Monday, August 31, 2015

10 Habits of Successful Athletes

The other day before teaching my usual TBC (total body conditioning) class, I had a discussion with a student about workout motivation.  It was actually a more general conversation about how she has good intentions to go to the same swim class I attend on Wednesday nights, both of us as students, but how hard it has been for her to actually get there when it starts at 8:30 pm.  I empathetically agreed, as some weeks I too find I have to drag myself off the sofa and push myself to go, being comfortably settled in after dinner and a long day at work.

Anyway, interestingly the next day, I came across an article titled "10 Habits of Successful Athletes", which kind of fit into that discussion of personal motivation and fitness. 

While the article itself was a little boring, I did like the bullet points, as I found they actually apply to people trying to lose weight or keep general fitness as well:

1.  They set short and long term goals.
2.  They picture success.
3.  They make the most of mistakes.
4.  They place importance on nutrition.
5.  They value rest.
6.  They follow a structured training program.
7.  They always train hard.
8.  They keep records.
9.  They seek out those that are better, stronger and smarter.
10.  They continuously prove themselves.

After reading the above, I was surprised how I pretty much hit all of these on a regular basis.  But, I did have to admit ... I'm failing a little bit right now on 6 (as I'm not running as much as I should to prepare for the TC 10 mile), and I could do much better on 4 (since I'm still not 100% eating like I should ... hello summer and ice cream).

But, my personal failures aside, I think I'm going to use this as a barometer of sorts moving forward to ensure I'm keeping on track with my overall health and fitness. 

That being said, I'm curious to know: how do you stack up to this list?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Official Tri Photos - Finally Up!

At the end of July, you may recall reading my Chase the Police Tri recap. 

Well, finally, the official photos are up!!

You can see my pretty pink bike tires in transition here, just behind the guy in the white t and grey shorts.


I am in the far back left, just off the right hip of the guy standing up high with his arms crossed.  Watch me go (slowly) in these series of photos:


Unfortunately, I didn't see any of myself on the bike.  Boo.  But, I did find at least a finisher photo!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Recipe: Delicious Salad - Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad

As I mentioned in Monday's post, I had this fabulous salad while out at Doc B's Fresh Kitchen in Chicago.  While this recipe isn't quite as good as the real thing in restaurant, it's pretty close.



Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad
With Parmesan Vinaigrette and Marcona Almonds



  • 2-3 cups raw Brussels sprouts, washed and shredded (I used a food processor)
  • 1-2 stems raw kale, washed, de-stemmed and shredded
  • 2-3 ounces of marcona almonds (I substituted macadamias since I was unable to find marcona almonds at my local grocery and didn't have time to shop further away)
  • 3 tbsps. oil
  • 2 tbsps. white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsps. dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsps. finely diced garlic
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Powdered or finely shredded parmesan, to taste

1. Combine shredded Brussels sprouts and kale.  Mix ratio should be about 70% Brussels sprouts to 30% kale, but obviously - it's not science.

2. Whisk oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic and pepper in a small bowl.  Dump over greens mixture and toss until evenly coated.  (Feel free to substitute your favorite vinaigrette dressing here instead).

3. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the greens, reserving a few tbsps. for later.  Toss salad again until the cheese is evenly distributed.  (I just eyeballed the amount of cheese, so use your best guess).

4. Plate the greens.  Top with almonds.  Finish salad with reserved parmesan.

Serves 2.  This recipe makes very large salads.  I actually ended up saving leftovers (without nuts included) overnight in the fridge, taking them to lunch the next day.  Even with the dressing already added, the salad still stayed crisp and fresh.

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Little Chicago Air Show Follow-up

As I said last Monday, I was in Chicago a little over a week ago for the Air & Water show.  Of course, it proved to be a good time for me and a few others, including my blogger pal Emily (who you may remember from when I ran China Town in 2014).

No, we didn't run a race together while I was there.  Are you shocked?  Sorry to disappoint you.  Instead of running, we sat on the beach and roasted in the sunshine.  Well, that ... and we watched the Angels fly by a few times.  Heh.

In addition to a good time at the show, I just have to say ... my husband and I had pretty awesome views from our hotel room.

Yep, that's the view from the top floor of the Omni Hotel in Chicago, both AM and PM.  We got that view for free thanks to my husband, who spent half his spring in Boston for work in 2014, thus earning him some free nights and VIP status for premium room upgrades.

Anyway, while I had lots of fun in Chicago, I also in advertantly came up with two new blog posts, which you will be hearing a bit more about in the next few weeks.  Until I get those posts written and published, here's an overview:

First, the good - Brussels Sprouts Salad from Doc B's Fresh Kitchen

I don't know if you've ever heard of this place or eaten there; I myself had never heard of it until I was on Yelp looking for a lunch option nearby our hotel.  When I stumbled across this place, I thought ... hmm, seems interesting.  It was definitely good - I left full and totally in love with what we ate!  After I came home, I tried to re-create my entrĂ©e, and I think I had about 80% success in matching it to the restaurant.  So, look forward to that post in the next week or so.

Second, the bad - my Nike+ GPS watch died. 

On Saturday morning, I actually got up early at the hotel with high hopes of going for a run on the Lake Shore Path.  Unfortunately, I was foiled in doing so as it was SUPER HOT and humid even at 6am, which pushed me to the hotel's workout room instead.  But, even if the humidity hadn't forced me there, I would have ended up in the hotel's workout room anyway, because somehow moisture got to the LCD screen of my Nike+ GPS watch and ruined it.  BOO!! 

Truth be told, I had suspected something was amiss way back when I ran the a 5K on the 4th of July (remember how foggy it was?), as my watch had fogged up on the INSIDE at that race and never really cleared after that.  My guess is some moisture got in there at that race and just never dried back out, eventually penetrating the LCD screen and frying it. 

Aside from the moisture though, the watch hadn't been picking up satellites very well anymore, so I guess I can't really be surprised that it finally mapped it's final mile.  Regardless, it is kind of unfortunate timing, as I am just starting to ramp up my mileage for the TC 10 mile and was really starting to rely on it again.  And, I hadn't been planning on purchasing a new watch any time soon, since they are kind of expensive.

But, luck would have it that GPS watches are much more affordable these days than they were when I first bought the Nike+, and they are being made smaller as well (part of why I chose the Nike+ to begin with, as it was one of the smallest options available for around $100 when I bought it).  So, despite saying I would just use MapMyRun for awhile and go without a watch, somehow I found myself the proud owner of a brand new Garmin Forerunner 10... which, actually, I so far kind of love.  Like way more than the Nike+.  Which is funny, because I thought I would never top the Nike+, but even the guy at the run store looked at me and was like ... "You got more than a year out of your Nike+?  You're lucky!!  I didn't think anyone was even using them anymore they broke so often!!"

So ... there you have it.  That's the cliff notes version of Chicago, and a hint at what you might see in a few future blog posts (though the GPS one might be awhile, as I want to use it for a few runs first).  Stay tuned!!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Current Bib Wall & Medal Collection

After going through all my races for Wednesday's post, I thought it might be fun to post a couple of updated photos of my bib wall and medal collection.

Here they are!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

All My Races ... Ever

After running the Webster Education 5K the other weekend, as I was lounging around at the cabin in my spiffy race T, my father in law started to chuckle at what my collection of shirts must be.  Since he recently downsized from his home of 30+ years and moved to the cabin full time (along with my mother in law, duh), he knew the pain of an ever growing wardrobe and purging excess stuff.

On that tangent, I started to wonder ... how many races have I actually ran since I started oh so long ago?  Hmmm....



Races 1-6, Bibs 1-6

New Prague 5K
Lederhosenlauf 5K
Chaska Rotary Polio 5K
Lifetime Torchlight 5K
Gopher to Badger 5K
MN State Fair Milk Run 5K


Races 7-13, Bibs 7-12

New Prague 5K
Carlyle Sherstad 5K
Rainbow Run 5K
Siren Freedom 5K
Shakopee Derby Days 5K
Crosby Serpent Run 5K, No Bib Provided
Lake Run 5K


Races 14-24, Bibs 13-22

Get Lucky 7K
New Prague 5K
Carlyle Sherstad 5K
Rainbow Run 4K (revised course)
Time to Fly 5K
Color Run 5K
Crosby Serpent Run 5K, No Bib Provided
Lake Run 5K
Steamboat Days 5K
Iron Girl Du (run 2, bike 23, run 2)
Monster Dash Half Marathon


Races 25 - 39, Bibs 23 - 37

Shamwalk 5K
Get Lucky 7K
DogNJog 5K
Minnetonka Half Marathon
Adventure Triathlon
Race Chaska 5K (rained out, no run but kept bib)
Rainbow Run 5K
Freedom 5K
Gandy Dancer Trail Run 5K
Webster Education Foundation 5K
Serpent Run 5K, No Bib Provided
Minneapolis Duathlon
Lake Run 5K
Chicago Half Marathon
Mankato Half Marathon
Monster Half Marathon


Races 40 - 54, Bibs 38 - 52

Little Rock Marathon
Get Lucky 7K
Shamrock Shuffle 8K
Minnetonka Half Relay
Waconia Half Relay
Rainbow Run 5K
Freedom 5K
Chinatown 5K
Bacon Chase 5K
Webster Education 5K
Minneapolis Duathlon Relay
Lake Run 5K
Women Run the Cities 5K
Mankato 10K
Skeleton Run 5K

2015 (so far)

Races 55 - 65, Bibs 53 - 62

Tri-U-Mah, No Bib Provided
Hot Chocolate 5K
Lake Minnetonka Half Relay
Cinco de Miler 5 miler
Run the Inferno 5K
Carlyle Sherstad 5K
Rainbow Run 5K
Freedom Five 5K
Gandy Fly-In 5K
Chase the Police Tri
Webster Education 5K

2015 Pending completion: Races 66 - 70, Bibs 63 - 67
Lake Run, Suds Run, Women Run the Cities, TC 10 Mile, Mankato


So, there you have it.  So far I have participated in 65 races (with my 70th on the horizon for 2015 assuming all goes well), and I own 62 bibs.  If you want to consider the entire distances ... that would be:

   One 4K
   Forty-three 5Ks
   Three 7Ks
   One 8K
   One 5 miler
   One 10K
   Five Half Marathons
   Three Half Marathon Relays (at about 6 miles each)
   One Partial Marathon (course was closed at mile 16-17ish)
   One Duathalon (4 miles ran)
   Two Duathlon relays (2x5K at each race)
   Two Triathlons (about 6 miles ran total)
   One Triathlon relay (about 8 miles ran)

Or, roughly 285 miles of racing on foot (this number is not including any swim or bike distances).  And let's not even talk about the training I did working up to that.  Phew!!


So, almost six years of running.  Wow.  I guess ... that's what it gets you!!  All the above, and a real sense of self accomplishment, too.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Mini Break

I was at the Chicago Air & Water Show over the weekend, so today ... no post.  Enjoy your mini break, and see you Wednesday!!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday Funny #9

Just a little something from my Facebook wall to fill your Friday ...


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Webster Education Foundation 5K 2015 (Faith in Humanity)


Webster Education Foundation 5K (3.15 miles)
Average Pace 10:48 mile

Ah, the Webster Education Foundation run. 

This race is one of the few races that I've participated in every year since conception.  It's particularly special to me, as I placed first it my age category there in 2013.  (Notice I didn't repeat that in 2014 ... stupid flu.)  Even though I knew I wasn't going to place again this year since my feet issues have kept me from running a decent pace in the last 6-8 months, I was still looking forward to running Webster in 2015. 

Now, many of you might wonder why I look forward to running a race that's located in a small town in North West Wisconsin that doesn't have much to offer ... like, at all.  Because when you examine this race, it's not a particularly scenic course, it doesn't offer a fancy swag item like a sweatshirt or a zippered wicking jacket, there's no endless chocolate on course or entertainment pre/post race ...

To all that noise, I say BULLOX. 

In the last few years, I've noticed that many races have gone away from the pure core that is the running community.  And I'm kind of sick of it.  Rather than a participant focusing on having a simple, fun event that gets you up and moving, everyone these days is expecting neon blinking lights and throbbing music.

What's the point to that if the event is so poorly managed that you can barely make it through the course?  Especially when you have to pay $50+ to participate.

So the above being said, last weekend I found myself a whopping $20 poorer and back at my in-law's cabin (which is now a permanent residence for them, as they recently sold their home here in the Twin Cities).  And I was there ... for the sheer joy of running!!


On Saturday morning at about 7:15, I pulled into the parking lot of the secondary school building in Webster, WI.  Since this race has a smaller field of participants (I estimate around 80+/- people in 2015, as official race results are still pending being posted on the internet), there was no advanced packet pickup option.  I was just fine with that.

Check in was efficient and well managed, and in less than 2 minutes I walked out with a very pretty blue performance shirt.

This shirt's design may look familiar to you, since it's essentially the 2014 shirt without the black t-shirt base.  Overall, I thought the shirt was none too shabby, even if I'm not a wicking fan.  (PSSST!  Bring back the cotton.) 

After checking in, the usual milling about ensued.  While I hung out with my husband in the car for awhile, other racers roamed around the school's parking lot waiting for some semblance of direction.  Eventually, a substitute announcer came out to direct us (the usual guy, who I assume is the track coach, must have been ill or at some other special event since he wasn't there), and we all lumped into a group just in front of the school's doors to hear the announcements.

To his credit, after some basic info, the announcer did mention that walkers should move towards the back of the group before the race began.  I was quite pleased with that; you'd be surprised how many races forget to mention that detail - it's really quite annoying.  Anyway!  Imagine my surprise, then, when a man scooted up past me to line up with the "fast crowd" wearing a ball cap, khaki cargo pants, a blaze orange cotton t and matching orange elastic suspenders ... with old school tennis shoes.

Well ... hm.  I thought to myself "you never know who really is a fast runner" and curiously watched to see what would unfold.

And then, with a very loud bang of an official track gun, we were off.

Observing the man in the blaze orange suspenders immediately paid off in dividends.  Before I could even settle into a steady running pace, I was almost in hysterics myself watching everything unfold. 

Imagine this: a man, grinning ear to ear, running as fast as he can ... just beaming that he's keeping pace with the fastest runners in the pack.  Before even making it 10 meters his ball cap catches the breeze and starts to shift, so he grabs it off his head and runs with it in his hand, never losing pace.  The sheer joy in his expression ... I couldn't' help but smile myself.  And to his credit, he probably made it close to a quarter of a mile before he finally threw in the towel - none the less disappointed in his performance and smiling all the same.

Sad that the jubilation had come to an end, I started to turn my focus inward, but was once again distracted.  A group of high school aged girls were in the process of passing me while trying to take selfies.  It took me a minute to realize why there were so selfie driven, but then I saw it: two of them were running side by side, keeping pace, while sharing the earbuds of an iPod.

I can't even.  HA!

Eventually, my second dose of entertainment faded away into the distance, earbuds still intact, and I was all by my lonesome.  *Queue iPod motivation*  From there on out, not a whole lot happened.  My only goal for this race, not being in great shape right now, was to run the entire distance.  I managed that without any major trouble.

And since I don't have much to say, I'll just throw in the race maps and splits (as much as they may suck) here:


So, after not so much ado and also not so much a speedy pace, eventually I rounded the final bend of this course and pounded into the finisher's chute.



Oh, and like my InkNBurn robot capris and RaceRaves tank?  I do.

Don't mind that entirely NOT flattering photo.  And yes, it looks like I'm tweaking my own butt.  Whatever.

Anyway, after finishing, I was given a spinning finishers medal that was donated by some generous participant (who could that be *wink*), and grabbed a few things from the snack table which offered the standard post race fare - bananas, water, granola bars.


However, as I enjoyed my post race refreshments, I became unexpectedly saddened.  Unfortunately, day of registrations must have been much larger than anticipated, as there were more finishers than medals and the presenters at the finish line ran out.  So late in the race, most of the people coming in didn't seem to mind.  But there was one little boy among them, who was maybe 8 years old, that I felt terrible for.  He ended up coming in a few seconds too late and missed his chance at taking home a medal himself.

For awhile, I watched the little boy mope around, sad that he didn't get a medal.  I kept trying to figure out who he was with, in the hopes that some adult in his immediate family or extended social network would give them theirs.  But nothing.  Thinking back to when I was that age, and really wanting him to be motivated to participate again, I grew more and more depressed.  I didn't know if it would be uncomfortable for him if I were to approach him and give him mine, so I sat and debated what to do.

Imagine my surprise then when, before I had worked up the courage to take action, the husband of a young family sitting next to me in the bleachers elbowed his wife.  After an exchange of muttered words, she walked over to him and gave him her medal. 

The smile on his face was priceless, and my faith in humanity was renewed.

Not long after that, all the participants finished the distance, and that was about it.  After a little more tabulating to ensure correct age grade awards, the top runners were given a second medal for their performances, and we all went home.


Well, I know this report was less eventful than usual, but that's the story of how race bib #62 joined my collection!  I've got a few weeks off now as I start to ramp up my mileage in my TC 10 mile training, so it may be awhile before you see another recap, but .. here's to another race soon! 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Recipe: Delicious Sandwich - Edamame Hummus Wrap

I don't know what happened to my husband, but lately he's been on an edamame kick.  Not wanting to rock the boat, and happy to eat anything he picks that is plant based, I let him make the following for dinner last week.

If you like hummus, and are up for trying a new variation on that, this is an interesting alternative.  Give it a shot ... let me know what you think.



Edamame Hummus Wrap


  • 12 ounces frozen shelled edamame (about 2 1/4 cups), thawed
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground pepper, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups very thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 1/2 cup sliced orange bell pepper
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 8- to 9-inch spinach or whole-wheat tortillas

1. Combine edamame, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons oil, tahini, garlic, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and salt in a food processor. Pulse until fairly smooth.

2. Whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon each lemon juice and oil with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Add cabbage, bell pepper, scallion and parsley; toss to coat.

3. Spread about 1/2 cup of the edamame hummus across the lower third of each tortilla and top with about 1/2 cup of the cabbage mixture. Roll closed. Cut in half to serve, if desired.

Leftover spread can be stored in the fridge for up to three days.

Nutritional information per the original recipe website:

Per serving: 339 calories; 20 g fat (3 g sat, 11 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 35 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 4 g total sugars; 14 g protein; 8 g fiber; 480 mg sodium; 641 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (90% daily value), Folate (79% dv), Vitamin A (26% dv), Magnesium (25% dv), Iron (20% dv), Potassium (18% dv), Zinc (15% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 2
Exchanges: 2 starch, 1/2 vegetable, 1 lean meat, 3 fat

Friday, August 7, 2015

Current Workouts & Back to the Training

I suppose it's about time to recap another round of workouts.

First of all - it's a good thing I had Lazyman to keep me honest last month.  Thanks to that, I kept my workout volume up to a more reasonable (although still somewhat subdued) volume.

Second - you might notice, the final section below notes outdoor runs.  I'm finally back on the training horse.  Wish me luck as I ramp up for a 10 mile race later this fall!!

How are your workouts going lately?  Feel free to share in the comments below.


July 6th - 12th
Monday - Rest (evening appointment)
Tuesday - Teach TBC
Wednesday - Swim
Thursday - Teach TBC
Friday - 18 mile bike ride (Lazyman in effect!)
Saturday - 22 mile bike ride
Sunday - 16 mile bike ride

July 13th - 19th
Monday - Rest
Tuesday - Teach TBC
Wednesday - Swim
Thursday - Teach TBC
Friday - Active day at the cabin
Saturday - Run the Fly In 5K
Sunday - Active day at the cabin

July 20th - 26th
Monday - Open water swim
Tuesday - Teach TBC
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - Teach TBC
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Raced my first Tri!
Sunday - Pool swim

July 27th - August 2nd
Monday - Elliptical intervals (gotta finish that Lazyman)
Tuesday - Teach TBC
Wednesday - Elliptical intervals and a final stationary bike ride
Thursday - Teach TBC
Friday - Lazyman finishers BBQ party!
Saturday & Sunday - Rest

August 3rd - 9th
Monday - 4 mile outdoor run
Tuesday - Teach TBC
Wednesday - 3 mile outdoor lunch run, PM swim
Thursday - Teach TBC
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Race the Webster Education 5K, recap to follow next week!
Sunday - Rest

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Recipe: Delicious Dinner - Mediterranean Turkey w/Swiss Chard Over Polenta

On Friday night, I realized I was late registering for a race and needed to get my payment in the mail ASAP.  Not wanting to miss the carrier pickup Saturday AM, I found myself walking down to my mailbox and hoisting the flag. 

Unexpectedly, as I was taking care of business, I heard someone call out "Well, good evening, Ms. Natalie."  Turns out my neighbor from down the block was out on her evening stroll.  We exchanged some basic pleasantries, and in passing, she mentioned she had been admiring my (somewhat meager) vegetable garden during her walk. 

After one last comment praising the beauty of my long forgotten Swiss chard, she continued on her way.

Realizing I hadn't really checked on my garden since planting it almost two months ago (as we have it hooked to an automated watering system and it pretty much seems to succeed on its own), the next morning I ventured out to see how things were doing.  Much to my surprise, I found I was well overdue for basil flower removal and chard harvesting, and even had a few mutant zucchinis ready to pick that had grown to the size of my leg. 

Unfortunately, I also found I had squash borer worms, and only one zucchini was a keeper.  Boo.

Borers aside, the chard was in great shape and needed to be eaten.  Inspired by our harvest, my husband came up with the below meal, which he cooked and we ate on Monday night. 

I really enjoyed this meal. The flavor of the chard was fantastic, and surprisingly delicious for basically a steamed greens based meal.  I highly recommend you cook this for yourself!!



Mediterranean Turkey w/Swiss Chard Over Polenta


  • 3 teaspoons peanut oil, divided
  • 1 (8-ounce) tube of polenta, cut into 12 slices   
  • 3/4 pound turkey cutlets, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips   
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced and divided
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • 1/2 pound Swiss chard, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
*We actually made the polenta from scratch since we had it in the house, and substituted chicken for the turkey since we didn't see turkey cutlets when we were out grocery shopping.  And a quick note: if you are not familiar with currants, you can purchase them in the dried fruit section near the grapes and other similar fruits.
**If you have a peanut allergy or just prefer not to purchase peanut oil, I would hazard a guess that olive oil would work equally well in this recipe.  Though, the peanut oil does add a unique flavor.


1. Heat wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; cook polenta, turning halfway through, 3 minutes. Transfer to platter; cover.

2. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to wok; cook turkey 3 minutes. Add lemon juice, 1/2 cup broth, 1 garlic clove, and currants. Cook, stirring, 1 minute more or until turkey is cooked through. Transfer to platter with slotted spoon, reserving liquid in wok; cover.

3. Add Swiss chard and onion to wok; cook, stirring, 3 minutes or until tender. Add remaining 1/2 cup broth and garlic; cook, stirring, 2 minutes more.

4. Spoon the chard mixture onto a platter; top with pine nuts.

Nutritional information per the original recipe website:

Calories per serving:245
(recipe serves 4 - serving size: 3 ounces turkey, 3 slices polenta, and 1/2 cup chard)
Fat per serving:6g
Saturated fat per serving:1g
Monounsaturated fat per serving:3g
Polyunsaturated fat per serving:1g
Protein per serving:26g
Carbohydrates per serving:25g
Fiber per serving:3g
Cholesterol per serving:34mg
Iron per serving:3mg
Sodium per serving:364mg
Calcium per serving:53mg

Monday, August 3, 2015

Repost: Smile & Work It

Recently, I was teaching a group of students that were really struggling to get through their workout, when it dawned on me that I hadn't given a "smile" pep talk in awhile.  Wanting to revisit that info, I thought today would be a good day for a re-post ...


Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile,
but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.
— Thich Nhat Hanh

If any of you have ever been to one of my group fitness classes, you know I am always yelling at you enthusiastically encouraging you to:



Well, think about the quote above for a minute.

You do smile when you're experiencing joy.
Or you can smile, and as a result, find joy.

I look at like this: either way, if you're smiling, you're eventually going to find some joy in there.

And what would be better than finding some joy while working out? ...even if it's just realizing that forcing a smile like this actually makes you look kinda goofy, and you start to laugh at yourself:

Awhile back I read a few articles that talked about smiling helping with two major areas of working out.  Supposedly, smiling while working out could make you up to 20% more productive during your workout, and could also help you recover more quickly the next day.

Of course, now I cannot find either of those articles to link back to, and you probably think I'm a liar.

Oh well.  What I could find was the following study, which is still quite interesting.

Smiling and stress recovery:

Kraft and Pressman (2012)
(read source article here, or just read the short summary below that I condensed for you)

Kraft and Pressman studied 169 college students, telling them that their investigation concerned multi-tasking. The group was split into three groups:

(A) The neutral expression control group (asked to hold the ends of chopsticks gently in their mouth while relaxing their face).
(B) The standard smiling group (asked to hold the ends of chopsticks gently in their mouth while raising the corners of the mouth, thereby producing a facial smile).
(C) The Duchenne smiling group (asked to hold chopsticks cross-wise in their mouths, thereby producing the full-faced smile with squinted eye known as a Duchenne smile.)

Furthermore, half of the participants in each of the two smiling groups were explicitly told to smile.  These participants were aware that they should be smiling, whereas other participants were simply told how to hold their faces.  So, in all, the experiment had five conditions:

(1) neutral expression
(2) standard smiling without awareness
(3) standard smiling with awareness
(4) Duchenne smiling without awareness
(5) Duchenne smiling with awareness

Participants were then hooked up to a heart rate monitor and were subjected to "stressful" tasks (mostly trying to do something quickly, or multi tasking on various things while trying to be accurate on all parts, etc).  After the stressor was removed, heart rate recovery times were recorded.

The results?  Regardless of their awareness, smiling participants recovered more quickly from stress than those with neutral expressions, and those displaying Duchenne smiles recovered somewhat more quickly than those displaying a standard smile.

So, while the above doesn't exactly prove that you will be super productive during your workout, and that you will recover like a rock star the next day, it does show an interesting result in regards to smiling while under stress.

And, to take it one step further, I'll push my theory - if you're smiling, chances are, you're eventually going to start having fun. 

Interestingly enough, to go along with my theory, just this week I stumbled across this news snippet:

So - regardless of being 20% more productive during or not - smiling sure does make things more enjoyable.  And if you're having fun, that's the most important part!

Trust me, as a girl who works out dressed as a unicorn, I know what I'm talking about.