Friday, April 16, 2010


Lately I've heard a lot of people people asking how to stay motivated to keep up an exercise program. Clearly maintaining motivation is a challenge for many people, regardless of their fitness level. Mid December to the end of January my beloved YMCA is overrun with the resolutioners who want to lose a few pounds, tone up, or get back into their skinny jeans. However, it never fails that by February the place is generally occupied by the regulars, plus a few resolutioners who have made a solid commitment. I think that their goals may be the problem. If I were trying to achieve the above goals, I can assure you I would have quit long ago. Exercising isn't about those things for me. I have managed to successfully be a regular gym-goer and exerciser for over two and a half years, I'm not sure I can explain how I stay motivated, but I'll try.

I have a body....and it can actually do things!
When I joined the YMCA after I finished chemo(September 17, 2007) I never considered not going regularly. Maybe because I traded in my cancer card [Member benefits include self-injected drugs, plus steroids three times a week, and an afternoon date with an oncologist every Friday] for a much less complicated YMCA key chain scanner card that I could use whenever I chose to[or not], it was a clear upgrade, and I would never choose the C-card over my Y-card. That said, I have a gratitude for my body's ability to function that keeps me motivated. My appreciation is based on the fact that I continue to be amazed that I can lift more, run farther, move faster, and do things I never thought I would-or could- but I think this attitude of awe and appreciation is one any person can own. You might be surprised what your body is capable of, but you'll never know how much it can do of you don't give it the opportunity to show you.

Expand your musical horizons

Music. Music, music, music! Never underestimate the power of a good song. Listen to a radio once in a while. I do this in the car so I have the chance to listen to things I haven't heard before. Then I download the songs that I think might be a good edition to one of my running/gym mixes and don't listen to them unless I am at the gym. Not only does the music motivate me while I am working out, it also motivates me to work out. Fave songs on my current mix: Ke$ha: Blah, blah, blah; and Jason DeRulo: Whatcha Say.

Get Inspired
If you can't seem to break yourself from the computer to go work out, watch something that will make you want to go do something productive. I watch Nike ads again and again. They're awesome. Not to mention that they'll give you some songs to add to that playlist. Watch a couple times and you'll be able to visualize the video while you work out, even more motivation. Examples:

No Excuses
Courage (my favorite)
I Can

The Bottom line...

Staying motivated can be tricky, but the key is to just do something, anything. Sometimes I don't want to go, but once I put on my shoes and get out of the house, I can honestly say I have never regretted going for that run. Ever.

What motivates you?

Hope, Love, Run,
Marathon Girl

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Where's the Beef? (and do I have to eat it?)

After a long journey this past week, I am back home and ready to kick up my running, assuming my body cooperates. I have been running maintenance for the past two weeks and my knee and shin splint are getting better. My right leg still hurts at the end of a three miler, but I can do it without stopping. I'm continuing the stretching program and plan to gradually increase my mileage like the book I got suggests after an injury.

In my ongoing quest for health, wellness, and strength, I came across some interesting information regarding metabolic types. I don't know how legit it is, but it seems like a sound concept. People are efficient or inefficient in processing carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Based on what you can process efficiently, those foods should be the major staples of a person's diet. Eating too much of a food group that is not processed efficiently, say carbohydrates, results in that food being stored as fat.

Apparently a person's metabolic type can be determined through a lipid profile (blood tests) or a simple questionnaire. I happened to have recent blood work to look at, and found my type was protein-fat efficient. (73 percent of people fall into this category) I also took the survey to see if that matched up, and it did. So where does this leave me?

Answer: Confused! Running sites, like suggest a diet of 50% carbohydrates to fuel a runner. However, according to my (alleged) metabolic type, I should be eating 50% protein and 25% of both fat and carbohydrates. Aside from this being contradictory information, I have been fiddling with possible combinations of foods on LiveSTRONG's Daily Plate (LSDP), and I cannot figure out how to manipulate what I eat to have a 2:1 protein-to-everything-else ratio. Not to mention that LSDP tells me I am way over my protein allowance when protein makes up anything close to half of the daily protein/fat/carbs pie chart.

Not being much of a carnivore and trying to eat only organic animal products makes this metabolic type diet even more complicated (and expensive!) However, I think it's worth a try since the research I read indicates that eating based on lipid profile can make a person feel better. However, if it makes me feel physically healthy but I'm crabby from eating all this meat- it's nothing personal, I just don't really like it- is it really a good idea?

Like I said, I'm confused. I think like anything, finding a middle ground is important. Maybe eating 50% protein is not realistic. I like noodles. And fruit. However, trying to include more protein into my diet is doable and realistic. As for eliminating all the carbs, I don't think an all-or-nothing mentality is healthy. Besides, I need them to fuel the night run I am going to do later.

Hope, Love, Run,
Marathon Girl