Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Healthy Eating At Popular Restaurants

This is HUGE! I stumbled upon a great resource to identify the healthiest eating options at America’s most popular eating places.

If you’re like me and my family – always on the run, eating out more often than you should, etc. – you’d better bookmark this. The folks at http://www.sparkpeople.com/ have put together the “skinny” on healthy eating options at several popular national chains. There’s even a tool to look up nutrition information on all of the menus of all of the restaurants.

And believe it or not, there are nutritious options at Dunkin’ Donuts and Long John Silvers, so check it out at http://tinyurl.com/ld3co5. This is a really valuable resource if you’re paying close attention to the calorie intake!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Do Athletes Need Sleep?

If you’re like me, you lose some sleep as an athlete. Particularly, if you’re an early morning athlete.

There’s no doubt that rest is important to athletes and studies show in enhances performance.

Personally, I’m into the early morning workout routine. So, some days I will miss out on some sleep. Certainly, on the nights prior to an event, I miss out on some sleep as well. However, missing out on a little sleep isn’t going to affect your performance in an event.

Check out Christine Luff’s post on http://www.about.com/ at http://tinyurl.com/muhkol. It offers some great insight on how rest and and sleep is important to athletes.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Traveling No Problem For Training

As I write this post, one of my good training friends was going vacationing in San Diego (okay, I’m not jealous!). Before she left, she asked me about finding places to train as we’re both working toward the Hy-Vee Triathlon.

I told her this was a perfect opportunity to do some open-water training in the biggest “drink” in the world and I also told her to contact a bike rental outfit for some scenic biking. I informed her, “With a little pre-planning and contacts, you can have some awesome training outings.” Sure enough, when we went on a run prior to her trip, she told me she had made all the arrangements for swimming and biking. She was excited to find her hotel had a lap pool as well.

We’re all busy traveling this summer and sometimes all we have to do is “ask”. On a recent trip to Philadelphia, I called ahead to find that my hotel had a lap pool and a wonderful workout facility. And you can’t resist a run to the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art while listening to the theme from “Rocky” in your Ipod.

On various trips to St. Louis and Florida to visit relatives, I always find bike trails to travel that are new and different. You might try looking for running events when you travel as well. When I visit my sisters in Chicago, I find a race event nearly every weekend I’m in town. And when I visit Steamboat Springs this summer for my son’s Triple Crown World Series, I’m checking out bike rentals so I can “ride like Lance” through some mighty hills!

These are just a few ideas to spur your creativity to keep training up while you travel. Don’t make travel an excuse to miss workouts. Take travel as an opportunity to change your training scenery. I always find that a welcome distraction. Chances are you'll be visiting somewhere fun soon as we head into the summer tourism season!

Here’s an article from http://www.runnersworld.com/ that offers more tips on training and travel -- http://tinyurl.com/moeaez.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Technical Difficulties

Having trouble "copying and pasting" in the "blogger".

Will have to check into it after the Hy-Vee Triathlon this weekend. Definitely looking forward to finishing!

Monday, June 22, 2009

I am truly a “morning” workout person. My friends can’t believe how early I get up to train, but that’s my favorite time of the day and above all, that time belongs to ME! So, I choose to use it wisely.

A big positive behind morning workouts is that you get it out of the way in time to meet your other lifestyle obligations. Whether it’s children’s activities following work or major networking that may be required for your job, the early morning workout gets you on your way toward getting on with other important obligations.

Morning workouts keep your metabolism elevated for hours, keeping up your ability to burn calories up throughout the day.

Mental activity is greatly improved with morning exercise many studies have shown. This is a BIG advantage for me.

Finally, it’s just NOT that BIG of a deal. All it takes is waking up 30 to 60 minutes earlier to accomplish a solid day’s workout.

Sara Weis is one of my best “workout buddies” and she recently won The Des Moines Business Record’s "Fittest Exec" in the “Woman Under 50” category. Take it from her as she claims you “feel better” and can easily move on to other daily activities -- http://tinyurl.com/nbrqbo.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Keeping A Training Log

In the past, I’ve written about how keeping a training log can be very helpful toward measuring your progress.

Well, don’t just take it from me, check out this post from Nancy Howard at http://www.sparkpeople.com/ to learn more about the value of keeping your fitness activities on track -- http://tinyurl.com/lag328.

In addition to “logging the miles”, so to speak, I’ve also started logging what I eat each day. This really helps keep you accountable for what you consume. Again, I will never claim to be a nutrition expert, but most of us are educated enough to know what’s good and what’s bad, so make sure you’re keeping a log that measures whether you’re consuming “more good than bad”!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Here Are Some Great Workout Tunes

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for new “playlist” material for my Ipod.

Whenever I run across a list of songs that I think might be interesting, I always save it for when I’m updating tunes on my account. I just wish I had more time to update my account, but that’s a story for another day.

This list from Krazy Kit Kat at http://krazykitkat.blogspot.com/ has some great songs on it, so I thought I would share -- http://tinyurl.com/mhswzt. She also has some great workouts she regularly posts for you triathletes out there, so take some time to check out her blog.

There are some other playlist selections that I have, so I will occasionally try to share those here. Now go enjoy a workout with these great new songs!

I probably won't be posting for a few days - off to our annual sales meeting this week!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Two Famous Baseball Players You May Have Never Heard Of

Bryce Harper. Stephen Strasburg.

Ever heard of these guys? Not exactly household names like Albert Pujols or Derek Jeter, but give them time.

Unless you’re a true baseball aficionado, chances are you’ve never heard of these two stars. If you have boys who play baseball, ask them who they are. The likely answer you will get will be “Oh yeah, I saw that dude on SportsCenter or YouTube. He’s AWESOME!”

Bryce Harper is a high school baseball player in the Las Vegas area. He pitches, catches and he bats. And does he throw and bat! He’s been clocked at 96 miles per hour and he’s hit a 570-foot home run. Yes, I wrote 570 feet. It’s not a typo. Harper recently has made headlines by choosing to forgo high school, test for a GED and move on to junior college baseball. Sports Illustrated recently wrote that golf has Tiger Woods, basketball has LeBron James and now baseball has Bryce Harper. Check him out -- http://tinyurl.com/pp8z9n.

Stephen Strasburg was just selected first in the recent Major League Baseball draft by the Washington Nationals. This San Diego State Aztec pitcher has attracted scouts of like ants to a picnic with his 100-mile-plus pitches. He is reportedly seeking a six-year $50 million contract. Check Strasburg out at -- http://tinyurl.com/d5sbq3.

Chances are that we will be hearing MUCH more about these two baseball phenoms in the years to come.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Central Park Jogger A Motivating Force

Unfortunately, the public persona of Trisha Meili is something other than her own.

Otherwise known as the “Central Park Jogger” who was brutally attacked, raped and left for dead 20 years ago, Meili has worked tirelessly to strike her own personal identity.

Each June, she appears at the “Hope and Possibility Five-Miler” in Central Park. She didn’t return to the bright future that appeared to await her in investment banking prior to the attack. Instead, she continues to run and act as an advocate against violence.

It’s odd how we only seem to know Trisha Meili as the “Central Park Jogger”. However, it’s an inspirational effort to learn more about who she is and what she does in Runner’s World's recent article by Sarah Lorge Butler -- http://tinyurl.com/p9ptdb. This is a really motivating read!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Be Careful With Chidrens' Health

Check out this article from the Des Moines Register -- http://tinyurl.com/ld55d9.

It’s important parents consider protection for their children in the various sports they play. It’s no surprise the McAlister family would be featured in this article. Brenda and Dave are fabulous parents who take care of the details as they pertain to their children and sports. I coached their son, Jack, for four years in football.

Take a look at the article. I think it underscores a point that we all too often take for granted in keeping our children injury-free in their athletic endeavors.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dieting Tips From Bob Greene

Yes, there are many self-proclaimed “experts” who make a lot of noise about the best ways to diet and lose unwanted pounds.

I’m not going to count myself among those people, nor would I count Bob Greene among those individuals. I like to share knowledge about fitness and dieting strategies that have worked for me and leave the rest up to you. Bob Greene, on the other hand, is someone who has a strong reputation for helping many people get lighter and healthier. He is an “expert” whose opinion I value.

This post from http://www.thatsfit.com/ includes some of his strategies for eating healthier -- http://tinyurl.com/myy68m. Greene keys in on some key points about the weight loss process – do you have the will? Do you have the responsibility and the honesty?

Honesty is a key ingredient here. Any strategies you can use to keep yourself more accountable on the diet front will ultimately pay off. Try this idea – exchange e-mails with one of your training friends each day about what you consumed the previous day. Be as honest and as exact as possible. You’ll be amazed at how much more attention you will pay to your daily dietary intake!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ten Beginner Triathlon Tips

Rachel’s http://fitnessformommies.net/ blog ALWAYS offer helpful content toward training and fitness. As I prepare to run the Hy-Vee Triathlon later this month, I thought these tips she posted with the assistance of Mark Rouse who owns the Runners’ High ‘N Tri fitness store in suburban Chicago were great! Check it out at http://tinyurl.com/p42hhr.

As we head into the busy season for triathlon events, I thought this was a good planning checklist. There are so many things for which to prepare, particularly if you’re new to the sport. Tap into the expertise of those who have been there to make sure you’re on target as you head into tapering for your event.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Former Lineman Learn Value Of Healthy Lifestyles

Faced with the reality of little to no chance of a future in professional football, many former college football linemen are turning to healthy habits to shed the weight they no longer need.

Let’s face it – unless you’re getting paid millions of dollars to protect or hunt down quarterbacks and running backs, most former college lineman can afford to shed MANY unwanted pounds. Furthermore, leaving the physical routine that allowed you to maintain that weight and athleticism doesn’t bode well in a more sedentary lifestyle.

Read this story that appeared on http://www.si.com/ about former University of Oregon football linemen Jeff Kendall and Cole Linehan at http://tinyurl.com/qttwdr. This is an inspiring and educational story about the realization of why smart eating and fitness habits are important to an overall healthy lifestyle.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Yes - Clean Baseball Park Restrooms!

Okay, taking a little break here just to vent and offer some well-deserved kudos. If you’re a baseball parent, you probably get as frustrated as I do when the park restrooms are an absolute mess. However, when I visited the James Cownie Baseball Complex in southeast Des Moines last night, I was pleasantly surprised at how well these restrooms were kept up.

Having traveled the country to a variety of baseball and football tournaments, I have encountered my share of filthy – and clean -- restrooms.

I don’t understand why there can’t be a better job done of focusing on this issue. Think about it – if you have hundreds or thousands of players and families descending upon your community or facility for a tournament – just about all of them will visit the bathroom. Wouldn’t it make sense to make a great impression by cleaning up the “johns”? Think too that parents always want their children exposed to as few germs as possible.

It’s not easy work, but it’s “doable” work. The staff at the James Cownie Park in Des Moines has it right! Hopefully, others will follow this example.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Do You Have Will Power?

Many of you are seeing that first day of summer creeping up on the calendar and thinking about breaking out a bathing suit.

So, if you’re exercising to lose weight – GOOD for you! Are you dieting too? Might be a good idea. Common sense dictates that physical fitness combined with a healthy diet makes for that weight loss we all crave!

I’ve written about several training activities and healthy food alternatives, but do you have the will power to resist the foods that might be yummy, yet not healthy? There are some strategies you can use on this front.

Distraction is a key way to avoid those snacky, high-calorie food items. If someone breaks out a batch of cookies or donuts, perhaps you can engage in activities designed to keep you away from the “feedbag table”.

Exercise should provide inspiration to be healthier in your eating habits. I know I regularly resist high-fat, high-calories foods because I don’t want to counteract my fitness activities.

To me, results are the best resistance against temptation toward eating less healthy foods. Once you see the RESULTS of your efforts, you’re less likely to stray away from health. I thought this post from Ted Spiker at http://www.aarpmagazine.org/ offered some additional advice on avoiding food cravings -- http://tinyurl.com/688zr.

Good luck!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Refresh Your Use Of The Treadmill

If you’re lucky to have some great spring weather now, then you’re probably outdoors running and walking. Unfortunately, here in Iowa, we’ve had our share of wet and cool weather. In fact, I’ve been stuck running in the early morning rain numerous times this spring, including today!

So if that weather isn’t so great, maybe the treadmill is still a good workout alternative for now. Although boring, try some new twists to make it more appealing.

How about a pyramid? Go two to three minutes at a higher pace, with a one-minute recovery pace, then up it a few more times and come back down.

Many treadmills have workout programs, but we seldom use them. Give one a try for a new twist.

What about hills? You can do a pyramid workout at a slower pace with hills.

Here’s another idea – does your health club have a track? If so, I like to mix treadmill and track work. You can do sprints on the track while you recover on the treadmill or work hills on the treadmill with recovery intervals on the track. These types of workouts help when you need to get higher mileage indoors.

If you’re new to the treadmill, checkout this article from the American Institute for Cancer Research that was posted on http://www.sparkpeople.com/ -- http://tinyurl.com/5kutsn.