Running


The Definition of Insanity Is NOT Making This Pear Smoothie…

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

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Happy New Year! I rang mine in with a midnight race and a bagel.

Whoa. What a holiday season! Parties, traveling, family, food, drinks, and more food, and then some more drinks for good measure. Normally, my plan of action during a period of massive consumption, is to become a cardio queen and hit up every spin class possible. Problem solved, right? Wrong. I still end up feeling puffy, bloated, and miserable by January 1st.

So this year, I handled things differently. I cut way down on my cardio, and instead focused on heavy weight-training. Heavy training includes any exercise that you do for eight reps or less.  Since November, I’ve been training like this 4-5 days a week, by performing basic lifts like squats, deadlifts, chest presses and back rows.  I’ve also been tacking on 10-12 minutes of high intensity intervals at the end of every other session.

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And lo and behold: I’m loving the way I look and feel, despite the fact that I ate my way through my birthday, Chanukah, and Christmas. This is not too shocking. I know that serious strength training is the key to fat loss. But sometimes even a know-it-all like me can get sidetracked by eggnog and stuffing.

If your new year’s resolution is to START working out, then you should definitely focus on body weight and moderate weight exercises for the first few weeks, so you that don’t hurt yourself. But if you’ve been a pretty regular exerciser, then pick up some of those big-ass weights and get lifting. It will make all the difference.

Perfect Pear Post Workout Protein Shake

It’s currently pear season and I was lucky enough to get a fruit-of-the-month club gift for the winter.

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What to do with all of these luscious pears? Blend ’em with some protein powder of course!

This Protein Shake is perfect for breakfast or post-workout. The protein/carb combo is just what your body needs to fuel up your day.

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8 oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

1/2 chopped pear (leave the skin, it’s good for you!)

1/4 cup frozen dark cherries

1/4 cup oatmeal or oat bran (If you’ve never put oats in your shake before, give it a try. It adds a nice thickness to the shake and gives you the extra carbohydrates you need post-workout)

1 tsp Psyllium Husk powder

cinnamon

Ice cubes

Blend it. Drink it. Yum.

Cheese Steaks, Pizza…and a Great Exercise to Burn Those Things Off!

The Philly Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon was this past weekend. Not only did I set a personal record by running the entire thing in 1:30 min, but the headlining band at the post race concert, Rusted Root (never fear, they’re still alive) actually brought me up on stage and asked me to sing back-up vocals for Send Me On My Way 

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They’re like a cool band, minus the cool part.

And then I woke up, and realized I’m still not allowed to run around the block, let alone a half marathon.

Yes, I’m still banned from running. It’s been almost six months since my last run.  After all this time, you’d think I would be used to sitting on the sidelines. But not being able to run still pains me, especially as the temperature cools down, and every day becomes “perfect running weather”. Fortunately, I’m able to work on the cardio equipment and do some lower body exercises to keep in shape, which is pretty much saving me from going stir-crazy.

Since cardio machines can be pretty boring, lately I’ve been using compound body-weight exercises to get my heart rate up. They even have fun names. I am especially fond of the spider man-mountain climber, with a little push-up action added in.  You can insert this challenging move anywhere in your workout. It’s a total body exercise that really gets your heart rate up.

Here’s a little video I made on my phone to show you:

Try it and let me know!

Being a bit bummed by the lack of running in my life doesn’t mean I can’t go to races and be a kick-ass cheerleader for my friends.

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Turns out I’m pretty great at making signs. And of course, I’m always happy to help someone stretch their sore hammies.

The Philly R ‘n’ R Half is quite the party, with bands along the route and free beer handed out at the finish. And although I didn’t get the chance to eat a cheese steak, I did finally get a tour of the city I missed out on in 5th grade (I got sick during the field trip and had to lay on a chair in a hotel lobby all day).

Liberty Bell Madness!

Liberty Bell Madness!

And Now A Very Important News Article

Apparently Pizza Hut is testing out the “Skinny Slice”, which I  will be avoiding at all costs once it hits New York City. Much like I abhor “skinny margaritas”, a low-cal pizza just doesn’t do it for me. I eat healthy foods all of the time. So when it’s splurge meal time, I’m going for it baby!

http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/09/20/and-pizza-huts-latest-offering-is-skinny-slice-pizza?cmpid=foodinc-fb

What do you think? Will you be trying out the “Skinny Slice”? Or will this go the way of the Burger King “Satis-fry”?

Facebook.com/blitzyourbody Twitter @AmyBlitz1

How Much Does Sitting Negate Your Workout?

Misery loves company, so I’m sharing this Runners World article about how a day spent at your desk can almost totally negate the run you did that morning. Lately the health community has been focusing on the importance of moving and standing more throughout the day, instead of being glued to your chair. Now a study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings explains how to subtract the negative effects of sitting all day from the positive effects of your workout. AWESOME.

If you don’t have time to read the RW article here are the highlights:

“According to a research team from the University of Texas Southwest Medical Center, each time unit of sitting cancels out 8 percent of your gain from the same amount of running. In other words, if you run for an hour in the morning, and then sit for 10 hours during the day, you lose roughly 80 percent of the health benefit from your morning workout.

People who engage in an hour of moderate-intensity exercise–running is considered vigorous exercise–fare much worse. They lose 16 percent of their workout gain from each hour of sitting.”

What? A 10 hour day of sitting negates 80% of your run?

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What can the average person, who has an hour of commuting plus an 8-9 hour work day, do to counter this?

Stand up on the subway and don’t hold on to the pole, even when the train stops and starts (urban surfing, woo-hoo!)

Stop G-chatting your coworkers and get up to gossip about your boss with them face to face.

Walk more by getting off the bus before your usual stop or taking the stairs.

Just find any excuse to move and stand more throughout the day!

Here’s the entire article:

http://www.runnersworld.com/health/how-much-does-sitting-negate-your-workout-benefits?cid=social_20140715_27815816

Thanks to my fabulous client, Gwen for sending it to me!

Facebook.com/blitzyourbody Twitter @AmyBlitz1

Who Cares if You Run Slow?

Happy Friday! I had to share this article from Competitor Magazine because it was about me. I too am guilty of being self-deprecating when I discuss running. Years ago, when I first started running, I was so proud of being able to do it that it never occurred to me be self-conscious about my pace. It wasn’t until I started participating in races that I felt slow compared to everyone else.  At the same time, I am a cheerleader for my friends and clients. I would never allow any of them to disparage a running achievement, whether it be a 5k or marathon, regardless of their finish time.

I never gave much thought to how my negative thinking could actually effect my running. It’s time for me to be my own cheerleader and leave the negative thoughts behind.  Give this article a read and let me know what you think.

Hope you have a great run this weekend!

http://running.competitor.com/2014/03/training/slow-is-a-state-of-mind_70265

Marathon Envy

Running is hard. Sometimes not running is harder.

Congratulations to everyone who completed the ING NYC Marathon last Sunday. Regardless of when you finished, running 26.2 miles is a major feat. And I’m jealous–completely and totally mad at myself for not running this year. But the reality is, I had no choice. Sadly, the last two years I just haven’t been ready. I’ve been dealing with tendonitis in my hip since March 2012. After 8 months of physical therapy and endless hours on a spin bike, only this Spring did I begin to feel strong enough to run short distances. And then my ankles started swelling up (sigh). And this is why:

I love Jeff Galloway

Yep, this guy

Yep, this guy

Please note that I have no affiliation with Jeff Galloway. I have never met him. He does not know I exist.

A few years ago, my good friend and fellow runner, Colleen, suggested I  run/walk/run, (AKA The Jeff Galloway Method), for one of the half marathons with which I was signed up. My response: I just laughed and laughed. I think between scoffs, I said something like, “But I’m in great shape, that’s for weaklings.” Well, fast forward  to last spring, and to my complete boredom at running the same three mile route, and I was ready to hear what Mr. Galloway had to say.

The Galloway Method is all about walk breaks. My ratio is 4 minutes of running to 1 minute of walking, but there are other ratios that work for people of varying experience and fitness levels.  Here is an explanation of why walk breaks work, straight from the source:

“By using muscles in different ways from the beginning, your legs keep their bounce as they conserve resources. When a muscle group, such as your calf, is used continuously step by step, it fatigues relatively soon. The weak areas get overused and force you to slow down later or scream at you in pain afterward. By shifting back and forth between walking and running muscles, you distribute the workload among a variety of muscles, increasing your overall performance capacity. For veteran marathoners, this is often the difference between achieving a time goal or not. ” -www.jeffgalloway.com

In October, I ran/walked the Staten Island Half Marathon. I finished in 2:13. Coming off two injuries and not having run a half since 2011, I could not have hoped for a better time. The Galloway Method has also helped me with my regular “maintenance” runs. By running for distance utilizing run/walk, I can now straight-run six miles with no pain.

If you’ve been experiencing any running injuries, or just want to check out a pain free approach to running, you must go to:

www.jeffgalloway.com. Friend him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter.

PS–The day of the SI Half Marathon, I had to get my act together and attend a wedding. Here I am, crowin’ about it.

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Top Core Exercises for Runners (and everyone)

This Sunday, I’ll be running in my first half marathon in two years,  and I know I will be well-prepared. When people train for a race, sometimes they focus solely on their running schedule and making their weekly mileage quota. Big mistake. Core strength is important to keep a runner upright and in proper form, especially during long runs. A strong core can also prevent common runner’s injuries. Below are my top three core exercises for runners. The exercises listed will strengthen the abdominals and the muscles of the back and hips, and are very effective for anyone looking to tone up their midsection.

plank

Plank

What it works: Strengthens and stabilizes abdominals, back and shoulders

Start by laying face down on a mat. Press yourself up into a push-up position, resting on your forearms. Make sure your elbows are directly under your shoulders. As you hold this position, tilt your pelvis forward, and squeeze your heels and quads together. Keep your gaze just beyond your fingertips. Your back should be flat, making a straight line from your head to your heels.

R Twist

Russian Twist

What it works: Obliques

The obliques are the muscles responsible for rotation of the torso. Runners who fail to strengthen the obliques will make the abdominals and back muscles do all the work to support the body. Sit on a mat with your knees bent, as if you were at the top position of a sit up. Angle your body so that your upper body is at a 45 degree angle with the ground.  Hold your arms straight out in front of you and hold your hands together. Or, with bent arms, hold on to a weighted ball or dumbbell. Twisting through the torso, move your shoulders from side to side. Make sure you are not just swinging your arms, but that the move originates from the waist. Keep twisting from side to side without stopping for at least 16 rotations. The slower and more precise the movement, the better. If you experience lower back pain, substitute with bicycle crunches.

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Hip Raise and Hamstring Curls on the Swiss Ball

What it works: Everything! I love this exercise because it works the glutes, hamstrings, calves, abdominals and lower back muscles.

Runners need strong posterior chain muscles. Simply put, it’s the muscles behind us that are propelling us forward. Start by laying face down on a mat with your feet propped up on a Swiss ball. Place your hands next to you on the mat for support. Using your glutes, lift your hips off the mat and hold this position for a few seconds as your stabilize yourself. Brace your core to help from shifting around. Using your hamstrings, pull your heels in toward your butt, raising your hips higher as you go. The bottoms of your feet should be flat on the ball at the top of the motion. Pause for a second, then lower down with control. If this is too difficult, just start with the hip raise, omitting the hamstring curl.

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