Sometimes after a bad run all you need is some new sneakers to snap you right back into your groove.
The one thing that people ask me the most is what I eat. The last time I wrote a post about what I eat was over a year ago. I often will look for ways to improve my diet or make small changes to hopefully create some big results. In the past year I quit drinking Diet Coke completely and I have adopted a “eat real food” mentality with my diet. In my last post. Things I Eat, I spoke about how I really monitor my diet during the week and then on the weekends I let go a little bit. I still do that. Before you all think that I am crazy I am a man of habits and almost every Saturday morning you can find me at the Swiss Chalet in Morristown having coffee and donuts before I go for my run. I also have dessert with Saturday dinner most weeks. However, monday-friday I adhere to a strict calorie allotment and then Saturday is a cheat day and often Sunday Dinner is a cheat meal as well. I try to eat for fuel 80% of the time and eat for enjoyment 20% of the time. That being said I never eat anything that I don’t like. I look forward to eating and I really enjoy everything I eat but I save the things like sweets for my cheat days. One of the differences between what I eat now and what I ate then is my focus on eating real foods. Nothing from a box or a bag. Basically my motto is if it has a label it is a product and not a food. In that previous blog I listed things like frozen meals, fast food items such as Dunkin Donuts egg white sandwiches, chips and salsa, greek yogurt, and many other things that I no longer eat. My old mind set was that as long as I stay under my calories the food doesn’t matter. Now, I don’t think of food as a diet but as fuel for my lifestyle. I work out quite a bit and without proper nutrition that would not be possible. The other switch that I have made is my protein requirements. My goal is one gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. When I wrote that last article protein wasn’t really a concern. Since I ran the NYC Marathon in November I have cut down on the running quite a bit and been focused more on CrossFit. I still run on the weekends but primarily focus on speed and hill work rather than distance. Nutrition is about abundance and not deprivation. In order to fuel my current workout style the protein is a major concern as well as good carbohydrate options around my workouts. Things that I have cut out of my diet completely (Monday through Friday) are cheese, milk, soda, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and anything processed. Because of my extremely busy schedule and time constraints I do buy frozen vegetables and pre-cooked proteins but I make sure to read the labels. Frozen spinach needs to have one ingredient only. Spinach! Not all of them do. There are a few items I will also buy in jars and boxes but I have a 5 ingredient rule. If it has more than 5 ingredients I don’t buy it. Another rule that I have is that I use spices to flavor food and not sauces. Sauces have excess calories and are often heavy cream or flour based. StoneWall Kitchen has a great Salsa Verde that I use a lot on all types of meats. It has only 4 ingredients which is a much better option than Tostitos salsa. Basically it is tomatoes, peppers, and cilantro pureed. Just how you would make fresh salsa at home. I buy Organic produce whenever I can and I am not afraid of fat. For those of you who follow me on Twitter (JoeLopez55) you know that I often write about how sugar is the enemy when it comes to diet and health and not fat. The worst thing for dietary fat is that it is called fat and people associate it with body fat. I eat butter and eggs every day and steak and avocados once a week. When I make vegetables I often cook them in bacon fat or use butter to flavor them. My macronutrient goals are 40% fats, 35% carbohydrates, and 25% protein. I am up 10 pounds since I ran the marathon on November 3rd but my body fat percentage has stayed the same. I want to lost about 3 percent body fat so I am in the process of making another adjustment and experimenting with some other diet changes but more on that another day.
Here is a sample day of eating for me:
5 eggs, 3 cups Kale, 3 slices Bacon, One Sweet Potato, 2 pats Butter, Double Espresso, Stevia
Protein Coffee courtesy of Sparta Nutrition Store.
Grilled Salmon no skin 8 oz, Salsa Verde, 1 cup of Spinach, 1 cup of pureed Winter Squash, 2 pats Butter, Double Espresso, Stevia
Homemade Chia Bar, Protein Shake 2 scoops Optimum Nutrition, 1 Orange.
Carbohydrates 175 grams
Fat 98 grams
Protein 189 Grams
Fiber 42 grams
Sugar 59 grams
The popularity of Paleo, often referred to as the “caveman” diet, is gaining in popularity. It is also referred to as the Stone Age diet or hunter-gatherer diet, and the theory behind it is that your nutritional intake should be based on consuming plants and wild animals, just like what cavemen are presumed to have eaten during the Paleolithic Period. Based on several clinical trials, Paleo diet is shown as effective in lowering the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. The American Dietetic Association also agrees that Paleo diet has a lot of great aspects; however, some people can’t sustain this type of nutrition due to lack of variety, cost, and nutrient inadequacies.
What you can eat
There are no special pills or starvation techniques involved in the Paleo diet. All you have to do is eat similar foods our Paleolithic ancestors ate long ago. Here are several foods that you could eat with Paleo diet and those that you need to stay away from:
✓ Grass-produced meats — poultry, turkey, steak, pork, beef, buffalo, bacon, veal, bison, rabbit, goat, goose, kangaroo, wild boar, ostrich, quail, elk and emu
✓ Fish and seafoods — crab, oysters, salmon, bass, halibut, tilapia, tuna, mackerel, clams, lobsters, scallops, mussels, squid and shrimp
✓ Vegetables — asparagus, carrots, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, peppers, cauliflower, eggplant, celery, Brussel sprouts, parsley and artichoke hearts
✓ Fruits – apple, avocado, raspberries, mango, watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries, grapes, lemon, tangerine, oranges, plums, peaches, lime, papaya and strawberries
✓ Nuts and seeds – almonds, cashews, pecans, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, macadamia nut, walnut abd sunflower seeds
✓ Healthy oils — avocado oil, macadamia oil, , olive oil, canola oil and coconut oil
NOT TO EAT
✖ Dairy – butter, cheese, powdered milk, cream cheese, nonfat dairy creamer, skim milk, yogurt, pudding, ice cream and low fat milk
✖ Soft drinks – all kinds of soft drinks, since these have high fructose corn syrup and sugar content
✖ Fruit juices — are also high in sugar so try to stay away from them. Examples are apple juice, grape juice, orange juice, strawberry juice, star fruit juice and mango juice
✖ Grains — cereals, bread, toast, sandwiches, crackers, English muffins, oatmeal, corn, wheat, pancakes, pasta, lasagna and hash browns
✖ Legumes – black beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, lima beans, pinto beans, red beans, green beans, white beans, chick peas, snow peas, peanuts, peanut butter, lentils, miso, tofu, soybeans, and all soybean products and derivatives
✖ Fatty meats – spam, hot dogs and other processed meats
✖ Salty foods — French fries, ketchup
✖ Alcohol – Beer, whiskey, tequila, rum, vodka, and other alcoholic mixes
✖ Sweets – sugar, candy bars
- Lose weight – Paleo diet helps your body to lose weight naturally since the stored fat in your body is being converted into energy. With Paleo diet, you are consuming foods that have a high-nutrient density without the bad calories. You also tend to lose food sensitivities and you feel more satiated because of all the healthy fats you’re consuming.
- Increase energy levels – Several studies show that following this diet will increase your energy since you’re eating foods that are low in carbohydrates but high in fat, which provide more sustained and lasting energy.
- Sharpen the mind – By following the Paleo diet, you are getting a well balanced meal from natural sources. It gives you more energy without having to resort to caffeinated beverages or energy drinks. It also allows you to eat until you feel full, or eat whenever you’re hungry, so you don’t risk running low on energy when you need it.
- Detox your system – Paleo helps you detoxify your body, so you lose the unwanted substances in your food like MSG, gluten, refined sugar and caffeine. Ingesting more antioxidants, phytonutrients and fiber from the fruit and vegetables you’ll be eating will help your body to purge out toxins.
- Helps you sleep better – by cutting out the chemicals and additives in your diet, you tend to sleep better. This is because of the serotonin in the brain, which releases the signal that it’s time to sleep, is not overridden by these chemicals.
- Leaner muscles – Because this diet plan relies heavily on consuming meat, a healthy amounts of proteins are then used to feed your muscles. This helps you have a leaner physique and better muscle development, (with the help of a little exercise.)
- Reduce your risk of diseases – this diet allows you to eat more anti-inflammatory foods and less foods that causes inflammation. You’re also eating more foods that have antioxidants and phytonutrients, which are known to ward off diseases such as cancers and heart ailments. Naturally avoiding fast food and junk foods also help in improving your overall nutrition.
David Novak’s byline has appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world. He’s an avid health enthusiast, and frequently is featured in regional and national health publications. He is also a weekly writer for Healthline. To visit his other stories on Healthline, visithttp://www.healthline.com/.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.
Eating clean is simply stripping your diet with unhealthy foods. It is not a diet but a lifestyle choice wherein you only eat whole, unrefined, and unprocessed foods. This allows you to eat more and weigh less by making smart food choices.
Eating clean can is the foundation for proper nutrition, weight loss and disease prevention. The concept of clean eating may seem to be overwhelming at first, especially if it involves a lot of dietary changes. Taking it one step a time and incorporating it gradually, however, can help you ease into these changes. Don’t beat yourself up when you make mistakes or have slipped off the rails a few times. All it takes is the determination and patience knowing that you can eventually live a much healthier life than ever before. The keys to good health and proper nutrition are in the following concepts:
Cut down on alcohol
Several studies show that moderate consumption of alcohol (specifically red wine) has some health benefits, such as raising good HDL cholesterol and warding off dementia and Alzheimer. It is essential that consumption stays moderate, however, since excessive alcohol can affect your liver. It also weakens your immune system, making your body an easy target for diseases.
Cut down on sugar
On average, Americans consume 30 tablespoons of added sugar every day, which is higher than the recommended allowance deemed by the American Heart Association, which is only 6 tablespoons for women and 9 tablespoons for men. Excessive intake of sugar can increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. It can also result in weight gain since excess sugar that’s not immediately required for energy is converted to triglycerides. So, avoid sugar in excess, including sugary beverages such as soda and fruit-flavored punches.
Cut down on salt
Restaurant foods and processed foods generally have high sodium content. It is best to cook food at home to be able to manage your sodium intake. Use fresh ingredients and boost flavor by using herbs and spices rather than salt. Too much salt intake can result to hypertension and may increase the risk of osteoporosis, stomach cancer, cirrhosis and kidney stones.
Avoid saturated and trans fat
Saturated fats are known to increase the “bad” LDL cholesterol, which can damage the arteries. Trans fat is far worse that saturated fats because aside from raising bad LDL, it also lowers good HDL. Too much of these unhealthy fats can lead to coronary heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, liver dysfunction and other chronic conditions.
Cut down on refined grains
As much as possible, limit your intake of refined grains such as white rice, white bread, and other foods made with all-purpose flour, such as cookies, cakes and crackers. Refined grains are easily digested into simple sugar, causing your blood sugar levels to spike or crash. These foods can also contribute to high triglycerides, which can cause inflammation and may worsen arthritis symptoms. Choose whole grains instead like whole oats, brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa and whole rye.
Avoid processed foods
Processed foods are anything that is in a box, can, bag or package that have a food label indicating more than one ingredient. All of these processed foods have loads of added sugar, salt, trans fat, and saturated fat that can be dangerous to your health. Processed foods also cause chronic inflammation, indigestion and obesity. Choosing natural, fresh foods are still the healthiest choice for everyone.
Eat more fruits and vegetables
Eating lots of fruits and vegetables are the best thing you could do for your body. Aside from being nutritious and rich in antioxidants, these power foods have low calories, which can minimize the risk for heart disease. They also have numerous vitamins and minerals, which are essential in keeping the body healthy and lowering the risk of contracting diseases. Fiber, which is also found in most vegetables and fruits, helps prevent diabetes, appendicitis and colon cancer. Make sure that fruits and vegetables will be the main food in your daily nutrition.
Increase your water intake
Our body is made up of 60% water, so it’s important that you replenish it by drinking at least 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. Water transports nutrients and oxygen to the body. It also helps keep your metabolism healthy and flowing, as well as regulates body temperature. Dehydration or lack of water in the body can cause tiredness, migraine, constipation, kidney disease and irregular blood pressure.
David Novak is a national newspaper columnist, appearing in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Reader’s Digest and GQ Magazine, among others. David is a health and diet enthusiast, and frequently writes on a wide array of health topics for various publications, including regular editions appearing in healthline.com. For more of his Healthline articles, visithttp://www.healthline
The NYC Marathon was all that I expected and more. I had heard about the crowds and the noise level and the massive amounts of runners but you really can’t prepare for that unless you have experienced it. 2 Millions plus spectators who are loud and cheering for you like you are Derek Jeter. Every recreational athlete should get to experience that at some point in their lives.
My alarm went off at 3:45 a.m. but I shot awake at 3:30. I was quite anxious for the day to begin. Every meticulous detail was pre-planned from what I was going to eat to how I was going to put on my layered clothes to prepare for the waiting outside at Fort Wadsworth. Shower; Check. Water; Check. Body Glide; Check. I got my cup of coffee and had my oatmeal and hit the road to meet my ride to Met Life Stadium. Getting to Met Life was a breeze at 4:45 in the morning. There were hundreds of buses lined up ready to roll. As we got on the bus I expected a fairly short drive but instead it took us an hour and a half. The traffic getting near the Verrazano bridge was stand still. It was tough sitting down for that long but we were going to have to wait around anyway so I reasoned that it was better on a warm bus than out in the cold. When we got there the security presence was heavy. Metal Detectors and wands were used. Bib numbers had to be shown to anyone who asked and several people asked. Sleeping bags and even garbage bags which people planned on using to keep warm or to sit on were confiscated. When we actually got to Fort Wadsworth. The atmosphere was buzzing with anticipation. They provided coffee, water, gatorade, and bagels. I decided to have a bagel around 8:30 because it had now been 3 hours since I ate my oatmeal. There were people everywhere. I didn’t know at the time but they later announced a record number of runners. Over 50,000 would line up to attempt this year’s NYC Marathon. Most just sitting down, trying to rest as much as possible. Many waiting in the lines for the bathroom no doubt a combination of drinking water, sitting out in the cold, and just nervous energy. There were people from so many other countries wearing their county’s colors proudly. I noticed France, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Spain, Canada, and Germany just to name a few.
I tried seeking out people who had run NYC before to get some tips on how to manage the day. The Ford Wadsworth part of the day was like Christmas Eve as a kid. You just know something amazing is about to happen and you can feel it in the air. Finally at 9:00 they called wave 2 to the corals.
Once inside the corrals the nerves started to come. Last minute bathroom breaks because we were less than an hour from starting the world’s greatest race. Now was also the time to shed the layers of clothes I had on over my race outfit. It was a cold day and the wind was harsh at times but to be honest I am not sure if I noticed at the time. I kept my hat and gloves on for the first part of the race only to shed them around mile 5. As we made our way towards the base of the Verazano for the first time I really got a sense of how massive this was. TV Cameras were everywhere and there was a stage set up where Mayor Bloomberg had just wished all of the runners good luck. Someone sang God Bless America and did a great job but I have no idea who. Then before I knew it The cannon fired and Frank Sinatra Sang New York New York.
The first mile was up hill to the crest of the Verazano Bridge. You really couldn’t open up too much because the see of people around you. On the sides of the bridge two NYPD choppers hovered what seemed like 15 feet away. Everywhere you looked left, right, front, or back there were runners. It somehow worked. They start you based on your predicted finishing time so most of the people round you should run at around the same pace as you. When you look at the overhead shots of the bridge you think you would feel claustrophobic but that really wasn’t the case.
Brooklyn was my favorite part of the race. Everyone talked about First Ave but Brooklyn was unique in so many ways. The energy was super high and the people were enthusiastic throughout. Each section had it’s own flavor and made the long trek through Brooklyn lots of fun. There were DJ’s and bands and MC’s keeping the crowd going. One of the best tips I received was to write my name somewhere on my body because other runners and people along the route would shout out, “Keep going Joe” , or “nice job Joe.” Some of my favorite signs that people had were the girl with a Friday Night Lights Jersey holding the sign that said Clear Eyes Full Hearts, the popular catch phrase from the TV show. Another guy had a sign that said Chuck Norris never ran a marathon. Run now, Beer Later was another one that I liked seeing. Brooklyn for me was the highlight of the race. It was still early enough where I felt good and I was cruising on adrenaline. The only downside was the strong winds mostly in my face which at the time I didn’t pay attention to but the combination of my adrenaline and the winds would maybe come back to haunt me later on.
The second half of the race started as you crossed the Queensboro Bridge onto First Ave in Manhattan. The Queensboro was quiet and the first half was uphill until you crested and then started down onto the street. When I made the left onto First Ave you could see all of the people lining the streets. It was not quite as loud as I was told it would be but certainly First Ave had the most spectators. They were holding signs and ringing cow bells and just cheering for their family and friends and even people they don’t know. The marathon is a day where all the good it seems comes out in people. Yes their are the elite runners with their tiny bodies running superhuman times. To me the marathon is about the 99% of the runners who go into the day knowing they have no chance of winning.
Around Mile 18 is when things started to go down hill for me. I started to feel a slight twinge in my hamstrings. I knew if I continued to stride like I wanted to I might cramp up. I have never felt that in my hamstrings while running. Usually it was my calves or my hip but this was real. I made a conscious effort to slow myself down and decrease my stride in order to not blow out my hamstring. The shorter strides make for more ground time and more force being pounded into your legs. By mile 20 it was over for me. I was shot. I had hit the wall. This was not my first marathon but I had never felt anything like this. I struggled slowly from 20-23. I hardly even remember going through the Bronx and up into Harlem. By the time we crossed back into Manhattan and into Central Park I felt as if I was going to die. Every part of my legs were failing me. My calves, my hips, my quads had seemed to take over for my previously ailing hamstrings. Miles 23-26.2 were a slow crawl at best. I even walked. I walked and ran back and forth through Central park. Each time I stopped I wanted to cry because I could see 3:45 slipping away but more than I just wanted it to be done. The marathon had beat me. My previous marathons I didn’t walk at all. Now I was walking through water stops and even in between. People were passing me left and write. Having Joe written on my shirt helped me in the beginning but now I didn’t want people to know my name. Other runners were trying to encourage me. ”Almost there Joe”. Spectators were trying to help me but it was of no use. I just could not make myself run.
The goal was 3:45. 8 minutes and 35 seconds a mile. I can do that. Maybe go 8:15 because I would slow down later on but still doable. But something inside of me just says go as fast as you can. Looking back I am not sure if it was the wind in my face or my too fast pace but I crashed and I crashed hard. My first 10 miles were about a 7:40 pace. I just didn’t trust myself and my training to slow down. For some reasons I always have in the back of my mind that no matter how slow I go in the beginning I will still hit that wall later on so why not go fast now. I should know better than that. For someone reason I just can’t seem to make myself do it.
|16:40||- 1:02 (11%)||7’49″/mi|
|24:36||+ 0:07 (-2%)||7’56″/mi|
|32:11||- 0:21 (4%)||7’35″/mi|
|39:42||- 0:04 (0%)||7’31″/mi|
|47:05||- 0:08 (1%)||7’23″/mi|
|54:41||+ 0:13 (-3%)||7’36″/mi|
|1:02:26||+ 0:09 (-2%)||7’45″/mi|
|1:10:17||+ 0:06 (-2%)||7’51″/mi|
|1:18:12||+ 0:04 (-1%)||7’55″/mi|
|1:26:23||+ 0:16 (-4%)||8’11″/mi|
|1:34:24||- 0:10 (2%)||8’01″/mi|
|1:42:35||+ 0:10 (-3%)||8’11″/mi|
|1:51:03||+ 0:17 (-4%)||8’28″/mi|
|1:59:27||- 0:04 (0%)||8’24″/mi|
|2:09:35||+ 1:44 (-21%)||10’08″/mi|
|2:17:16||- 2:27 (24%)||7’41″/mi|
|2:25:53||+ 0:56 (-13%)||8’37″/mi|
|2:34:44||+ 0:14 (-3%)||8’51″/mi|
|2:43:59||+ 0:24 (-5%)||9’15″/mi|
|2:53:07||- 0:07 (1%)||9’08″/mi|
|3:02:46||+ 0:31 (-6%)||9’39″/mi|
|3:13:01||+ 0:36 (-7%)||10’15″/mi|
|3:24:58||+ 1:42 (-17%)||11’57″/mi|
|3:36:04||- 0:51 (7%)||11’06″/mi|
|3:47:25||+ 0:15 (-3%)||11’21″/mi|
Those last three miles were the most painful thing I have ever done in my life. Not just physically but emotionally I was beaten. I wish I could say I picked it up and crossed the finish line feeling great but I limped across that finish line. Yes, in the video I put my hands up but to be honest I was just happy it was over. I was shocked to see that I actually had PR’d. I had beaten my previous best marathon by more than 2 minutes. I said that I was done with marathons after this one and at the finishing line I was sticking to that for sure. It was pure torture. It wasn’t until today when I read a NY Times article that I was able to get some perspective on the whole thing. They interviewed a guy by the name of Greg Cass. He is a very good but sub elite runner.
“That is both the gift and the curse of the marathon,” Cass said. “When you finally get it right, it’s the product of 30 variables that you have maybe 50 percent control of. When you get it wrong, you try to analyze all 30 of those variables. It’s nearly impossible to figure out exactly what went wrong and how to make it better next time. But that’s the goal. To take a look at what happened and go back to the drawing board. And, if it’s in the cards, to give it another go.”
If you told me 5 years ago that I would have run 3 marathons I would have never believed you. That is the magic of the NYC Marathon. 99% of the people running have no chance of winning. It is only you against yourself and everyone wins. Just by starting the race and doing the training and having the courage to finish was I able to see myself do something so amazing. Am I really done with marathons? I don’t know. Maybe I’m just chasing something that will never happen which is the perfect race. I am definitely not running one next year. I want to tackle some shorter races and try to get faster. Maybe I will do some obstacle races because those seem like a lot of fun. I want to throw myself into CrossFit a little more and see where that leads me. I plan to get on that as soon as I can walk again. One thing is for sure that for the rest of my life I can tell people that I ran the NYC Marathon.
We are seeing the race world evolve in front of our eyes. For years there were 5k’s, half marathons, and marathons to test our endurance and stamina. But why are people putting in hours at the gym just to see the benefits go to waste. Yes some of us work out for aesthetics but that can only take you so far or motivate you to do so much. Some of us work out to feel accomplished and to feel able. We are able to lift things. We are able to climb things. We are able to throw things. We are able to prove our endurance at the same time as proving our strength and at the same time as proving our mental toughness. The reality is running for 4 hours straight is not a useful skill that we can use. In real life you will need endurance, strength, stamina, and the ability to use your body in every way possible. If the shit hits the fan so to speak and the zombie apocalypse is upon us obstacle races are your battle field. Ok so maybe the zombie apocalypse is a stretch but if you want something awesome and badass to train for to get a feeling of accomplishment like you have never had before start training for a Spartan Race today.
Many of you know that I started doing Crossfit almost a year ago. Crossfit defines itself as High Intensity, Constantly varied, Functional movements. Basically there are no single joint isolated movements. Instead of machines your body is the machine. This is how our bodies move in the real world. Never in life will you have to extend your knee without also extending your hip. Our bodies move as a unit and not as a series of isolated muscular contractions. The Spartan Race is Crossfit brought to life. Taking all the skills and improvements that you have made from Crosffit and utilizing it in an obstacle course setting. If you want to add motivation to your workouts try signing up for a Spartan Race. I would suggest doing it with a group of friends. Many Spartans work together as teams to get through the course. If Crossfit is the sport of fitness than a Spartan Race is it’s proving grounds. Yes Crossfit has the Crossfit games but that is the elite of the elite. Anyone can sign up for a Spartan Race and really see what you are made of. From the average Joe to Navy Seals there is a Spartan Race for you.
The Spartan race was voted the # 1 obstacle race by Outside magazine. In a Spartan Race you can expect running, rope climbs, crawling, tire flips, mud, ponds, mud, hills, scaling walls ala Ninja Warrior, mud, carrying sandbags, mud, inverted wall climbs, barbed wire, fire,mud, and just general cool shit. It’s an adult playground to say the least. For some people this sounds like hell on earth but for people like me this sounds like a day full of fun. Where else can you challenge yourself to these extremes and put yourself in real world situations at the same time creating a bond with a group of friends that will last a lifetime. There is a saying that those who suffer together bond together. CrossFit does that for a lot of people and so does the Spartan Race. Get out of the gym and complete a Spartan Race with your buddies. If any JerseyStrong subscribers are interested in doing a Spartan Race use this link to get a 15% discount http://bit.ly/spartanwarrior.
To see the Spartan race course in all it’s glory then tune in on December 7th on NBC sports to see the Spartan Race world championships. This is the extreme version of what you and your buddies will be doing but many of the same obstacles but done at a ridiculous pace and with more severe consequences. If you want to see some of the world’s most well rounded athletes doing crazy stunts while tackling a 14 mile course with elevations of 12,000 feet then tune in. Watch with your friends or Crossfit buddies then sign up for your own race using the link above.
As an added bonus for JerseyStrong subscribers anyone who comments on this blog post will be entered into a raffle to receive a FREE entry into a Spartan Race in 2013-2014. That is a 95.00 value for FREE just for commenting on this blog post. I do ask that you also share this with any friends you think may be interested. Retweet it or e-mail it a friend and don’t forget to watch the World Championship Spartan Race on December 7th.
Sleep is something most people don’t really think about in terms of getting the body they want but it might just be your secret weapon. Not getting enough sleep causes stress hormones which can react very negatively in your fight against fat loss. Studies show that getting 8 hours of sleep a night can increase your metabolism which in turn burns fat at a faster rate than someone who gets only 6 hours of sleep. If you are the type who tosses and turns and can’t get to bed on time than maybe my next guest blogger can give you the tips you need.
Ali Jan Qadir has been working in the mattress industry for more than ten years. He is a recognized industry expert and sleep consultant. Let’s put it this way, he knows sleep! He is the author of a blog www.whatsthebestbed.org Here you can see his thoughts and reviews on the latest industry trends such as adjustable bed brands.
Having an adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and can benefit your heart, mind, weight and more .Sleep affects cognitive skills, relationships with others, ability to handle stress, physical and nutritional conditioning.
Most individuals need seven to eight hours of sleep at night to function optimally for maximum alertness as the body cannot be trained to need less sleep than the normal. Everyone who sleeps only four to five hours of sleep each night will experience some loss of performance.
Some individuals can function reasonably well on little sleep for short durations particularly with the aid of caffeine or other stimulants but even their performance is impacted to a measurable extent. Not getting enough sleep certainly has serious impact on how and what you think including decreased working memory, situational/battlefield awareness, ability to concentrate, focus and slowing of responses and response time.It also reduces your ability to make good decisions and increases the tendency to be distracted by emotional stimuli. It lowers the ability to interact effectively with those around you and to communicate effectively. Even more disturbing facts are that inadequate amounts of sleep have been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, weight gain, high blood pressure, obesity, depression and heart disease etc.
No one can function on just a few hours of sleep a night over time. When one faces a total sleep deprivation, his performance typically declines by 25 percent every 24 hours depending on the type of performance being measured. As mentioned above, sleep loss impacts multiple performance areas, therefore, an understanding of its overall impact is important for total fitness.
The benefits of a good night’s sleep are plentiful but many often people are just not getting enough sleep or the kind of quality sleep they need to be fully functional and to make the most of their waking hours. Therefore, the low productivity can mean loss of income and work product.
There are several simple adjustments one can make to stack the cards in favor of a better night’s sleep for you.
· Avoiding to watch TV before bed
Your bed should be reserved only for sleep. Research shows that those who experienced the most sleep disturbances had televisions in their bedrooms and used the TV to fall asleep.
· Try a different pillow or mattress.
Sometimes just replacing your pillow with a fresh, new and higher quality version pillow or mattress could give you all that you need in terms of a better sleep. Many people have difficulty getting a good quality sleep because they have back pains. If back pain is a problem for you try picking out best mattress brand for back pains, they will really improve the quality of your sleep.
· Keep yourself away from caffeine late in the day.
Eliminate the tea, coffee, soda and even chocolate and see if your sleep improves.
· Listening to relaxing music.
In order to establish a relaxing bedtime routine, things just like listening to music, could just act as a signal you need to give your body for the time to sleep. Dim the lights and throw some slow jazz or relaxing sounds CD to help slow your mind and body down for an evening of peaceful sleep.
· Apply mind-body techniques.
Your brain and body need to unwind and detox before sleep fresh after an action-packed day. So create a routine for bedtime where you take a bath, do some easy stretches, yoga or meditate. Keep practicing the same each night. This repetition will trigger your mind and body that it is time to relax and sleep.
Taking sleep medications may also help you fall asleep but they cannot be taken long-term and many have risky side effects. Therefore, a sleep aid that uses natural ingredients is a better approach to getting a solid night’s sleep.
Finally, most important is to simply avoid accumulating a sleep debt that will have to be paid off. So, obtaining sufficient time asleep on a daily basis is the BEST way to maintain long-term optimal operational readiness.
It’s back to school time for this teacher. We started today with an in-service for all teachers so I thought I would recap my summer in health and fitness. As always I am up to something and always trying to improve my overall health and fitness lifestyle. This summer I added two new things into my fitness routine. One was biking. The other was CrossFit. I also made a few dietary changes that I hope I can continue into the school year.
Biking was so much fun. I just really enjoyed getting on my bike and exploring new streets and riding through town and just enjoying being outside on a summer day. My longest ride was 20 miles but I found that a nice 10 mile bike ride is just a nice and comfortable distance for me right now. I am sure next summer will include more biking but with my marathon training it made it tough to not overdo it. I also learned that I need to monitor my tire pressure so that I don’t get flats. That probably would have been useful information ahead of time but live and learn.
CrossFit has been great as well. By great I mean that most days I leave there feeling like I am just useless. For me I like having a goal or something to train for so when I am not good at something or not one of the better ones in the classes I enjoy it. I do have to say that I have gotten slowly better and more comfortable with the workouts. I incorporated almost all of the movements and lifts into my previous workout routines but not at that high repetition rate or that high intensity. I really can’t wait until after the NYC Marathon to see what I can do when I completely throw myself into CrossFit and not try to serve two masters by running a marathon at the same time as I am cross-fitting.
Other things I tried to improve my overall health were quitting certain foods. Since losing close to 100 pounds 8 years ago I kind of adopted a eat this not that philosophy. I am always looking for small switches that I can do to improve my diet. Perhaps the biggest was diet soda. For everyone who knows me they know I was for years a diet coke guy. Yes I always drank plenty of water but I had to have my diet coke with a meal. I would maybe drink two or three a day. I went cold turkey and to be honest I don’t even miss it. Even though there are no calories in diet coke there are just too many studies that show how bad it is for you. I do wonder how I will keep that up after going back to work and losing out on the caffeine. My beverages now include coffee, water, iced tea, and beer and thats about it.
The other things I did this summer was try to eat clean. Or at least an 80/20 rule for eating clean. I still have my mandatory cheat meals which are usually Saturday night dinner and one meal on Sunday. By eating clean I mean nothing out of a box. I grilled some meat almost every day for dinner and ate plenty of vegetables. A typical day of eating for me this summer went something like this:
Snack 1: (night time eating) Don’t ask! I have a disease. Grapes or almonds or whatever I had in the fridge.
Breakfast: 6 eggs and an avocado sliced
Dinner: 8 ounce steak with spinach sauteed in butter and garlic
Snack 2: Tomato sliced with salt and pepper
Snack 3: on lifting days Protein Shake on running days a sweet potato with butter
Snack 4: Protein Shake.
This diet usually was about 40% fat, 30% protein, and 30% carbs. My goals were to stay within my calorie allotment which for me is about 2200 calories a day while also getting close to 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight which for me is at least 155 grams or 1 gram of protein per 1 pound of overall body weight on days where I did crossfit which is about 190 grams.
Things I no longer eat at least during my 80% of the time are:
Cheese, Milk, or any Dairy.
Protein Bars or any Snack Bars
Anything out of a bag or a box.
High Starch vegetables.
Processed meats such as sandwich cold cuts.
Results: I am about 8 pounds heavier than I was at this time last year but my body fat is down about 2%. That tells me that I have more muscle now and have not added any fat. I have to admit there are times when I look at the scale and see 196 and it bothers me not being at 188 like I was last year but I have to remind myself that the eight pounds gained is mostly muscle. Although I am 8 pounds up I have had multiple people ask me if I lost weight which tells me that I look more lean despite being up 8 pounds from a year ago. I attribute this to the fact that I am consuming more protein and the Crossfit workouts in particular the heavy leg work.
So what can you do today to improve your health and fitness? We are all a creature of habits. Nothing is more habitual than food and exercise. Look into your habits and routines and try to replace one current habit with a new one. If you always stop at Dunkin Donuts for a coffee on your way to work try a lower calorie option off the menu. If you have a sandwich with cheese leave the cheese off and see if you miss it. If you always drive around the parking lot looking for the closest parking spot just park on the far end and walk. One little insignificant change right now leads to another change down the road. Health and Fitness is a continuous lifelong process. One of those changes will be the tipping point that leads to a healthier you.
What changes have you made lately from your regular habits that have led to improved diet or fitness?
This was a strange week. First of all a heat wave hit NJ.
As you can see this heat wave was no joke. 95 degrees every day with high humidity. My strategy was pretty simple. Drink abnormal amounts of water all day long. Run at night usually around 7:00 p.m. When running I make sure I bring water with me. I love my handheld amphibian water bottle. It cradles my hand and I don’t feel like I am going to drop it. My other secret weapon is my cool towel. You may have seen this towel advertised on TV. You wet it, rinse it, then snap it and it cools around your neck. I just tucked it into my neck under my shirt and it was nice and cool on my neck.
For two of my runs on the hottest days I went to Loantaka Park which is a paved trail with a lot of tree cover. That kept me out of the sun. My times were pretty good considering the heat. I made a point to run flat routes this week. It also helped me that this was a scale back week. For my long run I scaled back after two weeks of progress. Last weekend I did 7 miles and this weekend only 5. What does everyone else do during a heat wave? Tell me in the comments.
Tuesday: 3 miles easy pace and 9 mile bike ride.
Wednesday: 4 miles
Thursday: 3 miles and Crossfit
Friday: 15 mile bike ride
Sunday: 5 miles