Saturday, December 15, 2012

Finding The Balance In Your Training Routine

We all face similar challenges in our training.  When training for triathlons one challenge is how to fit it all in.  If you are pretty good at all three disciplines then you are one of the lucky ones.  Most people have one area they are really strong at such as the bike and one area they are really weak like the run and then they may be OK at swimming.  Some people find swimming is their challenge and running is their strength when the bike is pretty good.  I always tell my clients if they have to miss a workout don't miss one of your weakest areas!  This is tough for clients because they typically want to do what they are strong at.  So if a client loves to run and is strong at running it is pretty unlikely they will EVER miss a run.  If they hate swimming it is VERY likely they will miss a swim here and there for various reasons.  Does this sound familiar?  If you want to improve your weakness and you fall into this scenario then you will need to change this pattern.  If you have to miss a workout one day and its your weakness then talk to your coach about moving it to another day and missing a workout that is a strength instead.  In an ideal world we would never miss a workout but this is the real world and sometimes things come up.  

Some of my clients swimming at our swim group!
Meeting with a group makes it harder to miss because
you are expected to show up:)
In addition to all the training required to prepare for a race you need to think about stretching, foam rolling, ice baths, graston, active release therapy and massage.  These are all important parts of your training routine.  If your preparing for a race and training a lot I would suggest getting a massage at least two times a month.  This can be an important addition to your routine to keep you healthy as your training volume increases.  A good day to schedule a massage is an off day or easy day.  Foam rolling is another important part of your training.  I suggest foam rolling 3-4 times a week depending on your training volume.  Foam roll either before or after your workouts.  If you do it before it can be used as part of your warm up.  If you do it after then make sure you foam roll first and stretch after you foam roll.  Always do stretching after every workout.  Taking 5-10 minutes to stretch will pay off.  Static stretching (holding your stretch) should be done after your workout.  Typically hold each stretch 30-60 seconds.  Moving stretches or active stretching can be done before your workout.  Usually once a month I go to my Chiropractor and get Active Release Therapy and Graston on areas that have been bothering me.  I believe this has been an important part of my training for the past 5 years.  I feel it has enabled me to train with a high volume and not have any serious injuries.  Here are some great people that have helped me stay healthy over the past few years: 

Nancy Dickenson - stretches me once a week -
Ashley Godfrey - massages me once or twice a month - 702-348-8290 text is best
Nick Savatgy - 702-256-2225

Training is great but you can't forget all the other things that you need to do to stay healthy!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hip Pain? Not From Running but Swimming?

I have suffered with an annoying pain in my hip that has been managed for years with Active Release Therapy, Graston and Stretching.  I always figured it was from running. Lets face it many common injuries are from running but if your a runner you keep running and find ways to manage things.  I know my running form isn't perfect and I have always tried to work on some of my imperfections.  Recently I was forced to take time off from swimming.  I was out of the pool for 2.5 months.  I have not done that since I started triathlons over 10 years ago.  I was able to run and bike so I did that a lot.  I even got up to running 35-40 miles a week.  I love to run so I took full advantage of my time out of the pool.  I didn't realize for the entire time I was out of the pool my hip didn't hurt at all.  In fact it only occurred to me that it wasn't hurting when I recently got back in the pool.  The first few days back in the pool it was an easy swim and I didn't have any problems.  The next few workouts were a little longer.  After two days in a row of longer swims I was  feeling the dull ache in my hip halfway into the swim.  A bright light went off in my brain.  This pain has been caused from swimming all along!  We often think of swimming injuries connected with shoulders but my left hip?  What could I possibly be doing wrong in the pool to cause this pain.  As a coach I am certainly going to get to the bottom of it!  I have been told by two different coaches that I don't rotate enough and I only breath to my left (the side of my hips that hurts). Could this be part of my problem?  I don't know but I will try to find out. I have an appointment with my Chiropractor tomorrow and hopefully we can get to the bottom of this!  I will have someone video me in the pool to check out my kick and rotation.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Staying fit and lean through the holidays

It is very hard to stay motivated to eat healthy and workout during the holiday season.  Don't be like the majority of people and gain 10lbs during the holiday season.   Being inactive, drinking and eating more than usual, you can easily be a part of this grim statistic.  Last week I had a healthy holiday party. I had some healthy versions for some of your typically high calorie and high fat foods.  Her are a few of the recipes.


Makes: 6
Serving size: 1/2 cup
Prep 10 mins
Cook 45 mins

   1/4 cup wild rice
   1 3/4 cups water
   1/4 cup regular brown rice
   1 teaspoon instant chicken bouillon granules
   1/8 - 14 teaspoons ground sage or nutmeg
   2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
   1/2 cup sliced celery
   3 green onions, sliced
   1/4 cup sliced almonds or pine nuts, toasted (optional)
Rinse uncooked wild rice in a strainer under cold water about 1 minute. In a medium saucepan combine wild rice, the 1-3/4 cups water, uncooked brown rice, bouillon granules, and sage or nutmeg. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add mushrooms, celery, and green onions. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 25 minutes more or until vegetables are just tender, stirring frequently. If desired, stir in almonds or pine nuts. Use to stuff a 3-1/2- to 4-pound broiler-fryer chicken or serve immediately.
Make Ahead Tip
Place stuffing into a 1-quart casserole and chill for up to 24 hours. Stir in 1/4 cup water. Bake, covered, in a 375 degrees F oven about 30 minutes or until heated through.

Braised Seasoned Brussels Sprouts

Makes: 4 servings
Prep 15 mins
Cook 10 mins to 12 mins

   1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
   1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
   1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
   2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
   1 dried Thai red pepper, crushed, or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
   8 ounces Brussels sprouts, halved (2 cups)
   1/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
   1 tablespoon coarsely chopped cashews or peanuts
   2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
   1/4 teaspoon salt
Lightly coat a medium saucepan with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add mustard seed, cumin seed, and fennel seed. Cook and stir for 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in ginger, red pepper, and Brussels sprouts. Add broth and cook, covered, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, till Brussels sprouts are tender.
   To serve, stir in nuts, vinegar, and salt.

Roasted Kale and White Bean Dip

Toss 4 cups cut uncooked Kale with 1 T olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast it on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Toss occasionally to make sure it doesn’t burn.  In a food processor combine the kale (once cooled) with 1 can of white beans (drained and rinsed), 1tsp each of fresh thyme and rosemary, 1 tsp minced garlic, and 1/3 cup low-fat cream cheese.  Process until smooth.  Serve with a tray of roasted colorful vegetables. 

Twice Baked Yams
 Bake 3 large yams in the microwave 4-5 minutes per side.  Cut the yams in half lengthwise. Scoop the innards out of one of the yams and discard the skin.  Scoop the majority of the innards out of the other two yams leaving a lining around the skin to keep them sturdy.  Using a food processor or masher, combine the yam innards with ¼ cup low-fat cream cheese, 1 T olive oil 1tsp cinnamon and ¼ tsp nutmeg.  Scoop the mixture back into the four yam skins and sprinkle with 2 T crushed pecans. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.  

Here are some lower calorie tasty holiday cocktails:

Drink 1
1 1/2oz Voli Lemon vodka
2oz cranberry juice
splash of club soda
Mix vodka and cranberry juice in a rocks glass. Top with a splash of club soda. Enjoy!
Nutrition Info
100 calories, 8.6g carbs, 7.6g sugar

Drink 2
2oz VuQo Vodka
½oz raspberry liqueur
1oz pineapple juice
Shake ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with festive fruits like a strawberry or raspberries.
Nutrition Info
188 calories, 4g sugar, 9g carbs

Drink 3
Pumpkin Pie Martini. Yeah, I know. It's as good as it sounds. There are several pumpkin liqueurs on the market, which are convenient, but add a ton of calories. By using the actual squash, you get the flavor without the calories—and, believe it or not, a little fiber in your drink.
                      6 oz. vanilla-flavored vodka
                      6 oz. canned unsweetened pumpkin
                      4 oz. fat-free condensed milk
                      4 oz. unsweetened almond milk (or fat-free milk)
                      4 Tbsp. pumpkin pie seasoning
                      Ice cubes
                      6 crushed reduced-fat vanilla wafers
Place vodka and pumpkin in a bowl, and stir until pumpkin has dissolved. Stir in condensed milk and almond milk. Add seasoning and stir well. Dip rims of glasses in crushed vanilla wafers. Pour liquid over ice into glass and enjoy. Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories 105 Protein



Fat Total

Saturated Fat
1 g
2 g
6 g
< 1 g
< 1

Drink 4

Peppermint Martini. This is perhaps the simplest and tastiest low-calorie cocktail out there. Just three ingredients and a bit of candy cane. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
                      9 oz. vanilla vodka
                      9 oz. peppermint schnapps
                      3 oz. fat-free condensed milk
                      6 miniature candy canes
Place all liquids in a martini shaker with ice. Shake and pour into glasses. Garnish each with a candy cane. Makes 6 servings.

                       Nutritional Information (per serving; not counting the candy canes):
Calories 232



Fat Total

Saturated Fat
1 g
< 1 g
13 g
< 1 g
< 1 g

Drink 5

Blitzen's Bliss. Given that Blitzen is the final reindeer in the lineup, he probably gets knocked around a fair bit by the sleigh over the course of Santa's travels on Christmas Eve. But once they're done circumnavigating the globe, Blitzen comes home and has a few of these, and it's all good. Not only does he feel better, but since they have just 130 calories apiece, he doesn't feel all bloated for his Christmas dinner the next day.
                      2 cups pomegranate juice
                      Juice of 2 limes
                      8 oz. vodka
                      1 tsp. peppermint extract
                      12 ice cubes
                      4 Tbsp. chopped mint leaves
                      6 miniature candy canes
Place first four ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake and pour into individual glasses. Sprinkle each with mint and garnish with candy cane. Makes 6 servings.

                          Nutritional Information (per serving; not counting the candy canes):
Calories 130   




Fat Total

Saturated Fat
< 1 g
< 1 g
11 g
< 1 g
< 1 g

Not only do you need to keep an eye on your diet you need to stay focused in the gym.   It may be a good idea to sign up for a 10K or Half Marathon in December or January to keep you focused on training.  
When headed out to a holiday party don't go hungry.  Make a plan to meet someone in the morning for a run so you are forced to limit the amount of cocktails you drink.  
Good luck!