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Who’s joining me for the fittest year ever in 2012?

31 Dec

You didn’t think I would go into 2012 without a New Year’s Resolution fitness post, did you?

I’m going to be even more fit and healthy this year. 365 days of commitment – Strength training, endurance training, rest, mobility and lots of healthy eating for fueling. How can you join me in being fitter and healthier than ever in 2012?

Since you will probably quit reading after this list, here’s what not to do in 2012:
– Nothing/be sedentary
– Endless hours of steady state cardio
– Avoid lifting weight / lifting little pink dumbbells
– Overtrain
– Put bad foods, drinks and other toxins in your body
– Skimp on sleep
– Put yourself behind everyone else all the time
– Hold on to stress / let the small stuff stress you out
– Tell yourself “I can’t…”

Let me expand now by telling you how you can be fitter (and healthier!):

– Do something – if you are sedentary, start moving. I don’t care if it’s getting up to walk down the hall once an hour. Just be more active. If you sit at the desk all day, get up and pace while on a phone call, walk to the farthest bathroom in the office, take advantage of that free on-site gym…you get the picture. If you are pretty active, read on…

– Steady state cardio is pretty counter-productive if you are trying to get fit and maintain fitness. Your body adapts and it adapts FAST. You need to be doing a variety of training protocols, from short bouts of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to training longer intervals at about 80-85%. Save the steady state, long slow distance for endurance events. If you train higher intensity intervals, you condition your body to be better at the longer, slower distances, plus you get far more caloric burn from it. Bonus – less risk for overuse injuries (in case you haven’t had the pleasure of an overuse injury, once you have one it will plague you forever. You can still perform, but you’re going to feel the past injury in some way).

– Hello, Jane Fonda called and she wants her pink dumbbells back! You are doing yourself a HUGE disservice if you aren’t lifting actual weight. Fact, lifting heavy outperforms any other kind of lifting format (high rep, low weight = set yourself up to be disappointed again this year). LADIES, WE AREN’T GENETICALLY BUILT TO BULK UP LIKE MEN! Stop living in the shadow of that lie! Pick up heavy weights, give yourself just enough rest to feel a little uncomfortable, then repeat until your training session is over. Then get home and refuel!

– Don’t overdo it. Rest is essential for body mind and body. You will not get fitter or healthier if you run yourself into the ground. Define what rest means to you, be it some gentle yoga, a light bike ride or no workout at all and embrace the rest day! This includes sleep. It’s nearly impossible to be healthy without getting enough sleep.

– You will completely sabotage any effort to get fit if you put junk in your mouth. Looking and feeling good is about 80% nutrition-based. If you eat junk, you will feel like junk. Refer to my last post on 2012 healthy eating.

– You have to put yourself first when it comes to your health. You need to find an hour in your busy day to dedicate to yourself. It’s your time to focus on being healthy.

– Don’t let stress rule your life. Show stress who’s boss. Don’t let stress win. Most of what you are stressing over is not worth the health impact that stress has on you.

– And finally, don’t tell yourself that you can’t. You can get your butt off the couch and take a walk. You can bundle up and take a walk in less than optimal weather. You can give up wheat because you are gluten intolerant (you won’t even miss wheat in a month)! You can learn to like Kale. You can step foot into a gym without feeling embarrassed. You can go to a CrossFit gym and complete a WOD. You can run a marathon in October. You can stop letting your boss stress you out. You can take an hour a day for yourself. You can eliminate worthless tasks from your schedule to get more sleep.

So, are you going to join me in making this your fittest and healthiest year ever?

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My 6 picks for a healthier 2012

18 Dec

You have the Christmas gifts for everyone else…now it’s time to give yourself a gift. What better time than during the gift-giving season? Here are my 6 picks for a healthier 2012:

1) For those who live in areas of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, my first pick is weekly delivery from Green Bean Delivery (if you don’t live in the delivery area, check around your area – similar services are popping up all over the country). I’ve been using Green Bean Delivery (GBD) for my groceries for over a year now. What I like about GBD is the wide selection of superior-quality local foods, from organic produce to grass-fed meats and everything healthy in between. My weekly order is delivered right to my door in temperature controlled bins. I don’t have to worry about quick produce spoilage because my veggies weren’t picked 2 weeks ago, shipped in a truck across the country and sitting on a grocery store shelf for a week prior to purchase. I get better quality from the local farmers who care about their product. AND…I’m at no risk getting one of the many unnecessary illness-producing bacteria (e.g., e-coli and salmonella) coming out of the major food manufacturing plants (e.g., Cargill). (Disclaimer – these bacteria can pop-up on local farms too, but it’s less likely that you will get e-coli or salmonella from a small local farmer – they are generally a large manufacturing facility problem.) If you absolutely can’t find a service like Green Bean, shop your local farmer’s markets and mom & pop grocery stores. You’ll find higher-quality, more environmentally-friendly, healthier choices in those places.

2) Don’t have a smartphone yet? Time to get one! It’s the only piece of technology I need. No, Steve Jobs did not leave me in the will! With the ability to play music, have endless fitness and nutrition apps in hand, built in timers, cameras and social networking – a smartphone has nearly everything you need to get fit, stay motivated and track your progress. If only smartphones came with athletic shoes…

3) Speaking of athletic shoes, a great pair of shoes is essential to fitness. One size does not fit all when it comes to the type of shoe that’s right for you. I’m can’t tell you if you should be barefoot or a thick-soled motion control shoe that keeps your foot totally restricted. You need to do the research to determine what is best for your feet – read up on the positives and negatives of each type of shoe. For example, while the rate of stress fractures with minimalist shoes is higher than normal (generally from misuse), severe motion control shoes create problems with the Achilles tendons and plantar fascia. The best research can be found in dedicated shoe stores (they will let you try out shoes for hours), exercisers who have been through the shoes choices, doctors who have your health (not their wallet) in mind and tons of expert blogs on the subject. Be open to donating your old shoes in favor of new shoes that suit your feet.

4) Put down that Self / Men’s Fitness Magazine and pick up a book (or 20) or read an expert blog surrounding in-depth detail of nutrition and fitness topics. Should you become vegetarian or eat like a caveman? Is wheat the new fat? Is [insert any number of fitness rumors] a myth? What’s the difference between P90X and CrossFit? Should you be doing a crunch or a plank for core strength? I promise you, there are a wealth of experts (chefs, biologists, doctors and alike) who write nothing but books and blogs about these and other nutrition / fitness topics. You won’t be lacking for data. Can’t find these experts? Try Twitter – they are all on there posting study after study daily. It will open your mind to new possibilities and ways of living your healthy life. Don’t just believe what Jillian or Dr. Oz tell you – go out there and educate yourself! Come on, you have shoe research to do!

5) If you don’t know how to cook – take some cooking classes. Then invest in quality cooking supplies. Did you know that non-stick cookware is linked to numerous diseases? A-ha! You would if you were doing your reading (see #4 above). Just having the basics (both cookware and cooking knowledge) gets you ready for a whole new world of eating healthy. You may never be a 5-star chef, but what you cook will taste far better than fast food (and be FAR better for your health).

6) This last one is something I truly believe in – the gift of personal or small-group training. Having someone there to teach you new ways to use your body, to encourage you to move beyond what you think you can do, who will push you to be your best. We all need that…even other trainers and fitness experts. Whether you hire a personal trainer for one-on-one sessions or join a CrossFit box, find yourself someone who will push you towards and beyond your fitness goals. You might just achieve something that you never would have imagined could be achieved. SHAMELESS PLUG – Contact me if you want to train with me, or come to the CrossFit box where I am just one of 5 super-awesome coaches. Or if my blog totally annoys you and you can’t stand me – I can provide referrals. I know several great trainers in the area.

Extra credit for those who want to geek out: Know your numbers, as in, VO2 Max/submax, body fat and resting metabolism. It’s not very expensive to have the testing done and a number of places in town will do the tests, but I want to offer another SHAMELESS PLUG for a personal recommendation: Baseline Fitness (located in Worthington, OH.). Believe it or not, they don’t pay me to recommend their business! If you have real specific goals you are working towards – weight loss, a figure competition, an Ironman event – having this knowledge isn’t a bad idea. Plus, all the info you get can be plugging into a heart rate monitor for easy tracking and training. See how your numbers look in January and perhaps June or next January. You’ll see the result of the hard work that you are putting into eating healthy and working out.

Here’s to a healthier 2012 for all of us!

Keep your best friend fit for the holidays

21 Nov

I have a special code created for my FitnessKelly friends with “best friends”. Not only will you get 10% off your order, Wag.com will donate $25 for each order placed to Best Friends Animal Society for abused and abandoned animals. They haven’t asked me to promote anything – I recently tried their service for cat supplies and really liked them, and I LOVE that they are supporting the less fortunate critters. So, buy a fitness gift for your best friend and support a great cause!

Go to www.Wag.com website (link below does not work) and use FitKelly as your code for 10% off.

Thanks and happy holidays!

use code FitKelly
Shop everything for dog, cat, bird, fish, reptile and small animal.

Buy Pet Supplies at Wag.com

Pet Supplies

Not valid for existing Wag.com, Soap.com, Diapers.com or BeautyBar.com customers. Some restrictions apply.

Buy Pet Supplies at Wag.com

Need to up your calorie burn?

16 Oct

It’s not done by longer cardio sessions. And you are already weight training (hopefully). You can apply this to both cardio and weight training: Make your exercise sessions harder.

What the heck do you mean, Kelly? Good question…let me tell you. Make your working session happen at a higher % of your VO2 max. Don’t know your VO2 max, or even what that is? It’s easy to be tested all over the country (locally, I recommend Baseline Fitness /www.baselinefitness.com/ – they can also test your body fat and resting metabolism, great numbers to know if you want to track your progress).

If you don’t know your VO2 max, then use your body’s cues to know how hard you are working. If you can carry on a long conversation with someone next to you, you are not working hard enough. On a scale of 1 – 10 (the perceived exertion scale), how do you feel? You will know if you are not working hard enough at a 5 or so. You are working hard at an 8 and above. Don’t use sweating as an indicator either – sweating is largely based on the number of sweat glands you have and has little to do with how hard you are working.

That’s easy to apply to cardio, right? So how do you apply it to weight training? Lift heavier, faster, superset, or mix some cardio in between sets. Doing 20 reps of a weight that’s too light does very little for you. Doing 8 reps of a weight that you couldn’t possible lift for a 9th rep will do you good and burn serious calories at the same time.

Why do I have to work harder when I work out? Most people want to get more out of their workout for a variety of reasons (better fitness, weight loss, to run a marathon, etc.) Working harder not only gives you the fitness edge, it creates an after-burn that can last many, many hours after exercise (14 hours is the latest amount I’ve seen based on a recent study). Do you want to work at an easy or moderate pace and burn only an hours worth of light jogging on a treadmill, or do you want to work hard for possibly less time and continue the burn for hours after your exercise session? Sounds like a no brainer to me. Play with some ways to increase how hard you work during your exercise sessions. Do cardio intervals and superset with heavy weights, etc.

If you need help with what to do with weights or cardio to increase the burn, I can help – check out my website for more info (www.fitnesskelly.com).

So, you think you want to do a mud race??? Part 2

11 Oct

I know, you’re thinking “What took you so long to post part 2?!?!” I’m thinking the same thing!

In the last post, we covered that mud races are for everyone, no matter what shape you are in…however, if you want to compete for a great time and complete all the obstacles or be the next Hobie Call, you would benefit from some kind of varied training (CrossFit, Bootcamp or hire a trainer) and learn to swim.

Building on those points:
3) Bring a change of clothes, a change of shoes, at least 1 towel and a trash bag or other bag you don’t care about to put your clothes in. You should wear clothing that you don’t care too much for because it will be brown, esp. if you wear white in the race. Some people dress in costumes – just be smart about what you wear. You don’t want something loose that will get hung up on an obstacle, something that might cause a freakish accident, shoes that are slippery and don’t allow for climbing walls with mud caked on them or something too hot (in one of the June races, a guy wore leather pants as part of his costume. That didn’t go over so well as he was near heat exhaustion from the pants and hot summer weather). My typical race outfit includes a dark sports bra and black shorts or pants (depending on the heat of the day). You will get wet, so check the weather and dress appropriately.

4) Regarding shoes – tennis shoes will get mud caked on them and feel 10 pounds heavier on each foot. Alternatives to this are water shoes or vibrams if you can run in them (break either of those in slowly to avoid injury). Every race has a shoe donation area near the finish line. I think that is a great thing – they clean the shoes and donate them to people in need. If you don’t plan to use the shoes for future mud races, I would highly encourage you to donate them. If you are going to use them in future races, they can be run through the washer – let air dry. Be sure to hose off the extra mud before putting them in the washer.

5) Race nutrition – everyone knows these races feature free beer upon completion. Beer has actually shown to be a good recovery tool, but don’t overindulge. I’d prefer a banana, some water, maybe a recovery bar if I need more nutrition. Pre-race nutrition should be light – I’ve seen people throwing up on the side of the race course who admitted that they had too much to eat before the race – don’t be that guy! I eat like a triathlete – if my start time is close to when I wake, I do some kind of energy bar or gel if I don’t have time to digest the energy bar. If I have a later start time, I eat a light breakfast (for me, that’s homemade muesli. You also need to hydrate. There’s water stops on the course – usually only 1 stop for a 5k distance. I’m always pretty well hydrated and I still drink quite a bit. I begin to taper my intake as race time approached – both to avoid a stomach full of liquid and to avoid having to pee at an inappropriate time.

I feel a part 3 coming on…stay tuned.