A Few of my Favorite Fit Things…

With the holidays upon us I was recently asked to share a few of my favorite fit things!  If you don’t know me here’s a synopsis…I’ve personally and naturally shed 170+ lbs (with no desire to gain them back).  I’m a proponent of an overall well being–meaning that in order to truly live a healthy life we must address all aspects of health (mental/emotional, spiritual and physical).  Health is an inside out way of life; we must treat our inside well to reflect a healthy outside.  You’ve seen this probably when people post things like it’s “20% exercise and 80% clean eating/diet”.  But it goes beyond that, our “dirty eating” is triggered by mental/emotional/spiritual lacking.  Similar to how we often confuse hunger with dehydration (meaning we are actually in need of water not food).  I can go more into that in later posts.  This post is about some of my favorite tools to live/lead a healthy life!  So here we go! And some of these are FREE!!

1)  FitBit –This little device (which they have a number of models/styles to choose from) has been attached to my hip–literally–since February 2012!  To date I’ve travel over 6.7K miles!  I love this because it’s a great monitor and motivator to keep me moving throughout my day and not just for my workouts!  The key about sustaining a healthy lifestyle is regular activity not just a hardcore 30-60 minute workout.  This is both a motivator for those busy work days when I’m usually more sedentary and shows me how much more so then usual.  It’s also a great “cheerleader” for those very active days I have!   It’s caught on in my family–my Dad, sister, brother-in-law, three cousins and many friends have their own!  It also allows you the ability to keep yourself accountable with your friends/family online.  

2)  Chopra Center Meditation — I’ve done two of the free 21 day challenges now and loved both of them!  They also offered paid guided meditations and apps.  They help clear my mental clutter and see what’s right in front of me and most important.  I have to admit I don’t get “frazzled” as much any more and this is partially because these challenges allow you to schedule the time to decompress and they guide you towards sustaining the results of their meditations.  

3) Gym Membership — I’m being general here because a gym membership is like a pair of shoes, one style/size doesn’t fit all.  Take the time and do the homework to find the right one for you and your needs.  I’ll admit, I’m a member of 24 Hour Fitness.  I appreciate the convenience and the amenities they offer.  But, there’s no sense in signing up for the one everyone else is if it’s not the right fit for you.  You’ll never go and you’ll end up wasting money.  In fact, perhaps the gym atmosphere all together isn’t your thing…or you are like me and can’t always get there, which leads me to my next favorite thing.

4) & 5) At Home Workouts — I have videos and small equipment (I’m going to mention more than one workout, hence this being two numbers in one).  I’m usually at the gym but there are times I can’t get there.  When that happens I won’t give myself an out but instead another option.  I have a number of different workouts to go to but I like the total body workouts offered in the different BeachBody workouts.  Tony has some great strength and endurance workouts (and NO he doesn’t just do P90X).  My other at home is usually Pilates and/or Yoga.  It’s still one of those workouts that I don’t enjoy doing with a group of people.  So for Pilates I love my Tone and Tighten DVD that I got at my local WeightWatchers which came with some equipment as well!  For yoga I use the PocketYoga app offered for iPad/iPhone.  It’s a guided and timed routine for all levels of yogis!

6) At Home Equipment — Let’s face it, majority of us don’t have room for workout equipment at home and don’t really want an at home gym (I do some day but living in a studio apartment that’s not my reality)!  My go to equipment is the following: yoga mat, kettlebells, bands, and my Gaiam ball/chair.  I’m sitting on the ball/chair as I type this and it’s benefited me in so many ways since I got it!  It’s improved my core while I work, it serves as workout equipment when not being my chair, and my back is much better since I’ve gotten this–I rarely get back/shoulder pain anymore.  The bands are a great alternative to storing weights at home.  For one they are lighter and easier to store!  They come in different tensions to simulate heavier weights and are used in many at home workouts.  Kettlebells can be found at many gyms now as well but I like having my stash at home too.  They are easier to store (in my opinion) vs the regular dumbbells.  They also provide a different kind of weight training workout–think of it like stability training with a weight.  You can do isolated weight training, in addition a lot of the workouts include exercises that work more that one muscle/group at a time which equals more efficient!  And a yoga mat comes in handy for of course your yoga/pilates work but also for any workouts that require you to do floor exercises!.  

7) HydraCoach Water Bottle — I bought mine off of Amazon.com…well I technically got it for Christmas two years ago but I found it there, LOL.  We all have our stash of water bottles (like coffee tumblers) we never use, but this is one I’ve used daily for the past two years!  This water bottle tracks you daily water consumption.  I got it because I always lost track of how many times I’d refill my water bottles and/or glasses.  In addition to, this taught me that I was walking around dehydrated because I was consuming less than my daily goal needed for my body size!  By far one of my favorite products!  I have dropped it (not on purpose), it fits into cup holders, etc. and it’s still by my side daily!  The only thing I’ve had to replace was the mouthpiece and that’s because after two years I wore it out!

8) Journal — Any one that inspires you to go to it daily will do!  I bought my current one off of Amazon but I’ve gotten past ones at Barnes and Noble or other local shops as well.  The purpose of my journal?  Well it’s multi-functional for me!  I track my food/water/activity in my journal but I also write down snippets of what’s happened that day to reflect those choices and then do a weekly reflection of how my week went overall–did I follow Good Health Guidelines, reach my daily water goal, and/or have emotional/stressful day(s)?  It allows me to not only pause and reflect daily/weekly but it offers me the time/space to track that and learn from it.  I can see patterns of good times and struggling times.  

9) Garmin Forerunner — as a runner I have to admit that I’d be lost literally/metaphorically without this!  They come in different styles/models and my Dad even purchased one this past year for himself. Mine is GPS and Heart Rate monitor in one, which is why I got it.  With the training for half marathons I’ve been doing and they on/off road running for it, it’s been a great guide both for miles and my heart rate!

10) CEP Compression Sleeves — my newest addition to my favorites!  In a month I’ve gone from none to four pairs!  They are the one thing I don’t want to take off after my long run days!  They keep you muscles in tip top shape while you are on the go in addition to they are great for recovery as well!  Speaking of recovery, I’m sneaking in one more as a bonus (BonVital) my sport cooling spray.  This was introduced to me by my sports massage therapist and is great for recovery post run!  I pack it in my after race bag for immediate use after I change out of my sweaty clothes.  I reapply after I shower post run as well.  I’ve noticed my recovery to be faster and with little/no soreness.

 

So there you go!!  A few of my Favorite Fitness Things!!!  But remember, they don’t work unless you do!

Wrapping up my Year of the Half Rock n Roll Style!

Wrapping up my Year of the Half Rock n Roll Style!

I still find it hard to believe sometimes that I’ve completed 8 half marathons in a little over more than a year from my first!  As this year comes to a close (and my birthday nears) I’m wrapping up my year with my 9th and final half marathon!  I’ve evolved my walking into jogging into running.  I’ve gone from hoping to finish my first half in under 3 hours (finished 2:35) to my last half finished in 2:02!  I’ve gone from focusing mostly on PRs (personal records) to ENJOYING running!  I’m beyond “half crazy”! LOL

One of my most recent experiences around running really opened my eyes.  I was at a table with some co-workers I was getting to know (beyond email exchanges) and all of them had questions for me on/about running.  It was like I was sitting on a panel for runners and non runners.  The best part, I never once thought “who am I to answer these”, because deep down I’m a runner and my head is catching up to my heart on that!

Running has been one of my best forms of measuring my progressing over the last few years.  For those of you who don’t know where I started here’s the summary: I was well over 340lbs, lost my job/Mom/Grandma within a one month period, and in a general state of feeling lost in the dark.  With no Mom, job, or significant other I had nothing to “fall back on” but myself and my current self was in no shape to help anyone including myself.  I didn’t start off running at 340+ lbs, I started by just putting one foot in front of the other and walking.  My Mom was an avid walker so this also served as a way to connect with her.  As the weight came off (both literally and figuratively) walking became easier and I started to challenge myself with walking/jogging intervals.  In time that turned into running.  At some point though, I had to go outside myself for support and in doing so I found great motivators in family, friends, and social media.  Yes, social media played a part in my weight loss journey.  It’s been via social media that I’ve been able to share my story, meet others on their journey and those who I admire and aspire (running wise) to be like some day!  It was the days I felt I had no where to turn when I’d turn to my SM friends and they’d lift me out of my trenches with no judgement.

I’ve met some AMAZING people through running!  This past month I had the opportunity to meet some of my running idols at the RunRocknRoll #RnRLA (Los Angeles) expo.  People like Dani from WeightOffMyShoulders (fellow WeightWatchers leader), Brian from PavementRunner (who’s a fellow Bay Area runner and a TOTAL ROCKSTAR in my book, ironically we didn’t meet until LA), Linze of SeeSharpRun (super fun/funny guy and never a dull moment when with him), John (who is another rockstar and running #SA2LV this weekend), and last but not least I got to meet some of the @RunRocknRoll team (super cool and committed people who’ve put on some amazing races and included me in them)!  My point to calling these people out?  They don’t need the extra follows trust me, they all have quite a following!  But that they are worth the follow, whether you are a want to be runner, new to running, been running, male/female, East/West Coaster, etc.!  These people cover all the basics and make running fun.  They recognize that it’s about more than PRs but enjoying life and running through it, they pay it forward, and they are inclusive in all they do!  They all inspire/motivate me when I feel like I don’t have anything left to give.

I say all that to say this….

I know it’s been a busy and crazy year and starting this year with doing just my 2nd half ever I’m ending it by completing my 9th!  How apropos that it will be on the same course as many of the above and with @RunRocknRoll!  This post is a reminder to pause through all the hustle and bustle (especially coming up with the holidays) and remember how far you’ve progressed this year.  Change is constant, we often overlook the positive changes we’ve made because of this.  Once upon a time, the #RnRLV was on my bucket list for runs because it usually fell on my birthday weekend.  This year it’s a few weeks earlier, but I feel it’s still a great way to celebrate my life–I’ll be running in a 5K the weekend of my bday in lieu of!

People often ask why I run…I’ve heard a lot of other’s answer this “because I can”, “it keeps me sane”, etc.  And while those all apply to me as well I’d have to honestly answer that I run because it’s a blessing on the life I was graced with.  It’d be like being given the gift of life and not waking up each morning.  I haven’t always had the ability/capability to run, now that I do I won’t take it for granted. This is why I’m ReNewedMe.  I couldn’t go back to what I knew as “normal” and in turn I created my new normal and realized change is good and not as scary as I often saw it to be.