Wednesday, October 25, 2017

What is thing you call Macros?

...and why are you counting them?

I have been counting macros for several months now but I too looked at this word with wonderment before that.

Macros are short for "macronutrients" and simply put, they are what are bodies need to create energy found in foods.  They are things like "Fat", "Carbohydrates" and "Protein" which are much more familiar terms.

We've seen labels on food with things like "Low Fat, Low Carb, High Protein" and every combination with the word "Calorie".

Here are how they are related to one another:

Fat - provides 9 calories per gram
Carbs - provide 4 calories per gram
Fat - provides 4 calories per gram

So that's what they are.  Not too complicated, right?

Why count them versus calories?  

We know that if we want to LOSE weight, we must be in a Caloric deficit each day.   This means that if say, your daily Calorie intake should be 1800, you should be below or at that daily to start seeing a change in weight (without taking exercise and other things into consideration).

The thing is, if you are trying to build muscle rather than just move the number on the scale, eating the wrong calories (despite their totals each day) can be hindering you from achieving those goals.

So how do you figure out where to start?

Step 1 - Identify your goals.  What do you want to do? Build Muscle or Lose Fat?  Many nutritionists recommend the following proportions (I'll link references at the end)

Lose Fat: 
C  35%
F  20%
P  45%

Build Muscle:
C  35%
F  25%
P  40%

Step 2 - Use a calorie calculator to figure out what your daily caloric needs are.  Here is free one to try:

Calorie Counter

Step 3 - Enter your result into a nutrient calculator to figure out your daily macro breakdown based on the ratios above that match up to your goals.

Macro Calculator

This will provide you with a total # of grams of each macro you should consume per day to achieve your goals.

Step 4 - Start tracking!  Download an app like My Fitness Pal and start entering your meals.

It will be a pain at first but try to keep things simple.  My recommendation is to start by eating at home and preparing your own foods so that you know exactly what and how much your portions are.

Little by little, as the end of each day comes around and you see how your macros stack up, you will quickly learn what you need to eat more or less of.

For me, I didn't realize how little protein I was taking in and what little awareness of what proper portions were I had.  Especially with junk food!  Ack!!

I will keep posting tips and tricks that find through other resources that I find helpful as well as great snacks and other easy meal prep ideas to help you through your journey.

You will be using #IIFYM (If it fits your macros) in no time and a total pro and reading those nutrition labels! 

Let me know if you find this useful and if you have any questions!

Valerie

http://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/macro-diet-counting-macros-weight-loss-better-nutrition
https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Macros-Weight-Loss-41078725
http://chapmanfitness.org/2016/10/21/macro-counting-101/
http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/beginners-guide-counting-macros






Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Bike MS this Fall!

Quick update!

I will be riding in the MS150 Ride to the River this Fall. It will be a journey from San Antonio to New Braunfels and back on October 6-7. I have done the Houston to Austin ride twice before with a corporate team.  I mainly did it for physical challenge and to support a great cause but I didn't really know anyone that was affected by MS.  It was quite emotional, however, to go along the route and read the signs from those who are affected.  It is inspirational and motivating to keep pedaling no matter how hard the wind is pushing back or hot your quads are burning, knowing that you CAN do it and are doing it for those who no longer can.

This time, I am riding because the sister of a dear friend was diagnosed.  She is young and full of life and I have seen how quickly her lifestyle has been impacted by this disease.

I am riding for her and for the hopes that the monies raised can help fund progress in research and ensure that people like her, affected by MS can live their best lives.

Please consider helping me reach my fundraising goal and/or joining my awesome team FLITE!

Bike MS - Valerie's fundraising page

You can follow my training journey on instagram @fullhouseofroyals

Thank you!

Valerie

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Working out with an Injured Foot



If you have slowly worked on your fitness journey over time and finally have it in a place where it's become habit or better yet, a lifestyle, the idea of going into surgery and a long term recovery can really set you in a tailspin.  It's frustrating enough not being able to do the things you love like running or cycling but to also lose the muscle tone you've worked so hard for can be a little depressing too.

I'm lucky enough to have made it through foot surgery and my first week post op recovery fairly well. I've been cleared to do core and upperbody exercise too.  Lower body exercises and cardio are pretty much off limits for the time being so I thought I'd strictly focus on getting my abs ready for bikinis and arms ready for tank tops since Summer is right around the corner!  Silver lining!

My next appointment is coming up later this week but when I get there, my first question will be if I can add lower body exercises that don't infringe upon my foot or require any weight bearing on it.

I've been putting a list of ideas to put a regimen together that can be helpful to other people working out while they have a bum foot or leg and don't necessarily want to lose all the muscle gains in their legs and booty (like me).

Cardio:
Swimming and or Aqua Jog - Depending on the injury, this could be a possibility (maybe later on for me) because it is low impact.
Arm Cycle / Bike /Ergometer - Exactly how it sounds, basically cranking your arms around in circular motion (forwards and/or back) with added resistance and speed.  (I found this machine at the gym yesterday right when I was walking out - seems like a great way to get the heart rate up!

Because I like to be thorough, I did a little search and also found some other upper body cardio that you can do from bed! LOL.  Here is the video for your enjoyment:
Arm Bike 


Glutes/Quads/Hammies (machines):

Seated hip adductor & abductor machines



Adductor (Inner thigh, hip flexors)

Abductor (Gluteus Medius & Maximus)










Body weight exercises:

There are a bunch but Caroline Jordan has a couple of YouTube videos demonstrating some.  Take a look, I am going to be doing these as soon as I get the go ahead!




Hope you find these helpful and get motivated to get your exercise in despite the injury.  Just be sure to talk to your doctor FIRST and get them ok'd and listen to your body.  You'd hate to add injury and recovery time to your sentence!


Best,

Valerie









Tuesday, April 18, 2017

So...it's my butt's fault.


Glute imbalances are at the root of many injuries.  My podiatrist, carefully listened to all my biomechanically related injuries that led me to him in our first consultation.  He said that aside my foot causing me to overcompensate, my injuries are likely stemming from Glute imbalance.  He is a multi-Ironman athlete himself and well versed on running injuries and luckily, he also had a student resident in the room at the time whom he was quizzing through our conversation.

He explained muscle imbalances and how likely it is that my weak glute has caused strain on my hamstring whereby affecting my knee and IT Band.  Sounds all too familiar.

He quickly ran a test on me to show her and prove his hypothesis.   Sure enough, my left glute is much stronger than the right.  He suggested that I do only glute exercises focusing on the right side until I am back in balance or in symmetry.  He literally dropped to the ground and demonstrated some exercises.  Gotta love his commitment to the cause!

Since then, I have done a little research and found some great articles on the subject.  I have surgery scheduled in a week for my foot so I have that much time to cram for finals in strengthening my right booty before I have to go on "no exercise".  Ugh.  I am NOT looking forward to that!

Here is an article on how to test to see if you have a Glute Imbalance on your own here .
Also from "The Glute Guy"  Bret Contreras  and his site, a great article on how to fix these imbalances.   Check them out!

Here is another great article on muscle imbalances and functional movement screen test : here
and the Functional movement website has a library of exercises
https://www.functionalmovement.com/exercises

Amazing how the human body works.  I always find these things fascinating and get lost in all the research and findings out there.

Hope these are helpful to you.  Now, I am off to work my bum.  The right one that is.  ;)

Valerie

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Everything but the kitchen sink update.

Consistent, I am not.  I guess I've taken to microblogging after all.  I remember trying Tumblr and I just never got the hang of it.  Instagram is more my jam.  Lol.

So, if you want to see daily updates on my fitlife journey, go check them out there. @fullhouseofroyals 

For those of you who come here often, thanks! And...sorry, for being MIA.

Here's a quick update on what's up since my last post (25 days til that Half Marathon that happened almost 2 months ago, whoops)

Well, 4 days after that post, I went on a long training run (14 miles).  Something felt "off" but I figured it was something that would shake off as the miles went on.  Long story short, it didn't and I injured myself by continuing. I'd give the details of the injury except, here we are almost 3 months later and I am still dealing with it and STILL uncertain of exactly what the heck it is.

It's basically hamstring/glute/sciatica with a sprinkle of foot pain and a whole lot of biomechanical problems.  I've been to an ortho, chiropractor, had knee and lower back xrays and even a knee MRI along with stem therapy, ice therapy, cryotherapy, massage therapy, stretching, physical therapy and finally active release technique therapy which seems to be aggressively working each annoying area. There has been improvement, but ever so slight. 2 1 milers is all I have run since the half marathon.

Oh, yea.  The half marathon.  I'll have to get around to writing a race report on that. But the gist is that I stopped running cold turkey after that training run.  Not really by choice.  I just could. not. run. The shooting pain in my leg with every step was ridiculous.  But, it was a destination race.  Flights were bought, hotel was reserved AND my friend/coach signed up and was coming to run the full marathon too.  I was definitely going to Miami!!

My attitude was always that I would show up.  I was uncertain if I'd even participate but I would be THERE.  Going to packet pick up and seeing the excitement around the race area (our hotel was a few blocks away), I knew that I WOULD participate.  I planned to walk it with as much strength I could and hoped that walking for that long wouldn't be utterly painful.

I showed up.  I walked with the rest of my corral up to the starting mat and then I ran.  I ran and ran and never stopped until I crossed the finish line.  And I knew that when I stopped, the pain would be rushing in.  And I was right.  I got a PR, an awesome medal and some amazing appreciation for my life and all that is in it.  Deep, I know, but it was truly a mind over matter race and I had all the feels.

I hobbled profusely for a couple of weeks after.  I could barely walk.  Followed by all the therapies I mentioned above in 2+ months time, I have run 2 1 milers, like I said.  The most recent, YESTERDAY.

We are still working through it and I am told I need to lay off glute exercises for the time being to let things just calm down.

I suspect that doing a 40 day yoga challenge (5 days a week of intense yoga practice) while maintaining a weight training, spin (we got a peloton!) and pilates regimen didn't help in calming things down.  Meh.  It's too hard to remain idle.

Oh yea, we also created a home gym.  This is also worthy of it's own post which I will share soon when it is finally done.  The joys of dealing with home renovation contractors.  Haha.

So that's a wrap. I've rambled long enough.  So here's a funny pic as a reward if you are still here.



Thanks for stopping by!  Updates on the gym, Miami Marathon race report and 2017 Goals update soon!

Happy hump day.

Valerie








Wednesday, January 4, 2017

25 days to go...

I haven’t said much about my #halfmarathontraining lately because quite honestly, I was feeling a bit of in a slump.  My body was feeling tired and close to breaking and because of it, even the thought of running was unappealing.  Perhaps I was nearing a burnout.  Perhaps I just needed a good break.  Perhaps the neurotic weather jacking with the concept of seasons in this town finally got me.  Or maybe it was the fact that I was religiously taking the joint and amino acid supplements my chiro prescribed and completely forgot to keep taking them after my return from Costa Rica.  

Whatever the case, I was pretty much doing everything on my training plan but I was struggling to hit the fast paces for long periods of time.  I was also having a really tough time recovering from long runs.  I felt like I got hit by a bus and before I started feeling a little ok, I was up for another long one. Of course, all that physical stuff starts to creep into the mental space.  Doubt about my abilities, my strengths, yadda yadda.

Anyway, I knew something had to give.  I just needed to get back on schedule, FIRST.  I had been shuffling the runs around to accommodate the my schedule and honestly, the sloppiness of my plan was starting to get on my nerves (why I hadn’t sent them to you lately, coach). 

So this week, I am back on track.  Sunday long run (although technical difficulties and a new route threw my pace off) was done.  Monday was an off day (though I worked my a$$ off on in the garage project) and yesterday I was set for “easy 3-6”.  Except, I went back to work.  I had a long work day with no lunch break so by the time I got home, I was beat.  I almost ditched it.  Can you imagine, to come this far on a clean slate and ditch it? Hell. To. The. No.

It was late, but I laced up and took off into the night.  Because it was so dark and late, I decided on just the 3, but it was also cold so my "easy" turned into a "fast".  I was quite pleased with how I felt the whole time.  I felt like I got my bounce back in my step and although I had another 7 miles to do in the morning, I was excited about them rather than apprehensive.   I negotiated with myself that since I had run 3 fast, I could go easy on my 7, haha.  




This morning, my plan was: "1 easy, 5 @ 8:30, 1 easy".  Hitting an 8:30 for that many miles is hard for me.  In fact, I have yet to do it.  I have come close though.  This morning, it was 45 degrees.  It was windy, but absolutely gorgeous out.  All my technology was charged and ready to go.  I had some fuel (almond butter on raisin bread) and coffee (duh).  I wasn't trying new routes where I'd have to resort to my map often.  No excuse to not hit the pace.  

I didn't dress in enough layers but I figured after the first mile or two, I'd be fine.  And I was.  I felt fantastic!  I waited eagerly for the voice on my app to tell me at the end of each mile how I was doing.  I guess I should be wearing my Garmin but I just rather not.

Again, my average speed kept dropping but my split speed didn't quite hit the elusive 8:30.  Ugh!   
New life.
But then something happened.  I changed my frame of reference.  Rather than chasing it,  I started thinking that I wanted to test my ability and gauge my race pace.  So I started to do some math.  My dad would be SO proud.  I figured I would have to do a quarter marathon in an hour and an eighth in half an hour.  So then, my goal was not to hit the mile pace at 8:30 but rather, hit 3.275 miles under 30 minutes.  I did.  By quite a bit.  Then, I needed to hit 6.55 miles in an hour.  I was so excited that I did that with room to spare.  And guess what?  I was almost done! By the time I got to that point, I should have been running easy but I figured I finish strong all the way home.   Ultimately, I hit 2 miles under 8:30, 2 pretty close and 2 more under 8:45.  That's 6 fast miles instead of 5 AND I had hit 2 miles close or under 8:30 the night before.  Goal, check!


If I continued this thinking for another 3.275 or another 6.55 miles, I would have crushed my goal. This running thing is such a mental game.  Granted, I have been taking my supplements again for the last 4 days without fail, I am drinking protein shakes immediately after workouts and in addition, I have added slow release Casein protein before bed.  Here is the link on why.  This could be a factor, the weather too, of course.  But there is also will.  My will to push when I think I can't.  

My body is back in, my head is back in and now the countdown is ON.  Follow along, I'll try not go MIA again.  Although, that is where I will end up.  Ha!  #seewhatIdidthere 

Oh, the photo of the plant up there...yea, that is a lemon tree that was literally next to the trash bin a few weeks ago.  I thought it was dead and I was urged to just get rid of it.  But my heart told me that there was still life in it.  Somehow.  And then, after not actually taking it out with the trash for a couple of weeks, I saw one little green leaf appear on the bottom.  I rescued it, took it back and trimmed the dead trunk.  The photo above was this morning.  New life!  Much like the the gratitude in my rescue dog Harley's tail, this tree has hope.  And for whatever corny reason, I included it here because I do to.

Happy New Year all!  Here is to a wonderful 2017!

Valerie






Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Breaking in NRC - a preliminary app review

I got soaked at the first school drop off this morning but luckily, I was wearing running shoes & shorts rather than my office work clothes. After dropping the round of 5 kids, I decided to just go for my scheduled #NRC #run (since I was dressed for it and already in need of a shower).

I've been skeptical of the new Nike app update...I guess I got really comfortable with Nike+ and it's quirky ways. Let's face it, change is tough.  And we are less tolerant of it when it's unexpected.  Admittedly, I was kind of grump about it at first.  "Where are my trophies?"  "How do I add photos with the mile stamp on the bottom?"  "How can I just push to Insta or Twitter?"  "UGH! Why? Nike, I have no time for this!!"  "and what is this feed?...who is reading this, who are these people?"  With all the chaos in our daily lives, it's nice to have that one thing you know what you can expect from. #thanksforthecurveballNike 😂

Anyway, being my glass half full kinda self, I decided I'd kick the tires on this thing & start a "training" program. I throw the air quotes out there because I'm not really training for an official race (although, I have a marathon friend that I sense will soon be coming around to sell me on running one).  What I AM doing, however, is trying to build my endurance (ahem, speed really) so that #cardio won't be so miserable for me.

I'm smart enough to know that I despise it right now 'cause I suck at it. Ha! The stronger & faster I get, the more I want to run. I've been down this road. 😒  It's a hard road but I know what's on the other side.

So, I started a training program with the Nike Running Club "Coach". It lines out weekly schedules of runs to help achieve those goals . I'm on week 4 and it's pretty slow going. I put in a long timeline so I guess it thinks I'm a total beginner. I'm fine with that.

**Here is the link to their official page that has all the deets:  From the Horse's Mouth ;) **

The schedules include benchmark, tempo, speed, recovery, long runs and rest days. I haven't followed it EXACTLY because most of the runs thus far are too short. They can be great for gym warm ups but as a stand alone workout, not enough.  I generally run minimum of 4, albeit slow, especially in the hot, humid, never ending Houston Summer days.

So today's (hopefully Part 1 of 2 #wod ) was a series of 3 runs. Two catch ups & today's scheduled.  I figured they are all short enough that if I added them together I would get a good workout and still achieve the purpose of each run.

1- 15 minute Benchmark Run -  7 min warmup, 3 min hard/fast (I was at 7.2 pace!) and 5 min cool down 

2- Recovery Run - 1.5 miles easy run

3- Speed Run - 400x4 w rest in between

Total mileage: 4.5

The runs have spoken cues which are a nice guide as to when to speed up & slow down, a cool feature for sure. I'll be able to quickly see progress in my benchmarks week to week. And it I think the program has a way of taking your performance to customize the future runs as far as providing a target pace. I'm excited about that.

As far as the other questions I had above, I figured out how to do all those things but there is still a bit of a learning curve as to when the photo option comes into play.  I think at one point, I ended a run and it didn't let me go back to add a photo.  Baby steps, grasshopper.  

Change is uncomfortable but I sense these updates are the beginning of many more.  I can tell that the coach feature is more robust than it was before.  There are other features that I have even yet to try, I will log on to their website to learn more.  The "Find Your Fast" program looks cool, even has Spotify Playlists for different Tempos.  I may have to jump to that after this program that I am on. :)

Stay tuned to see how this all works out! In the mean time, I will leave you with this that I found on the Nike page that I really liked:


1- We are all Meant to be Runners.
2- We are not Just Runners.  We are Athletes.
3- Every Run has a Purpose.
4- Respect Every Workout. Fear No Workout.
5- Embrace Your Weaknesses.  Then Erase Them.
6- Measure Success in as Many Ways as You Can.
7- We Believe in You, Even if You Don't.

Cool, huh?  I'm a fan of that. :)

Happy running all!

~Valerie