The Fit Life, LLC

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How about a half?

So, what are your goals for 2011? Did you resolve to kick up your running program? Expand beyond the 5k? Or maybe you'd like to ramp up your overall fitness with a day by day program?

One of my clients has decided she would like to run a half marathon, and she asked me if I would run it with her. Mark and I were planning on doing a Spring half anyway, so I said, "Sure!"

We decided to aim for a May marathon, giving her four full months to train. The Capital City Half Marathon in Columbus fit the bill.

So the reason for this post? Well, I thought maybe you'd like to join us! If not in person, maybe you can cyber train with us!

Below I've posted the training schedule I created for us. Follow along, and let me know how you're doing. If you have any questions, please leave a comment or email me at

It starts the Monday after New Year's! Happy training!









1-mile warm-up run

Weights – full body


30 – min run (int)



1-mile warm-up run

Weights – full body


30 – min run

Warm-up walk (5 min)

Weights – upper body, abs

Full stretch

3 – mile run (week 1)

3.5 – mile run (week 2)

4 – mile run (week 3)

4.5 – mile run (week 4)



1.5 – mile warm-up run

Weights – full body


35-min run (int)


1.5 mile warm-up run



35 – min run

Warm-up walk (5 min)

Weights – upper body, abs

Full stretch

5 – mile run (week 1)

6 - mile run (week 2)

7 - mile run (week 3)

8 – mile run (week 4)



2 – mile warm-up run

Weights – full body


40 min run (int)



2 – mile warm-up run



40 – min run

Warm-up walk (5 min)

Weights – upper body, abs

Full stretch

9 – mile run (week 1)

10 – mile run (week 2)

11 – mile run (week 3)

12 – mile run (week 4)



1 – mile warm-up run

Weights – full body


45 min run



1 – mile warm-up run



45 – min run

Warm-up walk

Weights – upper body, abs

Full stretch

8 – mile run (week 1)

13 – mile run (week 2)

10 – mile run (week 3)

14 – mile run (week 4)

8 – mile run (week 5)



1 – mile warm-up run

Light Weights—especially on legs

30 – min easy run


1-mile warm-up run

Easy weights – no legs

30 – min
easy run


Complete stretch

Race Day!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Do what to my what??

Dry skin brushing. I know it sounds weird (and according to my husband, it looks a bit weird too), but it does a body good!

I had never heard of it before either, but then I started reading about it in one of my holistic health classes, and it intrigued me.

The body has four detoxification systems that help keep you healthy: the kidneys, liver, intestines and skin. The ways the kidneys, liver and intestines get rid of toxins are fairly obvious (we won't get into that right now), but how about the skin? Well, we sweat. That's one way our skin gets rid of toxin in our bodies (and for that reason, I encourage people to exercise without deodorant whenever possible. I realize you don't want all the other gym members to go screaming out of the gym, but if you're running by yourself through the woods, let the sweat flow)!

So, what are the benefits of dry brushing? Dry brushing stimulates the skins which improves circulation and cleanses the lymphatic system. It removes dead skin cells, activates oil glands in the skin (relieving dryness) and (this is what sold me) it's suppose to break-up cellulite and improve muscle tone.

So how does one brush their skin? First you need the right brush. You want one with natural bristles. Nylon bristles will damage your skin. I went to the drug store and picked up one of those bath brushes with the long wooden handles. Then, starting with the bottoms of your feet you gently brush your skin. Work your way up with nice, long strokes toward your heart. Where you have cellulite, spend some extra time and brush in circular motions. After you've gone up the legs, torso and back (ladies, skip the breast area--the skin there is too sensitive), go down the arms (including your hands) and back. Skip the face because if its sensitive skin. The whole process takes less than five minutes and really feels kind of nice! The best times to dry skin brush are before a shower (then follow with moisturizer if you'd like. I recommend an all natural oil) or before exercise (so you can sweat out more of those toxins). I've been doing it two or three times a day (keep in mind I'm a fitness instructor and tend to sweat and shower several times a day).

I'm new to this. I just started dry skin brushing a week ago. I will tell you the immediate benefits I've seen. First, my skin hasn't been nearly as dry. In the winter my skin gets so dry that it itches, and I just want to claw at it. Within two days, my skin was not itchy anymore. My skin has also become very soft. In fact, when I went to get my allergy shot the other day, the nurse told me I had the softest skin she had ever felt (like a baby's butt were her exact words).

I would love to tell you that the cellulite on my thighs has magically disappeared in a week, but I'm afraid I can't do that. But I am hopeful there will be some improvement in that area!

So treat yourself to some dry skin brushing. You deserve to pamper yourself a bit. And this is a quick, inexpensive (my brush cost less than $5) way to treat your body right!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Recipes (a contest of sorts)

I love healthy recipes--especially ones that use a lot of fresh spices (and are easy to prepare). As you know, I've been posting some of my favorite ones as I try them out. Now I want to offer that opportunity to Fit Life fans. In the end, I hope to offer a healthy, online cookbook on the Fit Life, LLC website that categorizes the recipes into "heart healthy," "cholesterol-friendly," "anti-inflammatory," etc.

To start, I just need to start collecting recipes. That's where you come in! I challenge you to send me your favorite healthy recipe to be included in the Fit Life, LLC cookbook. Please include your name, city and state so you can be credited for your recipe. I will leave your actual recipe untouched; however, I may suggest healthy substitutions under your recipes if I know of any (or suggestions to lower salt, cholesterol, processed foods, etc.). If you took your recipe directly from a cookbook, please credit that cookbook when sending your recipe.

I will send either a Fit Life t-shirt or jump rope to the first 15 people who send me healthy recipes (so please be sure to email me your t-shirt size or height if you prefer a jump rope, along with your mailing address).

Recipes can be sent to: or you can post it as a comment to this blog. As I get more recipes I will start developing an electronic cookbook off my website.

So bring on the recipes! I can't wait to see them!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Over the River and through the Woods, to Calorie Town we go

We are now officially in the holiday season. You've made it through step one--Halloween. Good job! Hopefully, you kept your chocolate eating to a minimum and got plenty of exercise. If there's any Halloween candy left, for goodness sakes, throw it away! Next up--Thanksgiving! And once you get through Thanksgiving, the holiday cookies start making their appearance!

How can you make it through the next two months without putting on holiday weight?

First, I think it's important to have realistic goals. I wouldn't choose this time of year to try to lose weight. Instead, I would go with the maintain don't gain philosophy. So go ahead and weigh in. See where you are right now and then resolve to maintain that weight through the first of the year. It will keep you honest and motivated.

Here are some other tips for keeping off the holiday pounds:

Train for a January or February event. Depending on your activity level, this could be a 5k, a half marathon, or an indoor triathlon. I know it's cold out there, but by signing up for an event, you're committed to training for it--and that means consistent exercise.

Sign up for a local Turkey Trot. Many communities have them Thanksgiving morning. They are usually five miles long and you can either run or walk them. You'll be around 500 calories down before you eat that first bite of Thanksgiving dinner. Try not to get into the mindset that you can eat an extra slice of pie because you burnt the extra calories calories! If your community doesn't have an organized Turkey Trot, do your own. Get the family out for a morning walk around the neighborhood.

Don't deny yourself those meals you only eat around the holidays. Try everything you want--just don't try a lot of it! Have small servings of stuffing, gravy and mashed potatoes, but load your plate up with salad greens (easy on the dressing), vegetables and white meat turkey. Allow yourself a small sliver of pie so you don't feel denied. Sometimes when we deny ourselves the food we really want, we end up over-indulging in it.

If you're preparing the Thanksgiving feast, look for low-fat versions of your favorite recipes. Make your stuffing from whole grain bread and cut some of the butter out of the recipe (or use healthier versions of butter like those made from yogurt or try using ghee). Use skim milk instead of whole milk. Cut out some of the sugar in your recipes. Sweet potatoes are healthy (and deliciously sweet) BEFORE adding loads of brown sugar, marshmallows and butter.

Don't do your Christmas shopping online. I know it's convenient and you don't have to deal with the crowds, but you can burn a lot of calories hauling your shopping bags around the mall.

Buy friends and family healthy gifts for the holidays (eehhmm...perhaps a personal training gift certificate), exercise videos, certificates to aerobics classes, fitness equipment, etc. And stuff stockings with fruits, jump ropes, resistance bands and healthy snacks.

Alcohol can be a killer during the holidays. Egg nog is loaded with calories. Again, don't completely deny yourself. It's okay to sip on a glass of egg nog, but do just that...sip it. And have a full glass of water between each drink. You'll feel fuller and drink less. I have actually made a wine deal with myself: 1 glass of wine = 1 mile of running. No wine for me if I haven't run it off earlier in the day (note: if I do a five mile run, that doesn't mean I'm drinking five glasses of wine that night)!

And finally, when all else fails (and it won't if you're careful) set goals for the new year. Goals can be set any time of the year, but there's something about a brand new year that inspires. But be sure to keep your goals realistic so you don't set yourself up for failure. Rather than resolving to lose 50 lbs, resolve to increase the number of days you exercise each week. If you currently work out twice a week, try for four times a week. If you've never run before, resolve to start running and conquer a 5k or 10K. Work up to the marathon. If you want to be a faster runner, resolve to beat your best race time, not to win the race.

The same goes for nutrition. Resolving to eat better is great, but how about making the goal more specific. If you're not a big veggie eater, resolve to eat two fresh vegetables a day. Maybe you could cut your red meat intake down to once a week and resolve to eat more farm fresh chicken and wild caught fish. Maybe you can even resolve to eat vegetarian one dinner a week.

With just a little diligence, you can enjoy your holiday season without the health risks of weight gain. So indulge yourself--but just a little. And enjoy your time with family and friends.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Recipe Post: Jamaican Stew

When I mentioned I made this for dinner, many folks seemed interested. So I decided to use it as a recipe post. Not to sound like a broken record, but this recipe also came from Robin Robinson's Quick-Fix Vegetarian. If you enjoy making vegetarian meals (even if you're not a vegetarian), I highly recommend her cookbooks. I have the one mentioned above and 1,000 Vegan Recipes (even though we're not vegan), and I have yet to try a bad recipe. Her use of spices is just amazing. Everything we've made out of either book has been simply fantastic!

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups sliced baby carrots (or nice, fresh organic carrots)
3 scallions, chopped
1 sweet potato, diced
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (We like spice, so I put about a tsp in)
1/4 tsp ground allspice
Salt and pepper to taste (we just peppered--especially if your diced tomatoes have salt)
2 cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (I don't care for kidney beans...have a texture issue with them. So I used black beans. I'd use whatever beans you like)!
1 can unsweetened light coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth (we buy they low sodium, organic broth. Robinson's cookbook has a recipe for homemade)

Pour the oil into a 4-quart slow-cooker and set the cooker on high. Add the garlic and put the lid on the cooker while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

To the cooker, add the carrots, scallions, sweet potato, and tomatoes. Stir in the curry powder, thyme, red pepper flakes, allspice, and salt and pepper. Add the beans, coconut milk, and broth. Reduce heat, cover, and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Recipe Post: Edamame Pesto

We made this last night. It was delicious like regular pesto, but with less fat and more protein and fiber. This is from Robin Robertson's Quick-fix Vegetarian. The recipes in her book are dairy-free so there isn't any cheese in the recipe. I will admit I added a little grated Parmesan.

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen shelled edamame
1 pound linguine (use whole wheat for a healthier meal!)
1 large clove garlic (I used three)
1/2 teaspoon salt (was fine without any salt--especially since I added some Parmesan)
1 1/4 cups firmly packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice (I used the bottled stuff)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I cut this down to just over a 1/4 cup and used basil infused olive oil)

Put the pasta water on to boil in a large covered pot. Cook the edamame in a small saucepan of salted boiling water until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

When the pasta water comes to a boil, salt it (I did not), add the linguine, and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is al dente, about ten minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, make the pesto: In a food processor, process the garlic and salt until finely minced. Add the cilantro and puree to a paste. Add the cooked edamame and the lime juice and process until blended. With the machine running, add the oil and process until blended. Add up to 1/2 cup of the hot pasta water to make a smooth sauce. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and toss with the sauce.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dog Fit!: Because Dogs are People Too!

The Fit Life, LLC is launching a new program today: Dog Fit!

Dog Fit! will offer your furry friend a one-mile dog walk or run, one to five days a week (Mon. - Fri.). It's personal training for your dog at a cost you can afford!

Sometimes we humans work a lot of hours, over-extend ourselves, or just don't feel like getting outside in the nasty weather. Perhaps your physical health doesn't allow it? And our dog friends miss out on some much needed daily exercise. Dog Fit! will offer your dog some midday exercise, because dogs need to live The Fit Life too!

Right now the program is open to Bellbrook residents only (if you're in Sugarcreek, but close, give me a call). If the program really takes off, we will look into expanding, and having fill-in dog walkers so you never miss a day. The goal is to get eight steady Dog Fit! clients (more or less--depending on whether or not they are two-dog households). So contact us now!

All the details and some FAQ's are one our new web page. Check it out and let me know if you have any questions!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Recipe Post

I'd like to post more blogs, but sometimes my brain just doesn't have a topic in it! So I've decided that every time I find a recipe I really like (like because of taste, ease and health), I'm going to post it.

So look for my favorite recipe posts in addition to my other random blogs.

Today's recipe is healthy creamy tortilla soup.

I just made this very easy, healthy, delicious tortilla soup, so I thought I would share. Taste will totally depend on what salsa you choose to use. I used Trader Joe's Three Pepper salsa. It was delicious! This is from: quick-fix vegetarian by robin robertson.


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing the tortillas

2 cloves garlic, chopped (I used a garlic press)

1 1/2 cups tomato salsa

4 cups vegetable broth (bought organic, low sodium veggie broth)

2 ripe Hass avacados

2 tablespoons of lime juice (or juice one fresh lime)

Salt and pepper to taste

3 to 4 corn tortillas

Heat the 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in 1 cup of the salsa and the broth and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Halve and pit one of the avocados and place it in a blender or food processor. Add the soup mixture and process until smooth. Transfer back to the pot, add the lime juice and parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper (we stay low sodium here...didn't add any salt for a healthy, low sodium soup). Simmer over low heat while you toast the tortillas.

Lightly brush the tortillas with oil and cut them into thin strips, about 1/4 inch wide by 2 inches long. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the tortilla strips and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes.

Just before serving, halve, pit and dice the remaining avocado and stir half of it into the soup. To serve, garnish the soup with the remaining diced avocado, remaining 1/2 cup salsa, and the tortilla chips.

Says it serves four. If it's your meal (and one of the people is Mark) I would say serves two. Only fat is good fat from the avocado.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Type A? Me? No way!

According to Wikipedia, Type A individuals can be described as impatient, time-conscious, controlling, concerned about their status, highly competitive, ambitious, business-like, aggressive, having difficulty relaxing; and are sometimes disliked by individuals with Type B personalities for the way that they're always rushing. Type B individuals, in contrast, are described as patient, relaxed, and easy-going, generally lacking an overriding sense of urgency.

For as long as I've heard the terms Type A and Type B, I've associated Type A people as uptight and no fun, and Type B people as easy-going and fun. Therefore, I have known all along I was a Type B kind of person.

However, several years back my friend Maria started teasing that I was a closet Type A personality (she also said I was a closet Republican--and that's just wrong). But she may have had a point about me being a closet Type A. I do have some Type A leanings, but they are swirled in with some very Type B traits. I think I have a dual personality!

For example, I love to camp. And I have no problems being disheveled and grimy for several days at a time if it means beautiful hikes and adventures. At the same time, I'm an obsessive planner, so it will drive me a little crazy if that camping trip isn't planned ahead of time and I don't know what we're eating each night of the trip so I can do the proper shopping for it.

Mark likes to make reservations at the last minute so we can get a deal. And I totally understand that logic. I try my hardest to go with the flow. But the closer the trip gets, the more stressed I feel without reservations. And it's not like I have every minute of every day of our vacations planned, but I'm afraid if we don't plan out at least some of our activities ahead of time, we'll end up sitting in a hotel room discussing what we want to do--wasting precious time.

I come from a family of planners. I can tell you the day, time and place my family will celebrate Christmas in 2017, and Thanksgiving in 2018. On the other hand, we usually aren't sure when my husband's family will celebrate until a few days before. I'm learning to work with that (really...I'm trying).

There are other examples:

Type B: I'm messy. There's dirty laundry all over the floor. The pantry has no organization to it whatsoever, and there are cat toys all over the living room floor.

Type A: I can't stand it when the stray bowls (the ones I can't get my husband to get rid of) get mingled in with the bowls that go with our dish sets (we actually have three different dish sets--that's drives me a little bonkers too). I like the glassware lined up very neatly and orderly. And it drives me crazy when the dishwasher isn't loaded in an organized manner.

Type B: If I send out invites for a party and nobody can make it--no problem. I'm fine with canceling or just having a small gathering.

Type A: It drives me crazy when they don't tell me whether they can make it or not. I wish I could remove the "maybe" button on the Facebook invites. Just tell me "yes" or "no" so I can PLAN!

Type B: I run slow. I don't like that I'm a slow runner, but I've learned that trying to run fast just isn't enjoyable for me. It takes the fun out of exercise--and if I don't enjoy it, I won't do it.

Type A: Even though I know I will never be a competitive runner, it really bogs me down when I don't beat my last time. I hate that my pace has slowed over the last several years, and I can't seem to get that old pace back again--no matter how hard I try.

Type B: I'm okay with other people running late unless it's to the point of total disrespect.

Type A: I cannot be late. Not even two or three minutes late. Tardiness in myself is unacceptable.

I could go on and on with examples of my mixed up personality. I guess most people are a blend of personality types. The older I get, the more I am coming to terms with my Type A personality traits. In fact, the older I get the more Type A traits I must assume in order to function (i.e. making lists, keeping a calendar).

So Maria, this is for you: My name is J.J. and I have a Type A (partly Type A) personality.
(It really bugs me that I can't get the graphic in this blog to line up neatly with the first line of text).

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Are you living your fantasy?

When you think about your life, how close is your reality to your fantasy? Most likely there are aspects of your life that mirror your fantasy, but there are other aspects of your fantasy life that just seem too outlandish to achieve.

My life is fantastic. I have a wonderful husband who supports my dreams (and delves into my fantasies with me). He knows I'm weird and likes me that way. My passion is my work--and it's slowly (very slowly) coming to fruition. So my life is pretty close to a fantasy. But it's not my real know the Utopia you picture in your head of the perfect life. And that's partly because most fantasies would be impossible to actually live.

What's your fantasy life? And what can you do today to make your current life more like your Utopia?

I'm going to delve into the recesses of my imagination and share mine:

My Utopia would be a quaint mountain town with a green, liberal mindset (Asheville, NC comes to mind). Mark and I (and our many furry children) would have a beautiful piece of land. Part of it would be wooded, but there would be a big, sunny spot where I would have a magnificent organic garden. Most of our meals would come from that garden and I would have plenty of time to create delicious meals. Anything that didn't come from the garden would come from local streams (fish) or a neighbor's dairy (raw milk). And in my complete Utopia a stream (big enough to cool off in) would run right through it all.

I would have a small studio where I work with people on wellness. The studio would be a place of total peace. The look, the smell, the aura would be one of total peace and relaxation. In the studio I would help people with their well-being by designing exercise and nutrition programs for them. I would be able to do this on my own schedule, leaving plenty of time for exploring all the wonders of the surrounding mountains with my husband.

We would have several, adventurous, like-minded friends who were always gung-ho for adventure (camping, caving, hiking, climbing).

And while we would still work for a living, money wouldn't be an issue because we are living fairly self-sustaining lives. We would be comfortable financially without the stress of an 8-5 job.
I would feel free--free to look and dress as I please without worrying about others' opinion of me. I could have short hair, or long dreadlocks. I could wear long flowing skirts, shorts or exercise clothes--depending on my mood.

That is my Utopia. It's not completely unattainable. In fact, in retirement it's something I strive for (luckily, Mark's Utopia is very similar). Thoughts of my Utopia keep me going through the parts of reality that aren't so nice.

What is your Utopia and what steps are you taking to make it more of a reality?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Last we spoke I had just finished a full week of Insanity and was feeling very proud and strong. Well, week #2 didn't go so well. Let me explain:

After six days of the workout, last Sunday was a day off, and Monday (Labor Day) was slated for our long run. I needed to do six miles. Six flat miles. I've been running hills so I thought it would be a breeze. But even after a day of rest, my legs were so fatigued that the run was terrible. My legs felt like I had cement blocks as shoes!

I decided I would definitely have to cut the Insanity workouts for a minimum of two days before long runs, or I would never be able to build up for the half marathon that's only a month away.

On Tuesday, I put in the DVD and started the Insanity workout, but my legs were still exhausted. I made it through the warm-up (which is hard enough to start the sweat pouring), but as the plyometric moves started, my legs were still exhausted.

So I made the decision not to do the Insanity workouts until after the next long run to see how my legs would do. I did my long run (8 miles) yesterday and it went much better. My legs were almost back to normal.

So I think I've come to the decision that at 40 with bad knees (from previous marathons) I can't go full force into the Insanity workout until after the half. I'm not going to give it up entirely. I'm going to focus on doing two Insanity workouts a week until after the half. Then I will go full force again from the beginning. I think it will be a great winter program. And it will get my legs strong and ready for skiing.

But for right now my focus is my running. I don't want to risk injury or end up missing out on the race.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Week #1 of Insanity

Well, I've made it through the first week of Insanity. You get to rest on Sundays; however, we need to get a distance run in. But honestly, a flat 6-mile run will seem like a piece of cake after the last six days!

Today's workout was actually the same as Tuesdays. I was happy to see that I did better this time. I still had to stop a few times and rest, but I actually made it through the first several intervals without stopping. So improvement after just a few days! Yeah!

Mark did the workout with me this morning. It was quite a sight watching us workout to a DVD in the living room while dodging the pets running around with their toy mousies. I was secretly happy that he also had to stop a few times and rest. Cardio seems to come so easily for him, I tend to get discouraged when he's so much better than me at athletic feats.

On day #15 you re-take the fitness test. I will also weigh-in and check measurements. I won't expect miracles after 15 days, but hopefully I'll see some changes! The program comes with a nutrition plan as well. I'm not really following it because it involves a lot of protein powder--and I'm not really a fan. I'd rather get my protein through natural sources (fish, nuts, flax, soy, beans, etc.). With the nutrition classes I'm taking, our nutrition is pretty solid right now.

I'm feeling great!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Insanity Day #2

I just finished my first actual Insanity workout (yesterday was just the fitness test and measurements). I started the day with a 3.5 mile trail run (as I mentioned yesterday, I'm also training for a half marathon, so I can't neglect the running). During the run my legs were actually a little sore from the fitness test (I'm not use to all the plyometric/jumping moves), so I knew it was going to be a tough workout for my first day.

Week #1 begins with a warm-up, then goes into three minutes of intense cardio followed by a 30 second break for water and to get your heart rate down. It follows that pattern until the cool down, with the whole program lasting 40 minutes. I can tell you just from the first day, this is not a workout program for a beginner or anyone with back or knee injuries. You need to have a decent fitness base or you won't even get through the workout (and you could really get injured).

The three minute intervals were intense. I didn't make it through a single three minutes without needed to stop and bring my heart rate down. My max heart (220 - age) is around 180 bpm. After about the first minute of intervals it would shoot up into the 170s (I wore my heart rate monitor), and I would start to feel kind of nauseous. So I'd take a break--get it back into the low 160s and start back in.

I felt pretty pathetic, but it's also my first day. Had it been easy, this wouldn't be much of a challenge!

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's workout. It's not a running day, so we'll see if I have more energy without the run. It certainly made me sweat!

Monday, August 30, 2010

My 60 Days of Insanity

Everyone needs to mix it up now and then--push themselves in ways you haven't pushed it before. That's why I've decided to take the 60-day Insanity challenge. It's an intense 60-day fitness and nutrition program designed to take you to the next level of fitness.

Since I am now running The Fit Life, LLC full-time, the timing seems right for me to try this program. Since I left my full-time desk job, I've seen my fitness level increase. The next 60 days will be a great kick-start to my new career.

The first time I decided to make fitness my career I was in my low 30s. And I will say, at 40 it takes awhile longer to get the personal trainer body back!

Today is day #1 (probably the easiest day of the program). I weighed in, took my measurements and completed the fitness test. I even put on my bikini and took "before" pictures (I will not be posting those. I'm bold, but I'm not THAT bold)! I'll consider posting the "after" shots depending on how the program goes.

Tomorrow starts a week of plyometric cardio circuit training ("blast fat off your body with explosive cardio intervals - approx. 40). I'll let you know how it goes!

I'm also training for a half marathon. We'll see if the added exercise helps or hurts the training!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Reflections at 40

I decided that a blog was in order today because it's my 40th birthday. And, certainly I have some profound thoughts on turning 40. Hmmmm...profound thoughts...profound thoughts....

Well, there's this: One year ago today (my 39th birthday) I was at my desk job and the heaviest and most out of shape I've been. (Relatively speaking, neither my weight nor my fitness level were atrocious, but for me, they weren't where I wanted them to be). I vowed that in one year I would be 40, fit and fabulous. I had 365 days to accomplish my goal--and I didn't do too bad. I'm fit for 40--and I'm trying to be okay with that. It's different than being fit at 25. 40-year-old women aren't suppose to be built like 25 year-old women. We're not girls anymore, we're women.

Fitness at 40 definitely isn't as easy as it was at 30! But I think you appreciate the small changes in your body more at 40 because you have to work so much harder to achieve them! Plus, you just don't sweat the small stuff so much. Remember back in high school when you'd be mortified because a big pimple popped out on your cheek? Now you just laugh at the fact that you're still getting pimples, along with gray hairs and wrinkles!

I made my passion my career (again). It will take a year or so for business to get where I want it to be, but luckily I have a wonderful, supportive husband who is willing to support my dream.

I have many, many cool friends (old and new) on Facebook, and a core group of really good friends that are my anchor in every day life. I think as a person ages, their core group becomes smaller--but that's okay. It's not like college when you had a list of friends you could call when you wanted to go out, but that core group is there for you through thick and thin. And I love and trust them dearly.

The older I get the drier I like my wine and the darker I like my coffee! And the more I realize I need to drink both in moderation--both for my health and because I don't like the cheap stuff anymore! Which leads right into: The older I get the more I care about what I put in my body. Ramen noodles and other boxed delights just don't cut it anymore. I try to eat as pure as possible.

As I get older I get more and more comfortable with who I am as a person. I don't worry so much about gaining approval from others. I am who I am! And I'm excited to see what comes next.

At 40 I still love adventure. I celebrated my 40th by taking a tree climbing class. And next weekend I'm participating in a 100-mile charity bike ride.

The older I get the more I love my pets. The love of a pet is pure and unconditional. There's just not an evil bone in their little bodies. I will never understand how someone could wish harm upon an animal. Losing my kitty, Bricklee, about a month ago was one of the biggest heartbreaks of my life. He was my friend and confidant for 18 years, and he will not be forgotten.

Turning 40 isn't so bad. Okay, so we bought an air mattress for our tent because over the years the ground has become so hard! And roller-coasters seem to jostle parts they never jostled before. That's okay because we still camp in our tent and we still hit the occasional amusement park. Age is just a number. Living life to its fullest is what counts.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Day One of The Fit Life: The Best Laid Plans…

I’ve been so excited for today. Today is my first official day of running The Fit Life, LLC full-time. I made a list of everything I want to accomplish. The plan was to get up and run around the Sugarcreek Metro Park, then lift weights, and do a really good stretch out. I needed to finish reading my chapter in nutrition and take my weekly exam.

Next, I was going to organize my little office. It not only has papers EVERYWHERE that need filed, but the carpets need cleaned (sick kitty had an accident on it a while ago and despite my best efforts, I can still smell it). Then I was going to unpack the boxes from my day job office and make my home office look really nice. Organized. Organization is not my strong suit, so it was excited to start my new life very organized.

Next I was going to design a business brochure and flyer, write a blog, and prepare a delicious, healthy dinner for Mark and I.

Well, the best laid plans often go astray. Instead I seem to have a case of food poisoning. We went to a picnic yesterday afternoon, and my stomach and I have been battling it out ever since—all night and all day. I’m blaming the pasta salad. It’s the only thing that I had that Mark didn’t—and he’s fine today.

So there certainly wasn’t a run or weight-lifting this morning. I did read my text and take my exam. I did manage to file all my paperwork between bolts to the bathroom. I vacuumed. I went out to the shed to get the carpet shampooer. I lugged it up the stairs. I’ve never used it before and there were no directions, so I tried to run it on common sense. Unfortunately, I failed to notice that a mouse had made a rather large nest in the head of the vacuumed. I quickly discovered it when I turned the shampooer on and mouse nest blew all over the room (luckily the mouse wasn’t in there at the time). What a mess!

And I am writing a blog. Not the blog I intended to write today, but there’s always tomorrow.

The blessing in all this is that I have a great new boss (hee hee…that’s me!), and she is trying to be very understanding about me being sick on my first day of work.

Tomorrow is a brand new day, and I will start at the top of my list!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Beat the Heat While Staying Fit

(This is a reprint of an article I wrote a few years ago. With temps reaching 100 around the U.S., it seemed appropriate).

You’ve been waiting all winter to get outside—enjoy the sun and warmth. And now…well…you’ve got it—plenty of heat! The mere thought of spending the day outside in the humidity exhausts you. The urge is to turn on the air conditioning, pick up the remote, a pint of ice cream, and relax.

Despite the urge to chill, there are ways to beat the heat and stay fit all summer long. The most obvious would be to get your cardio (biking, running, roller-blading, etc.) in during the morning or evening hours when heat is not at its peak. Save those prime hours for water sports. Swimming is a fantastic cardio-vascular workout! Just don’t forget your sunscreen. Other “cool” options are renting a kayak or canoe for a day. A hike in the woods will be cooler than a walk in town on the concrete (especially if there’s a nice stream to soak your feet in). And while biking can still be a chore on a hot day, you get a nice breeze!

To all the runners out there…if you’re anything like me, you’ve been waiting months to get off the treadmill and back outside. Now the heat is forcing you back to the machine. If you long for the outdoor run, your best bet, of course, is to run early in the morning or in the evening once the sun has gone down. However, if the only chance you have to catch a run is your lunch hour, you can acclimate yourself to the heat. I still don’t suggest heading out for a hardcore run in the heat of a code red ozone day. But by gradually building up resistance to the heat (and staying hydrated), your body can become somewhat acclimated.

Start out slow and short—ten minutes of running at a slower than normal pace. The next day add another five minutes. After eight or nine days your body should have adjusted enough to tolerate the heat at your normal pace.

No matter what the activity, hydration is key during these hot summer months—not just during activity, but also on a daily basis. And if you are outside building up a sweat, you will want a sports drink to replace all the electrolytes you’re losing.

Light clothing that wicks away moisture is another key to staying cool, along with keeping equipment to a minimum. If you have asthma, skip the runs on bad ozone days and retreat to the air conditioned gym. And always carry your inhaler during outdoor exercise.

When the heat really starts to get you down, just think back to cold, dreary February—when all you could think were the golden days of summer! So blow-up those water wings and head out to the pool!


Heat-Related Illness

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps are caused by muscle contractions in both the calf or hamstring area. It feels like a severe muscle pull. The cramps are caused by dehydration, high temperatures and lack of physical conditioning. While heat cramps are painful, they are not life threatening. However, ignoring heat cramps can lead to some of the more serious heat related illnesses. Heat cramps can be treated with water, cool air and rest.

Heat Exhaustion

Much like it sounds, heat exhaustion is severe exhaustion caused by extreme body heat. Excessive heat and dehydration can cause the body to overreact—raising your body well over 98.6. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include extreme fatigue, paleness, nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, vomiting, fainting and cool, clammy skin. Heat Exhaustion is more serious the heat cramps and should be addressed immediately. Cool, shady environments, liquids, cool compresses placed on the body and sports drinks are used to treat heat exhaustion. If the body temperature remains elevated after treatment, you should seek medical treatment.

Heat Stroke

Heat Stroke is the most severe of the heat-related illnesses, and needs immediate medical attention! High temperatures, lack of body fluids and overexposure to the elements can all bring about Heat Stroke. Children and elderly people are especially susceptible to the hazards of this heat related illness. The first symptom of heat stroke is red, flushed skin. With heat stroke, a person doesn’t sweat, so medical attention is needed to bring down their body temperature (which can get extremely high). Other symptoms include: seizures, headache, rapid pulse, and unconsciousness.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Confessions of an Endurance Junkie

I think everyone has their addictions—coffee, soda, caffeine (alcohol, crack, meth...). Obviously some addictions are worse than others. For about ten years now I've been an endurance junkie.

It all started with a beginning running class for women that I took in my upper 20s. It was in that class I finally learned how to run. And we were all beginners, so it really didn't matter how fast I could run. I quickly realized I could never win races. I'm just not fast enough. Believe me, I've worked on it. I've tried to be fast. It's just not the way I was made. Endurance, however, is another story. I can't run or bike the miles fast, but I can run or bike a bunch of them.

Within a year of that running class I had signed up for my first marathon. It was the Ridge Runner Marathon in Cairo, WV. It was 26.2 miles of hills. I ran it with my friend, Cheri. And by mile 18 we were struggling. By mile 24 we felt like we were near death! As I crossed the finish line I swore I would NEVER run another marathon again. EVER! By 6pm that night I was wondering which marathon I would do next.

That's the cycle of an endurance junkie (at least in my experience). I've done six more marathons (and numerous relays and halves) since then. And each time as I struggle through miles 24 – 26 I swear I'm never doing another. Two years ago I ran the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati. Unfortunately, at the end of that marathon, my knees made the decision for me. “Enough is enough!” they said. So I had to cut back. For a year and a half I did very little distance—maybe a five-mile race or a 5k here or there. I've slowly been venturing back, seeing how my knees are going to handle it. We did a ten mile race in June. And I plan to do a half marathon in October.

Now my husband and I are training for a Century ride (100 miles) on our bikes. I took two years away from endurance. I gained weight. I slacked off on my workouts. Basically, I lacked focus. I need endurance in my life. If I can't get my fix running, I'll get it on my bike.

This will be my second Century ride. My first (much like my first marathon) was a crazy hilly ride through the Blue Ridge Mountains. At one point during a particularly harsh climb around mile 79 my quad muscles seized up on me. I would pedal a few rotations, then have to get off the bike to stretch out the cramps. I think it took me nearly an hour to get up that hill. It was hateful at the time, but looking back it makes me giddy.

This Century is a little more sane. It's mostly flat with just a few rolling hills. It's also for a charity that's very near and dear to me (M.S. Pedal to the Point), which makes it a little more meaningful.

The thing about my addiction—it's very time consuming. I mean the actual ride or race you're doing takes hours (for some of us it takes more hours than for others). But preparing for the actual event takes a real time commitment. Mark and I have been building up our biking miles for five weeks now. Which means one of our weekend days is spent on our bikes. Sure, the 40-miler didn't take too much time—maybe three hours. But yesterday's 85-mile ride literally took up our entire day. And it physically hurts to bike for that long. But the pain is where the junky tendencies come to play. The whole basis of my addiction is pushing my body physically beyond where I think it's capable of going. It hurts at the time. It's hateful at the time. But when you push past that point...past the point you feel your body can go, you get a serious high.

Endurance is my drug of choice. It keeps me focused. It keeps me trim. It keeps me strong. I'm not recommending it for everyone. It's hard on your body. My own mother thinks I'm crazy. She's a yoga instructor and feels that any time your body feels pain, you are pushing it too far. She has a point. At 39 I have the knees of a 65 year-old, and I see a chiropractor every week (if I could afford it, I would see a masseuse too)! But it's my addiction and I'm not ready to give it up yet. For me, the benefits outweigh the costs.

What's your addiction?

About Me

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I am the owner of The Fit Life, LLC. The Fit Life, LLC offers fitness instruction and nutrition counseling in a holistic way. I focus on personal training using mainly your own body strength--very little equipment. I also hold a certification in holistic nutrition. Because nutrition counseling regulations are very strict in Ohio, I'm still working on what nutrition services I can provide to my clients; however, I'm happy to provide general nutrition information. I enjoy teaching TRX, Indoor Cycling, and Boot Camps.