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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Tara Deal Rochford

Recent Posts by Tara Deal Rochford:

Glute Exercises for Runners

ThinkstockPhotos-517225814.jpgHaving strong glutes is essential for reducing your risk of injury and preventing lower back pain. Those muscles help protect your knees while walking and running, they help you with your speed, and they stabilize the entire leg. Without strong glutes, the entire lower body may fall out of balance causing other injuries

I could talk all day about this group of muscles, but instead I’m going to show you three simple exercises you can do anywhere to help strengthen them.

These exercises are just general recommendations, and you should never feel any pain. If you are experiencing pain, recovering from an injury, or need a modification make sure to talk with a NIFS Fitness Specialist in the fitness center downstairs.

3 Glute Strengthening exercises for runnersFor all of these exercises, complete 10-20 reps 2-3 times 3 times a week.

Exercise 1) Curtsey Lunge—Begin standing with your feet under your hips and hands on your waist. Cross your left leg behind your right, bending your knee and lowering down into a lunge position. Drive through your front heel as you stand and bring your back foot to starting position. Repeat on the other side and continue to alternate.

Exercise 2) Glute Bridge—Lie flat on your back, feet flat and hip distance apart, knees bent and arms down at your sides. Position your feet as close to your bottom as possible. Drive through the heels to lift your hips up to the ceiling. Hold for a count of 2, then slowly lower down to starting position.

Exercise 3) Side Lying Diamond Leg Lifts—Lie on your side with your body in a straight line.
Bring your feet together and your knees together, your knees should be slightly in front of your body. Rest your head on your hand or lie down. Gently open your legs like a clam then close them for one rep. Repeat on the other side.

While getting in the miles is very important when training for a half marathon, it’s essential to balance your running routine with adequate stretching and strength training exercises to keep your body in good running condition. This will help prevent injuries and you will feel strong as you cross that Mini Marathon Finish line!

Fore more glute exercises see our blog,  Are You Glute-n Free.

Comment in the comment section below with some of the exercises you incorporate into your running routine!

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This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, nutirition specialist. Follow Tara on her blog, Treble in the Kitchen. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: running mini marathon injury prevention exercises glutes Mini-Marathon Training Program

How to Hydrate During Half Marathon Training

ThinkstockPhotos-650727070.jpgHydration is just as important, or maybe even more important, than proper nutrition and a balanced training plan. Dehydration is the largest contributor to fatigue when training or running. Our body sweats to regulate body temperature and complete many other functions that keep us healthy. When our body loses fluid and electrolytes through these processes, it needs to be replaced.

In order to be hydrated enough to enjoy your race, it’s important to think about consuming fuids before, during, and after the run.

Before: The days leading up to the race or a long run, it is important to really focus on constantly drinking water throughout the day so that on the day of the long run or race you are just topping off your tank. A general recommendation is to drink half of your body weight in oz. Example – a 150lb person would consume 75 oz of water.   It’s recommended to stop drinking about 30 minutes before a long run or race so you have time to use the facilities.

During: Drinking while running a half marathon may sound like a challenge, but actually taking a second to drink the water provided along the race course will make you feel SO much better at the finish line. Try to drink 16-20 oz an hour. This will vary depending on how much you sweat, how hot it is and the intensity of your exercise.

After: Proper hydration helps with recovery, so it’s essential to replenish when you complete your race. It’s typically recommended to drink about 24 oz for every pound of body weight lost during the race.

Now, you may be wondering about sports drinks. Sports drinks are higher in calories and sugar than water and they also contain electrolytes like potassium and sodium that your body lost through sweat. The purpose of sports drinks is to help replenish your body of the nutrients it lost. If you are running for more than an hour, sports drinks may be a better option to help you recover.Now that you understand WHEN to hydrate, let’s talk about HOW to hydrate:

How to Hydrate for a half marathon

Water Bottle:

I carry this water bottle with me throughout the day. I love that it has the measurements on the side, so I can monitor how much water I consume. Because I carry it with me, I am more inclined to drink throughout the day rather than all at once when I think about it.

Hydrating Fruits and Vegetables:

Foods such as lettuce, grapefruit, watermelon and broccoli have a high water content. Consuming foods like this throughout the day will help your hydration levels stay balanced.

Homemade Sports Drink:

This homemade sports drink is the perfect balance of carbohydrates and electrolytes to help you refuel AND it’s made with real ingredients. The citrus are thirst quenching and provide simple carbohydrates that are easily digested. Pure maple syrup is lower on the glycemic index, which means that these carbohydrates are digested at a slower rate for longer lasting energy. Water and the coconut water are both fluid, and the coconut water is also a source of electrolytes to help your body maintain balance.

It’s very simple to make at home, and I’ll include the link in the comments below!

The takeaway here is to make sure to drink water throughout the day, and when you are completing your longer runs or the actual race make sure to consume water or a sports drink every hour and immediately following the race to help maintain energy levels and aid in the recovery process.

Comment below with your favorite ways to hydrate and I’ll see you next time with more half marathon training tips!

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This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, nutirition specialist. Follow Tara on her blog, Treble in the Kitchen. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: nutrition running mini marathon hydration Mini-Marathon Training Program

3 Foods to Eat Before You Run

ThinkstockPhotos-617595994.jpgWe all know that having a wonderful training program is important, but that’s only one piece of the pie. Another key part of successfully training for a half marathon or endurance activity is having proper nutrition

If you don’t fuel your body with the nutrients it needs – a good balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat – you are likely to bonk and run out of energy mid run. And that isn’t fun for anyone! When I plan my foods to eat before a long run or workout, I make sure it has:

  • Easily digested carbs for long lasting energy
  • Protein for muscle repair and recovery
  • Small amount of Fat

It’s also important to make sure to consider the timing. Everyone is different, so it’s important to pay attention to what foods your body digests well and what makes you feel best.

It’s typically recommended to eat between 3 hours or 30 minutes before a workout.

My 3 favorite foods to eat before a long run or hard workout are:

  • A couple of dates stuffed with nut butter
    • Dates are filled with simple sugar, which is typically easily digested and the nut butter gives your body a bit of protein for recovery and healthy fat.
  • Larabar®
    • Larabars® are easy to grab. The ingredient list is full of real foods (dates, dried fruit, nuts) so they are a great source of those easily digested carbohydrates.
  • Carrots and Hummus
    • The hummus and carrots provide essential carbohydrates and the chickpeas in the hummus also provides the necessary protein for recovery with a small amount of fat.

Those are some of our favorite foods to eat within a 3 hour window before completing a long run.


Nutrition for the Pre-Run

Remember that everyone is different, and different foods and different timing may make you feel great! Try looking for your best source of carbs, protein and fat to eat within that 3 hour window before running. And make sure to do ALL experimenting before race day. Trying something new on race day could throw your entire race off!

Be sure to comment below with some of your favorite foods to eat before a training run!

Like what you've just read? Click here to subscribe to our blog!

This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, nutirition specialist. Follow Tara on her blog, Treble in the Kitchen. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

 

Topics: cardio nutrition mini marathon protein carbs

5 Reasons to Wear a Fitness Tracker

526115883Wearable fitness technology is definitely the latest thing in the health, fitness, and wellness industry. With several recent studies focusing on the negative effects of sitting and a sedentary lifestyle, it seems as if these wearable fitness gadgets are getting even more hype than ever. These gadgets can track the number of calories you burn, how many steps you take, every single move you make, and even the quality of sleep you get each night. Are these super-fit tech toys really the key to getting fit? Or is it best to stick to the advice of a trusted health and fitness professional?

While it’s always best to work with a certified health and fitness professional and your doctor when making changes to your activity level, wearing fitness tech gadgets definitely has a lot of benefits. Because I LOVE to be in the know with just about anything on trends, I had to get a fitness tracker of my own to see for myself. Here is what I learned.

1. Users become aware of their ACTUAL current activity level.

These fitness trackers give users a great picture of where they are with their current activity level. I will admit that when I started to wear my Nike Fuelband, I was pretty shocked to find out that even though I exercise or try to move my body in some way every day, there are days where I still struggle to reach the recommended 10,000 steps per day.

2. Goal setting is key.

While I was surprised to learn that I needed to step up my game (literally) in the number of steps per day I was taking, my fitness tracker made it easy for me to set realistic goals and track my progress. I know what my numerical goals are, and it’s easy for me to check my progress throughout the day.

3. Getting in an hour workout isn’t enough.

Okay, so I’m not advocating over-exercising here, but I am promoting getting up and moving around throughout the day. It can be so easy to get sucked into e-mail, a project at work, or whatever else you have going on in your day. When we get sucked into these projects, hours can go by without us taking a single step.

After using my fitness tracker to assess where my daily movement was and setting some personal goals, I know that I need to take movement breaks each hour in order to reach my goal. Not only are these movement breaks necessary to achieve 10,000 steps a day, but I have found that I’m more productive in the 50 to 60 minutes that I spend working on a task, and I am more focused after I come back from my movement break.

4. Community helps keep users accountable.

While this may not appeal to everyone, with many of the fitness trackers there is a community element involved. You can share your successes through social media and you can follow along with other people using the devices. Personally, I like to keep my information private, but I think this aspect can be great for some people!

5. Fitness trackers provide extra motivation.

Constant sight of the wristband is like a constant reminder of the goals that you set for yourself. For me, it’s motivating when I see the wristband and a reminder to follow through with the commitment that I made to myself.

While there are so many benefits to using these wearable fitness trackers, there are a couple of things to remember before you rush out to the store to purchase a tracker for yourself.

  • These trackers are not exact. While companies have done their best to ensure accuracy, nothing is perfect and you have to keep that in mind and leave a little room for error.
  • It’s also important to remember that simply wearing the device will not make you fitter or healthier. You must act on the goals that you set in order to see changes.
  • It’s also important to remember not to let the numbers take control of your life. If you find you are putting your fitness and workouts before your personal relationships or you are getting injuries from your workouts, you may want to step back a bit. It’s important to listen to your body and do what is truly making you happy.

I have loved wearing my fitness tracker, as it has helped me to gain activity throughout my day, which was my main goal. While I meet the required amount of exercise each day, I still do quite a bit of sitting, which is now being called the new smoking. Reaching my goal each day makes me feel good and motivates me to continue to work hard to stay healthy while enjoying life.

Be Active Stay Healthy!

Try a group fitness class for free

This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, contributing writer, group fitness instructor, and author of healthy living blog Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our other NIFS bloggers.

 

 

Topics: fitness healthy habits motivation goal setting walking equipment calories fitness trends

5 Tips for Healthy Living in College

184813283Nothing can replace my four years at Butler University. I made sure to enjoy myself and my friends, try new things, and study hard, so I know what a juggling act college can be. With so many organizations to be part of, parties to attend, events to host, and exams to ace, there are a lot of things on your college plate and it’s easy to put your health and wellness on the back burner.

Instead of just eating a couple of pieces of boring lettuce from the salad bar during meal time and missing out on a social life, I used a few simple tricks to keep the freshman 15 weight gain from creeping up on me.

1. Focus on making the best choice in each moment, not on being perfect.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when thinking about living a healthy life, but being healthy isn’t about exercising all the time and eating only nutritious foods. Being healthy is about being balanced and being happy with your life. There will be times when all of your friends want to go out for ice cream, skip a workout, or do something that may not be in your “healthy-living plan,” and that’s okay. One of the biggest lessons I learned in college was to go with the flow, make the healthiest choice for my body and mind in that moment, and enjoy every second of every day.

2. Stock the mini fridge.

Having a mini fridge was one of the smartest things I could have done during my college career. I made sure to stock it with fresh vegetables and hummus for snacking, fruit for breakfast, and almond milk to put in my coffee. Some easy dorm-room snack essentials to have on hand (even without the mini fridge):

  • Chopped carrots, celery, broccoli, and cauliflower (I would chop this up at my parents’ house and bring it to the dorm with me!)123097912
  • Hummus
  • Nuts and seeds (cashews, almonds, and sunflower seeds are my favorite!)
  • Dried fruit
  • Natural peanut butter or almond butter
  • Portioned-out baggies of oats

3. Get involved in your campus fitness center with programs like First Year Fit.

The fitness center was where I spent my “me” time while I was in college. I loved experimenting with new classes, meeting people, and getting high on endorphins! Many campus fitness centers (NIFS included!) are hosting incentive programs to encourage new students to become gym members, try new classes, and get fitness into their weekly routine. The staff wants to help you get into your healthy living groove, so don’t hesitate to ask questions—that’s what they are there for.

4. Take the fruit.

Most campus dining halls have a bin of fresh produce that usually includes apples, bananas, and oranges. While I was in college, the dining hall staff really didn’t encourage removing foods from the dining hall, but grabbing a piece of fruit to go was okay. I always made sure to take one or two pieces to have on hand, in my bag, and ready to go as soon as hunger struck so that I had a healthy option to keep me focused and fueled through the afternoon. My tip is this: Always take a piece of fruit, even if you aren’t hungry at that moment and don’t want to eat it right then. Fruit can keep for up to two weeks without being refrigerated, and having that fruit nearby will give you an instant (and free!) snack to tide you over until mealtime.

5. Inspiration on YouTube

It’s not always easy to get to the gym, and when there is time to get there sometimes it’s hard to decide what equipment to use and what workout you want to do. This is where YouTube comes into play. I love following fitness professionals, healthy living bloggers, and my fitness center on YouTube for easy-to-follow workouts and motivation. Some of my favorites are NIFSindy, Jennifer DeCurtins of Peanut Butter Runner, and Livestrong.

NIFS 1st Year Fit program was designed to help keep students on a healthy track as you start a new chapter in your college career. This is a completely free program for IUPUI students who are NIFS members.

Get started today!

This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, contributing writer, group fitness instructor, and author of healthy living blog Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our other NIFS bloggers.

Topics: exercise nutrition healthy habits fitness center healthy eating weight management education

Springtime Recipe: Carrot Spice Muffins

It is officially springtime, which means all things carrot will be popping up everywhere. Carrot cake, carrot bread, glazed carrots, and just plain carrots! Not only do carrots taste delicious, but they are chock-full of Vitamin A and offer a slew of other health benefits.

 muffin closeup resized 600

Although carrots are delicious and nutritious, we can often prepare them in ways that smother their nutritional benefits (carrot cake, anyone?). These Carrot Spice Muffins not only taste amazing, but they are relatively healthy due to three star ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • ¾ cup coconut oil instead of butter
  • 1 cup shredded carrots

Chickpeas provide an extra fiber boost and add in a touch of extra protein (and I swear you cannot taste them!). The coconut oil is very heart-healthy, and the carrots are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants such as Vitamin A and beta-carotene.

I promise, these muffins are soft and delicious, and you will not even know that the chickpeas are there! These muffins are just bursting with the flavors of carrot, cinnamon, and ginger.

muffins resized 600

Carrot Spice Muffins

Yields: about 20 medium sized muffins

Cook time: 25–30 minutes, or until a toothpick entered in the center of the muffin comes out clean

Ingredients:

  • 1 16-oz. can of rinsed and drained chickpeas
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ¾ cup coconut oil, softened but not melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup walnuts

 Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line muffin tins with muffin liners and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Place the chickpeas and agave in the food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.
  4. Combine the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a large bowl and set aside.
  5. Combine the coconut oil and sugars until creamy, then add the eggs one at a time along with the vanilla extract.
  6. Add in the chickpea mixture and the applesauce.
  7. Slowly add in the flour mixture until thoroughly combined.
  8. Mix the carrots and walnuts into the batter.
  9. Fill the muffin tins about three-fourths of the way full. Place in the oven and bake for 25–30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.
  10. Cool and enjoy!!

This blog was written by Tara Deal, NIFS Group Fitness Instructor and author of Treble in the Kitchen.


Topics: nutrition healthy habits recipes