Using a 5K to jump start your fitness

Looking for a way to jumpstart your fitness during this spring? Tis the season for 5Ks!

A 5K equals just 3.1 miles and is an attainable goal for just about anyone, even if you’re sedentary by nature. With a little training, you can find yourself revitalized and proud of yourself.  If you’ve never tried running, it’s something that you should really give a shot. Starting out can be intimidating, but jump in and give it a try!

Six weeks is a reasonable training time for someone who has never run before to go from sedentary to a 5K.  So with that in mind, here’s a basic sample training schedule and how to.

  1. Pick your race. Allow yourself six weeks at least, don’t try to cheat the schedule especially if you’ve never run a race before. Runner’s World has a great race finder. 
  2. Find a plan that works for you. They’re literally ALL OVER the internet. It can get overwhelming.  I’ve included here a super simple time training plan. Since it’s a time based plan,  all you’ll need is your watch and some decent running shoes in order to get started. This is a real beginner plan and meant for someone who’s never run before. Remember that in the real race, you can walk for portions when you’re unable to continue running.  The idea here is to start small and to increase gradually.
    Week 1 REST REST 10 min – jog as much as you can, walk when needed REST 10 min – jog as much as you can, walk when needed REST 10 min – jog as much as you can, walk when needed
    Week 2 REST REST 15 min – aim to run for one 5 min stretch REST 15 min – aim to run for one 5 min stretch REST 15 min – aim to run for one 5 min stretch
    Week 3 REST REST 20 min – run for 7 min stretch REST 20 min – run for 7 min stretch REST 20 min – run for 7 min stretch
    Week 4 REST REST 25 min – run for 10 min stretch REST 25 min – run for 10 min stretch REST 25 min – run for 10 min stretch
    Week 5 REST REST 30 min – run for 10 min stretch REST 30 min – run for 10 min stretch REST 30 min – run for 10 min stretch
    Week 6 REST REST 30 min – run as much as you can REST 20 min – run as much as you can REST RACE DAY!!
  3. Follow your plan. You’ll find that you’re feeling better and stronger every week.  Running is addictive for most people, so hang in there for those first couple of weeks. Every time you run you’ll get stronger and enjoy it more.
  4. RACE!!


One of the best parts about doing a 5K is that you can do it with your family and friends. You can also find a cause that you’re passionate about to run for – there are 5K’s for everything from cancer prevention to the Girl Scouts out there. We’re planning to do the Bunny Run on Easter weekend at Lake Junaluska, there’ll be an Easter egg hunt and a half mile fun run for the kids. A great way to encourage family health!

In summary, here are 5 reasons to do a 5K this Spring:

  • Jumpstart your health.
  • Inexpensive (most 5K’s have an entry fee less than $30)
  • Huge sense of accomplishment.
  • An attainable, reasonable goal for almost anyone.
  • Support a good cause!
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20 reasons to exercise

  1. You will NOT live to be 100 if you don’t.
  2. It’s addictive.
  3. Workout clothes have come a long way.
  4. More exercise = less cancer.
  5. Our bodies are meant to move.
  6. It involves oogling hot guys at the gym.
  7. Your children.
  8. Your grandchildren.
  9. Your great-grandchildren.
  10. Fewer real sick days (so you can use those sick days for fun)
  11. Your body is real – your TV is not.
  12. More exercise means more food!
  13. A little goes a long way.
  14. Your friends will be impressed.
  15. Lower medical bills.
  16. Better sex.
  17. A sense of accomplishment.
  18. Being able to shop anywhere in the mall.
  19. You will feel better. (even if it sucks at first)
  20. No more guilt about not exercising!


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A Brief History of Workouts

A Brief History of Workouts.

What a great blog post! Just had to share.

I am a big fan of the Beachbody systems (P90X, INSANITY, Yoga Booty Ballet).  Just like anything, you have to actually follow the system.  Seen lots of folks fail at these systems because they didn’t really buy in and do them as they were prescribed.

Gaiam has some really wonderful dvd’s out there. Their Pilates Mat workouts got me my body back after my second child.

Workouts from books is old school but awesome. I did yoga in high school from this horrible book that looked like a middle school health text. The pictures in it could have been of Debbie Gibson.  Then when I got married, my father in law turned me on to Hittleman’s Introduction to Yoga. Amazing book.  One of the best yoga programs I’ve ever seen. It’s out of print but you can find it readily online.

Hittleman's Yoga

Categories: Exercise, Product Reviews | 1 Comment

How to stay hydrated

Water. Your body is mostly water – about 60%!  Arguably one of the most valuable resources on Earth, water is as essential to your ability to survive as air or food. But in our modern society it gets a whole lot of lipservice with folks mostly drinking sugary drinks.

Just. Plain. Water.

First and foremost – just drink water. Learn to develop a taste for it so that you crave it the way that you crave your favorite foods.  Don’t sweeten it. Don’t add things to it to make it more palatable. Buckle down and decide to make a change.  Anything else is really cheating and you’ll find yourself reaching again for that Coke (or Dr. Pepper or whatever).  While sugary drinks do indeed count towards hydration, the hydrating benefits that you’re getting are not outweighed by the negative affects.

Diet drinks are as bad – because they trick your body.  When you drink a diet anything your mouth is sending the message to your brain that you’re getting calories but then they don’t appear in your stomach.  Your digestive system is easily confused so don’t try to play games with it. People who drink diet drinks actually tend to carry more extra weight than those who don’t.

Same goes for sports drinks.  If you’re looking for electrolytes, check out my recipe for a homemade 0 calorie sports drink. You can certainly use sports drinks when you’re training, but don’t rely on them for hydration.

The only exception here is ice. There is some research that shows that cold water actually increases your metabolism. It can also make it more palatable if you’re not used to drinking water.  I often put my metal water bottle in the fridge to get it really cold – I find that it’ll slake that craving for something sugary and sweet and carbonated.

How much?

The eternal question – how much? The conventional wisdom is 8, 8 ounce glasses per day. That’s 64 ounces. It’s kind of hard to vizualize that, so here’s an image for you.

two liters = 67 ounces

That’s right, a two liter a day is roughly equivalent to eight, eight ounce glasses. How easy is that? Pretty easy I’d say.  That’s a half gallon. It’s not much for a bare minimum.

While pregnant with my first child, my midwives instructed me to drink a gallon of water a day.  WHAT?? A GALLON? That sounds like oh so much. They said that the lighter your urine, the better. In fact it’s was a point of pride to have it be almost completely clear.  The darker your urine, the more unhealthy your hydration level. It’s really not that bad! At first you’ll feel like you’re constantly in the bathroom, but after a while your body will adjust. So my recommendation – twice the conventional wisdom if you want to be truly healthy. Aim for a gallon every day.  Especially if you’re pregnant or nursing.

A gallon? How to get there.

  • Get a good water bottle, one that you love, and keep it with you all of the time.  Stainless steel, pretty design, whatever keeps you interested. Don’t rely on disposable bottles or glasses. Invest ten or twenty bucks in something you like – it’ll make all the difference.
  • Drink on schedule at first. If your bottle holds a quart, then aim for a quart every five hours. If it holds a pint, then a pint every two and half hours. Down it at the end of your allotted time if you haven’t finished it yet.
  • Good tasting water. My tap water tastes horrible, so I know I won’t drink if that’s all that’s available.
  • Give yourself a week and see how you feel. You’ll notice that you’re more alert, awake and you feel better!

Love your water bottle!

Categories: Exercise | Tags: , | 1 Comment

An interesting idea about McDonald’s . . .

Click this link!

Drive Thru to Good Health, Part One of Two.

This is worth sharing – a definitely different view than the traditional one.  I’m really interested to see where his journey takes him.  I am of course no fan of McDonalds, but Taco Bell certainly calls my name.

Worth some thought most definitely! Is this something you would try? Could the basic idea be incorporated into your own health plan?

If you haven’t seen SuperSize me btw, its’ really worth a look.

Categories: Blog Reviews, Exercise, Weightloss | Leave a comment

Kegel Exercises – Ten reasons for women to do them all the time.

Kegels are beneficial for everyone, but today I’m interested in talking about how wonderful they are for women.

Here’s the list, read on to find out how to do them and how often you should be in order to get the most benefit.

  1. Mothers to be: make birth easier!
  2. Mothers: get those birthing muscles back in shape!
  3. Non-Mothers: get to know your body!
  4. You don’t want to be wearing depends later.
  5. Hemorrhoids – no one wants them, Kegels keep them away.
  6. Sex feels better for you.
  7. Sex feels better for your partner.
  8. All muscles benefit from exercise.
  9. Kegels are sneaky.
  10. Kegels feel good!

What is a Kegel exercise?  Well, have you ever been in a public restroom and forgotten to lock the stall, only to find a stranger bursting in on you?  You stopped the flow quickly didn’t you?  That’s a Kegel exercise.  If you’re unsure, next time you’re “making water” as my grandma calls it, try stopping and starting a few times.  All there is to it.

Kegels exercise your pelvic floor muscles.  A woman’s bladder is held up by a hammock of muscles.  As you age and have children, these muscles often weaken.  If they get weak enough, then your pelvic organs sink down into your vagina, which is called prolapse.  Not pretty. Kegels also exercise your bottom muscles, which is why they prevent hemorrhoids.  The exercise your sexual muscles as well, giving you much more control in the bedroom.

You of course don’t have to be in the bathroom to do one.  You can be anywhere!  In fact, I might be doing my midday set right now and no one would be the wiser.  Bwahaha.

Here’s when and how.  A note, and I will reiterate this – Kegels are ONLY EFFECTIVE if done regularly.  Studies show that you get literally no benefit from sporadic practice.

Where?Anywhere. You want to be in different positions if possible: sitting, standing, lying down, on your hands and knees, etc.  But the doing is more important than the position.

How often?Three to four times a day. That’s right girls, every day.  You can’t do too many; you’re not going to hurt yourself.  You’ll read things like “Every time you stop at a stoplight.” or “When you drive through a drive through.”  Now how is that regular?  I struggled with Kegels for years following that idea before I finally just made my own schedule that’s easy to follow: breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime.  That’s four times a day and easyto remember, especially if you’re focused on healthy eating.  Kegels are part of your health routine.   You’ll see my schedule below.

How long?10-20 reps and hold for 3-10 seconds.  There is much debate on this. Different doctors say different things and there aren’t any studies to tell us exactly.  I mix mine up so that I’m covered, I suggest you do the same.  The idea is that you’ll hold, then let go, hold, then let go.

The big idea is to make them work for you – so develop your own system and incorporate it into your routine. Maybe it’s easy to remember when you take your brush your teeth, take your vitamins or get dressed – whatever works. Make it regular, make it easy for yourself.  This is important, but should become second nature just like brushing your teeth.  So that’s it!  I know you’re doing a set already.

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