Stumbling doesn’t equal Falling and Falling doesn’t equal Defeat

So, a new year has begun and we’re already halfway into the first month. Can you believe it? I would like to sit here and be able to say that I am not a New Years Resolution sort of gal but I am. Sometimes you need a designated date to say, “Today I will mark a new beginning”. I hope that whatever resolution you have picked you are sticking with it. It’s been said that it takes a minimum of 21 days to make a habit so you’re already 15 days into at this time. Keep going.

Have you already had a hiccup that threw you off of your goal? Pick yourself back up and KEEP GOING. I want this to be an underlying theme for this year. Keep Going. My two big sayings in life is, “It’s better late than never,” and “No more looking back with ‘I would’ve, should’ve or could’ve’.” How do I stick to my sayings? I just KEEP GOING. It’s important to note that you mustn’t trudge on and lose sight of the original goal. Always keep that ending in mind, but know that sometimes you might have to change the path to get there. So you thought you’d run a half marathon by May but you got overwhelmed in work/life and haven’t had time to run everyday like you thought. It’s okay, KEEP GOING. Instead of “by May” change it to “I am going to run a Marathon this year”. Tweak your path to running in the mornings before work or much of anything else can intrude and crumble your plans.

Look, we are all mere humans. We are going to sabotage ourselves at certain times and make poor decisions but that doesn’t give you an excuse to give up. Part of keeping going is to get real with yourself and get rid of the excuses. No more BUT’s and CANT’s. Realize that a lot of the time the word that should go there is WONT and won’t is a choice.

So KEEP up the great work, or, get back GOING on that goal either way just KEEP GOING.

6 Ways to Stay Warm (and Fit!) this Winter

If Penguin Huddling is not an option for you….

Try moving. It’s simple and everyone can do some form of it.  Here are some quick ways to get the blood pumping and reap the benefits of being active.

AT THE OFFICE: You may already have some of these characters around…

  1. Jumpin’ Jill – do 50 jumping jacks every hour on the hour
  2. Squatin’ Stewart – when you’re on the phone try staying in a wall sit for the first 2 minutes
  3. Pushin’ Patrick – do 10 pushups, or inclined pushups with your hands on your desk, whenever you’re cooling down

AT HOME: You too can save money on your heating bill – and be an avid at-home exerciser, here are some of my favorites!

  1. The “TV Commercial Opportunist” – while watching reruns of the Big Band Theory, make the commercials count: jog in place, do some lunges, crunches, or even jump rope if you have the space!
  2. The “Tricky Laundry Stepper” – bank some steps while folding laundry, – fold one item and put it away, repeat for the next 1,000+ items that came out of your dryer.  Just imagine the steps you’ll get.
  3. The “My neighbors think I’m crazy” – when you take out the trash or grab the mail, do lunges or skip on the way.

Please, share yours too!

 

Holiday Potlucks and Parties: How to be Nice and not Naughty

It’s the most fattening time of the year.

Oh yes people, you know it, I know it and if you’re not careful your thighs and belly will know it too. It has been studied that people who gain weight during the holiday season do not tend to lose it. So perhaps it is only one pound this year but after five to ten years it turns into five to ten pounds and that is just the weight that you gain during one single part of the year! Ouch. A large part of this season is about giving and sharing. Giving and sharing lots and lots of unhealthy food through potlucks and parties. If you happen to be one of these folks start a new tradition, bring something healthy and delicious. Make it a point that if you do a plan a potluck or host a party that only one dish is a sweet treat and the rest of the dishes are on the healthier end of things. Here are some suggestions on hosting a potluck or party and how to ensure that people do not leave feeling cheated out of tasty treats but also not feeling like they cheated on their diets or healthy lifestyle.

1.Have a sign up sheet. When it comes to office gatherings and bringing in a dish, set up something so that not only do you not have repeats of dishes but you can also guarantee that the majority of them aren’t too naughty. Set up categories such as: Veggie, Fruit, Carb, Starch, Meat/Fish, Drink and Sweet and then make a note to keep it healthy. This is a great way to bring holiday cheer and challenge some of the chefs to be conscious about their dishes. Try to exclude pasta dishes and cheeses as these pack in a lot of calories in a small serving. Instead, encourage hummus for the veggies to be “dipped in” or homemade guacamole and lightly salted tortilla chips as the snack.

2.When setting up your buffet table, start with the healthy stuff first. People are likely to load up on the first few items when going down the line and then widdle their way down through the rest. I’m sure you have said it plenty of times yourself while walking the buffet line, “I ran out of room on my plate!”. Set it up so that the salad or other veggie options are first, then the fruits followed by the starches which are followed by the meat/fish dishes and then carbs and lastly, the sweets and drinks. This will encourage people to load up instead on the healthier options leaving little room for the breads and sugar.

3. Use smaller plates and cups. Choose the 7 inch option rather than the 9 inch for the plates. Also, choose the smaller 8 ounce cups rather than the regular 12-16 ounce. People can always go back for more if they want but if they are given large enough plates they will pile them with food and feel like they should either finish their plate or end up tossing their plate with a lot of food still on it.

That doesn’t sound too difficult does it? It’s all about strategy. Teams do not win games without strategy and you will not win the battle against the holiday bulge without one either. Also, take it upon yourself that if you happen to be one of the folks bringing a dish, that you make it a healthy option. If you are going down the line at the buffet, look at what is available and make sure you heap up on the healthy things and leave little room for the rest. Remember, you can always go back for more but give yourself about ten minutes between finishing what you have and going back for more. It takes about 20 minutes for your body to register “I’m full”. Changing these little things can make a big difference and this is all great knowledge for the rest of the year too.

Below are some suggestions for healthy dishes that are making my stomach growl:

Crispy Smashed Potatoes

Winter Jeweled Fruit Salad

Haricots Verts with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Polenta Wedges with Tomato Tapenade

 

 

Maintain, Don’t Gain! Holiday tricks to try

Depending on where you look, studies state that most Americans gain 2-5 pounds during the holidays.  So, what’s the big deal? Well, most of us don’t lose that weight in the months to come. The foods high in sugar and unhealthy fats, and the lack of exercise wreck habit on your body.

Here are some easy ways to avoid this damage:

  1. Eat before you go! Sounds counter-intuitive, but if you come to a dinner party hungry you are more likely to over eat. Grab an apple before you go (the fiber will keep you full) or drink some water before you eat.
  2. Pay attention to more important things! Focus on catching up with friends and family instead of the food/drinks.
  3. Try a different pace! Instead of filling your plate or trying as much food as you possibly can, try a few things and enjoy them thoroughly. Eat slowly, this will help you fill up on less food. Put your fork down between bites, again, a great way to pace your eating.
  4. Count those toothpicks! If there are an abundance of canaps (those cute appetizers on toothpicks, that are easy to eat – in excess) make sure to set a limit. If it’s 5. Stick to 5.
  5. Buffet, no way! If you can’t avoid the buffet-style meals, take some measures to avoid overeating: choose a small plate, don’t stack your food, and limit yourself to one single serving.
  6. Control your alcohol intake! Not only is this important for calories but also controlling your food intake. You may keep eating even after you’re full, because you don’t feel satiated. Try water, tea, or club soda for a change.
  7. Ditch the sugar! This is nearly impossible during the holidays, but you can limit yourself to small portions and a single flavor. If you think you can sample one bite of several sweets, think again. I know if I’m going to do dessert it’s going to be chocolate. I pick the richest chocolate thing I can find and the smallest piece there – and enjoy it like I’ll never have chocolate again. After it’s gone; I’m done with dessert.
  8. Bring something! Not only is your host going to thank you but you now have control over a single dish. You can bring a healthy salad, or even a less sugary/fattening dessert to avoid the fiasco in #7 altogether.
  9. Keep your spoon out of the pot! Limit the tasting while you cook. These calories can add up quickly.
  10. Walk, walk, walk! My favorite by far! You can grab you friends, family, or pup and head out for a stroll. Not only does this burn calories, and get you away from the food, but it also keeps cravings and hunger at bay.

 

Exercising out of the Box

Are you getting a little bored with your regular workouts? Hey, I’ve been there plenty of times. Not only is it good to change things up to stay motivated but it’s also an excellent idea to keep your body guessing and therefore losing weight or building more muscle. Below are the top four fitness trends that I think are great for getting you out of that rut into having that awesome butt!

Barre Classes:

I have personally taken these classes and love them. If you are a former dancer or if you have never danced but always wanted to try something that doesn’t make you feel like a fool, Barre classes are for you. Don’t think this is a new craze either. The Barre method has been around for over 50 years! It started in London and was developed by a German dancer named Lotte Berk and was brought over to the U.S. in the last few decades. The classes may seem easy enough since it’s composed of smaller movements for the most part but with lots of pointed toes and standing on your tip toes like a ballet dancer, your muscles fatigue quickly. Depending on your instructor more cardio may be incorporated or the use of yoga mats, balls and light weights. This is definitely a class to not be overlooked or passed up you WILL be sore the next day and depending on your body type, this may be the catalyst to getting those nice long and lean muscles.

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Nike Studio Wrap Shoes ($55)

TRX Training:

Developed by a former Navy Seal to get a great workout even when deployed in the most remote areas, TRX training can be done virtually anywhere you can attach a TRX band. There are classes you can attend to learn good technique and different exercises or if you want to venture out on your own you can purchase the band and subscribe to the TRX site to get workouts. This is a very inexpensive and highly effective workout that can be done in your office, at home or even from a telephone pole or tree if you’re more of an outdoorsy type. With the band, you can get a full body workout and transition from one workout to the next. It will also help you with flexibility. Who knew you could do so much with one band? This has got to be a great workout considering Navy Seals take their workouts very seriously and are some of the most highly trained individuals in the military. To purchase a band and get more information, visit the TRX Website.

Pole Fitness:

Who said swinging from a pole upside down and being able to hold your body weight suspended from a pole was just for exotic dancers? Not the lady’s that came up with Pole Fitness. I have also tried this workout and can say that there was not one time after going that I was not sore. This is great for getting strong arms and legs. I also loved this workout because it makes you leave the rest of the day behind and focus on your body and feeling confident no matter your size or athleticism. This is a huge workout worldwide and there are global competitions that when you see the performances make your jaw drop. This is a great workout that is fun and flirty!

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Be sure to wear a tank top and shorts. You need a lot of skin to grip the pole with. I love this razorback tank from www.bflyactivewear.com.

Body Weight Exercise:

Well this one is a no brainer. It’s going back to the basics and talk about cheap! You would barely need anything to keep up this workout. It’s all about using your own bodyweight to make yourself stronger. Now days there are more than just regular push ups and crunches. There are planks, burpees and mountain climbers. There are tricep pushups, v crunches and criss cross lunges. So many new and different takes on the age old workouts. Add intervals of 60 seconds of nonstop exercise and 10-20 seconds of rest and ramp up the workouts. Try a bootcamp class, HIIT class or there may even bodyweight class that is available in your city. It might be best to try out a class first because the biggest risk with these types of workouts is doing them with bad form or improperly.

No matter what you may be into there is probably a workout out there for you. Try something new and outside of your comfort range, you may be surprised to find a new hobby or passion. This is also a great way to get out there and meet new people.

 

The Evolution of the Pedometer

It seems nowadays the new fitness trend is pedometers. From the Fitbit and Fuel band, to the Jawbone and Pebble not to mention the countless apps that are available for your phone, they are everywhere and do a lot more than just track walking. The idea of the pedometer however is not a new one at all.

One of the greatest minds to have lived, Leonardo da Vinci, sought to track the distance a Roman soldier walked all the way back in the 15th century. He drew plans to develop a device and viola! the first pedometer was recorded.

leonardo

Leonardo’s Pedometer http://itsjustlife.com/davinci/inventions/

The next piece of pedometer history is a little more muddled. Some credit Swiss watch makers who made watches that were motion sensitive and self winding with inventing the mechanism that would be used in later pedometers to record steps. Some credit the French with the first timepiece that Thomas Jefferson later tinkered with as having created the first pedometer. No matter what though, it is well known that Thomas Jefferson did show an interest in recording and measuring steps and did indeed create the first pedometer in the U.S.. Whether it happened by adapting a French watch, or by his own creation will remain a mystery since he did not patent any of his inventions.

Below is an excerpt from Padover’s The Complete Jefferson, P. 969-970 and a letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison on May 3rd 1788:

“I send your pedometer. To the loop at the bottom of it, you must sew a tape, and at the other end of the tape, a small hook … cut a little hole in the bottom of your left watch pocket, pass the hook and tape through it, and down between the breeches and drawers, and fix the hook on the edge of your knee band, an inch from the knee buckle; then hook the instrument itself by its swivel hook, on the upper edge of the watch pocket. Your tape being well adjusted in length, your double steps will be exactly counted by the instrument, the shortest hand pointing out the thousands, the flat hand the hundreds, and the long hand the tens and units …”

Thomas Jefferson introduced the American public to the pedometer and some even called them “Tomish Meters”. Popularity for the pedometer did not take off in the United States until the 1930’s and even then it was only popular with long distance walkers which eventually gave way to it being marketed as a “Hike-o-meter”. Fast forward thirty years to 1965 in Japan, a man named Y. Hatano put forth a pedometer called the “manpo-kei” which in english translates to 10,000 steps meter. By 1985 research by Hatano himself was widely accepted as to showing that 10,000 steps a day was the proper energy output for a person to balance their caloric intake to maintain a healthy weight.

Pedometers have come a long way from Jefferson and Hatano’s time. In those days the device needed to remain vertical and a tiny pendulum made up of a lead ball swung within the device with each step and then one would multiply that by two (a step for each foot) to obtain a total. However, problems arose with recording when things like a rocky or uneven path was walked or the person bent down and threw off the pendulum. Todays pedometers use what is called an accelerometer that measure movements in three ways. Up/Down, Forwards/Backwards and Left/Right which is constantly checked on every second. A computer evaluates whether the movements captured resemble a step and a calculation is made. There is still room for error with modern pedometers but accuracy is usually within about five percent.

And now a crude, but visual journey of the pedometer:

1860 pedometer

British Mid 1800’s pedometer by Negretti & Zambra

german pedometer

Western Germany 1950’s Ankle Pedometer

walk a matic

1960’s Pedometer

 

Fitibit_Flex

Fitbit Flex 2014

Sources:

That Ten Letter Word

Motivation: it’s empowering, at times elusive, and requires discipline. However, without it there cannot be success.

Finding my motivation, especially when it comes to working out, has been a constant evolution. Often times I find my motivation is a reward or something I have been deprived of. Some of my motivations require a lot of discipline so I understand if they might not work for you, but perhaps they can inspire you to find something that will motivate you to get out and get active.

1. A good book or magazine. If you’re a fan of walking on the treadmill or elliptical at the gym this is a good one. I find a great read I really enjoy and reserve it for the gym only. The catch is, you CANNOT read it unless you’re on that machine. Suggestions I have would be “The Hunger Games”, “Orange is the new Black”, “The Da Vinci Code” or any other read that keeps you turning pages and therefore moving.

2. New songs you love or a station you adore. Have a jam that you really love? A new CD you just acquired? You can also tie in the above “books” idea by getting a book on your device and listening to it. No matter what it may be save it for the times when you’re moving and being active. This one takes a lot of discipline but even just creating a new playlist that you reserve for working out ONLY can be a great motivator and keep you going longer and stronger.

3. Fun clothes for working out. I love finding great clothes to workout in. They lighten and brighten my mood and once I change into them I am instantly ready to get out there and get going! It does not have to cost an arm and a leg for a decent workout wardrobe. If I am out at a store with active clothes available, I check out and see what is on sale. However, if I reach a specific goal I spoil myself with a splurge.

4. Invest in the right equipment. There is nothing worse than getting going and then having a wrench like an injury thrown into the mix. If you have invested in a gym but have never touched a weight in your life, get a half hour personal training session to curb the fear of weights and show you proper form. Getting into walking and/or running? Great shoes ARE A MUST. They will save your joints and keep you going. Yoga your thing? Get a nice mat, towel and water bottle. These things are imperative but can also a little expensive which is another aspect to their motivation. You paid for it so you better use it, right?

5. The last one I’ll leave you with: a PARTNER. There have been days when I do not want to go for jogs or walks and I know that goes for my partner too. Having another person to hold me accountable and whom I know wants/needs me to be there for them is an excellent motivator. Perhaps you like doing it on your own, but having someone hold you accountable and cheer you on or heck, whip your butt into going, can be the difference between, “I’m not feeling it and I’m not doing it,” to “I’m not feeling it but I’ll do it, if not for me, for them.”

No matter what your motivations may be, keep it relevant and recognize when it stops working. You might need to get a little creative but that’s alright, just as long as you are staying active!

7 Steps to Happy Walking Feet

You may have heard this time and time again but I am here to stress it once more, GET GOOD WALKING/RUNNING SHOES! Do you think pro football players use equipment from a second hand shop or helmets that are four years old? Do you think that Lance Armstrong rides a bike that he’s had for years kept in the back of a garage for training? I think not! The point is, they use the right equipment for the sport they are doing.

If you are not wearing the right shoes and you are walking or running several miles per week, it should be no surprise if your knees, shins, lower back, hips and ankles start to bother you. Yes, it is an investment. These shoes will not be cheap but your health and the future of your exercise routines will rely heavily on them. Below I have sifted through various websites and taken the best advice they have to give on how to go about finding the right shoe for you.

1. Go to the professionals. This means, go to a place that specializes in shoe fittings and most likely one that specializes in running and walking shoes. They are trained to find the right shoes for people and are often times runners/walkers themselves and understand the importance of a well fitted shoe.

2. Go get fitted at the end of the day. Your feet will be swollen and at their largest and wear the sort of socks you would normally wear when exercising. This will help with the fit since during a walk your feet swell and the more comfortable they are at this point means the more likely you will keep going.

3. Try on both shoes. The idea of having two different sized feet may seem a little strange, but it does happen. So don’t be alarmed if you find this happens to you, it’s best that you catch it now than trying to cram one of your feet into a small shoe.

4. Know your foot shape. Take a look at one of your barefoot prints. If you see that between your heel and ball/toes that it gets very slender you have high arches. The opposite is true for flat footed folk. It would be hard to distinguish between your heel and ball because it would all be even from back to front almost. There are shoes that cater to different foot shapes and this can help narrow down your shoe choices.

5. If you can, test them out. At the last store I went to they insisted that I run around the block and try the shoes out. It was important to them that I see if even in that small amount of distance a problem occurred. Try walking up stairs, if your heel is slipping this is a bad sign. Try walking down a ramp or stairs, do your toes start to hit the front of the shoe? Again not good. Especially since these shoes will eventually stretch and then your toes will really be ramming into the front. Ouch!!!!

6. If in doubt buy a running shoe. Running shoes translate well into walking shoes. However, the same cannot be said for walking shoes into running shoes. Walking shoes can be a little heavier and have support under the balls of your feet whereas running shoes have support under your heel and are light weight. If you are going to be walking at a fast pace or thinking of running go with a running shoe.

7. Six month rule. You may think that since you dropped a chunk of money on these shoes that they should last forever and wouldn’t that be so nice? But you are putting them through a lot! You’re beating them on pavement or a treadmill three-six times a week so they get pretty beat up pretty fast. The rule the folks at the stores will tell you is to replace your shoes every 350-400 miles or every six months whichever comes first. Don’t ignore this advice because if you keep using them and then something starts to hurt, it takes a long time to rehab what you have hurt and sometimes it never goes away.

So come on, I just gave you 7 reasons to go out and buy another pair of shoes! Who doesn’t love shoes? Remember also, that if these shoes are keeping you active and healthy that means less medical bills in the future and boy oh boy can those be expensive! Now go ahead, spoil yourself with the reward of great shoes that will make you smile when you see them and make your legs and feet happy too!

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Ellen,

Introducing Walker Tracker’s newest addition – Ellen!

Ellen grew up in Central Oregon and has been an active outdoor enthusiast all her life:

“I was spoiled with lots of trails for horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking and cliffs for climbing.  Central Oregon is actually rated the top place to live in Outdoor Magazine. Having all that so close meant that from a young age I started to enjoy and experience being active.”

 

Ellen has lived in Southern California, Southwestern United States, and Austin, TX and enjoyed moving around.  She says that no matter where she’s lived, she has been able to discover the best of each place through walking!

“Walking takes me into the nooks and crannies of a city. Walking helped me discover my favorite bookstores, my favorite houses (mostly in New Orleans) and walking took me to my favorite restaurants.

 

How did Walker Tracker get so lucky to have Ellen join the family?  We knew at first meet that she would fit in well here.  She had read about us through a lead from her college.

“This one was for me! They were looking of for a blogger; well I had just started my own. They were looking for some to help with customer service; well I had so many years of customer service I’d say I could give a seminar on it! And what was this? THEY LOVED WALKING! I will admit, I am a runner most often, but walking is a great alternative and gives me time to enjoy my surroundings. What’s better than working for a company that inspires others to walk? To be active? To just get out and move?! It is also really inspiring working among people that have seen this company through from just an idea to the platform that is Walker Tracker today. Knowing that we are a catalyst for people to get up and get active and that I am a part of that keeps me looking forward to work. “

 

So, how does she do it all?  Ellen has a lot on her plate and still manages to be active, work and take classes!  Here’s a bit about her fitness life:

“I try to walk or run 5-6 times a week. Usually my boyfriend and I run three times a week and I’ll go to the gym the other days and do the elliptical or walk on the treadmill. We really enjoy after dinner walks. It gets the blood pumping to places besides your stomach and gets the food moving too. I really enjoy walking around sunset and looking out to Mt. Hood as the sunset reflects off the snow. There is a park near my neighborhood that we will usually walk/run through and we love to look at the for sale signs of houses trying to make a guess on how much they might be. Here in Portland I enjoy walking the waterfront and crossing the bridges. We also have Forest Park, which is the biggest park within a city in the United States. Yes, bigger than Central Park! I also love hunting for waterfalls and a great area for that is off of the I-84 East Freeway going towards The Dalles.”

 

 

To read more from Ellen, check out her blog.  http://fitnhappycouple.tumblr.com

Welcome to Walker Tracker, we are glad and proud to have you!

 

 

Health and activity grants for Portland-area schools and non-profits

Here’s a great grant opportunity for Portland Metro schools.

Nike is awarding at least $550,000 to Portland-area non-profits and schools. Grants are between $5,000 and $20,000, in the following areas:

  1. Environment: Creating or improving places for play or physical activity; enhancing home and community environments; promoting good stewardship of the earth and sustainable practices.
  2. Education: Educating families about the importance of physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices; improving children’s educational opportunities and experiences; providing education about environmentally sustainable practices.
  3. Inclusion: Supporting underrepresented or disadvantaged populations, with some emphasis on removing obstacles to participation in physical activity.
  4. Healthy Choices: Actively improving the health and well-being of individuals and communities; creating broad, positive behavioral change in communities; increasing use of environmentally sustainable practices that support health.

Kudos, Nike! Schools and Non-profits — we love working with you and have aggressive non-profit discounts. We’re more than happy to help you implement a Walker Tracker walking challenge at your school or non-profit that conforms to the grant guidelines.

View the grant and drop us a line.