Do You Love Dogs More Than People?

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Painting by Holly Hunter Berry (Excellent teacher & Artist!)

I believe many people love their dogs, not only more than humans, but more than their families and themselves. How so? you wonder. Most people are willing to make sure there dog gets walked or gets time outside. They are also careful to make sure that their dogs get the right kind of food. They are willing to do all of this for their dog, but not themselves.

Daily activity, daily exercise, is THE most important thing we can do for ourselves. I’ve posted before that exercise reduces risk of cancer (bowel 50%, breast 30-40%), reduces heart disease, diabetes, depression, and helps with several other problems as well. I haven’t even touched the reason most people do exercise–body image. Yet, we don’t do what is needed to take care of ourselves.

I think most people would say that animals are important. We love our pets. HOWEVER, I think most people would also say that when push comes to shove, we need to value humans more. Why then, do we not value our own health and take care of it at least as much as we do our pets’?

The Barre

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It has been a while since I posted. What have I been up to? Well, I’ve been getting ready to move. While I have been ready to pack, I have still exercised but it is taking me extra motivation. That motivation has come in taking a variety of classes at different locations.

Two of the places I have tried is Pure Barre and Define (Define Body class). Both are exercises that use a ballet barre. These classes are combinations of ballet, pilates, and yoga. There isn’t much cardio; however, I think if you took heart rates, you would get a mild cardio workout for at least thirty minutes (based on my own experience, it would drop too low to be considered cardio once you sit on the floor).

The two locations were very different in appearance but surprisingly similar in practice. They start with a warm up of walking in place (except more dancer like), weights for the upper body, deep squat/barre exercises for the legs, and lastly, ab work.

Based on my experience and speaking with other clients, Pure Barre had a much more defined sequence. The people at Define seem to vary the exercises slightly more. And this may not be the case elsewhere in the country, but Pure Barre had a dark, moody dance studio feel; whereas, Define had a bright room in front of the building with barres set in the middle of the floor as well as the sides. (But Define did also have a dark and moody cycle/revolution studio.)

Both classes gave me shake inducing strengthening (more muscular endurance than muscular strength which I have been recently focusing on). So, I would recommend these classes for someone who has been doing traditional weights and wants to get the connecting muscles to the ones you normally work–you know, those places that you say, “I’m feeling muscles I didn’t know I had.”

Oh, and it is fun to say that you are going to “The Barre” in the morning.

How Runners Propose


Photo courtesy of Flickr/CNDYHave you seen the news article on BBC about the man who mapped his run to spell out “Will you marry me”? He posted the run on Facebook and went home with a ring to check her answer.

I’ve also seen marriage vows at the start of a race. The bride and groom run together to their cake at the end of the race.

Sounds romantic to you? Share your stories here!

The More You Run, the Sooner It’s Done


IMG_0988Some people are born runners. Others are not. I fall firmly into the later category. I love triathlons for the swimming and cycling that keep me from having to do too much running in a long race. So, my mantra for running is: the more I run, the sooner I’ll be done.

This mantra really helps me when I’m tired after the first two events and feel like walking. Actually, it helps me in runs too. Think about a half marathon, if I run even a slow and steady 10 min a mile pace, I will finish in 131 minutes. If I start walking and running, getting closer to a 13 min a mile pace, I’ve got to run for an extra 40 minutes.

Now, let me do some fuzzy math…

Would you rather suffer for 2 hours or 3 hours? (Yes, I know there is some big rounding here, but all you need to do is convince your mind.) Right, I’d rather suffer for less time too, so my answer is run more.

Ideally, this would work for run faster too, but again, that would be talking to natural runners. As a non-natural runner, I know that when I’m tired and well into a race, there are only 2 options: keep running or walk. The pace of the running is going to happen at whatever pace it happens (and I’m just going to hope that it is closer to 9 min pace instead of 10).

So, if you hear someone cheering “The More You Run, the Sooner You’ll Be Done,” it is probably me. Don’t look at me too strangely, please.

Trying the Tri Again


If you read my posts last year, Sari to Tri, you know that triathlons is a family-sport for us. My MIL proved it again by competing in her first open water sprint triathlon. She completed it in 1:48! The cut-off time was 1:50, so improving by several minutes was necessary for her not to be DQed. By completing it in time, she got 2nd place. 1st place was running right beside her and finished only 20 seconds ahead. Check out this photo of these great over 65 ladies!


Not a Dr. Oz Fan, But…


Photo courtesy Flickr/Lori Joan

I’m not a Dr. Oz fan. It probably started when he sounded like a mouthpiece for the AMA trying to scare everyone about the dangers of raw milk. He talked about the dangers without talking about the problems of pasteurized milk and why raw milk is supposed to be healthier. He also didn’t concede that raw milk producers who are licensed by the state have to go through a lot more testing and keep cleaner than the producers that pasteurize. Basically, he didn’t provide a fair argument.

I haven’t even begun to look up his beliefs on midwifery because I can’t imagine that he would sanction out-of-the-hospital birth. (I will try my best not to lecture here, but I did my masters work on midwifery.)

Okay, despite my arguments about Dr. Oz, I have to admit that I am thankful for the way he is educating people on some basic ways to stay healthy. For example, he encourages eating for nutrition and minimizing sugar and far. Recently, my newspaper published an article from Dr. Roizen and Dr. Oz that encourages people to eat more fruits and vegetables to increase your mood and fight stress and inflammation. They also recommended strength training too.

I can’t argue too much with someone who so generously emphasizes nutrition and exercise over medication.

Glow Run: A family motivator


A glow run is a great way to motivate the family to move. My family just did a night-time 5k glow run. It gave the children a reason to run 3 miles.

My older child is 7, and my younger turned 6 just before the race. We started training about 5 weeks before the race date. The first week, the kids ran 1.5 miles. The next week 2 miles. Then, we increased gradually after that. They did two weeks of 3 miles.

Let me be honest, they didn’t want to practice. In fact, we were even planning on pushing my youngest in the stroller, unsure whether she would get up to 3 miles. But the idea of running with glow sticks was a huge motivation. Every time they were told that they could stop, the race was for fun and they didn’t have to do it, they kept running because they really wanted to do this race.

Tips for running a 5k Glow Run with the family:

1. For a stroller, buy battery operated lights. Stroller have to be well lit so that no one trips over them. (Sorry for the picture, this is what you get with an iPhone camera at night.)


2. Wear a glow-in-the-dark shirt or a really bright, day-glo shirt. A lot of people wore the race red shirts, but they didn’t show up in the dark. My son wore yellow and stood out. And you can see some wore glow in the dark gear.


3. Tie glowing items to your head or cap. The glow run sold headbands with lights that would work, but you could also just glue your own to a headband or tie it to a baseball cap. The glow run had given out glo-glasses, but these are impractical to run with.

4. If you are running with children or, in our case, a mother-in-law, have a plan before-hand for what to do if you get separated (on accident or on purpose due to someone running faster/slower). One of our friends’ son went much faster than everyone else, but he didn’t have a phone to call and touch base with anyone after the race. On the other hand, my son had to be told to slow down to wait for his grandmother.

Let me know your own tips & experiences on glow runs!

Train Like a Man

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Photo by Richard Foster via Flickr

Too many women fall for the myth of strength training: that men and women should lift weights differently. It isn’t true. I don’t care if you aerobic instructor who got her training back in the 80s says so. A lot of instructors, yoga or aerobic, just repeat things they have heard other instructors say without any real back-up.

Women gain strength in the same way that men do: by gradually lifting more weight. Some women have heard that they should lift light weights for more reps, but this increases muscular endurance, not muscular strength.

Only a small percentage of women have the muscles and hormones to “bulk up”, a problem some women worry about. This shouldn’t be a concern. To look like a lady-bodybuilder, most women would have to consider long hours in the gym, along with a very strict diet regime. In reality, you want to slim down and rev your metabolism? That is what adding more muscle will do for you. Think power training and plyometric work? One reason is because of needing to engage the type II muscle fibers.

So women, your guidelines are just like men: 2-3 sets of 6-12 reps. The last two should feel like you want help to lift the bar/weights. If you can do more than 12, it is time to increase your weight. If you can’t do 4, you may be pushing too hard.