Calories In Vs. Calories Out? Not so fast!

December is here and, if you’re anything like me, you’ve been thinking (or trying to avoid it) about all the goals you didn’t meet and what you want to do better in the new year. I’ve talked about the problems with New Year’s resolutions before and I’ve made the same mistakes as everyone else. So for 2016 I have been doing my homework and making a plan.
What kind of plan? Well, I kind of want to compete again if the stars align. I wasn’t lean or built enough in May. My placings were disappointing and I felt overall miserable about the whole experience. Since then I have dropped the coaches I was working with and started putting in the time and effort to learn enough to be my own coach. Obviously, being a certified personal trainer, I can put together an exercise plan but I knew I had to go deeper. I need to understand how my diet, my lifting, my cardio, and even my sleep patterns affect everything down to a hormonal and cellular level.

I read every study I could get my hands on. I talked to competitors I admired and those that I didn’t want to emulate. I took their advice back to the books and tried to figure out the why behind how it worked (or didn’t). After learning so much (and still having so much more to go) I decided to share some of what I’ve found to help my fellow athletes and those who just want to look or feel better in the new year. If you’re ready to throw out everything you’ve ever believed about losing weight then keep reading.

Every diet (I hate that word) starts with counting calories. As long as you eat less than you burn you’ll lose weight, right? WRONG! Studies show that people who restrict their energy (calorie) intake long term will basically adjust to the new ‘normal’. Hormones like leptin, insulin, testosterone, and T3 (a thyroid hormone) will all decrease. The ‘bad’ hormones, ghrelin and cortisol, which encourage fat storage, will increase. Over time you have to eat less and less to continue losing weight until your body is in a chronic state of starvation and you can no longer maintain your ‘diet’. You will inevitably overeat at some point and gain weight quickly because your metabolism is in the toilet.

This is where calorie cycling and refeeding come into play. Periodic refeeding (having that cheat meal or dessert) can increase the hormones that encourage fat loss temporarily. Taking this a step further, refeeds should happen on a day that you lift weights. Why? Because then your body uses those extra calories to preserve muscle (or even build a little bit more) instead of storing them as fat. Keeping your caloric intake on rest days lower than on training days will further balance out the refeeds and keep fat loss steady.

This still doesn’t mean you can starve yourself the rest of the time. A weekly loss of no more than 0.7% of your weight is ideal. So, at 140 pounds, this would be 1 pound a week. As you get smaller, the amount you can safely lose without sacrificing lean mass (muscle) will also shrink. This is why a long, slow ‘cut’ is much better than a crash diet. I made this mistake (well, my coaches did) during my competition prep. I lost 12.5 pounds in 25 days going into my show and I was tired, weak, and mean. It took months for me to regain the strength I lost and find my motivation again. And I still didn’t look as good as the other girls on that stage. So, overall, I gained nothing from the deprivation and misery.

Any bodybuilder or powerlifter will tell you that decreasing your weight will also decrease your performance. One way to fight back against this is to consume most of your carbs each day around your workout. Carbohydrates are turned into glycogen and used for energy during exercise. When your carbs run out so does your motivation, strength, and performance. Make sure your body is supplied with enough energy to get through each workout and don’t do cardio before weights. Studies have shown that cardio, especially HIIT (high intensity interval training), will leave your muscles too fatigued for resistance training.

The summary of all of my research basically comes down to what you likely already knew. Losing fat is a long, slow process. Eat enough, but not too much, and exercise often. If you were looking for the shortcut to your dream body I’m sorry to tell you that there is no legal method that will get you there any faster than good old-fashioned hard work and commitment. So get to planning ahead for your 2016 goals and, by 2017, you’ll probably be shopping for a new wardrobe.

>> By the way, let’s check blog of my friend, a single mom. The blog has many reviews about baby car seat and jogging stroller for workout

Controversy in a Bikini

I’ve gotten some pretty hateful comments and some very wrong assumptions about what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. So I thought I’d try a vlog and put some truth out there! I hope you enjoy. Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel, Brazen Training, if you like this.

Nutrition for Athletes

Yesterday I had an amazing opportunity! I got to speak at a UPMC Sports Medicine Marathon seminar for the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon. The other presenters included Leslie Bonci and Dave Spell. Leslie is the director of Sports Nutrition at the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine and she also consults with Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, and the Pittsburgh Ballet. Given her amazing credentials and fun personality I paid strict attention to her presentation so I could share the wealth with all of you!

Leslie brought lots of foods for everyone to see
Of course, the first thing every marathon runner or endurance athlete is concerned with is hydration! Leslie explained that the newest research shows 70 ounces of water per day is the baseline for women. Men need 90 ounces minimum. What I found most interesting is that everything you drink (that isn’t alcohol) counts towards your baseline! That doesn’t mean you can just drink Pepsi or apple juice all day and be okay but even soups and foods high in water content can count towards that minimum intake. Just be sure you add enough water or sports drink to make up for your exercise habits too!
And what about that morning coffee? Or your afternoon energy drink? Maybe you take caffeinated gels prior to or during a run. The maximum amount of caffeine you should ingest per day is only 400mg! Leslie showed us a couple popular products, like Red Bull and 5 Hour Energy shots, and demonstrated just how quickly caffeine adds up. So be sure you’re not hurting your body or performance by overdosing on caffeine every day!
Athletes also tend to be concerned about macro nutrients and how to balance their protein, carbohydrate, and fat intake for optimal performance. I learned that it’s very personal and usually requires a consult to figure out percentages but there are guidelines that can help. Protein should consist of 0.5-0.8 grams per pound of body weight and be spread evenly throughout the day. Eating an eight egg omelet in the morning and little protein after is not optimal and will lead to muscle loss. So spread it out in little bits through each meal! Carbohydrate intake needs are around 3g per pound of body weight. Leslie also mentioned that fat intake should never be less than 20% of your diet. So no more counting every little bit as long as you hit your minimums!
Leslie also talked a little bit about the hottest trends in the diet industry lately. Gluten free anyone? You will have lower amounts of prebiotics in your digestive tract and it will be hard to hit your fiber intake minimums. Considering 70% of your immune system lives in your digestive tract this is a BIG deal. Try adding Chia seeds for fiber and Omega 3 fatty acids (keep them in the freezer to keep them from spoiling). Eating yogurt with live active cultures or kefir can help too. If you don’t want to eat dairy then try taking a daily supplement.
How about coconut oil? Well it’s primarily a saturated fat (read, not so great) and it does NOT help you shed body fat or lower your risk of disease. Instead use olive oil and save the coconut for your skin and hair care! Walnuts will replace that unhealthy fat too. A golf ball size serving is the way to go.
Running and other sports result in lots of aches, pains, and inflammation. Instead of popping an NSAID or pain killer you can try tart cherry juice for a natural anti-inflammatory. Drink 8 ounces of juice or a serving of the concentrate after your next run. Ginger can minimize delayed onset muscle soreness (500mg is about right). Turmeric is a tasty spice that also works as an anti-inflammatory and may help prevent Alzheimer’s. Try putting 2/5 of a teaspoon in your next dish. Dried plums contain Boron which is necessary for bone health. Eating just 3-4 per day will keep you topped off and also contains those helpful prebiotics!
Finally, who doesn’t want to improve their performance? Dietary nitrates can decrease the oxygen expense of an activity. This means you use less oxygen to create the energy to power your workout and tire less quickly. Bodybuilders use supplements like NOXplode but dietary nitrates can be found in some common foods. A spinach and/or arugula salad, for example. Other choices include celery (about two stalks) and beets. And lastly, replace the iron lost with every foot strike using black strap molasses. Just adding a TBSP to your oatmeal or in place of honey in homemade energy bars will do the trick.
So I hope that helps with your nutrition questions! Please feel free to click the link to contact Leslie or follow her on Twitter @LeslieBonci. And look for the next UPMC Sports Medicine seminar coming soon!

Bits & Pieces

The past week has been CRAZY! But in a really, REALLY good way. I have so many things going on that I am excited about and that motivate me to keep moving forward.

Obviously the biggest change has been having a job that is FUN. I spent 4 evenings hanging out at different DICK’S Sporting Goods locations meeting runners and talking gear, training, nutrition, etc. Life really doesn’t get much better than that! You can find me January 17 & 18th at the McCandless DSG from 10-2 or so.

This week’s events included our replica bridge, catering from Bistro on the Go, the DICK’S Pittsburgh Marathon’s Registered Dietitian on site, 20% off your entire purchase at DSG, and a raffle for a free hotel the night before the marathon. I haven’t been clued in on what we’ll be offering at the next events but I’m sure you don’t want to miss it!

Our table and bridge replica
Bistro on the Go catering
The other major priority in my life has been training. I’m hitting the gym every day, snow or ice or sub-zero temperatures. I finally got into the BodPod again (last time was in September 2011) and got some great results. I’ve lost almost 3 pounds of fat and gained 5.5 pounds of muscle. I imagine I started this program pretty close to where I was in 2011 (22.8% body fat) because I was still neglecting resistance training and eating whatever I wanted. So for 8 weeks of actually watching my nutrition and exercise these results are fantastic!
I’ve been getting a ton of questions about my nutrition. I’ll admit that I’m being VERY restrictive to the average person. I honestly enjoy the challenge and the results speak for themselves. But here’s a peek at what some meals look like for me:
Tilapia, sweet potato, and asparagus
Chicken breast, sweet potato, and mixed veggies (and water, of course!)
I use a lot of different seasonings and try different recipes often to prevent boredom. But I still do not drink anything but water and protein shakes or Shakeology (I still have a coffee with Stevia in the morning). I don’t eat much red meat. I don’t eat white or processed carbs (no bread, no white rice, no white potatoes, etc). I only get a small amount of starchy carbs (like sweet potato and corn). I get 4-6 oz of lean protein per meal (chicken, fish, whey powder, etc) and unlimited veggies. It’s not always easy to pass up chocolate, cake or brownies, bread sticks, or pasta but the results are absolutely worth it and I feel amazing. Just for the energy and mental clarity I’ve gained I would recommend trying to eat 85-90% clean for a month. I bet you’ll stick with it.
Finally, the rest of my time is spent studying for my ACSM Certified Personal Trainer exam. I love my gym and the employees there and I am hoping to be one of them come February. I was super excited to be at the top of the ‘Frequent Flyers’ board for the first week of the year and have now made it my goal to be #1 for the month. Going to a gym where the members and staff are all excited and happy every day makes a HUGE difference in my motivation.
Tied for #1!
I hope the first part of 2015 has been great for you. Please feel free to let me know if you have any specific questions about my plan or things you would like me to cover in future blogs. I’m hoping to start a few recurring items each week that will help everyone get on track (and stay there!) for the new year.

Being the Odd (Wo)Man Out

I had a not-so-fun medical experience today. After the last one, I really wasn’t thrilled to be headed into a hospital again. This time it was for a biopsy and everyone reassured me that it would be quick and easy. I’m pretty sure that’s what I was told in October too!

But what really got to me is that the radiology tech, the nurse, and the doctor who were doing my procedure were all blown away by me. Well, not me per se but my physiology. I’m not overweight, my heart rate, blood pressure, and O2 saturation were all better than good. As I laid on the table and listened to them I realized that medical professionals NEVER see healthy, fit people. It’s a rarity, a special treat. And they don’t know how to handle it.

The nurse had to turn the alarms off on my monitor because my heart rate of 48 beats per minute was setting them off. My blood pressure of 96/68 was giving some periodic beeps as well. When the doctor pulled out a 5″ needle my heart rate shot up… all the way to 60. The doctor double checked with the ultrasound tech that she was well away from my ribs because “she’s so thin”. The doctor didn’t know how to approach a patient without inches and inches of extra padding!

I learned that the county where I had my procedure is one of the top ones in Pennsylvania for obesity. Over 50% of the population is obese, not just overweight, according to the hospital staff. I was told horror stories of patients who couldn’t fit on regular beds, the needle wasn’t long enough, or had bleeding issues because of all the medications they have to take on a daily basis for all their obesity-related illnesses.

Is this really the world we want to live in? To leave to our children? When will we put down the video games and pizzas and look outside our own front doors? I left the hospital feeling saddened. Not for myself but for all the people who don’t know the joy of sprinting up a flight of stairs without getting winded. They don’t know what it’s like to ride a bike around a lake or hike through the woods. They can’t go out dancing or even walk through a museum without having to sit down.

I want to help everyone even though I know I can’t save them all. Today’s experience just helped me recommit to the WHY behind why I am taking my personal training exam and becoming a coach. I’m going to let the tender spot just under my ribs be a reminder on why I need to study hard over the next few weeks. I’ve got lives to change and kids to save and souls to nurture. And I can’t wait to get started!

A Small Reveal

I alluded to a complete change of lifestyle in my last post. It drew a lot of interest and some questions so I contemplated doing a ‘halfway’ reveal. That would be next weekend but I still am not sure I’m ready to open myself up for input, criticism, or commentary from the general public yet. Sean and a couple of my closest friends have seen and supported me through the last 5 weeks. It’s not always easy to be patient and trust the process. I want instant results just like everybody else. So instead of completely unveiling my new plan and body I thought I’d share the overview and a sneak peek instead.

The easiest way to explain what I’ve been doing is to say it’s a balance between exercise, nutrition, and supplements. I’m hitting the gym 11 times per week. I run 5 days per week and lift 6 days. I combine easy runs and speed work and I hit every body part with weights at least once per week. I eat ‘clean’ 98% of the time. That’s no joke! I eat 6 times per day, 7 days a week. One of those meals on Sunday gets to be a ‘cheat’ meal where I go out to eat with friends or family and splurge on a burger or a milkshake. And every day I follow a routine of supporting my nutrition and workouts with a careful selection of supplements.

Today’s cheat meal at Rockhoppers
(Split with my mom!)
The results of this complete change have been astounding. I’m still waiting on an appointment to get my body fat percentage checked so I don’t know where I started or where I am now (yet). But I have seen huge changes and my clothes fit differently than ever before.  My performances are improving on both runs and weights. And my energy is through the roof.
And here’s the proof:
Completed 5k on the treadmill, the day after leg day and after going out dancing last night, in 24 minutes. My previous best was 24:27 and that was back in 2012. After only 5 weeks I have already met one of my 2015 goals (set a new 5k PR!).
AND
I’m stronger and happier with my body than ever before. Every week I go heavier, go harder, find another way to tweak my nutrition. And while I can’t wait to share the full transformation with everyone, right now I am enjoying the journey and focusing on learning and growing on my own.
Are you ready for 2015? Have you set your goals and outlined the steps to reach them yet?

How To Get Fit

I haven’t posted in awhile. And, yes, it’s partially due to my work schedule being crazy again. But it’s mostly because I’ve been keeping a secret. I decided to completely overhaul my workouts, nutrition, and lifestyle to get into the best possible shape. Normally I would have posted progress pictures, weight and measurement updates, and generally over-informed the world. This time, however, I wanted to trust myself and trust the process. Put my own knowledge to use and follow through without input or criticism from outsiders. I’m still not ready to share my transformation but I do want to share what I’m learning.

In the last several weeks I’ve talked to quite a few women who are upset that they aren’t losing weight. They are ‘dieting’ and exercising and counting every bite they put in their mouth but the scale isn’t budging. They’re hungry, cranky, and exhausted. And they all have one thing in common. They aren’t eating enough!

Your body needs a certain amount of calories just to exist every day. Your brain, your heart, breathing, swallowing, and just being alive all take energy. This amount is otherwise known as your Base Metabolic Rate (BMR) and calculating this is the basis for changing your eating. I like to use a simple online calculator like the one at My Fitness Pal.

This number forms the basis for your nutrition. Then you need to eat enough to support walking, working, and exercising. This is your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). A calculator like the one at IIFYM can calculate out your TDEE and it also takes it one step further by suggesting your calorie intake depending on your goals. A little below TDEE for weight loss, a little above for gaining muscle. Then you can even break it down further into macronutrient ratios but I’ll save that for another post.

For now, just take a look at your calorie intake and adjust it to meet your actual needs! You’ll look better, feel better, and see results faster!

Progress, Not Perfection

I’ve made some really good changes over the last couple weeks. I’ll just admit it now. I picked up A LOT of bad habits again while I was ‘off’. I started smoking again. I was having a few beers way too often. I obviously wasn’t exercising. And I was eating everything that a dietician would kill me for.

Now, well, I haven’t had a cigarette in a week. I haven’t had a drink in even longer. And I’ve been eating about 80% clean. I am more than pleased with the changes I’ve managed to implement and stick with in a very short time.
Did I have an ice cream cone on one of our bike rides? Yes.
Did I eat a burger and fries at the OTB Cafe? Yes.
But I also had chicken breasts, turkey meatloaf, broccoli, almonds, berries, baby carrots, and greek yogurt. I carefully planned breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. I walked by the donuts in the break room and the cake in the kitchen and the candy on the desks. I had tilapia and greens while my family was eating spaghetti or Chinese. And I felt good about my choices.
And then, I picked up one of these:
I bought a case of ‘real sugar’ Pepsi out of curiosity before I got back on track with my diet. I made the decision that I would finish the last two or three rather than throw them away. I was eating my dinner of tilapia and greens and I opened a Pepsi. My own mother said something along the lines of, “Why bother eating healthy if you’re going to drink that?” I explained that I wasn’t planning to buy anymore soda but I wanted to finish what I had purchased and one wouldn’t kill me.
Not ten minutes later I was in my room FaceTime-ing with a friend. At some point during the conversation I lift my can and immediately I get, “Are you drinking POP?!” I give my speech on just finishing what I bought and yada-yada. And still there was more grief to be had over my beverage choice. Meanwhile, he was drinking pop too!
When did eating healthy become eating perfectly? When did getting fit become a one way road? I honestly don’t understand the mentality of perfection that pervades everything today. We have to be perfect moms, wives, employees, athletes, chefs, and supermodels. There’s no room to be HUMAN.
I’m perfectly fine with never having the body of a fitness model if I can still have a piece of cheesecake on date night. I’m honestly okay with washing down my boiled chicken breast and sweet potato with Pepsi. No one would think twice if I was at a burger joint chasing a double quarter pounder with cheese and a large fry with a giant soda. If rewarding myself with an ice cream cone at the end of a 20 mile bike ride gets me out the door and moving then it can’t be all that bad right?
I see it said time and time again but it’s beyond time we all take it to heart. PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION. Do better than yesterday. Make small changes that you can stick with. And don’t be afraid to make a mistake or reward yourself every once in awhile. After all we are only human… and I fully intend to enjoy as much of my short time on earth as possible.

LiveFit Trainer: Week 5

My second attempt at week 5 went much better than last week. I got in all but one workout (one leg day instead of two) and my nutrition was much better. I did have a pretzel at the mine 5k with Gem but really didn’t have too many cheats.

Baby bis and tris are coming out
My weight has stabilized in the mid-130’s but I can tell my clothes are fitting differently. My jeans are looser in the waist and tighter in the butt and thighs. Some of my fitted long sleeve shirts are starting to feel kind of snug around my biceps too. Overall, the changes are more subtle than the first few weeks but definitely there. I’m hopeful that, with three more weeks of adding cardio, I’ll really see some definition soon.
That’s really about all I have for week 5. So let’s hope some big things happen with week 6!

Live Fit Trainer: Week 2

This week was absolutely crazy. I did really well sticking to my nutrition plan the first half of the week. However, my new job is fairly demanding at the moment and getting to know a new team of people means happy hours and lunches out. I had soda three times this week, Chinese food one day, and some birthday cake too. So it’s no wonder that I’m still sitting at the same weight as last week.

Nailed my leg workout in my INB butterfly top and Altra Delilahs.

The good news is I did get all my workouts in again and I went up in weight on my leg press and leg extension. I did substitute some moves again when I didn’t have the equipment but overall I nailed the workouts! I also got some bonus points for moving the rest of my stuff into my new place and then remodeling the dining room.

 Before
After

So since my week two update is pretty boring how about I share some awesome news?!

I’m returning as an Altra Zero Drop ambassador for 2014! AND Altra has dropped the new Olympus. It’s max cushioning in a zero drop shoe with the same foot shaped toe box you love. I can’t wait to get my hands on a pair ASAP!

INKnBURN is debuting new designs for 2014. Check out these new additions to the lineup! I am so stoked for the Drifting Petals pullover! Don’t forget to use code ‘saratoldme’ for 15% off when you create an account. (There’s no spam!)

 

So there it is! My first week in a new job. Finished moving. Remodeled a room. Did all four of my workouts. Failed at my nutrition plan. Overall I will take it and refocus on doing better for week 3!

Kona Kase Review

How many times have you seen a new granola bar, energy gel, healthy snack, or recovery drink on the market and wanted to try it? Have you ever looked at a product online and clicked away without buying for fear of ending up with another case of something you hate? Do you wish you could try samples of everything until you find out what works for you?

I know I sure do. I have a pantry shelf full of protein bars, whey powder, granolas, energy gels, and other supplements and snacks meant to improve my performance and fill in the gaps in my nutrition. The problem is that I never know if something will work for me until I try it… and then I’m stuck with the leftovers if it doesn’t. Until now!

Kona Kase offered to send me a sample Kase and I jumped at the chance. What is a kase? Well, it’s a financial and nutritional miracle in box delivered once a month.

For just $15 a month one of these boxes will show up on your doorstep every month. Inside you will find a smorgasbord of healthy samples. This month I received a KIND bar, a bag of Half Pops popcorn, Mama Chia chia squeeze pack, 18 Rabbits granola bar, a Clif Shot energy gel, a One Bar fruit bar, a Dr. Will bar, and an Osmo active hydration mix packet. Also inside were a card with a motivational quote (wouldn’t that be perfect when you’re having trouble getting out the door) and a grading card so you can keep track of what you like or dislike from each kase.
In the future, Kona Kase will be offering the ability to purchase the products you love right from their website. The best part is they offer multi-month programs and the ability to cancel your subscription at any time without penalty. You can also earn rewards by referring friends using your own personalized link.
So, if you’re ready to sample ’til your heart’s content, then sign up risk-free and give them a follow on Facebook and Twitter. You’ll save a bundle, get to try out the hottest products, and perfect your nutrition in one handy little package!
Disclaimer: I was provided a free sample by Kona Kase for review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Weight of the World

I’ve been thinking a lot about my diet (as in my nutritional intake, not some fad plan) and I know it hasn’t been up to par. However, our scale went bonkers a month or two ago so I haven’t been paying too much attention to anything but the fact that I can still get my jeans on.

EatSmart Products offered to send me one of their Precision Digital scales for review so I happily accepted. These scales feature ‘step on’ technology which basically means they zero/calibrate themselves and don’t get all wacky like my old scale did. I can’t do a full review yet as I just got mine today but I like it already. It’s a stylish glass and metal construction with a back lit screen that makes it easy to read. And it measures down to a tenth of a pound which makes it a great tool for a numbers geek.

The only thing I was unhappy with was the number I saw when I stepped on it. It’s hard to believe that I, or anyone, can run an average of 40+ miles per week and still gain weight but I’m proving it’s possible. My next steps are to track my diet for a week or ten days and then consult a nutritionist or dietitian. I need a PLAN. I also need to make an appointment for a check up and make sure my body is working the way it should. I haven’t had a doctor’s visit in several years and it’s about time I take care of myself outside of the gym too.

So here’s to baby steps and making a plan to reach your dreams. What are your goals for this spring? And what are you going to do to get there?

Nutrition for Runners

I recently had a conversation with a runner who is coming back from a stress fracture. The conversation really got to me when another runner stated that supplements are useless and users are just wasting their money. I can’t help but believe that supplements are an important part of an athlete’s diet and I’ll explain why.

Today I woke up and hit the snooze button on my alarm. Once I actually dragged myself out of bed I was in serious danger of being late for work. I threw together an outfit and a lunch. Then I grabbed a granola bar as breakfast as I headed out the door. A stop at Starbucks rounded out the ‘most important meal of the day’ for me. Around 10:30 I started to feel hungry so I had some tuna on crackers and then I went to the gym and did what I do best. I ran! Afterwards, I had a bowl of cottage cheese at my desk. Later in the afternoon I had a banana. Dinner consisted of chinese food since I was late. Thankfully, I take my multivitamin and a few supplements consistently and the last round of blood work I had done showed I was lacking in nothing but iron. (Thanks blood loss!) I am a firm believer in a daily vitamin on top of a generally healthy diet!

If you are anything like me, and I dare you to say that you don’t commit these same crimes against nutrition, then you are going to be missing something (or several somethings) from your diet. And when athletes are missing key nutrients or vitamins bad things happen, like my fellow runner’s stress fracture. Sure fresh is best and nature beats man-made and all that but, unless you are extremely disciplined and monitor everything you put in your mouth, a supplement is your safeguard!

That’s why I’m pleased to be able to introduce Centrum’s line of ProNutrients. ProNutrients is a line of dietary supplements formulated to work with your multivitamin. Centrum also introduced a new line of multivitamins to meet specific needs. You can choose from Prenatal, Vision, Energy, or Heart blends.

The ProNutrients line includes Omega-3, Probiotic, and Fruit & Veggie. Omega-3 provides vital EPA and DHA in a smaller-than-average and easy to swallow pill. Fruit & Veggie blends grapes, blueberries, raspberries, plums, carrots, and tomatoes to support cell protection with antioxidents. The Probiotic blend contains healthy, active bacteria to support digestion and immune health. With the right knowledge and support anything, especially nutrition, is possible!

To get started with the Centrum line print off the $5 coupon at ProNutrient’s FaceBook page. Or you can just post a comment telling me your thoughts on your nutrition and what you’re missing for a chance to win the ProNutrient product of your choice. I’ll pick a winner on January 14. Complete giveaway rules can be found here.

To enter simply do the following and leave a comment for each one you complete:
-Follow my blog
-Tell me something you’re missing in your diet
-Follow Centrum on FaceBook
-Follow me on Twitter (@warriorprncss3)
-Post this giveaway on your social media sites using #NutritionPossible

Alright, have fun and stay healthy! Good luck!

Disclosure: I am participating in a Centrum ProNutrients campaign hosted by One2One Network. I received nutritional product and compensation. While all opinions stated are my own, I make no claims about Centrum ProNutrients as a product or it’s effectiveness.

Change Is Never Easy

Recently, I’ve felt on top of the world. My running seems to be improving and I’ve set new mileage and pace PR’s. I finished my first 50 Mile Race and I’m looking forward to my upcoming 100k.

I’ve also won several contests from blogs like Run Wifey Run and Run Faster, mommy! Thanks to them and several of their wonderful sponsors I will be running the inaugural Rock N Roll Savannah Marathon and hanging out with the other winners of the Race and Relax weekend! I’m also going to be receiving a beautiful medal hanger from Allied Medal Displays to show off my girls’ race bling! I love their medal hangers so much that I have bought two already and hope to purchase more!

On top of all these wonderful things I am finally going to school for what I love, Health and Wellness. Part of my curriculum is measuring my own body composition. I decided to use several methods including bioelectric impedence, girth measurement, and the BodPod. If you’re interested in finding a BodPod near you COSMED has a search feature here. According to my bioelectric impedence scale I am around 23% body fat. I’ve heard horrible things about these scales so I hoped it was pretty far off. My girth measurements only came out slightly better at 22%. I was still hopeful that the BodPod would hold a pleasant surprise. However, my results were not what I’d hoped:

In case you can’t read that, it says I am 22.8% fat. That means I’m carrying 30 pounds of fat around. Don’t misunderstand me please. This isn’t horrible but it’s not really ‘athletic’ either. Everybody needs a certain amount of fat to be healthy and women need more than men. My goal has been 18% for awhile now and I was very surprised to learn that I’m not there yet (by a long shot). I have about 6 pounds of fat to lose to get there. I really thought I’d be closer considering I’ve lost 7 pounds in the last couple months. What I’m realizing, however, is that diet and strength training are of far more importance than I ever knew. I thought that running 40-50 miles every week was enough to keep my body fat down but when I came home and ate a bowl of ice cream and half a bag of Twizzlers I wasn’t giving my body the fuel it needed and it was storing this ‘junk’ as fat. On top of that, my body is very used to running long distances and for long periods of time. My muscles have reached a plateau now. Without heavy strength training like I was doing at CrossFit I will not continue to see gains in strength and muscle development.

So how do I make it right and reach my goals? Well the first thing I did was substitute a weight routine for yesterday’s run. I didn’t have time to do both so I made the conscious choice to use my time to pursue the activity that would help me achieve my goals. As a grown up sometimes I have to hike up my big girl britches and do things that aren’t particularly enjoyable in the pursuit of long-term satisfaction. I enjoy weight training but not as much as I enjoy running so to balance both I’m going to have to sacrifice something. Given that school, family, and work aren’t flexible I decided to sacrifice my much beloved sleep. I got out of my bunk beds at 6AM instead of 7 today and got the ball rolling on our morning an hour earlier. Instead of dressing in ‘normal’ clothes I put on my running clothes. After everyone was ready for the day I walked my older daughter to the bus stop as usual, except instead of carrying the baby I was pushing her in the jogging stroller. As soon as Gem was on the bus I turned for the trail instead of heading home. Four miles later I was feeling productive and the baby was sleepy. At home I put her down for a nap and took advantage of the down time to do a 30 minute kettlebell routine. That still left me enough time to shower and dress before she woke up.

I’m amazed already at how much more energy I have and how much more productive I feel then when I would wait until afternoon to try to cram in a workout. I’m hoping that if I can make this a routine I will be able to continue to increase my mileage without sacrificing strength training and nutrition ever again. I’ve been so worried about what’s going to happen when I find another job and how it will affect my athletic endeavors but maybe, just maybe I’ve been worrying over nothing. In the end it’s all about change and using our energy to find solutions instead of worrying about the problem. I know it’s not going to be easy and I still have a long way to go but I’m so grateful for the community of athletes and experts that I’ve found and the support of my family and friends.

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.
Leo Tolstoy

It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.
C. S. Lewis