My Issues With ‘Fitness’

I don’t visit many fitness sites. Not because I’m a runner snob or purist, but because I don’t like the ‘business’ side of ‘fitness’. Those who instantly ‘get’ what I’m talking about separates the ‘fitness’ minded from the FITNESS minded.

I’m not the running riddler, but the reason I don’t go to lots of fitness sites is because I really don’t like the hypocrisy of it all. I’m a straight-shooter, telling it like it is, kinda gal. ’12 Minutes to FLAT ABs’…’Workout in 8mins or less!’
runner lies
EIGHT minutes? Seriously? I don’t even consider 8 minutes enough time for a proper warm-up. So I guess I should define what a workout is. I’m not talking about a ‘follow-up’ core routine, stretching, weight circuit. For a runner or anyone who is truly FITNESS minded some of those routines can certainly be on the quicker side, maybe all you need IS 8 minutes because you busted your butt doing 800′s and cardio earlier.

When I’m talking workout I mean EVERYTHING. Start to finish, if you do double sessions, those minutes count as rollover. Newsflash: the ‘fitness’ celebrities touting those ’8 minutes is ALL you need!’ workouts, they for DARN sure don’t do THEIR workouts in only 8 minutes.

It’s the business that peeves me. If you’re going to tell people what to do, be upfront. Yes, I know the MAJORITY of Americans DO NOT want to hear they’ve got to bust a sweat doing cardio for at least 30 minutes and follow it up with some core and ab work. Waaaa…I’d rather be watching the Kardashian! Well, you could do both running on a treadmill…haha.

So the 12 and 8 minutes things sell, they are hot keywords, they attract the masses like flies to a bush post runner emergency dive. The same also applies to the warped food pictures and supposed meals ‘fitness’ websites promote. Have you seen the Instagram pictures of a scant sliver of chicken with a side of five sliced cucumbers? If that was my meal I’d wind up eating my foot. Actually on those, I just don’t understand, is that seriously all they eat? But who knows, who really cares (well, actually tons of people do…it comes back to the business thing I guess)…but the fact that it really makes me question brings me right back to my biggest issue…
running fitspo pinterest
I’m a straight-shooter, I like to be upfront. I expect and appreciate that from my readers and everyone else, so I like to do the same. If you want to run your best, if you want to race to PR’s…because da** THAT feels good, it takes work. Lots.of.work.

It will hurt. Workouts will make you wonder why in the flip you have this sick fascination with pushing yourself. Your brain will even try to lie to you and say you really don’t care, that if you just stopped you’d be okay with that. But those are LIES.

Running tests you more mentally than it will physically. Well, maybe a tie, lactic acid sure does hurt physically. But that’s the POINT. Anything worth it takes work. It isn’t done in 8 minutes or less. It isn’t ‘easy, painless, quick’ or any of the other keywords picked up by Google by the ‘fitness’ masses.

We’re runners, or if you totally get what I’m talking about, we’re FITNESS minded. We want to bust our own @$$es because the rewards good… eight minutes be da**ed!

1) What are the majority of websites and blogs that you visit?
2) What is your definition of a workout?
3) What’s your take on the Instagram foodie reverse porn? I think the follow-up snap should be them wolfing down the half gallon of ice cream at 12 midnight. ;)

True Running Fitspo…

Honestly, Pinterest and Instagram, please get the message that TRUE running motivation and inspiration comes not from how are training makes us look but rather what it enables us to ACHIEVE.
running fitspo pinterest
That’s as far as I’ll let my little mini rant go. But I DO have say how I laugh at some of the ridiculous picture/quote pairs that pop up. Saw this gem the other day:

“If my fat isn’t going to my boobs then I want nothing to do with it.”
I mean, seriously?

Me, I’m far more inspired and motivated by runners getting out there, sweating it out, busting their @$$es for PR’s.

Chasing endorphins is far more fun than wishing I had more fat for my boobs. ;)

1) What’s one of the funnier Pinterest/Insta fitspo’s you’ve seen?
2) What’s one of the better, really motivating ones you’ve seen?
3) What did you do today that could be pinned and used as inspiration for others?

Runner’s Strip: Jeans shopping

For every runner athlete who’s gone shopping for jeans and wound up wanting to punch someone in the face.

jeans shopping for runners
I can’t take sole credit for this one. The AWESOME quip that gave me the inspiration for this cartoon came from Sally Bergesen, founder of Oiselle, a kickbutt running apparel company. Yesterday a few of us were tweeting on the frustrations of trying to find jeans that FIT when you’re an athlete, muscle-clad, kickbutt female. Usually you wind up with some problems:

* The jeans WOULD fit in the waist but you can’t get them above your quads. Literally.can’t.raise.them.
* Go up to a size that doesn’t cause your quads to hulk-out but the waist is super saggy. We have six packs, not kegs.
* There’s also an issue with the cut of the butt. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but for whatever reason any size that fits my legs causes this funky pooch in the back; I think it’s because the waist/butt/quad ratio is off and you wind up with extra denim at the waist, so when you sit it’s like a sideways tepee.

I’ve not worn jeans for years…now, to be totally fair I work from home and literally live in running clothes. Like, live in them. #SweatsandtheCity

AAAAND, I will also argue that running clothes can be quite fashionable, I mean just take a gander at my awesome shirts:
hot running shirts
and we ALL love Oiselle who are keeping us clothed from our rundies out to our hoodies.

oiselle

Photo Credit: Oiselle


But that’s not the point. Runnerchicks DESERVER to be able to go to the store and find a pair of jeans that fit without winding up a mess of frustration and wanting to punch someone in the face.

Wise up, World. We are runners, we are women, we are STRONG…we have muscles. And we look d**n good with them.

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More cartoons HERE!!
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1) What’s been an issue you’ve had with finding a pair of jeans, or any article of clothing that clearly didn’t account for your runner bod?
2) What is your ‘normal people’ fashion like?
3) What’s another vent you’d just like to get off your chest so you don’t punch someone in the face?? ;)

Runger: How runners can tame the beast and eat to perform

There’s a little beast that lives inside every runner. He gets really irritable after long runs. He’ll yell, he’ll scream, he’ll kick, he’ll throw a full on Toddlers and Tiaras style tantrum until you give him what he wants. He’s screaming, “FEEEEED ME!!!!”
runger
Yup, that’s your Runger talking. Shut him up. Feed the beast! ;)

Runger’s an interesting thing, as is sports nutrition. It’s a tricky topic because running burns tons of calories so naturally runners need to EAT more. At the same time, what we fuel our bodies with has a direct correlation to its performance. Add in that every runner’s metabolism and body type is different and things can get kinda hairy, scary monstrous.

So getting back to Runger? Here are some more quick facts about our little belly-dwelling man:

* Running and Appetite: Exercise requires more energy, so duh, runners need more calories [energy] than the sofa-surfers of the world. Input versus output. Ideally everyone could eat intuitively, but food is such a cultural/emotional/past-time, growing up people tend to lose touch with their ‘intuition’ when it comes to hunger and fullness.
* Feeding Runger ASAP: The key to speeding up your muscle recovery, and to help quell the Runger beast from yelling at you so loud later that you over-eat, is to refuel RIGHT after you finish a run or workout. That 30 minute recovery window is critical! Get your protein and carbs in before you even shower!
racing weight
* Marathon Weight Gain? Lots of new runners jump straight to a marathon and think, “Hey, I bet I’ll lose weight!” The irony is that a good portion of those runners notice they GAIN weight and are puzzled. Why? Runger, Baby, Runer. Easy runs and long runs especially kick up the appetite of a person, incidentally the body doesn’t have a totally accurate gauge between the amount of calories burned running and then amount of calories it wants to eat. Probably a survival mode thing that’s outdated. What that means is after those long runs your hunger level will probably leave you wanting to inhale more calories than you actually burned.
* Female Runger: It sucks but the whole mistaken gauge of amount of running in respect to level of hunger is more skewed for women. So women tend to get even hungrier than men after the same run, so can wind up, again, taking in more than they need.
* Speedwork: The irony to the people who sign up for a marathon JUST TO lose weight, is that they would be better off doing shorter races and speedwork. Why? Harder workouts tend to suppress the appetite after and they also kick your metabolism up more than easy runs and they also keep it elevated hours after the hard run.

Taming Runger Tips:

* Protein! Not only do you need protein to build and repair your muscles but protein is also going to really help with satiation; it will keep you feeling fuller longer. If you’re finding yourself insanely insatiable you probably need more protein.
* Eat Fast: Not the rate of your eating, but you need to eat sooner rather than later. Meaning eat when you’re not on the verge of feeling like your stomach is sucking up against your spine, wait too long and you’ll be too famished. Again, another reason to refuel as soon after your runs as possible.
* Eat Healthy: Fiber will help fill you up, so get lots of fruits and veggies in there. Good for straight-up health but also, 10 apples are way more filling than 10 Cheetos. Who can eat just 10 Cheetos??

Gaining Weight:

I said how every runner is different, well the cruel irony is that some runners are constantly trying to tame their Runger in a way to avoid gaining weight, while other runners are constantly fighting to keep weight on. For those with speedy bullet metabolisms:

* Liquids: Fluids don’t fill you up like foods do, so adding liquid calories are super easy. Good choices are milk, smoothies, and protein shakes.
* Calorie Dense: Think the opposite of the 10 apples thing, look for foods that have more calories in smaller portions. Examples: peanut butter, avocados, cheese, nuts, ice cream!! :)
* Healthy then Plus: Just because you need more calories doesn’t mean good nutrition goes out the window. I liken it to the healthy+plus method. I tend to have a faster metabolism so I make sure to get my healthy stuff (fruits, veggies, enough protein) in and THEN I use whatever more calories I need as ‘fun foods.’ Totally inhale your cakes but don’t neglect your apples type of thinking.

Whew, I think we covered a lot about that hungry little gremlin dwelling in your stomach. All that food talk probably woke him up….if so, avoid Pinterest or Instagram. ;)

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More posts on RUNNER NUTRITION HERE
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1) How do you balance healthy eating with Runger?
2) What kind of runs tend to leave you the most famished?
3) If you’re trying to gain weight, what are some of your go-to foods/liquids?

Goals, Running, Motives, Skinny-Fat and Twerking

I’ve got a personal pet-peeve and it’s called ‘skinny-fat’. It also ties right into my other pet-peeve: New Year and you can’t escape the onslaught of diet talk, weight-losser’s [not a spelling error, I'm going to start the momentum on this term], and body aesthetically obsessed.

I don’t harbor ill feelings towards all resolutionsists, I swear I’m not a mean person, but overload me with anything and it can get rundantly annoying. Exceptions include running and chocolate. I think my issue comes back to the REASON, MOTIVE, and EXECUTION of said resolution.

tough runner

Are you motivated? Like, THAT motivated?? ;)


* Reason: I view running and fitness as something kinda special…sacred even. The people who don’t respect ALL that it bestows upon one’s life, I get annoyed. If all they can see is the aesthetic part, it irks me. If they can’t see how endorphins and running will make you happier, more goal-driven, self-motivated, productive, and more proud of what you body can DO, then it’s kinda like they are spitting on the track. Respect the track, mmmk. Certainly running WILL have the trickle-down effect of that hotter bod, don’t get me wrong that’s a major perk…but it’s a perk…not the ultimate prize.

* Motive: Setting a goal to ‘lose weight’ or ‘get fit’ is redunkulatly over-played, don’t be a lemming, set a real goal. ;) So ambiguous, and these resolutionists tend to get my mental eye-roll. Be motivated to up the ante, define an awesome goal and THOSE are the resolutions I respect. “I’ll break XXX for the 5k” , “I’ll run 30 minutes every day for 30 days” , “I’ll do speed-work twice a week“. Bam…those are resolutions, People, they also can be made any time during the year.

don't stop running

Don’t Stop. PS-I FINALLY got an iphone so mayyybe you’ll see more actual photos around here??


* Execution: Accountability, I guess that goes without saying. Gyms are packed, you’ll see lots of new faces out running on the roads these first few weeks. Those numbers start to dwindle…it’s the thinning of the herd. If you’re going to set a resolution, respect the amount of effort and work it will take, that goes with any goal. Hard work is a requirement, or else your goal isn’t high enough. With execution, there’s nothing more to say than you only earn respect and being taken seriously over time and with your actions. Those quietly working away for their goals, day in and day out, probably aren’t broadcasting it to the world…they’ll let their actions speak volumes when they show up to race day and BAM, shock the world with their new PR.

What does all of this have to do with the weight-lossers and the jiggly ‘skinny-fat’ nuisance? I use skinny-fat as a barometer to gauge HOW people are trying to get to a healthier place. The number on the scale isn’t a hard-fast indicator, you see a skinny person who jiggles when they twerk and I’ll bet they aren’t putting in the effort exercise-wise and just limit their calories. They’re missing out on the BEST part of the puzzle.

Running and exercise. It gets you toned, it gets you healthier place mentally AND physically, it teaches you that your body is more than an aesthetic. Your body can be a performance vehicle if you’re driven. Be self-motivated to find out how AMAZING your vehicle can be and you’ll learn that looking hotter thanks to all that running is a perk.

Merely a perk.

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Motivation lulls happen to EVERYONE, even the most running obsessed, don’t feel bad if you hit one…HERE are posts to spark some motivation on those days.

Goal setting…HERE are posts all about those awesome goals and dreaming big!

Speaking of legs…if you have them put them to use!! ;)
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1) Did you set any resolutions this year? What were your reasons and motives behind those goals?
2) How do you stay accountable to your goals? What are some motivation tips you use?
3) Favorite perk that running gives you…aka, what hot body part are you most proud of? What is one performance vehicle achievement running has given you that you’re super proud of?

Two Truths and a Lie: Running, Endorphins, Depression, and Self-Esteem

Okay, I’m sure every runner remembers that game “Two Truths and a Lie.” You come up with two stories or facts that are true then one that is, well duh, a lie. Trying to make it tricky for your friends to figure out the lie, usually you pick some pretty off the wall REAL things that happened. Well, here will be a little runner’s version of that.

Finally I may have a better shot at pulling one over on you guys, I’m pretty sucky at lying face-to-face, so now I can hide my smirks behind the words. ;)
keep running
Running Shoots the Brain Up With Endorphins = Puts You in a Happy Mood

Exercise causes the body to release ‘feel good’ hormones called endorphins. When these are picked up by the brain’s receptors it puts you in a happier, more positive mood. But let’s be honest and say that running gives you cooler endorphins than other forms of exercise. ;)

Endorphins released from running give the brain a similar kind of ‘high’ or sensation that people experience doing other not-so-healthy alternatives: drugs, binge eating, gambling…and if we’re going to acknowledge it as a true addiction…sex addiction?? (haha…wow, I’m so mature, right?) So people recovering from other addictions have found taking up running, or other forms of exercise, really helpful. Maybe LiLo should really stick with this running thing.

Running, because of the natural ‘high’, and the positive reinforcement of setting goals, putting in hard work, and reaching those goals, has also proven to be helpful with those struggling with depression. Running also introduces people up to a new community and friendships, so those relationships also help with feeling better. Finally, anyone who’s had a runner buddy can attest that some of the best free therapy sessions come from a good, solid run with lots of chatter.
eating cotton candy
Running Helps Bolster Confidence

Running is hard. Bam…straight to the obvious. It takes a lot of self-motivation, effort, and pushing your limits to achieve those goals we set. But, when those goals are fulfilled, there are fewer more rewarding sensations. Hello, how awesome is the feeling of crossing the finish line and earning a brand spanking new PR?!?!?

Going through that goal setting and goal fulfillment process instills a work ethic and helps breed confidence. Running has a great way of helping boost self-esteem because of that confidence. Also, it gives you a whole new level of respect for yourself and your body; you view this body as a vehicle for performance, something that can really DO big things!!

Running and Endorphins Solve All ‘Feeling Bum’ Moods and Sad Feelings

So really we could solve all of life’s problems if we all just started running, right? I mean, hello, we’ll then have a world full of people with brains chock-loaded with endorphins. We’ll eliminate all drug problems, all forms of substance abuse, we’ll save all those marriages destroyed by ‘sex addiction’, we’ll even clean up all of Hollywood so will movies be better??

There will no longer be anyone struggling with low self-esteem or depression either. Right?
turn left on the track
Okay, I think you see where I’m going and that last one is obviously the lie. YES, running does release endorphins but, sadly, they aren’t a cure-all for more serious underlying issues. While, I still think that having running as a positive outlet in ADDITION to other forms of treatment help with these things, running isn’t a magical cure-all.

I bring this up because I contributed a post to ‘The Anxious Girls’ Guide to Dating: Silencing the Inner Critic’ because it touches on some more ‘serious’ stuff I don’t always talk about here. Also, recently the British hurdler, Jack Green, has come forward saying he’s switching sports because he’s working to recovery from his depression.

Now the telegraph article sort of ‘blames’ the intensity of the sport of running for causing him to slip into this depression, while that may or may not be the case, I would like to say two things. 1) Yes, competing and training at such a high level naturally can put someone in the position of letting too much stress get to them, and when you’ve invested so much of yourself into the sport and you wind up falling short of your goals or injured, that can be a crushing blow magnified times a billion. 2) HOWEVER, I don’t think it’s as simple as that; as a professional athlete you go in knowing that you’re not always going to win and that running IS cruel because there will always be injuries, and it’s a sport that tests you like none-other. That said, you should have an underlying, true, self-motivated passion for simply running.

That is another whole other topic I could write on, but the main points I wanted to get out are that:
1) You should always run from within, truly love running. If you love the feeling of pushing yourself you can have a life-long relationship with running and that appreciation will get you through the ‘low points’ (ie: injuries, falling short)

2) Running is one of the best forms of free therapy and it certainly keeps many of us runners sane. But realize it’s also totally natural to have days where you feel crummy, most times running can HELP that…but it’s also not the magic bullet. If you need to supplement with other things…don’t be ashamed or shy. Plus, when you’re truly happy with yourself and your life it has a funny way of actually making your performance better. Shocker, right? [sarcastic font used...it's not a shocker...hehe.]

Run…be happy…my friends!!

1) Give me two truths and a lie on anything.
2) How has running helped improve your overall happiness, confidence, self-esteem, life, etc?
Way too many ways to count. Running keeps me sane! :)
3) What are some other ways, outside of running, that keep you happy in life?
Close friendships and family. Yea, my younger sib’s rock!

Warning: Runners in mirror are stronger than they appear

Don’t mess with me, I’m a runner. Looks may be a bit deceiving, I’ve had people call me ‘hummingbird arms’ or ‘wishbone’ but I can pack a punch. Runners come in all shapes and sizes, a few of us (okay, probably more than a few) could be dubbed scrawny…but don’t ever confuse that with weak.
strong runner
I do my weights, core work like a good little harrier, am no stranger to the plyometrics. I’ll admit that it sometimes feels like I have to choke that stuff down because I’d rather gobble up more miles BUT I know all these ‘extras’ will make me a stronger runner. If you want to be fast, (or at least less slow…hehe) you’ve got to have a core that can keep you standing tall when you’re tired. You can’t have feeble little arms swirling around like a ribbon-dancer if you want to be efficient either.

Those arms can be slender but darn tooting they should be long, lean, and muscular. Okay, we may not ever bench the same amounts as those gym-goers with the permanent protein powder shaker bottles in hand, but that’s not our aim. Distance runners lift for higher reps and lower weight, duh. It’s all about the endurance.

Want to see us be a little more explosive? Then come to the track after a workout and we’ll show you our plyometric routine. Granted it may not be on par as the sprinters but for distance runner standards that’s some POP! You’ll see that same POP come the last lap of our 10k’s…all that explosive power translated into speed is something beautiful, I’ll tell you what! It’s even more beautiful to swing wide and pass that poor fool who neglected working on that power and speed.

Not all of the ways we build speed are so obvious, some of that power comes from the miles and miles run up hills. Hill repeats, yup, long runs on trails, you got it, tempo runs where the times are misleading due to incline…you bet!

But you want to know the BIGGEST reason you shouldn’t mess with a runner? The strongest assest of a distance runner is, in fact, their mind. I open myself up to hate from footballers, b-ballers, curlers (teehee)…but until you’ve done mile repeats until you swear you’re about to barf and then enter into the next rep, the day you run so long you’re not quite sure if you’re running so much as kicking your foot out in front of you and praying it catches, or you refuse to believe you’re beat so you DIG down for that extra gear.

Mental fortitude…that’s why you don’t want to mess with a runner. The rest, well, the rest is just enough for us to kick you @$$ with. ;)

1) Finish the sentence: Don’t mess with a runner because…

2) What is one way you’ve gained strength, speed, or power?

3) If you’ve played other sports, can you compare the different skills or mindsets necessary for them versus running. What has been the hardest sport or tested you the most?

4) Sometimes even runners have weaker mental days, it happens. So how do you rebound off of a ‘weak’ mental day, learn from it, and aim to not give up next time?
I always remember how crummy it feels when I know I’ve been a mental weenie.
best running shirts

A Runner Doth Compare: Keeping the comparison game in check

When to cmopeare and when to not.
Running is quite the unique sport. Obviously it’s the BEST sport, but it’s different than most because it is highly personal. The end result rests solely on your shoulders…err, legs.
legs for miles
So while there are a pillars of support you can look to, the wisdom from others to learn from and guide you along, it’s ultimately going to come down to you taking the initiative and being motivated from within.

Ironically though, it’s generally outside elements that we can get hung up on as we gauge our running success. Are we faster than so-and-so, they ran this many miles and how many did I run, I see she was doing her repeats at this pace…and often times we make ourselves out to be the ‘loser’ regardless of the competition.

It’s very easy to get hung up on the negatives or what whe CAN’T do, our shortcomings. Generally we’re going to compare ourselves to the person we DIDN’T beat and decide we stink, rather than look to the person we did beat and feel like we’re making progress.

Running is personal, but human nature sucks us into comparing ourselves to the ones around us, and usually doing so in a way that it makes us only feel worse about ourselves.

It goes with training and workouts, but it also goes with how we look compared to our competition or what our diets are compared to theirs. Sometimes runners get easily distracted on the ‘details’ of a particular runner instead of what it really should come down to: results. Funneling that down even more, your PERSONAL results.

Running is personal, what works for one person may not work for you. They may be able to handle running more miles than you, maybe he can indulge in more Ben & Jerry’s than you, perhaps she will always be able to run her intervals just a bit faster. Sometimes that reality STINKS, but it’s a reality.

girl on track

She’s thinking something…it better not be the can’t word! ;)


It’s also a reality that somewhere there is a runner comparing themselves to you and being envious. The running shoe laces up both ways.

I would be wrong to recommend we discard comparisons completely, that is counterproductive to our sport and our own personal growth within the sport. You WANT to look to the runner faster than you and use them to spur in you the motivation and drive to get out there and chase them. You just want to be sure you’re looking to them in the right mindset: one that will help you rather than harm.

No other runner or person can dictate how you’re going to feel. It’s up to you to make the CHOICE. Choosing to recognize you’re not the fastest person is acknowledging a fact, but then CHOOSE to use that as incentive to improve in ways you can. Don’t make the conscious choice to take the defeatist mentality and berate yourself. That applies with training and workouts and all other areas runners are apt to get drawn into playing the comparison game.

Running is the best sport, though, as runners we tend to be Type A and hypercritical of ourselves. It compels us to train on days most others would blow off a run but it can also be our own greatest obstacle.

How you choose to look at your competition is up to you, make sure it is in a way that lights that inner fire to run headlong into your highest potential.

1) Who do you tend to compare yourself to the most?

2) In what area do you tend to do the most comparing?

3) Which trait in others are you usually most envious of?

4) Which trait do you possess that you feel others are the most envious of?

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Tales From the AAAAA: Runner bodies and being just a Handful

I’m a flat runnerchick. Truth be told I’m more than okay with that, and I swear it when I say I’ve never once wished I had a bigger chest. That said, I’m a single runnerchick at the moment and there may or may not be a correlation there. I also will find any excuse to wear running clothes in public everywhere so…

runner gluttony

The pizza is hiding my chest there, but trust me it’s not hiding much.


Everyone has their ‘thing’ though, runners and non-runners. I hate my stomach. She can’t stand the cruelty of Mother Nature in that she runs 70+ miles per week and still has some dimples on the backs of her thighs. He wears long socks in an effort to hide his small calf muscles. We all have things we don’t necessarily love, and at times begrudge, about our bodies.

Sometimes it’s okay and a positive motivator to have things we’d like to change: the man who peels off 100 pounds when he took up running because he’d finally decided he couldn’t keep living the way he was. Other times though, getting hung-up on certain aspects only steals mental energy that could be much better put to use elsewhere: the woman who obsesses over said thighs and ignores the fact that she’s running on those thighs faster than most runnerdudes.

It’s a line to walk, or run rather. I bring up running because I think it can make both instances of these battles better for most people. With running it naturally makes you stronger and leaner, so it tackles the physical. It also forces you to look at your body more from a performance standpoint and what it can actually DO for you, rather than how it looks all wrapped up in a pretty bow. Running, and the mentality that comes with it, goes so much deeper than the muscles and tissues, and even bones. Your thinking shifts, your goals change, and your perspective of what is important and what is worth siphoning the mental energy into also changes. It’s worth busting your @$$ to get a PR…it’s not worth busting your @$$ obsessing over the jiggle on said @$$ if you’re PR’ing.

Though getting back to my opening, I’m a flat runnerchick, and to be honest kinda proud. I never have to worry about a twin offending someone with any type of cleavage. :P That said I also recognize there’s nothing wrong with other women not so stoked on a AAAAAA chest; I’ve got a friend who literally wears two bras even when she works out: a normal sort of padded bra under her sports bra. I’m not kidding, and I make fun of her (in a non-mean way) for doing that, but she tells me to shove it and goes about her two-bra merry way.

Handful Adjustable Bra…I got the purple!


Source
So when I started hearing about Handful bras, I first couldn’t help but love the name, even though I’m more like a pinkyful, and was excited when they wanted to send me one of their new adjustable models to try out. Here are my Handful Bra thoughts:

* First Impressions: Okay, the bra, I got the purple adjustable, came in this cute purple, mesh bag. I like the little things and know that anything that sets you apart from your competition is a plus. Good job, there Handful.

* Chesty-Besty: My two-bra wearing friend, this is right up her ally, in fact I showed it to her. It really does have some padding already put in there and has to be more comfortable than two bras. I will be honest though, I’m sad that now I can’t keep making fun of her…oh well.

* Comfort Factor: The material is very nice, it’s technical material just like a sports bra should be to wick off all that sweaty-beast style runner drip.

* Adjustable Straps: The latest models are the skinny, adjustable straps. I actually prefer a thicker strap, myself, but know that’s not the case for all. I still find the skinny straps supportive enough (again refer to AAAAA chest) but I do sort of wonder if a thinker strap may be the way to go for runners with larger chests and going all out in a workout or race situation. Though I don’t have experience with that so can’t really give an opinion there!

* Overall: I think Handful has hit its niche market really well. It’s cute, unique and with some feminine flair lots of women runners are looking for today. (Enter running skirts.) If you’re not totally jazzed with a concave chest than I do think it would be worth checking out.

The bottom line is that I believe SOO many people would be much happier if they were runners (duh) but in this instance because by being a runner you begin to look and think of your body as a performance vehicle. You respect it, maybe even admire it at times, and you want to treat it right…so that you can beat the heck out of it in workouts. Sounds maniacal, but aren’t us runners all a bit maniacal??
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Soo, in case you haven’t heart, Handful is one of the awesome brands offering up some loot for all of you running the Miles Madness Competition! That means if you women (or men too, I’m totally equal-opportunity at the blog!) want to snag a freebie, you best be getting your running on. The awesome news is that anyone on the winning team has a shot at winning, so recruit more friends to join and run to increase YOUR chances to winding up the winner. Tweet, Facebook, blog, stand on the corner in your running clothes screaming about Team Cait. :)
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1) What’s your ‘thing’ or hang-up?

2) How has running changed or maybe helped your dislike for that?

3) Women: skinny strap or wider?

4) Men: Have you seen the Seinfeld episode with the Bro? Are you Team Bro or Team Manzier?? ;)

Childhood Obesity and Getting Active: The answer is not in blaming pollution

Oh, Runner’s World you’ve done it again. I got a really good laugh when I read their online headline screaming, ‘Is Pollution Making Us Fat?’ Seriously, could it have nothing to do with inhaling mass quantities of McDonald’s and constituting raising the spork as your daily exertion? Just saying.

fat runner

At least he's moving!


Obesity is a glaring problem, the saddest part comes from childhood obesity in my humble opinion. Skinny Runner just did a great post highlighting some recent controversy regarding children and weight. Should parents be putting their overweight children on diets and making the child aware that they are, in fact obese?

I’d say that’s a much more practical approach than blaming pollution and not changing any of your lifestyle habits, I don’t care how old you are. If you want something to change you have to, well, change something.

* Input versus output. Yes metabolism and diet isn’t as black and white as plain math, there are admittedly some other things to take into consideration, but for the most part it is not rocket science. If you go out and run 20 miles you obviously need to refuel and ingest a heck of a lot more calories than a child who does nothing more than channel surf all day.

* Move it. Exercise is healthy and hardly for weight loss/maintenance purposes alone. (Yes, being entitled to scarf my weight in Pop-tarts is a perk, but hardly the only one!) Exercise releases endorphins, improves your mood and has been found to help people suffering from mild bouts of depression or ‘the blues.’ Further, taking part in sports is linked to higher self-esteem, instilling a harder work-ethic, teaching the value that comes from accomplishing goals, and a myriad of other pluses. Even for adults holed away in a cubicle, taking exercise breaks has been shown to increase productivity in the office; you come back feeling refreshed and ready to tackle that mountain of work.

eating cotton candy

Hey, she put in her sweat session and eared that cotton candy! :)


* Shut the trap. Being a long distance runner brings to mind willowy silhouettes and lean athletes…that comes from running lots of miles and burning tons of fuel in the process. Without getting into a totally different tangent regarding the weight/food issues; for the most part distance runners do eat much more than the average person. That said, there are plenty of instances and people who DO need to shed a few and should curb back their intake. I hate the word ‘diet’ though because that is synonymous with deprivation…just make a few modifications to your portion sizes and opt for healthier alternatives. You can still have treats but just with moderation…it’s insane how misguided the masses are when it comes to general nutrition and for the most part just wising up and learning how to avoid stepping into obvious food blunders would help. (the salad swimming with dressing, nuts, etc. could be loaded with more fat and calories than the small burger.) Here, information is key.

Rather than telling people that they shouldn’t blame themselves for putting on the pounds because of increased global carbon dioxide, Runner’s World, perhaps look to your name and remind them they could run a little more! For the children, I think helping them get back to a healthy weight is a necessity…not that parents should go all Toddlers and Tiaras on them, but just be smart.

* Small changes and substitutions. As with anything, start small and gradually build up. If you’re increasing your weekly mileage only go up 10% each week to avoid getting hurt. As for that sandwich, double up on the veggies and maybe opt out of the cheese for awhile; pick mustard instead of mayo…easy stuff.

* Take the focus of exercise off of burning calories. Working out, whatever form it comes in, should be fun and something you look forward to. If you are only running because you want to look like a skinny Ethiopian you’re probably not going to last very long. Find what you love to do that makes you move.

* Half and half. I also think the people who only look at losing weight from the diet perspective are stupid; you could lose weight by only cutting calories but you won’t be increasing your muscle tone and could still wind up jiggly and with a heart lacking the benefits of some cardio. Workout in addition to making dietary changes; and know that in doing so, more muscle mass may mean that the scale isn’t the most reliable gauge…look at how your clothes fit and how you actually look. Do you still jiggle? ;)

crocodile

Tell the kids, "All the cool crocodiles eat tofu dogs!" ;)


* Parents and kids. I don’t think you always have to tell the kids WHY they aren’t eating as many french fries, if you’re afraid of damaging their self-esteem. You’re the parents, just make the changes in the household, you’ll all benefit. Take family runs or soccer games at the park…if they ask why, just say, “Because I said so.”

Weight shouldn’t be the insane focus and issue that it is; sometimes over-thinking things just make it worse. Run because you love to run…refuel your body adequately…eat wisely but for 20 mile days that includes wolfing tons of calories…be smart and just do it. ;)

1) What’s your take on the whole obesity issue in general?
For adults I think it’s more a lack of motivation to do the changes necessary.

2) What about childhood obesity? If you’re a parent, if your child was obese what would you do, if anything?
This is something I feel really strongly about, it’s so sad to see 7 year olds that are obese…I think it’s crucial to make changes before they carry that into adulthood.

3) If you’re in the position of having to lose some weight what do you do to go about it sanely?

4) On the flip side, plenty of endurance athletes have trouble keeping the weight on, if that’s you what do you do?
Pop-tarts and Ben & Jerry’s! ;) I’m half-kidding, I look at is as first get in all the healthy staples and requirements and then add the fun foods on top of that.

5) The best reason to exercise totally non-weight related?
Endorphins baby, and trust me it keeps me sane! ;)

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