Soreness is a natural part of working out, but sometimes the line between soreness and pain can get blurry.  Here is your guide to deciphering between whether you should push through the pain, or give your poor body a rest.

You are sore for up to 3 days after a workout.

This means you worked your muscles hard enough to initiate changes. This a good thing.

To ease the pain, drink plenty of water and stretch to initiate the healing of your muscle fibers.  Rest at least one day before working the same muscles again to reap the benefits of your workout, and prevent injury.

You are sore for longer than three days.  The pain prevents you from moving the effected joint, or keeps you up at night.

This means you pushed it too far. You either used too much weight, worked out too long or didn’t rest enough between workouts.

To ease the pain, take a break from the workouts, take an ibuprofen, and see your doctor to check from injuries.

You are having muscle cramps during or right after your workout.

This means you are either dehydrated, didn’t warm up properly, lifted too much weight or a combination of the three.

To ease the pain, massage the afflicted areas, chug water and if the pain persists for more than 3 days, see your doctor.


Working out is going to cause discomfort, but it shouldn’t hurt.  If you are still unsure of your are normal sore, or injured, check with your doctor to make sure.

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Cravings hit.  They aren’t a side of weakness, they are actual, physical cravings your body gives you because it wants something.  Isn’t that nice?

Sometimes you’ll have a water craving (thirst), or a food-in-general craving (hunger), or sometimes you will have a specific craving for a certain food.  This means your body needs it and you can have it right?

Wrong. Usually when you have a craving, let’s for this example use sugar, because it is the most common, but it can also be a salty craving, or a crunchy craving, it’s because your body is out of whack.

Sugar cravings work thusly:  you eat sugar, it dumps into your system, is burned quickly, depleting your energy.  Your body needs energy quick, so it signals your brain to make you crave sugar, so you go get it, eat it, and get more energy quickly, which starts the cycle all over again.  Sure, the glucose is used, but those calories remain.  And are soon stockpiled after you’ve made continual trips to pantry for more cookies.

So what do you do?  You have two options:

Give in and eat it- but the RIGHT way. If you are craving sugar, eat it all in one snack- don’t graze on sugar all day long.  Knowing you will be able to have it will keep you from going nuts, but consolidating it into one 150 calorie snack will ensure you don’t overindulge, and keep your blood sugar in check.

Skip it. But how? My body is SCREAMING for it!  Relax.  You don’t need it, and cravings pass in a few minutes anyway, so all you have to do it resist.  Go for a walk and get your endorphins going.  Drink some water to fill your belly.  Brush your teeth to freshen your mouth.

Cravings are real, but they aren’t life and death.  You are bigger than some craving trying to derail you from your goals, so crush it with a strategy that works for you.

You are told all the time what not to eat, but no one tells you what you are supposed to eat.  No added sugars, no trans fats, no processed carbs- but most people don’t even know how to look for those things- which causes them to trust the health claims on the labels of foods like cereals, crackers, and granola bars, which more often contain all of these unhealthy ingredients.  A for effort, F for execution.

So, while it is important to learn how to spot these food pitfalls, sometimes you just need to be told what to do.  So here is your No-Fuss, Fool-Proof Healthy Grocery List:

Vegetables
Asparagus
Bell peppers
Broccoli
Brussel sprouts
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Garlic
Green beans
Kale
Mushrooms
Onions
Peas
Pumpkin
Spinach
Squash
Sweet potatoes
Swiss chard
Tomatoes
Zucchini
Fruit
Apples
Bananas
Blueberries
Cherries
Grapefruit
Grapes
Honeydew
Kiwifruit
Lemons/Limes
Mango
Oranges
Peaches
Pears
Pineapple
Pomegranates
Raspberries
Strawberries
Grains/Legumes
Barley
Brown rice
Oats
Pasta, whole grain
Quinoa
Rye
Whole wheat
Dried beans/Peas
Protein
White fish (cod, halibut, tilapia)
Salmon, Alaskan
Water packed tuna
Beef
Chicken
Eggs
Milk, low-fat or fat-free
Yogurt, low-fat or fat-free
Cottage cheese, low-fat or fat-free
Fats
Almonds
Avocados
Cashews
Flaxseeds
Olives
Peanut butter
Pumpkin seeds
Sunflower seeds
Walnuts
Extras
Purified Water
Green and Herbal Tea
Fresh and dried herbs and spices
Raw honey


Notice what’s NOT on the list: no processed foods.  No packaged foods.  No foods with ingredient lists longer than the grocery list itself.  Why?  Because it’s garbage.  Even if it shouts from the rooftops it is full of antioxidants, or fiber, or vitamins, or contains no fat, or MSG, or trans fat, if it has a box which is used to tell you those things, it’s still not food, it’s a science experiment disguised as food.  Food comes from the Earth, or from an animal- not from a manufacturer.  Stick with that, and there will be no question whether or not you are making good choices.

Do you weigh too much? I don’t mean how much you weigh, I mean how often you weigh.

Are you one of those people that hops on the scale every time you go into the bathroom? A daily weigher? Weekly? Never?

How often you weigh yourself might effect your weight loss goals- and not in a good way.  Scales don’t just measure fat, they also weigh muscle, bones, and water. The scale is not an indicator of weight loss. You can weigh less without losing fat and you can lose fat and not see it in the scale.  Weighing yourself everyday can be frustrating when you see these numbers change up and down, and cause you to lose motivation.  Weighing yourself less often can actually give you a clearer picture of your actual weight loss.

The ensure the most accurate number on the scale when you do weigh, make sure you weigh at the same time each day you weigh in, preferably first thing in the morning when you stomach is empty and you had a good night’s sleep.  Or better yet, use your body fat percentage as a gauge- this is the only way to keep track of the actual amount of fat your body contains.

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More and more women now have the chance to feel what working hard, achieving goals and starting their very own Revolution feels like.

Come check it out and invite your friends!

Woodinville at Carol Edwards Park
17401 133rd Ave NE
Woodinville, WA 98072

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The number one excuse, by far, as to why people don’t workout consistently is because they don’t have time. 

No one has time.  No one magically has an hour a day where they find themselves staring at the wall because they just don’t have anything to do.  We fill our time on purpose, because doing nothing is boring.  So, sometimes we fill up our time with fun stuff, but more often than not, we fill it up with things we “have” to do.  Then, when we need to fit something in, like exercise, or a little me-time, there is no room.

This is why you have to make time to exercise.  It’s not going to fit seamlessly into your packed schedule, so here are some ways to free up time to get in a workout.

  • The easiest is waking up earlier.  Just wake up an hour earlier and get it done.  You are going to be tired when you wake up either way, so instead of snoozing for another hour, get out of bed and get in your early morning workout.  It will do more for your energy level than that extra hour, anyway. 
  • Consolidate tiny tasks.  I’m guilty of not following this one.  If you look at my planner, which if I lost, you’d find my curled up in the corner with no idea what day it was, it’s full of tiny little errands. Each day is riddled with “Go to the banks,”Go to the post offices,” and “Go to the store for one tiny little thing.”  If you consolidate all these tasks that can definitely wait into one trip on one day a week, you can easily free up hours per week to workout.
  • Turn of the tube. Many people watch TV as a way to relax and unwind, but you might be surprised how many hours you actually watch.  Take just one of those hours per day and get in your workout.  DVR is your friend- record your favorite shows and for the week, and watch them on one day, sans commercials, which will save you even more time.
  • Prep your meals for the week.  You gotta eat everyday, so instead of spending time everyday cooking up your meals, prep them all for the week on Sunday so you can just throw them together when it comes time to eat- saving tons of time, and even a few trips through the drive-thru, which is doing NOTHING for your goals.
  • Delegate tasks.  Give up some control.  Your kids can do some housework, like laundry, dishes and vacuuming, and let your spouse take care of paying the bills or doing the grocery shopping every once in a while.  This will save you time and give you a little bit of that ‘life balance’ everyone keeps talking about.

 

If this still doesn’t free up enough time for you, try to find your individual time sucks.  Everyone’s schedule is different so take a day or two and write down everything you do every minute of the day.  It sounds horribly time-consuming (which also sounds counterproductive to the topic of today’s post) but you may be surprised how many unimportant things suck up your time.  Try eliminating just a few and you may soon find yourself with an hour or two to kill, and I know just the place to do it.

I have a set exercise schedule that I consider to be fairly heavy (I run 28 miles a week, devote one day a week to an hour-long cardio session, strength-train three times a week and take one rest day per week), and I was just wondering: Should those of us who do intense exercise every week have a “taper week” every so often, like those preparing for races? I don’t want to run my body into the ground, but I don’t want to deviate from my normal routine if it’s not necessary to do so.
Thanks!
Justine
Wow, you do have quite the intense routine going.
‘Taper week’ is a term that racers and marathoners use for the week where they lighten their training to make sure they have enough energy to perform well at their races.  It’s important to rest your body so that your muscles have a chance to heal stronger, and your body has a change to refuel and get its energy back.
When you consistently push it to the max with the same routine, you are setting yourself up for performance plateaus and doing damage to your body.
Many people think of plateaus only in regards to weight loss, but you can hit performance plateaus as well. When you make your body do something for a long period of time, it adapts.  Your body is lazy, so if it knows what to expect, it will find a way to produce the same result with less effort, which means less energy, calorie burn, cardiovascular and strength benefits.  You are doing a lot of work, and not getting as much out of it as you could if you switch up your routine or cut back.  You have to keep your body on its toes.
If your body thinks it’s in danger, it will slow itself down.  You still may be able to finish your workouts, and feel relatively fine, but inside your other systems have been slowed to put the energy toward your workout and have a little left over to, you know, live.
When your body systems slow, again, you will miss out on results-your runs won’t burn as many calories because your body slows your metabolism to protect itself from using all of its energy stores, if you do run through all of your energy stores by not eating enough for your activity level, your body will strip proteins from your muscles to use as energy. Exercise tears your muscle fibers, which when they are allowed to heal, they heal stronger and, thus, you gain strength.  It takes about 48 hours for the proteins to synthesize and heal your muscles, so if you tear them again before they have a chance to heal from the first workout, you will at the very least not see results, at the most tear your muscle.

Your body is like a machine, and if you push it too hard, it’s going to give out.  Repeated stress on the muscles, joints and bones can cause irreparable damage.  Marathon runners often suffer from stress fractures and hip and knee joint injuries.  The cartilage can wear away, nerves can be pinched and bone density can be compromised.


Take a break. Even Olympic athletes have rest days and varying workout/training schedules. Try and schedule in an extra rest day to your week to allow your body to heal itself, or try different forms of workouts to prevent injury and to make sure all your effort is worth it and your results keep coming.

For my cardio, I’m usually a running & spinning devotee (unless body pump and vinyasa yoga can be counted as cardio as well).  Never could get into the elliptical.  I joined a new gym recently, and they have arc trainers.  I’ve heard these are fantastic in terms of maintaining a high heart rate, working multiple muscle groups, and getting a great CV workout.  How do you feel about them?  Can you recommend good workouts to do on them.  Never having used it, I wouldn’t want to be totally clueless and not use it well.

Thank you!!

Nicole

The arc trainer and the elliptical are pretty similar,  but it’s funny, because usually people only like one or the other.  The key difference is the motion of your foot, which travels in an arc, as opposed to an ellipse on the elliptical (clever, huh?)  Think of the movement on the arc trainer as cross-country skiing, and on the elliptical, riding a bike standing up. Arc Trainers also have adjustable inclines which is why people say they are more intense of a workout.

The claim with arc trainers is that the motion of the arc trainer lessens the stress torque on the knees and hips, and is a more natural motion for your body, reducing your chance of discomfort and possible injury.

Personally, I experience knee pain on the elliptical as the foot holders are a bit too wide apart to be natural for me, which causes soreness after a while.  However, I find the foot pattern of the arc trainer less natural, so I have to focus on each step more, which when doing cardio, is not ideal for me- I like to zone out.

The claim that it is easier to raise the heart rate using the arc trainer over the elliptical is because the arc has adjustable inclines (think cross-country skiing uphill). With an elliptical your only variables are speed and resistance, with arc, it’s speed, resistance and incline, which gives you more options. Heart rate is a matter on intensity, thought, and not what machine you are using, so it is possible to reach the same heart rate with each piece of equipment, you just have to adjust the levels.  Incline is, however, a sure-fire way to crank up the intensity of your workout.

Most people just have a preference of one or the other, and as long as you are doing something, you’re fine in my book.  One is not better than the other- as long as you have your heart rate up and you are doing it consistently, you’re fine.

Cross training is always a good idea, though, to avoid plateaus and boredom.

If you want to try out the Arc Trainer, try one of their already preprogrammed workouts stored on the machine, or take advantage of the inclines to get the most out of it on your own.

Everyone is different, depending on ability, injury, goals and age, so I cannot recommend a specific workout, but a 30 minute interval workout should give you the most bang for your buck.  Warm up for about 5 minutes, then slowly increase the level and incline every 5 minutes.  You should peak around the 20-25 minute mark (heart rate at about 85% your max) and then slowly bring down the incline and level to cool down.  How high your incline and level is up to your fitness level, but push yourself.

You can also experiment with pedaling forward and backwards to target different muscle groups and adjust your RPMs (how fast you are peddling) to focus on speed.  Some Arcs have both moving handles and stationary handles.   Despite popular belief, the moving handles don’t do too much for your arm strength or calorie burn, so use whatever helps you feel the most steady.

Tips for both Arc Trainers and Ellipticals:

  • Try to keep your body as stationary as possible (avoid bobbing up and down).  This ensures you are targeting your leg muscles instead of relying on momentum.
  • Keep your weight on your heels.  This prevents numbness in the toes.
  • Keep good posture to avoid knots in your neck and back.
  • Always completely stop the machine before attempting to get off.

If you have a question you would like me to answer, just email!

 

(Just not with food, which is what most people tend to do.)

Hitting a fitness goal is a huge accomplishment, yet few take the time to give themselves some credit and bask in the glory for a bit.  I’ve found this is usually because most people look at how far they still have to go, and think, ‘There’s nothing to really be happy about right now, because I have so much more work ahead of me.’

Now what kind of thinking is that?

Each small goal on the way to your big goal, be it weight loss, or training for a race, should be celebrated.  You worked hard, you did what you set out to do and each smaller goal is a step closer to hitting that big one.

Everyone has more goals to hit- if you don’t have a goal, what are you working for?  Even if someone whose sole focus has been weight loss hits that 50 pound mark they have been dreaming of, they aren’t done.  They take some time to congratulate themselves, maybe even cry a few happy tears, and then they find something else to strive for: a 5k, a six-pack, a black belt, whatever it may be.

So how do you celebrate?  Your treat yourself for all your hard work with something that showcases your goal.  Did you lose 10 pounds?  Buy those new jeans you told yourself you would never fit into.  Did you shave a few seconds off your race time?  Time for some new running gear.

You can even get sentimental and have your goal etched onto a nice little pendant for a necklace.  Put your pounds lost, or your miles done, or .  Soon, you’ll have a whole bracelet full of your successes jingling you on as you head towards your next goal.

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