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The Neck Rule

6 Feb

The sun does exist!

I tell ya, living in North Carolina for 4 years during the winter has made me forget what a real winter is. I think this is the FIRST time I’ve been legit sick. Something’s going around; co-workers are sick, Adam is sick, and everyone and their brother is feeling under the weather.

Fact:

It is believed that regular, consistent exercise can lead to substantial benefits in immune system health over the long-term (ACE fitness)

However, sometimes enough is enough and we get sick. For my co-workers and I, our main job is to exercise; whether it’s teaching a class, training a client, or sneaking in some “me” time, our job is provide exercise for our participants, regardless of how we’re feeling.

So..the question arises..

Should I (could I) exercise when I’m sick?

Every body is unique; one’s “cold” may be another’s “I’m on my death-bed”. When it comes to exercising when you’re feeling less-than stellar, experts use the “above the neck” rule to gauge whether or not it’s safe to be active, if it’s even worth it, and if you’d benefit from taking a rest day.

Above the neck symptoms include nasal congestion (the sniffles and sneezes), sore throats and teary eyes.

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If you have these symptoms, light to moderate intensity workouts can help drain head congestion; after 10 minutes of low-impact activity and you feel okay, it’s safe to increase the intensity gradually. Watch! Overdoing it with heavy, intense exercise may actually reduce your immune system function and prevent you from getting better! Exercising at max intensity with above the neck symptoms should NOT be a goal.

Below the neck symptoms involve fever, chest congestion, coughing, aching body and fatigue.

Chest stache

Had to. Adam do NOT get any ideas.

If you have these symptoms, it’s best to completely rest. ACSM states that a rest period of 2-4 weeks is adequate and a slow, monitored progression back into exercise is the best practice (maybe even a physician’s clearance too).

All in all, the best practice to exercising when you’re sick is to listen to your body! Stay hydrated, eat a well-balanced diet, and obtain adequate sleep will help you get back to your routine.

Super “Foods” Bowl

30 Jan

Happy Wellness Wednesday!

The Super Bowl is right around the corner; since my team isn’t in it, I’m really watching it because it’s a sport on TV, for the commercials, and the half-time show. Oh..and the food too.

Just because it’s a SUPER bowl, doesn’t mean you can SUPER size your eats! Here are some tips and a few recipes to enjoy while you’re watching the game..Mini Bowl style.

  • don’t go to a party hungry! we often think if we don’t eat beforehand, we can “save” some room and indulge when we get there. keep eating throughout the morning so you arrive to the party content rather than famished.
  • taste everything. a little dip, 1-2 wings, dixie-size cup of chili, sprinkle of cheese, veggies, and a dessert; because you didn’t come famished, allowing yourself a little taste of everything should satisfy you.

Sweet & Spicy Nuts:

  • 1 1/2 cup nuts (any!)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1T. butter
  • 1T. ground cinnamon
  • 1T. chili powder
  • salt to taste (optional)
  1. preheat oven to 350degrees. line a baking sheet with spray and bake nuts for ~10 minutes.
  2. heat 1/2 cup maple syrup in a saucepan, stirring constantly. bring to a low boil.
  3. remove from heat and add 1T. of butter, stir.
  4. add nuts. let cool.
  5. combine cinnamon and chili powder in a bowl.
  6. remove nuts from maple syrup mixture with a slotted spoon into the cinnamon mixture.
  7. spread coated nuts out on a baking sheet. store in an airtight container.
  • pre-game warm-up. exercise before the party! you won’t feel as guilty about indulging in the party foods if you move a little more. try this:

super_bowl_workout2(source)

Is your team in the Super Bowl? What are you fave eats for a Super Bowl party?

Tips for Running in the Cold

23 Jan

-2.

I’m not sure what temperature it is where you are, but in Michigan, apparently this is the norm. It’s.So.Cold. Blistering. Face-numbing. Hurts-to-inhale. Just plain cold. I guess that’s what I get for going to school in the south for 4 years-I forget what a REAL winter feels like!

I give those of you who are die-hard runners and are out there all year round; the mere thought of wearing that many layers makes me hit the infamous treadmill! I’m all for running in the cold and snow, but in negative temperatures? I’ll sit this one out.

Complaining over.

As in many facets of life, there are always ways to “cheat the system”. Here are tips to dress for success out in this mess (of temperatures?).

  1. Warmth in-Slush out. Socks that are made with Merino Wool allows for superior temperature regulation and moisture management while insulating your feet. Shoes that have the least amount of mesh will keep the slushy snow out.
  2. Dress for success. Gear-up like it’s 20 degrees warmer; layers of technical, wicking fabrics, with zippers at the neck and underarm area to vent air as you heat up. You should be slightly cool when you start. Keep this chart as a rule of thumb (source)

30 degrees: 2 tops (long-sleeve base layer and a vest keep your core warm) and 1 bottom (tights or fleece-lined athletic pants) Brooksie way outfit
10 to 20 degrees: 2 tops (add a jacket) and 2 bottoms (add wind-resistant pants0 to 10 degrees: 3 tops (swap a fleece shirt and another jacket) and 2 bottoms (whatever works at this point!)
Minus 10 to 0 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms, extra pair of mittens (base pair and a thicker, fleecy pair) and a neck warmer/scarf/face mask/arm sleevesStanding arm warmers pre race
Minus 20 degrees: your entire closet of workout gear 61854194853942928_SkN7fz85_b

  1. Stand out. Reflective, flourescent gear will ensure safety running in the mornings or early evenings. Even a headlamp or carrying a small flashlight will prevent snow trucks mistaking you for snow!
  2. Warm-up in the Warmth. Doing easy calisthenics (think-jumping jacks, high knees, running the stairs) inside will help you transition to the temperature outside; the cold doesn’t feel AS cold when your body is warm.
  3. Release your Inner Model and Change Quickly. Your core body temperature drops as soon as you stop running; change your clothes as soon as you can. *Women-take off that sports bra and wrap your hair in a towel. Everyone chug drink something hot!

Stay warm 🙂

You Want Me To Do HOW Many Burpees?!

16 Jan

True statement from a BLAST participant!

The BLAST program picked right back up last Monday and I finally got around to doing the workout. I’m a BIG believer in never putting a client/participant/friend through a workout that I’ve never done before, but the other trainer designed the workout so I knew it was doable.

We incorporated AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) last session and the participants actually liked it (gasp)! It was challenging enough for their respective fitness levels; they didn’t have to worry about staying on beat or keeping up with the others. And trust me, when they say they like something, we do our best to incorporate it differently ever session!

But..this session..they (AND ME) have to do 30 burpees! 30 BURPEES? HAVE YOU EVER DONE 30 BURPEES? Consecutively. Not 5 here, another exercise, 5 more, another exercise, and so-on.

One after the other after the other after the other..until you hit 30. That’s tough. Hard. But believe it or not, doable! Now I’m not saying no one can rest (quickly) then get right back to it, but it’s such a huge accomplishment when you reach 30!

So I challenge you..

30 burpees. Consecutively. In under 2 minutes.

Ready? Go!

Fitness at Home Series-1

15 Jan

I’m instructing a series at the Rec Center called Fitness at Home, where I’ll be talking, demonstrating, and explaining workouts that can be done right in the comforts of one’s own home! With everyone’s crazy-busy lives, it’s still super important to fit in physical activity. If you have an open space, 2 soup cans or water bottles, and a sturdy chair-you have a gym!

Benefits of exercising at home and tips to make it a little easier:

  1. It’s right there. No need to find a parking spot, get a locker, and wait for a piece of equipment.
  2. Rise and shine sweat! First thing in the morning, set your alarm clock for 30-45 minutes earlier and exercise. Not only does this clear your schedule for the rest of the day, but also, research has shown that exercising first thing jump-starts your metabolism, so you’re constantly burning calories throughout the day.
  3. Add variety to your workouts. There’s been a huge shift from in-the-gym workouts to any physical activity counts; walking, running, Tai Chi, tennis, ice skating, gardening, moving-all are forms of activity that can act as exercise.
  4. Set your clothes out the night before. There goes the excuse “it takes too long to get ready”-problem solved!
  5. Enlist the help from a friend, furry or not. Having someone or something holding you accountable is an excuse-proof way to exercise. You don’t want to let down a friend or partner and you surely don’t want to let down Rover or you’ll have quite a bit of a mess to clean up.
  6. Tune in. Workouts on demand offer tons of options with little to no equipment and at a very low-cost.
  7. Youtube. Type in workouts and thousands are available to you! Ranging from 3 minutes to a half an hour.
  8. Log your efforts. This not only keeps track of what you’re doing, exercise-wise, but also will help if you get stuck in a rut.
  9. Track your progress/regress! How are you clothes fitting? Is walking up the stairs becoming easier? Are you able to do jumping jacks and squats longer? And vice-versa.

Need a little help?

A Kitchen Maid workout:

PicMonkey CollageThe who, what, where, when, and why’s of creating an at home workout:

  1. How are you feeling today?
  2. What do you want to work on? Create a small goal that can be accomplished in ~45 minutes.
  3. What equipment is available to you?
  4. How much time do you have?

Your turn!

Fitness at Home Series-Equipment

15 Jan

If you’re following along the Fitness at Home series, here’s a list of inexpensive exercise equipment that is completely optional and will only add magnitude to your workouts.

equipment

  • Bench (not pictured). Jane Fonda style, very inexpensive and stackable. Price ranges from $45-$150.
  • Stability ball (clear). It doubles as a chair! This can be used in place of the bench; it requires more stability and core support. If you’re choosing between the two, I’d pick the stability ball.
  • Resistance bands/tubing. Another inexpensive way to get a strength workout in; tubing ranges from light to heavy and comes in circular tubes (as shown) and bands.
  • Mat (pink). These are just great for anything and everything! They vary in thickness, colors, and technology; some have antimicrobial additives! (#themat)
  • Dumbbells (the pyramid). These are a little pricey, mainly because you buy by the weight, but if you have a little extra “fit cash”, invest in some. Craigslist, gyms going out of business, and friendly neighbors are great resources to utilize!

A Workout Fit for a Dorm Room

11 Jan

I’m usually disciplined when it comes to early morning workouts; there’s rarely a time when I skip because I’m being lazy. Other than listening to my body or taking a rest day, morning workouts are a routine-thing. There’s only one circumstance when I make all the excuses in the world not to go to the gym..rain.

The sound of rain hitting the pavement, the sloshing-around from cars’ tires, and the mere thought of walking in it gives me the chills. Over dramatic? Probably. Hey, that’s me. But instead of foregoing my workout all together, I turned my frown upside-down and decided to do my planned workout right in my room!

I live on campus at Oakland, in one of the apartments, so I have my own room and a pretty legit space.

Small space gym

While pinning last night, I came across a workout from You+Me=Fit that combined my two fave things, strength and cardio! I adapted it to fit the space I was working with and here’s what it looked like:

PicMonkey CollageIf you live in an actual dorm room, switch the stair running for sprints down the hallway (you’re prob. the only crazy up!) or high knees if your building doesn’t have stairs. Good thing my roommate wasn’t home, I think I live in the squeakiest apartment known-to-man.

CI did a presentation yesterday for an Honors Society group about the Benefits of Exercising and Eating Healthy on Campus; if you’re interested, check it out!

Have a great weekend!