Sleep for a Healthy Body

 

Sleep is a good thing.   Lack of sleep, is not.

One of the most common reasons I’m given by people who miss boot-camp on any given day is that they have been having sleep difficulty.  Sure, I know that they could be feeding me a line, but hey, I’m an optimist 🙂

I suffer from sleep problems off and on.  Sometimes I wake up after a few hours and am up until 2:00am before being able to fall back asleep.  Or I can’t fall asleep until after midnight.  Sometimes I wake up at 3:00am and my brain goes into hyperdrive and I’m up.  I try to take naps if I can in the afternoon to play catch up.   And then there’s coffee.  Always coffee.  I put a hard stop on coffee after 4:30pm so it’s not a caffeine-thing.  In case you were wondering.

While I’m not a big fan of sleep aids I have taken slow-release Melatonin which has worked and also a homeopathic remedy, but I have to remember to take it early.  I won’t take anything after 9:00pm because I worry that when the alarm goes off at 4:00am it will feel like a truck hit me.  Those boot-camp classes are hard to teach with sleep meds coursing through your veins.

I think I’ve shared that I often do my meditating at night.  To help me unwind enough to sleep I look for those that focus on relaxation, calming or has “melting” in the description.    I lay down, open the podcast and off I go.  Sometimes I doze off  and when it’s over I either turn it off and fall asleep or sometimes the episodes keep rolling.  But even if I wake up to turn off the podcast, I’m able to use the techniques to quickly fall back asleep.  If I wake up at any time during the night, I use the visualization to get back to sleep.  My favorite guided meditation podcast is Meditation Minis by Chel Hamilton.  She’s on iTunes and her stuff is free.

Easy yoga is also a good way to relax and prepare for slumber.  My gal Adriene, over at Yoga with Adriene has short practices that can help you get into sleepy-mode.  Check her out at www.yogawithadriene.com.  While you’re there, look into her 30 day TRUE series that she’s offering.  I’m on Day 10 and am loving it.

Recently I’ve also found this really nifty podcast called Sleep with Silk.  There are  a variety of podcasts they offer to help you sleep and I choose the Soothing Voices podcasts.  Basically it’s people with very soothing and comforting voices reading a story, providing a guided sleep meditation (my fav is ‘Take a Nap’) or even chanting.  The only tricky part is figuring out the earbuds while I’m laying down but I have some DIY idea I’m going to try that include a flat pair of earbuds and an old Lululemon headband.   You can also find them on iTunes.  And their shorter versions are free.

I know that I’m not alone in this so share your tips, tricks and strategies.  And please, try and get some zzzz’s.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Stretching the Truth

The Holiday Hustle.  

Here’s how it works.  

  •  Subscribe to the blog to get the workouts daily.
  • If you need structure, print out the 25 day calendar and check off the days as you go along.

 Click here for a copy of the full 25 day challenge.  

  • Always warm up prior to beginning.
  • Check with a doctor if this is your first time at the rodeo.
  • Miss a day?  No big whoop, just double up on another day.
  • At the end of the 25 days it’s Christmas.  You did it.  Congrats.  No prizes, just bragging rights.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

PS – Happy Holidays!

Managing the Hype

I’m not a big fan of hype.  I hate the click-bait feeds in FB (You Won’t Believe What Your 80’s Stars Look Like NOW!), the trend of scare-health claims (Stop Eating This ONE Health Food TODAY), or fitness miracles (Do This ONE Exercise Every Day For Buns of Steel).

So here’s something you should know about hyped-up health claims. A lot of the people who tout products, services and cure-alls may *not* be qualified to do so.  (Gasp).  All one needs is a camera, computer and with the click of the mouse they can create a YouTube channel, blog or website and they can promote, share and drive traffic to their site in about half an hour.   And the worst part is, the information may not be credible.

So when looking at health claims on the Interwebs or from a link your well-intentioned parents sent you, here’s a few things that I think are important to note.

  • There’s not ONE food that is the best to eat or the worst.  Sure, there are foods that are really really really bad, and really, really, really good but there’s not an absolute worst or best.  It’s all relative.
  • There’s not ONE exercise that can eliminate or reduce anything.  The formula is simple; eat right and exercise.  But the application isn’t usually that simple for a lot of people so that brings me to my next point.
  • Any diet or plan that says you can lose 30 pounds in 30 days should be investigated very carefully because the standard for safe and effective (effective is the key word) for weight loss is a pound or two a week.  I know.  We want to wear that bikini yesterday but remember, you didn’t gain the weight overnight.
  • You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.  Unless you’re Michael Phelps who could power 10,000 cals a day (or was it for breakfast?) and still stay lean and cut.  But he’s not of this world so don’t try it.

Well how do you separate the truth from the trash?  You have to do some due diligence.  It’s like distinguishing between fake news and well, you know…news.  So here are a few tips.

  1. Is the article from a reputable source?  Does the author have any professional associations; an RD, member of a board or association, is a member of an accredited fitness association?  Trust me, if you go to school long enough or work hard for the fancy letters after your name, you’ll let everyone know.  No shade, they’ve earned them so they should share them.  I’m certified through ACE and I tell everyone.  🙂
  2. Listen, I’ve got nothing against commerce, but we spend millions annually on health and fitness products.  Millions.  The market is huge. So if you’re reading something and they send you to a page to purchase something, caveat emptor. Read reviews, check into the products, find out the ingredients, who makes them, etc.  A few extra minutes of research will pay off before you pay out.
  3. If you’re hot to try out a YouTube workout, make sure the instructor is qualified.   Just because someone lost weight doesn’t mean they are qualified to someone else or provide nutritional counseling. Yikes!  Does the instructor know how the body works, can they provide modifications for people not able to do a Scorpion?  Sometimes instructors try to “WOW” the audience with big, explosive moves.  But not everyone can do them correctly.  So be cautious.  I’m a big fan of the Daily Burn.  I think they provide great quality workouts for all levels. I also love KAISAFIT   her moves are off the hook tough, so again, know what you know.  And then there’s my girl over at Yoga With Adriene.  She’s amazing and many of her stuff is free.  And it’s the good stuff too, not just a teaser 5 minute video.
  4. If you read an article about something and you see that the author cites a study or an expert in field head to their website for more information.  Subscribe to their newsletter.  I’ve subscribed to many fitness and nutritional newsletters to stay abreast of the industry and to get some insight.  I’ll post them to my resources page.  After I create my resources page.

Yes, the Internet is a huge resource for information that allows many of us to take our health into our own hands, but we still have to make sure we’re looking in the right places.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

PS – So in the case of the Hollywood headline crap, that’s just weird entertainment that only wastes time because you either get tired of clicking through the first 8 pages of stuff we already know about the stars, but at the end it’s the picture you’ve seen a thousand times.  Right??

 

 

 

Greet the Day – Sun Salutations

Today we’re doing Yoga!  Sun Salutation, to be exact.  This series of poses warms up the body and the more times you repeat the cycle the more flexible and open your body becomes.  Aim to do the cycle 4 or 5 times.

Below are step by step instructions (courtesy of www.verywell.com), and an infographic. You can also follow along watching Yoga with Adriene (click here).

Sun Salutationsun-salutation

Begin in Mountain Pose

To begin, bring yourself to the front edge of your mat in mountain pose (tadasana) with the hands, palms together at your heart center.

Inhale. Bring the arms out to the sides and up to the ceiling to join your palms above your head in raised arms pose (urdhva hastasana). Lift your gaze to your thumbs and slide your shoulders away from your ears.

Exhale. Release your arms to either side and forward bend over your legs (as if you were doing a swan dive into a swimming pool) to come into a forward bend (uttanasana). Alternatively, you can keep your palm together and pass them in front of your heart as you fold forward.

Place your fingertips in line with your toes. Flatten your palms if possible or tent your fingers. Place your hands on blocks if they don’t reach the floor when your legs are straight. You can also bend the knees a little if that makes you more comfortable.

Inhale. Lift your head as you come to a flat back (ardha uttanasana), coming onto your fingertips or placing your hands on your shins, whichever allows you to get your back really flat.

Exhale. Plant your palms and step or jump back to a plank position. In plank, make sure your shoulders are over your wrists and your butt is neither sticking up nor drooping down. A straight line from the crown of your head to your heels is what you are going for. Take an inhale here.

Exhale. Lower to your knees, chest, and chin. Keep your butt high and your elbows hugging your ribs.

Inhale. Come forward to a low cobra. Anchor your pelvis and the tops of your feet to the floor but try not to press into your hands as you come up into the backbend.

Inhale. Roll over your toes (if possible) to come into an upward facing dog. Bend your elbows out to the sides at first in order to bring your shoulders down and away from your ears. Then straighten your arms. Make sure your legs are straight and your knees are lifted off the floor.

ExhalePush back to downward facing dog. You can come through hands and knees on the way if necessary.

Stay here a few breaths (or more) if you need to take a break. If you are going for a brisk pace, just stay one breath.

Exhale. Step the right foot next to the right hand and then bring the left foot to join it in standing forward bend (uttansana).

Inhale up to a flat back and then exhale back to uttanasana (forward bend).

Inhale. Lift your arms out to the sides and up, reversing the swan dive to return to raised arms pose.

Exhale. Come to stand in mountain pose with your hands in a prayer position at the heart.

Namaste.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Forward to Friday

holiday-hustle-challengeWelcome to Day 2 of the Holiday Hustle!  Today we’re only doing one move.  It’s yoga but don’t freak out.

Standing Forward Bend

It’s a surprisingly simple move with great benefits; spinal decompression, balance and improves flexibility and more.

First let’s get you into the proper standing pose

  • Stand with your feet hip distance apart, knees soft with your weight evenly distributed
  • Feel all 4 corners of your feet firmly on the ground (ball of pinkie toe, ball of big toe, inside heel and outside heel)
  • Let your hand rest at your side
  • Loop your shoulders back and down, opening your chest slightly
  • Keep your neck long and tall
  • Breathe in and bring your hands from your side above your head, palms facing each other
  • Keeping your shoulders down (not up by your ears) extend your arms up towards the ceiling or sky
  • Exhale and bring your hands back down to your side
  • Repeat bringing your arms overhead on the inhale
  • On an exhale, bend forward and pressing your hip crease back
  • Keep your knees soft and reach your hands down towards the ground your feet as you bend
  • Let your head hang relaxed
  • Arms can hang or you can grab onto opposite elbows with your hand (rag doll)
  • Feel free to bend and straighten your legs in this position
  • Hold the pose for 10 to 20 seconds (or longer depending on how you feel)
Beginner’s Tip
  1. To increase the stretch in the backs of your legs, bend your knees slightly.
  2. Be careful not to straighten the knees by locking them back (you can press your hands against the back of each knee to provide some resistance); instead let them straighten as the two ends of each leg move farther apart.
  • On an inhale and with a big, wide swing of your arms out to your side  come back up to standing with your hands above your head (take up a log of space with your arms)
  • Release your hands back to your side with an exhale
  • Repeat hands above your head and folding forward – feel free to hang out in the fold before coming back up to standing.

Feel free to repeat the sequence a few times.  You may find that you are more flexible during the last sequence. Be sure to take your time and focus on your breath in and out with your movement.

For more information on this pose please check out Yoga Journal  or watch Yoga With Adriene on YouTube.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Don’t be a Whener

A what??

  • I’ll start my diet when the weekend is over.
  • I’ll get back to exercise class when the kids are back in school.
  • I’ll go for a walk when my friend is available.
  • I’ll start to run or exercise when I lose weight.

You know, a whener.

I wonder if one of the reasons Mondays gets such a bad rap is because that’s usually the first official day of deprivation (the diet starts), discomfort (the workout starts) or general meh (because one thinks the fun has ended).  However, I digress.

I am not a fan of the word “when”.  Because I’m not a fan of procrastination.  So here’s a novel idea!  Why not start today?  Heck, let’s do it right now!

Here are a few things you can do right this minute that will set you on a healthier path.

  1. Fill up your water bottle and keep it glued to your side.  Keep drinking and re-filling.  Yeah, yeah, you’ll have to tinkle.  Sorry, not sorry.  Drink up buttercup.
  2. Go to your refrigerator and move all of the healthy foods to the front and move the less healthy to the back.
  3. Remove any snacks or treats from the counter top and put them in a bin or in the rear of a cabinet.  Out of sight, out of mind works.
  4. Get off the couch and go for a walk.  Note:  the only acceptable reasons for not doing this right now is a) your young children or babies are napping and you’re running the house solo b) there’s a blizzard or hurricane happening outside c) you don’t have a safe place to walk
  5. Get off the couch and move.  Dance, jump rope, march in place.
  6. Use the tv for good!  Head over to OnDemand, go to Sports, then find yoga or fitness videos.  Pick a free video and do some or all of it (based on your level of fitness).
  7. Surf the ‘net and head over to Yoga with Adriene for an oh-so-feel good yoga practice. (seriously, 10 minutes will make you a convert).
  8. Get out a sheet of paper and write a few goals for yourself.  Detailed goals and action plans are super but listen, we’re taking baby steps here so just jot a few things you’d like to achieve and maybe 1 or 2 things you can do to help yourself be successful.

The point of these small things is that you’re breaking your routine and habit immediately.  Instead of thinking about making changes, you’ve taken action.  Nice job.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

A Few of My Favorite Things

I’m often asked about where to buy running shoes, what kind of gear one needs, and other running and fitness-related stuff.  It’s part of the gig and I enjoy sharing information and helping people.  I’m also a big fan of giving unsolicited advice.  But then you knew that already!

Here’s a brief rundown on things. Things that work for me.  Things I recommend.  Things I personally do or use.

Essential Gear

Shoes

This is where you should spend most of your running budget and where you should devote some time.  There are a lot of opinions on running shoes.  People swear by their Sauconys, Nikes, Newtons, Hokas, minimalist, etc.  We won’t even talk about barefoot running.  Because if you ever look at people running barefoot or in those platypus shoes they look miserable.

I strongly encourage people to find a local running store and get fitted in the right shoe.  Because no matter what you read or hear, the best shoe is the one that fits your foot and supports what needs to be supported.   And here’s a tip,  running shoes should not (circle with a slash through it) need to be broken in.  Sure there will be some molding that occurs when you wear them but if they are not comfortable at the store, you can bet your IT band that they will not feel good on a run.

Here’s where you can save money on your shoes.  Once you find a pair you like, head over to the world wide web and go to www.roadrunnersports.com and order a second pair.  They will be a little less expensive and you can rotate your shoes.

Wicking Stuff – Otherwise Known as Technical Clothing

I learned long ago that ‘cotton is rotten’ for running.  It does a delightful job of absorbing all of your sweat and then it has a unique ability of holding on to it making your shirt heavy and wet.  And cold.  Plus chafing happens.   Wicking clothing (dry fit, cool max, etc) is designed to draw sweat away from your body and dissipate.  Sure, there are better explanations but trust me, once you wear the wonder stuff you won’t wear cotton tees anymore for running.  Unless they say OutFIT Marin Boot-Camp.  (shameless plug, whatevs).

Technical clothing; shirts, shorts, pants are lightweight, comfortable and last a really long time.  They can be super-pricey but you can always find less expensive brands online (www.roadrunnersports.com), or at Target, Big 5, Dicks, Shiels, etc.  And if you run races you usually get a free technical shirt with your registration.   Ha ha, yeah, I know the joke’s on us because we paid $90 for that “free” shirt.   Regardless of how you look at it, the shirts are usually great BUT don’t wear them on race day.  The shirt is your reward for finishing the race.  More on that in another post.

And let’s not forget socks.  Thick, cotton socks that your kids wears for volleyball are not the best running socks.  Technical socks (ah, there’s that word again) are thinner and provide more comfort for running than bulky socks.  And yes, if you like some cushion they have very thick socks you can buy.  I used to wear very thick socks (just like I used to run in long pants, a long sleeve top and a vest) but now I like thinner socks.  Less bunching and blisters.  But that’s just my opinion.

Safety Gear

When I go for my 5:30am runs I’m wearing my reflective vest, 2 reflective straps around my ankles, a flashing light strapped to the top of my shirt and I carry a Knuckle Light.  I used to have 2 Knuckle Lights but had an “incident” at Ragnar Napa last year and sadly one ended up broken into a few pieces on the Valley of the Moon road at about midnight.  However, I digress.

It’s a good idea to carry your phone too, especially if you are going to the trails.  Or at least run with a friend who carries their phone.  Just don’t lose them on the trail.

Body Work

As I’ve gotten, um, more mature, I value the ability to move after I run.  unnamed 2

The foam roller is for my back, IT band and legs, well all over.  The lacrosse ball is to apply a “delightful” hit of direct pressure at or around sticky spots.  The mat is for yoga and stretching.  The cat, well Cody just goes wherever the yoga mat is.  He’s my cat on a mat.

There are also a few books that I recommend.  One is more for technique and one is to help you regain mobility.  They are very different in approaches but both have the same focus on running healthy and injury free.  And to

As in duration, not miles. Well, both really but mostly so you can keep running as you get older.  Moving on…

chiChi Running is by Danny Dreyer.  If you have ever wondered why I love hills so much, it’s because I was taught to run them and not get my ass handed to me each time. His approach is form based so that you are efficient with your running, utilizing only what you need at any given time.   www.chirunning.com/

 

unnamedReady to Run is by Dr. Kelly Starrett and TJ Murphy.  This book is designed to teach you how to become and stay healthy as a runner.  His approach is no joke and it’s not entirely comfortable.  But.  And this is a big but, the more I do some of the exercises the better I’m feeling.  There are 12 assessments to do along the way to gauge where you are on the scale of mobility.  And then you can identify exercises to do that focus on the weakness you have.  For example, I have superb plantar flexion but horrible dorsiflexion.  Who knew.  www.mobilitywod.com

Yoga

So many choices!  I am a big fan of Yoga with Adriene.  While a little quirky, she’s serious about her practice and teaching but not in that polished “yoga” video way.  You know what I mean.  That breathy yoga voice and cuts to the wind blowing through the willow trees?  Yeah, she’s not like that.  But she knows her stuff and you’ll be breathing in your Baddha Konasana before you know what hit you. Check her out Yoga with Adriene.

When DIY Isn’t Enough

I have a great chiropractor/sports med guy and a wonderful massage therapist.  If you need one I’m happy to refer you.  Email me.

Eating and Drinking

Here’s my rule of thumb.  If I’m running more than 6 or 7 miles I eat before I run and bring water with me.  If it’s 4-5 miles maybe I’ll have a half banana and less than 4 it’s nothing.  Except coffee.  A lot of it, before any run.

For trail runs and longer runs I’ll bring water and some kind of something to top off the tank.  A GU, bag of Sport Beans or half a PowerBar.  It needs to be carb rich and easily digestible.  If you bring, say a bag of nuts, it takes your body time to digest them so you don’t get that quick shot of fuel you need.  GU hits the bloodstream like a shot of espresso. Perfection.

Some people can’t run with anything, even coffee in their system before any runs.  You should experiment because everyone is different.  Coffee, for example can have a disastrous effect on a run.  “Nuff said.

I know it’s a lot but experiment and use what works.  And please let me know what you have in your bag of tricks that works for you.  It’s great to share!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂