And no I don't mean bicycle gears!
Over the last couple of months I have been slowly switching my gears from promoting our awesome Women's Woodstock Cycling Grand Prix road race to a more family centric take on exercise. Reason being I just had a baby!
During the last few months of my pregnancy I really got into providing prenatal and family exercise on a whole new level. And I love it! Being able to literally grow with some of my prenatal clients and talk about all the ins and outs of pregnancy was wonderfully reassuring for both sides. Teaching Mommy and Me classes with other toddlers gave my older daughter and my clients kiddos something fun to do while mommy got her workout on. You haven't seen cute until you've seen a couple of two year olds playing peekaboo or singalong to each other's toys over video chat.
So, for the next few entries I'm going to talk about fitness and the family. Sure, it will have a mamma centered approach but that doesn't mean dad can't jump into a class with his kiddos too!
So, yesterday I took my daughter up to Woodstock for our last official pre-race meeting of this year. The goal was to get the safety team and course team all on the same page and geared to go next weekend.
It was pretty intense. The amount of thought, care and planning that goes into a race like this is pretty amazing. Three towns are involved, local and state police as well as a fire department or two! To see it all come together is just awe inspiring.
So is the course. It's awe inspiring and from the back seat of a car at the tail end of an energetic caravan it will twist and turn your stomach into knots until the stunning distraction of the epic scenery is nothing in comparison to what you would give for a good ruben and greasy fries just to settle your stomach!
This course is crazy. CRAZY I say!!!! It's crazy beautiful, it's crazy long, it's crazy technical and it is CRAZY hard. And you know what? We have over 70 crazy brave and awe inspiring women already signed up!!! Now THAT is amazing. It keeps being said that grown men, avid cyclists have given up on the hills of this course and yet these women are coming back for a SECOND time to show us what they've got and through tenacity and training they WILL CONQUER THE CATS!!!!
So, whether you cycle or not, are into women's sporting events or not, love the scenic Catskills or not, this event what it represents, and these women deserve our respect and our support. Because this is epic! These women are epic for being amazing racers, the donations we will be able to give to the Hope's Fund for women is epic, and of course... this course is EPIC.
www.WWCGP.com <---- Check it out and join us this Friday and Saturday!!!
So, this year I am lucky enough to be involved in America’s only women-only cycling grand prix! How amazing is that?! Not only that I get to do something super cool but more importantly that we Women now have our own Cycling Grand Prix race!
The race takes place in beautiful upstate new york and is between 32 and 65 miles depending on which category you sign up for (Pro 1-2, Cat 3 or Cat 4). The Pro 1-2 is no joke if you are familiar with the formidable hills of upstate New York you know what I'm talking about.
Another beautiful thing about this race (apart from the scenery of course!) is that this event will help to raise funds and awareness for HOPE’s Fund; which I was also lucky to enough to be a part of at the very beginning of my entrepreneurial adventures. The HOPE's Fund and affiliated projects helped me to gain the confidence, education and other tools for success under my belt. They are largely the spring in my first steps that allowed me to make the leap into my own practice as an Exercise Physiologist and Personal Health Coach. For this I am so proud to be a part of an event, like Woodstock Women's Cycling Grand Prix, which gives back to such an enriching community of Women for Women.
We would love to have you there as an athlete, a sponsor a spectator or volunteer. Join us in spreading the wealth of Women for Women in athletics and beyond.
Thankfully, our calendar tells us that SPRING is finally here! Now we just have to wait for Spring to actually get here...
In the mean time may I suggest getting in the swing of things? It may feel a bit premature but the warm weather will soon be here and so will summer. At that point you'll be left feeling like you missed the boat! Like two years ago when I thought I could plant my garden in July and have fruits and veggies before it snowed in November. It just isn't going to happen!!!
So don't let the cold spring weather trick you into thinking you might actually have more time to get bikini ready or prepared for that race/event you've been mulling over in your head all winter long.
Get going now, start making a plan. Do you want a trainer who will be with you during every workout to make sure you're form is correct? Do you want a coach who will give you an exercise plan and meet with you every other week to make sure things are going smoothly? Do you have goals to lose a whole bunch of weight and the desire to run your first 5k? Are you finally brave enough to mount your bicycle or lace up your running shoes without the worry of poor drivers and fearsome snowbanks? Do you want to try your hand at a Triathlon this year or simply survive the local nursery school's 5k run to raise money for colored pencils and glue?
Whatever YOUR goal is, get on it! It's spring!!!!
Ok, so I'm a little late for the actual New Years celebrations but that doesn't mean I can't help you to make a fresh start!
I have a whole bunch of tools in my treasure chest and many of them are here just for that reason.
For starters, I've got some nifty calendars made up to help you set your goals. If you're a Facebook follower (please do!) you may have already seen them and hopefully even taken advantage of printing it out and filling it in! You better hurry up and get over there (to FB I mean) because the next calendar is going to roll out soon!!! February is around the corner... Yikes!
An even BIGGER tool I have can be found here: Stop Challenge Choose . As a personal health coach with Take Shape For Life (another fantastic and life changing program, ask me about it!) I have access to this totally kick butt 12 Week Challenge. The best part? Anyone can do it and it is FREE. Who doesn't want to kick start their health, receive daily motivational and inspirational emails and get their body moving in the right direction free of cost? (If you really think about it I'd say no one.) The whole Challenge is there to help you and you can go at YOUR pace. It's perfect really. I'm doing it and not only am I applying it to my health but I am also applying it to my business. After all, a less stressful more successful business will help me maintain a healthier body right? Yes, just agree because stress wrecks the body. (Jump in on one of my stress management classes and I'll tell you all about it.)
If you decide to sign up for the 12-Week Challenge, CONGRATULATIONS!!!! And be sure to click on the box that says "I Know/Have A Health Coach" be cause you do, Cortney Whitebay and I'll be there for you if you have any questions or concerns.
So I read an interesting article this week. It was more like a poll of health and fitness professionals. The question posed to these professionals was, "Fresh Food Prep Vs. Exercise: Is One More Important?" You might be interested to hear that some trainers would rather see their clients spending more time preparing their food. Why? you may ask: 1.) If you're cooking you're standing and moving around, not sitting while the microwave does the work. 2.) If you're preparing your food fresh you're probably making better food choices for you and your family. Better food choices = better functioning bodies = happy healthy people. 3.) Cooking can be a pretty good workout itself. I made some delicious Thai Mung Bean Pancakes this week and it calls for grated vegetables. I used a hand grater and got one heck of an arm workout! And have you ever hand whipped your whipped cream or homemade egg nog? Christmas is coming... I dare you to try it ;-)
The start to Thai pancakes! Grated kohlrabi, carrot, and chopped scallions. Let me know if you'd like the recipe!
When we are thirsty we tend to grab a tasty beverage and generally think we are doing well by our bodies. But what you may not realize is that what you drink can have profoundly different affects, some of which may be the complete opposite of what you are trying to achieve.
Hydration is what our bodies want when the sense or feeling of thirst is triggered. But how we respond to that feeling can be quite counterproductive. For example you reach for a can of cola or cup of coffee; which contain caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic and will actually take fluid from your body, and cause you to make a large deposit it into a nonrefundable receptacle of your urgent choosing. Not quite what you wanted it for...
Sweet and/or sugary beverages can also prove to be problematic. Along with the fact that many of them are caffeinated, sugar beverages can also spike your blood sugar levels and sweet beverages (real sugar or not) may cause you to drink more than you intended due to their sweetness; thus injecting your with real or fake sugars/sweeteners and a host of other artificial products.
Drinking sugary juices or sodas also introduce extremely large quantities of liquid calories, (which will turn into fat if your activity level isn't high enough to use them up). Not to mention that pesky blood sugar spike of craziness coupled with the disaster crash of all sugar induced motivation. It's kind of like sending your body on a roller coaster ride and I hazard a guess that if you partake in enough roller coaster rides you will feel ill.
So, be conscientious of what you drink to cure your thirst. Try to stick to water- with juices and other drinks in strict moderation. As always I encourage you to read the labels and see what is in your food/beverages and be ever mindful of the calorie and sugar content in your favorite drinks.
Last time I spoke a little to doing what makes you happy when you set out to exercise. But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. While I never want to diminish anyone's enthusiasm, I do want to caution those who might have a tendency to "over-do-it" in the beginning.
When starting most new things it is a necessary tightrope walk between maintaining enthusiasm and maintaining control. Have you ever heard a friend say, "I've tried and I just can't run!" or " Well, I can run for about a minute but that's it and I'm completely beat." It's a perfect example of stellar enthusiasm and a not so productive loss in control. For many individuals this happens because they have not been taught how to control their pace and they are literally going at it as fast and hard as they can. I give these friends an A+ for effort and a little tip for the future--- s.l.o.w. down and enjoy your journey!
A pretty good way to find your pace when you are not used to running is by taking the first day out as a walk. Not a comfortable stroll but a brisk walk. A walk that makes you re-think just how "easy" walking is. Walk for 20-30 minutes, break a sweat, go home and have a nourishing meal and plenty of water. If you feel a bit sore the next day, take another walk (you can go a bit easier on yourself). Do what you can in terms of duration (still aiming for 20-30min) and keep up the routine all week long allowing your self a day of rest every 2 or 3 days (if you are walking hard enough that you have some soreness). If you're not sore at all keep it going 6 days a week until you're in a good routine.
By starting out slow, giving your body time to heal and rejuvenate between exercise sessions you will set yourself up for success at a long term, feel good exercise routine.
So, there are lots of great ways to get started on your new exercise regimen. Keeping a positive frame of mind is one of them! So many of us think of exercising as "work" and I'm not going to lie to you- it is. BUT it doesn't have to feel like work. The little guy in this picture doesn't think it's work at all because to him its play!
So, if you are having a hard time wrapping your mind around getting out there to "work"; don't! Get out there and PLAY! Bring a friend to the gym or rail trail. Find a new mountain trail to hike or bike. Rent a canoe for the day. Or one of my personal favorites- stick the baby in a comfy carrier hike to a pond, bring a healthy picknick lunch and let her watch the fish swim, tadpoles wiggle and the ducks fly by.
Spring is the perfect time of year to start making positive changes in our lives. The days are getting longer, the weather is nicer and we get to see the world around us come to life as the plants pop out of the earth and leaves open on the trees. With all this new energy around us and the sweet smell of spring flowers it is also the perfect time of year to get out of the house and start exercising more often! Even if you have a home gym it can be extremely motivating to get outside and soak up some sun; which has its own happy benefits! (Just be careful not get burned!)
If you are at all like me or the many people out there who find it difficult to get things going, the best way to get into a routine is to start small and preferably with a friend or two for added motivation. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to go all out on their first attempt at exercise and get burnt out or hurt before you even get the ball rolling. Walking 20-30 minutes a day is a fantastic way to start yourself out. As you start to feel better about simply taking the time out of your day to do that you can start walking faster and/or longer each week until you build up to a full session of brisk walking or jogging depending on your goals.
I like to register for local races to keep me motivated. They hold me accountable for my training and allow me to have a social element on race day! I love love love getting together with a giant group of people (almost ALL of which are strangers to me) and sharing the gift of health and camaraderie on race day. I don't ever expect to come in as #1 but it's a wonderful feeling to keep pushing myself and others towards new goals and hearing your fellow racers and spectators cheering all around you throughout the tough patches is so worth the time and effort I put in during my solo training sessions.
I am an Exercise Physiologist and mother of two lovely ladies. I love teaching my community about health and wellness and I love helping likeminded people implement natural solutions into their everyday lives.