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Beat the Heat: Tips Runners Should Remember

Written on July 27, 2012 at 3:35 pm , by

It’s so easy to get intimidated by the summer heat and decide to just bring your run indoors on the treadmill. Summer running can be enjoyable, if you can avoid overheating. Running during the summertime makes you think of the sun beaming down on you and sweat dripping down your face.

Most importantly, when you think of summer running, you may consider the safety precautions that may be taken like wearing sunscreen. Whatever you think of when you consider summer running, it is always a great thing to do. Running outside in the summer gives you a chance to get some fresh air and a good exercise at the same time. (Click to keep reading!) Read more

Headbands of Hope – Bring Hope to a Girl Fighting Cancer!

Written on July 26, 2012 at 9:25 am , by

Every once in a while, something comes along that touches your heart in a way you never felt possible. Maybe it’s because I recently found out that I’m pregnant with a girl this time around, but when I heard about Headbands of Hope, I immediately knew I had to help.

Last week, Jessica emailed me to tell me about this organization she started last year after an internship with Make a Wish Foundation. She got to know some young girls who had lost their hair as a result of the aggressive chemo treatments they had to undergo. She realized that headbands would be the perfect way to for these girls to keep their feminine identity and have a constant reminder that they’re not alone. Girls just like Tori, who is fighting neuroblastoma.

Jessica started Headbands of Hope to help provide hope for all girls who are fighting childhood cancer – one headband at a time. Not only does $1 from each purchase go to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation for childhood cancer research, but everytime you buy a headband – another one is given to a girl touched by cancer. (Click to keep reading!) Read more

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How to Buy a (Used) Bike

Written on July 25, 2012 at 10:23 am , by

Running is an easy hobby to get into. The ‘entry costs’ are low – all a woman really needs is a decent pair of shoes (well, and a really good sports bra). But when I first became interested in cycling, I had no idea whether I would like it and stick with it. And cycling is not cheap – a new road bike can easily cost $750 – $1,000, and many other great options can cost even more. So instead of buying a new bike, I snagged a used one.

My Giant road bike originally retailed at $1,400… and I got it for $350.

Before you set out to buy a used bike, consider what type you actually want and need. Generally speaking, there are three types of bikes: road bikes (lightest frame and thinnest wheels; designed to travel fast on even surfaces), mountain bikes (heaviest frame and thickest wheels; designed for trail riding), and hybrids (in-between bikes designed for riding around the city on sidewalks).  If you are interested in doing a triathlon, you’ll want a road bike, although you could probably get by in a sprint triathlon with a hybrid.

Next, consider bike fit. Fit is extremely important.  Head to a local bike shop and get on some bikes; talk about fit with the salesman. Don’t feel bad about trying out some new bikes – you’ll be back for a tune-up for your used bike! (Click to keep reading!) Read more

Dare to Dream Big Dreams

Written on July 23, 2012 at 9:36 am , by

friend of mine posted this on Twitter last night:

 A dream doesn’t have to be BIG to be a big dream. Big dreams come in all sizes :)

And it got me thinking about dreams.

I once dreamed I would become a pediatric oncologist. Then I realized math and science weren’t my forte and headed toward the law degree I now have. I dreamed about traveling the world – and have had some pretty amazing experiences realizing that dream. I dreamed about moving back to my hometown and becoming the Executive Director of an amazing non-profit – and that dream has come true.

On my fitness journey, I’ve had a few dreams too. I dreamed about doing a sprint triathlon.

YMCA Tri  (50 of 128) - Copy

I dreamed about running a half marathon.

I still dream about running a sub 30 minute 5k.

Maybe it’s because I’m pregnant and am “sitting on the sidelines” for the time being, but I really haven’t been thinking about big dreams lately.

Maybe it’s because part of me is afraid that I have achieved all this “wannabe athlete” is capable of achieving. Maybe I should leave the “big dreams” to others more athletic, more dedicated than me.

But then I remember that if I had that mentality when I started this journey, I still wouldn’t be able to run a mile. I wouldn’t know the thrill of crossing the finish line of my first half marathon. I wouldn’t know that I really am so much stronger than I thought I could be.

So maybe…just maybe…it’s time to dream big again.

What is your BIG dream?

 

5 Great Race Signs

Written on July 19, 2012 at 10:49 am , by

Sure, running a race is the best, but spectating is pretty cool, too.  And to be a great spectator, you need an amazing sign. Here are five of my favorite race signs from over the years.

Here’s a few posts about racing from Healthy Tipping Point:

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Caitlin blogs at Healthy Tipping Point and Operation Beautiful.  You can follow her on Twitter at CaitlinHTP. Her second book, a guide to healthy living, was just released this past May.

Satisfy Your Man’s Appetite While Saving Your Waistline

Written on July 17, 2012 at 8:16 am , by

Hello! My name’s Kristin and I’m the blogger behind Iowa Girl Eats, where I share my quick & easy recipe ideas, travel adventures, and workout routines. I was thrilled to receive FITNESS Magazine’s Editor’s Choice Fitterati Award for Best Healthy Eating Blog, and am excited to be posting here on FitnessMagazine.com!

I get a lot of emails from readers asking how I balance healthy eating with my husband’s meat & potatoes appetite. It’s not always easy, but here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned over the past four years of marriage to my bestie, Ben, for satisfying his appetite, while saving my waistline! (Click to keep reading!) Read more

3 Healthy and Delicious Zucchini Recipes

Written on July 16, 2012 at 11:19 am , by

This past year, I decided that I wanted to start my own garden.

As a young girl, my summers were always filled with fresh grown veggies from my dad’s garden, and I was always amazed at just how much better they tasted. So fresh and flavorful. The best part was, I didn’t have to do any of the work to enjoy them (well, except for those few times where my best friend and I would go in and pick the carrots and onions way before they were even ready – oops).

Now that I’ve been in my own home for almost four years, I figured it was about time to give the ‘ol gardening thing a try. If you already know me, then you’d also know that my “green” thumb has always been a bit closer to being black. My ability to grow and maintain plants has not been a strong suit.

Despite my horrible track record, I decided to throw caution to the wind and give it a go. (Click to keep reading!) Read more

On Behalf Of All the 10+ Minute Mile Runners

Written on July 13, 2012 at 11:54 am , by

I know that for many of you who read Fitness Magazine, running a 10 minute mile is no big deal. In fact, you may be like my husband who says it is physically painful for him to run as slow as I run.

So on behalf of all the 10+ minute mile runners out there, I have a few things I’d like to tell the rest of the world.

1. Yes, we ARE running.

It’s true. You may be able to walk as fast as we are running. It may look like a slow jog to you, but we are giving it all we’ve got. Please do not insult us by telling us we are not really running. We are giving it everything we’ve got.

2. It is OUR race too.

At a recent 10k race, we ran on roads that had to have some level of vehicle access. The volunteers did an awesome job of directing traffic. The drivers, however, weren’t so kind. I actually had a UPS driver honking at us, tell us to stop so he could get through. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? You know there is a race going on! I turned and yelled at him, “I am having the best 10k of my life! PLEASE do not do this!” Less than half a mile from the finish line, a volunteer directed a car to cross across the road in a gap in front of me. It would have been just fine – except that the car behind him went too, blocking my access to the road. I got SO mad. I ran around the car, smacking it with my hand as I went past. Childish? Probably. I couldn’t believe that I had run over 5.5 miles without walking but that car tried to get in my way. It was as though I wasn’t even racing. As if I didn’t matter.

True, I may not have been racing against others in the race itself. The first place runner had long since finished. But I was in a race – against myself. Against the voices in my head telling me it would be easier to walk. Against those feelings of self-doubt. Of not feeling good enough. And you know what? I won that race!

3. We can use some encouragement too.

Sometimes it’s easy to cheer for the people running a ridiculous 5:20 mile on the race course. And yes, I’m sure they appreciate the cheers too. But please save some for those runners gutting out a 12 minute mile.

You don’t know their battle – what they have overcome. You may be tired of cheering by the time we pass by a half hour later, but please muster up a cheer. You never know how much your encouragement might mean to someone!

Any other 10+ Minute Mile Runners have something you’d like people to know? Please share! 

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Callie, 29, is a working mom in Venice, Florida who blogs about her journey to a healthier lifestyle and hopes to inspire a few other “wannabe athletes” along the way. You can follow her on Twitter at @AthleteWannabe or on Facebook at  /TheWannabeAthlete.

How to Get Back on Track after Vacation

Written on July 12, 2012 at 2:15 pm , by

Last week was the Fourth of July and many families went on vacations and trips out of town to visit family or friends.  Many people allow themselves to “take a break” from healthy eating when on vacation.  Maybe they feel like they “deserve” a vacation from all things, including watching portion sizes and counting calories.

A few weeks ago, I was on vacation in Destin. It was a great week but I didn’t focus on my eating like I should.  This week, I am planning to get back on track and get focused once again on my goals.

Jennifer It sucks to be fat in Florida

Vacation trip to Florida. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Swafford.

If you are one of those people who tends to “take a break” from healthy living while on vacation, here are 3 ways you can get back on track after vacation (or even just after taking some time off from your healthiness goals).

1.  START – I know this seems simple but if we don’t start, or if we put it off until tomorrow, we will never start.  Tomorrow never comes!  Pick a day (today) and start now!

2.  GET MOVING – Make an exercise goal and stick with it.  When we are feeling bad from poor eating on vacation, nothing can release better endorphines than a good walk/run.  Just go at least 10-20 minutes a day and you will have a better outlook on getting back on track!

3.  TELL SOMEONE – Accountability is so important.  Tell a close friend or relative that today you are going to start eating better and exercising.  Call them each night and tell them how you did or maybe even have them call you (if we haven’t done so well, we might not want to call).  If you have an accountability partner, you are more likely to stick to the plan!

The main thing you can do is just do it.  Just go ahead and start TODAY because You-Are-Worth-It!

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Jennifer writes about weekly weigh ins, healthy recipes, product reviews, and weight loss at It Sux To Be Fat. Follow her journey on Twitter or Facebook as she goes through life’s ups and downs and takes her new healthy lifestyle one day at a time.

Give Triathlons a Try: Advice for First-Timers

Written on July 11, 2012 at 9:22 am , by

Photo courtesy of Caitlin Boyle.

When you visualize a triathlete, you probably do not imagine someone like me. For one, I was terrified of open water until a few years ago. I’m a middle-of-the-pack runner. And – occasionally – I crash my bike because I’m so uncoordinated.  However, I absolutely love to do triathlons, and the hobby keeps me feeling fit and healthy.  Triathlons have shaped my body in new ways, increased my confidence, and give me a reason to stick to my exercise habits.

Did I mention tris are tons of fun? Because they really are a blast!

If you feel like a tri is out of your reach, consider the super sprint or sprint triathlon. Most sprints consider of a 250 meter to 500 meter swim, a 10 mile bike ride, and a 5K run; super sprints are even shorter. It’s not unrealistic to expect to finish such a sprint event in less than an hour and forty five minutes. Sprints are a great way to get introduced to the sport and don’t require oodles of training.

Here are some introductory tips to triathlons:

  • Not all triathlons are in open water - there are also pool triathlons.
  • If your event is in a lake or the ocean, practice open water swimming if possible.
  • If you need to buy a bike, check out my post on buying a new or used road bike. 
  • Practice back-to-back brick workouts at least once a week.  So swim and then bike, or bike and then run.
  • Practice your transitions, which refers to the ‘in-between’ the swim and the bike (“T1″) or the bike and the run (“T2″).  Here’s a list of the essential items you’ll need for a sprint triathlon.
  • If you don’t have a trisuit (a special piece of clothing that functions well for all three sports), you can wear a sports bra and bike shorts for the swim – it will dry out.  I actually once wore a bikini bottom with strings under my wetsuit and pulled my shorts on over it, untying and slipping off the bottom once I had my shorts on.  It worked!
  • For even more tips, check out my So You Wanna Do a Triathlon series, which covers running, biking, swimming, transitioning, training, and selecting a race. 

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Caitlin blogs at Healthy Tipping Point and Operation Beautiful.  You can follow her on Twitter at CaitlinHTP. Her second book, a guide to healthy living, was just released this past May.