SEPTEMBER 2017

THE WEEKEND SURVIVAL GUIDE: 10 TIPS FOR A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE ALL WEEK LONG

It's Friday! Another long week is on the books and I am ready to enjoy the weekend! I've put together some tips to help you enjoy the weekend while maintaining your healthy lifestyle (and your sanity). Spoiler alert: It's not about dieting and exercising all weekend long. 

I often say I wish I was independently wealthy so I could quit my corporate job and live according to my own terms. That sounds great and all, but the corporate life provides something that helps me stay on track in my healthy lifestyle: Routine.

During the week I know if I don't get up in the morning to work out, then I likely won't have time to get it done that day. It forces my hand with a now-or-never decision. I know that if I want to eat a healthy lunch I will have to bring it from home, so I pack a daily salad. I go to bed early to make sure I get plenty of sleep so I can get up early again the next day. Then the weekend comes...

I may stay up too late on Friday night since I know I don't have to be up early on Saturday. I may plan to workout, but a lot of times I just keep telling myself that I'll do it later, until later never comes. That healthy salad? There are too many other options. 

My limited schedule and options during the week actually helps me stick to a healthy routine. I find on Saturdays if I have an appointment in the afternoon, I am more likely to get my workout done early. Now-or-never can be a strong motivator, because it forces you to confront your true intentions. If you don't do it now, you're not doing it. You can't lie to yourself about some future fictional plans.

While my weekends don't have the structure of the weekdays, I do my best to stay on track, even if I miss a workout or a healthy meal here and there. A healthy lifestyle isn't about perfection, it's about doing the best we can in the moment, no matter the circumstances. Weekend circumstances sometimes means birthday parties, chauffeur duties, friends and errands. We can still let loose a little on the weekends without it all falling apart with these 10 tips.

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THE WEEKEND SURVIVAL GUIDE: 10 TIPS FOR A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE ALL WEEK LONG

  1. Go to bed and get up at the same time on the weekends. It may not be the same times as during the week, but establishing a bedtime and wake-up time can help you establish a healthy weekend routine.

  2. Work to get at least eight hours of sleep. If you have a little more time on the weekends take advantage of it. Sleep is so important for health, performance and weight loss.

  3. If you have plans to eat out at a restaurant, look at the menu ahead of time and decide what you will order. It doesn't have to be the healthiest option on the menu, but it should be well thought-out and intentional. Think of food on a continuum, rather than good or bad. Ask yourself, in what small way can I make this just a little bit healthier? Not perfect, just a little better.

  4. Prepare and eat meals at home when possible. If you currently eat all your weekend meals outside of the home, make a goal to eat just one meal at home this weekend.

  5. Schedule a workout. Make plans to meet a friend for a class, hike or run. Put it on your calendar. Make a commitment and stick to it. Try to avoid, "I'll do it later." Even a quick 15 minute workout at home will suffice. Make deliberate movement a part of your weekend routine.

  6. Give yourself two or three weekend healthy living goals. Whether it is cleaning out the kitchen pantry, getting in at least one workout, meal prepping for the week or planning your upcoming week, have clear goals and work to accomplish them.

  7. If you weigh-in weekly, schedule your weigh-in day for Monday morning. It can help you stay on track over the weekend. (But remember the scale is only one small piece of the puzzle.)

  8. Don't save all your nutritional splurges for the weekend. If you allow yourself a few treats during the week, you'll be less likely to overindulge with a "last-hoorah" mentality on the weekend. If you know you can occasionally have a treat whenever you want, you may not feel the need to over-do it on the weekends. All-or-nothing thinking leads to an unhealthy cycle of deprivation and over-indulgence.

  9. Don't over-indulge in alcohol, especially when fat loss is your goal. Alcohol has seven calories per gram, which is more calories per gram than protein and carbs, but without any nutritional value. Enjoy a drink if you want (a healthy lifestyle isn't about deprivation), but like anything else, drink in moderation.

  10. No matter what happens, how busy you were, what workouts you missed, or what foods you ate, never give up and make yourself a promise to start over Monday (or any future date). There is no need to wait for a new week or a new day. A few slip ups does not ruin a whole weekend. Perfection was never the goal! Do the best you can in the moment. If you didn't make a good choice, no worries, try to make a better one at the very next opportunity.

Ready to tackle the weekend? Let's not just survive, let's thrive! Have a great one. We'll catch up again on Monday. 

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THE STOPLIGHT RUNNING WORKOUT

Welcome to the latest edition of Workout Wednesday when each week I share a new running or strength for runners workout! Want to receive workouts like these right in your email every week?  

This week I want to remind you that running is supposed to be fun. Yes, fun! Most of us aren't elite athletes that run for the prize money when we win marathons. We run because either on the surface or somewhere deep down inside we really enjoy it.

Remember when we were kids and we would race our friends to the end of the street or chase our screaming little brothers around the block? (My brother could bench press me these days.) Somehow in our adulthood, we forgot how to have fun. Sometimes we even try to make the fun activities too serious. We can't take a walk in nature without tracking our steps on Fitbit, go for a run without analyzing our paces and heart rate or even run a race without putting crazy pressure on ourselves to perform well. I am as guilty as any. 

Sometimes running is just supposed to be fun. That's why I love this stoplight workout. We can mix up the paces and have fun with it without putting too much pressure on ourselves. It reminds me of those childhood games we used to play in the old neighborhood under the street lights, when our parents had to yell for us to come home in the days long before cell phones.

Now, I wish I could be there with you while you do this workout so I could yell out "GREEN LIGHT!", "YELLOW LIGHT!", "RED LIGHT!", "GO!" but you'll just have to use a trusty timer and your imagination, like back in the old days. (I just had a birthday and I am really starting to sound like an old lady with all this good 'ol days talk.)

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 running (pun intended) of this blog. Thanks, as always, for your support.

THE STOPLIGHT RUNNING WORKOUT

This workout can be done on a treadmill or on the street or track with an interval timer or simple stop watch. I use this interval timer from Gymboss with my runners and at my bootcamps.

Download a printable PDF of the Stop Light Running Workout

Download a printable PDF of the Stop Light Running Workout

RUN BY EFFORT: THE RPE CHART

This workout is based on the RPE chart, which is ideal for a workout you find on the internet. RPE stands for Rate of Perceived Exertion and is based on your own effort, not assigned paces. Why? Because it can be dangerous and irresponsible to follow arbitrary paces on the internet. If you try to follow a pace that is beyond your fitness level you could injure yourself. If you follow a pace that is too easy, you won't get the maximum benefit of the workout. If you work according to your own fitness levels and progress only when you're ready, you will improve your running skills while reducing chance of injury. (Coach rant over.)

You can learn more about the RPE chart here

Your RPE can be determined by the talk test.

RPE:1 No effort. You are probably sitting.
RPE:2-3 Light effort. Breathing is extremely easy. You may be walking at this effort.
RPE: 4-6 Moderate effort. You are working a little harder, maybe a jog or an easy run, but you can carry on a full conversation at this pace without gasping for air between words or sentences.
RPE: 7-8 Hard effort. You can speak a sentence or two at a time before having to taking a gasp of breath.
RPE: 9 Extremely hard effort. You can get out a word or two but breathing is labored and talking is challenging.
RPE: 10 Maximum effort. You are completely out of breath and unable to talk. You would only be able to hold this pace for a very short time.

RED LIGHT | YELLOW LIGHT | GREEN LIGHT EFFORT

RED LIGHT | HARD EFFORT | RPE 7-9
YELLOW LIGHT | MODERATE EFFORT | RPE 4-6
GREEN LIGHT | EASY EFFORT | RPE 3

THE SUNDAY DRIVER

After a proper running warm up, like the one shown in this blog post, get ready for your workout with four minutes of a brisk walk or light jog. This should be an extremely easy effort. 

REV UP YOUR ENGINE

Let's start getting our body ready for faster paces. Run for 30 seconds at a hard effort and then recover for 90 seconds at a moderate or easy effort until your breath is recovered. Repeat a total of four times

THE SPEED DEMON

Now we are getting into the fun. Start off with one minute of easy effort, followed by three minutes at a moderate steady pace. You should be working but not so hard that you can't maintain it for three minutes. Recover for two minutes at an easy pace before picking it back up at a hard pace for two minutes. The most important point here is that you find a pace that you can maintain for two minutes. If you go out too hard, you'll never make it two minutes. Your pace should be steady, yet hard for the two minute interval. You have one minute to recover before one last hard interval of one minute. This is your last one, give it all you got for the last minute. 

COOL OFF

Walk or jog for three minutes to bring your heart rate down to normal before finishing up workout. It is generally a good idea for most runners to finish up with some stretching.

 

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MAKE THE BEST OF THE HOLIDAYS WITH END-OF-YEAR RESOLUTIONS

I don't mean to freak you out or anything, but it's almost October! October, I tell you! We are going to blink our collective eyes and we'll be taking down Halloween decorations, cleaning up after our holiday dinners and dragging our Christmas trees out to the curb after another season of faithful service. Before we know it, yet another year will have come to a close and our minds will turn to the hope and opportunity of a new year. Maybe we will have put on a few holiday pounds, let our exercise routine slide and forgotten to think about nutrition at all. We'll certainly be ready to make a change...for good this time!

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END-OF-YEAR RESOLUTIONS

I like to take the last three months of the year and make end-of-year resolutions. Why wait until the new year when you can start to make changes now and end the year with a bang? Getting a head start on those inevitable new year resolutions can help you get through the holidays happier and healthier. On January first when the rest of the world is just starting to think about change, you'll already be 90 days in to achieving your goals.

"WHY NOW?"

If you start to make lifestyle changes in October, you have about 90 days until the end of the year. 90 days is plenty of time to evoke change and to actually start to see results. When you start in October it gives you a few weeks to practice your new habits before the true craziness of the holiday season sets in. When's the best time to start thinking about health and fitness? Now. When you move your body and eat healthy food you will be better able to manage the stress of the upcoming season.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
— Chinese Proverb

"BUT I'M BUSY AND THE HOLIDAYS ARE INSANE FOR ME"

We are all busy and for most people, the holidays are the busiest of all. That's the idea. I am not suggesting that you forgo holiday parties, pass on the champagne toasts and holiday cookies. I would never take away your holiday cookies. It's always about fitting healthy habits into your life, not changing your whole life around to be healthier. Do you see the difference? We are always going to have parties, celebrations, social events, work obligations and family craziness. It's called life. A true healthy lifestyle is learning how to find the balance between enjoying your life and making decisions that make you a healthier person. There is a balance that is the best of both worlds

The best time to learn (by practice) how to fit healthy habits and lifestyle changes into your life is during the busiest part of the year. If you can do it now, you can certainly do it in February. It's not about skipping the holiday party to go to CrossFit or eating a kale salad while everyone else is enjoying Grandma's marshmallow jello salad. That's no way to live. But if you move your body in a way that feels good to you, while making healthier choices most of the time, there will be plenty of room to bond with Grandma over cool whip.

"I'LL ENJOY THE HOLIDAYS AND START OVER IN JANUARY"

It doesn't have be a choice of enjoying the holidays or living healthier. We can do both. It's not all-or-nothing. The mistake that people make is that they think if they are "on the health wagon" then they can't have the sweet treats at the party or enjoy a cocktail or two (or three). So they deprive themselves of everything they enjoy until they break (which everyone does, eventually) and they end up overindulging. It's a terrible cycle which I can talk about with authority, because it's a cycle I spun on for years and years.

I challenge you to enjoy the holidays while also making healthier choices. Go to the parties, enjoy the wine, but drink your water and eat your vegetables too. Savor the indulgences. Eat slowly and mindfully. Eat a serving of the cake but be sure to get your protein. It's a mindset. If you go into these next few months with an intention to make healthier choices while also enjoying all the benefits of celebrating with friends and family, you'll come out on the other side happier and healthier. 

Make your end-of-year resolutions now to stay on track through the holidays and start off the new year with a bang. Need help with healthy habits and lifestyle changes? It is the perfect time of year to enroll in my online nutrition habits coaching program. It's a proven system developed by Precision Nutrition to help you reach your health and fitness goals by implementing healthy habits from the ground up. Take this short quiz to test if this program is right for you. 

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Running Form Tips For The New Runner & a Lesson on Being a Beginner

When I tell people that I am a running coach, sometimes they are quick to inform me they hate to run. I'll be the first to recommend that you not to do any exercise you hate, because you'll never stick to it. The best exercise is one you will actually do. Find a way to move your body that you love. However, I believe that a lot of people never give running a fair chance.

In the beginning, running can really suck. It's hard. It takes some time for your body to adapt. If you can get through the beginning-sucky part you may just find that you love running after all. It is hard for everyone at first. Of course you suck in the beginning, everyone sucks in the beginning. You have to practice. You have to run consistently and after a couple of months things will start to get better. Running can be enjoyable and you can actually get good at it. 

Don't compare your start to someone else's middle.

Then I realized, damn, I need to take my own advice. Not about running, of course. You see, I recorded a quick video in the ShredShed this weekend. I always say I am a better writer than talker. I am just not very good on video. But why am I not very good on video? Because it is new to me. Because I don't do it often. Because I am not comfortable with it. Sound familiar new runners?

How do you get better at the things you suck at? You practice. You do them often. Just like that new runner that I coach to get out there and try again even when...especially when it doesn't feel good. 

So in an effort to practice what I preach, I am going to record more videos and share them. It's not about being perfect and polished. (Ha, that may never happen. Have you met me?) It's just about doing the best I can and getting better over time. I did this one on proper running form. It's not perfect, but the information in the video is still valuable. 

Watch my awkward reenactment of driving a car (yes, that is what that was supposed to be), my impression of an angry runner and my bad Phoebe Buffay running joke. Yes, I think i'm funny.

If you're anything like me and you still would rather read than watch a video, I'll cover my running form tips in writing too.

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RUNNING FOR TIPS FOR NEW RUNNERS

SHOULDERS BACK AND DOWN

In this day and age we are constantly rounding our shoulders forward; when we text, when we type and when we drive our cars. I don't know about you, but I do those things almost all day long. When you run pay attention to your shoulders. Stand up straight, roll your shoulders back and down. This will help with proper form and running efficency.

ELBOWS CLOSE TO THE BODY

Don't run like Phoebe Buffay. Keep your arms and your elbows close to your sides as you swing your arms, don't allow them to flare out to the side. Your arms should move forward and backwards only, do not allow them to cross over the front of your body.

HANDS RELAXED

Run with your hands relaxed. Do not clench your fists like an angry runner. A good tip is to place your thumb and pointer fingers together like you are holding a potato chip between them. Keep it light, easy and relaxed.

NECK NEUTRAL | EYES FORWARD

Don't look down at your feet. Look straight ahead at where you are going, not at where you are right now. Keep your neck neutral. 

Focus on one thing at a time. What can you improve today? Once you get these first four running form techniques mastered you will find that running is a little easier, that you are wasting less energy and running more efficiently.

Do you remember what it feels like to be a beginner at something? We all start somewhere. If we just strive to the best we can and keep moving forward (no matter how slowly), we will all be better for it. 

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SHAKE IT UP WITH A PUMPKIN SPICE PROTEIN SHAKE & WORKOUT

It's officially fall this week so I've been given the clearance from the blogging governing body (that's me) to start talking about pumpkins. Sometimes people get crazy and start drooling over pumpkin spice at the end of August. What's next? Christmas decorations in September? Wait. We already have that. Let's take one season at a time. It's the season of fallen leaves, crisp cool air and jack-o-lanterns. 

Autumn is truly the most wonderful time of the year. September is my birthday month (yay, old lady day), we finally have the perfect running weather and we are now permitted to go positively pumpkin crazy.

With my pumpkin spice protein shake, you can skip the sugar-laden, barista-made drinks and enjoy this healthy, high protein alternative. With five simple ingredients, you can mix it up in your blender in just minutes.  

This post is sponsored by Premier Protein. I am a Premier Protein ambassador. All opinions, recipes and words are my own. 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 running (pun intended) of this blog. Thanks, as always, for your support. You rock.

PUMPKIN SPICE PROTEIN SHAKE

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PUMPKIN SPICE PROTEIN SHAKE:

1/2 cup of canned pumpkin
1 small banana
1tsp of vanilla extract
1tsp of pumpkin pie spice
11 ounces of vanilla Premier Protein shake chilled (1 shake)

If you really want to feel like you are drinking a pumpkin pie, trying added a dollop of whipped cream on top. 
 

THE GREAT PUMPKIN WORKOUT

Remember this workout from last year? 

Grab a nine pound pumpkin (or a boring 'ol medicine ball if you're a fun-hater. kidding!) and give this great pumpkin workout a whirl. 

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After your pumpkin workout, you can refuel with a pumpkin spice protein shake, because there is no such thing as too much pumpkin in one day. 

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Check out fellow Premier Protein Ambassadors posts this month!

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Coach Lea

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