With three weeks behind us in the Strong Together journey, we hope everyone is feeling some pride. Pat yourself on the back for sticking with it! If you've missed some training along the way, you can always go back and reference week 1, week 2 and week 3.
This week's message from Coach Sara:
How often have you said, or heard someone say, “I worked out today, so I can have another…(insert food of choice)”? People commonly use food as a reward to get them through a workout. While that's fine now and then, if you have this mindset every time you go for a run or walk you probably aren’t fueling your body with the proper nutrition that it needs. I encourage you all to start thinking about food as a tool to make you stronger and healthier. Instead of working out to eat, try to shift your mentality: you're eating to fuel your workout.
It can be overwhelming when you're beginning a new regimen, so try to focus on a couple small things at a time. Think about all the quick and easy things you CAN do to make a positive impact each day instead of all the things you shouldn’t be doing. As with every other aspect of our lives, it's all about finding a balance. Just because you want to eat healthy, that doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself every now and then; it just means you learn to make better choices when possible.
Think of your approach to diet and exercise as a positive cycle. When you eat better, you feel better. When you feel better, you have better workouts. When you work out, you want to eat better and the cycle continues!
Here are a few suggestions to help create a healthier/happier you now.
- Water, water, water and then more water! Aim to drink 72-96 ounces of water each day. Sounds like a lot but the benefits are outstanding!
- Keep it clean! Aim for grilled, lightly seasoned and foods with little or no sauce. You'll feel full without drowning your food in heavy sauces and grease.
- Eat your veggies. Fresh or steamed. Not a fan? Try adding veggies in smoothies or juices. Vegetables provide essential vitamins and fiber to keep you energized and your skin glowing.
- Balance carbs with protein. Protein is crucial for muscle recovery and repair, while complex carbs (whole grains, breads, etc.) keep you fueled for your daily activities. If you're working out first thing in the morning, you may not want to eat before but make sure you refuel with a good source of protein within an hour after. If you are running between meals, have a small snack before so you have the energy to complete the workout.
- Control those portions! Be mindful of true serving sizes. An restaurant average meal ranges from two to three actual portions, so divide your plate in half and take the rest to go.
- Plan your meals. Knowing what you are going to eat ahead of time will help reduce last minute trips to the fast food drive-thru, also keeping you fueled and on track with your goals.
- Listen to your body. If you know something doesn’t agree with you or you have guilt over eating it, you might want to take that out of your diet. Eat foods that leave you feeling satisfied but good about your decision.
Throughout your other roles in life, you give so much to others. You also deserve the best you can give yourself, each day, through small choices!
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Your "To-Do's" for this week are:
- Follow the Week 4 schedule in the Sofa2Success training plan.
- Follow our bloggers! Keep up with "Extreme Weight Loss" star Georgeanna Johnson, Christina Mushi-Brunt, Piper Riggs and Shannon Snow as they share their stories about Strong Together and the road to fitness. Their blog for the week is below.
- Check out Georgeanna's Fit is Well blog post on how to prepare to eat well all week. Preparation is key and Georgeanna shares her tips on how to plan meals for healthy eating success.
- Register for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K and join our Strong Together team! Click "Join Strong Together" on the right side, and set a personal fundraising goal for yourself. Enter "STRONG" in the discount code area to receive $10 off.
- Join the Strong Together Facebook group. Post any questions or concerns that you may have to this group and/or arrange to meet up with other participants in your area if you want to train with others.
- It's not too late to invite someone! Sign up a friend here.
This week, we asked our bloggers to discuss their favorite workouts. See their answers below.
From Georgeanna: For me, the past year was all about working out. Throughout the year we tried so many types of workouts. Some I loved, others I’m glad I only did once. The great thing was that I was able to try new things with my fellow Extreme Weight Loss cast members. I didn’t have to go into a new situation alone. Having a group of people in the same boat as me was very encouraging.
We did walking, running, hiking, yoga, CrossFit, swimming, Zumba, spin, circuit training and much more. We were always active and always trying new workouts. After trying so many options, I was able to decide which forms of exercise that didn't strike a chord with me: Zumba and spin. I could also select workouts that I now incorporate to my regular routine, such as CrossFit, running, and yoga.
I enjoy CrossFit because it's a quick intense workout. It only lasts an hour, but it wears me out! There is strength training, which intimidates some women, but I have loved throwing some weight on the bar and pumping iron! Then we do the "Workout of the Day," also known as the "WOD". It usually involves some weight bearing movements, paired with cardio movements (running or rowing) that add up to an intense fat-burning workout. These workouts have not only helped me lose weight, but gain strength. What’s the best part about CrossFit? The workouts change everyday so you’re not stuck doing the same thing as the day before.
My other go-to form of exercise has been running. As I said last week, I didn't always love it, but I have come to really enjoy it! It's great cardio. I love that it can be such a great stress reliever, calorie burner, and when I'm done I feel like I solved the day's problems.
As I worked out this year, I loved seeing the pounds come off, but more importantly, I loved that I was gaining confidence in myself. As I have settled in at my final goal weight, I still work hard to keep the weight off, and to continue to get stronger, faster, more fit. I love no longer being ashamed of my body, but feeling confident in my own skin.
From Christina: I would love, love, love to say that my favorite workout is the Sofa2Success scheduled walks/runs, but to be honest with you, I usually start out my runtime dreading them a bit. Why do I dread them so much? It's the heat! Having recently moved from the midwest, I'm still getting used to the Oklahoma heat. Even going out for my scheduled walk/jog routine at 8:30pm, I still end up a hot, sweaty mess. I labor to jog even a full minute or two. Since quitting isn't an option I will entertain, I needed to make a change. I am NOT a morning person, so waking up early to work out has never sounded appealing to me. Well, this past Sunday, I decided to change things up a bit. I went to Earlywine Park on Sunday morning before church. The sun wasn't too hot and there was a gentle breeze blowing. I felt great both during and afterward.
This week, while my husband helped get the kids ready for school, I went out for my walk in the morning instead of waiting for the evening after they went to bed. I didn't feel the oppressive heat. I felt happy when I reached home. This is a considerable change from my normally cranky morning self. I've also added some fun dance aerobics videos to my cross-training days. My two favorites are a Bollywood aerobics video and a couple of YouTube fitness routines set to the music of one of my favorite singers, Mandisa. There's something about dancing to Mandisa's "Good Morning" and "Shackles" that gets me energized for the day. Another change that I've noticed is when I am consistent with cross-training, I have more stamina during the Sofa2Success scheduled walk/run days.
I love music and Sheryl Crow's song "A Change Would Do You Good" comes to mind this week. If your workout routine isn't working for you, change it up, friends. Try running at a different location or a different route for a change of scenery. Try running at a different time of the day. Try running with a buddy, your dog, your kiddos, catching up to the mailperson driving through your neighborhood, or whomever. Try a different song list or download an audio version of the book you've been trying to read all summer (or is that just me?). Whatever works for you…don't be afraid to make a change and you just might be in for some internal and external changes; just don't give up on the awesome work you've started for yourself!
From Shannon: Favorite Workout? This is an easy answer. Boxing. Yes, I box. A year ago, if you would have asked me my favorite workout, I would say maybe walking? Running wasn't necessary fun a year ago, but it was a must in order for me to start my healthy weight loss. I hadn't been introduced to boxing yet, and probably never would have if it wasn't for a weight loss challenge I was introduced to that included boxing.
Boxing sounds tough, but I am tough! I like to wrap my hands, put on the boxing gloves and hit something. It is good for the mind, my mental focus for the day, and I am a much better mom, wife and person after I get in a good workout. Plus, all the added calories I burn when I box is normally more calories burned than running. Oh, back to running. Boxing has made my running game better. I am faster, quicker and my endurance for long runs benefit from boxing. Can you tell I love boxing?
From Piper: Having played tennis at Oklahoma Christian University, I was used to working out and being active on a daily basis but after college it became much more difficult for me to find a group setting in which I felt comfortable to work out. It was also harder to motivate myself to do anything since I knew no one was counting on me to be there. I was, however, interested in running. So in 2009, I signed up to run a half marathon with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Running has never been something I greatly enjoyed but there was something calming about being outside in nature and pushing my body as far as it would go. It is also mentally engaging for me to run because I find myself always thinking and encouraging myself to push through the pain. I followed the training regimen pretty closely for the half marathon until the very end, when I had some major distractions that prohibited me from training. I ended up running the race with my mom and while it was a great experience, one thing that surprised me the most when I crossed the finish line was how much I wanted to do it all over again. It had seemed like a daunting task at first but when I realized that the goal was attainable, I was ready to work even harder the next time.
While running may seem boring, painful or too time consuming, it really has been the workout that I love the most. It is always challenging and gives me the opportunity to push myself in ways that I never thought possible. It is also a common denominator between people and has allowed me to rekindle friendships, get to know new people and be encouraged by total strangers who train right beside me. I would urge anyone to try walking or running as a way to work out, there are very minimal costs associated with it and you can work out literally anywhere.
As we enter into the second half of the training for the Susan G. Komen OKC Race for the Cure 5K, I would encourage everyone to keep going, don’t give up, any energy that you can give to working out will be beneficial to your overall health and will serve as an incredible example to those around you.