New Lily

This Too Shall Pass….Unfortunately: Fitting in Exercise When Children are Young

mom and baby strollerimagesThe other day I took a break from homeschooling #7, #8, and #9 (John, C.C., and Sam) and went to a barre class at noon (#6 who is 14 was home).  Although it’s been awhile since I was really unable to steal away, it still feels a little strange when I do.  For so many years my only chance at exercise during the week was early in the morning or while the kids were napping (thank God for my lifecycle). It’s a question I’m often asked, “How did you fit it in when your kids were all young?”

It wasn’t easy.  But then again, since I’ve always loved fitness, I know it wasn’t that hard.  I’ve homeschooled my children and so my schedule is not that different from someone who works outside the home.  It’s not like I could go out for a run in the middle of schooling when my kids were young.  The dawn hours were often my only chance at fitting in a workout (and I do mean dawn…sometimes out the door at barely 5 am which meant an alarm that actually said 4 something). Yet exercise in the early morning hours also came at a cost. Too many of my kids weren’t great sleepers when they were infants and so morning always came with me longing for a few more hours of sleep…which of course I never got.  I would tell myself that I would get a nap in the afternoon.  This strikes me as comical now. Since having kids I can count on my fingers how many afternoon naps I’ve actually had. It’s like my body has a response control when I close my eyes in the middle of the day. Immediately I start thinking of all the things I should be doing and I literally couldn’t sleep if you paid me. Luckily I learned long ago (from another mom of a large crew) the value of just closing my eyes for 15 minutes everyday.  It has been a blessing.  Sleeping mid-day may be impossible, but “cat napping” works wonders.

This was in the Bloomington Herald Times in 1992 when we were living there while James was in law school. Note the color coordinated outfit...those were the days!

This was in the Bloomington Herald Times in 1992 when we were living there while James was in law school. Note the color coordinated outfit…those were the days!

Those early months after each baby I would forgo the early alarm wakeup and try to get out for a run when my husband got home in the evening.  Either we would go together or I would go alone (or with one or two in tow in the baby jogger or on a bike). Ever since #1 was born 25 years ago, there has always been a baby jogger (or two) in my garage.  We still have “Bob” (if you are a running mom you know this stands for a stroller, not a man) in our garage, which although #9 is now 5, I don’t see myself getting rid of anytime soon. [Read more…]

Seven Foods You and Your Family Should Be Eating

images of groceryAlan Tyson, physical therapist and owner of Architech Sports, recently wrote about the best foods for our bellies.  There are seven.  I was surprised by the last one!  Add these to your shopping list and try to include them in daily meals.

images of peppers1. High-Fiber and Antioxidant-Rich Vegetables
All veggies are good for you. They are high in vitamins, phytonutrients, antioxidants,
and fiber and are generally low in calories and low in fat. But certain varieties do contain “FODMAPs”, or rapidly fermentable carbohydrates that can aggravate your gut, that are difficult for some people to digest. Some suggest focusing only on low-FODMAP veggies, especially those rich in anti- inflammatory magnesium and other important minerals. Found in: leafy green veggies (kale, Swiss chard, spinach), bell peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes.

images of blueberries2. Tummy-Trimming Fruits
Many sweet fruits have a balanced glucose-to-fructose ratio, which may be easier on your gut than those with more fructose. Found in: bananas and blueberries, cantaloupe and honeydew, grapes, oranges, pineapple, papayas, strawberries, raspberries.

quinoa_topic6003. Carb-light Grains
Almost all grains are carb-dense and therefore may be bad for your tummy. Many, like wheat, are also high in FODMAPs. But since grains are such powerful (and delicious) sources of fiber, we included those that are high-fiber, low-FODMAP, and relatively carb-light. Found in: quinoa, oats, brown rice. [Read more…]

To Your New Year’s Resolutions…I Say, “Go For It”!

frank sinatradc1e3258a4ebbe0d2be177b5eae0cb6aTo those who say they don’t “do resolutions”, I have to ask, why not? What is not to like about a resolution? I always welcome a chance to start again.  That is the very definition of hope! It’s like saying I’m not going to celebrate my birthday because it’s just gonna come around again next year.

Isn’t that the beauty of it? Yes, it comes around every January. And no, I can’t remember my resolutions from last year (actually, the unfortunate consequence of blogging is that my resolutions from 2014 are there for me and anyone else to see- yikes).  But it doesn’t really matter.  A resolution is a very here-and-now thing.  It’s present day.  It’s knowing yesterday is gone.  Today is a new day.  And it’s a new year!

Phillip Rivers, San Diego Chargers quarterback, at a May 2014 graduation speech

Phillip Rivers, San Diego Chargers quarterback, at a May 2014 graduation speech

I love what San Diego Charger’s quarterback, Phillip Rivers told 1,550 students who were graduating from Catholic University last May.  As their graduation speaker, he told them that he had chosen the Latin phrase “Nunc Coepi” as his motto.  It means…Now I Begin. He said, “Nunc Coepi….it certainly applies to you graduates who now are beginning the next chapter in your lives. You now begin. But this is ongoing. You begin again, and again and again. You never give up. Nunc Coepi.”   [Read more…]

Top Ten Fitness Trends Predicted for 2015!

Happy-New-Year-2015-9If you’re doing “body weight” exercises such as push ups, lunges, and squats, then you are already part of a growing trend.  Results recently released in the article, “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2015: What’s Driving the Market”,  might surprise you.  Here are The American College of Sports Medicine predictions (and I can’t help myself…I add my two cents in italics after their comments).

1. Body Weight Training: 

  • Uses minimal equipment
  • Allows us to get back to basics
  • More affordable
  • Body weight training also happens to be one of the most effective type of fitness for us if we are consistent about it.  If you incorporate push ups, lunges, and squats into your daily exercise routine, I promise you will see results. I love barre classes for body weight training. For ultimate body weight fitness, watch American Ninja Warrior…you’ll be amazed.

2. HIIT (High Intensive Interval Training) [Read more…]

Hoka One One: The Newest Running Shoe Bandwagon?

hoka one oneimagesI first heard the name Hoka One One when my husband showed me an article about the new running shoes.  He asked me how I thought you pronounced it, “Hoka 1..1.., of course”.  Actually, no.  It’s pronounced Hoka One (oh-nay) One (oh-nay).  I read the article, and I couldn’t help thinking about the plight of butter (butter good….no, butter bad…no, butter good).  Or maybe just the fickleness of us humans.

We love a bandwagon.  Especially when it’s backed up by sound research and personal experience.  I am not saying, necessarily that the new Hoka One One shoes are the newest wagon to hop onto. It’s simply an observation.  Just like my observation at the running shoe store that my daughter (#5) works for.  I noticed a few months ago when she first started working and I came in to pick her up, not one “Five Finger” shoe could be found.  Hmmm, interesting. [Read more…]

Why I am Thankful for “The Run”…and Why I Regret Never Telling my Dad

running womanI was going to call this post, “9 Reasons I am Thankful for ‘The Run'”.  As I pulled up my chair to my computer and began to type, I realized that it would not be a post I could whip out in 9 neat reasons.  My first reason was more profound than I thought upon initial reflection.  So I bagged the title.  And I just started to write…

I was running the other day on a trail nearby with #7 (John).  John is 11.  He will be fast one day.  So I realize I won’t always be able to keep up with him.  I love running with John because he talks the whole time.  Which means I don’t have to.  It was a fun run.  Six miles.  As we were beginning the last mile, John had run out of things to talk about (or he was too tired), so I started to talk.  I try not to philosophize too much with my kids while we run but it was a particularly beautiful fall day and I couldn’t help but to tell John to look around and to be grateful for “the run”.  “Be grateful for your legs and offer your run for those who can’t” (we know a young man who is paralyzed and cannot use his), “be grateful for your ability”  (many kids John’s age can’t run one mile, let alone six), “be grateful for the desire” (he was happy to run that morning), “be grateful for the trail” (we are lucky to have such a great place to run nearby). “John, don’t ever forget to be grateful for running.  It just might get you through a lot one day”. [Read more…]

Let’s Talk About the Butt

"Seat work" at a barre class...don't let the fact that it looks easy fool you...

“Seat work” at a barre class…don’t let the fact that it looks easy fool you…

Now that I have your attention, I’ll use the term glutes (I don’t even let my kids say butt).  Glutes (of which the gluteus maximus is the largest) are a key component of the core.  Yes, they are associated with the core. Let’s just say they support the core.

According to Joe Tedesco at Architech Sports, “Glutes … are part of the core. Typically, we tend not to think of them that way because they appear to be relatively far away from the stomach. It helps to think of the core as a base of stability, rather than to associate it only with the stomach area.  The core begins at the top of the ribs and includes the whole area to about mid thigh.  Therefore, whatever helps to create stability in those areas can be thought of as part of the core.”

Now that we have cleared that up…lets talk about the butt (oops!).  While I wish I could tell you that all you have to do is a few lunges and squats every day and you can check off the glute box, it isn’t true.  Like so many things in life, it’s a little more complicated than that.  Everything in our bodies is connected to something else.  In strengthening our glutes we have to reinforce those things that connect to the glute muscles. [Read more…]

Fall, Cross Country Meets, and the Changing Seasons…These are a Few of My Favorite Things

#6 (Grace) at a cross country meet.

#6 (Grace) at a cross country meet.

Fall means cross country season in our house.  Many weekends I find myself at the start of a race…dashing with other parents through the woods to the one- mile marker and then off to the base of a hill….then to the edge of a small lake…. hoping to catch a glimpse of our daughters or sons as they race by.  I love cross country meets.  They’re exhilarating.  Watching younger runners dig deep and push themselves out on a cross country course motivates me to get in touch with my passion for running.

Autumn does that too.  Cooler temperatures make running easier.  It’s my favorite time to run. Especially this autumn.  I am not injured.  Not burned out. Not really anything but happy to get out and run.  I’m planning on running a race sometime in the next few months but haven’t signed up for anything yet.  I’m open to a half-marathon or even a trail run.  A few of my running buddies have already tackled a fall marathon. [Read more…]

Three Vegetables You Need to be Eating

Don't judge these great veggies by any pre-concieved notions you might have...

Don’t judge these great veggies by any pre-concieved notions you might have…

Kale, Yams, and Beets…if you aren’t eating these veggies on a regular basis, you should be. According to Alan Tyson, physical therapist, athletic trainer, and certified strength and conditioning specialist, if you are an athlete or just want to perform at your best, these veggies should be on your A-List.

We all know that eating vegetables is a good thing to do.  But not all vegetables are created equal.  The more colorful the veggie, the more significant the nutritional potency (Vitamin C and E, carotenoids, polyphenols, etc.).  When we eat a variety of green, yellow, and red vegetables we receive the maximum benefit that vegetables have to offer. Vegetables’ potent qualities are reflected in studies of populations with primary plant-based diets. Over time, people in these cultures are far less likely to be obese; they enjoy a longer lifespan; and they have a decreased risk of developing a number of chronic diseases. The general admonishment to “eat more veggies” is perfectly legitimate, but if you’re looking for a more concrete recommendation, the following are the reasons Alan Tyson says we should really get to know these three great veggies: [Read more…]

I’m Ready for Fall Running…How about you?

My happy place in Maine, where late summer running is bliss...if it weren't for the darn hills.

My happy place in Maine, where late summer running is bliss…if it weren’t for the darn hills.

I’m up north at Lovejoy Pond (it’s really a lake) in Maine for the last two weeks of summer.  Fall has come a little early to this quaint part of the country.  Waking up to the singing loons and 50 degrees is a refreshing change from the heat and humidity of Charlotte in late summer.  With the exception of the extreme hills, this is my favorite place to run.

Running in Maine is a wonderful foretaste of what is to come in the fall to North Carolina.  I, for one, am excited!  The greenway near my house will be full of runners training for the many races in various parts of the country from October – December.  Cross country runners will be lining up at high school 5K races. Many of those summer treadmill runners will hit the pavement when the air gets colder and the trees start changing. Running is contagious in autumn.

Where will you be running this fall?