I don't know why - maybe it's in anticiapation of my son Drew coming home unexpectedly this week - but I got tons of rest this weekend and I am more energized than ever! I have to say that until recently I've been trying to pack lots of stuff into my weekends.But I am coming to respect the value of R & R on my mind - and my body. Tomorrow we start up our lunchtime running group again and I'll be ready!
We are so excited about the look and feel of our new website - working with such a talented team here at Oxygen is always terrific but it's been heightened by the creativity and superb problem solving that have taken place over the past several months. From ideas scrawled on post-it notes to a finely tuned, richly designed site packed with energy and information, it's been an amazing process - I truly think I've learned a tremndous amount and I'm hoping you'll agree that our new site is worth visiting (a ton of times!). Kudos to everyone on the art and edit sides of Oxygen who even at this moment are in "all hands on deck" mode putting the finishing touches on it - what a tremendous output of work from all.
I'm inviting all of you to keep an eye on this blog because I'm hoping to l have some interesting sneak previews! Stay tuned!
Question: What do you like on your favorite fitness websites?
I'm a big believer in the basic act of hydration - I tend to drink water all day, in fact! But I have noticed that my fingers cramp up a lot and I'm toying with some new ways to stop the muscle cramping that's been plaguing me lately. Just wondering what you think?
Question: Have you ever grappled with electrolyte imbalances?
I'm sitting here this morning admittedly a little sore from the half-marathon yesterday and yet also euphoric. At the time, I have to admit I felt a little nervous ... After all, I had only done a modicum of the training and I wondered how I would do during the race - hopefully I'd finish! Standing with my colleagues Wendy and Gabby at the start, I was, I have to admit, filled with trepidation. (thanks, btw, to those of you who commented on my blog prior to the race!)
Despite the nerves, I set out to enjoy every minute of it - and I did! There is such a tremendous feeling of self-accomplishment in not only finishing the race in a decent time but enjoying it so much. Why did I ever think it was going to be a slog? In fact, there were LOL moments from the enthusiastic crowd who showed up along the race, despite the inclement weather; I was smiling at some of their antics...signs like "Chafe today; boast tomorrow!" brought a big smile to my face.
And I loved the runners - an older gentlemman wearing a "80-year-old grandad runner!" T-shirt as he chugged along or the guy who wore an "Older than Boston" T-shirt; and then the spectators: a jazz trio taking refuge in a lakefront gazebo; a little girl holding a rain-spattered "I love you Mom" sign; an older woman politely saying "Good Morning" to all the runners from her lawn chair and all the volunteers handing out Gatorade and water throughout the race.....
Later on, as my guy and I stood in line at the grocery store, a proud father was telling the clerk about how his son had actually raced that morning in the marathon and my fella said the same: she did it too, he said, pride evident in his voice.
How fantastic and how gratifying! Sore muscles, who cares?????
Question: What recently gave you a sense of self-accomplishment?
Ok, so I have butterflies in my stomach and the half-marathon is still two days away! Here at the office, those of us who signed up and have been running together at lunchtime are at that rueful stage of "this did seem like a good idea six months ago!" But I have to admit I am starting to get excited....weather is supposed to be cold, rainy and windy so wish us all luck!
What's your best advice for surviving the elements?????
I have to share one of the best fitness tools I've come across recently - a foam roller. If I have a muscle ache (or a few!) I just grab my roller and ease muscle soreness in just a few minutes. That's what happened this weekend after a long run and weights session - I spent some time stretching and using the roller and it made an enormous difference!
Heading to sunny (hopefully!) California this week and can't wait! Am frantically trying to get things in order before I leave but wanted to drop in and say hello to all. I've been trying to crank up the miles on the weekends - with the half marathon looming in less than a month, it's about time! But I also wanted to hit my upper body in the gym and that's what I did on Sunday....paying the price today!
Question: When you work out for longer than an hour, how do you refuel? Sports drink, protein shake, goo????? Or do you stick to water until you get a chance to grab a carbs/protein snack?
Let me know! I want to try it out wayyyyy before the race!
I did a boot camp recently (thanks to pro triathlete Heather Gollnick at Sandpiper Bay, Florida!) and what a blast! A minute never seemed so long and then onto the next challenge - burpies to V-sits to Bosu balancing to running around pylons....a 45 minute calorie sizzler. (Although I did many push-ups, I wanted to spend more time in the gym doing weights....on vacation, I actually like testing out all the facilities!)
Question: When you go on vacation, what do you look for in a hotel?
I absolutely love to hear about people's transformation stories - be it physical or psychological, it doesn't matter: I just have to hear it. The indomitable willpower of some people - from young ones to old - constantly impresses me. In our next special, for instance, we're highlighting an amazing woman who overcame incredible odds to do her own thing....
Question: Do you know somebody who has transformed themselves?
So I'm reading today in a newsletter from the folks at Tufts University that women who drink coffee are actually less prone to strokes - if you drink at least one cup of coffee, researchers in Sweden say, you're 24% less likely to suffer a stroke. Apparently it's the polyphenols in coffee that actually are credited for this, which makes me a happy camper! (I tend to like to get most of my days started with a nice big cup (or cups) of java!).
Here's just some of the gang in front of our booth at The Arnold....from left, Erin Smith, Stacy Kennedy, Wendy Morley and yours truly!
p.s. Wendy, a triathlete training for her first Ironman next November, and myself run with a couple of other girls at lunchtime at our runner's club here at the office. We stay motivated by sending a group email early in the morning and checking to see who is up for a run - it's just great!
Hey, did you manage to get to the Arnold? I know a few of you wanted to come by our booth and chat to us a little (and many of you did!)...here is a photo of me signing my book Pick it Kick it, purchased by one Oxygen fan!
Thanks to all!
Question: If we added presentations to the show, what topic would you like addressed? Training? Nutrition?
As much as I love to workout, I know how easy it is to slip out of a routine and then begin to spiral away from fitness and health. Experts support this too - consistency is one of the key factors for success in fitness. This week, as we prepare for the Arnold, it's more important than ever to continue to workout, eat well and do what is perhaps the most difficult - rest.
At this time of year, it's great to be able to do so much - run outdoors with my lunchtime running group, then head to the slopes this weekend for some skiing and get a workout in with my daughter. I honestly believe - and science supports it - that when you mix it up and do various activities you are much less likely to get bored in your workouts. My experience? You keep it fun and you keep to it.
Question: How do you keep your workouts from getting stale?
What is it about some trainers? Don't get me wrong; I've been privileged to meet - and train with - some of the best in the business. But it irks me to no end to watch a trainer make his or her client do something potentially dangerous or beyond her capability just because the trainer says so.
Question: What's the worst thing you've seen in a gym? Let's compare notes!
Thanks go out to Terry Goodlad whose website bodysport.com featured our new Fat Loss Special and a brief write up about it...I have to say we've received great feedback from this issue - thanks too for all your comments etc about the issue! (doesn't Chady look amazing?????)
Question: What key item would like to see in our next special issue on Abs? More routines, more info about our models? Or more recipes?
In my weekend reading, I came across an article that talked about how fitness buffs like you and me actually create anxiety in the minds of many; that our love of fitness and health can often be interpreted as bullying. Yikes! And here I was thinking it was inspiring!
Question: Do you feel guilty when you don't work out? Or make others feel guilty - even inadvertently? Just wondering.....
We're gearing up for another great Arnold show in March and already we're organizing a fabulous Oxygen booth. Last year we had the energetic Lindsay Messina (pictured here) joining our other popular Oxygen gals for demos and this year will be no different. Don't forget to drop by and say hi to me and bring lots of pics! If you have a before/after story, I'd love to hear it!
Hey, gotta give a shout out to Gretchen Reynolds at the NY Times whose column "Brains and Brawn" that appeared in yesterday's magazine cited new studies that suggest a stronger link between resistance training and better cognitive function. Even though she writes that the science is only with animals to date, it is still fascinating that researchers are saying the data is promising. Again, as it is still so new, researchers are only speculative at this point but the studies on older women at the Brain Research Centre at the University of British Columbia, according to Reynolds, is interesting - older women who lifted weights had better brain scans than those who did toning classes. And why? Only speculation at this point but it may be due to the fact you have to think about what you will be doing before you begin to lift (compared to simply getting out the door for a run or join a toning class, for example).
In any case, it's all great stuff!
Question: How do you feel 1. after lifting weights 2. cardio? 3. yoga? Any different?
I'm sitting behind a gal the other day in spin class and I notice (as I'm apt to do) that she is quite lean - almost scarily so. After the class, as she was wiping down her bike, she commented to her friend that she found another great way to work out.... right after her spin class, she hops in her car to a kick boxing session! Yikes! Don't get me wrong - I like working out a lot but to me that is veering on excessive.
And it made me recall another gal, almost skeletal, who made a practice of doing back-to-back classes at my sister's gym...is this becoming more common do you think?
Question: Would you mention your concern or think it is none of your business?
I'm pretty sore today from (of all things) yoga last night - the instructor is superbly talented at finding weaknesses (particularly hip flexors in my case) and then going for it...she's really terrific. But I have to say that while one of the women in my class actually fell asleep during the latter portion of the class, I found myself figuring out what I needed to do to get organized for the next day. I know! I know! It isn't exactly in the yoga - mantra of meditation, but not sure what to do about it?
Question: What do you do to relax in the moment? Any tips to share?
Ok, so let me know - if Oxygen can be yours anywhere you'd like (and why not?) , what would you prefer, ideally? Your phone? Your iPad? Your Nook? What's the device of your choice? No promises here in this early part of 2011, but I'm curious to know your ideal way of getting us to you!
Ok, I admit - put my irritation down to post-holiday angst but I ran across a study over the holidays on Gretchen Reynolds NYTimes blog "Well" and it made me see red! I enjoy her blog and the details of the study were interesting: she wrote that even though elite male athletes were active in their youth, it didn't translate into good health when they stopped working out when they were older. Fascinating stuff, really. (it was posted Dec 29, fyi). But my irritation stems from one question - what about the gals? When are we going to get similar data about elite female athletes? Or do we always have to glean the info from the guys? I think it's time study authors (this time from the British Journal of Sports Medicine) took the time and trouble to do a large study of women athletes.
Question: Am I off base here? Or do you agree with me?