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Angela Joy Health & Fitness

The healthy way to fuel for long distance running

By: Angela Joy

As a runner, or exercise enthusiast, the foods that you eat should be taken just as seriously as the shoes you wear and the time you finish in.

Unfortunately, proper diet is not always top priority.

According to Erin Strout of Running Times Magazine, runners continue to follow the age-old beliefs that eating large amounts of pasta the night before, chugging bottles of sports drinks or following fad diets, will improve performance.

However, what runners are beginning to recognize more commonly is that high quality protein, fats, carbohydrates, electrolytes and superfoods, each play an intrical role in fueling a succesful athlete.

Healthy Foods

Photo taken from wicklowpartnership.ie

Ms. Stout writes in the Running Times magazine, proper nutrition and hydration are critical components for improved running capabilities.

Upon first beginning my running career I was not aware of the importance of a healthy diet.

I maintained a seemingly healthy diet, although had not true idea of what health really was.

I followed the all of the age-old runner beliefs, leading me to suffer during my first half marathon race.

It wasn’t long after when I recognized the importance of nutrition and consuming healthy organic whole foods as a runner.

During my second half marathon I cut my time by 15 minutes, finished strong, and recovered almost immediately after.

A year or so later, I took on the next challenge – running a full marathon.

I began my training unaware of how often or what types of foods I would need while running a distance longer than 90 minutes.

I can still remember coming home from my first 15 mile run. I was ecstatic, but once I met my living room I was done for the day.

I went to bed that night with an incredible headache and woke up the next day feeling worse than ever.

It was at this point that I looked to ultramarathon champion, and author of the book, “Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness,” Scott Jurek.

SCott Jurek

Photo taken from Twitter.com

Jurek is known for his victories in nearly every elite ultra trail and road event. He is most commonly recognized for his seven straight victories at the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, his record-breaking Badwater 135-mile Ultramarathon win, and his historic 153-mile Spartathalon win.

Jurek explains the importance of eating carbohydrates prior to a run, eating carbohydrates during a run that is longer than 90 minutes, and eating protein 30 minutes after a run to restore your energy levels and avoid fatigue.

Jurek follows a whole foods plant-based diet, and suggests that runners eat a variety of organic whole foods such as grains, legumes, green vegetables and fruits.

Running

In reaction to reading Mr. Jurek’s book, and seeking guidance from other professional runners, I created this training guide to prepare for long runs:

Day before:
Avoid carbo-loading the night before.
Instead, focus on fueling your body on quality protein, unsaturated fats and carbohydrates throughout the day.
Your body will store the protein, fats and carbohyrates and utilize them the following day.
Also make sure to allow the body proper time to digest all of the food you eat, prior to race morning. In other words, try not to eat too late at night.

A sample pre-race day, or pre-long run, meal for me would include:
Organic brown rice
Black beans
Avocado
Tomato
The day before I also snack on different fruits and nuts between meals.

Morning before: Before embarking on a long run it is best to wake up at least 30 minutes to one hour before running to allow yourself to eat and digest the food.

Each runner’s stomach will handle foods and digestion differently, therefore trial and error is key – the same goes with foods eaten during the run.

Carbohydrates are key the day of a run.

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My pre-run meal often consists of a piece of cinnamon raisin Ezekiel toast with peanut butter and a banana or orange. If I wake up early, I will eat a small bowl of oatmeal with organic blueberries.

During the run: A runner only needs to consume food if they are partaking in exercise longer than 90 minutes.

If running for longer than 90 minutes it is best to eat every 30 minutes, or so, to fully restore the body’s glycogen levels.

Most professional athletes suggest eating at least 30 grams of carbohydrates every 30 minutes.

Jurek created a conversion that meets each runner’s specific needs through relying on the runner’s weight.

The runner’s body weight, divided by 2.2, multiplied by .7, equates to the amount of carbohydrates consumed while running.

Jurek’s conversion: (Body weight/2.2) x .7 = grams of carbohydrates

I weigh 130 pounds, therefore my conversion would appear as; (130/2.2) x .7 = 41.4.

What to eat on the run:

Many runners reach for sports gels to meet their carbohydrate needs while exercising.

I opted for the natural whole foods remedies.

A few examples of foods I consume while running include;
Bananas
Figs
Organic fruit baby foods
Dates

While running I eat one item every 30 to 40 minutes and drink water after every mile.

sproutbabyfood

Photo take from: livingrichwithcoupons.com

Angela’s Tip:
Bananas are a common go-to food for me while running. I often peel the banana right before the run and place it in a plastic bag untouched. I will mush it up right before I eat it to allow easier digestion and carbohydrate absorption.

Post-Run: After completing a run it is time for the body to refuel, recover and prepare for the next run.

Physiologist Deborah Shulman concluded in an article on Active.com titled, “Get enough protein post-workout,” that it is important to consume carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes of completing endurance exercise.

She explained that the nutrients consumed after exercise will fend off fatigue and promote recovery.

Ms. Schulman suggests that 20 grams of protein is optimal after completing an endurance exercise activity.

She said 20 grams can often be found in one scoop of protein powder.

What to eat after a run: Eating can be difficult after undergoing a sustained, difficult workout. My solution is to reach for a protein-packed smoothie.

I often consume one full cup of a protein smoothie after each run.

Angela 3

Photo courtesy of Angela Joy

My favorite post-run smoothie; Blueberry, banana and flax seed smoothie

  • Banana
  • Rice milk – you can use any kind of milk
  • Frozen blueberries
  • Hemp protein
  • One tablespoon of crushed flax seeds
  • One teaspoon of cinnamon

If you prefer a sweet smoothie, include one teaspoon of honey or maple syrup to the mix.

Finding Inspiration

A quote that gets me through long, strenuous runs is one of Jurek’s common phrases, “Sometimes, you just do things.”

The quote resonates with me to the fact that I don’t have a specific explanation of why I run other than the fact that I simply enjoy it.

Truly, we don’t need an explanation for why we do things that make us happy – it is just important that we go out there and do them.

Don’t worry about what people think or say – just do it.

I challenge you to go out and do something that you love for the simple reason that, “Sometimes we just do things.”

Blog Post Takeaway:

Healthy Food

Photo taken from:socialdashboard.com

Have you ever heard of the expression, “You are what you eat,” well, my motto is, “Your performance is only as good as the food that you eat.”

Therefore, make sure that you are eating well!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope it was helpful! Please share your feedback, comments, questions.

❤ Wishing you lots of love, joy and blessings

-Angela Joy

Information obtained from:

  1. http://running.competitor.com/2014/04/inside-the-magazine/the-long-run/the-long-run-eating-on-the-run_28754
  2. http://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition-for-runners/fueling-facts
  3. http://www.active.com/nutrition/articles/get-enough-protein-post-workout
  4. Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek with Steve Friedman
Featured post

Tips for Your Next DESTINATION Race

Destination Race Photo

By: Angela Ciroalo

Are you considering traveling to a race in another city, state or maybe even country? Try a destination race!
Destination races are great for solo runners, groups of friends, and even families.
They create the opportunity for the runner to visit a new place, take a vacation, meet new people, and participate in a new event.
In an effort to ensure the trip is worry-free, enjoyable and exciting, read my list of nine essential tips to prepare for your next destination race.
Earlier this year I traveled to California to run in a 10k race on the San Leandro Shoreline, a few miles from San Francisco.
The race was a lot fun, the course was beautiful, and the weather was spectacular.
As a result of my travels I shared with you several tips to help you have an awesome time and maybe even set a personal record during your next destination race.

Destination-Race-Packing-List

Pack Race Day Gear First
Before packing your favorite bathing suit, that beautiful dress that has been sitting in your closet, or the sunscreen – you may want to start by packing your essential running gear.
Imagine waking up race day morning to find out that your running shoes are sitting on your living room table?
Pack the essentials: shirt, shorts/pants, socks, shoes, gels, belts, headband, hat, or anything else that you run with on a daily basis.
When deciding on your outfit, be sure to check the weather forecast of the race destination.
For those who are concerned their gear might get lost or stolen, another option is to pack race gear in your carry on – or to even wear it during your flight, or while you are traveling.

Use Extra Travel Time to Relax
During your travels try to make time to stretch, drink plenty of fluids, rest if possible, and prevent any unnecessary stress.
Traveling can be difficult for everyone, although when you are preparing for a specific event travel can become exceedingly more difficult.
Use this time to visualize your race, remind yourself of all of the hard work you have done to prepare for this event, congratulate yourself for the success you have achieved thus far – and get excited!
Utilize this extra time during travel to prepare your body, physically and mentally. This way when you are arrive you are fully prepared for the big day.

Race at Beginning or End of Vacation? 
When planning your race destination, be cautious of where you place the race date during your trip.
Placing a race at the end of a vacation can leave you depleted and tired on race day. Additionally, you may not be in top shape and your results may suffer.
Scheduling the race in the middle of the trip can cause complications. The race may interfere with the itinerary or other vacation plans.
If possible, schedule your race at the beginning of your trip. This will allow you to race in your top shape, you will be in race mode (not vacation mode), you will be (hopefully) well rested, and you will have plenty of time to vacation and sightsee after the race is over. Most importantly you can celebrate your success throughout the remainder of the trip.
During my recent trip to California, I raced the morning after our flight arrived. Though this was slightly difficult because the flight had landed at 12 am the day prior, I was thrilled because I felt prepared, focused, and the time difference gave me an additional three hours of sleep.

What Do I Eat? 
What you will eat the night before, the morning of, during the race, and after the race are all very important factors to take into consideration.
The pre-race meal and the post-race meals are generally the more important meals, therefore you will want to be extra cautious when planning these out.
The last thing you want is to eat food your stomach is not familiar with the night before a race causing you to feel uncomfortable or ill. Stick to the age old tip; don’t try anything new race week.
When choosing a restaurant, pick food that you are familiar with eating the night before a run. In the event of an emergency or issue, be sure to pack snacks and foods that can be easily stored and consumed.
After the race be sure to not wait too long to properly refuel with adequate nutrients.
Some great tools to use when choosing your pre- and post-race meals include Zagat, LocalEats, Open Table or Yelp. These websites and smartphone applications with help you to locate restaurants and eateries that fit your needs.

Transportation to The Race
For those who utilized public transportation to arrive to their location be sure to pre-plan transportation for race morning.
The morning of a race can be stressful, tiring, upsetting and even nerve-wrecking.
In an effort to avoid confusion, or even arriving to the race late, plan your route and method of transportation in advance.
Ordering a taxi cab or using online transportation networks like Uber or Lyft can save you time, energy and money.
During my trip to California I used Lyft to arrive to my race destination race. The cost was inexpensive and the process was accommodating and safe.
Renting a car is another safe option. A can rental can also be beneficial if you plan to sightsee later that day.

Proper Hydration During Travels
Traveling often leaves the body dehydrated and tired. In an effort to avoid this common issue pack a reusable water bottle to use during your trip.
Most hotels offer filtered water to their guests and locations to refill water bottles.
Be sure to drink plenty of fluids the days you are traveling to and from your destination, the day before your race, directly after your race, and during your sightseeing ventures.

Sleep and Rest
It is quite common for athletes to lose sleep the night before a big event.
In an effort to avoid race day fatigue, make an effort to receive adequate sleep the days leading up to the race.
The days leading up to a race are often spent tapering (running less to rest your legs), therefore your body will appreciate the extra sleep.
After tapering and sleeping 8-10 hours before the big day you will arrive to race day fully prepared to give your best effort.
After the race, you will also want to set aside some extra time to rest your legs, sleep, stretch, foam roll and walk.

Destination-Races-600x600

Proper Post-Race Recovery
After a race it is easy to get caught up in the post-race activities, food and festivities; however these actions can make recovery very difficult.
After your race make time for your regular post-race routine which should include; hydrating with electrolytes and water; re-fueling with adequate protein, carbohydrates and fats as well as vitamins and minerals; stretching and foam rolling; resting and recovering; and getting a good night of sleep.
This may be difficult if you have limited time in your location and you want to squeeze everything in, however keep in mind that chances are you will feel it later.
After my race in California, I showered and went directly out to sightsee and explore.
While this was beneficial for my legs to spend time walking after the race, I did not to take some time to stretch, rest and properly refuel.
As a result, I felt fatigued and sore by the end of the day.
Take it from me, the extra hour of rest, proper refueling, and stretching can make a world of difference while decreasing recovery time dramatically.

Have Fun!
Take photos, do funny poses, make new friends, try new foods, take in the sights, try your best – and have a good time.
The purpose of your trip is to enjoy yourself. Destination races often go down as one of our top 10 favorite races ever completed.
They are filled with a sense of freedom, opportunity, mystery and excitement.
Take this time to enjoy this experience.

SF

Caption: Me in San Francisco for a destination race in February 2017 – Took first in my age group!

Tips for a First Half Marathon

Sadbhavana-Half-Marathon1

By: Angela Joy

The half marathon race is a running race made up of 13.1 miles, or one half of the full marathon distance of 26.2.

The half marathon distance is an appealing race. The event is long enough to serve as a challenge while not as intimidating as the full marathon.

In 2014 the half marathon race was recognized as the “fastest growing standard” race distance in the United States with a “12.5 percent annual finisher growth rate” from 2006 to 2012, according to RunningUSA, a not-for-profit organization that conducts annual studies on race registration, involvement and results.

In 2014 a total of 2,046,600 participants completed a half marathon race, an increase from 724,000 in 2006, according to a 2014 RunningUSA report.

What makes the half marathon so attractive? Red Bank resident and runner Donna Rubin feels that the half marathon is “very challenging, but attainable.”

She explains that once runners have completed the 5k or 10k they are ready for the “next step.”

“Half marathons are popular because they appeal to a wide range of runners,” Rubin, who completed the Philadelphia Love Run Half Marathon in March, stated. “The races often have fun themes, offer great ‘swag,’ and market themselves as destination races.”

She went on to explain that the half marathon races “seem like a fun event for friends to do together, while offering a nice reward for the investment in training.”

The state of New Jersey hosts an average of 30 to 40 half marathon races each year, according to the ‘Running in the USA’ race calendar.

The events are held particularly in the spring and fall, with the exception of a few races offered in the winter and summer months.

For those preparing for a summer or fall half marathon race, check out these 10 tips to prepare for your first half marathon this 2017.

  1. Decide why you are running the half marathon

Be clear with yourself about why you have chosen this race distance. Why it is important to you? Whether the race is symbolic, a challenge you would like to achieve, or is a stepping stone to another goal, decide this early on.

Remembering your purpose will motivation you on days when you want to skip training, sleep in, or better yet – quit.

  1. Establish your base

Local running coach and race director Bob Both confirms, “The half marathon distance is a popular one.” Both is the race director for the Asbury Park RunAPalooza race in April. He is also the RunCollege training group coach.

“(The half marathon) is a doable distance for any runner who already feels comfortable with running a 5k (3.1 miles) or five-mile race,” Both said.

New runners should not choose a half marathon as their first race. New runners should take time to build up to a race of 13.1 miles through proper training.

“For most who plan to do their first half it is endurance which is most critical,” Both said. “It is important to gradually build up your mileage.”

In an effort to avoid injury, Both suggests building up to a half marathon gradually. “Your body needs time to adapt and doing too much too fast can set you back.”

How much of a base should you build before taking on your first half? Both suggests running about 15 miles per week with a long run of about 5 miles.

Over a span of between 12 to 16 weeks the runner should gradually build up their long run from 5 miles to 10 or 12 miles.

Both offers training plans to his RunCollege training participants preparing for a half marathon. Training plans can be found on his website, https://sites.google.com/site/runcollege/.

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  1. Choose your race

When selecting your race keep in mind the weather you will face when training, the possible weather on race day, the amount of time you have leading up to the race, and any prior commitments you have that may impact your training.

Check out www.runningintheusa.com to view New Jersey half marathons this year.

  1. Follow a Plan

Similar to the training plan that running coach Both offers through RunCollege, there are a number of half marathon training plans available online. Not all plans available online are credible, however it is important to follow a plan week-to-week in order to build up to running 13.1 miles comfortably and safely.

Other ways to find a reliable training plan include hiring a running coach or purchasing a training plan.

There are a number of experienced running coaches in the state of New Jersey.

Additionally there are a number of training plans available for purchase. Some website that offer paid training plans include the running magazine website, www.RunnersWorld.com, the Olympic runner and running coach Jeff Galloway website, www.jeffgalloway.com, or the online training application featuring coaches from all over the world,www.trainingpeaks.com.

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  1. Get the gear

New runners may not be familiar with running shirts, shorts or proper shoes. These run-specific items are not just for show, they are created to avoid chafing and injury while offering comfort during the run.

Locally running gear can be purchased in any athletic store. Additionally, there are a number of running shoe stores in Monmouth and Ocean counties which will offer a full gait analysis. The employees will assist customers in selecting a proper shoe, socks, and additional gear, as needed.

  1. Join friends and local running groups

Registering for your goal race with a friend or family member can be very motivating.

However, if this is not possible consider joining a local running group or get in touch with friends who also run.

The Jersey Shore Running Club is one group that welcomes new members to participate in several group runs during the week and on the weekend. Joining a training group like RunCollege is another outlet.

There a number of formal and informal groups in the area. Spread the word that you are preparing for your first half marathon race and ask friends to link you with local groups. Research local groups online. Find out how to join or where to meet, and get started!

Joining a group is very motivational. The group members are indispensible during times where you are “too busy” to complete your long run or you want to “give up.”

  1. Learn your course and train accordingly

When selecting your race, view the race course. Look for the elevation of the race, the amount of curves or turns, if the race loops and where you can meet up with friends and family.

If you find that your race has a number of hills, complete a number of training runs on a hill surface. You don’t want to be surprised on race day when you find yourself running up a steep hill that you did not train for.

If your race offers it, you may be able to complete a training run on the race course. This will familiarize you with the course and prepare you for any potential hiccups that may occur along the way.

  1. Fuel the run

When preparing for a half marathon race it is highly likely that participants will be running the longest distance they may ever have completed.

When the body is participating in exercise for long periods of time it is important to properly refuel with carbohydrates in order to avoid feeling ill and tired.

Any bout of exercise longer than 90 minutes should include carbohydrate intake, either in the form of liquid, gel or food.

Registered Sports Dietitian and author Nancy Clark recommends taking in carbohydrates 30 to 60 minutes into a run. When choosing a food or drink, choose a food or drink that has between 25 to 60 grams of carbohydrates and ingest this item in small doses every hour.

It is also important to eat food before running a half marathon and after a half marathon.

Food beforehand offers energy during the run. Food after the run restores lost glycogen in the muscles, creating energy in the body for the next run.

For more information on proper fueling strategies, look to Nancy Clark, M.S., R.D., www.nancyclarkrd.com.

  1. Don’t overdo it

A taper is when the training plan hits a mileage highpoint and then begins to decrease leading up to the race.

The taper period allows the body to fully rest in preparation for the race.

Both suggests running a long run of between 10 to 12 miles about 2 to 3 weeks prior to the race. Every training plan will be different, but not by much.

Once the runner has reached their longest run of the training period the taper period will begin.

The shortest amount of runs and lowest weekly mileage is found during the final week leading up to the race.

“In the final week you need to taper and cut back your mileage so your body, joints, muscles and mind are well rested,” Both stated.

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  1. Have fun

The night before and the morning of the race can be stressful. Participants have worked so hard for this moment and now it has finally arrived. There are a million things that can go wrong; there are also a million things that can go right.

The night before, eat a normal amount of dinner and relax. Stretch, drink water, rest your legs and visualize yourself running in the race. Many sports psychologists recommend visualizing the start of the race, how you will feel during the race, how you will react when you feel tired, and how you will finish the race.

Use these strategies to calm you down and try to get a good night of rest.

Race morning, focus on enjoying yourself. Take in the loud cheers, lining up in your corral, the beautiful sights, and your fellow runners.

The race is meant to be fun, so have a good time! You’ve earned it.

 

Behavior Change – How to Create New Habits

Over the weekend I learned a new term; neuroplasticity.

This term may sound scientific and intimidating, however do not allow the length or technical nature of the word steer you away.  

Neuroplasticity is actually quite amazing. The term, which was not discovered until recent years, allows our minds to change and develop throughout the entirety of our lives. We do not learn a certain amount of information up until a certain point and then remain stagnant. Our mind is able to develop, change, improve, expand and alter every day.  

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In an article published by Stephanie Liou, Project Leader and Student Researcher for the Stanford University’s Huntington Outreach Project for Education, explained that scientists previously believed that the brain “stopped developing after the first few years of life.”

As a result of new research, scientists now believe that, “the brain continues to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life,” Liou explains in the Stanford University article titled, “Neuroplasticity.” Through neuroplasticity the neurons in the brain are able to compensate for injury and adjust their activity in response to new situations or changes in the environment.

How is this possible? Neuroplasticity makes learning new skills, information or habits possible.

Neuroplasticity, as defined by Medicinenet.com, is the brain’s ability to reorganize through the formation of new neural connections.

In other words, neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to create new habits and process new information.

Each time a new experience occurs, a new decision is made, or a new action takes place, the brain will create a new pathway for this thought to take place.

Imagine walking to the store around the corner each morning for a cup of coffee. Today, instead of walking to the store you regularly frequent you decide to make a pot of coffee at home. As this new decision is made the brain will create a new neural pathway allowing this new decision to be possible.

The process is better known as the “reorganization” of the brain allowing the formation of new neural connections, according to Liou. This reorganization process is one that we can all benefit from throughout the entirety of our lives.

neuroplasticity

Putting Neuroplasticity into Practice
On the first day this new activity may feel strange or uncomfortable. The second day, you still may feel uncomfortable, while slightly familiar. The third day you may begin to think making coffee at home may not be that bad. And finally by the fourth day making coffee at home may become second nature as you recognize the cost-effective benefits.  

Each day that you choose to make a new decision the neural pathway that allows the activity to take place is strengthened. As the neural pathway is strengthen the previous pathway begins to weaken. Overtime the previous pathway will become so weak that the brain no longer triggers the mind to make the previous decision, allowing for the new decision to become second nature.

Consider how difficult it may feel the first time you drive to a new location, begin a new activity, or learn a new skill. The activity feels foreign and unfamiliar, the word sounds like a different language, and the location feels out of place.

neuro-plasticity

Putting Neuroplasticity to the Test
Sounds awesome right? Maybe even too good to be true? How about putting neuroplasticity to the test. In an effort to give this new scientific-sounding new neurological pathway to the test.

Step 1: Select a new activity which you will do a minimum of once per day for 28 days. Make sure the activity is completely new and you are not currently doing it in any way.

Step 2: Commit to completing this activity once per day for 28 days. Allot time to complete this task.

Step 3: Put the activity to the test. Make a note of the difficulty level to begin the new task each day. Complete a mental check in. Do you feel out of place? Does the word sound foreign? Does the activity feel uncomfortable? Chances are “no,” instead you will in fact feel comfortable, at ease and you may even enjoy the activity.

Angela’s 28-Day Neuroplasticity Behavior Change Challenge
Over the next 28 days I have decided to take on a daily meditation challenge: “I will meditate, every day, a minimum of once per day, for a total of 28 days.” – Angela Joy

I chose 28 days because it is the length of time of the month of February, not because of the belief that a habit is formed in 21 or so days.

Psychologist Jeremy Dean, the author of, “Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick,” found that creating habits is not a one-size-fits-all solution. In other words, there is not a set amount of time that every person will complete a daily task thus forming a habit.

Therefore, my timeline was not selected with the assumption that I will create a habit in 28 days, however I would like to measure how my body feels and reacts to 28 days of consistently completing this new activity.

In sum, I hope this article will inspire you to learn new information, try new things and attempt new healthy habits!

If you are interested, join the 28-day challenge and commit to complete this new activity for a total of 28 days.

If you do decide to take on the challenge, please share with me! Send me the challenge you have selected and why you have chosen to complete.

❤ Wishing you joy, love and blessings along the way as you allow neuroplasticity to occur in your brain!

Best,

Angela Joy

 

Forks Over Knives Cooking Class: Day 1

By: Angela Joy

This week I will be starting an online three-month long cooking course.

The course was created by Forks Over Knives and will instruct students on how to effectively make healthy, plant-based meals from start the finish.

Forks Over Knives Online Cooking Course
Forks Over Knives explains the course as, “an online cooking course, designed to help you learn new techniques, flavors and styles to live your very best life.”

The course will offer basic cooking instruction to allow the students to feel fully equipped to confidently make meals on their own.

Throughout the course, students will complete each online video lesson at their own pace.

Assignments are posted to measure how well students have learned and practiced the information.

Students will be graded on their assignments and will receive a certificate upon completion based on their progress.   

Why I Chose to Pursue the Course
I chose to pursue this course for a number of reasons.

First of all, I am a self-taught cook/baker. Most of the information that I have obtained on how to properly make a meal or bake a desert I learned from the internet or television.

While this may be an effective resource for many, I feel it is important for myself as a woman and future mother to feel confident cooking delicious, fun and healthy meals for myself, my friends and my family.

In addition, I hope to utilize the information that I learn from the course to teach others how to make meals. In my current role as a Health Coach I aspire to motivate, inspire and educate others on how to improve their health and wellness. Improving one’s health and overall diet is made possible through education and a desire to be healthy.

Starting the Course
Today is day one of the online course. I am looking forward to watching the videos and making completing my first assignment.

I will offer updates and information of the course along the way!

Those interested in learning more about the Forks Over Knives course can click here.

Quote of The Day:

“Change your thoughts, and change the world.”

-Norman Vincent Peale

Wishing you joy, love and blessings

❤ Angela Joy

 

 

Transform Your Dreams Into Reality – One Step At a Time

New Year’s Resolutions – they are so cliche, aren’t they?

Or, are they actually a great idea! There are so many things in our lives that we wan’t to achieve, but we are often faced with unexpected commitments, tasks and obligations.

Goals become dreams, and dreams become distant memories in our minds. Why is this? Because we are TOO busy? If we are TOO busy, what are we doing with our time?

Watching a movie, taking a nap, going shopping – sounds very busy! If something is your goal, you will make time for it.

Therefore, this 2017 New Year I am challenging you to make your New Year’s Resolutions something worth making time for.

Transform your thoughts into dreams, and from dreams to wishes, and from wishes – to goals.

Let us take this opportunity of a new beginning to make things happen in our life. To stop and say, “This is not how I want this story to end.” Take charge of your life. Dump that excuse, “too busy.” Recognize that you do have the power to make whatever it is that you truly want to achieve – possible.

My New Year’s Resolution? I didn’t create a resolution per se, I created a list of 2017 goals ranging from; personal, career, financial, fitness, spiritual, and more. My favorite goal is to finish the USAT National Age Group Triathlon in a specific time. ❤

This will involve a lot of work – hard work. Therefore, there will be no time for, “I am too busy.”

What is your New Year’s Resolution?

I would love to hear the wonderful resolutions you have in mind! Share below!
Have a happy, healthy and safe New Year ❤

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❤ Wishing you love, joy and blessings,

<Angela Joy

 

Winter Blues: Sick = No Running

It was as if I was given a death sentence – not only was I advised to stay home, lay in bed, drink plenty of fluids and refrain from going to work – I was also advised to “take a break from running.”

A break from running? But, I was doing so well! My 5k and intervals times were improving, I was feeling more confident, faster, and overall “fitter.”

“Sometimes we just have to listen to our bodies and take some time to rest and repair.”

Unfortunately we live in a world where every now and things do not always go how we planned. I was hit, and I was hit hard – a cold and throat virus: fever, chills, aches, sore throat, swollen glands, coughing, phlegm, need I go on.

sick

But, me, sick? No, not me. I don’t get sick. I eat so healthy and take care of myself so well, that is impossible. I think not!

Sickness happens, especially this time of the year. My advice, “take a break from running, weight training, cycling, swimming, the whole nine yards.” Our bodies need time to heal and recover. If we use our energies to exercise we are pulling our energy away from healing our bodies from our illness.

A difficult concept to comprehend, I know.

When I first began feeling “under the weather” I pushed myself to go out for an interval run – just four miles I thought.

I arrived to work feeling tired, lethargic, sore throat – it had begun.

The next day I taught my regular Pilates class – and refrained from all other activities. At this point I was starting to feel achy, it was difficult to talk, and I was coughing. Before leaving the gym I wanted to strength train; not so fast, the fever set in.

Lesson Learned: When the first sign of sickness appears, listen to your body. Of course, this fully depends on the type of sickness. In my case, it was an infection severely depleting my body of energy, therefore exercising was not the best decision.

However, in some instances it may be beneficial to exercise when not feeling well. Click here or here to read guidelines of whether exercising while sick may benefit or hinder you.

“A neck check is a way to determine your level of activity during a respiratory illness,” adds Neil Schachter, MD, medical director of respiratory care at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. “If your symptoms are above the neck, including a sore throat, nasal congestion, sneezing, and tearing eyes, then it’s OK to exercise,” he says. “If your symptoms are below the neck, such as coughing, body aches, fever, and fatigue, then it’s time to hang up the running shoes until these symptoms subside.”

Web MD; Exercising When Sick: A Good Move?

Moral of the story: If you must “take a break from running” and/or other forms of exercise, don’t be so hard on yourself.

Forgive yourself and remember that next week is: a new week, it is also THE NEW YEAR!

Therefore, don’t worry. The break may actually serve as very beneficial during such a busy and chaotic time of year.

Enjoy your break with ease, allow your body to heal, and feel better!

In the mean time, if you are feeling especially anxious to exercise, try walking OR Sick Day Yoga 🙂 Looks like fun!

awesome

See ya running. You will be missed. We will reunite on Monday, or Sunday, or Tuesday ….

❤ Sending you love, joy and blessings,

 

Angela Joy

Running From Recovery

And they’re off! The clock is ticking and the runners are making their way through the 5k route towards the finish line.

I make my way through the crowds of people, running one step at a time, trying my best to keep up, however I can’t help but feel—well terrible.

My legs are sore, my throat was throbbing, even my bones felt pain—I was tired.

I had been racing and training hard all summer with little to no recovery periods, and I was feeling the effect.

Continuous exercise, day after day, with little to no rest or recovery can be detrimental to performance as well as health.

Negative effects can occur in muscular strength, mental strength, and physical health.

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The Effects of Too Much Exercise

According to an article published in the U.S. News & World Report titled, “Ten Signs You are Exercising Too Much,” over-exercising without allowing your body adequate rest can lead to “diminished strength and increased body fat.”

The article, written by contributing writer Chelsea Bush, further explains when recovery is not available the body will begin to store fat opposed to burning it.

During exercise the body will transform into survival mode causing it to do what it needs to in order to ensure energy is available at all times. As a result, fat can be stored to avoid the chance of low energy levels.

Ms.  Bush stated in the article that the best way to recover from a difficult workout, such as a fast-paced or long run, is to rest one to two days.

If a full day of rest is simply not possible it is acceptable to participate in a very light bout of recovery exercise.

Additional resting requirements suggested by Ms. Bush include a minimum of eight hours of sleep per night, proper nutrition, and proper hydration.

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How To Properly Recover

Providing the body with adequate recovery is just as important as completing workouts.

In order for the benefits of a hard work out to be experienced the muscles must repair and rebuild so they can strengthen, which will only occur through rest periods.

An article published in the online healthy living website, Very Well, exercise physiologist and fitness consultant Elizabeth Quinn explains why rest and recovery are essential after exercise. “Rest is physically necessary so that the muscles can repair, rebuild, and strengthen,” Ms. Quinn explains. “In the worst-case scenario, too few rest and recovery days can lead to overtraining system—a difficult condition to recover from.”

During recovery the body will adapt to the stress placed on it through exercise. It will also replenish energy stores lost through the energy needed to exercise as well as repair tissue, Ms. Quinn explained.

Without periods of recovery the body will continue to breakdown and symptoms of overtraining will occur.

Symptoms of overtraining can range from a general overall tiredness, depression, decreased sports performance, increased risk of energy, lack of interest in training, lack of sleep, along with other symptoms, Ms. Quinn stated.

recovering

How To Properly Recover

When recovering from a hard workout or a race there are several recovery measures that should be taken immediately after.

In an article titled, “How to Recover From a Race,” published by Runner’s World Magazine, recovery should be taken in stages from the moment the race or workout ends, to the days and weeks that will follow.

Within the first 24 hours after the workout the body should consume carbohydrates and protein to adequately restore the energy lost during the event.

Within those same 24 hours relaxation of the muscles along with light foam rolling can assist in recovery and blood flow throughout the body.

Once nightfall comes, the athlete should sleep a minimum of eight hours to allow the body and mind adequate restoration.

Runner’s World contributor Brad Stulberg writes, “When you do finally feel drowsy, don’t cut yourself short. Sleep is vital to recovery, so don’t be afraid to hit the snooze button.”

Throughout the next two to three days the athlete can resume exercise, however light exercise is recommended.

“Active recovery expedites the body’s natural repair process by delivering more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles,” Mr. Stulberg stated. “Just keep it easy—go for a walk.”

Physiologist and doctoral candidate at the University of Utah’s Vascular Research Lab Corey Hart stated in the Runner’s World article that the athlete should listen to their body.

It is common for athletes to reach for ibuprofen to fight pain after a race or workout, however Hart recommends against it.

“The inflammatory response is signaling recovery,” Hart stated, “and that is not something we want to mask.”

Once three to seven days have passed athletes should check in on how they feel to determine the next steps of the recovery process.

Hart stated that athletes who complete longer distances can experience extended periods of fatigue, known a central system fatigue.

“While training, you are constantly suppressing fatigue or downright ignoring it, which can throw your hormonal profile out of whack,” Hart added.

Those who are still experiencing feelings of fatigue should take precaution and allow time for lengthened rest in an effort to avoid a weakened immune system or injury.

Hart said, “Do not fight this fatigue,” instead he recommends light active recovery.

After even seven to 21 days the body may still be undergoing recovery, depending on the type of workout or race that the athlete endured.

Therefore, the athlete should be cognizant of how their bodies feel.

Physiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, New York Michael Joyner stated in the Runner’s World article that throughout the seven to 21 days after the race athletes can begin to incorporate “some” intensity workouts, depending on how their body has recovered.

“The main thing to remember is that you can’t train if you are injured,” Joyner stated, “focus on reading your body and backing off if soreness and fatigue don’t improve.”

In sum, recovery is a very important aspect of training that should not be ignored or discounted.

Athletes who work out hard will recover just as hard, therefore regardless of the type of activity completed all athletes should make recovery a priority.

rest-reover

Appreciate Who You Are Today

Appreciate who you are today, and what it took for you to get here. 

As I crossed the finish line of my second triathlon the first thoughts that crossed my mind were, “What was my time?” “Whats place did I finish in?” “Did I beat my time?”

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This in unfortunate because I had such a great race and I was not taking the time to appreciate my experience, recognize how fortunate I was to even participate in the race, or express my gratefulness for the training the I had done over the past several months.

Instead I was ready to put myself down, sabotage my results, and only focus on the negative aspects of the race.

Yes, if you are trying to improve it is important to recognize your weaknesses and work to improve them. However, it is not healthy or beneficial to dwell over the negatives without giving recognition and value to the positives.

triathlon

Though I did not finish at the time that I had anticipated or the rank I was hoping for, I did pretty awesome.

My greatest strength of the race was the run, the second was the bike and the third was my transitions.

My greatest weakness was the swim.

Now that I have recognized my strengths and weaknesses I will examine the how and why?

The Swim: 1/2 mile – time 25:06 – 203rd place
– I finished it!
– The water was clear and beautiful
– I became very anxious
– I was not prepared to swim for that long of a distance (1/2 mile)
– I was not prepared to swim that fast
– I was not prepared to run in the water and then swim

Therefore, I learned that:
– I need to practice a racing start
– I need to learn to swim well with others around
– I need to practice sighting the booeys
– I need to swim longer with periods of speed
– I need to swim more often (3 times per week)
– Most importantly, I need to become comfortable swimming in the water

The Bike: 11.5 miles – time 40:44 – about 16 mph – 48th place
– I made up for the (significant) lost time in the swim
– I passed at least 50 people
– I loved the downhills, they were a lot of fun!
– The views were very scenic and beautiful!
– The women racing were all very kind and encouraging
– Picking people in front of you and then making it a goal to pass them is very helpful

I learned I need to:
– Learn how to effectively change gears (how, why and when)
– Cycle faster and more efficiently
– Learn how to effectively pass in a race (proper bike etiquette)
– How to properly fuel and hydrate on the bike
– Get a good racing bike (for sure)
– Preparing my mind for the run
– Save my legs for the run

The Run: 3.1 miles – time 23:09 – 6th place
– I did fantastic! I ran 3.1 miles in 23 minutes, which is not my best time, but I am happy with it after having swam and biked
– I passed another 50 or so women
– I felt awesome running! I ran strong and effortlessly.
– I had fun and got into a comfortable racing rhythm
– I did not get hurt, which was great because we ran through trails

I learned I need to:
– Practice running after biking (pre-planned brick workouts)
– Improve my speed and running economy
– Prepare for the run mentally
– Give some more time to cycling and swimming while maintaining my running ability 🙂

appreciatte

Overall, I am appreciative that I was able to participate in my second spring triathlon race.

Though I did not finish where I would have liked to, there is a great deal of room for improvement.

I learned that I need to take the strengths that I have, recognized the weaknesses, and most importantly appreciate where I am.

Six months ago I knew nothing about triathlons and was intimidated to get into the water. Today, I have completed two sprint triathlon races, one of which included a half mile open water swim (something I never thought I could do) and I ended up finishing 41st in the race and 5th in my age group.

Yes, I do want to improve. Yes, I want to be faster. Yes, I want to become a better, faster and stronger athlete.

All of these goals take time. They must be recognized as goals.

appreciate-now

The only way to achieve a goal is to recognize where you are right now (your starting point), create a plan, and finally begin taking steps to achieve your goal.

Anything worth having is worth waiting for. You will appreciate something much more if you spend time working hard to achieve it. You are worthy of greatness, you just need to allow yourself time to get there.

Nobody become a pro-athlete overnight. Everything in life takes time.

Appreciate where you are RIGHT NOW, then take steps to move towards where you want to be. You will get there – at the right time, the right place, and with the right people.

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❤ Wishing you love, joy and blessings,

Take some time and appreciate yourself for where you are right now.

-Angela Joy

From Runner to Triathlete

By: Angela Joy

triathlon

The triathlon; a swim, followed by cycling, and ending with a run. To some this may sound absurd, to others this may sound like a Friday morning workout.

For me, however, it appeared as a difficult to obtain goal.

Running several days a week was one thing – but cycling and swimming, there was no way.

First of all, I did not know how to swim. I had taken a few swim lessons as a child.

I swam in friend’s pools, the ocean and the river every now and then. But overall I did not know the first thing about freestyle swimming, goggles, one piece swimsuits, swim caps – or anything else related to swimming.

Secondly, I would need the proper bike – a beach cruiser likely will not cut it.

And last but not least – how would I transition between all three? What would I wear? How would I train?

These questions and fears ran through my mind along with many others.

It wasn’t until I overcame the barriers preventing me from beginning my triathlon training that I took the first steps towards accomplishing my goal – which you, too can do.

1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games
Australian S12 swimmer Jeff Hardy swims freestyle at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games

Step 1: Overcome your barriers preventing you from completing your first triathlon.

The barriers preventing me from participating in my first triathlon included learning to properly and confidently swim in a race and a road bike to train with and use during the race.

In an effort to overcome these barriers and begin my training I first purchased a used road bike.

The bike is not great by any means – however it is a good first road bike that served as a wonderful learning tool for a first race.

Secondly, I signed up for swimming lessons at a local YMCA.

These swimming lessons were not easy by any means, in fact they were incredibly difficult and I still struggle to get myself into the pool to improve my swimming skills.

Not having the opportunity to be around a pool and swim laps as a child or teen made it difficult to learn the sport.

Nevertheless, I did not allow the frustration and sometimes embarrassment prevent me from accomplishing my goal.

Each Sunday morning I showed up, I remained positive, and put forth my best effort.

Learning how to do something new as an adult can be difficult, however there is no reason to give up just because the task is hard.

tri-plan
(This was not my training plan, this is just an example of a triathlon training plan)

Step 2: Follow the proper training plan to achieve your goal.

After researching numerous triathlon training websites, books, and plans I put together a training plan that would fit my goals, schedule and fitness level.

Throughout my training I swam one to two times per week, cycled two to three times per week and ran three to five times per week (running is obviously my favorite of the three).

Transitioning from one sport to all three was definitely a challenge.

One must determine where they are going to swim, where they will cycle (indoor, outdoor and if outdoor the location) and for how long.

(Some training plans recommend training less than I did. However, based on my current fitness level this amount seemed fitting.)

Following a triathlon training plan can be difficult and time consuming.

One should a lot about one hour per day for five to six days per week for triathlon training.

Some days you will feel tired. You will want to quit. And then, when you least expect it you will overcome these feelings and wake up at 5 a.m. for your workout, go to the gym right after work, swim when you want to sleep and skip a fun night out to complete a skipped workout. These things happen, they can be stressful however they are worth it.

tri-ace

Step 3: Choose your race.

The most common first triathlon race is the sprint triathlon.

The sprint triathlon distance is generally a half mile swim (or less), a 10-15 miles bike, and a 5k run.

This race is doable for first triathletes who are swimming, cycling and running throughout the week one to two times.

For women seeking their first triathlon there are many women-only races that serve as very welcoming.

I however, chose the Atlantic City Triathlon in August.

The race was the perfect size, location and distance for me.

Things to consider when choosing a race include;

  • The distance of each event in the race
  • The location of the race and each specific event.
  • The body of water the swim portion is located in
  • The standard temperature of the body of water the swim is in
  • The distance the race is from your home
  • The locations your family and friends can watch you from
  • The depth of the hills and amount of turns during the cycling course
  • The type of course and temperature of the running portion

I am sure there are other factors to consider, however these are a few to think about when deciding.

tri-suit

Step 4: Get the proper gear.

Being a triathlete can be expensive.

Gear for swimming, biking and running is required – in addition to the specifically made triathlon gear.

Some gear to consider would be purchasing a road or hybrid bike, a pair of triathlon shorts and a triathlon top which can be worn during all three events instead of putting shorts and a shirt over a bathing suit, spare tire tubes in case your tire goes flat, a helmet which is required to participate, and comfortable running shoes.

After stressing over what to wear I decided to purchase a pair of triathlon shorts in addition to receiving a triathlon top given to me by a friend.

Before, during and after the race I was very pleased with my decision and the lack of stress I experienced trying to change during transitions.

Step 5: Participating in the race and having a great time.

While people can choose to participate in a triathlon for many reasons (weight loss, challenge, competition, to prove a point) the overarching goal should be to have fun.

After stressing over getting to the race, checking in at the expo, properly preparing my bike, checking in to a hotel, training, the course and much more – I ended up having the most fun that I have had all year!

My first triathlon was definitely one of the best experiences of my life. I enjoyed every second of it and cannot wait to compete in my next race.

I ended up finishing the race with a great overall time, experiencing no issues, and receiving a medal for the second fastest finishing time in my age group. To put it lightly I was over the moon.

Now it was not a goal of mine to rank in my age group and I don’t recommend setting it as an expectation, but this does not mean that it is not possible. Shoot for the stars, you never know what you are capable of until you TRI.

I encourage you to go out and accomplish your goal, whatever it may be. Whether it is a triathlon, a 5k race, a marathon, losing an amount of weight, gaining more muscle, feeling healthy or feeling happy – start today.

❤ Wishing you love, joy and blessings,

Angela Joy

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