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working out with a heart rate monitor

RunOrShineHeartRateMonitor

1. Calories Burned.

Being able to see how many calories you burn during a workout is amazing.  I’m obsessed with the iPhone app “May My Run.”  It also has a calorie counter but it only bases ‘calories burned’ off of your height, weight & age.  While Map My Run is great for calculating distances, I love that my Polar is more accurate and also uses my heart rate to calculate the calories I burn in each workout.  I’ve tested this out many times, using both my polar watch and Map My Run during a workout.  Map My Run overestimates the calories burned 90% of the time.  Which kind of stinks considering that the last 2 years I thought I was burning a lot more calories than I actually was!  Oh well.  At least now I know better.

 

2. Motivation.

Being able to see how many calories I’ve burned often encourages me to take the long way home if I’m trying to hit a certain amount of calories during a workout.  Perfect example: the other morning I wanted to burn 600 calories during my run.  At the end of my run I ran up to the house and I was only at 580 something.  Did I take another loop around the block?  Yes.  Would I have done that if it weren’t for my watch?  Never!  I really like running for calories versus distance.  Some days it’s nice to switch things up.

 

3. Not just for runners.

I love that I can use this watch during my spinning and cross fit classes at the gym.  Before I got this watch, I never really knew how many calories I was burning during group fitness classes.  Knowing exactly how many calories I’ve burned after a spinning class is awesome – especially when I’ve worked so hard!  Spinning classes can be brutal.

 

4. It Pushes You.

Now that I’ve been using my watch for a few months, I know where my target heart rate should be when I’m jogging vs. running hard.  I can glance down in the middle of a run and know (just based off of my heart rate) if I’m not pushing myself hard enough.  Then I’ll run harder.  Same goes for spinning class.  It’s a nice dynamic and almost acts as a digital running coach.

 

5. Prevents Over-Training.

When training for a race (in particular, a marathon), it’s so important to give yourself ‘easy days.’  Sometimes I find it hard to hold back during the easy runs and I tend to go too fast when I’m supposed to be giving my body a break.  It’s really important not to over-train.  Using a heart-rate monitor allows you to stay below a specific heart rate and prevents you from going too hard when you’re supposed to be taking it easy.  That way, you’re less likely to feel exhausted the next day when you’re scheduled to do a longer, harder run.

 

XO,

Bek

P.S.  I have the Polar FT4 shown above and I love it.  It’s really basic and I’m okay with that.  If you’re looking for something more high-tech there are a ton of great heart rate monitor watches out there.  This one is perfect for me though.  And it’s pink so can you really blame me for being so obsessed? ; )

Only $59.99 on Amazon!

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running is a gift

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Nike always seems to get it right.

Last year Antonio and I ran in a 5k for kids with cerebral palsy. The shirts they gave out for the race said, “run because you can.” I just love that. It’s so true though. During the half marathon last weekend, I was running next to a woman pushing her son in a wheel chair. When you see things like that, how can you not feel so grateful for the gift of running? Running has given me more confidence, drive and happiness than almost anything in my life.

Speaking of the half marathon, I couldn’t be happier with my time. I ran it in 1:44.30. My goal was under 1:45 so I was ecstatic. My sister surprised me and came home from law school to watch my race. Such a sweet surprise. : )

P.S. I’m officially back at it!! I’ve been such a slacker at blogging lately and my goal this week is to get back into the groove of things. Life has been so crazy lately: work, run, work, run. Let’s be honest – I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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EVIL LEGS.

NIKE

I never thought the day would come.  I’ve finally accepted the fact that I will never have those skinny stick-thin model legs.  No matter how much I run, don’t run, lift, or don’t lift, eat, or don’t eat.  (Let’s be real:  I love food way too much to stop eating so I guess we’ll never know if that would work).  I’m happy to say that I’ve embraced my muscular runner’s legs and have grown to not only love them, but to be proud of them.

Mind you, I might  have a slight change of heart when it’s fall again and I can’t fit into 90% of the cute riding boots I want because of my ridiculous calves; but for now, it’s summer and I fully intend on wearing the little lace shorts I’m obsessed with and rocking mini dresses without a care in the world.

P.S. I leave for Portugal in less than 2 weeks and I couldn’t be more excited!

 

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weekly workout routine

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Some of you have been asking what I do for my workouts other than running so I figured I’d post my weekly workout routine – which, by the way, always changes! Running is obviously my go-to. Not just because I enjoy it, but also because I burn the most calories (in general) running. At the same time, I also know that it’s important to switch it up and try other things. I’m really focused on toning up my body this year and I’ve never been happier with the results, which I wouldn’t have achieved without cross training and lifting.

 

Here’s exactly what I did last week.

 

Sunday: Ran 11 miles. I am currently training for the Philadelphia Marathon and it requires me to do one long run a week. I felt amazing Sunday morning. I woke up at 7:30 to get it over with, which isn’t easy to do on a weekend! It was perfectly breezy, cool and beautiful on Kelly drive. I’m going to try to wake up earlier on the weekends more often because when I wait until noon in the summertime to run it’s always too hot.

 

Monday: Ran to Antonio’s gym (2.5 miles), elliptical for 30 minutes and then lifted. On the elliptical I usually do a HIIT workout on levels 10, 15 and 20. I use 5 pound weights for most arm exercises and do a lot of fast reps. I’m not trying to get bulky; I just want to be more toned. I burned over 800 calories in about 90 minutes.

 

Tuesday: Ran to the arm museum and back (5 miles). When I got to the art museum, I did 10 HARD reps up the steps and down without stopping. When I say hard, I mean all-out-can-barely-breathe-can’t-wait-to-stop-hard. Hills are really important if you’re training for a race and I’ve found that doing hills once a week has really improved my pace and ability to stay strong going up a hill or two during a race.

 

Wednesday: Cross fit class at my gym. It’s a boot camp style class and my favorite trainer teaches it. It’s seriously killer and I always feel so accomplished when I leave.

 

Thursday: Ran 6 miles after work and felt AWFUL. On my hard runs, my heart rate is usually around 180. Thursday night it was 185 on average and even broke 190 a few times. Eek! It’s amazing how you can run 11 miles one day and feel amazing, and then run 6 the next and feel like you’re gonna die. I think it was because it was so humid out. Or the fact that I haven’t really given myself any rest-days yet this week. Which brings me to…

 

Friday: Off day! : ) We went out Thursday night; Antonio’s friend was visiting from LA and some of my girls joined us. There was no way I was waking up for a morning run after that. Friday night we went to the Eagles pre-season game against the patriots which was a lot of fun. I ate like crap and drank beer and I LOVED every second of it.

 

Saturday: Ran 13 miles. I was really proud of myself for finishing it. Towards the end my legs started feeling really weak but I got through it!

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motivation monday

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So I know it’s summertime here but this applies to any weather that you hate working out in – whether it’s snow, rain, the heat or the freezing cold. I have to remind myself of this quote every time it’s ridiculously hot out or raining this summer. “Bad weather” isn’t a good enough reason to slack off – it’s an excuse.

“I can’t run because it’s raining out.”
Some mornings I’ll wake up early to go for a run and I’ll hop right back in bed if it’s raining. I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I even hope it’s raining so that I have a reason to get back in bed. The truth is, I always end up soaking wet in sweat anyways, so who cares if it’s raining?! In fact, I ran last week in the rain and it actually felt refreshing. (I’m not talking crazy thunder and lightning storms, just light showers.) Bring a zip block baggie if you need to carry your phone and wear light clothes that won’t absorb too much water and drag you down. I promise, you won’t melt. : )

“It’s way too hot out to run.”
Okay – this might be true sometimes. Perfect example: two weeks ago we had a crazy heat wave in the city. It was disgustingly humid and well over 90 degrees each day. I was being stubborn (and stupid) one day and decided to run to my softball game five miles away. I thought I’d be fine – I was chugging water all day and I ate a great lunch so I’d definitely have the energy, right? Well unfortunately the heat got the best of me. I got lost in the middle of Fairmount Park and had to call Antonio to come pick me up. I was so dizzy that I could barely read the street signs and at one point I think I almost blacked out. That’s just plain stupid. While the heat may prevent you from running during the day or after work, there is no reason why you can’t wake up an hour earlier and get in a workout before the sun comes up!

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motivation monday

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I love this Bill Rodgers quote because it’s so true. Nothing inspires me more than getting passed by an eighty year old man in the middle of a race and looking up only to see a girl with a prosthetic limb powering along. Anyone can be a runner. Don’t get discouraged if you’re just starting out and can barely run for 2 minutes without having an athsma attack; trust me, I’ve been there. You will get past that stage. It might hurt for a few weeks, or even a few months, but trust me – you will get there.

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motivation monday

ROS - it's fine

If I had a penny for every time I said this…

But in all seriousness, it’s true. Once I get a good run or workout in, it’s so much easier not to sweat the small stuff. I’ve been trying to run in the mornings lately because it’s just been so darn hot this summer. It’s the best way to start your day!

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motivation monday

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This week’s goal: Worry Less. Run more. I feel like the two go hand-in-hand. When I run more, I stress less. When I stress less, I make time to run more often. Running is the best stress relief. And it’s free! After you invest in a decent pair of running shoes, of course.

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The Professional Girl’s Survival Kit

 

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1. A Plastic Drinking Cup for Water.  If you don’t have a cup of water in front of you at all times, you should.  Keeping a plastic drinking cup at your desk will encourage you to drink more water and help you stay hydrated all day long.    Drinking more water will make you feel more energized, improve your workouts after work and speed up your metabolism.

2. A box of your favorite protein or granola bars.  When I’m having a busy morning and I don’t have time to pack breakfast or lunch, I always have the option to eat a balance bar; I keep a box of them at my desk.  This prevents me from eating something unhealthy (like a bagel or a breakfast sandwich) when I don’t have the time to pack something.

3. An extra pair of running shoes and workout clothes.  Usually I plan ahead and bring my workout clothes with me each day.  However, sometimes I forget and at the end of the day, I’m really in the mood to head to the gym for spinning class or cross fit.  There’s no excuse not to hit the gym when I always have an extra set of workout clothes to change into.

4.  A set of silverware, a plate and a bowl.  This will encourage you to eat healthier rather than ordering out or stopping by the cafeteria.  In particular, keep a sharp cutting knife so that you can cut up fresh fruit and veggies for your meals.  I head to the local farmer’s market on my lunch once a week and grab a bunch of fresh fruit and veggies to keep at my office for meals.

5. Gum.  Whenever you’re craving something sweet, chew some fruity gum instead of heading to the vending machine.

 

As simple as it seems, keeping the 5 items above at your desk will lead to a healthier (and happier) lifestyle.

 

 

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‘throw away three’ rule

It’s amazing what cutting things out of your diet can do for you. About 2 months ago, I (sadly) gave up 3 of my favorites. Wine, rice and bagels.

Rice was really hard to give up. It’s probably my favorite food. I know… I’m a weirdo. I replaced rice with quinoa and veggies as side dishes and I am actually growing to love quinoa more than rice. Quinoa is an excellent source of fiber and is often referred to as a ‘superfood,’ meaning that it’s chock full of nutrients

As for wine… I love it. I could drink a glass (or 3) of cabernet every night with dinner. However, I know that drinking wine is a waste of calories and it was preventing me from shedding off the extra few pounds I really wanted to lose. I’m a big proponent of moderation so I didn’t give up wine altogether. That would be crazy, right?! ; ) I decided to stop drinking during the week and allow myself to have fun on the weekends. Yes, when the occasional ‘girls night’ or dinner date with my boyfriend pops up during the week, of course I’ll indulge. Life’s too short. However, on a random Monday night when I’m snuggled up on the couch watching the Bachelorette with my best friend, it’s really not necessary.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m hung over, a toasted bagel with cream cheese is 100% guaranteed to make me feel better. It doesn’t help that there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts every 5 blocks in Philadelphia, either. (torture!) I gave up bagels and found some better, healthier choices for breakfast. For example, I keep a box of balance bars at my desk at work for busy mornings when I don’t have time to pack something. I make a batch of flourless healthy muffins with oatmeal and Greek yogurt almost every week. Recipe soon to come! There are SO many alternatives to bagels. At this point, I’m not even craving bagels on the weekends like I used to. My home-made muffins are so much better, anyway. : )

I’m challenging you. Try it out. What are the 3 things that you know you could do without? Are you cracking open a can of soda every day at lunch? Try water or green tea instead (0 calories). Are you constantly stopping at Starbucks for a Frappuccino? Stick with a black coffee instead. Making little changes – even if they are just on the weekdays – will eventually pay off and I promise you will see a difference on the scale and more importantly, in the mirror!

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