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Spring and a Letter to a Teen-aged Me

25 Mar

Spring is here! In our house that means the countdown to Tax Day has begun! When you’re a CPA (like my husband) you celebrate your own holidays. Right now, he is working until midnight every night and still getting up at 6 am to run with me. Rather, he pulls me out of bed to run with him. It was all good until the beginning of March when the clocks sprung forward and we lost our early-morning sunlight. Raise your hand if you hate DST! But enough complaining. What westerner can complain when the US east coast (and midwest) has been hit with the one of the worst and unrelenting winters in history?

Life is good. The end.

I’ve been piling up the miles lately. I’ve had some great runs on and off the treadmill. Found some new shoes that seem to make all the difference in the world. If you are new to running, my advice to you is this: find some great shoes and do not stray. No two people need or like the same shoe. And, guess what? You don’t have to spend $170 to find great running shoes. The key is to find what works for you, be that a $60 pair of Nikes or $168 Newtons. Mine?photo-12The $60 Nike variety. Seriously, I LOVE these shoes. Really. I’ve tried Brooks (they’re great), Saucony (didn’t love), and Mizuno (cute but painful). Nothing tops Nike for me. I have run in Free Runs, Flex Runs, and now FS Lites. I LOVE these FS Lites. The fact that they are so inexpensive is just icing on the cake. I know I’ve found the right shoes when I don’t feel like ripping them off my feet .0002 seconds after finishing a run. I could wear the Free Runs and the FS Lites all day. That tells you something. (I have been in no way compensated for these statements. These statements are merely my opinion and nothing more.)

Since it’s officially spring and that means it’s officially the start of racing/training season for a variety of endurance sports, I thought I’d post my running story. I shared it here. But I’d like to share it the way it was written, as a letter to a teen-aged me. As my children come into adolescence I am trying to instill in them a love of something, anything–a discipline like running that will provide for them what running has provided for my personal development. So, here it is:

Dear Teen Me,

Hey you! Yes, you with the bad perm and five-dollar tennis shoes. Pay attention because I want you to hear what I have to say. Keep running. Keep moving. Just keep going. I know, I know, you think you can’t. You have asthma. You have shin splints. You get light-headed. You feel like you’re going to pass out. I know. Deal with it and keep moving.

I’ve been watching you. I see how your eyes dart around from person to person as if you’re searching for something in each of their faces. I know what you’re doing and I know you won’t find it there. You have always been the anxious type, trying to please, trying to perform, but more often just trying to find some sense of security. You were an early bloomer, growing faster than the other girls in your class. I know you never felt like you fit in anywhere—especially not in gym class. You aren’t alone. Now that I am grown, almost every adult I meet admits to feeling this way at some point. You just want acceptance and that sense of belonging. And at times it has felt hopeless, especially at age fifteen when your parents moved—again—in the middle of the school year, when you had tests to take, projects due, and boys to impress.

Don’t worry. As they say, “This too shall pass.” You won’t understand what that means for many, many years. But one day, the simple truth of that one statement will pull you through tough times—like the stitch in your side and the pain in your knee as you trudge through the ninth mile of your first half-marathon. “This too shall pass” will become your mantra as you log mile after mile on cold, moon-lit mornings, nose running, ears stinging from the bitter wind.

You think running is hard now? Toughing out those painful steps while you are young will prepare you for some of your darkest days, like when you bury your brother much too early in life, or when you watch your young daughter endure spinal taps, MRI’s, and up to 30 seizures a day before doctors can find something to help her. Running through pain and fatigue gives you strength and endurance. And you need those things not just today, but also down the road. Someone told me once that bigger children mean bigger problems. What that means is as life progresses, our challenges become greater. All the little things that seem so big now and cause you stress today will mean nothing down the road. I don’t say this to give you pain, or to cause you more stress. I merely want to show you that you are strong—stronger than you believe yourself to be. You can and will do hard things!

In the long run, you will regret giving up. You will regret not pushing yourself a little harder, a little longer. Running can give you what you’re looking for. One day you will find acceptance and belonging through running. All the hours you’ve wasted worrying about popularity, the texture of your hair, or the size of your thighs—those things will work themselves out. You will grow into your body and your emotions will mellow. You will survive gym class! And a little running can only help.

So, what I want to tell you, Teen Me, is have hope. Invest in yourself! Life isn’t about winning; it’s about participating. Stop saying you can’t; don’t worry about failure. Security isn’t found the eyes of a stranger or the arms of a boyfriend. You won’t find it in awards and medals, or the accolades of others. Stop chasing those things! Security is found in patience, faith, the right attitude, confidence and perseverance. Running will help cultivate these traits in you. Do it now, while your future is ahead of you. Find joy one step at a time. Choose happiness today. And never, ever give up!

 

Sincerely,

Fiauna Lund

Run the Plank

6 Mar

This is how I get through a treadmill run when I want to do anything but run on the treadmill. I mean, sometimes you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do, am I right? And this one’s a no brainer. Jump on the treadmill, run for 10 minutes, jump off and plank for the prescribed amount of time (15 seconds, then 30, then 45 … on up to 90 full seconds). Then jump on the treadmill again and finish the next 10 minute segment.  I leave my treadmill running while I plank so there’s no awkward waiting while the treadmill comes up to speed. (Of course, make sure there are no children or pets around while doing this and be careful getting on and off a moving treadmill!!). Just like the graphic says, this is a workout for time, not distance. The idea is to build strength and endurance–and bust up boredom on the treadmill. Set your pace, adopt your best pirate accent and … Run the Plank, Matey!

Runtheplank

It’s Just One of Those Days …

19 Feb

Happy Healthy Hump-day! How I do love Wednesdays! Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous; perfect running weather. So, yeah, I totally tapped that. Nine miles in the bag. The only problem: I’ve been running on the treadmill pretty much all winter. And we all know that nine treadmill miles does NOT equal nine road miles. I am one stiff woman today. My yoga/Pilates class this morning was an extra joy.

So, yesterday was beautiful, but today–not so much. Gloomy, that’s how I’d describe this Wednesday. Gloomy weather saps my energy. I NEED sunshine! I don’t want to reach for caffeine or sugar and neither do you, right? Of course! I’m glad we’re in agreement there. So I put together a quick yoga flow to use as a pick-me-up for day’s like today. Give it a try!

quick yoga reset

I Found a New Love

15 Jan

I have been writing and working on publishing novels since I was 22 years old. I never thought I’d find something I love doing more than writing. But, low and behold, I find myself waking up giddy every Tuesday because I know that Wednesday I get to teach Sport Yoga/Pilates to my favorite ladies. I think I definitely get more from my Healthy Hump-day classes than the women that I teach simply because I get to do something that I love.

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(Image courtesy of Google Images)

As much as I love running, Pilates and Sport Yoga feel SOOO good. My body craves it and rewards me for indulging.

Every class, I tell my “students” that I love downward-facing dog. It’s my happy pose and I sincerely encourage everyone to make down dog their happy pose.

But to make it a workout I like to include a move some call “Dogging Cobra” in my routines. Basically, start in down dog, exhale and as you inhale come into up dog. Feel that stretch and as you exhale, move back into down dog. Repeat, moving with your breath.

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You will seriously feel this move in your abs, shoulders, chest, hips, and even your butt and thighs. Talk about an all-in-one move.

Give it a try; I promise, you’ll thank me later.

This Is Why I Run

9 Dec

As part of the publicity tour for Indigo I had the opportunity to write a post for the wonderful website DearTeenMe.comFirst of all, let me just say how much I love this website. Authors are invited to write a letter to their teen selves, sometimes funny, sometimes apologetic, always thoughtful. There is something cathartic in writing a letter to your former self. If you haven’t, I suggest you do. I wrote three letters. Well, actually, I wrote one letter that went through several evolutions before settling into a fine little post about running. I won’t post the entire letter here (to read the letter in its entirety follow the link to DearTeenMe.com), but I do want to share this with you:

Dear Teen Me . . .

. . . You think running is hard now? Toughing out those painful steps while you are young will prepare you for some of your darkest days . . . Running through pain and fatigue gives you strength and endurance. And you need those things not just today, but also down the road. . . .

. . . In the long run, you will regret giving up. You will regret not pushing yourself a little harder, a little longer. . .  

. . . Invest in yourself! Life isn’t about winning; it’s about participating. Stop saying you can’t; don’t worry about failure. Security isn’t found in the eyes of a stranger or the arms of a boyfriend. You won’t find it in awards and medals, or the accolades of others. Stop chasing those things! Security is found in patience, faith, the right attitude, confidence and perseverance. Running will help cultivate these traits in you. Do it now, while your future is ahead of you. Find joy one step at a time. Choose happiness today. And never, ever give up!

Keep running; the finish line is closer than you think!

This is why I run! I meant every word of this letter to my teenage self. 

Let me back up a little.

I remember the sixth grade physical fitness testing all too well. In fact, it’s kind of etched into my memory like a scar. The mile run just did me in. Four laps around the kick-ball field left me light-headed and hyperventilating. I panicked and passed out.  At 5’3″ and 123 pounds, I wasn’t the tallest girl in my class, but I was the shapeliest, the curviest–I was about the same size as the teacher. It was humiliating when, unable to recover, my dad, a paramedic, was called. Much to my and my parents’ dismay, this little scenario was to be replayed every school year during the annual physical fitness test.

In high school, my sister and one of our closest friends joined the cross country team. Some of the girls on the team organized a few morning runs during summer break. Not wanting to be left out, I decided to join them on their inaugural summer run. Yeah, that lasted about two block. My lungs burned, my shins ached and I feared more than anything  collapsing on the side of the road and being left for dead. I turned around and walked home. And I never went back. Running simply wasn’t for me.

After high school, My sister got married, my best friend moved to a college 400 miles away. I was slightly overweight, unfit, and indulging in some unhealthy habits. I found myself unable to make or reach goals. I was lost–at least I felt lost. Something had to change. One evening, frustrated and disappointed with myself, I put on an old pair of second-hand Reeboks and some slouchy boxer shorts and went out for a run. It was slow. It probably wasn’t pretty. But it was a start. One block turned into six. One mile eventually turned into three or more. In time, my awkward stride found its rhythm and my sporadic runs evolved into a daily ritual. A runner was born.

I am not fast; I do not win. But that is not the point. Happiness is found in patience, faith, the right attitude, confidence and perseverance. Running will help cultivate these traits in you. Given time, you will find joy one step at a time.

So, what’s your story? If you could, what would you tell your teenage self?

Healthy Hump-Day!

14 Nov

This week is flying right by. I can’t believe it’s Wednesday already. I love Wednesdays because I get to lead a class called Healthy Hump-Day at my neighborhood church. Today’s Healthy Hump-Day included this delicious Yoga and Pilates workout.

basic Pilates

 

It’s a little difficult to follow a Yoga/Pilates workout from a printable without pictures, but here you go anyway. If you are familiar with yoga and Pilates, you might be familiar with these moves by name alone. If not, try looking them up on Youtube. You can find just about anything on Youtube, right? Hmmm … that’s kinda scary.

My Healthy Hump-Day tip for of the week is Eat more vegetables! Seriously, you will be surprised what adding a cup of veggies at two of your three meals will do. Flat tummy, anyone? 

Do you have a Healthy Hump-Day tip you’d like to share?

Rest Day and Banana Bread (go together like …)

28 Oct

Sundays are always my rest day. For those who CRAVE exercise, especially runners, rest days can be hard. I know it sounds absurd. But it’s true. While we understand that a day of rest every 7 to 14 days is best for not only the body but also the mind, sometimes we have a hard time allowing ourselves to simply BE for a day. Experts agree that rest days improve training, ward of injury and allow the muscles to replenish vital glycogen stores. And yet we rationalize our way out of them. We get itchy, irritable, jittery and just NEED to move. But I have enough work taking care of four kids and tending to some of my duties at church that a short walk with my husband is all I need to feel good on a Sunday. This Sunday I even took of my Nike FuelBand because I truly wanted (needed) some physical rest and didn’t want to catch myself glancing at my band to track my steps or activity. True to my nature, though, when I saw my daughter on the floor holding a plank pose, I couldn’t resist getting down and doing some ab work with her.

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A beautiful autumn Sunday wouldn’t be complete without a warm treat. We enjoyed some moist, sweet banana bread with chocolate chips. Around here, we have chocolate in practically every dessert. The recipe was so simple. Almost too simple. What does that even mean? Almost too simple? It means that it was so easy and delicious, I wandered around the store today in search of over ripe bananas so I could make some more!

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So Simple Banana Bread

  • 4 ripe bananas mashed
  • 1/2 C unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 C lowfat buttermilk
  • 1 C white sugar (Can use 1/2 C honey or 1/2 C Truvia)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 2 C white whole wheat flour (or any whole-grain flour)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 C mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease two regular-size loaf pans. Mash bananas and mix with ALL wet ingredients. Then combine dry ingredients and add to wet ingredients. Add chocolate chips and mix just until combined. Pour into loaf pans and bake for 45-50 minutes (watch for browning and check for doneness–it took 45-50 minutes in my oven). Remove from oven and lay loaf pans on their sides to cool. Remove from pans, slice and enjoy!