Just the right push to succeed!
Eating Vs. Exercise
Most of us think of places like a gym or a treadmill when we think of where to go to get in shape. The more subtle truth is that the kitchen trumps most locations when it comes to its impact on our fitness levels. Running for 30 minutes will burn approximately 350-500 calories or slightly more than 1/10th of a pound of body fat. Eating a candy bar takes less than a minute and will negate most, if not all of the positive affects of that 30 minute run.
In times of stress, I like many others, tend to eat more. Over the last few months, I’ve regrettably watched much of my hard-earned rewards of exercise get wiped away by snacks and overeating. It can be so frustrating. This time of year can be especially tough with the holidays approaching and that darn leftover Halloween candy!?
Fitness is an ongoing journey that will take us through many highs and lows in our lifetime. As long as we stay committed for the long-haul, we can weather small setbacks and derailments. And while short-term goals are great ways to motivate us towards a weight loss number or event, make sure that you also set some long-term goals to help you stay on that path of good habits that you started.
Here are some ways to make the kitchen an ally in your fitness quest:
- Freeze left-over goodies: Left over Halloween candy and Christmas cookies can be frozen and gradually enjoyed over time rather than all at once. Besides, if I take them out of the cabinet (snack territory) and put them into the freezer (dessert territory), I’m more likely to eat them on special occasions only.
- Bring in leftovers to the office: One way to clear the kitchen of all those calories (read “pounds”), is to bring them into the office, school, church, or other area where they’ll quickly disappear. You’ll be looking for those treats late at night…sometimes it’s best to get rid of them!
- Don’t Buy it!: My snacking habits are best when the cookie cabinet is empty and I have to resort to dry cereal or fruit ;-). If you can, try not to buy all of that stuff that you will eventually force yourself to avoid. If you have children, try splitting the cookie package into zip-lock bags for the kid’s snacks and lunches. You might be less likely to raid their lunch bags than you would an open package of cookies.
- Write everything down: When it doubt, go back to step 2 of your fitness plan and re-start a
Is it tedious? Yes. Does it work? Yes. Think about it. As you grab that stack of chocolate chip cookies and flip over the package only to realize that 2 cookies are 230 calories, you’ll probably do 1 of 2 things: One, put back all but 2 cookies (counting the one in your mouth); or Two, put back all of the cookies and mutter nasty words under your breath! Food logs work. If you really want to get back on track and get where you want to be, write down what you eat.
With the holidays quickly approaching, you need not swear off all tasty foods and treats that you enjoy so much. Just plan ahead and limit the splurges. For example, skip a few dinner rolls so that you can have a piece of pumpkin pie; or have a piece of fruit for lunch, so that you can enjoy a few drinks during the holiday bowl games. There are countless creative ways to “bank” calories for the good times, try the ways that work best for you.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet a local Cross Country All-American & Olympic hopeful, Macharia Yuot. But as it turns out, Macharia's running resume pales in comparison to his inspirational life-story. Macharia is one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. During the two-decade-long civil war in Sudan, Macharia left his family with thousands of other boys to escape the violence. Their journey took them over 500 miles through Ethiopia into Kenya. This trek was very treacherous and took thousands of lives due to disease, starvation, and thirst.
Many of these survivors made it to a Kenyan refugee camp where they were selected to come to the United States in 2000, during one of the largest US relocation programs in history. Macharia and some other Lost Boys became a part of our community, as they settled into the Philadelphia area. Macharia went to West Catholic High School; did well in Track & Field, and was ultimately recruited to run for Widener University where he became a 6-time NCAA Division III Champion. And a quick side story…the morning after Macharia WON the Division III Cross Country Championship in Ohio…he placed 6th in the Philadelphia Marathon with a time of 2:25:39?! (I rested for 2 days….and was 45 minutes behind him ;-)
Macharia’s story was aired on ESPN’s E:60 at the end of October
(click here to view the video clip).
His story is one of absolute human triumph. His positive attitude and optimism are contagious. Watch his story and you will have a renewed motivation to succeed. It’s stories like his…perseverance, hard work, and a positive attitude…that help us to keep the faith in our goals and in ourselves. It’s about keeping your chin up and striving for a better tomorrow. Macharia’s story epitomizes the human “race”.
On another note, his story brings to light a society that is far less fortunate than what most of us are used to, an African culture called the Dinkas. Macharia and his coach, Vince Touey, have started a charity to help his home village called
The Sorghum Fields Project.
The proceeds will be used to help the Dinkas in Sudan procure things like medicine & fresh water wells...simple things. If you’re looking for a charity to adopt during this holiday season, please consider The Sorghum Fields Project. It’s a great cause.
Inspirational stories like Macharia’s can often spark a much needed jolt to our own motivation and drive. Fitness is not an individual competition, but rather a joint human venture. Keep your chin up and keep reaching for your goals, and know that there will be ups and downs along the way. As you succeed, you may just inspire those around you and provide that much-needed spark that they need to succeed. To read more about Macharia Yuot, see the
New York Road Runners interview
ESPN article from 2006.
Exercise of the Month:
The benefits of stretching are constantly being debated and can often be overlooked by even the most die-hard fitness enthusiast. Stretching will increase your flexibility over time and afford you benefits such as increased agility; reduced muscle soreness; better athletic performances; and an increased flow of blood to your joints. The stretch pictured above (hamstring) is just one of many that can benefit your routine. For more information, check out the
Every month, The Fitness Motivator adds new pages and helpful resources to assist you in meeting your fitness goals. Some of these pages came about from YOUR ideas (thank you!), while others are based on personal lessons-learned. If you haven’t been on the site in awhile, here are just a few of the pages added since the last newsletter:
**Updated** with all of the best-priced gadgets & gear for the runners on your shopping list!
Gifts for Runners:
Don't let this common running injury sneak up on you. Here are some ways to avoid, diagnose, and treat it.
Read this page to avoid yet another overuse injury, or greatly reduce the training downtime it may cause.
If you have any feedback (positive or negative), success stories to share, or suggestions for future articles, please feel free to drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you and we take all feedback, suggestions...and yes, even criticism very seriously. We’ll use this information to improve our newsletter and The Fitness Motivator site to help you and others like you attain your fitness goals.
Keep up the great work & stay focused on your goals. Best of luck & Happy Holidays!!
Encouragement to Succeed!
P.S. - Please feel free to forward this to a friend!