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Lululemon Clarendon: Sprint, Squat, Savasana

My secret to meeting people is exercise. So one of the first things I did when I got to Clarendon was run over to Lululemon. Not only do they have a weekly run club, but this group has events like the one I went to this past Sunday.

The layout of the event was this. Meet at the store to run a quick mile over to a local park. There we were asked to split into groups of two or three to join a larger group to do 25 minutes of CrossFit. After that we cooled down with 25 minutes of yoga.

I had a minor freak out in the morning when I couldn’t find my shorts. Thank god the store is literally downstairs. I ran in got a new pair of shorts and mingled with the crew and the other participants that came a little early.

The weather was absolutely perfect. The sun was shining and there was a cool breeze that really made it not so sweltering out.

The run was probably the easiest mile I have done in a while and since I am still learning the streets around here it was good to see a new route.

The CrossFit was RIDICULOUS. After they broke us into the larger groups we ran through six stations. The first was a sled pull of about 76 lbs up and down a small hill. The second was a sandbag lift. It sounds easier than it is I SWEAR. That was followed by burpees and sprinting and then medicine ball crunches. More work with the medicine ball followed that included overhead lunges and squats with a throw.

The sled pull

Now I love yoga. I completely understand its benefits, but according to one of the gals at Lululemon people who typically do CrossFit don’t do yoga. So part of this event was to get more Crossfitters to do yoga.

What was supposed to be a relaxing cool down, was at first another serious workout. My legs were shaking and my arms were going to give out if I did one more chaturanga. It was interesting to do yoga with sneakers on and I am not quite sure I was doing the poses correctly.

"Relaxing" yoga

Overall, I really liked the event and I met a few nice people. Plus, I have a new found love for Crossfit!

*Pictures are courtesy of Lululemon, because I couldn’t figure out how to run with a water bottle, towel and camera.


Headlines Draw Dieters In

Newsflash people don’t read, except you since you are reading. I am writing this for someone to read right?

A new study found that dieters are more likely than non-dieters to be misled by food names. Apparently, “fruit chews” are healthier than anything labeled “candy chews,” and ate more the candy when it was called fruit chews.

University of South Carolina researchers found it interesting that dieters fell into these naming traps more than those who don’t really care about what they eat.  The study shows that dieters base their food decisions on the name of the food item instead of the ingredients of the item. As a result, they may eat more than what their dieting goals prescribe.

Do you read your food labels to see what the actual ingredients are? I think the key message here is just having a white check doesn’t mean it is good for you.


Chocolate Milk Does a Body Good

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin validated something I’ve known for quite some time. Low-fat chocolate milk after a tough workout provides the right mix of carbohydrates and high-quality protein needed for recovery.

Athletes such as Michael Phelps drew attention to this at the 2004 Olympics when he was seen to be drinking Carnation chocolate drinks after swims.

The study linked the beverage to improved performance, quicker exercise adaption, and better body composition. Sports drinks lack natural protein and carbohydrates that are naturally occurring in milk. And with Vitamins A and D plus calcium provided through milk, it helps in bone strengthening and building muscle.

Based on studies done by Dr. Joel Stager that conducted research on bicyclists who drank Gatorade and chocolate milk after exhausting their muscles, shows that those who drank chocolate milk were able to recover quickly and last just as long while bicycling to those who had Gatorade

I prefer Silk Chocolate Soy milk. For one, it doesn’t have to be refrigerated so I can throw it in my bag and not worry about it after a race. Two, it tastes really good. Three, soymilk often contains fewer calories than regular milk and is actually healthier for your digestive tract because it allows you to obtain soy protein, as well as a source of vegetables.

Any favorite after exercise recovery drinks?


The Path to Creativity

Most of our lives consist of habits. We walk/drive to walk along the same route. In meetings, we sit in the same seat and at restaurants, we order the same dish.  Generally, if you do something right and well the first time it is a good idea to do it that way again.

Unfortunately, that reliance on memory can also hinder your creativity. Psychologist Tom Ward calls the use of memory in problem solving the Path of Least Resistance. In his research, he finds that when he asks people to be creative, they are still strongly influenced by what they know.

So how do we spark creativity? Art Markman, a professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Texas at Austin recommends the following:

  • Place constraints on the problem. This may sound a little wonky. We often think it is best to have as few constraints as possible to be creative, but the focus may allow you to maneuver through solution quicker.
  • Inject some randomness. Create a solution that incorporates an element that is selected at random. The randos keep you from using solutions you already know about.
  • Add distance. There is a fancy psychology theory that says the further you are from something, the more abstractly you think about it. Markman suggests thinking that you have to create a solution to your problem that will be used in another country.
  • Do it for someone else. Try to imagine solving the issue for someone else.
  • Experience new cultures. Adapting to and learning about new cultures helps new memories and ideas form. This helps people become better at seeing that  any problem can be approached in multiple ways.

Can I Do Back to Back?

The kickboxing class I used to take on Monday nights is directly followed by a total body weight class. More than once, one of the gals from kickboxing stayed for the next class.

And the last time I went to Bikram there were not one, but two people doing two classes in a row. I can barely make it through one!

I used to do a spin class followed by a vinyasa yoga class, but I feel like that is a little different.

So I wonder, can I do a hardcore cardio class followed by another? Is that even safe? Or will it just wear me down to the point of exhaustion?


The Salt Debate Still Wages

We just can’t agree whether we need to cut back on salt or not. We’ve already discussed some of the reasons we need salt in our diet (To Pass the Salt or Not). A Journal of the American Medical Association study published this last month surprisingly concluded that too much salt might not raise the risk of cardiovascular disease complications.
Adding to the confusion, death rates appeared to be higher in those with lower sodium levels.
Harvard’s School of Public Health calls into question the size of the study, the methodology and the fact that there is some data missing.
The key takeaway here is this: If you make an effort to reduce salt without paying attention to other factors, such as body fat and physical activity, it’s not going to have much effect.
Where do you fall in the great salt debate?

TRX Training

I have been working out with my trainer at New York Sports Club for a few weeks now and absolutely love it.

One of the tools we use is the TRX. TRX Suspension Training started in the U.S. Navy SEALS and developed by Fitness Anywhere. It leverages bodyweight exercises and helps build strength, flexibility and balance.

All of the exercises challenge me and make my muscles work in new and different ways. See me struggling through one exercise below.

The good news is that when I move (sad, sad day) I can purchase TRX to do on my own. Hopefully, I will get the same type of workout (probably not since I won’t have Heyward standing over me), but at least I can continue what he has taught me.

The TRX Suspension Training Pro Pack runs at about $189.95, but is well worth it. Find out more http://www.trxtraining.com/.



There’s Irony in that Achievement

I have been struggling at work. I can’t explain what is wrong and I can’t figure out how to fix it.

In May’s Harvard Business Review Thomas J. DeLong, a professor at Harvard Business School, and Sara DeLong, his daughter and a psychiatrist in San Francisco, discuss how being a high achiever can eventually get in your way. They discuss plateauing and the reluctance to turn to anyone for help.

They list several “curses” of the high achiever. Now, let me tell you, these curses are like a calling card for the feedback I have received.

  • The fact that achievers can get so caught up in a task that they don’t communicate everything with colleagues. CHECK
  • Failure to distinguish between the urgent and the merely important. YEP, USED TO DO THAT
  • Caring intensely about how others view their work, but ignore the positive and obsess over criticism. I THINK THEY ARE TALKING DIRECTLY TO ME

And then there were two that I literally said “well that explains it.”

  • The passion for work creates intense highs that give way to crippling lows. For achievers, it’s a fine line between triumph and agony.
  • Being guilt-ridden, not matter how much they accomplish they still feel like they aren’t doing enough.

What the article didn’t tell me is how to fix it. They express the need to be vulnerable and ask for help, but at what point should you be doing it on your own? Or is that the whole point, you shouldn’t be.

The authors note: “Moving your A game to a new level or in a new direction takes humility, it takes practice, and it takes patience (not necessarily your strong suit).”

And again I ask myself, am I being impatient? Are the people around me impatient due to their high achiever brains?

At this point it isn’t about a promotion or more responsibility. It is about doing the job I am assigned to do with my A game intact.  I just wish I could figure out the easy answer and get back on track.


A Workout Truth

I can’t jump rope for 2 minutes. No joke, I can run half marathons and hold a plank for 90 seconds, but it is utterly impossible for me to jump rope for 2 minutes.

It isn’t the jumping. I can do 100 jumping jacks. I think it is the twirling of the arms. I thought about blaming the length of the rope the first couple of times that my trainer had me do it. (I kept it to myself as my own excuse).

So I am trying to figure out how I can get better at jumping rope. I can almost do it for a minute straight at this point. I think I am being generous there.

Do you have anything that you just haven’t been able to do? How did you overcome it?