My IDEA World Experience: The Functional Workouts

As you know, I spent last week at Blogfest and the IDEA World Fitness Convention. Here are my Top 10 Takeaways. While Thursday and Friday were spent learning some great blogging information, the last two days I was able to attend six workshops. In addition, on Friday, mixed in with all that blogging stuff, we managed to fit in three (yes, three!) workouts. I will admit, by Saturday afternoon, at my second Functional Fascia workout of the day I could hardly lift my legs.

My IDEA World Experience: The Functional Workouts

I managed to learn a lot of information about various types of functional workouts, so I thought I’d share some of it with you here.

Kaia Fit

Our first functional workout on Friday was called Kaia Fit and it was taught by one of its creators, Nikki Warren. Kaia Fit is designed to be empowering for women, and it included some teamwork and competition in the mix. We were split into two groups. As we started, one group was given a high intensity partner exercise to perform for time. For example, one partner would hold a plank, while the other hopped twice over her, then they would switch positions. After the first team completed the repetitions, the time was recorded.

Over on the other side of the room, the other team was doing lower intensity but still functional exercises. One partner would hold a plank while the other did squats to touch down on their partner’s back. So many repetitions, then switch positions. The teams took turns completing each set of exercises (my team won two of the three sets…go Pink!), then we were treated to a nice cool down and stretch. I loved that all of the exercises were body weight only, and both the partner and team aspect added a lot of fun to the equation. The exercises were simple (that doesn’t mean they were easy, just not complicated movements!), so easy to teach to and monitor in a large group. Kaia Fit

HighX

I’ll tell you up front that HighX was my favorite functional workout of the weekend. And not just because it was taught by Gabrielle Reece, who was also the keynote speaker. During her talk, Gabby told us how she created this workout, basically a group of women getting together to workout with Gabby as their leader. As the group grew, so did her ingenuity in planning a workout that would challenge, but would still be accessible for all age groups.

Let’s work! @highxtraining w: @gabbyreece #sweatpink #blogfest #1millionminutes #ljinspired A photo posted by Jamie King (Walker) (@jamiekingfit) on Jul 17, 2015 at 11:08am PDT

As we entered the large room, we were divided into 15 teams of eight (somehow our group ended up with 10, but that worked out fine). Equipment was laid out in a large oblong, with the name of each exercise printed at each station. Each team spent three minutes at each station, alternating high intensity and lower intensity exercises for 30 seconds each. Then we moved quickly to the next exercise.

Gabby2

This was a tough workout! From planks to lunges to sandbag presses, we pretty much killed each muscle group (in a good way). The group format created a sense of teamwork, and everybody was cheering their team on.

Fortunately, by my third workout of the day, Zumba with its creator Beto Perez, all I had to worry about was having a good time and trying to wiggle my hips. I was much more successful with the former than the latter.

Functional Fascia for Group Exercise

When I woke up on Saturday morning, I quickly decided that my body was too beat up for a run. Instead, I took my time getting ready, in order to get to my first session at 7:30. As I’ve mentioned, I’ll be getting my Fascial Stretch Therapist certification later this summer, so I wanted to soak up all the information that I could. What I didn’t realize was that after about 45 minutes of lecture and demonstration, we had a 45 minute workout to perform!

The idea behind functional exercises for fascia is to use new exercise sequences that are designed to train the fascial lines of the body. These involve a variety of multiple part movements such as a lunge with a reach, squat with a curl, then moving to an upper back extension, and side plank with a hip drop to a full hip extension. Yes, you need to focus your mind as well as your body.

The workout was quite challenging and I broke a good sweat. It also gave me a ton of ideas that I can take back to work with me. These are exercises that be used in either a group setting or one on one.

Fascia Gone Wild

Fascia Gone Wild

I will admit that by the time I did this workout my body had given up and just wouldn’t cooperate. In the lecture portion, we learned more about fascia and its function, then began a workout that started with holding planks while doing various types of arm and leg movement. I just couldn’t. I tried. But my hips were sore and just didn’t want to work anymore. I did a little better after we stood up and did a few exercises like squat presses, lunges with twists, and other exercises that work the body in multiple planes and are good for the fascia.

Plyometrics Palooza

FitFoodieMama

Annmarie was one of the bloggers I was so excited to meet.

After a pretty good night’s rest (considering I had three roommates), I headed to Plyometrics Palooza early Sunday morning. Taught by my friend Jason Karp, Ph.D, this session focused on using plyometrics to improve performance. After very little lecture time, Jason got right to the workout portion of the workshop. We did hops, jumps, rebounds, and more. I did pretty good all things considered. I was sore and tired, but so was everybody else. Our last exercise we teamed up for a little relay race. We were the Bloggers!

Bare Essentials

This was my final workout and as you may have guessed, I was pooped. The presenter was wonderful. She specializes in functional flexibility and in addition to running her own studio, training at yet another, she also travels to various football teams, in particular the NY Jets, to stretch some of the players. The idea of Bare Essentials was learning tips to teach proper from and creating progressions with little or no equipment.

She taught us how to teach various exercises and to progress them in a group setting. I picked up a few good tips (side lunge for the win!), then we were led through what would be a moderate level workout at any other time, but exhausted as I was I found the squats (with progressions of course), lunges, and burpees (at the end!!!) very challenging.

Overall, even if I was exhausted, I had a great time at IDEA World, and feel like I learned a lot that I can implement right away. It is always inspiring to meet other fitness professionals, get great new ideas, and just get energized from the experience.

What’s your favorite functional workout?

 


 

My weekly linkups! Please stop by and check out all of the great recipes, workouts, and information that all these awesome bloggers share every week!

Meatless Monday with Tina and Deborah
Meatless Monday with Annmarie 
Bonnie, the Pin Junkie
Tip Tuesday with Debbie in Shape
Wednesday Wisdom with Nanna’s Wisdom
Fitness Friday with Jill Conyers
That Friday Blog Hop with xoxo Rebecca
The Blog Booster Party with Kathleen

My Plans and Goals for Blogfest and IDEAWorld

Well, it’s finally here. Almost anyway. Blogfest and IDEA World Fitness Convention start next Thursday and I can’t wait! I signed up about six months ago, but I’ve really been waiting for this week since last year! I have my sessions selected, my hotel reservation, my travel plans all ready to go. I’ve done everything but pack (and I have a plan for that too!). I thought that I would share my plans and goals for Blogfest and IDEAWorld with you.

My plans and goals for blogfest and IDEAWorld

Wednesday

I’m driving in early from the desert. I’ll be picking up Tiffany at the airport, then we expect to arrive in Los Angeles by about 11:00. Even though we both signed up to take a Zumba instructors’ licensing course, the timing meant that we’d miss most of the first half of class, so we pretty much have decided to skip it. That leaves our day open for…well, anything!

FriendsMy roomy Tiffany, with Melissa, Ragnar teammate Jill, and Pamela in the background (from 2014)

Tiffany is also one of my roommates (along with Jill and Jessica), so one option is a quick trip to Whole Foods to stock up on a few items for our hotel room. I think Jill will probably want to go along, so we may wait until she arrives around noon. Then we’ll check into the hotel and the convention. Then, who knows? Since most of the events don’t start until Thursday, there won’t be a lot to do at the convention center. I’ll just see what the girls want to go and go from there.

Friends 23Jill and me at Blogfest 2014

Wednesday evening I’ll be having dinner with Susie and Amy, the founder of Brick Betty. As a new ambassador I’m excited to learn more about the program. The clothing is beautiful, colorful, and made in America, which makes me extra happy to be a part of it.

Goal for the day: Have fun, enjoy the cool weather (compared to the desert), see old blogging friends and meet new ones as people arrive in town.

Thursday

Thursday is the first day of Blogfest! Before anything even starts though, I’ll be meeting up with Tiffany and a lot of other bloggers/runners for a run! It’s a great way to get a fitness convention underway!

Although the IDEA Convention takes place Thursday through Sunday, the first two days I will be at Blogfest. Then I get to participate in the weekend sessions at IDEA. I’ll also get to go to the IDEA Opening Ceremonies and Welcome Party on Thursday.

So here’s what’s up the first day of Blogfest:

Friends 18Katy and me at the IDEA World Expo last year.

The first two hours are dedicated to learning how to build your blog. Katy Widrick will lead “How to Increase Your Readership and Market Your Message to the Masses,” followed by “Mind Blowing Blog Tips” from Alyse Mason and Jamie King, the founders of Fit Approach. After a Tweet Break, we’ll all head over to the opening ceremonies. The Keynote Speaker is best selling author Brendon Burchard.

Friends 11The Sweat Pink Team: Jamie, Alyse, and Becky, at Blogfest 2014

After that I’ll have a couple hours to eat lunch, wander around the expo (more about the expo below), and probably meet and socialize with more bloggers (seriously, my favorite part of Blogfest).

After lunch, my Ragnar teammate and registered dietician Melissa Burton will bust the top 5 nutrition myths. Then we’ll spend a couple hours learning how to build a following on Instagram (from Kasey Arena) and Pinterest (from Natalie Jill). That’s followed by the Lightening Round where eight bloggers will have 5 minutes each to teach us something with their slide presentation. It was a ton of fun last year and I expect this year will be no different. I’m really looking forward to it. Then we’ll have a couple hours to go back to the expo, have some free time, and get ourselves ready for the PARTY!

The opening party is always fun. Several thousand fitness professionals from all over the world will be eating and socializing for a couple hours. Add a couple hundred bloggers to the mix and you have a super duper event!

Goals for Thursday: I’m always trying to build my readership, so I’m really looking forward to Katy’s lecture. The same goes for increasing my reach on Instagram and (especially) Pinterest. And every keynote speech I’ve ever heard at the IDEA Convention has been inspiring, so I’m really looking forward to hearing Brandon Burchard.

Friday

Day two of Blogfest starts off with a workout: Kaia Konditioning and Kore with Nikki Warren. Then we’ll get into a little more serious stuff, learning about the legal aspects of blogging from Elizabeth Bain. Then we have the Blogfest keynote speaker, Gabrielle Reece. Not only will she present the keynote speech, she’s then going to lead us in her workout, HighX! Then, right before lunch we’ll discuss the future of blogging with Jessica Matthews.

After lunch and expo time, we learn SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tips and tricks from Sara Downey Robinson. That’s followed by three of my favorite bloggers, Katy Widrick, Laura Peifer, and Katie McFarland teaching us how to make a career out of our blogs. Following a tweet break we’ll learn how to build up our Twitter following from Amanda Vogel. Then we get to do a workout led by the founder of Zumba, Beto Perez! Then, sadly, Blogfest will wrap up with a closing networking party.

Goals for Friday: Whew! With three challenging workouts I hope I have the energy to take in what I need! I am really interested in learning more about SEO. Getting found by search engines is so important to building your following. The legal aspects of blogging are really important too. There is a lot to know about contracts, taxes, copyrights, that can cause you problems if you’re not aware. And while making a career out of my blog might be a dream, I certainly wouldn’t mind making a little more money.

Saturday and Sunday

One of the exciting things about the IDEA Convention is that there are so many classes to try. They go on throughout the day, every day of the event. From group cycling, Pilates, and yoga, to special guest presenters such as Jillian Michaels, Todd Durkin, Jeanette Jenkins, and Leslie Sansone, there truly is something for everyone. And I believe that some fitness pros go to the convention simply for the workouts.

But after saying all of that, I don’t usually go to any of the classes. Occasionally there will be a workshop that combines a lecture with a workout that I will try. But I generally go to IDEA to learn and to get CEUs that I can use to renew my certifications. And they don’t give you CEUs for exercising, darn it.

Instead, I will start off my Saturday with a run, then head to my first sessions which is Functional Fascia for Group Exercise. As I’ve mentioned, I’m taking a Fascial Stretch Therapy certification this summer, so I want to soak of all the information about fascia and its relationship with our fitness as possible. In fact, I’m taking a second session, Fascia Gone Wild, an Integrated Approach to Corrective Exercise, later on Saturday afternoon.

My second session on Saturday morning is I’ve Fallen, Now What? Since I mostly train older adults, balance and preventing falling is very important.

Friends 27Coach Jason and me at IDEA World 2014

My final session on Saturday is the Running Clinic, taught by my friend Jason Karp, PhD. He’s very knowledgeable about running (he was IDEA’s Personal Trainer of the Year in 2011, among many awards) and a personable and funny speaker. He even offers his own running certification course, Run Fit Specialist., which is available online and now in a few live workshops around the country. I’m also going to Jason’s Plyometrics Palooza on Sunday.

My final class on Sunday is Bare Essentials–Group Strength Training. I don’t teach many group classes anymore, but these tips can come in handy for all kinds of training.

My goals for the weekend: I’ve chosen sessions that will enhance my knowledge about fascia, which I am studying right now. I will earn CEUs for all of these courses, so that will come in handy when I renew my certifications in the fall.

The Expo

Friends7Jill, yet another Ragnar teammate Carrie, and me at the IDEA World Expo last year

Ah, the expo. Just imagine a huge exhibit hall filled with exercise equipment, fitness clothing, accessories, and any kind of fitness toy you can think of. Hundred of booths, offering deals, samples, and free food. It’s a shopper’s trainer’s dream come true!

My goal for the Expo: Aside from scoring a few deals, I want to make some connections with the brands that I love. The expo is an opportunity to meet the people (or at least get their contact information) that work with bloggers.

 

Can’t get enough of Blogfest? Here are my other posts:

How to Pack for Blogfest
Meet My Blogfest Buddies!
The Scoop: Blogfest and IDEAWorld, Gabby, Jillian, Beto and More!
5 Reasons You Need to Go to Blogfest 2015
Blogfest: It Starts with the People
(From 2014) 6 Women (and 1 Man) I Can’t Wait to Meet at Blogfest

I’m linking up with Debbie in Shape for Tip Tuesday, Nanna’s Wisdom for Wednesday Wisdom, xoxo Rebecca for That Friday Blog Hop, and with Kathleen for the Blog Booster Party.

Will I see you at Blogfest and IDEA World? What classes will you be taking (or would like to take)? If you could meet any blogger that you read regularly, who would it be. Aside from me, of course :-)

10 Benefits of Fascial Stretch Therapy

Stretching has become a much debated topic in recent times. For years it was touted as the key to restoring flexibility, improving athletic performance, and reducing injuries. Then stretching, particularly passive stretching, fell out of popularity in favor of more dynamic moves that were designed to prepare the body for sport. Passive stretching is reserved for after the workout, and even then its value is controversial.

FST 2

What is Fascial Stretch Therapy?

Enter Fascial Stretch Therapy (or FST), a type of stretching that targets not only the muscles, but the fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds muscles, bones, and joints. FST also targets the entire joint and joint capsule, using traction to remove restrictions from movement and to stimulate lubrication. A therapist will gently pull and move the arms, legs, spine, and neck in a smooth motion through varying planes of movement. There is no pain, not even discomfort. Instead, the gentle movement is stimulating and relaxing at the same time.

The problem with many standard stretching programs is, well, they are standard. An athlete will finish her workout, run through her “usual” stretches, maybe paying extra attention to tight hips, sometimes pushing through some pain to get that final stretch. Sadly, this type of stretching is not effective and may even be causing more tightness and inflexibility. When you cause pain with stretching, your muscles respond to protect themselves, tightening up in a rebound type effect.

By contrast, a Fascial Stretch Therapist will evaluate their client, looking for imbalances, as well as the source of those imbalances. Then using breath to help with movement, the therapist will first warm up the joints and muscles with undulating stretching to maximize blood flow. Then using techniques of slow undulating movement, as well as traction (gently pulling to create space in the joint) and modified PNF ( proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation), synchronized with the breath, the therapist will stretch the entire body, following a logical anatomical order, to lengthen muscle, increase range of motion, and improve flexibility.

10 Benefits of Fascial Stretch Therapy

  1. Increase Range of Motion
  2. Muscular Balance and Symmetry
  3. Improved Performance
  4. Reduced Pain
  5. Reduced Risk of Injury
  6. Improved Posture
  7. Improved Muscle Function
  8. Improved Circulation
  9. Decrease Compression and Impingement in the Joints.
  10. Improved Energy

The effects are cumulative. It took a while to develop the imbalances and stiffness in your body. It will take a while to reap the benefits of FST. But, that being said, you can feel immediate benefits, even after your first session.

Remember, I am not (yet) a certified Fascial Stretch Therapist. I will be studying and preparing for the class that I’m taking in August. My information comes from my experience as a client, as well as from the Stretch to Win website, and the book, Stretch to Win, which is written by Ann Frederick and Christopher Frederick, the developers of Fascial Stretch Therapy.

The above, by the way, is an affiliate link. I will make a few cents if you purchase that book through Amazon. Other than that I have received no compensation for this post. I have experienced FST first hand and I’m a believer in the benefits.

Linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday!

  
Have you heard of fascial stretch therapy? Have I piqued your interest? You can find a list of certified FST therapists on the website.

Fit Friday: For the Core

I’m excited to bring back one of my favorite series, Fit Friday. Recently I have felt that I’ve moved away from fitness posts by focusing more on running. I want to get back to my roots though, so, while there still may be a running workout on Fridays from time to time, you will generally find some type of strength workout. I introduce you to Fit Friday #1: For the Core.

Fit Friday

Here’s a quick core workout that will get your weekend started right.

For the Core

With all core exercises it is important that you focus on tightening and bracing your abdominal muscles for the most effective workout. Pull up your belly, brace like you’re preparing to be punched, and make sure you continue to breathe. There, now you’re ready.

Note: While the instructions say to perform each exercise for one minute, you should only do it as long as you can keep good form. So, if that is only 30 seconds at first or even less, that’s great. Work at it, get stronger, and before you know it you’ll be sailing along for a minute.

1. Plank with Alternating Knee to Elbow: Start in a high plank position, making sure that your shoulders are directly over your wrists and that your spine and hips are aligned. Inhale, then exhale as you bring your left knee to touch your left elbow. Hold for 2 seconds. Return to starting position then repeat with the right knee. Continue alternating knees for one minute. Modification: Put your knees down in your plank position.

Plank Altnernating Knee

2. One Leg Deadlift: Stand with your weight on your right leg. Start to bend forward at the hip, keeping your right leg straight and your spine neutral. Extend your left leg behind you with the knee straight. It should stay in alignment with your body throughout the movement. Lower until you’re about parallel with the ground. Slowly return to your starting position. Do all the repetitions on your right leg for a minute, then repeat on the left side. To increase the challenge: Hold a kettlebell in one or both hands.

One Leg Deadlift

3. Side Plank with Hip Dip: Assume a forearm side plank position. Make sure that your shoulder is above your elbow, your hips and legs are stacked. Hold the opposite arm in the air. Without losing form, lower hip to the mat. Return to your starting position. Repeat for one minute, then switch sides. Modification: Keep lower leg on the floor.

Side Plank

4. Supine Toe Taps: Lie on your back with your legs in a tabletop position (hips and knees bent at 90 degrees). Tilt your pelvis slightly and push your back into the mat. Slowly lower one leg and tap the toe on the mat. Return to starting position then lower the other leg. Alternate legs for one minute, keeping your back pressed down for the whole set.

Supine Toe Taps

5. Bicycles: The old fashioned bicycle crunch is still a great exercise if it’s done correctly. Lie on your back with your hands lightly supporting your head. Bring your right knee to your left elbow, then your left knee to your right elbow. Take it slow and don’t pull your head to reach higher.

Bicycles

6. Russian Twist: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet on the ground. Keep your back straight and lean back slightly until you feel your abs engage. Hold your hand out in front of you. Twist to the right and touch your hands to the ground (if you can without rounding your back. If not, just go as far as you can). Then twist to the left. Alternate for one minute. To Advance: Hold a medicine ball or dumbbell in your hands as your perform the exercise.

Russian Twist

7. Sliding Pike: This exercise should be done on a wooden or laminate floor (see below for variations). Start in a high plank position with your feet on a blanket or large towel. Using your abdominal muscles, draw your legs in, keeping your knees and spine straight as you move into a “Pike” position (inverted V). Return to your starting position. Repeat for one minute. Modification: Allow your knees to bend as you draw your legs in. Variation: This exercise can be done with your feet on a stability ball or sliders.

Sliding Plank

8. Leg Lowers: Lie on your back with your legs straight up in the air. As you engage your abdominal muscles, press your back into the mat. Lower your legs only as far as you can without losing form or lifting your back. This is important. Hold for two seconds then return to the starting position. Repeat for one minute. Modification: Keep your knees slightly bent and use a smaller range of motion when you lower your legs. Don’t do this exercise if it causes back discomfort or pain.

Leg Lowers

This workout should take about 10 minutes. You can complete one set or, if you have more time, repeat the workout for a killer core workout. Enjoy.

I’m linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday!

FitnessFridayRev3

Disclaimer: Although I am a certified Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Personal Trainer. Always adapt workouts to suit your body and fitness level. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

What is your favorite core exercise?

Recap: The Week in Training and Life

Countdown to the SLO Marathon

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SLO Marathon

The countdown to the SLO Marathon has begun! In less than four weeks I will be in San Luis Obispo at the start line of my 37th marathon. Will I be ready? Yes! Will I be able to rock the race as I’d planned? Um, maybe.

If you’ve followed my training recaps you know that life has interfered a lot in my training plan. While my long runs have been pretty much on target, my mid-week training has not been what it should. I’ve been getting in some of the planned speed work, but my efforts to get my total weekly mileage up where I’d like it have not been very successful. Last week I managed for the first time to get over 30 miles. This week, a long run cut-back week, I just barely managed 28 miles.

So to look at the big picture, and to stop whining about things I can’t change, I will have an okay race. Not great, but, barring any severe exercise induced asthma issues, I’ll be fine. And I still have two weeks before I start my taper, so I have hopes for these next two peak training weeks.

This week I got all my planned training runs done {high five!}. On Monday I was out the door at 5:15 in the morning. After a one mile warmup I did four half mile intervals on the road followed by two quarter mile repeats. I was running out of time, so I couldn’t get the three miles total in intervals that I wanted, but I’m happy with that.

morning run 2It was barely getting light when I finished my interval workout on Monday. Can you see the old man in the mountain in the picture below?

Morning run 3On Wednesday I ran a total of six miles, with three miles at half marathon pace. I ran with my neighbor Christina, and we got going at 5:15. I’m not crazy about running alone so early, so I was happy to have a running partner.

As I mentioned it was a cut-back week for my long run this week. I had 15 on the schedule with four miles at marathon pace in the middle of the run. Christina ran with me for most of it, and we did manage to run miles 5-9 at my goal marathon pace, which is about 10 minutes per mile. At that pace it’s not like I was sprinting, but I still found it challenging (which I have to admit concerns me at this late point in training). Anyway, I got it done. After I split off from Christina I had about four more mile to run, but I was really dragging, so I ended up finishing with 14 miles for the day.

ChristinaAlan’s hamstring is bothering him, so we didn’t do our normal dog run on Sunday. Instead I ran four slow recovery miles on my own, choosing perhaps the most challenging route, which is a big loop around our neighborhood that finishes all uphill for the second half. Oh well, I got it done, and took a few photo breaks so I survived.

Recovery 3Pretty, huh? You wouldn’t guess that the day was going to heat up to about 100 degrees (on March 29!!!!).

The Life Recap

I’m not really sure why I’m including a life recap this week since it was generally pretty boring. Alan was away for a few days visiting our twin grandsons in Huntington Beach and cheering them on at the Jogathon at their school. Cash managed 31 laps in 30 minutes! I think this put him in second place overall.

CashAlan also went to their baseball game where both boys had some great plays. They all also played baseball with grandpa, rode bikes together, and of course, went to the beach (it was in the mid-80s!).

DaneMeanwhile, I stayed home to work. I also have been having afternoon headaches this week, which sucks. Unusual for me, they come on in the early afternoon, send me to bed for a couple hours, then seem to go away by early evening. I think it is because I recently got back on my hormones (Obamacare finally kicked in!), and my body is adapting. I’ll have it checked if I’m still having problems next week, but the last couple days seems a little bit better.

I did drag myself out on Thursday to see Cinderella with Christina. More on that tomorrow, but I will say that I loved it. I was fighting the stupid headache through the whole movie though, so I may just have to see it again when I feel better.

Pizza!

The food was pretty boring while Alan was gone. Between having only myself to cook for and not feeling good I kept it simple. Leftovers for the win! Also my favorite comfort food when I don’t feel good: a baked potato with salt and (vegan) butter. Not sure why this makes me feel better, but it’s been my go-to since I was very young.

Alan got home on Saturday and I was feeling pretty good so I made a pesto pizza. It was really, really, really good.

Pizza 2And worth a second look.

PizzaI have a 22 mile run on the schedule for next Saturday. I’ve been fighting a lot of doubts throughout this training cycle, so I admit that I’m fearing this distance. I’ll have to get a really early start too because I don’t think the weather is going to cool off very much.

Coming up on the blog this week I’ll have a comparative review of Cinderella 1965 vs. 2015, a great giveaway for desert locals, and the return of the Pin It Party with Lindsay and many other bloggers.

And finally, here’s something to make you smile:


How was your training week? Any events, races, or other fun times? Want to join the Pin It Party (it’s on Thursday if you’d like to participate)?

March Health Dares from UnitedHealthCare

This post is sponsored by United Health Care.

March Dares 2I am excited to be joining UnitedHealthcare this month and sharing their We Dare You To program. Every month UnitedHealthcare has a series of three health-related dares that are easy and have some great prizes.

The March Health Dares are:

  • Share a photo of your healthy breakfast.
  • Test your nutrition smarts.
  • Watch the “How to Read Food Labels” video and share your opinion

March Dares

Now for the prizes! The Grand Prize for each dare is a $400 gift card! Plus you have a chance to win one of the weekly prizes of a $25 gift card for each dare that you take. What are you waiting for? Easy entry, great prizes, and the opportunity to learn a little about living a healthy lifestyle.

I hope you will take the time to watch the “How to Read Food Labels” video. In just three minutes, nutrition expert Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, tells you what to look for quickly so that you know that you are purchasing the best product. While reading a food label isn’t difficult, she pinpoints the most important details to look for when you’re shopping.

My Healthy Breakfast

Since I eat the same breakfast almost every morning I rarely take pictures of it. A little granola, vegan yogurt, and some fresh fruit, plus some toast, and I’m good for a few hours.

Silk Yogurt Parfait

UnitedHealthcare dares you to take a small step toward a healthier life. Go enter, then come back and tell me about your healthy breakfast.