Thursday, December 3, 2009

October...now December, and 60F?




Welcome to weirdly warm winter weather. For those not following on Facebook, I wanted to let you know what SunnyDayFitness has been doing this fall. I have been trying a new workout location and training venue every other Saturday this fall -- Stadium Stairs at Harvard U. Banners in red along the top edge cite all of Harvard's Ivy League and National titles in football. The field is radiant green field turf with "CRIMSON" blazing in the end zones. It feels like the place should be protected and locked when not in use on game days, but it's always open.


It's quite a simple meet-up and workout, really. Just start walking (or running) up the stairs in each section 1-37. The stadium is rather old and the stairs are tall. Without too many breaks the stadium can be completed in about 40 minutes. But most first-timers are happy to get only half way around the horseshoe of sections before the trembling calves and quads start firing.

We went on Oct 10, 24, and Nov 7, 21. and now it's time for December 5th, Saturday, 11am. Join us if you can stomach the shift to colder weather! See the facebook page for more info


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Small meals and Your appetite

Appetite tells us when to eat, and when working well, how much to eat or when to stop. It works well when we eat natural, filling foods at a slow and measured pace. But it doesn't work so well when processed and calorie-dense foods rather than nutrient-dense foods take center stage. Given today's culture and conveniences, in just 10 minutes you could scarf down a variety of foods to satisfy hunger. For example, it's easy to feel full after eating two whole carrots (150 calories) or you could get a similar satisfaction from eating a jumbo-sized box of fries (1,150 calories). Either way, the appetite is satisfied but with a very different calorie and nutrient content.

Meal timing also plays into appetite. Eariler and frequent smaller meals are easier for the body to use as fuel during exercise. It makes sense for most people dieting to lose a weight to 25% of their daily calories in a larger breakfast. This controls appetite and reduces hunger throughout the day, resulting in lower overall calorie intake. Meals every 3-4 hours will also require more energy to digest than the traditional 3 meals per day format. There is also evidence from weight loss studies that suggests that people usually eat less overall when they eat often, so it's a win-win.
Finally, developing a healthy appetite using frequent, small meals should be easy and appetizing. Consider a few high-nutrient, very satisfying appetizers. This list of 5 foods have at least two high-satiety foods that can fill you up on healthy combinations. Eat one about 10 minutes before your next meal to fill up early, or have 2-3 as a meal combination for fullness. These recipes were recetnly published in Triathlete Magazine (See triathletemag.com article by M. Fitzgerald from May 2009).
These all come it at about 150 calories. Try a few!

Spinach & Avocado/Tomato Salad
1 cup Spinach + 1/4 cup Avo's and Tomat's
with 1 tsp olive oil dressing

Crackers & Low-Fat Cheese
4 whole wheat crackers + 1 oz. cheese

Lentil Soup
1 cup as prepared by Amy's Organics or homemade

Asparagus & Almonds
4 spears steamed + 1/8 Almond slivers and Parm Cheese

Baked Fries with Rosemary
1/2 cup of potato slices baked at 450F for 30 mins
with olive oil spray and rosemary and S&P before baking

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Falmouth, Cape Cod Weekend


Getting outdoors is great fun, especially with fit, fun friends. When friends Pauline and Ulandt asked if we -- my boyfriend Matthew and best friend Terry and I -- wanted to join them on Cape Cod, I asked "what should we bring?". Bikes, running shoes, googles and wetsuit, or all of the above!

Weekend activities on land and sea:
  • 1 mile ocean swim, sans wetsuit -- yes the water was cool but warm enough!
  • 1 hour paddle on a duet kayak into the bay near Green Pond
  • Coastal area bicycling with Matthew and even Terry too (yes!)
  • 7-mile run along inlets and bays with Ulandt and Matthew
  • another 1+mile ocean swim, this time with a wetsuit and with another triathlete guy
  • a final long ride 35+ miles bicycling back to Plymouth for the Commuter Rail
More about the weekend in a personal blog posting here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mid-day quick meal

It's all too common to rush through lunch. I used to do it while I was a scientific consultant; I still do it now as a trainer. Sometimes clients keep me too busy at the gym, and a quick 45 minutes at home is all I have to prep, eat, and dash back to the next client.
Summer is a prime time for veggie-based lunches. Today lunch was heavy on the zucchini and light on the bread. I used cottage cheese and deli turkey as my primary protein sources because that's just what I was in the mood for. The simple sandwich was about the same size as the bowl of microwave-steamed zukes/tomatoes/parsley/parm. In total this was about a 600 calorie lunch. Some of the chilled extra veggies later made a nice afternoon snack.
Posted by Picasa
Eating on the patio is a great way to enjoy healthy food in the summer!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Swimming is 300% more efficient for elites...why?



I've read a lot about swimming and referred my triathlete friends and training clients to writings and videos by Terry Laughlin, an excellent nationally-known swim coach. His program called Total Immersion has given me the most insights on how swimming can become more effiecient, less effort-full. The drills I've learned from his videos have helped me develop a better streamlined and more comfortable swim stroke and breathing pattern.

In short, I think Terry is great, and naturally, I was disappointed to not be in town for his visit to Cambridge/MIT last spring. He explained how recreational swimmers can try to bridge the gap between their inefficient strokes and wasted effort to swim more like the highly efficient elites: the Phelps and Coughlins of the world.
Thankfully, however, friends of mine at BeginnerTriathlete.com took a video of Terry's talk swimming efficiency talk (http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/cms/article-detail.asp?articleid=1792) at the Multisport World Expo. Several key points from his video:
  1. Comparing the performance efficiency of Land vs. Water athletes shows the propulsion vs. streamling differnce. Swimmers compare really poorly! Elites are 300% more efficient in their propulsion than recreational swimmers. No wonder Natalie Coughlin and Michael Phelps swim so much faster than me!
  2. By comparison, Land athletes (e.g. runners) have the propulsion efficiency difference of elites vs. recreational at only 20%. Runners don't get much faster by improving their aerodynamics, right? Running faster simply requires a bigger "fitness engine" -- muscles, lungs, aerobic capacity, etc. Take home lesson: in swimming, hydrodynamics are everything!
  3. Cooperate with the water, don't fight it. Practice easy and relaxed swimming. Legs should draft behind the body, not kick wide. The fuselage is your body and it must be steamlined. Fewer bubbles with clean entries and less fighting through the water is better. This is accomplished by rotating your body weight and pulling your body over the water rather than dragging it through the water.
  4. Synchronizing the hip twist and small opposite-foot kick is critical to good rotation and power. You can see a really good video demo of this by Terry on YouTube. Water is a dense medium -- 1,000x more dense than air -- so you can NOT just muscle through it. Swimmers must streamline their bodies from tip to toe. This will lead to efficient strokes, fewer strokes per lap, and easier swimming.
His talk is worth hearing (esp. part 2 which I linked to above, saving you the personal stories of high-school swimming that Terry shares in part 1. If you want to read more about stroke efficiency, tips for "Kaisen" (continuous improvement), and how swimming differs from running then click on those terms for additional articles by Terry at the BT.com website. All are excellent, recommended reading for swimmers!





Sunday, July 12, 2009

Connect to SunnyDayFitness via Facebook Fans


SunnyDayFitness.com is now on Facebook, and you can follow us there as a Fan of the SunnyDayFitness page.

Joining the Fan Page will provide: updates in your Facebook Inbox about upcoming special events, bootcamp trainings, and much more from your favorite social networking tool, Facebook.




Sunny's Top 5 Nutritional Tips


I check labels and make informed choices about what and when I eat. But nobody's perfect, and sometimes I slip up ... a lot. See my Saturday log and how bad it got? I used to log my diet daily, even hourly to see what my hunger triggers and relievers are. Now I think a little longer term and have come up with 5 tips for better nutrition.

Here are my top 5 tips to drop 5 pounds with fewer calories and minimal hunger:

  1. Drink water. 2 liters daily, at a minimum. Start with a tall glass 12oz before every meal and another glass with snacks. Add more water by drinking every 5-10 minutes while working out whether with cardio or with strength. Yes, you'll pee more but you'll also feel full more quickly and feel hunger less often.
  2. Get green. Rethink snacks and look for veggie options like cucumbers with s&p or mustard, leafy green salads, steamed broccoli with a sprtiz of lemon. These are not on the shelves at CVS or Shaw's so you'll need to use pre-pack your snacks. Invest in ziploc baggies which microwave easily and small plastic boxes that won't leak.
  3. Grains keep giving. Complex carbohydrates are slow burners that are perfect workout fuel. Whole grain bread and barley or whole grain couscous salads will leave you full for hours, especially if eaten with a tall glass of water. The darker, chewier, and less processed grains are best. Try cooking a new/old grain like quinoa today!
  4. Nix sugary snacks. Fruity yogurt, begone! Unless you add the blueberries yourself, you're getting more corn syrup and sugar than goodness from fruit-included yogurts. And check the labels on so-called diet or nutritional bars also. Rice and cane syurp are common additives that only add quick-burn sugar to your diet. Use sparingly if at all.
  5. Keep one treat. In all things, balance -- if you too strict, you'll likely really fall off the wagon quickly. Follow the above guidelines 90% of the time and indulge a little, daily with your free 10% of the time. If you allow for a little 100-200 calories "fudge" factor you can more easily keep the rest of your diet squeaky clean.
That's the recipe for contentment and success! I use this to drop 5 pounds almost every summer and usually within just a few weeks. It takes cooking and packing meals, plus snacks, and several large water bottles, but it's very doable. You don't need to write it all down, but it helps -- just keep it real and honest. It's that hard look in the mirror that makes us able to see what's real, and grow from it.

Drop me a note at sunny@sunnydayfitness.com if you want to know more about a nutritional lifestyle for weight loss or healthy weight maintenance. I look forward to hearing from you!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday: Food & Exercise log



I began with a good appetite from a 5-6 mile run from Stade Olympique back to the B&B. Starting with the residential Rue Rachel, which features a prominent bike lane, I ran west towards the southern route called Rue Prefontaine, perhaps after the famous runner (more likely a Quebequois politician). In any case, I ran down to the gay village's main drag called Rue St. Catherine. This road, filled with bars/discos/boutiques near the center part of the Latin Quarter, is rather industrial on its eastern edge. The only scenic section was the overpass going across a few RR tracks that while running into a head-wind offered full views of downtown. The bright sun and strong breeze motivated me to run faster down through the Quarter.

People on foot were not as plentiful at 10am as they were at 1am, but remarkably I was the only one running and one of the few not smoking. People smoke everywhere here, especially on the sidewalks. It was a little sad to see so much disregard for health, lungs, and a bright Saturday morning, but I was happy to return to the B&B with my non-smoking friends.


Looking for food after the run, I was pleased that it was pancake day at the B&B and my two palm-sized cakes were nicely crisped at the edges. Add to that some syrup, a banana, two berries, a cup of soymilk, a croissant with smooth, Skippy-style peanut butter (a Nutella-like indulgence), a cup of plain yogurt and about 3/4 cup of muselix with dried fruits and oats. Whoa, that's a lot of food! It was probably 600 cals total. I drank diet soda and ate a piece of dark chocolate (only 30 cals maybe) afterwards, and thought "I should get out of this sweet-feed habit." But no...I added some gummy peach hearts to the mix for another probably 80 cals, which were entirely unnecessary. Note To SELF: Eating to win isn't about careless excess, and the race I want to win is just 5 weeks away now.

So, I continued with a rather light mid-day meal (ham on wheat) and a 100 cal trail bar that tasted like fruity pebbles but claimed to be healthier. Evening meal in Ogunquit was a lobster stew with garlic bread, and lots of it. I should have gotten a salad! Then after the dinner we went for dessert and I had a wonderful, half slice of homemade carrot cake. I felt pretty good about all that except for the lack of greens. I only disappointed myself further by eating another 250 cals at 10pm in malted milk balls while driving back to Boston. Ugh. I have got to drop that late night sweet-eating habit! More on that in my next posting on nutrition...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Active Vacations



Time to travel means time to walk, jog, run, and bike around a new place. Whether in the country or in a city, Sunny is a big fan of seeing new places under her own power and not always from behind the glass casing of a car, bus, or plane. It simply makes sense to spend time and get exercise by heading outdoors.
video
And remember: Taking in local sights and scenes while getting a little extra calorie burn also has the added benefit of allowing for a little slice of apple pie cake at lunch or a few special bites of chocolate after dinner. Some start with a massive breakfast followed by a late, carbohydrate-laden lunch. For me, that just leads to a nap-crash in the afternoon. Instead, I prefer taking in local foods, as suggested in this poster: We sell LOCAL products HERE.

Drop me a note at web@sunnydayfitness.com to get started on a healthier lifestyle for weight loss or healthy weight maintenance at home and "on the road". I look forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

SunnyDayFitness - July Bootcamp

Exciting news! I am proud to announce that Bootcamp at Fresh Pond starts tomorrow with a few friends from my website and Facebook Page for SunnyDayFitness.com website fan page.

Here's a preview of the location where we'll be running

After a Warmup featuring dynamic, fun drills like "Monster Walks" and "Crazy Feet" we'll progress to what I call "The half-pond run". Participants will choose which direction to run -- Right (Red 1.6 miles) or Left (Blue 1.0 miles) for a longer or shorter warm-up jog/walk/run. Hopefully everyone will be up for the running, but we'll see!

Then we'll move into Drills and Games, like "soccer runs" and "capture the flag". Next comes P & P's -- code word for drill combos that people love to hate: Planks and Plyometrics. Then comes the triple threat for the arms - Pushups, Jumping Jacks, and Dips. Finally, we'll end with Stretches and a walk back to the cars or bikes where we start the rest of our day. All this in just one hour, once a week, and for only $10-12 per session. Sounds fun, doesn't it?

SunnyDayFitness can Revitalize your Life -- click here to see Sunny's card and contact her today with your questions.




Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Good press on Trainers after the Boston Marathon

"Mr. Gordon found that training, if done right, is the ultimate performance enhancer, with effects that can dwarf those of illegal drugs, like the blood-boosting drug EPO, as well as legal stimulants like caffeine. Still, it seems, too few amateur athletes take it seriously and fewer still do it right. Exercise physiologists and coaches say most people who want to run, swim, cycle or row faster or improve in almost any sport do not appreciate what can be accomplished with training nor how to do it."

It's true, folks. The average person stands to gain a lot of fitness by becoming moderately active. The amateur athlete can boost performance and success while racing by knowing when to go hard at training vs. when to take it easy.

As a trainer of several marathoners, many half-marathoners, and some very tenacious triathletes, I know how eager amateurs can be to "stick with the plan" and run through pain. But this isn't smart training. Instead, I can come in with a "big picture" perspective to say which training days really count, and which can be missed. I can also look at injuries in the making and head them off before the dull ache becomes a driving pain. Best of all, I can see how healthy training brings improved times and better races overall. This helps the athlete come back for more racing, more training, and more years of healthy competition!

Source: NY Times "Want to Go Faster? You Need a Trainer" article, 4/23/2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

Defying the laws of Aging with Exercise

"We all probably know of at least one senior citizen who seems to defy the laws of aging and remains in top physical shape well beyond their peers. We also tend to dismiss this person as genetically gifted or just unusual. However, research, and more and more seniors, are showing us that this doesn’t have to be the case. Many of the declines in fitness with age are due to lack of use, not just the normal aging process.

While it’s true that as we age we have to work harder than the young, a lot of the declines that we attribute to aging may be reversed with fitness training."

Above RaeLee Elder, 77, exercises wearing a T-shirt that expresses her positive outlook on life.

Over the past two years, Senior Journal.com has published the following among many headlines and research findings about benefits for senior fitness training:

Strength Training Is an Antidote to Muscle Loss In Elderly

Resistance or "strength" training has repeatedly been shown to be a safe and effective method of reversing sarcopenia, or muscle loss, in the elderly. The condition actually starts around age 45, when muscle mass begins to decline at a rate of about 1 percent per year. Scientists funded by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have been studying the factors involved in gradual muscle loss since 1988.

Boomers, Young Seniors Can Extend Life With Minimal Exercise

A new study gives people in their 50s and 60s another reason to get off the couch and be physically active — especially if they have conditions or habits that endanger their hearts, like diabetes, high blood pressure or smoking.

Elderly Women Should Worry More About Exercise Than Weight

Elderly women should worry more about exercising than about controlling their weight in order to prevent their physical decline, according to a study done at the University of Pittsburgh and recently published in Preventive Medicine.

Exercise also Improves Memory, Balance, Emotional State/Mood, Quality of Life, Bone Density, and even Skin Healing among Elderly. How many more reasons does one need to get active, stay active, especially in their retirement years. Time is on your side if you keep your body healthy and moving!

Source: http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/olderathletes/a/seniorfit.htm
Photo:
MARK CROSSE / THE FRESNO BEE
http://www.fresnobee.com/907/story/1274482.html

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday run

http://www.mapmyrun.com/route/us/UT/Park%20City/962123940149085260



Mile 1.5~ of this run had a fair amount of slush and snow on trails near the McKonin Family Farm. A little further ahead was a nice memorial on the bridge at St. Mary's Catholic Church. Across the Olympic Pkwy was a nice footpath around Temple Bar Shalom, which is shown in construction phase on satellite photo but is now a gorgeous modern house of worship.

I did this run entirely on a multi-use path miles 3-4 along a stream and near colorful desert brush plants which had gold, red, and purple colored stems. All this under blue/white/grey clouded skies and a soaring hawk overhead. Lovely! I only wish I'd taken pictures!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

MapMyRun.com - a favorite website

I think it's brilliant how this site works:  login, zoom in, click around the route you just ran, and then save it.  Tell it how long your run took and it tells you the miles per hour or minutes per mile that you just ran!  Who needs a garmin foot-pod and $200+ GPS system when you have this?!  

I use it for 
  1. sharing my favorite routes runs with others
  2. remembering where I've run when I travel
  3. checking my paces on long runs outdoors
  4. finding bathrooms or parks on other people's logged run routes
  5. adding cool maps to my blog  
Gym To Fresh Pond For 2 Loops in Cambridge, Mass

Monday, March 30, 2009

Metabolic Mayhem a.k.a. BURN




Are you interested in personal training but don't have the time or the money? the lilac-colored flyer asked.

After a recent workout at Harvard's Malkin Center, "A class of advanced circuits geared towards people that have just a small amount of time to be in the gym and want the most bang for their buck." They call it "Metabolic Mayhem"; at Healthworks, we call it BURN. I was surprised to see how, like BURN, they use:

* timed sets and intervals of rest
* mostly body weight exercises using some dumbbells
* dynamic warmup followed by interval circuits followed by static stretching

The kicker was that their group met at the same time each week (mid-day on a single weekday) and that participants pay in advance for all 6 classes, no refunds for missed classes. This is how bootcamps work at my gym, but not how BURN works.

The one advantage for clients is that having the same group time/day week after week means that progressions can be made for the group to build on past weeks' moves. By contrast, BURN sessions run at 14+ different time/day combinations each week, so there is almost never the same group twice. Trainers leading BURN sessions have to give the beginner to advanced adjustments on-the-fly based on participant skill. We also accommodate varying speeds of walkers/joggers/runners in each treadmill BURN session.


Seeing weekly group training schedules does make me appreciate just how consistent vs. chaotic scheduling can really influence a workout progression. How consistent are my client's workout routines? How can I make them more progressive while keeping them fresh with new or tweaked moves week after week? That is every trainer's challenge, and every group training instructor's challenge, too.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Journal article: Age-related Changes in Marathon and Half-Marathon Performances

I've often wondered just how much age slows down an athlete. Cycling and running may seem like "a young person's game" when aging world-class athletes and Olympians over 35 are written off as contenders for first place. However, competition for many age-group prizes (based on 5-year or 10-year age brackets) remains fierce as aging athletes compete against one another.

But how much do aging marathon and half-marathon runners really slow down? A group of German researchers quantified the "age effect" a few years ago in the International Journal of Sport Medicine. Their answer surprised me: age is not statistically significant at all for age groups in the 20-49 range, and in the 50-69 age range each passing decade correlated to only a 2-5% loss in speed. Just 30 seconds per mile or less for a 2-hr half-marathoner!



Such a small effect from age surprised me and reassured me that age isn't everything. In fact, it's very little. The ability to exercise and dedication to training is the key factor in the older athlete's success. As the researchers conclude their abstract: Lifestyle factors have considerably stronger influences on functional capacity than age is supported by these findings from physically active and fit elderly.

Reference: http://www.thieme-connect.de/ejournals/abstract/sportsmed/doi/10.1055/s-2006-924658

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring Mix in Cambridge Parks


The path to fitness often leads to parks and ponds. Where else can one run in a circle without feeling like a hamster? In Cambridge, Mass., we enjoy many urban parks for recreation. My favorites in North Cambridge are Corcoran Park, Danehy Track, and the Fresh Pond Reservation. The littlest park, Corcoran, has a nice, grassy soccer field, a kid's playset with hanging bars, and a garden surrounded by fencing that is the perfect height for leg stretches. It is usually my first stop on an outdoor run. It is perfect for dynamic warmups like "crab walking" on the soccer field, strength and balance challenges on the playset, and static stretching along the fence.

Continuing through the neighborhood I am faced with the choice of doing A. a speed workout on the cushioned surfaced of Danehy Track or B. a distance workout on the mostly paved loop around Fresh Pond. If I go to the track, I'll be in full sun atop a hill and running 400m circles around a field frequented by ultimate frisbee and soccer players. By contrast, if I go to Fresh Pond, I'll run in partial shade around the city's reservoir and likely have to dodge 20-30 dogs off-leash and their walkers taking the same loop for exercise. Sometimes the "dog factor" makes my decision easy -- there are days when you want distractions, and days when you don't.

Either way, Cambridge runners are lucky to have their pick of parks. There are many paths to fitness, and most take us outdoors. As spring approaches, consider how many good options there are to stretch, stride, and stroll outside the confines of the gym. Enjoy the fresh air, and Enjoy your workout!

Here's the Fresh Pond loop from my gym on mapmyrun.com
I'll use this for future outdoor bootcamp groups.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Exercise log while in Arizona

It was great to be outdoors, feeling healthy, fit, and alive in nature. Here are my short exercise notes from last week's adventures:

we - 1.5h hiked the ridge
th - 40 mins walked the loop, then another 40 mins biked down Indian Creek Road and back, 1.5h hiked the lake loop, 20 mins run the Lynx Lake loop to end/back after the 3/4 pt.
fr - 45 mins running up Indian Creek to Ponderosa Ridge Road, 1h hiked the waterfalls
sa - 1.5h walked the Granite Creek town park trail, 1.5h walked the Heritage Park Zoo site

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hiking Days

I love the outdoors and hiking off-trail. But as I sit and itch with welts on my legs from having traipsed through many hillsides of unknown plants, I question my love of hiking these desert hillsides. Our first excursion "through the brush" was up to a ridge above the Prescott National Forest. Later trips were around Lynx Lake and down to Indian Creek waterfall, a hidden gem off of a dirty beaten path. Every time we followed Moses, Matthew's Dad's, lead through some crazy bramble and on/off established paths.

Moses seemed to know his agenda more than he knew the trails. Every turn and step was a cue for potential improvisation. He seemed to favor the "direct" routes even when clearer and cleaner paths beckoned. Thankfully, I wore long pants on the first hike, which seemed to be the trickiest of the three hikes.

But that was before we discovered that half of the Lynx Lake hike was roped off due to bald eagle nesting area preservation. Did that stop Moses from cutting his own path, above the fenced off areas and through the brush? No, of course not. I worried that we would get caught trampling through protected vegetation, but thankfully, we did not get noticed. Instead, the vegetation clawed at and scratched up my legs. It itched and looked almost like a heat rash. I vowed to never go off on a "hike" in shorts again (but of course did the same thing the next day at the waterfall trail.) In any case, my legs will heal and I really did enjoy the hiking destinations. I took lots of photos and made some lovely memories with my sweet Matthew.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fasting Day goes Fast in Arizona

I have been fasting on Mondays in Lent, but due to a special lunch at my favorite Emma's Pizza place, I decided to delay my fast until Wednesday this week. Visiting Matthew's family Tues-Saturday in Arizona meant that my fast this week would be done a lot differently than my typical Mondays at the gym. Instead, I would be drinking diet soda in the car...

The family woke and fired up the tea kettle and the toaster for bagels and tea. I had only the tea. The family then went into town and attended a mid-week Communion Service at St. Paul's Anglican Church, where Matthew's dad serves as a Deacon. I felt no hunger at all during the service. I was quite satisfied to have the communion host and wine as my only sustenance when the lunch plan was announced: drive-thru Taco Bell for a picnic.

They noshed on seven-layer burritos and nachos while I sipped water and enjoyed the view, the sunshine, and the cool breeze. The weather here truly is *sweet* -- every day is 70F and every night falls to 35F with stars and bright sun lighting each in turn. The kids of the family really love scrambling around rocks, up through wild brush, and out to the rocky overlooks.

Later in the afternoon we went on a hike taking several miles and about 1.5 hrs. It was in the late-day sun and I worried that my fasted tummy would leave me light-headed. So I took along a recovery protein drink mixed into my water bottle, just in case. I did sip it all down and every last vanilla protein-enhanced drop tasted so sweet. Only 4 more hours until sundown and time to break the fast. But first we had to go to a park with the kids and wait out the afternoon...I got a little stir-crazy.


I probably should have waited until we returned home to the feasting table; I wasn't that hungry. But since we'd packed a few half-turkey, half-salami sandwiches and a half of a bannan to take around with us, I said a quick prayer while watching the sunlight fade at 7pm and took my first bite. The bannana practically melted in my mouth. And then the sandwiches. They were all chewy goodness, still partly chilled. I felt more grateful for the creamy tartness of cheddar cheese than ever before. It was perfect end to my fast. I enjoyed being alone in my thoughts, one with the sunset, and I thought, as ever, God is good.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A simple thought

The journey may be the destination, but sometimes we just want "to be there already". This is as true in fitness as in life.

Fresh Pond Bootcamp

After a recent 3-mile run in February, I was asked to lead a few friends through some strengthening circuits. The icy spots and snow piles next to the path limited my options somewhat -- no burpees in the grass, for example. Still, I quickly thought of a series of moves that worked. My friends who tried it on that icy day were "sore for days".

Now I wonder if people would pay $9 per class for bootcamp training like this. It would meet weekly, rain or shine, at Fresh Pond in the spring and summer months ahead. Maybe I'll try out the idea on the Mystic Marauders first, before swim season starts. Look for this in early April!

The moves are quite simple (lunges, squats, pushups, etc.) but the sets become quite hard. I have devised an evil scheme using a downward trend like so 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, etc.. and as the repetitions get fewer, the moves get harder. I'll report back here on how it goes.

Monday, March 9, 2009

BBC's report and quiz -- Big Fat Problem


http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/bigfatproblem/
This series features good info on meal planning, lifestyle changes, and a simple quiz that I got 10 of 11 possible. Which did I miss? Well, I thought that only 60% of people would think that they "active enough", but alas...I was Wrong. 80% of adults think they are fit and believe they do enough exercise for health benefit, though most people thought they were fitter than they actually were!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Going to NH to ski/sled tomorrow

I'm geared up and ready to get my winter hiking going tomorrow. I may need new wax for those old XC-skis, but hopefully they'll work OK anyway. The plan is to hike up 2 miles to the (AMC) Cardigan High Cabin with a few friends, carrying our own wood, water, food, and provisions for 1.5 days of snowy fun. I really hope it doesn't rain. Temperature trends are hard to predict at elevation, but I'm looking forward to some wilderness regardless.

Someone else is bringing a sled and I hope to play so hard that I'll need a heart rate monitor to log it all in my training log. This kind of thing is exactly what I train for -- playing hard when life allows a little outdoors time -- when I'm not training for triathlons, that is.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Harvard gym workout, pool closed

A really busy, good day although I didn't get the swim as I'd hoped and planned. Oh well. Lots of other good activity though and two training clients with some exercise demos as well. Also met some physician/psychologists who I may be receiving training referrals from very soon. Yay, more training business and for a very high-need, high-resources population!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Fresh Pond run and mini-bootcamp

So as you can see, I've gone back to logging workouts. It's a simple act, but a powerful discipline. I have logged triathlon training workouts for years. Seeing the build-up of hours and miles gives me confidence for most any race.

Fri, Feb 27 Run ~3.5 miles in 35 minutes. Also gave a Mini-boot camp in 10 minutes for two friends, immediately post-run. Drills included 2x10 pushups, 2x15 squats, 2x20 walking lunges, 2x20 side squats, 1x10 tricep dips. My running pal told me she was sore for days afterwards. Yay!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bay Area cycling buzz: Training champions

I used to live and ride in the San Francisco Bay Area. In fact, I would say that learning about cycling there almost 9 years ago made me the rider and athlete that I am today. Years have passed but my love of riding and training has only grown. Coaching athletes as a personal trainer gives me an even greater appreciation for the sport.

Charlie Livermore, cycling coach and EndurancePTC Founder wrote:
There's a cycling buzz in the Bay Area. The start of the Tour of California is just a couple of days away and all the emotions that sporting events of this magnitude create are flowing. Personally, I'm not sleeping so well these days. Through an Endurance sponsorship I've been coaching BMC Team rider Ian McKissick for the last three years and now he's at a level to ride for a top 10 overall place in the biggest race in America! Three years of the same testing, biomechanics, planning and training that Endurance members benefit from are in the bag and Ian is calm and ready to go. One of my favorite quotes really sums up what it takes to reach this point of opportunity:
"Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years that they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance is merely the demonstration of their championship character." - T. Alan Armstrong

When you are out there next weekend watching in amazement as these cyclists fly by on a climb or on the finishing circuits, take a moment to think and acknowledge the incredible amount of consistent, day after day, year after year, training that each rider has logged when no one was looking. It really puts the stakes into perspective and heightens the emotional buzz that comes with an event like the Tour of California.


I will be curious to see how lesser known riders like Ian Kissick stack up against the seasoned pros including George, Lance, Levi, David and Christian. Check the AMGEN Tour of California website for "riders to watch".

Monday, February 2, 2009

Today's training

I just returned from this easy 20+ mile ride. The roads were not too gutted and mostly dry. Best of all, the sun was shining so brightly I needed sunglasses!
MapMyRide.com | View Mass Ave Loop To Lexi - 21 Miles in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A new day, It's a new day

This blog is taking on a new life. I have finally found a voice to say what I think will be gratifying. I have an audience out there to connect with very soon.

I'll give you a few ideas to try on -- how do your body and mind connect during exercise, how does your self-concept get re-shaped while you change your physical shape -- plus a few facts about me that will give credence to the ideas that I suggest to you.

Stay tuned...the journey begins now.