Stay in your lane!

Often times whenever I had track practice in high school or even college, someone would inevitably find themselves in the way on the track as a train of distance runners were blazing by in a workout.

Our coach, or the front runner would simply yell-“TRACK!!!” Or “LANE 1!!” And immediately, everyone knew to move out of lane one.

 

It’s important to stay focused on the lane you’re in so you don’t get knocked off balance or lose sight of your own goals.

If we get too distracted by what’s going on in the other lanes around us, we become distant and weary of our own goals; fixated by what’s around us and not helping ourselves move forward.

I’ve been getting a lot of comments recently about how “little” I am. When I tell some people that I’m a personal trainer they expect a “bigger” bulkier person I guess.

One lady even said,”well you’re a tiny little thing aren’t you?”, while I was going to meet one of my clients on the floor.

Well, I’m also a competitive distance runner and I run 70 or more miles a week. This week I’ll hit 90 miles as I’m inching up the volume and intensity focusing on the half marathon in my racing future. I do my own strength training that’s supportive to my running training cycle.
I’m here to tell you that your appearance doesn’t always define your strength and everyone is training for something different! So comparing yourself to others in the gym or sizing people up makes no sense and it’s insecure in my opinion.

Body builders do not look like distance runners and I do NOT look like a body builder because we each train differently and have different goals.
I do my own strength training 2-3 times a week in the gym but everything I do inside the gym is to respect and improve my running. That’s my training and my goal. You have to have tunnel vision in a sense to ignore other people’s comments or opinions of your training. You’re not training to appease anyone, you’re training to reach your own goals.
Of course my clients training is not at all what I do because they have their own goals and needs.

I just wanted to share that you can be “small” but still have incredibly strong and defined muscles that support whatever you’re training for. You can also be “bigger” than some people think is acceptable and still be beautiful and strong.

One of my friends- Nicole, recently started working out and training for gymnastics. She posted a lovely picture & message on her insta & facebook about her own body image and how proud of herself she was. I think we can all learn from her positive self talk and motivation!

 

It’s a very common misconception that anyone in a gym or personal trainer should look like they split their week into- “leg day”, “chest day” ect..well leg day is every day for me!!
I also want to encourage anyone reading this post to accept small victories. Whatever day your having in your fitness or training is a good day if you make even one step forward. I always tell my clients- where you’re at not isn’t where you’ll be. Stay committed and believe in yourself. I always make them give me one positive comment in place of a negative one.

It’s alright to feel impatient and discouraged at times but don’t let that be your focus. Use it to be better.

Focusing on the negative things or comparing yourself to another person makes no sense at all and doesn’t help you reach your goals.


A truly successful athlete doesn’t have time to criticize another athlete or obsess over another persons training or body image.
They focus on each day and making themselves better in whatever way they can that day.


Let’s all do that from now on, stay in your lane. And encourage one another instead of trolling on someone who you know nothing about or what they’re training for or going through.
Enjoy YOUR training and focus on YOU and respect everyone for where they’re at and their goals being different. There are all kinds of “strong” out there. Own yours & don’t get distracted.

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Spring workout outside in 30-45 minutes! Easy, anywhere,anytime for your schedule

Spring is on the horizon finally and it’s time to get outside!! The days are going to get longer soon so it’s a great motivator to get some fresh air on your lunch break or after a long day to blow off some steam outdoors. 

 

         

 You can always start your day off on the right foot(pun intended) with a refreshing, FUN, and simple outdoor workout.

I’ve combined the “fartlek” running workout with a few easy to do-anywhere body weight exercises for you to try together. This workout can be done pretty much anywhere you want: from your neighborhood to a park or from the office on your lunch break. It will only take you a little over 30 minutes to 45 minutes to complete depending on your rest and how quickly you move through each exercise.

(I don’t have any pictures or videos unfortunately for you, but I will add those in this blog post later!)

For now here’s the run down of the workout:

5-4-3-2-1 ( You rill RUN/or WALK, 5 minutes, then STOP & do the given exercise, then RUN/ or WALK the next “4” minutes & STOP & do the next exercise & so on.)

Next: You will do 5-4-3-2-1 AGAIN with given exercises to complete between Run/Walking intervals.

Take 2-3  minutes REST between 5-4-3-2-1 “set” then start the last 5-4-3-2-1

The workout:

5-4-3-2-1

5- 30 seconds jumping jacks

4- 15 pushups

3- 10 lunges each leg

2- 10 standing lateral leg lifts each leg

1-(after last minute, at end of first 5-4-3-2-1 set) 30 crunches

REST: 2-3 MINUTES BETWEEN SETS

Start 5-4-3-2-1 Last set:

5- 20 jump squats

4- 12 lateral lunges each leg

3- 15 supermans/back hypers 

2- 20 tricep dips(use park bench or chair)

1- 20 mountain climbers

RECAP:

  • 2x 5-4-3-2-1 (30 minutes of Cardio-Run/Walk TOTAL) your choice
  • 2-3 minutes REST between EACH set of 5-4-3-2-1
  • 10 TOTAL body weight exercises you can do ANYWHERE

Have FUN with this workout & invite a friend to do it with you!!

Get outside & just go at your own pace! Decreasing rest will intensify the workout and you’ll get done faster…;)

Enjoy getting FIT this Spring & getting some sunshine!!

 

Simple, Healthy living tips & checklist for a busy week!


Staying on top of a healthy lifestyle between work, home life, and all of our other obligations throughout the week can be a real struggle! Many of us simply neglect taking time to devote to planning healthy eating, getting enough rest and taking a minute to set our priorities in order.


Fine tuning your eating and living a healthy lifestyle is important for all of us but even more so for athletes and active people.

I’ve found a few helpful tools this week I’d like to share. As a new personal trainer, this week was my first full week on the schedule at the YMCA where I currently work as a health coach and trainer. I’ve already learned a lot from my amazing supervisors and new family at my branch.

One resource I found, in the personal trainer office there’s a slew of handouts that contain information ranging from stress, eating tips, fitness suggestions and home workout tips.

This week, I’d like to share some for overall healthy lifestyle and healthy eating for those of us who struggle with maintaining a balanced plan for busy weeks we face.

It can feel like wave after wave crashing against you, week by week, and instantly you’ve lost track of your fitness regimen. Eating habits fall by the waste side and you’re so tired, you just go from one task to the next, forgetting about taking care of yourself first. I’ve been there too, trust me. But if we are to live a balanced life; an enjoyable and joyful life, we need to do better.

So, first I want you to look at these TWO survey checklist handouts & really be honest with where you know you’re at with overall lifestyle & eating(the second sheet!!) then keep reading for some great tips!:)


In this handout below I’d like to share a little refresher for all of us to do during the week: it’s called “portion-proof your environment” but really it’s just a few awesome tips to pack in your bag throughout the week to help you kick butt!!

 

I really love that these handouts focus on the SMART goal system. All goals are-

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Attainable

  • Realistic

  • Timed

This next handout relates to the SMART goal focus too, not just eating habits and planning. It’s one of my favorite in this packet-“Boost your metabolism”

  


Okay, I know that’s a LOT of info! I’m here to help remember? 😉 I just share what I know and read, research & if I find it helpful..hey maybe they will too! Let me share.

Last tip I’ll post is one regarding a topic I’ve had a lot of questions on this week and really all the time. “Lauren, I want to eat healthy but I don’t have time and I don’t know what to eat!”

Well friend, https://www.choosemyplate.gov has all you need for a baseline of proper nutrition.

This is what your plate “should” look like now, not that old inaccurate pyramid from elementary school. 

Last picture I SWEAR!! Lol then I’ll let y’all get some sleep & rest! 🙂 I hope my tips have been helpful to you all at least a little. But I know you’re all smart and already know and do these! So please share, comment and let me know what you want to see posted for next weeks #FitnessFriday

Strength Training & Aging

Jonathan Goodman is a personal trainer I follow and subscribe to his fitness posts & website weekly theptdc.com. I always like to read his new tips & learn some of his theories as I am a new trainer still improving myself for my clients needs.

Many individuals 65 or older are becoming more active and engaging in strength training now more than ever!

This is so exciting to me as a trainer because it’s so important for us all to continue to maintain and adapt our training for our respective age. 

This article from Jonathan Goodman’s site is a perfect tool to use for clients 65 and older: https://www.theptdc.com/2017/01/how-to-assess-older-clients/

This post lists a few tests to perform for balance and flexibility; as well as the muscles that need the most attention in order for the aging clients to perform normal functional activities throughout their week.

According to this article, “people in their 80s have 40% less strength than people in their 20s”. That’s crazy to think about how our strength gradually declines so much after 50!! But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing we can do to aid this dilemna.

I’m elated to know that there are so many older adults improving their fitness and I see it every day at my gym as a trainer.

Targeting the main muscle groups like: glutes,legs, arms, shoulders, trunk and hips only makes sense to strengthen so that these clients can perform daily activities like-getting out of bed in the morning, walking up and down stairs and maintaining an upright posture so they won’t fall. 

Falling seems to be a huge risk for the elderly. The three “functional tests” for older clients tests the quality of movement and shows the risk that a client may have for falling or not having adequate strength.

  • Up and go test
  • Sit to stand test
  • Functional squat test 

 Risks that the aging population face can be stopped through strength training and properly informing clients on the changes that they’re facing. This article highlights each age category and the directions for the tests listed above.

I completely agree that strength training is even more important to older people to stop muscular atrophy and improve balance and coordination. 
I’ll definitely be incorporating some of these tests and tips for my older clients in the future. 

Sorry for not posting a “Fitness Friday” topic last week I was battling a sinus infection and didn’t have any creative juices available for you all. I’ll be posting more fitness tips of my own as well in the near future but I wanted to post this one too because I found it relevant for my learning and thought many of you may benefit reading this little snippet too!

Happy training and Fitness Friday fam!

Healthy & yummy alternatives to your late-night snack!

Many of us get a little sugar craving late at night before bed. It’s important to know what to reach for instead of high sugar foods with little nutritional value!

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If you are very active it’s pretty normal to get hungry all the time, especially at night.
Your metabolism is probably working on overdrive so it’s super important to fuel it right when you go for a little snack.

Some other reasons we get hungry at night may be:

  • dehydration!
  • Didn’t eat enough during the day
  • Low sugar levels
  • Lack of proteins
  • Bored, watching tv

 Don’t grab high fatty foods like- cakes,sugary desserts, high greasy containing foods, heavy meats or a lot of dairy and cheese options. They will keep you up and just add on calories while you sleep.

Here’s just a few things I recommend switching to instead of ice cream, cookies and other fatty/sugar-filled snacks at night:

1. Greek yogurt w/ fruit &/or granola

Sometimes at night, I go to the fridge and get a small bowl of Greek yogurt and put a few spoon fulls of some granola. Maybe a few pieces of fruit too. This is an extremely low calorie option and it’s sweet! High protein,night antioxidants, LOW FAT. Need I say more?

2. Frozen fruit bites w/ peanut butter

Again with the natural,low fat sweet option here. Fiber, good carbs, and sweet protein from the peanut butter instead of chocolate or ice creams.

3.Smoothie or smoothie bowls

These require a bit more effort but if you just can’t get away from craving something ice cold and sugary-blend up some of your favorite fruit, add some veggies in there too(you won’t even taste em!) & add peanut butter or a little cocoa powder.

4. Whole grain crackers w/ avocado 

Okay so, as long as you keep it under around 150-200 calories before bed you can really play with what you choose. Crackers are great if you want a little salt instead of sweet. They give you some whole grains & keep the calorie count low. Whatever you put on your cracker is up to you, you know what you like! Just don’t go crazy.

5. Dark chocolate 

Yes, chocolate. Dark chocolate is actually very good for you in small amounts. Having a few pieces before bed won’t break your diet if you have one and it’s a lot less sugar than normal chocolate.

6. Cereal 

Yup. Sometimes if I’m hungry again, my cereal can do no wrong. I love some honey, flaky clusters with berries. Whatever brand you like, get something similar to granola-it’s sweet and filling.

7. Half a bagel and almond milk 

I always buy the whole wheat bagels and sometimes I’ll put some of my fav coconut-peanut spread on it by earth-balance. And a cup of almond milk or soy milk before bed is just as sweet and fills me up just right.

8.Sweet potatoes

I’m obsessed with sweet potatoes. Chips,fries, plain..you name it I LOVE!! They’re healthy veggies and YUMMY!! Eat a little bit, that’s all you need and you’ll be just as obsessed as me.

So there’s really no set formula for you to completely fend off late night sugar cravings BUT if you stay within that reasonable calorie range and don’t binge, you’ll be good to go.you can always make a mini protein shake or a protein bar works too. Just remember to try to go for the most naturally sweet foods like- fruits, peanut or almond butters, whole wheat/whole grain foods, soy/almond milks, yogurts and if you eat cheese don’t eat a ton! Less is more here.

And sometimes your body may just need to hydrate! Drink a glass or two of water and see if that helps first. If you want-make a batch of detox water and gulp it down.

Balance is always key. Eating desert is okay and I’m not saying you can’t have the cheesecake or celebrate with a birthday cake or go out with friends for ice cream, but I am saying NOT every night.

Remember what you put in your body is fuel. If you constantly put bad fuel in your body you can’t expect yourself to perform at a great level or where you expect to.

Reward yourself but reward your body in the right way too for all of its’ hard work!
 

Fitness Friday: How to exercise in the COLD!❄️

Tips for knowing when to get your bum out the door without making excuses that it’s too COLD! & knowing when to run on the dread-mill or XT inside.

I hate running on the treadmill or “dreadmill” as I like to call it. There has to be a tornado, lightening or frozen streets to keep me from running outside!

 I know that winter weather is now officially upon us, especially the southern states.. like here in Birmingham, Alabama “the beautiful”! *as all of the northerners LOL at us shutting down the day with a light sleeting & promised dust of snow this evening* Freezing temperatures & brisk winds can discourage even the most dedicated athlete from suiting up and stepping outside.

So, how do I manage to keep my training schedule in tact this winter? How can I decide whether to train outside or stay indoors without being too soft??

First, let’s list a few common barriers to getting outside during the colder months:

  • It’s too early/I’m too tired..ZZZzzzz
  • It’s too dark!
  • It’s too cold
  • It’s snowing!!
  • I don’t know what to wear..

If you’re laying in bed and hit the snooze a few times like I do in the morning and you feel too tired to get up and get out, here’s a few tips I remind myself:

  • Don’t think about how tired you feel, think about whatever workout/run you have to do. That tired feeling will go away in a few minutes after you start moving anyways.
  • You gotta get it done, so you might as well go ahead, get up and get dressed!
  • It helps to lay out what you’ll wear for the run the night before. I always look at the weather the night before and have my outfit laid out by my bed so when I wake up, I don’t have to think too much. I just get up and get dressed.
  • Sometimes, I like to take a warm shower in the morning after I wake up, especially if I have stiff/achy muscles. It helps wake me up, warm my muscles up and gets my blood flowing quickly.
  • You don’t have to wake up early to get your run done but it does increase the chance of you actually doing it, in case anything comes up later in the day..like SNOW. For example today-I had a 10 mile progression run. I had to be at work at 11am. Snow was in the forecast for the afternoon and I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it in the PM. So that made my decision a lot easier and kind of forced me out the door in the morning.

It’s too dark, I can’t see..now what?!

  • Even in the morning before 6am, the dark of winter can make us feel a little unmotivated and less like lacing up. Make sure you have a headlamp or some sort or reflective material. Worst case- use your iphone flashlight! This is so you can SEE and be SEEN while you’re out there grinding early before you start your day or maybe after work squeezing in a run as the sun sets. You can find reasonably priced headlamps at your local run store or REI(I think that’s where I got mine)
  • If you choose to get it done in the PM or sleep in a little, I’ve had the best runs in late morning-afternoon times(around 11am-3:30 or 4pm.) It’s darker in the winter and the sun sets earlier. If you start your run before 4PM or before the sun sets for you, you’re good to go! Also, the temperature is going to be the warmest it will be during the day around these times. Your body will be more relaxed and ready to perform.

It’s too cold!!! I’m Freezing!

Alright, everyone’s perception of what “cold” actually feels like depends on where you live. If you’re like New Balance pro- Jenny Simpson..she runs in a freaking blizzard of 8 degrees with no hitch in her step. Some of us in the south can be a bit more sensitive to cold temps and won’t go outside even in 30 degrees!

In my opinion- you can definitely RUN in the snow and freezing temperatures. You just need to be smart about it and use some common sense.

  • I won’t run in the freezing cold if: all the routes I can run are ICY/FROZEN and there’s no chance of me getting my mileage in without slipping every two feet(don’t risk it! pack it up and hit the treadmill or elliptical). OR if it’s an absolute downpour and below 45ish degrees, I don’t want hypothermia or pneumonia. use your own reasonable judgement here.
  • LAYER. Always layer clothing. Depending on the temperature, make sure you start with layers: undies,sport bra(ladies),thin tank/short or long sleeve shirt, another thin layer shirt(dry fit is best), zip jacket or pull over, vest, gloves, ear warmer/headband or wrap, thick or compression SOCKS, shorts or half tights, longer tights or sweats. & I have this neck wrap I got at REI that I pull over my ears, nose and mouth during runs below 30 degrees or snow.
  • Your body will warm up as you start moving but it’s crucial to keep your core and head warm. You loose heat mostly through your head and extremities too and you can always shed layers as you warm up. It’s better to be too warm at first than get frost bite or worse.
  • Like I said, COLD depends on where you live and how safe conditions are. Stay close to home or repeat loops if you have to if you’re worried about safety. You can always cut it short if you have to or go inside and XT(cross train) instead.
  • The biggest thing with the cold is- Winter is cold, accept it. Training is hard in the cold. You won’t always be PUMPED to go get the work done but you owe it to yourself and whatever your goals are to stay committed. Don’t look at what other people are doing or not doing.
  • Also-HYDRATE!!! Many of us forget that it’s so important to drink lots of H20 in the winter too and not just in summer months. It’s super easy to get dehydrated because everything is pretty dry-especially your skin. & Muscles function best with WATER unless you wanna pull something!

This article from #Runner’sWorld is spot on about Winter Training and gives some great tips as well-Winter Advisory!

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“Boo freak-a-dee-hooo, I’m COLDD..”

Don’t be a pansy or give up just because you’re uncomfortable for a short amount of time in the cold. Think about your goals, are they worth grinding through the day for a few hours or less in the cold?

Stay true to your training. Every season has it’s ups and downs with weather and inconvenient circumstances happen. But unless the weather is detrimental to your health, NOT your motivation or will to get out the door..get out there and don’t blink! You will feel better and proud of yourself for sticking with your training in the long run. Winter Training makes you tougher and able to handle just about anything in the future being uncomfortable for just a bit.

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” -1 Peter 5:10

That verse was the WOTD on my Bible app Wednesday before I stepped onto the track to start my 15X400m reps. No, I didn’t feel like doing it. The back stretch was allll WIND against me and it was about 29 degrees when I started my session. But I just focused on my objective, what it was I was there to accomplish. Always focus on what you’re doing and your purpose and why. Then you’ll not be discouraged or give in to giving up!

Have FUN & be SAFE this Winter<3 Use your brain and trust your training.

 

Fitness Friday week#4- Why comparing yourself to others is a weakness, not a strength.

 Why you should never compare where you’re at in training to someone else & how to stay focused on your own goals! 

I learned a long time ago in my athletic journey what a losing battle it is to compare your talents to others.
It’s normal to feel eager to beat your competitors and WIN!! 
Competition is healthy and makes you a stronger athlete. It proves you care, but what do you care more about..? 

Being a better athlete at whatever you do should be a goal for sure..
but the only person you need to be concerned about being “better” than is the person you were yesterday, not the athlete you’re Instagram stalking now. 
I know that’s the most cliche phrase, but it’s true isn’t it?? 

A lot of my friends always say,”oh I could never do what you do. I worked out but it’s nothing compared to what you do!” STOP. You are not me and I am not you. We are at various training levels with completely different goals! It’s okay to be where you’re at.

Here’s why comparing yourself to another person is stupid:

1. They are human too, not God. Don’t put anyone on a “pedastool ” (If they can accomplish their goals, so can you)

2. Your goals are not the same

3.They are not YOU

I can’t count the number of time I’ve personally watched other runners who were faster than me and wondered why I wasn’t that “good”. I train the same as them, I eat healthy, I care about my running so much and keep improving too!

But what really set me free to become a truly “better” and less stressed athlete is understanding this-

  • everyone you meet is on their own fitness journey

Not everyone has the same goals as you, so they may be doing specific training or at a certain plateau in their fitness.  Different does not mean BETTER. 

Go ahead and toss that thought in the trash please.

  • Rome wasn’t built in a day..

One of my favorite pro distance runners, an Oiselle athlete- Steph Rothstein said it best here:  

 
She’s right! Hard work and results take time. Looking around at what someone else is doing won’t help you get there any faster. It’s a distraction from how awesome you can be!

Romans 8:37 tells us that “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” 

 I think Jesus had it right. We weren’t created to be the same, do the same, or improve at the same time. 

Focus on what you’re given to do now, where you’re at. 

 One of my friends texted me this today when we were chatting and catching up. 

  
    It made my day. It reminded me that I have a plan too; that what I’m doing is just as important as anyone I thought was “better” than me just because I’m not where they’re at or don’t have the same results as someone else.

Every day we have countless choices to make. This is one you should easily be able to decide now.

 Uplift yourself instead of criticizing or comparing yourself to others. 

You’ll reach your goals faster and you’ll be more focused instead of drowning in an endless comparison trap!

You need to have tunnel vision when you feel tempted to compare. Only see your progress and work.

Ever notice that I never  post the exact workouts I do or splits from track workouts? It’s none of anyone’s business what I’m doing frankly. 

And it eliminates some comparison temptation. I do post to motivate and encourage but not out of a selfish boastful platform. My glory goes to the one that gave me my abilities and passion.

The more you focus inward instead of around you, you’ll have the same peace and seeing someone else’s success won’t cripple you or detail you mentally.

Be so good at doing you that what someone else says or does doesn’t even make a sound in your ears. 

Being supportive or proud of someone is great. But don’t idolize them or count yourself out from reaching what you want too. You’re a lot more capable than you think!