Monday, April 20, 2015

Sunday Run Day… Monday Insights

I am currently tuned into a television broadcast of the Boston Marathon, and the elite women have just started… if I start to ramble and stop making sense, please forgive my distraction.  You know it’s worth it.

I had a rough night…  up a few times with cramps in the calf of my left leg and on the top of my left foot.  I ended up putting Tiger Balm on it, eating mustard, and then I slept sitting up on the sofa for about 3 hours, before returning to bed at 3 a.m. where I slept very soundly till the alarm went off at 6.  Yup, I was determined to watch some of this race on tv and I am on the West Coast so you know it’s 3 hours earlier on the clock than Boston.

And I am wearing some compression knee highs now, and will be throughout the day today.

So what happened yesterday to cause the leg cramps?

I had a good high protein breakfast yesterday, followed by half a pack of Drip Drop (my medical grade hydration powder) in a glass of water before heading out for a 7.3 km run.  It was a glorious morning… sunny and blue and calm so we ran an out and back route along the Strait.  Lovely, and I was thrilled that the minutes seemed to fly by.  Finished my run in 53 minutes.


shake

When we came in I did a good long stretch and drank  more water before my cleanup and then later, lunch.  It was a huge salad with a whole can of solid white tuna.  Good recovery protein and carbs with a bit of olive oil.


lunch

We have been making a list of things that we don’t have to forget to pack for our upcoming vacation, and discussing the pros and cons of various items. I have decided that I don’t want to take a laptop computer along on this trip, but I do want to take my FitBit.  So, what am I going to use to charge the battery if I don’t have my laptop?  I decided I need  a wall-to-USB charger.  I do have wall chargers for the camera and the cell phones that I intend to take, but not for the FitBit.

This led to a walk downtown, looking for such a device in a few different stores.  I did find something that I think is suitable, and by the time we got home, I had been on my feet another hour and 40 minutes. Looking back, I realize I should have put on a pair of compression tights or socks at that point, but it was so warm that I just didn’t really think about it because my legs felt good.  I enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine with my dinner, and kept hydrating with water and tea throughout the evening and had my usual magnesium powder drink before bed.

I got a message from my FitBit telling me I earned a new badge… It is called the URBAN BOOT BADGE and is for chalking up 15,000 steps in one day.


Urban Boot Badge


Actually, my FitBit recorded many more than that… here is a screen shot of yesterday’s tally.


FitBit

I fell asleep fairly quickly after turning in for the night, at about 11 p.m.  And the first wave of cramps hit at about 11:45. I woke with a start and stood up immediately.  I went to the kitchen, drank more water, and then applied some Tiger Balm. My legs were both tingly up and down the full length… from my ankles to my thighs, so I knew I was in for a rough night.  But I returned to bed, and fell back to sleep, only to be jolted awake again 45 minutes later.

So, I got up again, drank more water, and ate some mustard… which did knock the cramp down immediately, and set myself up on the couch. I thought that sitting up would keep the cramps at bay and it did work.  I slept off and on till 3 when I finally went back to bed.  I was hoping that the worst of it was over as I no longer felt any tingling in my legs.

So, in hindsight, it was probably a combination of the run, the long walk, and the wine that put things into play… and even though I drank my Drip Drop, and lots of water, and wore compression leggings during the run, and had my magnesium drink before bed, those things were not enough to prevent the over-tiredness in the muscles, and the cramps that followed.  I hope I have learned a lesson here.

Okay, time to go watch the elite men run Boston.

Are  you watching the marathon today, too?  Are you tracking any of your favorites runners?

Do you continue to learn things about your body and what it needs from various activities and foods that you consume?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday Run Day

I got out for a really good 5 km run around the neighborhood this morning… sunny and calm, even if a bit cool at around 46F.  I wore my favorite Tommie Copper gear… compression leggings, compression tank, compression tee and a jacket. I also started out with a light pair of gloves.  Yes, I am a wimp, and I hate being cold.

And my time wasn't bad either.  Finished in 34:30 which is good for me right now. I am a mouth breather and it seems that when my heart rate gets too high, my breathing gets harder and I have to slow down somewhat to recover. My legs are willing; my lungs are not!


Elle
Sweaty selfie… don’t ya love them?

After I drank some water and stretched for a while… nope, didn’t use that Rumble Roller this time out… I started thinking about my plans for workouts for the remainder of the week.  I have been concentrating my efforts on building a bit of muscle in my upper body.  Summer is coming and I want my arms to have some shape when I bare them in sun dresses, sleeveless tops, and swimsuits.  Yep, vanity is a big motivator for me.  And I continue to work on my core strength as well.  I need a strong core to play tennis and golf and to swim.

So this week I plan to use my 21 Day Fix DVDs and do Upper Fix (which includes a great core workout) a couple of times, and Dirty 30 (which is an all-over body workout).  Of course I will walk as much as I can, too, and I may even get in a swim.  

I am at a crossroads with my running right now.  I am not really content with only getting out for one run a week.  But I am in a bit of a time crunch with the extra work hours I have taken on.  I want to enjoy the runs I do get in, and know that if I start getting up early to go for a run before my day starts, I will start to resent it very quickly… it won’t be fun at all, and that will defeat the purpose. So, for now, I am going to maintain the status quo. I am going to reassess all of these things at the end of the Summer.

What is on your agenda for the week?

What motivates you to keep running or working out?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Do You Really Love and Use Those Products You Review?

So, do you really love and use those products you review on your blog, or do you just say you do, so that other companies will keep sending you things?

I was asked this question the other day and so I decided to write a blog post about it. 

I have just looked over the list of products I have reviewed since I started this blog about 4 years ago now.  I can honestly say I was never given anything to review that I really didn’t like… but then again, I am careful to only select items for review that I think I will like and want to use, or already do like, and want to share with my friends.

But, naturally, some things get used more than others… and some have become ROCK STARS in my little world.  There are items that I have reviewed that I use on a daily basis or at least very often..  Those are the ones I want to share with you again and again.  And in many cases, I already have.

FIRST STAR…. Tommie Copper compression gear

Both The Captain and I have been fortunate to have an onging relationship with the great folks at Tommie Copper.  We love their gear and both of use use and wear it regularly… me, daily.  My natural inclination when getting dressed in the morning, is to put on pair of Tommie Copper compression leggings and a Tommie Copper compression tank or tee.  We also both wear Tommie Copper gear for tennis, running, working out, and for lounging and recovery.   I take compression leggings and tees with me in my suitcase when I travel so that I always have something extremely comfy to fall back on.


2015-02-24 10.40.24


TC shirt 001


Feb 24 2015 tennis outing 010


Feb 24 2015 tennis outing 015


SECOND STAR… Handful Bras

Unfortunately for me, Handful no longer has any Canadian ambassadors, but I still do love their products. I have Handful tanks and Handful bras… and their bras are the only ones I ever wear… every day wear and exercise activities. I love the way that they fit and look.  The tanks are great for workout wear and they also double as camisoles under street clothes.


Oct 27 posing 008


THIRD STAR… Energy Bits

I don’t talk a lot about Energy Bits on the blog, but I do use them regularly… weekly for sure. I don’t eat them on a daily basis like you might a vitamin or Omega supplement. But I tend to swallow  them when food is not appropriate but I need a bit of something to keep me going.  I am enrolled in their ambassador program, but don’t promote it really.


Jan 6 ENERGYbits heart 001


FOURTH  STAR….  CLIF products… BUILDER’S BARS, CLIF BARS, SHOT BLOKS

In my body gluten causes a nasty build up of inflammation in my head that causes dizziness that prevents me from enjoying Pilates and yoga. I do make an effort to eat gluten-free most of the time. I feel better when I do.  Very occasionally I will make an exception and when I do, it is to cheat with a CLIF product. I happen to love their BUILDER’S BARS the very most. They are high in protein and taste great and made from good ingredients.  I sometimes split one with The Captain after we play tennis.  Do I wish they were g-f?  Of course.  But I love and eat them anyway.


Oct 21 CLIF pkg 002


HONORABLE MENTIONS… My choices:
  • Yogi Clothing… a black and grey sweater that I kinda liked when I first got it and now wear it in the evening at home at least 4 or 5 times a week to cuddle into whenever I am cool, and I also wear it to work over a longer particular tunic top
  • Wahini Sport…  always loved the little blue shrug and the long patterned sleeves with the thumb holes. I wear them quite often.
  • Knuckle Lights… we use them in the Fall/Winter to walk outdoors in the dark. Always.  Won’t leave home without them.
  • ToiletTree products …. oral irrigator and personal care brushes.  These are much-used and much-loved tools in my hygiene routines.
HONORABLE MENTIONS… The Captain’s Choices:
  • Saucony ISO Triumph Running Shoes
  • Under Armour Spine RPM Running Shoes
He loves them both and alternates between them when he runs.

So to answer that question, the answer is a resounding YES!

What about you?  Do you really love and use the products you have reviewed favorably on your blog?  What are your top 3 or 4 items or brands?  Here’s your chance to sing their praises!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Sunday Run Day and April 5 by the 5th

First let me wish all my friends a very Happy Easter!  We had fun decorating eggs yesterday afternoon. Usually I do them for The Captain but this year I decided he might like to get involved…. fun and messy!


April 5 stuff 006


I was so very happy that today dawned sunny and blue, even if a bit breezy and cool. I hadn’t been for a run for 2 weeks and really wanted to get out this morning to do my 5k run for the April installment of the 5 by the 5th series that I am taking part in.  If you are a runner, you are likely participating too. 

So, a nice hearty, high protein breakfast to get the morning started.  I chose to use Shakeology vanilla whey powder in these waffles today. They are delicous and so easy.  I was hungry so didn’t mess around much tying to take a decent shot! The strawberries and coconut shreds were the perfect topping.

April 5 high protein waffles with Shakeology


Then I drank some Drip Drip and about an hour later, I was lacing up my blue Mizuno shoes and heading out to run 5km with The Captain.


April 5 stuff 001

I knew it wasn’t going to be be particularly speedy, even by by my S-L-O-W starndards, but it was great to be out. I was surprised by the number of people already out strolling along the seaside path above the cliffs that border the Strait, and so many dogs romping in the sunshine.  The people here are generally a later morning crowd.

It was only 8°C when we headed out, which is about 46°F and that is quite cool compared to the lovely 60°F to 70°F days we have been enjoying for weeks now.  So, of course I overdressed. I wore a Tommie Copper tank and a Tommie Copper long sleeved tee and then a Tommie Copper jacket and some Tommie Copper leggings.  I felt cool when we first went out but by the time we got to the waterfront, after about 10 minutes of running, I was very relieved by the breeze coming over the cliffs and ended up having to take my jacket off and tie it around my waist after another 5 or 6 minutes.  I never learn, but gosh I hate to be cold when I first go out!

After we finished (35:30 today) I stripped off my very sweaty top shirt and drank some water while I stretched my legs outside in the sunshine on our balcony. 

Then I faced my Rumble Roller. I have had this beast for some time now.  I won it from Suzanne Digre of Workout Nirvana several months ago. I have had only a few short sessions with it but have now given it a permanent prominent place in my home where I see it EVERY day.

I should add that I have used a kitchen rolling pin in the past to roll my calves and thighs in the past. So I am somewhat familiar with rolling in general, but this BEAST!

I know I need to use it more often. And I want to. But it hurts!  I meant it really HURTS!  But I did get out a couple of yoga mats after stretching my legs, and rolled my quads a bit, and then my hamstrings a bit more, and finally made an attempt to roll the sides of my thighs.  That was a lot more difficult… even getting into correct position is is difficult. But I am determined to persevere.

April 5 stuff 004


April 5 stuff 005

I am just painfully uncoordinated.

So, a good run, a good stretch and a so-so roll… It can only get better, right?

Now I am doing chores.  I have hand washed my workout gear and am also doing some food prep for the week. I have baked a few potatoes, made some ground beef meatloaf muffins, and am about to make some egg and veggie breakfast muffins too. Then I am going to bake a couple of pork tenderloins. I have a busy week planned so want to make sure we have easy meals read to go.

I hope you are having a wonderful Sunday at your house.

Are you a foam roller fan?  Please tell me it does start to hurt less eventually.

Any food prep going on in your kitchen today?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Unbiased 3-Day Refresh Review

The first thing I want to point out, is that I am not a Beachbody Coach; I am not affiliated with the company in any way.  I purchased Shakeology protein powder and the 3-Day Refresh kit myself.  I am writing this review in order to share my experience for anyone who might want an unbiased opinion from someone who does not stand to profit in any way and has no vested interest in it.


3-Day Refresh Kit


I have been curious about the 3-Day Refresh program since I first heard about it last Summer… but it only recently became available in Canada.  It is not a fast, a juice cleanse, or a starvation diet.  But let’s concentrate on what it actually is and my experience with it.

What’s in the 3-Day Refresh Kit

I had already purchased Shakeology protein powder so I chose a kit that did not come with more Shakeology.  My kit had 3 days worth of high protein shake mixes called Vanilla Fresh, and high fibre drinks called Fiber Sweep, and a program guide book.  The book has all the details you need to follow the program, laid out very simply.  It also has information about the fruits, vegetables, fats, and  juices you will eat in addition to the shakes, along with some recipes for your evening meal. 


Refresh Guide

The guide also has a lot of information and recommendations about how you might feel and what to expect during the 3 days. And it very clearly and specifically suggest undertaking only mild to moderate exercise during the 3-Day Refresh. And it also warns that you might experience bloating and gas from the Fiber Sweep drink.

What You Will Eat on the 3-Day Refresh

Throughout the day, as laid out in the guide, you will have 1 Shakeology shake, 1 Fiber Sweep drink and 2 Vanilla Fresh shakes.  You will also have 2 pieces of fruit, fresh vegetables, 2 servings healthy oils or fats, green tea, lots and lots of water… and you may also have freshly made juice, veggie broth, and herbal tea if you want them.  For those of you, like me, who refuse to give up your coffee… you may have it, but only black.

I am going to detail what I did on each of the 3 days for you, and then I will tell you what I liked and didn’t like with my conclusions afterward. 

I normally drink lemon water mixed with fermented L-Glutamine when I get up in the morning.  I also drink a magnesium citrate powder mixed with water before I go to bed at night. I didn’t see any reason not to have these things while on the 3-Day Refresh.  I did not take any other vitamins or supplements though. The Shakeology protein powder and the Vanilla Fresh mixes are loaded with vitamins and minerals.

I chose to do my 3-Day Refresh during a time when I had no pressing commitments on my calendar other than working from home on my computer during the first and third evenings. I did not have to dress up to go to work and I had no plans for entertaining or eating meals away from home.

Day 1

Morning

6:20 a.m.
  • 12 ounces water with lemon juice and fermented L-Glutamine
  • Black coffee
7:20 a.m.
  • Vanilla Shakeology mixed with 12 ounces water
  • 1/2 large navel orange
Breakfast
8:45 a.m.
  • Green tea
Feeling a wee bit headachy at this point as I normally have 2 cups of coffee in the morning

9:15 a.m.
  • 12 ounces water
  • Black coffee
And the headache goes away!

11:00 a.m.
  • Fiber Sweep mixed with 12 ounces cold water
  • 12 ounces hot water

             Fiber Sweep1          Fiber Sweep2

I have no experience with fibre mixes/drinks so I am showing pictures of what it looked like out of the package, and then mixed with water.  It is not unpleasant; it has a citrusy taste and I just chugged it down. I did have to add a bit of water to the lumpy bits at the bottom to remix and finish it.
                   
Afternoon

12:30 p.m.
  • Small salad of baby greens, tomatoes, cucumber
  • Dressing of 1 tsp EVOO and 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Vanilla Fresh with 10 water and 2/3 cup frozen cherries blended in

Lunch

2:30 p.m. did 20 minutes of yoga

2:50 p.m.
  • 12 ounces water
  • 1/2 cup black coffee
3:00 p.m. went out for 30 minute walk

3:30 p.m.
  • Baby carrots, cucumber slices, 3 Tbs hummus  (this is a bit more veggies and hummus than the program calls for but I was hungry and made the decision to have it.)

Afternoon Snack


3:40 p.m.
  • Black coffee
4:35 p.m.
  • 12 ounces water

Feeling kind of light headed and a just a wee bit gassy at this point but not bloated or uncomfortable.

Evening

Ate dinner a bit earlier than normal because I had an online work session scheduled for 6 – 9 p.m. and I wanted to make sure I was finished with dinner and ready to work.
5:00 p.m.
  • Lemony Green Beans  (from program recipe book)
  • Vanilla Fresh with 10 ounces water
Dinner

The Vanilla Fresh is a bit watery and bland made with water but has a decent taste.  The Lemony Green Beans were delicious.

Feeling full enough but slightly ‘off’ head-wise.  But within an hour of eating dinner I was feeling good again. I continued to drink water throughout the evening.  Also had one more cup of black coffee about 9 p.m.

11:00 p.m.
  • 1/2 small banana (not on program but I decided to have it so I wouldn’t wake up hungry during the night.)
  • 12 ounces water with magnesium citrate powder

Day 2

Slept very well. Woke up just before 7 a.m. feeling very good and not hungry.

Morning

7:00 a.m.
  • 12 oz. lemon water with fermented L-Glutamine
  • 1-1/2 cups black coffee
8:10  a.m.
  • Vanilla Shakeology mixed with with 1-1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk, cinnamon and 1/2 banana blended in

Breakfast

9:20 a.m. brisk outdoor walk 50 minutes

10:15 a.m.
  • Green tea
11:00 a.m.
  • Fiber Sweep with 12 ounces cold water
  • 12 ounces cold water
Afternoon

12:25 p.m.
  • Small salad of baby greens, tomatoes, cucumber and capers
  • Dressing made of 1 tsp EVOO, cucumber blush vinegar and Greek seasonings
  • Vanilla Fresh with 10 ounces unsweetened original Almond Breeze and some cinnamon
  • One apple

Lunch

I decided to have a piece of fruit to eat along with my Vanilla Fresh shake, instead of having fruit blended into it. It seemed more like a normal lunch to me… salad, then my smoothie with the apple.  I was very full after I was finished.  The Vanilla Fresh seemed much thicker and way more satisfying made with the almond milk as opposed to having it made with water.

Spent most of the afternoon on my feet working on a jigsaw puzzle. Drank a few more glasses of water and a cup of coffee.

3:45 p.m.
  • Baby carrots, grape tomatoes, cucumber slices with about 3 Tbs hummus (again, slightly more than prescribed by the program.)
Afternoon Snack


4:15 p.m.
  • 12 ounces of water with magnesium citrate powder
Experienced some tiredness in legs so decided to take a mag powder mid-day. It helped almost right away.

5:50 p.m.
  • Weak black tea, sipped occasionally over the next hour
A bit of gas as I drank my tea but no bloating whatsoever.  I am wondering at this point when the Fiber Sweep is going to really kick in!

6:30 p.m.
  • Morrocan Carrot Salad (recipe in program guide)
  • Vanilla Fresh with 10 ounces unsweetened original Almond Breeze and 2 ounces water, lots of cinnamon
  • Remainder of black tea
I was not feeling all that hungry but did enjoy the taste of my dinner salad. And the Vanilla Fresh was better, too, with more cinnamon in it. Used about 3/4 tsp.

Dinner


9:00 p.m.
  • Herbal tea

10:30 p.m.
  • 12 ounces of water with magnesium citrate
  • 12 ounces of water
Not hungry at all during the evening.  Went to bed feeling good at 10:40

Day 3

Woke up about 6:40 a.m. feeling good and well-rested.

Morning

6:45 a.m.
  • 12 oz. lemon water with fermented L-Glutamine
  • 1-1/2 cups black coffee
8:25 a.m.
  • Vanilla Shakeology mixed with 8 ounces Coconut Dream, 8 ounces cold water, cinnamon and 1/2 banana blended into it.

Breakfast

9:30 a.m.
  • Walked 10 minutes to IMAX Theater, watched movie and walked 10 minutes home
11:00 a.m
  • Fiber Sweep with 10 ounces cold water
  • 12 ounces cold water
  • Green tea

Afternoon

12:15 p.m.
  • Salad of cucumber, grape tomatoes, cilantro
  • Dressing made of 1 tsp EVOO, 2 tsp lemon juice, minced garlic, salt, pepper
  • 1 apple
  • Vanilla Fresh made with 10 ounces unsweetened original Almond Breeze

Lunch

Spent afternoon on my feet and drank 2 more glasses of water. 

3:45 p.m.
  • Toes started cramping up when I sat down to eat my snack so I drank 12 ounces water with magnesium citrate and it offered almost immediate relief
  • Green pepper, tomatoes, baby carrots with 3 Tbs hummus (again, a bit more than prescribed) sprinkled liberally with salt.
  • 2 cups black coffee

Afternoon Snack


Evening

I was scheduled to work online again from 6 – 9 p.m. so decided to space my dinner out in order to keep my brain fuelled to do my work.

5:15 p.m.
  • Vanilla Fresh made with 10 ounces unsweetened original Almond Breeze
7:00 p.m.
  • Cucumber and Tomato Salad (from progarm guide).  Another very tasty salad!  And I ate it very slowly… took about 1/2 hour to finish, it was so chewy and flavorful.
Dinner

8:30 p.m.
  • herbal tea
11:00 p.m.
  • 12 ounces of water with magnesium citrate
  • 12 ounces of water
Not hungry at all during the evening.  Went to bed feeling good just after 11:00 p.m. 

What I Liked About the 3-Day Refresh
  • The program is simple to follow, the guide book is well-laid out and easy/quick to read and the important parts easily referenced during the 3 days.
  • The recipes provided for Dinners are really tasty and made from whole, fresh ingredients.
  • The Vanilla Fresh shake mixes were tasty and easy to drink and change up with fruit and spices.
  • I did not experience much hunger at all.  Actually, I was pleasantly surprised by this.
  • I slept well and woke up feeling good.
  • I was satisfied with the food I was eating and not obsessed with want to eat or snack or wondering when my next meal would be.
  • I was allowed to have black coffee.  I normally have my coffee black anway so this was no hardship for me.
  • There is enough real food allowed to satisfy the need to chew.

What I Didn’t Like About the 3-Day Refresh
  • During the first day I felt a bit light headed and don’t think I was getting quite enough to eat. I was concerned about going to bed and feeling poorly during the night so I ate 1/2 banana before bedtime.

My Conclusion

I have just finished this 3-Day Refresh program. You might say that today is my Day 4... I have been up and away for 2 hours and, after my normal morning lemon water concoction, and 2 cups of black coffee, I am still not hungry.

All in all this was a pretty easy program for me to follow for 3 days. I already normally eat whole real foods and use protein powders for smoothies and shakes so there was nothing really foreign or unusual for me here, other than the Fiber Sweep drink.

I am not vegan, but the program can be, if you choose the vegan Shakeology option. I used the whey based powder.

I mentioned the light-headednesson Day 1 to my Beachbody Coach, Danielle Prestejohn  (who holds a Master’s degree in Nutrition and is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, and who has done at least two 3-Day Refreshes herself) and she suggested I might mix my morning Shakeology and my noon/dinner Vanilla Fresh powders with unsweetened almond milk. This added a few more calories and a bit more fat to my day. It not only made the shakes more palatable, it kept me fuelled better throughout the day.

I never did experience any real effects from the Fiber Sweep. Danielle and I both think this may be because I already eat a diet full of fruit and veggies and high fibre carbs such as sweet potatoes and the occasional brown rice.  The additional fibre was not a shock to my body as it might be for some people.

The Shakeology and Vanilla Fresh powders make very satisfying shakes. Normally, after eating a lunch of salad with lean protein and a serving of healthy oils I am wanting a snack a couple of hours later. With the Vanilla Fresh shake for lunch, I was not needing a snack for 3 or 4 hours.  They are so nutrient-dense that they sustained me longer.

I am never going to do a program that insists I give up my coffee.

You really have to limit your exercise/workouts. Although I did some yoga and did some walking, I would never have been able to go for a run or do any strength training.

I did lose a few pounds... I know it's water weight... I didn't do this program to lose weight.  I do have a flatter belly and am smaller around the midriff/waist. I should have taken before/after measurements but didn't.  I am wearing my skinny jeans today!

I think it is likely a very good program for someone who needs to put the brakes on eating too much processed food, or even a transition into eating more fruits and vegetables. 


And the Big Question?  Would I Do it Again?

YES. I am already planning a quarterly Refresh.  I think it will be a good way for me to keep myself in check occasionally.

So, have you ever done a program like this?