Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Throwback Thursday: 10 "Health" Foods That are Not

As promised, less cutesy throwback pictures and more embarrassing ones.

I was playing around on my Google Drive and I found an old blog post that I had started before I even officially had started Running for Dummies.  It was an unfinished and unpublished blog post, dated July 2010.  It made me realize something:

I noticed how much I have changed. I wrote some things that I disagree with now, and this was only a few short years ago.  It took some time and experience to get to where I am. Sometimes you don’t even realize how far you have come or how much you have changed.

One thing I wrote in this blog on the topic of motivation was, “Again, with each choice the main focus is keeping your long term goals in mind.  Do I want to sleep in or do I want to be fit?  Do I want this ice cream or do I want to be in shape?”

I realize now that I can sleep in and still be fit.  I can even eat ice cream and still be in shape.  It is not an either-or-choice. I talk about on this blog about my personal struggle with an all-or-nothing mentality. I realized by reading what I wrote just a few years ago, that although I still struggle, I have come a long way.  My actions may not always reflect it, but at least my thinking is much more clear and balanced.  

10 Health Foods That are Not

This week’s Throwback Thursday post was one that I shared on March 18, 2012 called "Ten Health Foods That are Not." It was a well intentioned post about deceptive marketing on food packaging. To be true to my current voice, I had to do some major editing of the original post before I could share it with you again. I didn't realize how much I changed, until I read the things I wrote just a year ago.  I no longer think of foods in terms of good or bad.  Food is fuel. Of course, there are some foods that are better for your body than others. Of course, some foods are not ideal fuelI am not disputing that. There certainly are foods that are not good for your body consumed in large quantities on a regular basis. My point is that these days, I try to stay far away from the disordered thinking of good and bad food.

The idea of the post is be be aware of deceptive marketing.  Don't believe everything anything you read on the front on the package, only believe what you read in the nutrition facts, and more importantly in the list of ingredients. 

I hope your click over and read the original post

Keep Running,

Lea

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What Goldilocks Taught Us About Moderation

I'm the dummy in Running for Dummies.  I hope that is clear.  My blog is all about sharing my learning experiences with you, until one day, I'll get so smart that I will have to change the name of my blog to Running for Geniuses. We can all do long division in our heads on our long runs. OK? Maybe not.

Sometimes it is all so simple, out there clear as day, and it hits me like a ton of bricks, too many wasted years later. Dare I say I am almost a completely different person that I was a year ago when it comes to my health and fitness?

D'uh


Eat.  How could I miss something so simple?  Oh yeah, it is because it seems like the whole fitness world is telling people to eat 1500 calories a day and work your a$$ off for hours-on-end a day.  If you think about it, it doesn't even make sense.

So I sometimes I would eat way too little for my activity level. I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist, but for me, eating under 2000 calories a day when I work out for an hour everyday is not nearly enough. Then I would end up eventually splurging and eating way too much. 

It is so simple. Eat enough. Not too little. Not too much. That damn Goldilocks has been saying it for years, "I've been eating too little, I've been eating too much, Ah yes, I'm eating just right."
 

yum, porridge!

Run. I love to run, so I know more than most the tendency to get obsessed.  Run, but not too much, or you risk injury, over-training, and burn out.  Not too little, because you need your cardiovascular fitness.  Just enough. Whatever 'enough' means for you.

Lift Stuff.  I fought it for so many years.  I always said I hated lifting weights. I said I was a runner. Turns out once I started lifting weights, I didn't hate it at all. I actually loved it, and you know what? It made me a much better runner! Faster than ever. Go figure. Don't lift too light or you won't see results, don't lift the same for months (or years) on end without progression, and don't hurt yourself by trying to lift too heavy before you are ready. Like Goldilocks would say, lift just right.

Who knew that Goldilocks was so smart?

Keep Running,

Lea

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photo credit: shiny red type via photopin cc

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A BAD ASS (SOCK) GIVEAWAY

I don't usually swear on my blog, but holy crapoli these are cute.  I try to keep it family friendly over here, but when Bad Ass is the name of the product I am giving away, I can't help but to use a cursing tongue to describe.  The truth is, if you are a bad ass, there really is no nicer way to say it.  You're a bad ass.  To say that you're a bad butt, a bad behind, a bad toushy, just doesn't have the same ring.

Let everyone behind you know, because they are ALL behind you.

You can win these Bad Ass socks from Sock it to Me and Running for Dummies!  It couldn't be any easier to enter.  All you have to do is "Join this site" using Google Friend Connect (on the right sidebar) or follow by email (on the right side bar,) then tell me so in the Rafflecopter form.  If you already subscribe, then you can enter too, just fill out the Rafflecopter form. You can get a bonus entry by leaving a blog comment.


Contest Rules:
No purchase necessary.
Contest runs from 1/28/13 - 2/4/13.
Winner will be randomly selected via Rafflecopter.
Winner will notified via email (if email address is available), Facebook post, and blog post, and will have 48 business hours to claim prize.
If original winner does not claim prize within 48 business hours, an alternate winner will be selected.
Contest open to US and Canada only.
Contestants must enter on Rafflecopter to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Keep Running and GOOD LUCK,

Lea

Ways to (legally) stalk me:



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Thursday, January 24, 2013

"I'm Afraid to Post this Blog" Blogger Challenge




I posted a blog last week-end called, "I'm Afraid to Post this Blog."  I talked about some of my personal challenges and it was scary for me to put it all out there.  If you missed it, I invite you to check it out here.

I almost couldn't believe the outpouring of support. So many people wrote to say that they were just like me.  I can't even express how refreshing it was to read all the reminders that we are not alone in our personal struggles.

We are all human.  Who are we trying to kid with all this perfection bullshit

In my post I invited other bloggers to share their own, "I'm Afraid" blogs.  I am so impressed with these brave women (no men, interesting) who were willing to come clean in the name of transparency.  Please check out these great posts from bloggers sharing the things they might otherwise be afraid to tell you.  

Fit and Fat: The Secret I Keep about Being Hungry from One Lovely Run

Let's Get Real Here from Couch to Ironwoman

Good Enough from Running Away with Myself

Am I a Hypocrite? from Love Life Surf

Becoming Transparent: The 'I'm Afraid to Post This' Mission from Project Girl Get Fit 

Pity Party of One: Your Table is Ready from Never Ever Been Skinny 

I'm Afraid to Post This Blog from Carpe Diem Crystal 

Today I was the slowest runner at my new team’s practice from Running to Race

I'm Afraid to Post This Blog from Melissa Running It

Thankful Thursday: Stretchmarks from Rise.Run.Mom.Repeat 

Fighting the Fear from It's All About the Journey

My Story of Darkness from Evelin Runs

Let's Go Ahead and be Vulnerable from The Almost Vegan

Baggage from Smilin4Sugar

I'm Afraid to Post This Blog: Dun Dun Dun from Sneakers and Fingerpaints

I'm Afraid to Post This Blog from Jacqueline Gonzales

I'm Not Perfect from Muddy Mommy

If you are a blogger I invite you join in with me on the "I'm Afraid to Post This Blog,"challenge .  What are you afraid to share with your readers? I think it is important to portray a transparent, real world, real life, fitness journey complete with our faults and struggles.  Even the most famous, most fit, most compelling blogger has some areas of imperfection in their lives. When we share our imperfections, it goes a long way in showing others that perfection is not the goal, or even reality.  I believe that steady progress, growth, and a well-rounded healthy lifestyle is the goal, complete with all internal struggles that go along with being a human being. 

Who is in?  I'll link back to your blog posts here if you decide to share your own, "I'm Afraid to Post This Blog."  Just submit your post to runningfordummies@gmail.com

It is not too late.  Send me your post and I will add it. Men? Where are you?

Keep Running,

Lea

Ways to (legally) stalk me:



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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Rock 'n Roll Running Playlist

Welcome to the second edition of Throwback Thursday where I share older posts that you may missed from the early days of Running for Dummies.

I know what you are thinking, "Is Throwback Thursday just an excuse to share self-indulgent adorable pictures of yourself?"  Yeah, maybe.  Don't worry, as the weeks go on, I'm sure to stumble into my awkward years.  Enjoy the cute ones while you have the chance.  This might get scary.  Middle school wasn't pretty and the hair got real big in high school.

Me and my big sister circa 1977


If you read my blog, you may already know that I have an equal passion for running and music, and a slightly age-inappropriate love for Jack White (i.e. what married 38 year old woman is in love with a rock star?)  I invite you to share my own brand of a rock 'n roll running playlist.  If you like alternative rock, blues inspired rock, Jack White, or the White Stripes, I think you might be my new best friend you will enjoy my running playlist.  If you have no idea what I am talking about, I invite you to check it all out.  Music inspires me like nothing else.




To be fair, this post was originally shared on December 5, 2011.  I have certainly added some new songs to my playlist since then.

One of my favorite running songs now is "Burn it Down" by Awolnation.  The lyrics are "Burn it down, baby, burn it, burn it, down.  When I race, I change the lyrics (in my head) to "Run it home, baby, run it, run it, home."  It works for me. 

"Get up and Go" by the Dangits. Full disclosure: hubby is the drummer in this band.  I'm possibly biased, but if this doesn't get you running fast, I don't know what will. 

Then I like "My Body" by Young the Giant because I like the lyrics, "My body tells me no, but I won't quit 'cause I want more, 'cause I want more."  Who knows what these lyrics really mean, but they fit nicely into endurance running. 

I wouldn't be a successful fangirl if I didn't throw a Jack White song into the mix. Let's go with "Sixteen Saltines" by Jack White.

Check out my throwback post called Rock 'n Roll Running Playlist here.

What is your favorite running song?

Keep Running,

Lea

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photo credit: lambertwm via photopin cc

Monday, January 21, 2013

FlipBelt Giveaway Winners Announced!

I did a review last week on the FlipBelt.  It is an awesome stretchy tubular belt that you wear while running or working out to hold your personal belongings.  It is innovative because it doesn't have a pouch to flop around.  You slip everything into the tube and flip it over so the openings are secure against your body.  It looks good and everything stays in place.  It doesn't flop around or ride up at all during my runs.



FlipBelt sponsored a giveaway on Running For Dummies with two winners! Did you enter?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations to our winners, Angela and Justine!  I'll be sending you an email soon with the details.

If you didn't win, you still can use the FREE SHIPPING coupon code that FlipBelt has offered to Running For Dummies readers.  Just enter code RFD303 at check out and the shipping is free. Check out the FlipBelt store here.

Have you tried a FlipBelt? What do you think?

Contest Rules:
No purchase necessary.
Contest runs from 01/13/13 - 01/20/13.
2 winners will be randomly selected via Rafflecopter.
Winner will notified via email (if applicable), Facebook post and blog post, and will have 48 business hours to claim prize.
If original winner does not claim prize within 48 business hours an alternate winner will be selected.


Disclosure: I was given the FitBelt free of charge for the purpose of a product review and giveaway but I’m under no obligation to give it a positive review.  If I hated it, I’d tell you.

Keep Running,

Lea

Ways to (legally) stalk me:



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Saturday, January 19, 2013

I'm Afraid to Post this Blog




None of us wants to admit that we don't have it all together.  We want to appear as perfect, smart, calm, and successful as possible.  To the outside world, we want to portray that our marriages are perfect, our jobs are perfect, our kids are perfect, and of course, we walk around everyday the happiest versions of ourselves.

The truth is, none of us are even close. We all make mistakes. We all slip up. We all have our issues. We all have problems. We have ups and downs. In this life, we have great successes and great failures. We are human, yes, even health and fitness bloggers.  Shocking, I know. (Where is that sarcasm font when I need it?)

So, what's my point?

If you don't know me, you might read my running blog, look at my skinny pictures up there in the header, read about my workouts and my diet, and assume I have it all together.  If you feel like you don't have it all together, this could inspire you to try harder, or more likely, it might make you feel a little bad about yourself, because you are comparing your insides to my outside.  You can only see what I choose to show you and tell you about me, but you know all the dirty little secrets about yourself.  You can't compare the two.

I do exactly the same thing.  We all do.

You may read health and fitness blogs and thousands of bloggers are working hard to show their best side.  "Look at me. Look how perfect I am."  It is not even intentional.  I am certainly not judging, I am guilty as any.  It is human nature to put our best face forward.  It is our egos hard at work.  We wouldn't dare expose our insecurities and admit our faults on the (gasp) internet.

Don't compare your insides to everyone else's outsides. 


Well guess what?  Big shocker (sarcasm font needed again) I am not perfect.  Not even close.  I have my own set of struggles, just like the rest of the entire human race.

I want to share this with you and I want to resist the great temptation to delete it all before I have the chance to hit publish on this blog post.

My name is Lea and I have an obsessive personality.  It has been something that I have been working on for a long time.  Moderation is really hard for me. I completely understand and agree with it in theory, but it is something that has always been difficult for me to apply.  I either do something too much...or not at all.

I've even written blog posts about how I felt I conquered my problem.  I haven't.  It always eventually rears its ugly head.  

Sometimes for very long periods of time, even years, I feel like I have it under control, but my version of "under control" is obsession.  Sometimes I feel like I have to be that way in order not to lose control all together. It is a little like alcoholism, but with food and exercise. I can't allow myself to have a treat, because one treat, leads to two, which leads to over indulgence.  I can't skip a workout because I might never do it again (or be off for months.)  This is almost worse than alcoholism, because one can swear off alcohol forever, but we all need to eat food and exercise in order to survive and be healthy. 

I'm either obsessed with running...or I don't run at all.  I've never been the person who runs 15 miles a week.  It is either 40 or 0. (If you follow me on Dailymile, you will see I am working hard at improving.)

I sometimes do double work outs in one day...or don't do them at all.

I either work out 6 days a week with an active recovery on the 7th...or I do nothing at all.

I either eat really healthy foods with little deviation, except for maybe a single very controlled indulgence meal a week...or I can't control what I put in my mouth at all.

I either am obsessive about saving money, not wanting to part with $5 for a new bottle of shampoo,...or I am addicted to shopping and buying new things.

I either weigh myself once (or twice) a day...or I don't weigh myself at all, ever.

I either weigh 120 lbs...or 140 lbs, depends on which end of the spectrum I am on. 130 lbs is probably my ideal weight. 130 is usually something I visit only briefly on the way up or the way down the scale.  I have skinny years and fat(ter) years. I can look at old pictures of myself and usually can pinpoint the year based on my weight, "Oh, that was a fat year, it must have been 2008."

I won't drink alcohol at all for months on end...then sometimes I drink wine (or beer, let's be honest) every night.

So why am I sharing this with you? Frankly, it is embarrassing to admit.  I am a striving to be a successful health and fitness blogger.  I am here to share my journey and hopefully motivate and inspire you on yours.  How can someone who swings the pendulum so far back and forth motivate others?  Hopefully the inspiration comes from sharing my real life struggles and experiences.  You can relate, because you have your own struggles, whether or not they are the same as mine.

The truth is, I suspect that it is not just me.  I suspect there are others that suffer these same internal struggles (or totally different ones.)  Maybe getting it out there, admitting our flaws, and working through them will help us, or at the very least make us realize that imperfection is totally normal around here on planet Earth. 

For me it is hard, because I can be super disciplined and do all the right things, but then almost my every waking minute is spent thinking about what I am going to eat next, obsessing about getting my next workout in, calculating how many miles I ran last week, or how many calories I consumed...it takes over my life and my mind.

When I tell myself to give myself a break, to not be so strict, to let myself miss a workout, I ultimately end up missing every workout, eating unhealthy foods all the time.  It is a slippery slope, if I am not super strict, I lose all my self-discipline.  It is the dreaded "all or nothing" mentality.

All I can do right now is make a conscious decision to be aware, but not be obsessive, eat whole healthy foods most of the time, but not restrict any foods from my diet at all.  I'll exercise because I want to, not because I have to.  I won't allow myself to feel guilty for not being perfect.  I also won't allow myself to be lazy and over-indulgent.  I think the key to success is the awareness of my tendencies and keep them in mind when making daily decisions. I'll ask myself, "Is this obsessive behavior?" Then I will adjust accordingly.  I'll find that balance, I know I can.  True balance may not allow me to be 115 lbs with visible abs, but it will keep me healthy, mind and body.  Of course, the latter is much more important.

Living a healthy lifestyle also includes a healthy mind, and living a lifestyle that includes over-exercising and disordered eating is not (in any way) healthy.


If you are a blogger, especially a health and fitness blogger, I invite you join in with me on the "I'm Afraid to Post This Blog," mission.  What are you afraid to share with your readers? I think it is important to portray a transparent, real world, real life, fitness journey complete with our faults and struggles.  Even the most famous, most fit, most compelling blogger has some areas of imperfection in their lives. When we share our imperfections, it goes a long way in showing others that perfection is not the goal, or even reality.  I believe that steady progress, growth, and a well-rounded healthy lifestyle is the goal, complete with all internal struggles that go along with being a human being. 

Who is in?  I'll link back to your blog posts here if you decide to share your own, "I'm Afraid to Post This Blog."  Just submit your post to runningfordummies@gmail.com

Click here to read my round up of "I'm Afraid" posts.

What about you?  Can you relate to my struggles? Do you have any of your own?

Keep Running,

Lea

Ways to (legally) stalk me:



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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Throwback Thursday: No Complain, All Gain

I came up with idea of throwback Thursday because it occurred to me that since my blog has gained a lot of traction over the last year, there are probably some older blog posts that may have been missed by some of you.  I'm glad to have you here and I hope you'll enjoy my blast from the past posts.

Wasn't I cute? I know what you are thinking.  What happened?

I thought I would start from the beginning of my blog and re-post the highlights. I'll skip my first post ever, since I already shared that one on my Blogiversary post.

This blog post was is from July 14, 2011 called "No Complain, All Gain."  I actually wrote this one before I officially started Running for Dummies.  It was one of the posts that got me thinking about starting a running blog.  The post is about how I remembered to stop complaining and start being grateful for my runs.

No Complain, All Gain.  Click the link or the picture to read the post.


Photobucket

There is still time to enter my FlipBelt Giveaway.  Click here to enter to win this awesome belt to hold your personal belongings while working out.  Contest ends 01/20/13.

Keep Running,

Lea

Ways to (legally) stalk me:



"LIKE" the Running for Dummies Blog page on Facebook
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Let's track each others workouts on Dailymile 
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Saturday, January 12, 2013

The FlipBelt Review and Giveaway - I Flippin' Love It!

It's an age old question, what do you do with your stuff when you run or race?  Does this look familiar?




You need your "stuff." You know what I mean: your keys, your ID, your credit card in case you pass a Macys, your iPod, your energy gels, and of course, your phone, in case you need to check your Facebook page in the middle of a long run call for help in an emergency.

One solution is to shove it all in your sports bra and end up looking kind of like a lumpy Dolly Parton.  Not really a solution.

You could use some version of a fanny pack, but then you end up looking like an aging tourist with everything flopping around during your run.  This doesn't really work.

Just say NO to the fanny pack.

Yes, of course there are running specific running belts that are smaller, but they still end up flopping around a little bit when you run. These were generally what I used to run and race and I always thought they worked out just fine, until...

I didn't know what I was missing until I tried the FlipBelt!



The FlipBelt is a tubular belt with openings at the center seam to slide your belongings in the tube.  Everything fits, even your iPhone with an OtterBox.

Oh look, my favorite website is up on Hubby's phone.
Once you have everything in there, you flip the belt over so that the openings are against your skin, keeping everything secure against your body. It was comfortable with a sleek design, no more bulky running belts.

I admit I was kind of skeptical that my phone wouldn't bounce around during a run, but I tested it today and I really forgot it was there (and I loaded that thing up, just to see how much it would hold.)  I was shocked at how it was so light and comfortable.

Ollie and I took it for a test run (pun intended)

This isn't just for running, the FlipBelt would be great for the gym, CrossFit, Yoga, boot camp, hiking, biking, walking, or whenever else you want to keep your personal belongings close, while remaining hands free.  I might wear mine to the office tomorrow, who needs a purse?

I Flippin' love it.  


This is a runner's best friend.  Man's best friend likes it too.

Ha Ha Just kidding.  Ollie didn't wear it during the run, I did.  He would prefer in color carbon anyway.

It comes in a variety of colors and sizes, so there is sure to be something to fit your style, for both men and women (and dogs.)

You can win one too! The FlipBelt Giveaway!


Not one, but TWO lucky readers will win a FlipBelt in the color and size of their choice.  It is so easy to enter.  Just Check out the FlipBelt website, then leave a comment telling me what color and size you would choose if/when you win, then fill out the rafflecopter form below.  Easy peasy.  In order to win you have to fill out the raftercopter form.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

But Wait, There's More!

Do I sound like a infomercial now?  Maybe I just love it that much. FlipBelt generously offered FREE SHIPPING for the Running For Dummies readers.  Just use the code RFD303 at check out and they will ship that sucker off for free.

Click here to buy one for yourself (or your dog.)

Contest Rules:
No purchase necessary.
Contest runs from 01/13/13 - 01/20/13.
2 winners will be randomly selected.
Winner will notified via email (if applicable), Facebook post and blog post, and will have 48 business hours to claim prize.
If original winner does not claim prize within 48 business hours an alternate winner will be selected.
Prizes will be shipped directly from FlipBelt.
Contestants must enter on Rafflecopter to win.

Good Luck!

Let me know in the comments what color and size you would choose if you are the winner (don't forget to fill out the Rafflecopter form to be officially entered.)

*Disclaimer:  These thoughts and opinions are my own.  I was provided the FitBelt free of charge for the purpose of a product review and giveaway but I’m under no obligation to give it a positive review.  If I hated it, I’d tell you.

Keep Running,

Lea

Ways to (legally) stalk me:



"LIKE" the Running with Ollie Blog page on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter @GeaLenders
Let's track each others workouts on Dailymile
See what I am up to on Pinterest
Add me to your circles on Google +
Follow me on Instagram @runningwithollie
  




Fanny Belt picture photo credit: DR000 via photopin cc

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Are You Pretty Muddy? Mud Run Discount Code - Save $20

Did you make any New Year's resolutions this year?  What were they?
  • To run a 5K?
  • To try something new?
  • Spend more time with your girlfriends?
  • To focus on friendship, fitness and fun?
  • To save money?
  • To get dirty? No, not this one? Just me? Okay.
You're in Luck! I can help make all your resolution dreams come true (and even the ones you didn't know you had.)

The Pretty Muddy mud run is coming to a city near you (and I have discount codes!) What is Pretty Muddy you ask?  Just an amazing opportunity to participate in a fun, low pressure, women only, mud series.  It is ladies only so that you won't have to feel bad for kicking mud in the boys faces (not that you would.)

This is me at my last mud run.  This could be you in 2013!

This isn't the kind of run where you stress over earning a new PR or worry about coming in last place (it is not even timed.)  The obstacles are achievable and fun, but if one proves to be too challenging, no problem, just go around, no one will tell.  It is all about about fun and bonding with your best girlfriends, you know, the ones who are not afraid to get dirty (those are the best ones anyway.)

Until January 31st you can use the discount code GIRLTIME which gets you $20 off until 1/31/13.

Combine the early registration discount with the GIRLTIME discount code to save big!  Register early and this race is a real bargain.  Then you can cross that 'save money' resolution off your list.

There are Pretty Muddy mud runs scheduled in the following States: Texas, Illinois, Florida, Virgina, Ohio, Georgia.  Is there one near you?  Check out the event listing here.

I plan on running the Pretty Muddy in Dallas, TX

The event is scheduled for June 1, 2013. It will be held at:

Skyline Ranch
1801 East Wheatland Road Dallas, TX 75241
 

Does anyone want to form a team with me in Dallas? These things are so much more fun when done with a group of ladies.  We can all go at our own pace and meet up at the end to celebrate!  Contact me or let me know in the comments. 

 

If you want to join our team, please choose the "Running for Dummies Blog" team when registering.  We will be starting at the 9:30am wave.


Have you ever run a mud run? Do you plan to run Pretty Muddy in 2013? Let me know in the comments!

*Disclaimer:  These thoughts and opinions are my own, I was provided a paid registration to the Dallas Pretty Muddy to blog about my experience.  However, I’m under no obligation to give it a positive review.  If I hated it, I’d tell you.


Keep Running,

Lea

Ways to (legally) stalk me:



"LIKE" the Running with Ollie Blog page on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter @GeaLenders
Let's track each others workouts on Dailymile
See what I am up to on Pinterest
Add me to your circles on Google +
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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My New Year's Anti-Resolutions


Welcome to January.  It is the very short time of year when it seems like the whole world is on a health kick. January 1st rolled around and everyone repented for their Christmas sins, swore off the sweets, and committed to getting back to the gym.  You can't turn on the television without seeing ads for weight loss products, talk shows about diet and nutrition, and even the news channels are doing health segments.

If you made resolutions this year to live a more healthy lifestyle, I am cheering you on!  I want everyone to succeed.  Please just don't forget that the New Year is not the only opportunity to resolve to make changes. You can make significant lifestyle changes any day of the week or any hour of the day.

Instead of New Year's resolutions this year, I am posting my anti-resolutions.  These are the things that can be a part of the healthy balanced life, but seem to contradict some of the standard resolutions out there.

Stay Away From the Gym

It is a common resolution to join a gym in the new year. Just remember not to over do it at first.  If you go from not working at all to going five days a week, you will burn yourself out quickly. Start slow, ease yourself back into the routine. I plan to stay away for at least two weeks until the crowds die down. I prefer the outdoors anyway.

Don't Go On a Diet

Lots of people start new diets on January 1st. Diet's just don't work. If you go on a diet to lose weight, it will come back when you stop.  I will just eat healthy whole foods most of the time and eat whatever I want in moderation the rest of the time.  Think long term. 

Drink Wine

I've seen people give up alcohol for their New Year's resolution and have even considered it myself.  But, no.  I think I'll keep drinking it by the gallon sipping on wine. Life is too short not to enjoy it. Moderation is the key.

Eat Pizza

I love pizza with pepperoni.  It makes me happy.  I resolve to do more things that make me happy and that includes pepperoni. On a happy scale of one to Disneyland, pepperoni pizza is a solid eight.

Sleep Late

Sleep is an often overlooked important part of a healthy lifestyle.  Sure, sometimes I like to work out early in the morning, but if my body needs sleep, I am going to sleep.  No guilt.

Don't Run a Marathon

Confession time.  Remember when I told you about how I signed up to run a full marathon in Huntington Beach? I even wrote a nifty little poem about it.  Well my training sputtered out at about mile 16. I simply just did not want to do it anymore.  I love to run so much and I started to completely dread my long runs.  I was sensing a major burnout coming on.  I ate the registration cost, but saved myself a plane ticket to California, so I'm even.  Not to say that I won't ever run a full marathon, but it certainly isn't happening the first week of February.

I am not completely a scrooge when it comes to New Year's resolutions.  I think they are great as long as you continue to evaluate, adjust, and make new goals throughout the year.  I wrote a poem about my own resolutions, called Dear Me

What about you? Do you have resolutions or anti-resolutions?

Keep Running,

Lea

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Personal Training Sales Pitch Gone Wrong


In my fitness experience, I kind of feel like I have done it all; group fitness classes, boot camps, Crossfit, running, races, DVDs, weights, Yoga, and almost everything in between.  One thing that I have never done is work out one-on-one with a personal trainer.  Seeing how I have this (seemingly far away) dream of becoming a personal trainer, I thought it might be a good idea to explore this idea.  My motivation has been on a down swing and I thought it would be a good idea to work with a trainer for the motivation and as a learning experience.

With the onset of the winter months, I recently signed up for a no contract membership again at LA fitness in Hurst. This will allow me to get in some early morning runs and weight lifting sessions, sheltered from the cold and dark. When you sign up at LA Fitness they offer you what they call a "Free Personal Training Session."

At first, I told the guy selling me the gym membership that I wasn't interested in the session as it was really nothing more than a sales call. They work out with you for a few minutes, try to convince you that you know nothing and can't possibly be successful without them, and the high pressure sales begin. Although I did want to talk to someone about personal training sessions, I was not interested in being a victim of the dreaded "sales call."

While he wouldn't admit that this was only a sales call, he said that there was some selling at these sessions, but he promised to set me up with one of the more laid-back low pressure guys, one of the guys who really would just be interested in answering my questions and helping me decided if it was right for me. I reluctantly agreed to the appointment.

"Can we do an early morning appointment, say 5:30 am?" I asked
"Sorry, the trainers only work between 8am-7pm" he responded.
"That's odd, I'm sure I have seen trainers here at 5:30 am" I argued.
"Well the sales trainers only work from 8-7, the actual trainers work all hours," he was forced to admit.

Ah ha. So I was exactly right. The guys giving you the so-called free personal training session, are certified trainers, but they actually work in the gym in a sales capacity only. The guy selling you the training sessions won't actually be the guy training you. I knew it!  He verified that just as I suspected, the free personal training session was nothing more than a glorified sales call.  I felt smart and really annoyed at the same time.


I show up in the gym in my shorts and tank in December, the gym was chilly in anticipation of the hard work outs ahead. I met with my salesman/trainer who greeted me with a white smile and a clip board. His sandy blond hair is spiked gently to suggest that he has a wild side, while still remaining professional in his crisp polo shirt. He is friendly in the way I have come to expect of a salesman, he laughs a little too hard at my jokes, he's just a little too enthusiastic towards my responses to his questions. He seems nice enough, but there is a quality that is not at all authentic. I sense, and probably rightly so, that he is feeding me the sales pitch and that he is following along to a script in his head.

He handed me a business card that had his picture on it, presumably from a body building competition. I look at it and had to hold in my laugh, I was kind of embarrassed for him. I couldn't believe he was handing this thing out, way over exposed.

He kept saying, "Keep doing what you are doing and you may get a skinnier body, but your body composition will stay the same." I had to remind him several times that one, I was not interested in a skinnier body (thank-you-very-much), and  two, I have already been working out with weights for a couple of years. I was not looking for a trainer to do something completely new, I needed the motivation and extra push. Of course there is always a lot to learn and I would look to a trainer to guide me to the next step, but I am generally well educated about body compensation and a weight work out has been a regular part of my routine for years. It was almost like this pitch was so ingrained in his brain, he couldn't change it even when it didn't apply to the client.

I had to say more than once, "You are not listening to me."

He said more than once, "You are not obese," in a condescending way, as to say, you are not fat, but you have a lot of work to do. More than once.

Yeah, thanks buddy. I didn't think I was.

He also called me a variety of nick-names, which I am never too keen on: honey, sweetie and the worst of all, baby. He also forgot my name more than once and had to ask me to remind him. Maybe his bad memory was the reason for his over-use of the sort of nick names that are only acceptable to me coming from my hubby's lips.

The last thing that rubbed me the wrong way was that he did not like that I was a runner and he didn't hesitate to tell me so. He also shook his head in disapproval when I told him about my experience in boot camps, with Insanity, and in Crossfit.  I really don't appreciate anyone saying that there is only one way to fitness. I really didn't appreciate his negative remarks towards my passion for running.

I think any good trainer should encourage people to approach fitness in whatever way they enjoy most. While I understand he is selling personal training sessions, so it is in his best interest to down play other forms of fitness, it is no excuse for this behavior. How dare he suggest that running was bad or wrong?

I say, whatever you love to do for fitness, that is what you should do. Besides I wasn't there for running tips, I was there to work out with a trainer with weights, so it was already clear that I wasn't on a one-track fitness regimen of running only.  He even went on to suggest that during a squat that I was beginning to develop arthritis in my knee. I asked him how he couldn't possibly know that from watching a single squat and he responded, I just know because you are a runner and that is what eventually happens to all runners over time(?!?).

I was not liking this guy. If I thought for one second that he would be the guy doing the training sessions, I would have ran out of there. 

Quite honestly, I was annoyed, but I was not so offended that I was ready to walk out, especially since I knew he wouldn't be the one doing the training sessions. I have come to expect that these are the behaviors of a salesman in this type of business.  Even though I disliked him, I generally liked what he had to offer, it seemed like a pretty good deal, maybe even whip me into shape. I'm thinking I will sign the papers despite the salesman, not because of him with the hopes of a trainer with a better personality.

It would have been a much better experience if I could have approached the front desk clerk and asked for their rates and signed the paper, why they make you go through the painful sales call, I will never know.  Does this crap work on anyone? Do people fall for this?

Then he slides the paper under my pen, "Sign here," he urges, probably quite proud of himself, thinking he made the sale, if he only knew what I really thought. He tries to hide that he is annoyed that I am taking the time to read the contract, rather than sign and read later (or never) like so many people do, but I can sense his impatience.

Now I am completely hesitant to do something that I really wanted to do, work out with a trainer.  I am completely beat down by the experience.  I walked out of there without signing the contract. He ultimately sold me on not buying training sessions.

What do you think of high pressure sales? My husbands runs a small local security alarm business in DFW, so it is necessary for him to give a sales pitch of his products and services to his customers. I think he is the best salesperson, because he says something like, "I am a terrible sales person, I am just here to show you what is available to you and help you make the best choice for you." This is the best "pitch" because it makes people feel at ease, and he really does have their best interests in mind.  I wished my gym salesman had this honest consultative sales approach.

Does a salesman's tactics ever have a reverse effect on you?  Do you they cause you to not want to buy something that you originally wanted to buy?  What is your experience with gym membership and personal training sales sessions?

photo credit: istolethetv via photopin cc
photo credit: dno1967b via photopin cc

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