Healthy Roads, take me home…to the bod, I belong!

As I write this from the passenger seat of a 6 hour turnaround road trip – I realize it’s very difficult to make healthy choices on the road. Did I mention I just stopped at a convenience store in my semi-hometown of Avery, TX and purchased a chimichanga from the 7-11? To be clear, these are the only chimichangas I’ve ever eaten and they’re a treat to my eating habits. Point made.

Speeding laws? Who needs them!

Healthy highway food options can be limited. But not impossible. With proper planning (which I clearly did none of) making healthy choices while traveling is completely doable. Every place has an option or alternative to the regular menu. And even if they don’t, it’s up to you to keep marching toward your goals. Where there’s a will and all that.

Research is important. I don’t enjoy eating fast food or eating out at all really so I have to make plans. I need to know what’s along my route, when we’ll be there, and what kind of mood I’m in. Because we all know the female mindset is dictated at times by mood.

Mood notwithstanding – another option is bring your own snacks! I’m notorious for having snacks in my purse. You just never know when an urge for plain, boring, no salt added, raw almonds will hit. You mean that urge never hits? Ohhhh. In any case, snacks are always in season! Fruit snacks for the mini and almonds for me. Personally, I like trail mix. Other choices are granola bars, cereal mixes, cheese, and/or beef jerky. At best, these snacks prevent you from stopping to indulge in fast food until you can get home. We stop for nothing!

The title of this post? So glad you asked! Munchkin is obsessed with the John Denver song “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and sings it endlessly. My favorite part is her rendition of the lyrics that go something like this: West Virginia, Mountain Mommy. Now you have earworms. You’re welcome.

Earworm enjoyment – when I can get my Munchkin’s version uploaded, I will update!

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I ask you –

Any songs you’re currently stuck on?

Did you read my post about earworms? If not, check it out!

How do you make healthy nutritional choices while traveling?

FitrWoman – Train Smarter!

Just some light reading

For many years, I’ve noticed the changes in my own training cycle would be affected by my menstrual cycle. As a woman who enjoys knowing things about my body, I use a few apps to track ovulation, estimated period length, and other symptoms. It seemed there was always a component lacking in these apps, though – they didn’t track the effect your monthly cycle has on your ability to train athletically, much less reach a goal.

Hey Diva!

Luckily, other women had this great idea! I found out about this app in an article posted in Women’s Running. Introducing FitrWoman, available via the App Store or Google Play. I had very high hopes and it has yet to fall short. There’s even a supplemental app, FitrCoach, for those who train female athletes. Though not free like FitrWoman, the coaching ability is a must-have for anyone instructing women in this capacity.

FitrWoman connects with Strava to track not only your workouts but also to meld it with your cycle. My personal favorite part of FitrWoman is the insights portion. The changes in hormones within our bodies affect every literal part of training, from nutrition to cravings to overall strength. I’ve always noticed during certain days of my cycle I would be unable to lift as heavy or my heart rate would be much higher than usual even if I wasn’t training any harder. Turns out these are all common physiology symptoms! Even sweating more and experiencing an increased body temperature are typical. I’m not crazy!

FitrWoman also includes recipes and food suggestions for optimal training during each phase of your cycle, as well as articles discussing topics like PMS and contraception, among many others. I think both men and women could use some extra reading material to truly understand these pieces of female life.

Screenshot of FitrWoman calendar

For more information, if you’re not sold by my words alone, check it out at https://www.fitrwoman.com. I continue referring to my app for daily insights and information on how to truly train for my body. It’s exciting to see the cycles run their course. Haha get it. Any chance we have to exceed our own expectations should be taken!

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I ask you –

Are you using FitrWoman?

Did you know the connection between training and menstrual cycles?

What feedback do you have that would make FitrWoman better?

Injury Prevention (not always possible) – Anticipating a Derailment

You can’t expect not to have an injury, illness, or life event during an 18 week training program. Well, you can…but prepare to be fooled. So at week 6, I got a little ahead of myself and prematurely began patting myself on the back for a job well done. Then it happened. Karma. She’s so sweet.

Cracker Stash

After a night of illness that carried over into the following 2 days, I was forced to re-evaluate what training and nutrition looked like. A diet of crackers and 7-Up isn’t enough for any kind of strenuous exercise. Though it may not sound like a big deal, training is very strategic and we don’t want to miss much because this is how we help our body adapt to the weight we’re placing on it. It’s like a second job! A second job that eats away at our time and forces us to pay for it. But, look, a banana and a medal! Score!

Too familiar with First Aid

Nevertheless, the show must go on. More importantly than keeping to a schedule is the ability to let go of the schedule for a short amount of time to focus on recovery. Rest is best! If this is where you say “but rest doesn’t cross the finish line” – I happily disagree. Rest is a rather large building block of performance. Without it, you got nothin’, friend.

Rest is almost considered indulgent nowadays. Who has time for rest? Today, we go, go, go without a second thought to what rest looks and feels like. The guilt of allowing ourselves the luxury to rest is real. How dare we take care of ourselves as if someone else will do it for us? Pshhh. You said it, Kel. No one else will. And when you don’t, many times, it ends in injury to mind or body. Unfortunately there will be times preventing an injury is out of your control. You could have the best plans and have your nutrition completely on par, but still suffer from illness. The body can’t fight everything all the time. So what do you do then?

Rest. Be gentle on yourself. Say it louder, Kel; the ones who just closed their browser at this ridiculous advice didn’t hear you. Be kind to yourself. Let a few sessions go. Eat crackers. Hold out for the day when you’ll feel better and ready to return. Granted, this isn’t permission to say screw the plan and go rogue. Ummmm no. In focusing more on living for today (post forthcoming), I’m not losing sight of my goals and dreams. I’m just re-adjusting to a temporary norm. Very temporary.

But don’t be mistaken. That 12 miler is still calling my name.

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I ask you –

What was the last injury you experienced?

Is rest really best or do you have some other great advice?

How many crackers can you eat without going completely insane? (package 3 and counting)

Family of Outdoorsmen / Saturday in Photos

“Working”

Recently we held an event at the local Farmer’s Market in Roanoke. It was a hot morning! Above: doing what I do best. Supervising.

Mommy’s helper

Munchkin had been so excited for this day because she wanted to learn how to do “jump jacks”. Repeatedly I had explained Coach Ivan would be there to ensure she learned how to do them. She was not disappointed. Above: learning how to lift with her legs, not her back. Goals.

Munchkin + Coach Ivan

Mini-me insisted on helping with every part of setup. And when she bored of helping, she ran around endlessly. To be young again.

10 lb medicine ball

Fun was definitely had by all. Except me. I wasn’t prepared to do this extensive workout before a long run. What was I thinking? Above: that medicine ball is approximately 1/4 of her weight hence the pride in lifting it.

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I ask you –

Are you an outdoor activity type?

Summer or winter?

Tell me a time your child(ren) were so excited to do something with you!

3 Short Stories

If you know anything about me to this point, you realize my ability to tell a truly short story is impossible. My insincerest apologies. You literally signed up for this. Sorry ’bout your bad luck.

First, the story of the 2 young Sailors I met. In Las Colinas, it’s been rare I meet other Naval personnel. Usually I encounter Army and Air Force. We’re all brothers and sisters in one way or another, but meeting fellow Sailors is a good kind of special feeling. In moving to the area, this couple blossomed under my questioning. Not the intrusive questioning. I’m not a monster. Once I shared I, too, am prior military, they became so animated…sharing how it’s been tough to find a small, quiet gym that feels like home. I knew these people were my calling. They needed to hear what makes Anytime Fitness different. By the end of the night, the handshake lingered and the seemingly uncertain couple I had first encountered at the door were all smiles.

Sailor traversing a flight deck

Next, a story of heartache. In the same day as the above, a wonderful woman approached me in the gym. She inquired about personal training, then relayed to me the story of a past incident with a trainer. She quietly shared her utter disappointment and palpable pain from what she’d been told: her working out 3x a week would never be enough to see the results she wanted and to follow this pamphlet of food guidelines though “no one ever does it”. My heart broke. I felt tears welling up. She looked defeated. Apologies flowed from my own lips. I asked would she ever be willing to try again with someone new, someone who would encourage her, make her a priority, share in her triumphs? She didn’t hesitate when she answered yes. You can’t knock down hope and faith. I offered her a few options and made plans to follow up. She left my office with a smile; I could tell a weight had been lifted.

Finally, a brief introduction to Apolo, head coach at Anytime Fitness Las Colinas. I believe his passion is some of the most incredible I will ever witness.

Coach Apolo

Apolo is a Marine Combat veteran which he rarely shares unless a special occasion arises. He holds an Associate’s Degree in Advanced Personal Training from Bryan University. Apolo is CPR certified and is an AF Functional Training Group Coach. But you know what he truly excels at doing? Forming relationships. He is a builder of things personal and tying it into what makes people tick. His clients share their stories of what he’s done for them, but his humbleness prevents me from being anything other than one-sided. He’ll tell you they did all the work; he simply encouraged them and provided the right tools. But really that’s a lot! Not to take away from their progress, but to be fair, Apolo has gone above and beyond in knowing what they need, how to push them, and to do this over and over again. Somehow he finds time to embark on his own fitness journey! Let it be a reminder: he did verbally commit to running the Marine Corps Marathon with me next year.

These connections are what we’re about. Restoring humanity one workout at a time, one conversation a day.

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I ask you –

Are your stories endless or do they glide to a stop?

Tell me a time you encountered someone who’d had a bad experience and how you tried to turn it around for them.

Will you commit to a marathon with me next year?

Halloween Whodunit / Fall!

Hocus Pocus: one of my most beloved movies

The goal in my house is whoever scares Mommy the most wins. Ugh. I hate this game. You see, I’m not really a likes-to-be-scared type of girl. But my Munchkin takes this game very seriously so I play along. Unwillingly.

Mantle decorations

Who can deny cooler weather and boots and leggings and pumpkin spice everything is awesome?! Basic. Get off me. From a fitness perspective, this is the time people start making their winter goals and trying not to let the holidays impact them too much. For me, it means PRs and an extra cup of coffee to warm up!

I love the change in gym dynamic during this time of year. There’s fun colors and a more relaxed feel, but also some heavy hitters in the weight training area. It’s not lost on me most people use the colder months to lift heavier and do a little less cardio. Even I was trained this way. However, if you want to PR your runs in the spring, it’s important not to neglect the cardio portion of your workout. Insert functional training!

I find functional training combines all my favorite activities: strength building + elevated heart rate. It saves time, too, since I’m not doing 2 separate workouts. Mainly, it holds my interest and keeps me engaged. Pounding away on the dreadmill has all the appeal of going head to head with a mountain lion. No thanks, I’ll pass. I don’t run fast enough for that crisis.

Now I realize I’ve digressed from cooler Fall to colder than snowflakes Winter, but somehow, each year, the transition is less than gradual. You wake up one day to the beautiful leaves changing. Next thing you know it’s an ice warning. What the….

Empty candy bowl = small favors

Typically I end up forgoing a training plan after my final fall race, but I know how important it is to keep up the work and maintain a mileage base for the first glimpses of Spring. So I challenge you each to create a goal for the fall/winter and stick with it. But make sure it’s actually challenging! Try something new: hike in the snow, walking lunges indoors with your kids, try a yoga session! Or come by here and see me and we’ll do a group training session together!

Whatever you decide, enjoy yourself and get through the cold(er) months with your sanity and hoodie intact. If you need some ideas, I’m always listening and will be updating you along the way with the new adventures I partake in!

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I ask you –

Favorite holiday?

Is Halloween your thing or no? Definitely not mine, but as a parent, things change.

Something new you’d like to try when it’s cold out?

Friday Favorites

A life of dreams

According to my post schedule, it’s not Friday. But Friday is usually a happy day for people, so allow me to pretend. Just let me have this one thing.

Recently I received some reader questions about my favorite things. Since the questions weren’t specific and I could go many ways with this, I chose to do a whole post on faves! I’m preparing my Christmas list as we speak…errr…write. I even included price points so you all can rest assured I’m a cheap date.

Buy myself all of my favorite things…

On my face/body:

Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara $25

Softlips Lip Balm in Vanilla (pack of 2) $3

ULTA complete eye palette $12

Love Beauty and Planet Coconut Water and Mimosa Flower Body Lotion $11

Same as above in Body Wash $7

Acqua di Gioia Perfume $75

Wearables:

Saucony Endorphin 2″ Split Short $40

Brooks Greenlight Essential Tight $60

Fitbit Ionic $250

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18 $118

Sports Bra: anything in the Champion line from Target (whoohoo small-chested girls!) price varies

All the running gear!

Perhaps I was wrong. This list is extensive and, combined, quite pricey. Now I definitely didn’t accumulate all this in one swoop so I should get brownie points for that. Or at least brownies. Did I mention I’ve been on a no-shopping sabbatical since April? Technically, it’s not “no shopping”, but it is no purchasing. I’ve not bought one new article of clothing in 5 months. And I’m using all the cosmetic products I own before buying any more. No impulse buying! My bank account and closet are enjoying the reprieve.

Always the question – what does this have to do with fitness, Kel? So happy you asked!

I imagine I’ve saved at least $200, most likely more, since April because I haven’t bought any new clothing. Also, I don’t wear relatively expensive items anyway. So there’s further cost savings. With this money, I can afford a gym membership or at least use the money to focus on my health: food, vitamins, etc. The list of favorites doesn’t have to cost a lot to be worth more than face value. Are certain items costly? Yes. But they also last a long time and are worth the money (to me). You may have other ideas and that’s fine, too!

There was a short radio clip the other day on the drive that mentioned downsizing Maria-what’s-her-face style as a key element to focusing on what really makes you happy. Cleaning out the clutter makes me happy! I took it to mean that by shedding excess weight, literally and figuratively, I can find peace in less material things. Working out makes me happy and keeps my mind and body strong.

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I ask you –

What items do you spend the most on? Personal items?

Is my Christmas list unreasonable?!

Have you ever been on a no-shopping spree?