Update From Last Week’s Marathon

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Our guest blogger and extreme runner Mike Hartley, highlighted in our Runners Corner page, sent me an update from the marathon he ran in Salida, CO last week.

First of all, can you even imagine running a marathon of 26+ miles in the mountains on snowy, muddy, rocky trails?  Well…I can’t either (the 26+ miles on flat dry ground is hard enough for me to imagine actually running).  But, for Mike it was just simply another marathon to add to his collection of accomplishments.  I think he’s completed around 45 marathons now, but I lost count.  The picture showcases some of his bling framed!

He sent me the update below of the Salida marathon for your reading pleasure.  I believe it took him around 5 hours to actually complete the race, with the conditions of the trail dredging through deep snow along the way.  I know he has several other races planned this summer, so for all of you running fanatics, stay tuned for more updates…..


A Salida running experience

I was blessed and fortunate enough to enjoy the outdoors and a wonderful foot race this last weekend in Salida, Colorado. The Run Through Time Marathon was a great challenge of mind and body. Although the weather was perfect on race day Mother Nature and father time provided for some grueling course conditions. By this I mean miles of snow (in some areas knee deep) and mud. This provided to what was already a technical course to downright…well, crazy fun!

It was not a day to debate with one’s ego or pride and attempt that course personal record or worry about who was in front of you. It was more about remaining safe, having fun with fellow runners and finding the finish line. Isn’t it always? This is what I love most about the running community, especially long distance trails and ultras, the camaraderie and spirit is second to none!

A few useful/useless notes that you can ponder:

Race day and course conditions have no forecast. Be prepared for your adventure whether it is a long training run or a race. But, remember to have fun and enjoy the experience. Chat with your fellow trail blazers, absorb the spirit of the outdoors and witness the freedom of running.

If you ever find yourself in an argument with your ego or self-pride while in training or at a race just ask yourself “why you so serious” and follow that up with a “let’s put a smile on that face”! These phrases or mantras should bring you back down to earth and help you remember your doing this for the fun, personal challenge and the health of it!

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I Save Tons Of Money By Being Healthy

exercise_money_tstockI can honestly say that I’ve saved tons of money, year over year, for staying healthy and eating well.  I regularly exercise and eat well with home cooked meals and a Paleo style diet.  To me, when it comes to living frugally, staying healthy is a big part of my plan.  I haven’t been to a doctor in years, so no co-pay visits, no billing from the insurance companies….most importantly, no meds!

How many people do you know that are constantly sick?  If it isn’t a cold or sinus issues, it’s stomach problems, or some other health issue.

I see people like this everyday, especially at work.   A lot of my co-workers eat really bad and have no energy, or are just not motivate to stay active.  This is especially true at an administrative job, where you seem to get stuck behind a desk all day long.   Maybe it’s a little over the top, but I believe the drug companies want the American population to be sick, so they can profit off of everyone.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?   I see co-workers eating fast food every day for lunch; taking in tons of sugar with junk food and soda, gaining more and more weight, then they wonder why they are sick all the time.   I just sit back and watch and appreciate the fact that I haven’t been sick even once this year or last year for that matter.  Obviously I’m not super human, but when I do catch a bug, I can quickly shake it and will be back to 100% in a matter of a few days.

Outside of my interests (or even obsession) with my finances and investing, I love working out.  I am a personal trainer and enjoy exercise as one of my passions.  Of course the way I look at it, both of these hobbies actually go hand-in-hand.  If I keep myself in good shape and take care of my overall health, I stay away from the doctor and save tons of money year over year.  I can imagine I’ve literally saved thousands of dollars over the past several years (in comparison to most people I know), by just maintaining my health.  I feel better than I did 10 years ago and I’m in a lot better shape.

I actually get the best of both worlds….good health and significant savings.  Both of which play a big part in my future goals.  I plan to live well and enjoy life to the fullest as I age.  Staying in shape, maintaining my health AND stashing away all that extra cash I saved in the process to reach my financial goals.  It’s a win-win situation!

Look good, feel good, live a long healthy life and stay away from the doctors office.  No meds, no insurance bills, tons of money saved in the process!   Get active, stay active, eat clean and live well.

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Race Preparation For A Trail Marathon In March

image (1)Yes, it might be thought of as old school, but preparation is key for a
safe and stress free start. Whether you are heading out to the trails
for a hike, or toeing the start line for your next race, being prepared
puts you in shape for a good place in fitness.

For me, the gun goes off in less than twenty four hours and I am
performing my pre-race packing ritual. Salida Run Through Time
marathon is a challenging course with narrow, hilly, single track and
jeep trails with about 4800 feet of climbing. I am told the course has
seen some sunlight the last three days, but snow and mud are still
prevalent course conditions.

Keeping the course and conditions in mind, with a forecast of thirties
and forties during prime race time, I am packing running shorts and two
long sleeve shirts, one light and one heavy. I am a firm believer in leg compression sleeves both on the course and during recovery. I am turning to my Nike Lunar Eclipse shoes for this race as these will perform best if I need to put Yaktrax on for traction, or if I need to quickly shed mud. A pair of Injinji lightweight run toe socks with a
second pair of Smartwool socks is race plan. Even before the socks go on, kinesiology tape will be applied for support and help with ankle rolls (that never happens). And, of course, a rock shedding, heel saving pair of Running Funky gaiters will be in place to keep debris out of the shoes!

Light gloves, 70 oz Camelbak, Gu and Clif Bloks, New Skin chafing spray, tube with ibuprofen, salt tablets, and Rolaids, shades, warm head cap and signature Marathon and Beyond hat with neck flap all are on the list.

There is no perfect list for getting prepared for your outings or events. Find your ritual and continue to rebalance it to your fitness adventure needs.

Again, being prepared for a hike, casual run or race can help keep you safe and smiling in fitness.

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Are You Using Creatine To Build Muscle?

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If you are focused on building more muscle and increasing strength, are you taking creatine to enhance your effort? If not, you should definitely try it.  I’ve been taking creatine products for years now, cycling the supplement in and out of my weight training workouts.  There is no doubt that the product works for me and has proven itself to be a “must have” supplement for most people interested in weight training and/or athletic performance.

Studies have shown creatine to be effective at increasing lean muscle mass, muscle strength and athletic performance.  It’s also been known to help increase muscular endurance, reduce muscle fatigue and hydrate muscles for a larger and more full appearance.

The problem is, what type of creatine should you use?  If you shop around, there are so many different types of creatine out there; creatine monohydrate, creatine malate, creatine HCL, Kre-Alkalyn, micronized creatine and many other varieties.

I’ve personally tried several different types of creatine and have had mixed results.  Some worked really well and some didn’t seem to do much for me….no strength, no muscle increase, really nothing as far as I could tell.

So, which product should you try?  Obviously everyone is different and products work for some and not for others.

One product I recently found that I’ve had good results from is called CreAde from RSP Nutrition.  This product is a creatine matrix with five forms of micronized creatine all in one serving.   According to the company, the creatine blend ensures maximum absorption and utilization to help increase strength and muscle size.  The CreAde transport matrix enables effective creatine transport without the need for simple sugars or carbohydrates.   This product also does not need to have “loading phase” like recommendations from most other creatine monohydrate products.

I found that the product did not give me any bloating or stomach cramping like some other creatine products out there.  The product does come in flavored varieties, but I purchased the unflavored version because I personally do not recommend using anything with artificial sweeteners.  The flavored varieties are sweetened with Acesulfame Potassium and Sucralose.

I really like this product and have seen some good results.  I’ve been experimenting taking it both before and after my workouts.  Right now, I think I’ll just stick to taking it post-workout and see how it goes.  I’ll also cycle it every three to four weeks, then take time off in-between, as I’ve noticed my strength tends to level off after about four weeks of taking creatine.

I also found a great deal on it HERE.   If you are weight training you should definitely try this product, I don’t think you will be disappointed.  Plus it’s made in the USA!

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Extreme Running Video Link

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Extreme Running with Mike Hartley.

Mike is our guest blogger hosted on “Runners Corner” at Forever Be Healthy.com.  I can honestly say I’ve never met anyone like Mike when it comes to distance running.  We’re proud to offer his insight and “real life” running experiences here on our website.  Mike is currently preparing to run a marathon in Salida, CO.  We’ll get some updates from him soon.  For now he sent us this blog, with an interesting video link that I’m sure he can appreciate (hopefully you all will too).  It’s amazing to see the type of punishment and perseverance these runners can endure:

This is a pretty awesome video of trail running.  It gave me goose bumps, so real, so true and beautiful.  

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How Carbohydrate Cycling Can Break That Fat Loss Plateau

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You’ve been working out hard, eating clean, but you still are not making any progress.  Carbohydrate cycling is the most effective low carbohydrate diet and will help you bust through that plateau!

Carbohydrate cycling is the practice of lowering carbs for 2-3 days and then bringing your carbs back up for 1-2 days, instead of just keeping your carb ratios the same all the time. This helps your body to burn fat at a higher rate on the lower carb days and then replenish your carbs on higher days. This keeps your metabolism from slowing down and makes sticking to your ‘diet’ easier knowing that you will be able to eat higher carbs and calories in a few days.

There are no strict rules when using the carb cycling diet. Everyone is different and you will need to play with the days you stick with lower carb days and higher carb days. Finding the right ratios are also something you will need to experiment with. Some people can eat more starchy carbs and still lose fat, but others, like me, will need to restrict their starchy carbs and focus more on using fibrous carbs to meet their carbohydrate needs.

You can also plan your carbohydrate cycling around special events or plans that you may have. That is what makes this diet so easy and personalized.

I have recently been doing a low carbohydrate diet for 5 days and then 2 higher carbohydrate days. I do find that during the 5 low days, I do have a tendency to have less energy. Carbohydrates are what provide our body with the energy, so I find that by focusing most of my carbs around my workouts, it helps provide me with enough energy to really put in a good workout.

On average, women should lean towards 125-175 grams of carbs on low days and 200-300 grams on higher days. Men, 175-225 grams on low days and 350-400 grams on high days. Like I mentioned before, every person is different and may need to play with these numbers a bit to find what works best for you.

Pay attention to how your body is feeling. If you are lacking in energy and feeling very week, increase your starchy and fibrous carbs, but focus your starchy carbs around your workouts.  If you have plenty of energy, but aren’t seeing any fat loss results, slowly decrease your starchy carbs.

Your body is a tool and you can use it to achieve many things. Don’t be afraid to try something different, especially if you have hit a plateau. Changing things up, whether it be nutrition or your workouts, are always a good way to stir up your metabolism and help you to start making progress again.

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Eat Your Green Vegetables to Lose Weight

IMG_2969When I first meet with my clients, we always talk about their nutrition. I first ask them what kinds of vegetables they have in their diet and most of them answer corn and potatoes. Those seem to be the 2 staple vegetables that we were all raised to eat and while they are good for you in moderation, these are rated higher on the glycemic index. The glycemic index is a ranking of foods based on their immediate effect on blood glucose or blood sugar levels, so we want to choose foods that are on the lower end of the glycemic index.

We then talk about which vegetables they should be adding to their diet- the fibrous ones. Their goal then is to get at least 2-3 servings each day of fibrous vegetables each day. Why fibrous vegetables? These are lower in calories, fat and higher in fiber than starchy carbohydrates, such as potatoes and corn. You can eat more of them to help fill you up with GOOD calories instead of calories that are less beneficial to your body. You will feel fuller and be eating healthier!

Here are some of the good GREEN vegetable choices:

*Broccoli
*Spinach
*Green Beans
*Lettuce
*Asparagus
*Brussel Sprouts
*Collard Greens
*Cucumbers
*Green Peppers
*Kale
*Peas

Some ways to add fibrous vegetables to your meals: Add either spinach or broccoli to your eggs in the morning. At lunchtime, have some broccoli and/or lettuce or green beans with chicken breast or ground turkey. Dinner time, you can add some type of stir fry veggies or lettuce with your protein of choice.

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Extreme Distance Running

long-distance-runner-3-22Are you a long-distance runner?   Maybe just interested in giving it a try?

I admit, this isn’t my thing, I have to work myself up just for a 5k!   But for some of you crazy runners out there, the excitement and challenge of long-distance running is simply a passion that’s undeniable.    I have a friend and co-worker, Mike Hartley, (featured in our Runners Corner page) that loves these long-distance runs.  I enjoy talking to him about his running hobby, because for me it’s really hard to fathom sometimes.  Like I said, running 3 or 4 miles seems like a lot for me, but for Mike it’s actually just a warm up.  It’s very interesting for me to learn how he can prepare for a 100 mile run (again hard for me to fathom).  For him a marathon is just an afterthought…no stress, no worries, just another marathon to add to the list.  Although he makes it look easy, as most of you runners already know, there is an incredible amount of work and training that goes in to these types of races.

As far as training goes, I found an interesting article with training tips called ultrarunning 101 from Competitor.com.  I hope this helps.  Unfortunately, I personally have no experience with this type of running but with Mike’s knowledge and experience in this field, he will bring a lot of guidance and insight to the subject.

Stay tuned to future posts from Mike featured on our Runners Corner Page.

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Protein And Your Fitness Goals

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 Why do we need protein?

Protein is the building block of our whole body – muscles, tissues, hair, nails, etc – all made up of protein. The body needs to break protein down to amino acids to build muscles. If you do not have enough protein in your body you can NOT build muscle mass. You want to make sure that your body is burning fat, not muscle and you can ensure this by ingesting .9 grams of protein per pound of body weight. If you want to build muscle, you will need to ingest 1 to 1.5 grams of protein.

Most protein foods of animal origin such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, and milk, contain all of the essential amino acids and are called complete proteins. Proteins found in vegetables are usually lacking one or more of the essential amino acids, so they are called incomplete proteins. However, you can combine 2 incomplete vegetable proteins to make a very high quality complete protein. These are the foods are where most of your protein grams should come from first.

Will taking in protein make me fat?

Amino acids in protein help keep your blood sugar levels stable, so if you are trying to lose weight, the protein will aide in your weight loss. Protein helps keep stop your cravings for food that occurs when blood sugar level drops. When your diet is too high in carbohydrates, you go from a burst of energy and being full to being tired and hungry. That is why you must always have a protein and a carbohydrate at each meal.

Why should I supplement with whey protein? Can’t I get enough protein from eating regular foods?

Yes, you can get enough protein, but there are times when it can be very hard. In today’s world, people just don’t have enough time. Running here and there, always on the go. This is where protein shakes can come in very handy. My husband and I only use natural proteins, which do not contain artificial sweeteners. They literally take 2-3 minutes to prepare. Scoop the powder into a shaker or blender with some form of liquid (milk, fruit juice or water). Supplementing with whey protein shakes will help you to build muscle mass, speed recovery time, reduce injuries related to working out, help you to maintain a healthy and fit body and help you to feel better during your workouts.

When are the best times to use a protein supplement?

You should try to get most of your daily protein from regular foods, but there are times when having a protein shake are more beneficial. First thing in the morning, when your body has not had any food for the past 8 hours or so, shakes are digested much faster than an actual meal. Immediately following a workout is also an ideal time for a protein shake. This is probably the most important time to have a shake because after your workout, your muscles need to rebuild and repair themselves.

Can too much protein hurt my body?

If you take in too much protein, your body will not be able to process all the protein into amino acids. What your body can not use will have to be excreted as a waste product. This means your kidney and liver will be doing a lot of work just to get the excess protein out of your body. While this will not cause any major problems over a short period of time – you would not want to be overworking your kidney and liver over the course of several years. That being said – protein supplementation is very safe if you stay within the dosage guidelines.

Which protein supplement is best?

Whey protein is the best form of protein to take when using a supplement as it does not contain fat or lactose sugar. Whey is one of two major sources of protein in milk (casein protein being the other). When milk is turned into cheese, the whey protein is filtered out. The result is a high quality protein.

So as you can see, protein is the most important part of your diet, whether your goals are to increase muscle and get bigger and stronger, or lose weight and lose fat and get/stay lean.

 

You can obtain the best selling protein supplements from A1Supplements.com at the lowest prices!

 

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Which Type Of Training Is Best For Fat Loss?

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You have set your fitness goals and now need to decide which exercises you want to add to your fitness routine to help you burn away that unwanted fat. The best way is to add a combination of both strength training and cardiovascular.

Strength training is the most beneficial method for fat loss. By building muscle, you are in turn increasing your metabolism and helping your body to burn even more calories. Also with strength training, your body begins to burn a large number of calories even after you have finished training.

With strength training you have many options. For beginners or someone who doesn’t have access to a gym or equipment, body weight exercises are a great option for fat loss. Another option is using the push/pull split. This is a great way to get in a total body workout that allows you to perform more exercises per workout and get more recovery time.

Some key points when doing strength training are make sure to warm up and stretch before your workout, lift the weights in slow, steady movements and don’t forget to breathe.

Cardiovascular exercise is the 2nd part of your fat loss fitness routine. Cardio can be done following your strength training or as separate training on the opposite day of strength training. Cardio is not only a great aid to fat loss, but also to help you to maintain a healthy heart. The best form of cardio is HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT involves intervals of varying intensities, some very high. Interval training can be as simple as doing an all-out sprint, jogging to lower your heart rate, and then sprinting once again. This should be done anywhere from 15-30 minutes. The advantage to HIIT is that you are burning more calories in a shorter period of time. You can perform HIIT on almost anything, such as bike, treadmill, elliptical, or even body weight circuits.

It is best to perform strength training workouts at least 3 times per week and also perform HIIT 3 times per week. Make sure to change up your workouts every 6-8 weeks to avoid a fat loss plateau. Changing your workouts also keeps your workouts fresh and new and makes you less likely to stop doing them and gives you a better chance of reaching your fitness goals!

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