood flow to heart. Reduces body core temp by allowing the body to sweat at lower temps.

4) Helps heal your injury, and prevents muscle loss to your injured area: Increases growth hormone. Increases heat shock proteins which help repair damaged proteins, and increases antioxidants within the body.

5) Heat gives you a “runner’s high.” By putting yourself through the pain of the heat you release Dynorphins. The release of these dynorphins causes sensitivity to the opioid receptors and therefore become extra sensitized to those feel good endorphins. It is worth the pain to feel amazing!!! Hence the explaination why some people like very spicey food!

Get sweaty y’all!

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How to make SMART New Year’s Resolutions!

31 Dec

Check out the blog post I wrote on Mitzi Dulan’s blog in 2010!!

http://nutritionexpert.com/blog/2010/12/how-to-make-a-smart-new-years-resolution/

Fueling for a Half Ironman….VEGAN!

27 Aug

In triathlons there are really 4 disciplines- Swim, Bike, Run and NUTRITION! Nutrition is the most important of them all. Without proper fueling during training and especially during a 5+ hour race, performance will fail. I have been a Vegan for almost a year now. Making this decision was the best decision I have ever made for myself. Some may think it is extreme, but as I have transitioned over to the other side, I feel that eating meat and dairy is extreme! I made the decision not only for the animals and environment, but for my health, fitness and performance. I feel happier now that I do not eat animals or animal products. I feel healthier than I ever have. My times in triathlons have improved this year, and my recovery time has drastically decreased! I’d say this is a win-win situation for everyone!

Now the skeptics come in, asking questions like: Where do you get your protein? How do you get enough calories? Won’t the diet be boring and bland? How much will it cost?  Hopefully, I will answer all these questions and more with one of the menu plans I put together.

I have 2500 calories per day with 60% of the calories coming from carbohydrates, 15% coming from protein and 25% coming from fat. This is tailored to my height, weight, activity level, and activity being mostly endurance. There are 3 meals a day and 3 small snacks. The snacks help to maintain blood sugar in between meals. There is minimal processed food; most comes from the whole food itself. There is no added oil in this plan. The total grocery bill for two people (me being on 2500 calories and my boyfriend Alex being on 3500 calories per day) was 180$ per week. That averages out to about $2.15 per meal (6 meals a day for 2 people, 7 days in the week). The total amount of calories needed to be consumed for the whole week between the both of us is 42,000 calories! I’d say that is a great deal. You cannot get food that cheap going to the fast food restaurant! It took about 1 hour to shop, and 2 hours to prep everything for the whole week. 3 hours total, not long at all. We prepared everything on Sunday night.

                        

                  

     

For breakfast I have a quinoa bowl with blackberries, sliced bananas, almond milk, a dash of SunWarrior Raw Vegan Protein Powder, and ground flax seed. (Alex’s is the same except an addition of walnuts and more quinoa)

For the first snack I have a Larabar. (Alex has a Larabar and a glass of Soy milk)

For Lunch I have a a homemade chipotle bowl! Black beans, brown rice, tomatoes, corn, red peppers, scallions, avocado and salsa. (Alex has more rice)

For the second snack I have a glass of Tempt Chocolate Hempmilk. (Alex has almonds and a soy yogurt)

For dinner I have a kale salad with avocado, carrots, onions, tomatoes with a homemade veggie burger containing lentils, quinoa, oats and pumpkin puree. That is served on an Ezekiel Bread bun with red potatoes on the side. (Alex has added walnuts to the salad and an added potato)

For the last snack I have some mango and a scoop of the SunWarrior raw vegan protein powder in some water. (Alex has an apple, banana and the SunWarrior)

During training and practice, I eat about 200 calories per hour on the bike and about 100 calories per hour for the run. On the bike it is easier to digest so I eat real food like rice balls and baked sweet potatoes. I prefer to eat real food. However, during the run it is a little harder to digest, so I eat quick digesting foods like Clif gels or Hammer Nutrition gels. Remember that nutritional needs are specific to each athlete, so this might not necessarily work for you. It is important to not overdo the calories during exercise, because when you fill your stomach with to much nutrition, there is a greater chance of the gut shutting down. A shut down gut means a shut down race! Testing through trial and error during training is key for a successful race.

I do not give special diets, such as calorie counting and specific meal plans for weight loss (for various reasons), but I do give tailored meal plans for athletes. If you are interested in a tailored nutrition plan for your next race, please contact me at Colleen@NutritionTranslator.com

Fuel Up for Your Event

4 Apr

Are you signed up for competitive event this summer such as a 5K race, 10K race, Triathlon, The Warrior Dash or The Tough Mudder event? Getting the right nutrition before races like these is essential for optimal performance.

Your diet in the weeks before the race:

  • Should consist of whole grains, fruits and vegetables (5 servings a day), lean protein choices (such as beans, lentils, lean meats) and heart healthy fats (such as nuts, seeds and avocados).
  • Re-fuel within 30 minutes of exercise with a protein and carbohydrate, (example: peanut butter with an apple)

Train Your System:

  • It is important to train your digestive system, which will help you avoid intestinal discomfort and diarrhea on the event day.
  • Experiment with foods, beverages and timing to determine what will sit well with you during your event.
  • What works best for you might not work well for others.
  • Race day is not the day to try a new gel or sports drink.

 Timing of Food:

  • It is all about trial and error, but generally eat 1-4 hours before your event.

Rule of Thumb:

  • 60 minutes before you can have ½ gram of a carbohydrate per pound of body weight
  • 2 hours before you can have 1 gram of carbohydrate per pound of body weight
  • 4 hours before you can have 2 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight

 Fluid:

  • 2 cups of water 2 hours before the race, and one cup right before the start time
  • Only drink a sports drink if you are exercising longer than 60 minutes. 

Embrace your Insecurities. Find your Self Worth.

24 Feb

What is weight based discrimination?

To me personally, weight based discrimination looks like this: To those around me I am the “skinny bitch!” In my personal encounter with the “skinny bitch” phenomenon, it’s either I am on a diet, and people are dying to know what to do to look just like me. OR it’s that I am one of those girls who can eat anything she wants and doesn’t gain a pound. I tell them it is in my genes, I have a high activity level and I eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, then they give me this confused look. Then there is this sense of heaviness between me and this person, a sense of resentment. I don’t feel good about that! Now what was once just a number from a scale has now characterized myself as a person and my health. This is called weight-based discrimination. It goes both ways. For “fat” people too.

Lazy. Stupid. Worthless. From news media and magazines to professional conferences and government reports, these are the words often used to describe overweight and obese individuals. The endorsements of such stereotypes often lead to extreme weight loss practices which can induce feelings of guilt and shame. 

Weight and BMI are poor predictors of disease and longevity. The bulk of epidemiological evidence suggests that five pounds “underweight” is more dangerous than 75 pounds “overweight.” Multiple studies are suggesting that a focus on weight as a health criterion is often misdirected and harmful. There are “normal” people that are sicker than overweight people. There are many factors to consider when evaluating the connections between weight and health. Fitness, activity, nutrient intake, weight cycling or socioeconomic status as well as emotional support systems and social interactions are all relevant to someone’s quality of life, health, and wellness status.

Have you heard of The Health At Every Size® (HAESSM)? The Health At Every Size® (HAESSM) approach is an alternative to the 
weight/size-based paradigm upon which much current public health policy is based. The Health At Every Size principles are: Accepting and respecting the diversity of body shapes and sizes. Recognizing that health and well-being are multi-dimensional and that they include physical, social, spiritual, occupational, emotional, and intellectual aspects. Promoting all aspects of health and well-being for people of all sizes. Promoting eating in a manner which balances individual nutritional needs, hunger,
satiety, appetite, and pleasure. Promoting individually appropriate, enjoyable, life-enhancing physical activity, rather 
than exercise that is focused on a goal of weight loss.

In a study comparing the HAES model to a diet approach, though only dieters
lost weight, both groups initially had similar improvements in metabolic fitness, 
activity levels, psychological measures, and eating behaviors. After two years, 
dieters had regained their weight and lost the health improvements, while the 
HAES group sustained their health improvements. Restrictive dieting is an ineffective long-term prescription for “obesity,” as up to 95% of dieters regain the weight they lost, and sometimes more, within three years. Restrictive dieting and weight cycling can lead to physical complications including 
slowed metabolism, reduced muscle tissue and body temperature,
and eating disorders. Weight-loss surgery (WLS) intentionally damages healthy organs in order to force 
 adherence to a restrictive diet and incurs a host of short- and long-term risks 
including death and malnutrition.

We need to shift the focus, and question how and when weight discrimination became acceptable? Shift the focus and reclaim our right to health and well being regardless of our size. Shift the Focus, and put an end to weight-based discrimination.

How can you shift the focus? First, STOP ALL “Fat Talk!” Don’t compare your body to others. Appreciate your body for what it can do. Turn a negative into a positive. Instead of “I’m stocky,” try “I’m strong!” Never Fat Talk in front of your kids or friends. Exercise and engage in physical activity without a goal of weight loss. Feeling guilty — consuming, upsetting GUILT — is not a normal, healthy reaction to eating. Guilt is internal Fat Talk. Eat in a manner which balances individual nutritional needs, hunger,
satiety, appetite, and pleasure.

We all have a word that encompasses our struggles. It may or may not have to do with your weight. This word is a result of our experiences in life, how we were raised, how others treated us, how we perceive ourselves, how we might compare ourselves to others….this word describes our most deepest vulnerabilities and fears. Check out this powerful video, illustrating this: http://youtu.be/szi0fJxpwOI

What is your word? For me it’s REJECTION.

Find out what that word might be for you, embrace it, and discover that despite this insecurity, you still have SELF WORTH. We all face daily struggles and discrimination as humans. By realizing this and seeing that everyone has their own struggles, we will all have more of an understanding to form a more loving and accepting world, not only for ourselves, but others as well. Unity is power, and through power we can change lives.

Go Climb a Rock!

22 Jan

Rock climbing is a sport in which participants climb up, down or across natural rock formations or artificial rock walls. The goal is to reach the summit of a formation or the endpoint of a pre-defined route without falling. Rock climbing is a physically and mentally demanding sport, one that often tests a climber’s strength, endurance, agility and balance along with her or his mental control.Rock climbing is a lot of fun and an extreme adrenaline rush, the higher the more adrenaline! Rock climbing is a very good workout, you can burn many calories and at the same time build strength in your arms and legs. I love to rock climb both indoors and outdoors!

Most of the climbing done in modern times is considered free climbing — climbing using one’s own physical strength, with equipment used solely as protection and not as support—as opposed to aid climbing, the gear-dependent form of climbing that was dominant in the sport’s earlier days. Free climbing is typically divided into several styles that differ from one another depending on the equipment used and the configurations of their belay, rope and anchor systems (or the lack thereof). Here are some of the different styles of rock climbing.

  • Aid Climbing – Still the most popular method of climbing big walls. Progress is accomplished by repeatedly placing and weighting gear which is used directly to aid ascent and enhance safety.
  • Free climbing – The most commonly used method to ascend climbs refers to climbs where the climber’s own physical strength and skill are relied on to accomplish the climb. Free climbing may rely on top rope belay systems, or on lead climbing to establish protection and the belay stations. Anchors, ropes and protection are used to back up the climber and are passive as opposed to active ascending aids. 
  • Traditional climbing – Traditional or Trad Climbing involves rock climbing routes in which protection against falls is placed by the climber while ascending. Gear is used to protect against falls but not to aid the ascent directly.
  • Sport Climbing – Unlike Traditional Rock Climbing, Sport Climbing involves the use of protection (bolts) or permanent anchors which are attached to the rock walls.
  • Bouldering – Climbing on short, low routes without the use of the safety rope that is typical of most other styles. Protection, if used at all, typically consists of a cushioned bouldering pad below the route and/or a spotter, a person who watches from below and directs the fall of the climber away from hazardous areas. 
  • Free soloing (not to be confused with free climbing) is single-person climbing without the use of any rope or protection system whatsoever. If a fall occurs and the climber is not over water (as in the case of deep water soloing), the climber is likely to be killed or seriously injured. 
  • Indoor climbing – Permits climbing in all types of weather and at all times of day. Used for improving climbing skills and techniques.
  • Deep Water Soloing – Similar to free soloing in that the climber is unprotected and without a rope, but different in that if the climber falls, it is into deep water instead of on to the ground.
  • Rope soloing – Solo climbing with a rope secured at the beginning of the climb allowing a climber to self-belay as they advance. Once the pitch is completed the soloist must descend the rope to retrieve their gear, and then reclimb the pitch. 
  • Simul climbing – When two climbers move at the same time. The pseudo-lead climber places gear that the pseudo-follower collects. When the leader runs low on gear they construct a belay station where the follower can join them to exchange gear. 
  • Top roping – Climbing with the protection of a rope that’s already suspended through an anchor (or also known as a “Top Rope System”) at the top of a route. 

Here I am doing some rock climbing of my own!

Above: Getting ready to climb somewhere in Austria

Above: Feeling a little nervous! It looked so high

Above: Going at it!

Above: Having some fun climbing the rocks

Above: Repelling down off a very high cliff!

Above: Repelling

Above: Indoor climbing at Kendell Cliffs

Above: all ready to start climbing!

Above: Doing the hard route first?? yup

Above: go climb a rock!

Above: Thinking about my next move

Above: Almost to the top! 🙂

Rock Climbing is a very fun sport to get involved in! Check out to see if there is a rock wall or rock climbing group you can get involved in in your area. You will have a blast! 🙂

Try A Triathlon!

17 Jan

SWIM-BIKE-RUN that is the order that the triathlon goes. A sprint triathlon is usually between 400-800m swim, 12-16 miles bike and a 5k run. An Olympic distance is double that. A half iron man triathlon is 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and a 13.1 mile run. A full Ironman is double that. So far I have only done spring triathlons. I plan on doing my first olympic triathlon this summer 2012, and plan on doing my first half ironman (Boulder Colorado 70.3) in 2013!!

Transitions are between both the swim and bike (T1) and the bike and run (T2). The transition time also counts in your overall time, so you must be quick during the transitions too! It is best to work practicing your transitions into your workout routine. A brick workout is usually a good idea to try. A brick workout involves biking and running consecutively. The workout is helpful to train the body to change from bike to run, as well as to cut time off the transition changing from bike to run. A triathlon suit also helps to speed up the transition time. I had been using a regular bathing suit and had to put bike shorts for my swim to bike transition, and take them off for the bike to run transition. With a tri suit you do not need to put on or take off bike shorts, since there is a little padding built into the tri suit. This can take 30 seconds or more off your time! I used my tri suit for my last triathlon of the season this summer and could really tell the difference. I got a personal record!

Here are some pics of the transition area:

Above: Transition area at Munroe Falls Tri 2011

Above: Here I am putting my number on my bike in the transition area Clay’s Park Tri 2011

Above: Here is my little spot all set up in the transition area, Clay’s Park Tri 2011

Above: Transition area at Lorain Lakeview Tri 2011

Above: Showing off my guns in the transition area of Vermilion Tri 2011

Chillen in the transition area after the Munroe Falls Tri 2011

The swim is usually an open water swim. Most non-swimmers are usually the most scared of this leg, and rightfully so! Since most triathlon swims are in a lake it can be scary going into open water. If the triathlon is large, then it is a concern about getting kicked or hit in the head with a hand. Some are concerned that if they get tired there will be nowhere to rest. The goal here is to be confident in the swim. If you hesitate then you may get run over by the crowd. When the start horn blows I sprint out ahead of everyone and get a good head start. I also like to go on the end, and not right in the middle of the group. If there is a curve or buoy to go around, then I make sure I am on the outside of the buoy. If you are on the inside, it is possible you may get run over. Everyone thinks this was is faster, but in my opinion it is fast to go a little outside the buoy where there are little people swimming. Swimming is my favorite leg of the race, mainly because I swam competitively for over 10 years on the swim team!

Above: Showing off the beautiful Lake Erie in which I swam for the Huntington Beach Tri 2011

Above: Nervous for my first Tri, Clay’s Park Tri 2009

Next is the Bike leg of the race. Depending on the course it can be very hilly or flat and straight. My personal favorite courses are the courses that are hilly and in the shade. Yes, you do have to go up the hills, but going down them is the fun part. If the course is flat the whole time, you have to use more power to push through it.

Above: Bike Transition Clay’s Park Tri 2009

Above: Action shot of bike to run transition Huntington Beach Tri 2011

The Last Leg of the race is the run. After giving full power in the swimming and biking the run can be challenging, especially if the weather is very hot! This is probably my least favorite part of the race. However, I’m learning to like it more as I get stronger in running. It is important to push through the run, because all your hard work you put in for the swim and bike might be lost during the run. I really enjoy the races where the bystanders in the houses spray cool water on you as you run by. That is very refreshing and makes the race fun! 

Above: here I am sprinting to the finish at the Lorain view park Tri 2011

Finishing a Triathlon is a great feeling! I feel on top of the world after finishing a Triathlon! Check this youtube video of my Vermilion Harbor 2010 Finish!! CLICK HERE!!

Above: Fueling up after Vermilion Harbor Tri 2011

Above: Results are up Vermilion Harbor Tri 2011…..Personal Record!!!!!!!

Above: Enjoying Lake Erie after Vermilion Harbor Tri 2011

Above: Second place in my age group Vermilion Harbor Tri 2011

Check out my first 70.3 Triathlon race video!!!!!!

My New Vibram Five Fingers

4 Jan

For Christmas this year I got just want I wanted, a new shiny pair of Vibrams! I have been using the Treksport Vibrams. Since the moment I bought them, I have never looked back to regular running shoes. I wrote a post in August of 2010 when I got my first pair. It took me a couple months to fully work them in. After using the Treksports for over a year now, I feel healthier and more connected to my body. My feet and calf muscles are stronger. My balance is better. I ran two half marathons in my Treksports this past year, and 5 Triathlons this past summer. I use them during my fitness classes like Yoga, Body Sculpting and Kickboxing. I wear them out and about, and if I could I would wear them every day! Since I have have worn my Treksports so much they started to smell. That would be the only downside! I washed them and washed them, but couldn’t get the bad smell to go away. That’s when you know it’s time to get a new pair. My new Vibrams are Bikilas and are bright pink and orange…..just my style! There are more color options available since I got my last pair. They are a size smaller than my last pair. I have been running in them and already and they feel great. The Bikilas are a good choice for running. 

Remember, everyone’s feet are different, so it might take you longer (or shorter) to work them in. Your feet contain 52 bones, 66 joints, 40 muscles, and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons, and ligaments—collectively forming two of the body’s most beautifully efficient mechanisms. Yet most people assume that there is something inherently “wrong” with their feet: too wide, too narrow, arches too high or flat, etc. Traditional shoes have become a way of “fixing” these assumed abnormalities. And, as a result, the powerful architecture of our feet has become hidden, disliked, and incredibly sensitive – even weakened. Feet have taken the brunt of a cultural notion that your foot is “wrong;” that corrective shoes will make it “right.” How crazy is that? Vibrams are the real cure! Check out Vibramfivefingers.com for more information on how to get started and learn how to get to know your feet.

I swear by these shoes and will never turn back to regular running shoes. I am upgrading to Olympic Triathlons this summer, and doing the Ironman 70.3 in Boulder Colorado in Fall 2013 using these babies for the run! I feel like a kid again running in these shoes! Consider trying these yourself! You will be happier, healthier and feel more connected with your body. 

Kickboxing-Find Your Inner Fighter!

25 Dec

 Kickboxing: what exactly is it? It refers to a group of martial arts and stand-up combat sports based on kicking and punching, historically developed from karate, Muay Thai and western boxing. Kickboxing is often practiced for self-defense, general fitness, or as a contact sport.

I recently moved to Michigan temporarily to complete my clinical nutrition rotations at Botsford Hospital for my dietetic internship. I needed to find a gym close by that was affordable. I ended up finding a great, cheap gym, Fitness 19, about 2 miles from where I am staying. The gym even included free fitness classes! I started going to the Kickboxing class and expected for it to be a cardio kickboxing class with no actual punching or kicking/hands on stuff. I was (pleasantly) surprised that we would be using boxing gloves and hand-wraps during the class! From the very first class I could definitely tell that it was something that I really enjoyed. It is a different type of workout that really pushes me. I have a lot of endurance, but with the punching and kicking in kickboxing I quickly run out of gas! This is a great total body workout. It is even a workout for your mind, because you have to constantly be thinking and anticipating the trainer’s next move/call. I feel an extreme adrenaline rush while working with the trainer. I certainly have found my inner fighter! 

I will be very sad when I have to leave Michigan in January because I have made some friends in the class. Also my trainer Cory (see more info on him below) is an outstanding and intensely motivating trainer. I have him to thank for the awesome shape I am in now!

My new friend Deborah!

A little demo from Cory (how do you like the paintings on the wall? :))

Practicing some kicks and punches

More punching and kicking! Some doing some shadowboxing and others working with the pads.)

Trying not to get my head taken off!

Going in for a hard cross

Working hard!

More about my kickboxing trainer, Cory Craft:

Cory’s Training and Experience: Cory has training in Taekwando, Judo, Jujutsu and Kickboxing. He is a Certified Personal Trainer and a Certified Kickboxing Fitness Instructor. Cory has been fighting for 9 years. 

Cory’s Life Motto: Cory had a rough and wild past, and decided he didn’t want to live that way anymore. From that choice came a positive character change. Cory treats those how he would like to be treated, with respect. He is a very hardworking  person, and loves his job as a personal trainer. This makes Cory extremely approachable and exceptionally fun to work with.

How can you contact Cory? Cory is currently looking to take on new clients for personal training in kickboxing, Judo and JuJutsu. If you are in the Canton Michigan area then give him call! 734-394-6968

I encourage you to try kickboxing, find a class or kickboxing trainer in your area! It is a great adrenaline rush and a phenomenal workout! In combination with your healthy diet, you will feel like a million bucks!