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Unfortunately, one of the rest days arrived as the result of a minor injury. Last Tuesday, I strained my left pectoral muscle from either not executing proper form during a push-up sprint or gripping the ballet bar and leaning back a bit too during a “waterski” sprint at Physique57. By Wednesday night’s “UFX Burn” class at New York Sports Club, every amped-up inhalation during our high intensity cardio drill and each rep of standing reverse flies were pretty painful. So after icing the area and popping a couple of ibuprofen before bed that night, I took Thursday off. I even stayed away from the elliptical because I knew using the arm handles would or gripping the side bars too tight would have put unnecessary stress on my tweaked muscle. By Friday afternoon’s Physique class, I felt 90% better. After enjoying another gal-pal catch-up day on Saturday, I decided to extend my rest time to cover the entire weekend. In the end, I tallied four workouts in a seven day period. While that’s less than my typical five to six, you know what? My body is much happier on this Monday morning thanks to the extra TLC.
If you’re prepping for a competition or if you’re a serious bodybuilder, I understand there’s a strict schedule to follow to make gains in a certain amount of time. However, if you’re on a new health and fitness kick or if you’re like me and you’ve been attacking your workouts at 125% to get through a rough patch in your life, it’s not a bad idea to pause for a moment and remember rest is a crucial component to improving your well-being. Whether you’re a runner, strength-training class or Zumba addict, it’s actually the rest days that allow those amazing muscles in your body to recover and grow.
The bottom line is by not taking at least one rest day each week, you can put yourself at risk for overtraining. When you overtrain, the body is more prone to injury and instead of enjoying the typical endorphin rush from a great workout, you could find yourself feeling more tired than usual. Here’s a checklist of overtraining symptoms:
- Amenorrhea (when a woman stops getting her monthly period)
- Overuse or stress-related injuries (e.g. stress fractures, tennis elbow and runner’s knee)
- Increased resting heart rate
- Slower recovery of heart rate
- Decrease in strength performance
- Constant muscle pain or soreness when moving, bordering on pain
Remember, taking a rest day doesn’t mean you’re being lazy. It only means you’re giving your body the strength it needs to get back in the game so you can have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
I like to believe there’s some truth in that old saying “time heals all wounds.” However, there’s simply no escaping a surge of emotions when you come face-to-face with a date on the calendar that changed your world forever. In the case of 9/11, so many worlds were changed that it’s amazing to think the world actually kept spinning. Yet it did.
Twelve years later, I can remember every detail of that unfathomable sunshine-filled day. While it’s impossible not to think about the loved ones we lost and the paralyzing fear we felt, I also remember how we banded together as a nation to help each other through. We prayed together. We cried together. We were kinder to each other. We all realized just how fragile life can be.
So today, while I know I’ll be stopping in Church to pray for my friend Glen Pettit and all those who were taken from us far too soon, I will also reflect on what I need to let go of in my life..and what I should hold on to with a stronger grip. Whatever you need to do to get through this difficult day, whether it’s a visit to your Church, spending some quiet time with your thoughts at home, or spending an extra ten minutes on your daily walk, don’t forget the little things that can have a big impact. Hug your child a few extra times today. Don’t be afraid to tell your parents, your siblings, your significant other or your best friend that you love them. Think about making amends with someone you can’t remember why you every had a falling out with in the first place.
I hope you’ll forgive this shift from the focus of my normal posts. As many of you already know, fitness has always been an outlet for me to sort things out when life gets a little overwhelming. Second to that is writing. If you’d like to read more about my memories from September 11th, 2001, here’s a link to what I posted on the 10-year anniversary. Whether you read the old post or stop here, I wish you and yours as much peace and comfort as possible today.
God Bless America.
It’s hard to believe we’re gearing up for what could be a Nor’easter here in the New York area just one week after Sandy left our shores. While I pray today’s storm ends up being less severe than predicted, there’s no escaping the fact that the colder temperatures of November are here to stay.
Now that I’ve broken out the winter coat, gloves and other warm, woolly items, I thought it was a good time for some important reminders on how to safely stick with your outdoor exercise routine as we head into a cold finish for 2011:
- Dress In Layers: Start with a thin layer of synthetic material (e.g. Under Armour or Nike DriFIT clothing) closest to the skin. Avoid wearing cotton as it takes longer to dry and the wet feel can give you a chill. Add a layer of fleece or wool and last but not least, finish off your outfit with a waterproof outer-layer.
- Protect Your Hands, Feet & Ears: My hands and feet are cold even on the hottest days of the year, so they’re especially vulnerable to wind chills and icy temperatures. So, in colder weather, I’ll often wear a thin pair of gloves under a pair of heavier ones, or even a pair of mittens. I know some people who have a “winter” pair of running or walking shoes that are up to one size bigger so they can wear thicker thermal socks or two pairs of regular ones. Finally, I’m a big fan of the wrap-around ear warmers or fleece headbands to keep the biting wind from wreaking havoc on my ears.
- Don’t Forget the Sunscreen: If you’ve ever gotten a nasty sunburn from skiing, you know the sun is just as strong in the cold-weather months as it is in the summertime. Remember to put on the SPF 30 before heading outdoors and don’t forget the SPF-infused lip balm, too.
- Stay Hydrated: We hear lots of warnings about becoming dehydrated in the heat, but you can become dehydrated just as easily in the cold. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your workout. (Here’s a refresher on why water is so important.)
- Special Populations: While most people can exercise safely in the cold weather, if you have a heart condition or suffer from asthma, be sure to check with your physician before starting a cold-weather exercise routine.
The good news is you don’t have to pack away your motivation to exercise with the bathing suit and beach towels. Using a little common sense and having the right gear will allow you to continue your love affair with the great outdoors through November and beyond so you can have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
It’s hard to believe today marks a week since Sandy’s devastating arrival in New York. What’s even harder to believe is how so many people are a long way from restoring any semblance of normalcy in their lives. That being said, it’s hard for me to focus on writing about my favorite core exercises or the benefits of cardio when there seems to be more important information people need in my hometown and many towns in the Northeast right now. So, I will keep this off-topic post brief and simply tell you how Sandy inspired me to do something over the weekend that I haven’t done in a long time: she sent me back to Church.
Faith is probably one of the most personal topics out there. In my life, I’m surrounded by people who practice many different religions and I also know some who follow none. During my personal ups and downs during the past year, I started having my own “issues” with God. Unless I was home visiting family, I went to Church less and less. This morning, however, I felt compelled to get up and get there. I wasn’t looking for answers on why a higher power would let this kind of disaster take place. I was just looking for a quiet place to really focus my energy on asking that those who need help find comfort any way they can. I didn’t leave Church feeling like a new person, but for me, it was a good start.
The latest figures show approximately 700,000 homes and businesses in New York City, the northern suburbs and Long Island remain without power. My parents are among them. Hundreds of thousands of of people New Jersey and Connecticut remain in the dark, as well. Meanwhile, the temperatures continue to drop and a new rain-driven storm could be hitting our area on Wednesday. These below freezing temperatures take things from inconvenient to downright dangerous. Of course, power-issues aside, there are also countless horror stories. While I’m fortunate to say I didn’t lose a loved one in the storm, I have friends of friends who did. I also know people whose homes remain flooded and possibly damaged beyond repair. Others stress over when they’ll get back home and back to a normal routine. Meanwhile, I sit in my warm apartment with my iTunes playing and blog site up and running. It’s hard not to feel guilty.
So, in the week ahead, I will workout in an attempt to keep my own worries about my parents in check. At least I know the time I spend in the gym is a healthy distraction from letting the mind wander to places it does no good to go. I’ll also continue to pray. As a thank you to all of you who continue to send your good vibes and positive messages, I wish you a week filled with countless opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
As I write this post, I realize how lucky I am to be able to sit in my non-damaged apartment with the lights on and all lines of communication working normally. I’m beyond thankful that my parents, though among the nearly 800,000 people without power on Long Island, are safe despite the half-dozen trees that came down around their house. I’m lucky my other family and friends are all accounted for. On this post-Sandy Friday, I realize just how important it is to take stock of all my blessings when so many others lost so much to this historic storm.
In the height of all her fury, Sandy wreaked havoc in 17 states. The last numbers I saw before publishing this post showed the storm claimed 87 lives, knocked out power and communications for millions and brought Manhattan – the city that never sleeps – to a virtual standstill. She flooded tunnels in the massive transit system; destroyed beach boardwalks; tossed roller coasters into the ocean and yachts onto front lawns; sparked uncontrollable fires and explosions and changed landscapes and lives forever.
It has been good to see the city coming back to life, but there is still such an eerie feeling in the air. The subways, trains and buses are coming back even more quickly than first predicted. My office re-opened with a skeleton staff on Thursday. On Wednesday, I was fortunate to be able to leave my apartment and walk a few blocks to my gym and see the neighborhood businesses up and running again. However, the images and stories of this storm’s aftermath continue to play out in the news. Those images will haunt us for quite some time as those who lost so much face a long and uncertain road toward recovery.
To those of you who sent emails, texts, or tweets of Facebook messages to check on me and my parents, I send my sincerest thanks and appreciation. At times like this, you realize just how lucky you are to have a support network of people who care and want to help you through whatever life throws at you. I wish everyone a wonderful weekend filled with more steps toward recovery along with a unified spirit and conviction to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
As our nation commemorates the 11th anniversary of 9/11, I hope you will forgive this break from my ordinary health and fitness posts as I share my thoughts surrounding the day that changed our lives forever.
Some of you may remember my account from last year’s anniversary. Considering the significance of this day in our history, I thought it was worth repeating.
On that bright, crisp day in 2001, I was a general assignment reporter at News 12 Connecticut. Shortly after 8:46 am, as we prepared for the daily meeting, our morning show executive producer ran out of her office to tell us a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. Soon, all the televisions behind the assignment desk were breaking in with news of what we thought was a horrible accident. We then watched in horror as the second plane hit the South Tower.
It was the first and only time I can remember a newsroom being brought to complete silence. What followed was a blur. Our assistant news director shifted into auto-pilot and sent us out. Reporters teamed up with videographers and sped off in live trucks. There were no lessons from my journalism classes or past experiences as a reporter that could have helped me prepare for that unfathomable day. Before leaving the newsroom, I left a message on my parents’ answering machine telling them how much I loved them. I’m pretty sure I said a few prayers, too.
I started the day reporting on local reaction from people glued to the TVs at a local diner in Norwalk. Eventually, I was sent to the Fairfield train station. A medical team was set up for triage to help those returning from the city. As the trains began pulling in late in the day, men and women emerged from the cars covered in ashes. Those were the people I knew I had to approach for live interviews. Some approached me. Most were in shock. In between live shots, I would sit in the news car and cry. When I had cell service, I would check for voice messages with any news about my many friends and loved ones who lived or worked in the city.
I couldn’t tell you how many live shots I actually did that day or how many people I interviewed. I do remember the faces of the medical team anxiously waiting to treat injured survivors; the tearful embrace between an ash-covered man and the woman waiting for him on the platform; and all the cars that remained in the parking lot as midnight approached. I wondered how many people would never return to claim them.
In the days that followed, I learned a former colleague and friend from News 12 Long Island, Glen Pettit, was killed. He was a talented videographer and NYPD officer. I learned about other people’s loved ones who were killed. I held back tears while interviewing people who still hoped someone they loved would come home. I held back tears while speaking with members of the Stamford fire department who wanted to do more to help their firefighter family in the Manhattan. In the fleeting moments when I was alone, I let the tears flow freely.
I also remember how sales of American flags skyrocketed and how people wanted to help each other in whatever way possible. We were wounded, but the American spirit was not broken.
Eleven years later, as we remember those who lost their lives on that tragic day, let us honor each and every one of them by doing good for others.
God Bless America.