I’m probably going to catch hell for this blog post, but here it goes anyway.
My darling sister sent me a link to a blog titled “Seven Reasons As To Why Running is Bad For You” the other day. I read the rather scathing blog and thought, hmm, this dude makes a few good points. I didn’t care for the way he bashed running (as a person who loves running), and his general negative attitude, but the first reason was rather interesting: “Have you looked at distance runners?”
The author points out that most runners, especially distance runners, are…well…out of shape. If you look at the majority of people crossing the line of a marathon, they are not the gazelle-looking athletes you would expect. The author points out that they have, “man boobs” and “spare tires”.
He says his goal is to look good naked, and I agree, if you work this hard, you should look good naked! If you want to look good naked, I give my take on how to do it in this blog.
I would argue that this fact is true for many athletes. Cyclists, swimmers, runners, the people at the gym who show-up for boot-camp or Crossfit, whatever. Many of them are still not the ‘ideal image of fitness’.
So why? Why are these people who workout an hour a day, seven days a week not fit? Why is it that a marathon runner who goes out for four-hour training runs still has a set of man boobs? Why does the guy doing Crossfit three times a week still have a barrel chest with a gut? Why does the cyclist who rides one hundred miles in one day still have a muffin-top riding over her bike shorts? I’ll tell you why, but first you have to promise not to get upset. Don’t shoot the messenger and please DON’T assume I am ignorant as to the difficulties of weight issues.
Here’s the reason. Your physical appearance has much, much, much more to do with what you put in your mouth than how many calories you burn.
We ALL have six-pack abs, though some are more pronounced than others. The difference is that if you have a thick layer of fat covering them, you won’t see your ab muscles. A person can be extremely fit and look just like anyone else.
One of the biggest problems people run into when they do any fitness routine, is they over compensate for the calories they burned. A one hour run, on average, burns about 600 calories. If you go home and drink a tall glass of chocolate milk and eat a bagel, you’ve replaced the calories you just burned. And if you are like most fitness junkies, you think you are entitled to eat whatever you want since you work out so hard. “We need to carb-load” they say. Bull shit. You need to eat well, and pasta is not the best choice.
The person who works out sporadically tends to ‘reward’ themselves after a difficult workout session with a special treat like a candy bar or a Big Mac then wonder’s why they haven’t lost any weight. When weeks and weeks of this effort at working out results in weight gain, they lose all confidence in themselves and create a downward spiral. They run to the comfort foods to heal their pain.
I’ve been on long endurance rides with some of the best cyclists in the area and am appalled to see them noshing on gummy bears and a coke at the rest stop. It’s no wonder they don’t fit the image of the extreme athletes they are. I can’t help but wonder how much faster and better they could be if they fueled their body with real food.
The fact is: if you want to be the image of an athlete, you need to eat correctly and work out. If you want to feel healthy, you need to eat well. If you want to be a healthy weight, you need to eat well. No amount of exercise gives you a pass to eat like crap. As an athlete, eating well will fuel your workouts and feed your fitness level like never before. Even if you are not an athlete, you can look better and feel amazing if you just eat well.
What do you mean by ‘eat well’?
Okay, here’s my take on how everyone should eat in as few words as possible. Take it or leave it. But if you want to feel great, look great (even naked) and be the best athlete you can be, you might want to give it a go.
STOP rewarding yourself with junk food. Cut out all the cakes, muffins, doughnuts, candy, and chips. It’s junk, it’s filled with sugar and ultimately it will ruin you. It’s not worth it. A little dark chocolate on a rare occasion may be fine but that’s it. Sugar feeds cancer cells (and we all have cancer cells), it spikes your blood sugar creating a feeling of hunger and a craving for more sugar. Get off the sugar and you will stop the cravings. It’s a cycle, it can be broken. One week without sugar and you will be a new person.
NO sugary drinks. Drink water, lots of it. Not only does water hydrate you and make your skin look fresh it flushes toxins from your body and makes you feel full. Often people eat when they are dehydrated because they mistake the signals for hunger. Add lemon to your water for flavor, to aid in digestion and cleanse your system. Other great options are green tea and unsweetened tea. Beer is fine and so is wine (in moderation).
No artificial sweeteners: Not only are they bad for you, like eating toxic waste (in my opinion) they cause your blood sugar to fluctuate just like sugar does. These spikes in blood-sugar cause you to feel hungry. If you avoid sugar and artificial sugar, you will feel satisfied. Trust me.
No processed foods. If it comes in a box or a bag it is probably processed. Examples are crackers, nutrition bars, rice crisps, pretzels, chips, pasta, gold fish, wheat thins, most breads, lunch meats, fake cheese, etc. Real food is perishable. Processed foods are filled with preservatives, chemicals and most of the main ingredients like enriched flours turn into sugar when it is digested. This crap food, as I call it, is toxic to your system, makes you feel hungry, unsatisfied, (can’t eat just one!), lethargic and is the most detrimental to a lean healthy body. (Even ORGANIC processed food is bad for you!)
NO FAST FOOD: I don’t care what kind of bullshit they feed you on the commercials, NO fast food is a good option. If you have to choose between paying a dollar for a burger or a dollar for an organic apple, chose the apple. A chicken wrap is crap. Subway is NOT fresh, it is actually highly processed meats filled with nitrates, veggies that are mass produced and grown with chemical fertilizers and sprayed with toxic pesticides, and breads made from dough that is made in a factory a long, long way away with an ingredient list longer and more toxic than the Ohio river.
All fast food is bad for you. It is not really food at all, and your body will treat it as such. On top of the fact that it is bad for your body, it is horrible for the environment. I could go on for hours about how horrible fast food is, but I think you get the picture…I’m anti-fast food.
What the hell can I eat then?
Fruit and vegetables, organic whenever possible. I pay for organic because I am investing in my future. I am willing to buy fresh, organic produce because I know I will live longer with less health complications because of it. In the end, it will cost me less.
Eat them raw throughout the day. Dip your veggies in humus or bean dip, not ranch dressing. Saute your veggies in olive oil and butter. Add salt and spices for flavor.
Eat a variety of colors. When you crave sweet, eat fruit. Eat as much as you want, there is not limit to how much you can eat. This should be the bulk of your intake.
Oil and Balsamic Vinegar: Huge organic salads loaded with veggies and some cheese should be topped with oil and vinegar based dressings seasoned to your liking. Balsamic vinegar is very flavorful and the best one for you. Avoid the creamy dressings.
Dairy: Raw is best. Most people are allergic to homogenized, pasteurized dairy (the milk at the store). I am able to purchase raw milk and use the cream to make butter and sauces. If you have to buy milk at the store you should buy organic and limit the amount you drink. The processing it goes through turns it from a whole live food into a product your body doesn’t deal with well. Cheeses are not as bad. Limit them though.
Beans: Beans are super foods. Buy organic whenever possible. They are very filling and a great source of healthy carbs, fiber and beans.
Meat AND Fish: Meat is good for you, but it is also not necessary. It is up to you whether you want to eat meat or not. Some of the leanest, meanest athletes are vegan or vegetarian. I think lean cuts of meat are over-rated. Fat is not bad for you, if you want to eat a fatty meat than eat it. I think that most of the issues supposedly caused by fatty meats are due to processed foods in combination with fatty meats. If you cut out processed foods, you can eat a fattier meat.
I personally buy local, grass-fed beef and meats whenever possible. Animals raised on a high-corn diet are not healthy animals. I also don’t support feedlot practices. This is a personal decision but I encourage you to do your research before making a decision.
Fish is high in protein and filled with Omega 3’s (the good fats that make you smart and your body function well). Do some research to find the the safest fish that is caught or raised in the most sustainable and healthful way. It’s challenging but once you find a good source you can stick with it.
Eggs: Farm fresh is best, organic is second best. If you can find a farm to supply your eggs you can buy them 4 dozen at a time if you want. They keep in the fridge for months. (Store bought eggs are months old by the time they get to you). Very high in protein and very portable (when hard-boiled) eggs are a wonderful for you, yokes and all. Eat them up. As long as you cut out the processed foods, you don’t need to worry about cholesterol in eggs. Real food is good for you.
NUTS: Nuts are a great source of protein and healthy fats, both which are very important and make you feel full. Raw almonds are ideal since you are not as likely to overeat them like you would smoked almonds.
Rices: Organic is best. Brown, black, wild, whatever. Rice is a whole food and if you really need carbs as bad as you think you do, rice is a decent way to get them.
Whole grains: If you are going to eat grains, eat them whole. When eaten whole they don’t cause the spike in blood sugar that processed grains like flour does. Most athletes are very efficient when it comes to utilizing food and don’t require this type of carbs unless preparing for a long distance race. Over-doing these types of carbs however, will result in excess fat, especially around the waist.
Real food is always good for you. Real food has not been processed, it is in its original state. Real food still has all the good stuff in it and hasn’t been stripped of the important stuff your body craves…or will learn to crave.
Once you stop eating sugar and processed foods for about a week, your body will stop craving it. It may be painful at first while you detox your body. It is also hard to break habits. If you are used to having a pop with your lunch, it will be hard to have water with veggies for lunch. If you always celebrate a long run with a giant chocolate chip cookie, eating four or five clementines may not feel like a celebration at first. But once your body is ‘off’ the crap food and fully fueled by real food, it will begin to crave real food and expect it.
When you start to see the muscles you have worked so hard to develop and you see the fat melt away, it will be easier. When you reap the benefits of a well-fueled body with faster times you’ll never go back.
As always, thanks for reading my blog. I look forward to hearing your response.
I didn’t run track in high school. I didn’t run cross country either. Until I was thirty-two, the farthest I had ever run was two city blocks, and that was only because the police were chasing me out the back door of a party.
For me, running happened by accident. After my first child was born I became a bit of a cardio junkie in an effort to lose the baby weight. When I became pregnant with my second child, I did the elliptical five days a week up until my due date. When he was born I resumed the elliptical with a passion.>
For my 32nd birthday my husband bought me an IPod Shuffle. I was so pissed! What the hell was I supposed to do with an IPod? I watched TV when I worked out. I was never one to have headphones on and listen to music…I just didn’t care about music.
So one day I showed up at the gym, dropped my kids in the gym’s daycare and headed for the cardio room. The kids were only allowed two hours at the daycare so I had to hurry to get my workout in and shower before my time was up. When I got to the cardio room, all the elliptical machines were being used. I waited and waited and no one got off the machines. UGH! I was upset, this was eating into my two hours!
So I looked at the track.
I figured I could go walk the track while I waited. I grabbed my IPod Shuffle and headed out at a brisk pace. The music really pumped me up, so much so, that I actually broke into a bit of a jog. I had never jogged before.
Amazed that I made it around the track one entire time without stopping, I decided I would run around as many times as I could without stopping until I couldn’t run any more. With music blaring in my ear I started running. I ran one lap, then two, then another…I felt like I was dying but at the same time I felt like I was the most awesome person in the gym, cause I was RUNNING!
I finally came to a stop after reaching five whole laps. I was euphoric. I was on top of the world. I looked around to see if anyone else saw just how fricking amazing I was. I mean, they were just walking, but not me…I ran.
I assumed I had run a couple of miles. I mean, it was five laps, maybe a lap is a mile, I didn’t know. I approached a little old lady walker to see if she had any idea how far a mile was on the track. She was really nice, probably honored to be talking to a runner, and explained that eleven and a half laps equal one mile.
WTF! Actually, I didn’t use that acronym, it wasn’t really around at the time but in my head I was saying the real words. How was it possible that I hadn’t even run a single mile!? I didn’t even make it one mile. I was so bummed. And then I decided to set a goal. One mile, non-stop.
I gathered up my will, cued up an especially inspirational song with a great beat and set out to run eleven and a half laps without stopping. I was a little smarter already, after my first five laps I had already learned the lesson of starting off too fast. With a much tamer pace I ran one lap then another keeping a focused look on my face and desire in my heart. As I entered the virgin area of lap six I tried not to let the unknown drag me down. By the time I was on lap eleven I was convincing myself that if I could do a mile, I could be president. I could literally do ANYTHING, if I could just run this mile.
The point marking eleven and a half miles was in my sight, I thought I would die before making it there. My legs were on fire and I could hardly breathe. I damn near pushed people out of the way so I wouldn’t need to waste any energy going around them. You could hear my sickly gasps for air all the way in the weight room…I was sure of it.
I did it. I made it eleven and a half laps, came to an abrupt stop nearly tripping an old man behind me, and held my hands up as if cutting the tape on a marathon. I did it. I was the BOMB! I simply could not wait to tell my husband, friends, and family (especially those on Facebook…poor thangs) just how awesome I was. I RAN A MILE!!
My life has been forever changed since that day I ran eleven and a half laps around the track at my local gym. Despite the fact I was unable to descend stairs without sitting on my butt for a full week after running my first mile, despite having to pee standing up like a boy because I could sit without assistance, despite the delayed onset of excruciating pain…I continued to run and still do to this day. It's been over six years. I've run every distance up to the marathon and evolved into a triathlete. Amazing how things can change so dramatically in one silly day.
That stupid IPod is to blame. Had it not been for my silly husband buying me a stupid gift that I would NEVER use, I probably never would have run on the track that day. My husband’s gift, gave me a gift that I am forever thankful for.
#running #triathlon #beginner #track #crosscountry #funny #Ipod #Race #elliptical
(‘B’ IS FOR BACK PAIN)
I’ve been dealing with some issues lately and thought I would share it with you all in hopes you will gain something from my experience. This post is for runners, or anyone who has had to deal with pain.
It’s so hard to appreciate something when you don’t realize you have it. Moving without pain is taken for granted by all of us I think.
Pain has the ability to suck the happiness out of your day like no other thing. It takes the joy out of your most favorite activities and makes the simplest tasks seem like unmanageable obstacles.
Running is my cocaine. It starts my day, processes my tasks, plans my schedule, heals my fears…it is a welcome friend I cannot live without. I enjoy running. When pain becomes the only thing I feel when I run, my world falls apart.
A HISTORY OF BACK ISSUES
I’ve been dealing with back issues my whole life. Only a few times has it interfered with my life, and even then pain medication made it tolerable. I’ve always maintained a back strengthening regimen and done core exercised to stave off back pain. But after a fall from my bike last spring dislocated my sacrum, I entered into a downward spiral that came to a head this January.
As usual, I tried to train through the pain. Some days were worse than others, when it got really bad I would take a couple Naproxen Sodium and hope for the best. But when I found myself walking in the half marathon I ran in March, I knew something was really wrong. I don’t walk during races.
A few chiropractic treatments got the pain back to tolerable and I went on with the summer, agreeing with myself that I would take it easy this year, no real races, just fun stuff like the Tough Mudder.
SLIPPING INTO A RUNNING HELL
As summer turned to fall, my running pace dipped slower and slower and my joy turned to drudgery. I began to dread my morning runs knowing they would be slow and painful. The pain turned to sciatica that made sitting and standing a miserable state while at the same time kept me up at night. My attitude was irritable with the constant nagging ache behind every answer to a question. I was miserable and miserable to be around; my family can verify this.
To add gas to the fire, I began to slowly gain weight. As a person who monitors her weight daily, and has maintained a steady weight my entire adult life except for during pregnancies, I was at a loss for an explanation. No amount of exercise or food restriction managed to bring my weight back to the happy place. I found myself reaching for weight loss supplements…something I don’t ever do. They didn’t help, my weight kept rising. I was up about eight pounds and feeling a complete loss of control…something I don’t deal with easily.
A DESPERATE MOVE
In desperation I limped into a local chiropractic office to see if they had any specials going. I had an initial exam and given a treatment plan. This time, for the first time ever, I committed to following the full plan. I purchased a 20 visit package so that I wouldn’t quit after I got a little better, I signed on for the full six weeks.
The first week was up and down. My sciatica pain was magically relieved but replaced by severe lower back pain. In the second week the lower back pain resolved but was replaced by severe neck pain. Then the sciatica came back. By week four, almost nothing hurt.
While all the treatments were going on, I kept running. I had initially asked the doctor if running, biking or swimming was aggravating the problem and he said, “Maybe, but I’m not going to ask you to stop. I don’t want you to stop.” This was the best thing the doctor could have said to me. If he had said something else, I may not have gone back.
LOGGING MY PROGRESS
Anyway, on the Monday after the first two treatments I actually felt like going for a tempo-run. And every Monday after that I went for another tempo-run to gauge my progress. Amazingly, by the second week I found myself wanting to do speed work more than once a week. By the fourth week I had shaved 1:41 per mile off my run four weeks prior. All the runs were on the same stretch of road, for six miles. Here is the average pace for the four weeks:
Week prior: 9:36
Week one: 9:06
Week two: 8:32
Week three: 8:12
Week four: 7:54
THE HEAVY WEIGHT LIFTED
My weight had not only returned to normal, I dropped an extra two pounds. How you say? Well, I had to think hard to figure out why but I think the answer will make sense when you hear it. There are a few things but the main reason is the fact that the pain went away. When your body is in pain it releases cortisol. Cortisol causes your body to gain weight, especially in the mid-section.
As babies, when we cry, whether it be because we are wet, colicky or hungry, the first thing we are offered is food. Over time, our brains relate food with comfort. This causes havoc in many people’s lives, especially when they suffer from a lot of sadness and stress. But it can also cause a person in constant pain to reach for food when nothing else seems to work. Since I suffered with a constant ache in my left leg I was mindlessly reaching for food to comfort me. It wasn’t until I decided to document my calorie intake that I realized what I was doing. Now that I am aware of it, I reach for a drink of water instead and remind myself what I am doing. When the pain is gone, the behavior stops.
That’s the other thing: the X-rays the doctor took revealed gastric issues. No amount of colon cleanses or fiber seemed to resolve the fullness I felt in my mid-section. I realized what I needed was to practice what I preach and drink more water. Water cleanses the body like no other thing. I made a conscious effort to drink about eight glasses of water throughout the day. My waist gradually returned to the hourglass shape I was used to.
TO BE CONTINUED
It the words of my chiropractor, as you unwind the spine all other issues will disappear. And he wasn’t just talking about back pain. When your spine is healthy, signals reach the brain, organs function better, your body moves forward with less effort, thought processes clear.
I’m entering my fifth week of therapy and am feeling better and more alive than ever. I’m excited about racing this year, I think it could be my best year ever. I will keep you posted on the outcome.
I'm also testing chiropractics on my son to see if it will help with bed wetting. After just three adjustments, he had his first dry night ever.
I should also mention that my chiropractor practices ABC chiropractics (Advanced Biostructural Correction)
#running #pain #chiropractics #weightloss #weightgain #bedwetting #backpain #sciatica #stress #cortisol #ABCchiropractics