You know what I’m thankful for? Race discount codes.
Anyway, it’s Thanksgiving, so you know that means: time to start thinking about Valentine’s Day.
The My Better Half Marathon is a fun new Valentine’s Day race in Seattle. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a race ambassador.
It’ll be at Seward Park in Seattle, which in case you aren’t aware, is one of the easier places to get to in Seattle for a race.
The idea is you can run the race with your “better half.” That could be your runner BFF, your significant other, or you can just run by yourself because Valentine’s Day is just a made-up Hallmark holiday anyway, amIright?
Here are the four categories: Bromance (two guy friends), Besties (two girl friends), Lovers (romantically involved) and Lonely Hearts (self-explanatory). There’s also a relay option, so you and your partner can split up the distance, then meet at the end for a delicious hot post-race meal.
And check out the race swag!
A half-zip jacket! Yep, not a shirt. And it’ll have gender-specific sizing.
Find a 3-foot-by-3-foot area of the floor that is clean.
Use rest periods to fish toys, balls or Legos out from underneath chairs, beds, treadmill, etc.
Practice patience as you lift 25-pound dumbbells over your head while your child repeatedly asks you if you can get their ball for them…AGAIN. Do not try to talk to your child as it will come out as a poltergeist-esque scream.
Pretend to not feel the dog biting your ponytail during push-ups.
Tell yourself that lifting weights with a billion and six distractions exercises your mind, too.
Go about your day feeling like a super hero.
Today’s workout was from Lose Weight Here. I did a traditional-style weight lifting workout. I used 25-pound dumbbells for shoulder presses, 25-pounders for dumbbell squats, 30-pound dumbbells for rows, and did bodyweight pushups with my feet elevated.
I have a Running Board on Pinterest where I hoard all the running tips, and there are a few pins that get “re-pinned” all. the. time. So I thought I’d do a roundup of those few pins because there must be a reason they keep getting pinned.
I guess everyone is injured and wants to get stronger while wearing Wonder Woman running accessories.
I have been trying to write a review of Lose Weight Here for weeks, but I don’t feel ready to review this book yet.
I read it. I did well following the advice for the first week and then something happened: Chloe. Since we got our puppy, Chloe, my schedule keeps changing. Just when I think I have it down, Chloe has to eat lunch at a new time. Or Chloe needs to go to the vet for her shots. Or Chloe has explosive diarrhea…all over my bedroom carpet.
So I never seem to be able to get in a workout groove. I’m constantly just trying to fit it in, and that is not sustainable. I’ve always done better at being consistent with my workouts if I consistently do them at a certain time. But I haven’t been able to find a certain time.
So I don’t feel like I’ve given this book a fair shot. Instead of a review, here are some of my thoughts on the book so far, plus what it is…
After I read Lose Weight Here, I thought, Why did I put off buying this book for so long?
I loved what the authors of The Metabolic Effect Diet had to say in that, their first, book. And I got results after following the philosophies in the ME book, so why did I wait so long?
First, I was thinking it might be the same information I’d read in The Metabolic Effect Diet. And some of it is, but there’s more. In my opinion, Lose Weight Here (LWH) is the next level of The Metabolic Effect Diet (ME).
Second, can I address the title? Because it really turned me off.
I feel like Jade and Keoni Teta are either really good at naming their books or really terrible. It depends on your camp. If you are looking at the titles from a health POV, then they are terrible. If you are looking at them from a marketing POV, then they’re geniuses.
I don’t like “fixes” or “weight loss plans” or “detoxes” or any of that stuff, so the title Lose Weight Here did not appeal to me.
Luckily, I already trust the authors. The Teta brothers are both natural doctors (they earned their degrees from the highly respected natural health institution, Bastyr University, which is right here in the Pacific Northwest).
But let’s get over the title of Lose Weight Here? Because the book is actually totally awesome.
Who is Lose Weight Here For?
Before I talk about my experience following LWH’s fat-loss ideas, I want to note that the book’s philosophy is not for everyone.
LWH is probably not for you if you are training for long-distance endurance events, such as half or full marathons, and Ironmans.
LWH probably is for you if you:
-have trouble getting motivated to work out at all,
-feel out of control with your eating habits/nutrition,
-are tired of doing workouts, but not seeing results, and/or
-want to build a leaner body.
And here’s a quick reminder that you don’t get anything you want in life without a little work. You get out what you put in, and that applies to your health and this book, too.
My Weight Loss Background
If you’ve been reading this blog for a few years, then you know I started working on being healthier in 2009 after gaining post-pregnancy weight and dealing with a back issue.
I did this by running because I wanted to “get in shape” and, ultimately, wanted to run a marathon. It worked…for a little while. I lost weight, but my body didn’t really change much. I just got to be a smaller-puffy version of the bigger-puffy one.
But I did become a better runner, and that’s mainly what I was after. It’s all about your goal. What is your goal? Mine was to run a marathon, which I did in 2011 (and again this fall). Mission(s) accomplished. Now, my goal is different.
Fat Loss and Weight Loss
After I ran my marathon in 2011, I started to get really annoyed with the fact that I would run and/or bike for hours and hours every week and would actually gain weight. I tried eating less and less. That didn’t work either and (now I know) that was really unhealthy and wrecked my metabolism.
A couple years later, I read The Metabolic Effect Diet (ME) and it. changed. everything. Suddenly, I understood why I had such a hard time losing weight: It wasn’t all about how much I was eating, it was also about what I was eating. It was also what I was doing: Eating less and exercising more was not the solution.
ME taught me that lifting weights (gaining muscle) was the key to fat loss for me. Oh, and I figured out it was fat loss I was after, not just weight loss. I didn’t know that muscle burns fat until I read ME.
I also learned that while no food is necessarily “bad” for me, different foods affect me in different ways. There is a fat and carb tipping point when it comes to my metabolism—too much carb and/or fat, and I gain weight. Too little, and I don’t feel well.
LWH is similar to ME in that it explains the science behind fat loss. You’ll learn about the metabolism and hormones. If you didn’t read ME, then definitely read this information in LWH. If you did read ME, you can probably skim or skip it in LWH. I read it because I felt I needed to brush up on the science.
The heart of LWH is two fat-loss philosophies that were introduced in ME, but that LWH takes to the next level: Eat Less, Exercise Less (ELEL) and Eat More, Exercise More (EMEM).
What you don’t want to do is Eat Less, Exercise More or Eat More, Exercise Less!
(Pro tip: Nutrition should always be your first priority when it comes to fat loss.)
I don’t want to give away too much because the authors went to school for a long time, and they worked hard writing this book, so they deserve to get paid for the information. But here’s a little taste:
For two weeks you Eat Less, Exercise Less. This is not a popular philosophy, but (spoiler alert), so far I have felt best during the ELEL weeks. My stomach got flatter and I lost weight.
Nutrition during ELEL is 3 meals: high protein and veggies for both breakfast and lunch, and for dinner it’s the same except you add some whole food carbs (such as sweet potatoes).
I thought I would have a hard time transitioning to only three meals a day (since I was eating like 6-8 times a day before), but since the meals are higher in protein and satisfying, I only struggled with craving habits (when you’re in the habit of doing something, such as eating junk when you get home from work…*ahem*). And that only lasted a couple days.
I found I was less hangry and mean during ELEL. I was less crunched for time, and I was able to get in all my workouts.
Working out on ELEL is easy. LWH suggests walking about an hour a day, and then two traditional weight lifting workouts (heavy weights; lots of rest between sets). That’s it. I adored this, but was excited by the end of the second week to get my sweat on in the Eat More, Exercise More weeks.
Nutrition during EMEM is not a whole lot different from nutrition during ELEL, except you eat one more meal–after your workout. Unfortunately, my EMEM phase fell during the same time we were going through some nutrition difficulties with puppy Chloe. I was stressing and snacking a lot more than I would like–I even made myself sick a couple of times. So, I don’t feel like I gave these weeks a fair try at all. I did not follow the nutrition advice.
Note: LWH gives you tips and advice on how to deal with cravings, and how to manage your HEC (Hunger, Energy, Cravings).
The walking workouts during EMEM are more time consuming. The authors want you to find up to two hours each day to walk if you can. I was able to get more walking in by doing bits here and there–15 minutes on the treadmill until I had to clean up puppy poop, 15 more while my son got ready for bed, etc. I just left the time up on my treadmill and then continued. But I was never able to get to two hours.
During EMEM, the authors also want you to do 3 days of 20-minute metabolic chain workouts (they give them to you), and 3 days of 20-minute rest-based interval training (for example, sprints with rest intervals). I love these types of workouts and enjoyed them very much. I wasn’t making nutrition a priority, though, so I gained weight. But I did lose an inch on my belly.
So, after 4 weeks, I’m in Week 1 of ELEL again. It hasn’t been going that well, honestly, because we are still in a state of craziness here at my house. But, if I’ve learned anything from the Tetas (and Jade’s wife Jill Coleman of JillFit), it’s that every meal is a brand new chance to eat well (and treat yourself well). So no guilt!
The other thing LWH prescribes is rest and relaxation. I did not get enough of that, for sure. But I was more aware of it, and got a few restful moments in here and there.
I really like what Lose Weight Here is about. Nutrition first, then strength and plenty of R&R. And also, I think my arms look pretty good.
Want to see/hear more about how I do using Lose Weight Here’s advice? Follow this blog, or follow me @momvsmarathon for more frequent (but shorter) updates on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get up whenever you wanted and run your race? You could run at 7 a.m. or noon or 7 p.m. if you wanted. You could run the race with your son or daughter. With your best friend or man’s best friend. No parking issues or speeding tickets. And no portable toilets!
That’s the beauty of a virtual race. Have you done one before? FitFam is a new company that wants to elevate the virtual race experience.
FitFam (the name is a combo of “fitness” and “[global] family”) will host virtual races, and organize everything. The events will feature swag, chances to win awards through photo contests and a way to connect with a community of other racers worldwide. They will also be helping benefit non-profit causes.
And it’s all done online. Now you can set the time for your race! (You could even run it on the treadmill if you’re into that sort of torture, I mean, thing.)
Why am I bringing this up? Because FitFam is launching today!
And I am also super excited to be a FitFam Ambassador. As an ambassador I am supporting FitFam’s mission to “empower people to live a more healthy and active lifestyle.” They want you to “Achieve your impossible.”
What seems impossible to you? A 5K? A marathon?! Figuring out what’s for dinner?! FitFam, me and 99 other ambassadors want to help you achieve it! (Although, don’t ask me about dinner because the answer is always tacos.)
If you don’t already, it’d be super awesome if you followed me on one (or all) of these social media places — Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and even Pinterest! (@momvsmarathon) — for, you know, FitFam fun and other stuff. I post about fitness and running, but I also post pictures of my puppy, so don’t follow me if you hate puppies.
Also definitely follow FitFam on Twitter (@fitfam_com), and Facebook and Instagram (@fitfamhq) to stay up-to-date on virtual races and more.
Isn’t it fun to say? FitFam. FitFam. FitFam.
Wait. Before you go…
You want to mark January 15 on your calendar. The FitFam Challenge will be the first of many virtual events to come. Registered participants will receive: a shirt, a finisher medal, their own bib number, and lots more. Visit http://fitfam.com to sign up!
I got a lot of things out of my second marathon, including feelings of accomplishment, a sense of pride and several free Luna bars. But there’s one thing I got that I could’ve done without.
And not of the roofing materials variety.
Okay, bear with me because I’m about to sound like Terry Bradshaw here, but if you’ve had the chickenpox, then you can get shingles. In fact, you can get shingles as much as anybody in the NFL.
Also, you don’t have to be in your 70s to get it. I’m 38.
My second marathon back in September was tough. Probably the most difficult race I’ve done to date. By comparison, my first marathon seems like a piece of gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free cake. Basically, it was a salad.
The marathon’s main event was a mental and physical fight during the second half of the race. There was anger. There was crying. There was begging for bananas.
It also took me a lot longer to run it than I thought it would. I was run-walking for over five hours with my only energy sources being one Clif Bar, a few hunks of the aforementioned banana and my rekindled hatred for running.
Running’s not all bad. It can be good for the immune system…in “moderate” doses. But extended physical stress, such as what happens during a marathon (and marathon training), can suppress immune function.
Other things that occur around long-distance races can have a negative effect on the immune system, too, including poor sleep and nutrition, and psychological stress. Check, check and check.
My shingles symptoms showed up about three weeks after the marathon. For a few days, I thought I just kept getting a piece of hair stuck inside the back of my shirt. After a week, I knew it had to be something else as it was getting worse. Yes, it took me a week. It itched, tingled and sometimes felt like something was biting me.
During one sleepless night before I was diagnosed, I lay there feeling the creepy crawlies on my back. In my delirious state, my imagination overtook my common sense and I thought, Am I a meth addict? Has someone been slipping me meth somehow?
Clearly, I have an overactive imagination, and should’ve stopped procrastinating and gone to the doctor sooner before I convinced myself that I somehow had become a meth addict without knowing it.
As it turned out, I made a check-up doctor appointment in August, and I was finally there last week sitting on the crinkly paper in my open-back gown, ready to ask about this weird itchy spot when the nurse came in and told me my doctor had left to deliver a baby. Ugh. Babies: Ruining schedules since forever.
So, I miraculously got a dermatologist appointment quickly. And that’s who diagnosed me. But since it’d been a month since all this had started, she said the virus is probably gone. The itching, however, goes on.
The good news is I had a very mild case of shingles in that I only have 5 or so bumps on my back. (If you Google shingles, you’ll see some horror-film worthy stuff.)
Now, I know what you are thinking. Isn’t there a shingles vaccine?
The answer is, Yes. But who thinks about getting a shingles vaccine in their 30s? Not me. But maybe you should. If you’ve had chickenpox, it wouldn’t be a bad idea.
This week, I decided to break free from the training plan life! Here’s why:
1. Running is not my job.
Did you know that nobody is paying me to run? It’s ridiculous. So why do I always put running first?
I used to justify making running a priority because I was afraid I’d put on all the weight I’d lost. But I’ve known for a couple years now that I don’t need to run a bunch of miles to stay fit. More likely, it’s about procrastination.
There’s this thing I do where I focus on things I don’t really need to focus on in order to not focus on the things I should be focusing on. Got that? I use running to run from the hard stuff.
I have other things I want to do in my life and they don’t necessarily involve running. So I need to step back from obsessing about training plans and pie-in-the-sky running goals for a while and make these other things a priority. Mmmm. Pie.
This doesn’t mean I get to live the sloth life. Short sprinting and weights sessions usually take less than 30 minutes (and are better for me…read on).
2. Slow running wasn’t fun.
Now that I’ve expelled the marathon bug from my system (which was a painful process, I should add), I only want to focus on things I love to do. MAF was a struggle. MAF running was slow, boring and my foot hurt after. Also I wanted to eat all the things.
I didn’t love it. And I think we all know by now that if you aren’t having fun, you won’t do it. And that’s what was happening to me.
I do, however, love to sprint. I love the feeling of pushing myself to the edge and then taking a nice relaxing break. Sprint intervals are the yin and yang of running.
Yesterday, I did one of my favorite interval workouts on the treadmill. I can’t remember where I got it, maybe from Metabolic Effect. If you’re looking for a good sprint workout, you should try this one. (The best part is it’s only 20 minutes!)
First, of course, warm up for 5-10 minutes. My pre-sprinting warm-up routine usually consists of 5 forward lunges on each leg, 5 backward lunges on each leg, 5 side lunges on each leg, 10 forward leg swings on each leg, 10 backward leg swings on each leg, and then I jog for 5ish minutes. I also sometimes throw in the walking knee pull. (Here’s a great warm-up from Lauren Fleshman.)
Okay, here’s the 20-minute sprint workout:
Sprint for 20 seconds, then walk slowly for till your heart rate slows, then sprint for 30 seconds, walk till your heart rate slows again, then sprint for 40 seconds, walk, then sprint for 60 seconds. Do that for as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes. Boom done. Love it.
I usually do this on the treadmill, but I think it would be even better outside.
Note: Make sure you are walking slowly between sprints and letting your heart rate come back to normal before you start sprinting again. This fast-slow thing is what makes it work. Read more about rest-based training here.
3. I want to build a lean body.
I’ve been working toward this for a while. I get close, and then I go and do something stupid like sign up for a marathon. Distance running and my body don’t get along. In fact, I think I might be allergic to it. I get super puffy. (Also, thinking about it, I think a marathon is almost as much of a mental challenge as a physical one. And I have enough mental challenges thankyouverymuch.)
Since I’ve stopped doing so much running, I’ve actually felt better physically…and mentally! I enjoy lifting weights, and I already know that it will help me get lean and strong.
If you’re interested in some great weights workouts, check out Jen Sinkler and Lift Weights Faster. (Sort of weights and cardio in one.) Here’s a sample LWF workout from Jen Sinkler.
Now that I’m free from “training,” I just get my daily workout in. This week I did the sprint intervals and a couple of quick 10-minute bodyweight workouts—one of them included pushups with a 15-pound puppy draping herself across my neck.
Oh yeah. We got a puppy. I’d put that down as number 4 on this list, but that’d be making excuses. EVERYONE has time for a workout. Even 10 minutes with a puppy biting your ear is better than nothing! And you won’t find that in a training plan.