Tag Archive: fitness

When we think of exercise we think mainly of the effects it has on our physical health. The benefits of exercise extend well beyond the physical, stabilizing and energizing both our emotional and mental faculties. In essence, exercise feeds the brain, and too many of us our starving.

Author John Medina in his book Brain Rules says that “physical activity is cognitive candy.” The brain needs food, oxygen, rest, and low stress to perform well and exercise plays a big part in integrating those elements and breaking them down into things the brain can use.

  1. People who exercise tend to eat healthier. Healthy feed promotes an active brain.
  2. Exercise boosts oxygen in the blood, including blood flowing to the brain.
  3. Exercise helps you sleep better. A well rested mind is more alert.
  4. Exercise boosts feel good hormones, which reduce stress. Stress can cripple brain function.

It doesn’t take much exercise to see the benefits in your mental health. A peaceful walk, yoga, jazzercise, kickboxing–getting down on the dance floor Saturday night–it all helps stimulate the brain. In what ways can you feed your brain today?


Are You A Warrior?

The Warrior Dash is coming to Austin this year and our team is ready to go! It will be my first year competing (and I have the Turkey Trot the weekend after) so it will be interesting to see how well I do. For those of you who don’t know what it is, the Warrior Dash is a 5k obstacle course full of mud, fire, barbwire, and shenanigans. That’s right, I said shenanigans.

It’s a fun athletic event that tours the country, hitting up different cities every year. We put a team together from work (mostly ladies) and are scoping out potential costumes. We want to look the part.

The event is followed by an after-party complete with drinks, food, and live music. It spans over three days and sells out fast, so hurry up and check the schedule to see if its coming to your area so you can get in before there’s no room left. Fellow Austinites, you want to hurry!!

Hope to see some of you there!

Ever feel like you hit a wall. You’ve been training, getting in a groove, seeing results and all of a sudden WHAM! You keep pushing and pushing but nothing is happening. I’ve been there. It happens when you stick to the same routine for too long.

Often referred to as “plateauing” its the point where your body has acclimated to your routine and is no longer responding. Just like anything in life, to continue to grow and improve, you need to challenge yourself by changing your routine and trying new things. The maximum length of time you want to stick to a familiar routine is three weeks, but a truly effective workout regimen changes almost every time, constantly forcing your body to keep guessing and pushing beyond what you thought you could do.

Here are some ideas to help you change it up:

  • If you are a dedicated runner, try changing your route–run it in the opposite direction you normally do, move to a path with more hills, do sprints, etc.
  • When doing strength change it up between weights, resistance, and machines. Mix up what muscle groups you pair together, change up the weight and reps, try new moves that attack your muscles from a different angle.
  • Take advantage of free or drop in classes and try a new activity such as yoga, spin, or even crossfit (which I just tried and love!).
  • Change up your music. The new beats will motivate you to push harder.
  • Train with someone more athletic with you. It will also motivate you to try harder.
  • Sign up for an event. A group of us from work will be competing in the Warrior Dash in November. Nothing like an obstacle course with fire and barbwire to present a nice challenge.

Variety is the spice of life–but it’s also the key to achieving the fitness level  of a Superhero. Don’t let your progress flatline. It’s the little improvements, no matter how slight, that keep you motivated and get you that much closer to achieving your Superhero goals.  For a little more motivation, check out these sites:

Train Like a Superhero: Ten Points of Fitness

For those of you like me who are ambitious and training for that superhero physique and fitness level, you may be wondering exactly what it takes to get that superhero body. Let me start by qualifying my desire for getting a superhero body–it’s not vanity. It’s so that I can have the ability to do the things I love, to be there for the ones I love when they need me, and so no one can get the upper hand (I choose not to be a victim anymore–I’m not even a survivor–I’m an ass kicker. See my bio for details).

Before you even start pursuing a fitness goal, you should understand that there is more to fitness than looking  good. Specifically, health professionals have identified ten aspects to fitness:

  1. Strength: Ability to apply force (e.g. lifting weights)
  2. Power: Ability to apply maximum force (e.g. jumping, plyo, etc.)
  3. Agility: Ability to change movements seamlessly (e.g. dancing, obstacle course, etc.)
  4. Flexibility: Wide range of motion (e.g. twisting into a pretzel)
  5. Balance: Ability to maintain center of gravity even on an uneven base (e.g. standing on one leg or on an unstable surface)
  6. Endurance: Ability to work for long periods of time (e.g. distance running)
  7. Cardiovascular strength:  Ability to collect, process, and utilize oxygen. Whereas endurance is your ability to perform over a long period of time, cardiovascular strength is more about your ability to continue to produce oxygen, even under high intensity. They feed into each other, but are quite different. (e.g. running without loosing your breath)
  8. Speed: Being able to move quickly (e.g. sprinting)
  9. Coordination: Ability to do complicated movements or a series of movements (e.g. a series of dance steps)
  10. Accuracy: Being able to control the direction and/or intensity of a movement (e.g. controlling a punch)

Any fitness regimen you undertake, in order for it to be truly complete, must incorporate activities that build on each of the ten aspects of fitness. My regimen includes a mix of free weights, cardio, plyo, resistance, and functional training to create that muscle confusion and to engage all ten levels of fitness. I also work in yoga and daily stretching to improve my flexibility and to decompress so I stay a superhero and don’t turn into a super villain.