• FAQs: Fitness

    February 6, 2012

    What kind/brand of sports bra do you wear?

    Check out this post: The Sports Bra Question.

    How do you run on the treadmill for so long and not get bored?

    Check out my ideas for running/walking on the treadmill.

    Where is your weekly workout schedule listed now?

    It’s on the right side of my blog under Weekly Workouts.

    Can you recommend a regimen, similar to CrossFit, that I can do from my house without investing a lot of money in equipment?  

    Yes! Check out these two posts for some ideas: At-Home and Budget-Friendly CrossFit Ideas and No Body Pump? No Problem! 

    Do you use a GPS watch when you run? If so, which one do you recommend?

    I do, and I love my Timex GPS Watch. Here’s my review!

    Do you have any tips for someone trying Body Pump for the first time?

    I do! Body Pump: Tips for Beginners.

    How much weight do you use in Body Pump?

    Check out this post for my current weights.

    I really want to start going to the gym, but I just do not know how to begin. Do you have any suggestions?

    Joining a new gym is a great way to jump-start your motivation and fitness routine. But the gym can be an intimidating place, especially if you’ve never joined one before. And it’s not just rookies. Even those who are already members can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the plethora of mysterious machines and sea of seemingly in-shape people. Here are some suggestions to help you feel more comfortable at the gym.

    What’s on your workout playlist?

    Check out this post about my workout music!

    I’ve read in your blog that you had some injuries and I was curious as to how you stayed in shape. I figured you might have some great ideas for how to stay strong even in the face of injury. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Injuries are the worst, and I’ve had my fair share of them over the years. Here are a couple of posts I’ve written about how I stayed in shape when I was injured:

    How to Keep Up Fitness Levels When an Injury Interferes with Training

    How to Lose Weight When You Hit an Exercise Hurdle

    My goal is to run a half marathon. I just signed up for my first one, and now I am trying to figure out what training plan to follow. There are so many different ones online, and then some that you have to pay for. What would you suggest for training for my first one?

    I love SmartCoach from Runner’s World for training plans. It’s totally customizable, so you can select your distance training goal, average weekly mileage, intensity level, plan length, and even the day of the week you want to do your long run. And, the best part, it’s FREE!

    I am training for a half-marathon and have a cold. I was wondering what your suggestions are for continuing to be active and train with sick but also allowing your body to get well. Being sick threw me off my half marathon plan last year and I never got back to it. I want to get better but I also want to keep on schedule.

    That’s tough, and I’ve been there too. I got the flu while training for my first marathon, and it was so frustrating. I wanted to run so badly, but I ended up taking off a few days from all exercise so I could get better.

    As far as keeping on schedule with your training, I like to use the “above the neck check” to determine if I am well enough to exercise. For instance, if my symptoms are all above the neck, like a runny nose, then I’m usually okay to exercise. For me, exercise often helps me feel better. An easy jog, for instance, usually revs-up my energy. I just listen to my body and lessen the intensity of the workout if I need to. However, if I’m too stuffed-up or just plain exhausted, and exercise just makes me miserable, I don’t do it.

    If I have symptoms “below the neck,” such as body chills, aches, or stomach issues, I take it easy until I’m feeling better. And, of course, if I’m running a fever, I definitely put off exercising until my temperature is back to normal. There’s no point in pushing myself if I feel terrible. Plus, it’ll likely take me longer to recover.

    What type of foam roller do you use and where did you buy it?

    I bought my foam roller from my local running store, but you can find them at most sporting goods stores or online. The one that I own is from Power Systems and it’s 12 inches long (6 inches in diameter). There are also 18-inch and 36-inch foam rollers. All of them are great options.

    I actually prefer the longer foam rollers because you can roll both sides of your body at the same time (glutes, quads, etc.). The short foam roller saves space because it’s smaller, but you can only roll one part of your body at a time.

    How do you use a foam roller?

    You probably already know this, but just in case you don’t, foam rolling is a flexibility technique where you roll your muscles over a cylindrical piece of foam using your body pressure to massage knots out of your muscles. “By applying gentle force to an adhesion or ‘knot,’ the elastic muscle fibers are altered from a bundled position (that causes the adhesion) into a straighter alignment with the direction of the muscle.” [source] Basically, if you foam roll the tight muscle, it will help restore the fibers back to an optimal level of function and your muscle will work much more efficiently.

    That sounds well and good, right? Well, technically, rolling the muscle isn’t the best way to get out those knots. Here’s a post about the right way to foam roll.

    I’ve recently began running a lot more lately. About 3-4 miles at most probably every other day. Have you ever experience your legs getting bigger? More muscle? All my pants seem to be getting tighter on me! I’m not increasing my calorie intake by any means. I’m getting discouraged! Any advice would greatly be appreciated!

    Don’t get discouraged! You’re definitely not alone with this one. I gained nearly 10 pounds training for my first marathon. For me, it was a combination of eating more calories than I burned and my muscles gaining water weight (as explained in the first post below).

    I’m thinking about signing up to fun my first marathon. I’ve run a half marathon and a bunch of other races, but how do I know if I am ready to run a marathon?

    I was in the exact same position when I registered to run my first marathon. Being ready to run a marathon is different for everyone. Runner’s World recently featured an article called “What’s Your Goal: Finish My First 26.2” which I think you will find helpful and answer a lot of your questions.

    Here’s what Susan Paul, M.S., exercise physiologist and coach for the Track Shack Foundation in Orlando, said about being ready to start training for a marathon:

    You need to have logged at least three to five miles three to four times a week for a minimum of about 12 months. This “base” conditions tendons and ligaments and prepares them for long runs.

    The article also includes a First-Timer’s Marathon Training Plan that uses a gradual buildup, speedwork, and goal-paced runs to get you fit and safely cross the finish line. The entire article is super helpful to first-time marathoners. I definitely recommend checking it out!

    I gain muscle in my legs easily, and I’d prefer to keep them leaner than bulky. During the Body Pump classes I have taken, I have omitted using weights for squats/lunges because I definitely don’t want my legs any bigger (bulky muscle). What are your thoughts on this?

    As far as bulking up, I don’t think you have anything to worry about– unless, you plan on taking supplements or steroids! Muscles get big because of the presence of testosterone. Women generally have low levels of it, so they don’t tend to bulk up from lifting weights. Plus, Body Pump uses low weight and a ton of reps, which won’t give you those big, bulky muscles. Personally, I’ve seen my legs slim down and get more defined since starting to take regular Body Pump classes, and those two tracks are always my heaviest weights of the day.

    Your running has improved so much in the last year, right? Any secrets?

    Yep, my times have continued to improve since I started taking running more “seriously” about a year ago. I’m definitely not an expert when it comes to running—I’m still trying to figure out how to get faster myself—but I can tell you what seems to be working for me.

    • Consistency: Before registering to run a marathon with Team In Training, I wasn’t a very consistent runner. I’d run once or twice a week, but I never really had a game plan. Nowadays, I’m almost always training for a race, so I try to run more often (2-4 times a week), which seems to help increase my overall stamina and speed.
    • Speedwork: I’m still getting my feet wet with speedwork, but I definitely notice that I’m getting faster because of it. My coach at the Boston Running Center is setting me up with individualized speed workouts, but Runner’s World SmartCoach is a great tool for training programs that incorporate speedwork.
    • Not being such a wuss: Running is not easy and it’s often uncomfortable, so realizing this has helped me push myself through the “pain” to get faster.

    In CrossFit, are the WODs just the Workout of the Day or is there a warm-up/cool-down plus other strength exercise?

    My CrossFit starts with a 10-15-minute warm-up and then moves onto a skill (ex: rope climbing) or strength training (ex: Dead Lifts) for 15-25 minutes. The remaining part of the class is the WOD + cool down. (There are some WODs that last 35-45 minutes, so on those days, we’ll typically warm-up and skip right to it.) Even though the WOD is typically short (and a butt kicker), you’re usually at the gym for about an hour.

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    { 9 comments… read them below or add one }

    Laura Jane @ Recovering Chocoholic February 6, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    I guess it’s FAQ day today! Loving it! I love your last thing about improving your running: “Not being such a wuss.” I love it! So true. I’ve told myself that being temporarily uncomfortable while running is no big deal and it’s for a good cause.

    Reply

    Erin February 6, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    I agree with Laura Jane- love the “not being such a wuss” statement! I think this applies to most of life- if you want things to change for the better, stop being a wuss and do it! :)

    Reply

    Janice February 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    The Runners World link with tips for your first full marathon doesn’t work…do you have an updated link?

    Reply

    Tina February 8, 2012 at 2:22 pm
    Sophie March 2, 2012 at 7:38 am

    I have a question, but not sure where to put it….
    I’m running the DC Rock N’ Roll 1/2 in 3 (??) weeks and I have not done nearly enough to train. I’m able to run 10-11 miles, but I know the hills are going to kill me and I have been having SUCH anxiety about the race in general (even though it’s my 3rd 1/2). I’m running it by myself and I’m worried that I’m physically going to crash and mentally convince myself to walk. Do you have any tips for surviving a race you aren’t prepared for. I just cannot wait for it to be over because I feel so unprepared.

    Reply

    Tina March 2, 2012 at 7:57 am

    @Sophie: I’m in the exact same boat as you, and now with this colitis flare, I’m not sure when I’m going to be able to do the training for it. I’m still planning to run the half, but I’m just going to go out and have fun with it. I’ve run a bunch of halfs in the past, so I know I can finish. It might just not be my fastest time ever. I guess my best advice is just to change your expectations for the day and just go out and have a blast! :)

    Reply

    Sasha April 6, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Hey! :)
    I came across this post as I was searching for info on Bodypump. I was just curious–is a heart rate monitor accurate to measure calories burned in Bodypump (I have heard that HRMs aren’t accurate for strength training, only cardio?) Or, is Bodypump more like circuit training, so a HRM would give a pretty accurate calorie count?

    thanks!

    Reply

    Amanda @ Might as well Dance June 2, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    Love what you said about bulking up. I lift HEAVY weight but no steroids and no “bulkiness”

    Lift heavy ladies!

    Reply

    Gretchen July 2, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Hi, Tina. I was wondering your thoughts on how much exercise one should strive for each day? I hear so many different guidelines (30 mins 5 days a week; an hour 5 days a week; 30 mins 7 days a week). It’s hard to know what is the best thing to do. I love to bike, do the elliptical, walk. I know interval training is very effective. I guess I’m just stumped though on what I should strive for each day or week as far as duration. Any suggestions?
    Thank you!

    Reply

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