7 Health & Fitness Myths That Won't Die

As a fitness professional I see the same common fitness myths perpetuated year after year. Long after I think these myths have been officially debunked, they rise up again. They just won't die. Let me take a stab (pun intended) of ending them once and for all.

MYTH #1: CARBS MAKE YOU FAT (OR ANY OTHER ONE THING)

TRUTH: Carbohydrates themselves do not cause weight gain. When you over consume any food, it can lead to weight gain. Carbs don't make you fat. Dietary fats don't make you fat. When you consume more calories than your body needs it gets stored as fat. Everyone is a little different, but in general most people can be successful by consuming a wide variety of whole foods from nature, enjoying treats in moderation and keeping an eye on calorie intake versus activity output to avoid fat gain. 

MYTH #2: LIFTING WEIGHTS WILL MAKE WOMEN BULK UP LIKE A MAN

TRUTH: Those "bulky" ladies that you see on the fitness stage and in magazines worked very hard to look exactly that way. It didn't happen by accident. They trained specifically for that look over a long period of time. They may have taken steroids. It is difficult to put on muscle. If you start lifting weights your results will not look like theirs unless you train specifically for that goal and you do it for years. Pick up the dumbbell or the barbell. You'll develop lean muscle which will help shape your body. Muscle tissue requires more energy at rest, so the more muscle you have the more calories you burn even when you are not exercising. Muscle takes us less space than fat, so when you lose fat and gain muscle, you will look smaller, not bulkier. Ladies with lean muscle look slimmer, fitter and can beat their friends in arm wrestling competitions. Just kidding about that last one. 

MYTH #3: RUNNING IS BAD FOR YOUR KNEES

TRUTH: My favorite myth I love to hate. Too much of anything is usually bad, that is why it is called "too much." Too much running without adequate strength in the hips can lead to knee pain. If you listen to your body, do some runner-specific strength training, get adequate rest/recovery, be patient with mileage and intensity and listen to your favorite coach (that's me) then running is not bad for your knees. Bad training is bad for your knees. You can't blame bad training on running as a whole. 

MYTH #4: YOU CAN SPOT REDUCE FAT

TRUTH: I know we would all love to believe that we can do 1000 crunches a day to achieve a flat stomach or buy the thighmaster for lean legs, but it is simply not true. You can not spot reduce fat. You can, however, work to reduce your overall body fat percentage through your nutrition and exercise program. Be sure to include weight training (see myth #2) to develop lean muscle for best whole body results. 

MYTH #5 : YOU MUST GO HARD OR GO HOME

TRUTH: People tend to think if they are not killing themselves in the gym, then they won't get results, when sometimes the opposite is true. Yes, we should plan high intensity workouts into our training cycle, but they should be followed by lower intensity workouts to allow our bodies to properly recover. Overtraining can increase our chance of injury, cause burnout, fatigue, irritability and raise cortisol levels (the stress hormone) to unhealthy levels.

Spend time on flexibility and mobility work. Take a walk or go on a hike. Be active outside of the gym. High intensity workouts properly programmed are great, just keep in mind there is much more to a well-rounded fitness routine. You should finish your workouts most of the time feeling energized, not beaten down. It's the all-or-nothing thinking that gets us in trouble.

MYTH #6: YOU NEED SUPPLEMENTS TO GET RESULTS

TRUTH: You can get in great shape and never take a single supplement. One of the key principles of fitness success is to start with the basics. Before thinking about supplements, get your basic nutrition, exercise and healthy lifestyle habits in check. If you are sleeping five hours a night, working out inconsistently and binge eating or drinking on the weekends, there are more important things to tackle first. Supplements may (or may not, honestly) give you an edge after you are already doing everything else right. They won't help you if you are not already consistent with your healthy habits. Save your money. (The exception to this rule is that I think it's ok to use a protein powder supplement for when whole food protein is not available or convenient.)

MYTH #7: IF IT'S ORGANIC IT'S HEALTHY

TRUTH: If you choose to buy organic fruits and vegetables then there is no question that is a healthy choice. However, just because a packaged food boasts the word 'organic' doesn't necessarily mean that it is a healthy option. Case in point: Organic Doritos. Organic processed foods are still junk foods. The ingredients are often improved to remove artificial colors and flavors, but they still may be extremely high in sugar and fats. And they cost more. I am pretty skeptical of any packaged foods labeled as organic. Portion control and moderation is key when consuming organic chips, cookies and pizza, just like when you consume the non-organic versions. Don't assume because it is labeled as organic that it is a health food. If it comes in a package, it is probably not.

Did I miss any? 

Like this post? It helps me more than you know when you share with your friends and followers. 

Coach Lea

I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and nutrition coaching. If you are interested in coaching, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

While I am a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I am not your personal trainer and nutrition coach. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise or diet program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fit To Run: Download Free Printable PDF Strength for Runners Workouts

Welcome to the latest edition of workout Wednesday! For the last several weeks, I have been unveiling my strength for runners program one section at a time. Have you missed anything so far? I put together the month one and month two workouts in a printable PDF format, so you can download all the strength and running workouts at once. 

Download free printable PDF Fit to Run: strength training for runners

Download free printable PDF Fit to Run: strength training for runners

If you are already subscribed to the blog, entering your email address to receive the download will not cause you to receive duplicate emails. Questions? Contact me.

Like this post? It helps me when you share with your friends and followers. 

Coach Lea

I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in Fort Worth TX in the Shredshed, online training and nutrition coaching. If you are interested in coaching, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

While I am a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I am not your personal trainer and nutrition coach. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise or diet program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.

52 Healthy Habits: 10 Easy Healthy Nutrition Swaps

Have you been following along with my 52 Healthy habits series? Each Monday we talk about the habits we can develop to in order to live a healthier life. Habits are the building blocks of a healthy lifestyle. You don't have to change all your bad habits or attempt to develop a ton of new healthy habits all at once. In fact, trying to do too much at once can cause overwhelm and ultimately, failure. We, as humans, don't respond well to a lot of changes at once. A better strategy is to tackle one new healthy habit and take the time to cultivate it. Once you have a handle on it, add in another. The slow build approach is a much more sane and sustainable approach over the long term. After all, this is a healthy lifestyle, not a healthy 21 days, healthy 12 weeks or even a healthy year. We want to make changes that stick for life. Are you in? Let's get to it. 

Sometimes the easiest way to change those behaviors that don't bring us closer to our goals, is to make healthy swaps instead. Good or bad, we have already have developed the habit, now we can work on how to make that habit healthier. 

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click on a link in this post and make a purchase I make a small percentage of the sale with no additional cost to you. No one is getting rich here, it just helps with the costs associated with running (pun intended) this blog.

TEA INSTEAD OF COFFEE

I may be biased here because I am on a break from coffee and feeling great, but I have found swapping my regular morning coffee for hot tea was an easy transition (I mean, after the debilitating headaches went away, of course.) Drinking a hot beverage in my favorite mug was a habit, I replaced that hot beverage for a healthier alternative and now drinking hot tea is my new habit. I go on a break from coffee once a quarter in order to reset my caffeine tolerance, so I am not so dependant on it for those early morning wake up calls. (I was going to say early morning workouts, but let's be real, I haven't been up for an early morning workout in months.)

CINNAMON INSTEAD OF SUGAR IN COFFEE

I love my coffee (which is why I do a reset once a quarter, so I can fully enjoy it again after my break). Drinking coffee is not a bad habit in itself. Caffeine has its health benefits. Usually it's what you add in your coffee that can be the problem. When you add processed flavored creamers and sugars, or order the 500 calorie barista-made drink, you're just consuming empty calories. There's nothing wrong with treating yourself once in awhile, It only becomes an obstacle to achieving your goals when it's a habit.

Swapping cinnamon for sugar is a great way to add flavor and spice to your black coffee without adding sugar. 

SELTZER WATER INSTEAD OF SODA

I was a Diet Coke fanatic for most of my adult life. I wasn't able to quit my several-a-day habit until I found a suitable replacement. Enter seltzer water. I swapped my daily Diet Coke for the fizzy goodness of seltzer water. It's important to note that seltzer water isn't sweet like soda because it doesn't have sugar or artificial sweeteners. It took some time for my taste buds to adjust, but now it is an easy choice for life. 

 

PLAIN YOGURT WITH FRUIT INSTEAD OF YOGURT CUPS

I've said this before, but it bears repeating now. Most of the yogurt cups you find in the grocery store are not health foods. They often have as much sugar as ice cream (It's no wonder they taste so good!) and riddled with processed ingredients, but are regularly marketed as a healthy choice. Of course, there are exceptions. I like the Siggi's brand for a healthier alternative, it is lower in sugar and higher in protein. Most of the big name yogurts on the grocery store shelf are junk foods masquerading as health foods. 

Swap your yogurt cups for a tub of plain Greek yogurt. Plain Greek yogurt is high in protein. Add fresh or frozen berries, fruit or natural granola. I bought a 8 pack of reusable small plastic cups with lids in order to pack my healthy yogurts for lunch. 

GREEK YOGURT INSTEAD OF SOUR CREAM

Yeah, I thought it sounded a little weird too, but you'll hardly know the difference. Use plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream in recipes, salad dressings, dips and of course, on tacos. It has more protein and fewer calories than sour cream. Our favorite way to use Greek yogurt in a recipe is in our turkey mushroom caps.

OATMEAL INSTEAD OF CEREAL

No one ever mistook Fruity Pebbles as a health food, but even the healthiest-marketed boxed cereals usually have too much sugar, too many processed ingredients or are too low in nutrients. If you enjoy it, it's fine as an occasional treat, but there are better choices for your daily breakfast habit. A great swap for boxed cereal is old fashioned oatmeal flavored with cinnamon, berries and/or fruit. Add a scoop of protein powder and chopped nuts for a balanced breakfast of healthy carbohydrates, proteins and fats. 

TAKE A WALK INSTEAD OF DESSERT

We all love our dessert and it should be enjoyed once in awhile, but a better after-dinner habit is a daily walk. I know a walk doesn't sound as enticing as a piece of pie, but hear me out. A quick daily walk after a meal helps with digestion, gets you moving and burning calories with minimal impact on your body. You get some fresh air, quality time away from electronics and your dog will thank you too. If you think you don't have time, start with five minutes. Walk to the end of the block and back. Then over time you can work on building up duration and distance.

FROZEN BLENDED BANANAS INSTEAD OF ICE CREAM

Seriously, have you tried this? Take two to three frozen bananas and let thaw slightly before adding to a food processor or blender. Blend slowly until they have an ice cream-like consistency. Add protein powder, cocoa powder or peanut butter powder for flavoring. Share with a friend. A delicious healthy swap for ice cream. 

SPINACH INSTEAD OF ICEBERG LETTUCE

Swap that iceberg for a nutrient-dense alternative, like fresh spinach. Spinach has vitamins, minerals, fiber and even boasts a bit of protein. It is much more nutritious than iceberg and less expensive than those pre-bagged lettuce mixes. We buy a few bunches of spinach and use in our salads all week. 

SPAGHETTI SQUASH INSTEAD OF PASTA

I saved the best for last. I love spaghetti squash as an alternative to traditional pasta. We add low-sugar pasta sauce, parmesan cheese and ground turkey and we can hardly tell the difference from our regular spaghetti dish. If you have a spiralizer, you make spaghetti-like noodles out of almost any vegetable. 

What are your favorite healthy swaps? Did I miss any? Did I give you any ideas? Pick one to try and let me know how it goes. 

Like this post? It helps me a lot when you share with your friends and followers.

Coach Lea

I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and nutrition coaching. If you are interested in coaching, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

While I am a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I am not your personal trainer and nutrition coach. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise or diet program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.

 

 

5 Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List

I love to read. I often say that I don't have the time to read, but I seem to have plenty of time to scroll Facebook and Instagram. I've been working on spending more of my free time reading and less of it on social media. I am a non-fiction aficionado. OK, maybe not an aficionado, but let's just say I haven't read a fiction book in a long time. I tend to prefer to read real stories about real people.

My summer reading list is full of non-fiction books that I loved and would recommend to my friends. If you are an athlete, an entrepreneur or just looking to be inspired to live a better life, these books are for you. These aren't necessarily the newest books, just the ones that recently made the biggest impact on me. 

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click on a link in this post and make a purchase, I make a small percentage of the sale with no additional cost to you. No one is getting rich here, it just helps with the costs associated with running (pun intended) this blog.

5 BOOKS TO ADD TO YOUR SUMMER READING LIST

Shoe Dog, Phil Knight
A memoir by the creator of Nike

This book made me laugh, cry and cringe over and over again. It's the story of Phil Knight and how he created the Nike brand by first selling running shoes out of the trunk of his car at track meets long before the popular culture cared about running. This is both a cautionary tale and an inspirational message about becoming an entrepreneur. It's a rough road but, in Phil Knight's case, the payoff changed the world.

INSPIRED & UNSTOPPABLE, TAMA KIEVES
Wildly succeeding your life's work

I highlighted this whole book. There are more words highlighted than not. It's inspiring, funny and practical. Tama recounts her own struggles, self-doubt and roadblocks as she tells her success story. She brilliantly advises us how to overcome our own obstacles as we fulfil our dream of wildly succeeding in our life's work. 

HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?, MATT FITZGERALD
Mastering the psychology of mind over muscle

Read this book and then next time you're on the struggle bus at mile eleven during a half marathon (what? just me?) you can recall the stories of high level athletes who overcame so much worse. It's not just us mere mortals who suffer during endurance training and events, but the best of the best learn how to cultivate mental strength to reach their goals. Through the stories of failures and obstacles in this book we learn how to train our mind for success.

ANATOMY FOR RUNNERS, JAY DICHARRY
Unlocking your athletic potential for health, speed and injury prevention

If you read this blog, you probably have some interest in running, so I'd be remiss not include this fantastic book on anatomy for runners. Don't worry, it's a lot more interesting than your college anatomy class. It gets a little science-y at times (insert your own Jesse Pinkman joke here) but if you understand the basic science behind running, it gives you the foundation for injury-prevention. In fact, everything you need to know about staying safe as a runner is outlined in this book including a self-assessment and corrective exercises for muscle imbalances. A must read for any runner.

THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A F***
A counterintuitive approach to living a good life

This is a rated PG blog. I'm not one of those bloggers who swears for effect, but I read this book this year and I wanted to include it in my reading list. (Sorry, Ma!). Even when I shared it on Instagram, I edited it for family-friendly viewing. I enjoyed Mark's point of view, which was essentially to really care about the things that matter and let everything else go, but I had another major takeaway. I realized as I was reading the chapters in this book, I had already read many of these stories on his blog. Wait? One can weave together blog posts they already wrote in order to write a book? Mind blown. Excuse me while I go write my own book. 

Have you read any of these books? Do you have any non-fiction suggestions for me? 

Like this post? It helps me more than you know when you share with your friends and followers. 

Are we friends on Instagram?

Coach Lea

I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and nutrition coaching. If you are interested in coaching, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

While I am a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I am not your personal trainer and nutrition coach. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise or diet program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fit To Run: HIP HIP (STRENGTH) HOORAY: 5 MINUTE HIP WORKOUT FOR RUNNERS

Welcome to the latest edition of Workout Wednesday. As you are reading this, I am traveling to Las Vegas for the annual IDEA World fitness convention and Blogfest with Fit Approach. I plan to have a lot of sweaty good times reconnecting with old friends, making new ones and learning about the latest in fitness and blogging while earning continuing education credits for my certifications. I'm sure I will learn a lot that I can share with you! 

If you've been following along, each Wednesday I have been unveiling a new component of my Fit to Run strength training for runners program. We are about to wrap up month two, but I decided to include a bonus hip strengthening workout for runners.

Have you missed any of the month two workouts?

Hills
MONTH 2 WORKOUT A
MONTH 2 WORKOUT B

Hip strength is important for runners to develop because when you run a lot of miles with weak or underdeveloped hips it can lead to all sorts of problems. Strengthening your hips will support your hips, IT band and knees. A few minutes focusing on strengthening these muscles will go a long way in staying healthy (aka not injured) and on the road. 

This workout is five minutes long, so even when you don't have time for one of the longer workouts in this series (all under 20 minutes) you can at least get in a hip strengthening workout after your run.

Your body will adapt in a few weeks so in order to keep improving you will need to advance the exercises. Start the exercises as suggested but as you get stronger, you can add additional reps or sets and/or add resistance bands to make the exercises more difficult in order to keep progressing.

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on a link in this post and make a purchase, I make a small percentage of the sale with no additional cost to you. No one is getting rich here, it just helps with the costs associated with running (pun intended) this blog. Thanks, as always, for your kind support. 

HIP HIP (STRENGTH) HOORAY: 5 MINUTES HIP STRENGTHENING WORKOUT FOR RUNNERS

EQUIPMENT:

This workout can be done with no additional equipment. In this workout, I am using:

Gym Mat
Interval Timer 
Resistance bands

Download a printable version of this hip strength workout for runners

Download a printable version of this hip strength workout for runners

SIDE LEG RAISES

Lie on your side with your legs stacked on top of one another. Lift your top leg about 45 degrees before lowering. Perform the exercise for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

ADVANCED: SIDE PLANK LEG RAISES

You can advance the side leg raises exercise by performing the exercise in a straight arm side plank position. Stack your wrist, elbow and shoulder so they are in a straight line. Engage your core muscles and lift and lower the top leg for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

ADDUCTOR LEG RAISES

Lie on your left side, bend your right knee and place your right floor on floor in front of your left knee. This will get your right leg out of the way so you can perform the exercise. Lift your left leg up as high as possible and then lower. Repeat for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, then repeat on the other leg. To advance this exercise, hold the working leg in the high position for 20 seconds. 

CLAM SHELL

Lie on your side with your knees bent and your legs and ankles together. Open and close your knees like a clam by lifting your top knee up and lowering it. Repeat for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then repeat on the other leg. Progress the exercise by adding a resistance band to your thighs.

DONKEY KICKS

Starting on all fours, kick your back leg up behind you while keeping your knee bent until your leg is inline with your back and your foot is parallel to the ceiling, then lower back to the ground. Repeat with the same leg for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then repeat on the other leg. Progress the exercise by adding a resistance band.

BRIDGE MARCH

Lie on your back with your knees bent and lift your hips off the floor while engaging your glutes and abs (squeeze everything as tights as you can during the exercise). Your body should be in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Bring your right leg in towards your chest to march. Lower your right leg then march with your left leg all while keeping your core tight. Alternate legs for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then alternate legs again for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds.

Ok runners, pinky swear you will try to work in at least five minutes of hip strengthening exercises after your next run. Let me know how it goes. 

Enter your information below to download a printable version of this workout. If you are already subscribed to the blog, entering your email address again to receive the download will not cause you to receive duplicate emails. Have questions? leagenders(at)gmail(dot)com

Like this post? It helps me more than you know when you share with your friends and followers. 

Coach Lea

I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and nutrition coaching. If you are interested in coaching, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

While I am a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I am not your personal trainer and nutrition coach. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise or diet program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.

 

 

52 Healthy Habits: How I Broke My Eating Out Habit

Welcome to the latest edition of 52 healthy habits when each week we tackle a new habit to improve our lives. A healthy lifestyle is built on habits, it's what we lean on when our willpower and motivation run out (because we are human and that's what happens). If you take the time and energy to develop healthy habits, then over time you can reap the benefits of an easily sustainable healthy lifestyle. We don't need to overhaul our whole lives at once, just tackle one habit at a time. No matter where you are in your healthy lifestyle journey, from newbie beginner to expert, there is always room for incremental improvements. It's the small changes over time that lead to big results. 

When I talk about healthy habits, I usually talk about the new healthy habits we can develop, rather than focusing on changing bad habits. If you develop healthy habits, often the bad habits get squeezed out naturally. For example if you focus on adding more vegetables to your meals each day, you tend to fill up on fiber, feel more full for longer time and maybe eat less of the unhealthy stuff as a result. I usually like to discuss what we can add to our healthy lives rather than what we need to take away. Today is a little different. 

HOW I BROKE MY EATING OUT HABIT

One of our New Year's Resolutions was to not eat out at restaurants. We committed to prepare all of our meals at home, within reason. It wasn't necessary about eating healthfully, if we wanted hamburgers and french fries, we could prepare them ourselves at home. It was more about controlling our spending than anything else. It just so happens that it is healthier to prepare food at home. The first month of not eating out, I lost five pounds without changing any of my other habits. Happy accident. 

It's not that eating at restaurants occasionally is inherently bad. I happen to enjoy going out to eat. You can eat at restaurants, make healthy choices, make special requests for a healthier meal and control your own portions by eating until 80% full, sharing meals or taking home leftovers. Restaurant eating absolutely can be a part of a healthy lifestyle.

It is only a potential issue when it becomes a habit. Not something that you enjoy, just something you do because...well, that's what you do. If you run through a fast food drive-through for breakfast each morning, it might be a habit. If you go out to eat for lunch every work day, it might be a habit. If you go out to eat dinner every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, it might be a habit. 

We were going out to lunch every Saturday and Sunday. We would spend hours deciding where to go. Where do you want to go? I don't know, where do YOU want to go? At nauseam. It's not just us, right?. Then a lot of times it would not even be that enjoyable. We would spend $60 or more each weekend for mediocre food with not much payoff. We decided to break our eating out habit by committing to not eating out at all in 2017 (within reason, and I will get to that shortly). 

MAKE THE COMMITMENT FOR ONE MONTH

You don't have to go all in for a year like we did. Try it for four weeks and see how it goes. Look at it as an experiment. After the month is up review how it went. Did you feel deprived? Were you incredibly inconvenienced? Or did you just get used to not eating out and eating at home became your new healthy habit? Did you lose weight? Save money? That is what happened to us.

Once you have a month under your belt, you can make a decision on how to move forward. What was good about it? What was bad about it? Where there any benefits? What were the struggles? Depending on the outcome of your experiment, decide how to move forward. Maybe limit restaurant meals to once a month, or once a week or maybe keep going with the experiment.

BE REASONABLE

In case you were wondering, I am not a robot. I am a human being. I like to eat. I like spending time with friends. I enjoy special occasions with my family. When we committed to not eating out it was with the caveat, within reason. That means when my best friend got married and I went to her rehearsal dinner, I enjoyed a restaurant meal. When an old friend called me up and asked me to go to lunch, I went. When it's someone's birthday at work and the company is picking up the tab for a birthday lunch, I don't stay behind with my Tupperware salad. When I visited my family in Pennsylvania and my Dad wanted to go to Olive Garden, I was there with bells on. The idea is to break the habit, not become a drone. If there is a special occasion, a meaningful social reason or a business obligation, then those times are the exception to the rule. When It's Friday night and no one feels like cooking, or it's Saturday afternoon and we're bored, that's when it's most important that we hold to our commitment. 

SET PARAMETERS

We didn't initially set parameters for what qualified as eating out and it threw us off track in the beginning. My husband started buying hotdogs from the convenience store when we were doing construction on our house. He was working long days and had very little time for lunch.

We thought buying a drink or a snack from the convenience store was inline with our plan, so at first we considered this ok. But after some thought, realized we had created a loophole. While hot dogs weren't necessarily a restaurant meal, it certainly wasn't preparing food at home, so he stopped. If he wanted hot dogs, he would have to buy them from the grocery store and prepare at home. Decide in the beginning what is considered eating out and stick to it. We decided prepared meals from the grocery store were ok, prepared foods from the convenience store or coffee shop were not. You don't have to follow my rules. Set up your own parameters up for what works for you and your lifestyle.

HAVE A MEAL PLAN

The only way this will work is if you plan ahead. If you usually go out to eat at lunch, you'll need to spend time planning and preparing what you'll eat for lunch each day. It's a good idea to have have simple to prepare meals planned out for weekday dinners. Some nights we make turkey burgers, or veggie omelettes or have a crock pot meal prepared. The easier the better. If your nightly meal is easy to prepare, you'll be less tempted to go out to eat or order in. 

Be realistic with your meal plan. Don't plan extravagant meals on a Tuesday night when you know your time is limited. Don't put fish on your meal plan when you don't actually like fish, just because you think it's healthy. Try to marry what you think you should do with what you will actually do. Plan healthy meals that you enjoy. Then have a backup plan.

We all know life throws us curve balls that can thwart our best intentions. Have a plan for when your plan fails. A rotisserie chicken or prepared salad from the grocery store can be a quick and convenient meal while still sticking to your commitment. A freezer meal may not be the healthiest thing you can eat, but it can be a lifesaver on those crazy days when nothing goes as planned. It's not about being perfect. It's all about making the best choice available in the moment. 

INDULGE

This is by no means intended to limit indulgence meals, fun or enjoyment in food. We still eat all the foods we enjoy. We make burgers and pizza at home and buy grocery store sushi for our indulgence meals. Try looking up copy cat restaurant recipes to prepare your favorite restaurant meal at home. Plan a fancy meal at home. Just because you temporarily gave up restaurants doesn't mean you have to give up good food. I'm not a fun hater. 

How often do you eat out? It is for enjoyment or is it just a habit? Is there room in your lifestyle to cut back on restaurant meals? Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Like this post? It helps me when you share with your friends and followers. 

Coach Lea

I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and nutrition coaching. If you are interested in coaching, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

While I am a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I am not your personal trainer and nutrition coach. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise or diet program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Fitness AHA Moment: How I Made Lasting Permanent Change

When did you have your fitness AHA moment? You know, the time you realized that fitness was going to be an integral part of your life. For me, I went through stages. 

I spend a lot of time on this blog dishing out fitness and nutrition advice and I thought it would be helpful if I shared a little bit about where I came from and how I got to where I am today. I'm not perfect. I miss workouts and eat unhealthy foods sometimes...just like every other human on this earth. I do my best to make the best choices possible considering what's reasonably available. I mess up all the time but I also make great choices all the time. For me and my journey, it was all about learning balance. 

I think it first started when I went to the doctor's office for flu symptoms, so I was already feeling like crap when the nurse asked me to step on the scale before I went in to see the doctor. I stripped off my jacket and kicked off my shoes, because you know, every quarter pound matters.

I hadn't stepped on a scale in a long time. I knew I weighed more than I would like, I knew my pants were tight, I knew I was overweight. I didn't know the number. When that number flashed back at me it was a reality check I wasn't emotionally prepared for. I came in for flu medication but sat there on the doctor's table with tears rolling down my face. 

The doctor was unsympathetic, he sternly told me I could take control if I would eat better. He didn't tell me what "better" meant. He didn't even ask me what I was currently eating. He recommended that I go on an "elimination diet" but I didn't know what that meant, I thought it meant cutting out carbs. He asked if I exercised and when I told him I was a runner (on and off, mostly off at that point), he said "Well, exercise doesn't help much with weight loss anyway." 

Now I was pissed and sad. How the hell did I get here? I stopped at the grocery store on my way back to work after my office visit and picked up some cottage cheese and blueberries for lunch 'cause that sounds satisfying and filling. (insert sarcasm font here.)

It was the first time that it hit me that I really needed to make some changes. I remember thinking, "Do I just have to accept that I am a fat person now?" It wasn't always this way. I was thin. It was the combination of poor nutrition, approaching my thirties and a switch from a retail management job to a sedentary desk job. It all caught up with me. Not in a day. Probably not in a year. But it slowly crept up over time and I realized I had a problem. For a moment I thought I had to accept my new reality, but I knew I could do better. I was ready to make some changes. I wasn't ready to give up. But I had some learning to do.

That was how it started but it didn't end there. It wasn't easy. I didn't magically lose all the weight and become happier. I made a lot of mistakes. I started over a lot. I lost weight and gained it back more times than I care to recount. 

I followed stupid fad diets, I exercised too much. I got obsessed with the scale. I'd eat too little and run too much for as long as my willpower would allow (sometimes a year). I'd try to live on cottage cheese and skinless chicken breast. Then life would happen, I would get sick, or go on vacation or deal with a stressful event and it would all fall apart. Then I would get overwhelmed. I drank too much wine. I ate too much. I wasted a lot of time (years!) in an all-or-nothing mindset. I was either on my diet or off. I was either running or I wasn't. My weight reflected that inconsistency.

But those first 40 pounds I gained and my learning experiences around yo-yo dieting over the better part of a decade was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I had to make those mistakes in order to learn. If I had been able to maintain a low weight with my unhealthy behaviors I never would have had the motivation to make real and lasting changes that not only affected my weight but my health and wellness. If I had never have gained the weight I would have never would have gotten healthy.

I learned that I love exercise. It makes me a better person. I love nutrition. I love feeding myself well and how that makes me feel. All these experiences, all these mistakes, they led me to becoming a fitness blogger, then a personal trainer, running coach and nutrition coach so I can help other people get on the fast track to making better decisions, to cut through the BS and make lasting sustainable changes. I help people so they don't have to waste time making the same mistakes that I did.

Today, fitness and health are my passions. I couldn't image life without this blog and my training. They are my creative outlets, my saving grace.

The most important lesson that I learned in all of this is that it is not about perfection, it is about making the best choice possible of what's reasonably available to me. It's not all-or-nothing. It's a little of everything. It's learning to find the balance of what is enjoyable, healthy and sustainable for life. It's about building healthy habits. When I stopped trying to be perfect and decided I would do the best I could, everything changed. 

Can you relate? 

Need help with your nutrition strategy? My year long nutrition program is delivered online for people who are ready to make real and lasting change, the right way. No quick fixes, no diets, no meal plans, supplements, shakes or insane workouts. In conjunction with Precision Nutrition, we offer daily habit-based nutrition lessons to improve your habits, make better choices in order to lose weight and live better. Honestly, It's a long slow process. It's not for everyone. It's for people who have already tried all that other stuff and are ready to put in the real work for lasting change. It's for people who enjoy an online platform. It's for people who are willing to go slow and play the long game. Does that sound like you? Fill out this form to see if we will be a good fit. 

 

Like this post? It helps me a lot when you share with your friends and followers. 

Coach Lea

I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and nutrition coaching. If you are interested in coaching, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

While I am a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I am not your personal trainer and nutrition coach. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise or diet program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.

 

 

 

Fit To Run: Month 2 Strength for Runners Workout B

Welcome to the latest edition of workout Wednesday! Each week I've been unveiling a part of my strength for runners program. This program allows you to fit in quick and effective strength training workouts around your regular running routine. You don't have to spend hours in the gym, just carve out about 20 minutes after your easy-paced runs three times a week to become a faster, stronger, more well-rounded, less injury-prone runner. 

This week I am sharing the second strength workout in month two. At the end of the post you will be able to download a printable version of this workout and the instructions. If you like this workout, can I ask you to save it to Pinterest? 

FIT TO RUN: MONTH 2 STRENGTH WORKOUT (B)

EQUIPMENT:

Gym Mat

INSTRUCTIONS:

Perform the assigned reps of each exercise then move to the next exercise without rest. When you have completed all the exercises, rest for one minute (or as long as you need) and then repeat the circuit one or two more times. 

LOW TO HIGH PLANKS

Position your elbows on the floor and your shoulders directly over your elbows. Your body should be in a straight line parallel to the floor. Engage your core, pulling your belly button into your spine while breathing normally. Be careful not to sink or raise your hips in the air. Do not clasp your hands in front of you. 

Straighten your right arm, then your left to lift yourself up to a straight arm plank position. Then lower yourself back down to a forearm plank. That is one rep. Next rep start with with your left arm, then your right when lifting to a straight arm plank to reduce stress on your shoulders. Perform six reps before moving to the next exercise. 

PLANK JACKS

In a high plank position place your shoulders directly over your wrists. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels. Don't allow your hips to drop or raise up. Engage your abs and breathe normally. Start with your feet together then jump your legs wide out to the sides (like the motion of a standing jumping jack) and then back together. Perform 8 reps before moving on to the the next exercise

SINGLE LEG SQUAT WITH BENCH

While the single leg squat is an advanced move, there is a safe variation that almost anyone can perform. I like using a bench for the low position. Balance on one leg with your knee slightly bent and lower yourself as slowly and as controlled as possible until you are sitting on the bench. Work to keep your standing knee inline with your outside toe as you lower to the bench (don't allow it to collapse inward). Keeping the 2nd leg off the ground stand back up to the starting position. Repeat six reps on each leg before moving on to the next exercise.

REVERSE LUNGE

Stand tall with your hands at your sides (add dumbbells to progress the exercise). Take a large, controlled step backward with your left foot. Lower your hips so that your right thigh is parallel to the floor and your right knee is over your ankle. Complete the rep by pressing your right foot into the floor and bringing your left leg forward to return to standing. Alternate legs to complete 8 reps on each side. 

PUSH UP

Start in a high plank position with your hands placed a little wider than your shoulders and your fingers pointing forward. Keeping your body in a straight line while engaging your core bend your elbows slowly to lower your chest to the floor. Once in the low position, push back up to the starting position. If this is too challenging, drop to your knees or perform the reps with your hands on an inclined surface like a bench or counter.

Like this post? It helps me a lot when you share with your friends and followers.

Coach Lea

I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and nutrition coaching. If you are interested in coaching, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

While I am a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I am not your personal trainer and nutrition coach. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise or diet program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.

52 Healthy Habits: Pantry Cleanout Challenge

Welcome to the latest edition of 52 Healthy habits when each week we tackle a new habit in order to improve our healthy lifestyle. It's not about changing all your bad habits at once, but making incremental improvements over time. Working on developing healthy habits, rather than trying to overhaul your whole life at once, is a much more sane and sustainable approach to healthy living.  

When we're trying to eat healthier, sometimes the problem lies not in the decisions we make today, but in the the decisions we made in the past. When our refrigerators, our freezers and our pantries are loaded up with unhealthy foods, it can make it more challenging to reach for healthy ones. When you're hungry will you reach for a handful of potato chips or an apple? What if the chips weren't there? The first step in changing our eating habits for the better may be in cleaning out our existing food supply. If you keep unhealthy foods out of arm's reach, you are less likely to eat them. 

 

THE PANTRY CLEANOUT CHALLENGE

Take everything out of the pantry and place it on nearby kitchen counters or tables. (This may also be a good opportunity to wipe down the empty pantry shelves, because if you are anything like me, this doesn't happen very often.)

THROW AWAY EXPIRED FOODS

Look at the expiration date and 'best by' dates of the foods in your pantry and start by throwing away aged food. It's an easy first sweep through the contents in your pantry. I often find items from 2004 that I swear I was going to get around to eating some day. Throw it away.

NEXT, IDENTIFY RED FLAG FOODS

Red flag foods are heavily processed foods with a lot of added sugar, sodium and processed ingredients. Items like chips, cookies, crackers, candy, high-sugar cereals, high-sodium soups and most packaged snack foods should be evaluated closely. Who in the family consumes them? Is there a healthier alternative? Are they a temptation? That's not to say you shouldn't save a few treats, but be honest with yourself and only keep the foods that know you can maintain control over. If you've never opened a bag of chips without polishing the whole thing off (raises hand) it might be a good idea to get rid of them. For a healthier pantry and less risk of temptation, most of these types of foods should probably be eliminated.

LEARN TO READ NUTRITION LABELS

Once you have rid your pantry of expired foods and red flag foods, it's time to take a third sweep through and look for sneaky foods that may be masquerading as healthy foods but in fact, are not. Food marketing labels sometimes use buzzwords that claim foods are all-natural, organic, gluten-free, sugar-free, all natural, vitamin-enriched or multi-grain, but these labels are often meaningless marketing.

Organic fruit rollups are not healthy, gluten-free cupcakes are a low-nutrient junk food, low-carb cookies are...well, cookies. The key to not being misled by food marketing labels is to understand how to read a nutrition label. 

Read the ingredient list first. This will tell you almost everything you need to know. Ingredients are listed from highest amount to lowest, so if sugar is the first ingredient, it has more sugar than anything else. Other names for sugar in ingredients lists are corn syrup, fruit juice concentrates, maltose, malt syrup, cane crystals, evaporated cane juice.

Look for ingredients that you recognize. If the ingredient list is riddled with partially-hydrogenated oils, corn syrups or long words you can't pronounce or understand it likely doesn't fall into the healthy category, no matter what the marketing label says. 

Then look at the nutrition label and make sure the sugar, sodium and calories are in line with your goals. Pay attention to portion size listed on package, often one small package will claim to have several servings in order to make the calorie count seem lower. I'm sorry, but three crackers is not a serving in my world.

Take everything you learned about reading nutrition labels and make a final sweep of your pantry.

BE REALISTIC

Not everyone can afford to throw away all the food in their pantry and replace with new healthy food. There are often foods in my pantry that are not the healthiest choice...but not the worst either. My husband likes to buy those packaged flavored rice mixes and boxed pasta salads. Last week he bought Star Wars mac & cheese because he liked the box. Hah. There are definitely healthier choices for side dishes, like vegetables, plain brown rice, potatoes or quinoa.

However, I live in the real world, where every morsel I consume is not worthy of a health food standing ovation. Honestly, I'd rather not waste these foods by throwing them away. I'd rather eat through them in moderation, in proper portions, then make the choice (or convince hubby) not to buy them again in the future. I know I can eat Yoda-shaped macaroni without my whole healthy living plan falling apart. It's not about being perfect, it's about making good choices most of the time. My boxed pasta salad in proper portions in moderation (occasionally) is still probably better than a restaurant meal. One less-than-perfectly-healthy side dish is not going to ruin my health or fitness progress. Moving away from the perfect-or-nothing mindset is the first step in living a healthy lifestyle. 

CREATE A SHOPPING LIST RESTOCK WITH HEALTHY STAPLES

Once you've followed the steps above, it's time to restock your pantry with what is left and create a shopping list for healthy staples. 

beans
lentils
tomato sauce, tomato paste with no sugar added
canned vegetables
canned fruits in water
raw nuts (watch out for added sugars and oils in 'flavored' nuts)
oatmeal
rice
quinoa
whole wheat flour, almond or coconut
healthy oils like extra virgin olive, grape seed, avocado, coconut
vinegar
low-sodium broths like chicken, vegetable, beef
pouched or canned protein like tuna, salmon, sardines, chicken
low-sodium turkey jerky
honey
green tea
protein powder
natural peanut butter and other nut butters

Once you tackle your pantry you can follow the same process to clean out your fridge and freezer...but one step at a time. Don't overwhelm yourself by trying to do too much at once.

Just looking at the all the labels in your pantry and evaluating them to become more aware of what you are consuming is a fabulous first step, even if you don't throw away or replace a single item. 

Does your pantry need a healthy makeover? Have questions? I'd love to help!
Like this post? It helps me a lot when you share with your friends or family.


 

Coach Lea

I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and nutrition coaching. If you are interested in coaching, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

While I am a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I am not your personal trainer and nutrition coach. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise or diet program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.

7 Habits of Highly Effective Runners

If you want to be a better runner then it makes sense that you should focus on running more, but there is more to being successful than just running. Highly effective (aka fast and injury-free) runners don't just run, they follow these seven habits.

1. Run Consistently

The most successful runners run consistently, week after week, year after year. In order to improve you have to lace up those shoes on a regular basis. Work to build up fitness slowly over time and get in the habit of hitting the pavement on a regular basis. This doesn't mean you need to go from zero to 30 miles per week (that's a recipe for injury). Work towards a consistent running schedule over the long term.

2. Eat well

Athletes fuel properly for performance by consuming a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods. Aim for a mix of healthy carbohydrates, fats and protein in your diet.

Eating too little for your activity level can affect performance in a negative way, just as over consuming can leave you feeling bloated and sluggish. Finding the balance of healthy foods you enjoy in proper portions is the key to success. I wrote more about nutrition for athletes in this post.

3. Recover Well

Great runners recover well. For proper recovery from those workouts aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Don't underestimate the importance of sleep as it relates to running success. Most of our body's recovery processes happens during sleep. If you are not improving over time despite your best efforts, sleep (or lack thereof) may be to blame.

We always seem to be looking for the magic bullet to achieve our goals, new supplements, intense workout routines, macro manipulation and meal timing. While these things can be helpful as we work to meet our goals, we shouldn't be attempting advanced strategies until the basics are covered. Sleep is an important basic. Are you getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep?

Speaking of recovery, rest days are an important part of any successful runner's training cycle. For best results allow at least 48 hours in between intense workouts. Adaptations (getting faster and stronger) happen during rest, not during the workout, so be sure you give your body the time it needs to recover and rebuild. Alternate between high intensity workouts with low intensity workouts and rest days.

An example week might look like this:
Monday: High intensity interval workout
Tuesday: Rest day (or active recovery, like walking or gentle Yoga)
Wednesday: Low intensity workout
Thursday: High intensity or low intensity workout
Friday: Low intensity workout or rest day
Saturday: Long run
Sunday: Rest day

Try to avoid back-to-back intense or long workouts in order to properly recover. It's not about hammering yourself into the ground for results. Your body will thank you and you will reap the benefits in your performance.

4. Log Workouts

Great runners track their workouts and progress in training logs. In order to reach your goals, it is helpful to know where you are and where you came from. When you keep track of weekly mileage, average pace, as well as heart-rate and intensity you can make outcome-based decisions on what comes next in your training.

Maybe you'll notice that you always feel drained with heavy legs on early morning runs, but feel fast and efficient in the afternoon. Tracking may reveal that too many speed work sessions in one week leaves you feeling drained and overworked. Maybe you find that adding an extra tempo run in a week improves your half marathon pace. It's hard to know what is working or not working until you track and monitor it. 

I noticed that if I ran more than two days in a row, I would experience some hip pain. I backed off running on that third day for rest and the hip pain went away. The journal helped me see that pattern and I adjusted my training plan to fit my needs. 

When you document your runs you can follow the trends and make adjustments as needed. Keeping track of your runs, how you feel and your recovery can help you make decisions that will set you up for success in the future. 

5. Strength Train

In order to be a great runner, it pays to take some time for strength training. Runners can develop muscle imbalances and overuse injuries. Performing full body workouts while focusing on strong hips, hamstrings and core with a supplemental strength training program can help you become a faster, stronger and less injury prone runner. This blog is devoted to strength training for runners, so click around for a lot of strength training workout ideas. 

6. Stretch and Foam Roll

Most of us mere mortals have both overactive and underactive muscles. This means that some muscles are working too hard and are tight, shortened/overactive, while other muscles are underactive and not pulling their weight (so to speak), so they need to be strengthened. 

Stretching and foam rolling can help with those overactive, tight muscles. Runners can improve overall flexibility and work to correct muscle imbalances by foam rolling before runs and stretching after every run. I wrote a post about foam rolling that may be helpful. 

7. Build Mental Toughness

Mental toughness is learning the difference between physical pain and mental pain. Never attempt to push through physical pain in the muscles or joints during runs. Physical pain is the body's way of notifying you that something is wrong. However, often the pain we feel is mental anguish. When we work to keep going when our minds tell us to quit or we push through another tough mile, lap or rep, it builds the mental toughness that is necessary to be a highly effective runner. We almost always can do more than we think we can. Test that theory to watch your results skyrocket. 

Like this post? It helps me a lot when you share with your friends and followers

Coach Lea

I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and nutrition coaching. If you are interested in coaching, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

While I am a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I am not your personal trainer and nutrition coach. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise or diet program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.

Fit To Run: Month 2 Strength for Runners Workout

Welcome to the latest edition of Workout Wednesday! Each week I've been unveiling a new component of my strength for runners program. So far I've released the first month of strength workouts and an interval cardio workout as well as a treadmill hill workout as part of month two. 

In the first month we did a time-based protocol. The idea is to keep moving and get your strength work done quickly and efficiently. This month we will start to incorporate weights and will count reps in a circuit fashion. 

These are intended to be quick workouts that you can tack on to the end of your easy run days (less than 30 minute runs at an easy pace). I would recommend this workout twice a week.

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click on a link in this post and make a purchase that I make a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. No one is getting rich here, it just helps with the running (pun intended) of this blog. 

FIT TO RUN: MONTH 2 STRENGTH WORKOUT (A)

EQUIPMENT:

8lb dumbbell
Gym Mat

INSTRUCTIONS:

Perform the assigned reps of each exercise then move to the next exercise without rest. When you have completed all the exercises, rest for one minute (or as long as you need) and then repeat the circuit one or two more times. 

PLANK ROW TO SIDE PLANK

Start in straight arm plank position with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your legs a little wider than hip width for stability. Keep your body in a straight line from your shoulders to ankles while engaging your core. Do not allow your hips to hike (get that butt out of the air) or sag down.

With your core tight and your glutes engaged lift your right elbow to row as you bend your elbow up toward the ceiling, keeping your arms close to your sides.

Twist to the right to move into a side plank position keeping your right leg in front of your left for stability. Reach your arm to the ceiling and hold for 3-5 seconds before returning to plank position. Repeat on other side.

SINGLE LEG LIFT & CHOP

Stand on your right leg and grip the weight on each end with two hands. Reach your arms straight up over your right shoulder and slightly twist your torso to the right. With straight arms, bring the weight across your body and down towards the outside of your left knee by rotating your torso and shoulders. Repeat on other side. 

MOUNTAIN CLIMBER

Start in a straight arm plank position with your wrists directly under your shoulders with your legs wider than hip width for stability. Keep your body in a straight line from your shoulders to ankles while engaging your core. Do not allow your hips to hike up or sag down. Quickly bring your right leg in to touch your elbow, then back to plank position. Repeat on other side. Right then left equals one rep. Move as quickly as possible while maintaining strict form. 

SINGLE LEG DEAD LIFT

Standing on one leg, keep your knee slightly bent and perform a deadlift by bending at your hip while keeping your back straight and neck neutral. Extend your free leg behind you in line with your body. Grip the weight on each side with two hands and lower until your back is parallel to the floor. With your back straight return to the upright position. Repeat on other side

BRIDGE WITH WEIGHTED PULL OVER

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Keeping your elbows in a slightly bent position, draw the weight backward until it touches the floor.

Reach your arms over your head towards the ceiling while raising your hips off the floor so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Pause at the top then slowly lower your hips and arms back to the floor.

Stay tuned for the next strength workout in this series.

Like this post? It helps me a lot when you share with your friends and followers by saving on Pinterest, sharing on Twitter or Facebook!

Would you like a printable version of this workout? Enter your email address to download the printable version and receive future updates to the strength and running blog. If you are already subscribed, you will not receive duplicate emails if you enter your email address again to get the download. 

Are we Instagram friends? 

Coach Lea

I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and nutrition coaching. If you are interested in coaching, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

While I am a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I am not your personal trainer and nutrition coach. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise or diet program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.