Posts filed under "exercise"

Studies have recently found that a healthy diet, exercising and not smoking are known to reduce the risk of cancer.  These findings are nothing new.  As stated in an earlier blog, only 31% of American's are physically active and I am talking about putting in 30 minutes a day of exercise (from walking to running).  For many years science has suggested eating a certain way to prevent cancer, high blood pressure and even heart disease but the truth is exercise can lower the risk for various diseases all at the same time.  

The following healthy habits to reducing your risk of cancer are listed below:
1) Being physically active: According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine getting at least 2.7 hours of exercise a week will improve your overall health.  That is only 30 minutes a day for 5 days.  Runners, you already have a great advantage if you are on a training schedule for your next event. 
2) Maintaining a healthy weight:  Getting a yearly physical and check with your doctor will help determine your ideal weight.  What's important to watch is your waist to hip ratio, listening to your doctor and making sure you are maintaining your weight in the healthiest way possible.
3) Eating a healthy diet:  Yes, those chips and cookies will have to go "bye-bye".  Eating more fruit and vegetables rich in color will help not only prevent various cancers but also help with high cholesterol and blood pressure.  
4) Keeping cholesterol under control: Again, talk to your doctor about your cholesterol levels.  Learn what is good cholesterol and what is bad. . .get educated and stick to your doctor's plan.  
5) Lowering blood pressure:  Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries and with high blood pressure, it is moving through your arteries higher than normal.  Many times, high blood pressure is silent, which means you may not feel the symptoms.  Get regular check up s with your doctor because this is a common health problem.  
6) Keeping blood sugar in check:  Checking your blood pressure helps you see how food, physical activity and medicine affect your blood sugar levels.  Your doctor can determine how often you need to check it and what your target blood sugar levels should be.  
7) Do not smoke.  I want to say more about this but just saying "Just DON'T SMOKE" is enough!  If I list reasons why "NOT to SMOKE" this blog entry would be WAY too long.

There are so many new studies out on how to prevent cancer. Scientists are getting closer and closer every day on fighting this deadly disease.  I am always reading about what needs to be done to prevent cancer since it has run in my family.  So, in the meantime, let's try and prevent future cases, get involved in a sport that you thoroughly enjoy doing and get your heart rate up 2-3 times a week to get you on the right track to a healthier you!

Motivational Monday

During the weekend and every weekend, I have the privilege to be a part of approximately 90 individual fitness lives each week. That's not a huge number compared to some of my colleagues but when you are a group fitness instructor and see the dedication of members that come to your classes week after week. . .its more than just being in front of people directing them on what to do. Once I realized that what I provide for them is a handful of motivation, I want to bring my best!

One of the reasons why I believe in fitness and running for everyone is the satisfaction you feel when you complete anything with your body you didn't think you could achieve. Visualizing yourself as a different person, a new person makes you want to run an extra mile, do an extra sit-up or just push yourself to the next level.

In the classes that I teach, I have a person of every age, physical ability and ethnicity. Some that walk through those doors would not be considered an athlete according to "society's" standards but MAN, forget about "society's" standards. If you enter the room, sweat and push yourself. . .you are an athlete. If you are thinking about taking a class, boot camp or join a running club, do not get hooked up on what others look like or be intimidated by the instructor. Even thou you are there for "you", everyone there wants to see you succeed in your fitness goal.

Look, obesity and living an unhealthy lifestyle is growing at CraZy rate! It is estimated, for the first time,  that our children will have a shorter life spam because of the non-activities in their lives.  When you walk through the malls or grocery stores, it's almost the norm to be over weight and it doesn't have to be that way. Physical fitness should not be a chore or something that is not fun to look forward to, it is part of your lifestyle. With my participants, they know that they have to work hard but it will be fun and rewarding at the end.

Let's fight obesity together and support each other to be in the best shape of our lives.  Happy  Monday!


Posted on March 11, 2013 and filed under "exercise", "fitness", "get into shape", "men", "motivational monday", "women".

Working with a stability ball is a great way to work your entire body and strengthen your core at the same time.  Here, I am working out the fitness expert Kate Deering of KateDFitness.  You can do this at your local gym or at home.  Either way, have fun...keep moving...and always challenge your body!

Posted on November 7, 2012 and filed under "core workout", "exercise", "fitness", "health", "stability ball".

for Runners

Running is one of the highest participating sports in the world and there's a good reason for that.  Running is the best way to improve your cardiovascular fitness and burn body fat in the shortest amount of time.  It's a simple and inexpensive sport to jump start and it's good for your overall health.  So, once you start to put one foot in front of the other, get some miles under your belt and then run your first event. . .then what? Yes, you become addicted!  Your entire mindset starts to change because you accomplished something that possibly weeks prior you thought it would be impossible.  Now what? What do you do next? How can you get stronger and faster and AHHHH. . .better?. . .the answer CROSS TRAINING!

Yes, running is the highest participating sport but it's the one sport with the highest number of injuries as well.  Yes, you improve your cardiovascular fitness and burn body fat faster but if you are looking to get lean, mean and become a machine, cross training will help burn body fat over a longer period of time.  So, once you are ready to go to the next level, where do you begin?  Well, lucky for you, you have options.

I would first suggest starting with a personal trainer. Why? A personal trainer can assess your basic fitness level and provide a strong base to start from.  Second, a personal trainer can introduce you to cross training exercises safely and effectively.  Many of us just hit the gym and wonder later why we are still getting injured?  Well, there is a proper way to hit the gym and a PT can show you how.  **Small Tip: A good personal trainer is there to set you up to workout on your own correctly.**  Third,  having that one-on-one contact is so beneficial in getting the results that work specifically for "you".

Next, there are group training classes like Body Pump, Cross Fit and "runner specific" Boot Camps that can get your body moving in ways that running can not.  Back in 2008 when I started to get involved with cross training, particularly Body Pump, I noticed a change in the way my body looked and how it reacted in my running events.  I noticed all of my times drop considerably from my 5K time to my 1/2 marathons.  I felt stronger and lasted longer during my events!

When you are running, the body works in what trainers call the medial or sagittal plane.  That means your legs and arms move from front to back to put your body in motion.  When you cross train you have the ability to exercise the body in the frontal plane (moving the body from side to side) and also the transverse plane (rotating the body using your upper and lower body).  When you move the body in these different planes you build muscle and exercise tendons that you normally do not use in running.  This allows your body to resist injury, build muscle to protect tendons/bones and gives you more power when you run.  If you watched any of the "behind the scenes" coverage of Olympic runners training regime,  they use weight lifting, TRX training and plyometrics to gain power.

This week, I will introduce you to various types of cross training for runners.  Just remember, if you are putting in a lot of miles during the week, there is no need to load on go heavy on your legs.  Keep it light and simple, just enough to maintain what you have and never hesitate to talk to your trainer on what will or will not work for you as a runner.  If you take a group fitness class, you should be directed by your instructor on what you should use and how much you should use when working out.  You can always ask questions before and/or after class on what is appropriate for you as a runner and NEVER stop asking!

Key note: While training for your next event, if you are running 3 to 5 times a week, cross train 2-3 times a week.  Spread the workouts a day apart (for proper recovery) and stretch every night before hitting the sack!

As always keep RUNNING and sprinkle a little "cross training" to add a little spice to your workout plan! 

Checking out their Running Form
Not all runners are created equal and the more you workout with your favorite running/workout partner the more this statement is true! Right? Well, after one day of working out with me, my husband called in a substitute.  SHE is about 5'3", nothing but legs and her shoe size is a bit larger than mine. . .OH! and by the way, she can RUN! Yep, he got his own daughter to take his place.  Whatever Mr. Man. . .bring it! LOL!

It's all good and I am very happy that we ran together because it inspired this blog entry today!  The one thing that my daughter and I have been working on is her form.  Younger runners, especially kids in middle school and high school run purely off of youth.  What do I mean by that? These kids work with what they've got until a coach comes along and fixes running mechanics.  They still don't have full control of how to use their bodies so as a coach, you can just send them out there and just let them go, have fun! There is plenty of time to correct technique, control their mileage and let them enjoy the sport of running.  But as we get older and set in our ways. . .we do what we want to do and when we get injured, we blame our age.  Yes, we make it complicated. 

When I fell in love with running I was in the 8th grade.  It was fun and at that time, we would just go out there and run until heads fell off!  Once I got to high school and my coach found out I was pretty fast, we had to work on my mechanics quickly.  My toes would turn in, my stride was WAY too long and my arms were EVERYWHERE! It took almost a year to correct all of that, but we got most of it under control and it worked because I started getting scholarship offers all over the country and decided on the University of MO where Coach Gatson perfected the form. . .just not my head! LOL!

How can your partner help you?
The one great thing about couples week, you have a partner who is painfully honest with you and that's the best coaching you can get!   Here are just a few things tips that you guys and gals can follow to help one another run better and fix little things that can make you faster too!

1st.  How do you know your form is off? If you run for a nice period of time and you tend to have the same pain in your back, neck, side of leg and sometimes even your foot. You are putting stress on one part of your body in order to maintain the form you currently have.

2nd. How can I correct my form? If you have access to a treadmill and a trainer/coach to watch your form, start there.  This is where your partner can help out (along with a trainer) and watch you run.  Run on a treadmill for about 5 minutes at a nice pace.  Have them watch your head, shoulders and hand placement.  Also, if you can have them watch you from the back and make sure that your chest is up, your body is straight and you are not leaning to the side in any way, you are good.

3rd.  What is a quick description of good form? First, just relax and shake it out. Second, relax your shoulders and keep them away from your ears.   That sounds a bit crazy but when you start to get tired your shoulders will rise up putting tension in your neck and upper back.  Third, take deep breaths in and out as you run; particularly in with your nose and out with your mouth.  This allows the air to be filtered and controlled while you run.  Last, make sure your hips are square and you are not leaning to the side, back or too forward.  Your knees should come up and below your hip line and again stay relaxed through your breathing.  If you are leaning to the side and your hips are not square, the first thing to go is your lower back and trust me, you don't want that.  The breathing will keep the oxygen flow consistent and your body relaxed as you run.  

If you check out the picture to your right, the runner on the right has the ideal form.  Her shoulders are relaxed, chest is up while her head and chin are naturally upright.  She is running incredibly fast but has maintained her posture to win this race.  The young lady on the side of her has broken her form but having her head down and cocked to the side.  Her shoulder that we can barely see is higher then the shoulder we CAN see because of her head.  I already know that she will not win this race.  The difference is slight between the two but it's there and it will effect their race.  

Keep these tips in mind, run happy and just have fun!

Congratulations to the Men's Swim Team and the 
Women's Gymnastics Team! We are so proud of you!

Posted on August 1, 2012 and filed under "couples", "exercise", "fitness", "form", "partner running", "running".

Running is my Therapy!
clearing your mind of the junk you carry
The best way to describe how running makes me feel is to tell you about my first real "break up" with a boy (this was umpteen million years ago, so I'm over it).  He was simply someone I should not have been hanging around with and after 3 years we got into the heated "boyfriend/girlfriend" fight over the phone. All I remember from that day was slamming the phone down and at that moment I was SO done. . .never to speak to him again! I took off running to my old high school track. Man, I was pissed to say the least but kept running! Two laps around, I started to organize my thoughts, calm myself down and somehow find a happy place. Running had just become my therapy without realizing it. So much so, when I got back home, I felt stronger and a little sore. . .I didn't realize I didn't put on my running shoes soon after that conversation! Young, stupid or just stupid. . .I claimed it.

Now that I am older, I do remember to put on my kicks before heading out for a therapy run and I also realize how lucky I am to have this "release" to keep me on track and sane.

According to ABC news, $55 billion is spent on therapy and this includes life coaching. Nearly 500,000 people in America are certified to practice therapy. You do the math and with what a lot of us are going through or have gone through with the "meatless" economy, I am sure therapy has become a part of many Americans' budget. Now I ask you, does it really help to lie on someone's couch and talk about your issues week after week OR would you rather find a way to deal with your problems head on and move forward?

Don't get me wrong, I have done extensive counselor training for a local and private organization. What  others have shared with me has it's rewards and pit falls.  But for each one of them,  one thing remains common with what I have told them,  GET OUT THERE and start to move! Talking to me can be helpful but the real therapy is already there in your feet (if you don't run then walk), help someone else to move and you not only inspire them you help yourself.

First, running can help you mentally. Usually if you have a lot on your mind that first 10 minutes of running can help "flush out any frustration or excitement" you may have.

Next, you start to find your pace and this helps you to "organize your thoughts". Once you find a  comfortable pace, you can start to think more rationally, level out your heart rate and just "think". It's like breathing in and out to sooth yourself.

Now you get to thinking, you can start "putting the pieces of your crazy puzzle together". Come up with "solutions and a plan to get things done". You know what your CraZy PuzZLe is-boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, kids, job or even your health. . .don't kid yourself.  Bring it to life and run it out.

Cruise control sets in and you are coming to a close, working to finish the run. You start to notice your environment, how you feel and you know "what your next steps are".

Not only have you finished a therapy session through running, you have completed a solid workout.

It doesn't matter if you are a casual runner or a serious marathoner. I believe that running is so much more than putting on the latest kicks and heading out. Running can truly be your friend. It's there to organize the way you think, move and react.

I have seen it time and time again. People who are usually not into fitness that much but then they decide to take up running, a fitness class or sport they become more organized with how they approach their life.  There is a better understanding of what they want and they start to streamline their goals. Why? Because now their "therapy"/ their "sport" has to be a part of their day. Their life starts to revolve around their therapy sessions.  Maybe that's why the number of runners out there are growing like wild fire! Americans are trying to save money on therapy and run it out! LOL!

I know, some of you need "REAL" therapy and I understand that. . .this is an alternative OR a nice addition to your sessions!

How Group Fitness can help Individual Running!
I have been running since the age of 13 and haven't looked back.  I love everything (just about everything) about running.  The challenge, the sound of my feet pounding the pavement and how it makes me feel when I am done. . .amazing (whether I win or lose).  When I started track and field in high school, I wasn't sure where it would take me but one thing I really enjoyed about track is the feeling of being a part of something.  Even though running can be a very individual sport, you can train with a group of people that may have different goals but want the same thing. . .success in their performance.  

After graduating from college, I soon got married, had a couple of kids and started my life.  I have to say, even though I had my family it got pretty lonely running on my own.  I would run with my baby jog-stroller listening to "ELMO" sing while my daughter enjoyed the ride.  I didn't have the same motivation I had when I was with my high school and college track buddies.  Fast forward 6 years and hello to group fitness! I was encouraged to start taking cycling classes at my company's gym.  It wasn't running but it was something a bit different. . .needless to say, I fell in LOVE with it! It added a little pizzazz to my daily workout routine and used muscles that I normally did not use. 

Why group exercise for runners?  Well, first, you are not alone.  You are immediately surrounded by other "individuals" with the same goal "to improve" or "live a healthier lifestyle".  Whether it's looks, weight loss or performance. . .you are doing it with people who are encouraging!

Group Fitness gives your body a break from running every day.  When you run, you use the same muscle groups and your body gets comfortable quickly.  hip flexors, hamstrings, calves, abdominal muscles for breathing and biceps.  What about all the other parts of the body that are not being used when running? Shoulders, obliques, IT band and triceps? Think about it, you don't rotate your body while running or move side to side. A lot of muscles are being neglected and this can cause injury when pushing the same muscles everyday, they need a break and a little strength training from time to time. 
One class that I highly recommend is Les Mills Body Pump.  I took this class one time 4 years ago and quickly got certified in it.  Why? The one thing  I was missing since I left college track was an organized strength training routine.  I had been doing it on my own but got bored and discouraged training alone.  I knew I wasn't hitting all the muscle groups and didn't like working out by myself.  I missed my team!  Les Mills Body Pump works your entire body with weights and at times, your own body weight.  You strength your core, arms, legs, chest and shoulders.  You can go light or heavy depending on your ability and training needs.  My running has improved drastically and at 41 years of age, I haven't lost a lot of ground.  In fact, I have improved my times from when I was 25 and road racing competitively.  

Some runners are afraid of weights and that is understandable.  But this is what is great about physical fitness,  start with a personal trainer, learn the proper way to lift weights and understand what you body can/can not do.  Then, you can add in group fitness (one's recommended by your personal trainer) and reap the benefits of working out with others.   It will prevent you from getting injured, you will definitely become a stronger runner and it can redefine your body in a way that you probably will not recognize yourself. . .seriously! 

Other group exercises that are beneficial are kick boxing and dance classes.  These classes will get your body to move from side to side and rotate, something running does not do.  This allows opposing muscles (muscles that assist major running muscles to move) to become stronger and realign your body.  

Outdoor & Indoor cycling classes such as free-style spinning or Les Mills RPM are also great ways to get you to the next level.  You can take the pressure off of your legs and feet but continue to increase your endurance and VO2 max with these classes.  Strengthening your hamstrings and quadriceps gives your legs more power when running.  I am telling you, once I incorporated group fitness into my training schedule, my running has been incredible!  

Everyone knows I am a runner at heart but when you are in a class with others that are trying to stay in shape, increase their performance or just look good you automatically have this HUGE support system that is addictive and effective! TRY IT!    

Other great group exercise classes:
Boot Camps


PICS from this weekend's IDEA CONFERENCE 2012!
Dance off this past Sunday at the Idea Conference was AMAZING! I am a little partial to BodyJam featuring our own Jericho McDuffie. This girl can really get you moving!

200 riders at the Les Mills RPM Indoor Cycling Event! SO much fun and great to connect with all my fellow instructors from the San Diego area! LMISD all the way!

CXWORX is the next big "thang" to get your body in-shape in 30 minutes! CXWORX is growing rapidly behind Les Mills Body Pump and can be "buddied" with other LMI programs to put a little "POP" into your cross training!
Check this class out at your local 24 Hour Fitness

TRX has bumped it up to a whole new level! Check out this great suspension trainer and how you can get an entire body workout! LOL! LOVE!

Instructors and Trainers came in HUGE numbers to all the great "group fitness" classes to learn the newest moves to add to their classes and gyms. This is a great way to increase your personal training numbers too! Keep learning!

I briefly met David Freeman about 8 months ago at a fitness photo shoot in L.A.  I had admired him from afar, as an athlete, through numerous fitness videos he would post on FACEBOOK and other social sites.  I loved his motivation, determination and focus to help others get in the best shape of their lives by not just talking about it but "doing it"!  David has been named "Personal Trainer of the Year" three years starting in 2009.  David is married to the beautiful 2008 Olympian, Mechelle Lewis Freeman and he has no plans of slowing down!  David knows exactly what his purpose is in life.  

Below is David's story via VIDEO.  I think this is a great stepping stone for young male athletes with big dreams and an infectious drive.  Watch the video, get motivated and keep moving! 
Thanks for starting "The Movement" and inspiring all of us to keep moving and live out our dreams!

...David Freeman

The Sun and You
Protecting your Skin while playing under the Sun

It's the time of the year again and the sun is out in FULL FORCE! While the temperatures are starting to settle into the mid 80s here in Diego and creeping into the 90s in other parts of the nation, we need to remember more than ever to keep our skin protected.  I don't care if your skin is as white as snow or as deep as dark chocolate (did you like that) you have to use sunscreen and make sure you spend a certain amount of time in the sun each day.

Skin cancer does not discriminate.  So, just because you are from an Asian or African American descent, you are actually at a higher risk of developing skin cancer.  Why? Just like in design school, I learned that darker colors absorb light faster than lighter colors.  The same holds true for our skin.  Since I have darker skin, I will absorb the sun much quicker than my friend who are much lighter in color.  You need to protect yourself.  Whatever skin you have been blessed with or born with, learn to love what you have not try to alter it with the sun or any other dangerous chemicals.  Melanoma accounts for up to 3% of all pediatric cancers and there are 44,250 cases of invasive melanoma in men and 32,000 in women that will be diagnosed in the US in 2012.  (stats from the American Cancer Society).

  Either way, too much sun can be dangerous and if you do not use sunscreen, it can definitely do more damage than good! According to a 2006 Runner's World Article titled "Overexposure", Peter O'Neill, M.D. states that if you run or exercise outside with your body exposed to the sun, your skin gets damaged and can increase your risk of skin cancer. But, check this out (I have to admit that I fall in this category), there was 2005 study reported that 85 percent of outdoor athletes didn't use sunscreen at all.  These are the same health nuts that carry everything else but the sunscreen!  It is amazing how we can lather it on our kids but we tend to forget ignore ourselves.  After yesterday's run, I don't think I will ignore my skin again!

There will be new FDA rules on sunscreen labeling that were set to take place this month and it would require companies to put on a label whether a sunscreen is "broad spectrum" and protects against UVA and UVB rays.  Those rules were delayed until December to give companies more time to comply with those standards (according to CBS health watch).
The following five products were rated as "very good" against UVA and "excellent" against UVB rays even after being dunked in water for 80 minutes! Check them out!
All Terrain Aqua Sport Lotion, SPF 40
Est. cost $4 per oz.

Banana Boat Clear Ultra Mist Sports Performance, SPF 30
Est. cost $1.63 per oz.

Coppertone Sport High Performance Ultra Sweat-Proof Spray, SPF 30
Est. cost $1.67 per oz.

Coppertone oil-free Foaming Spray, SPF 75+
Est. cost $1.67 per oz.

Eco, All Natural Sunscreen Body Lotion, SPF 30
Est. cost $4.72 per oz.

Get protection for your skin because this is all we have! 
Run Happy and Be Safe

Posted on June 21, 2012 and filed under "active", "exercise", "melanoma", "running", "skin cancer", "skin protection", "sun".