5.14.2018

Signs of over-training - Signs of depression

It is important to listen to your body. It can tell you so much and we are designed in such a way that our body gives us cues, warning signs, for when to slow down. Like a  yawn when you are tired, your body will tell you when you are over-training in hopes you listen, slow down, and recover.

So let's take a look at this warning signs of over-training:
  1. Exercise performance - you stop improving or start declining in performance
  2. Increased rate of perceived effort - your workouts just feel tougher and not because you are going faster, longer, or stronger
  3. Increased fatigue
  4. Increased moodiness or agitation levels
  5. You aren't sleeping well
  6. Your appetite is waning
  7. Your motivation is lacking
  8. You feel depressed
  9. Your muscles feel sore and don't seem to be recovering with rest
  10. Elevated resting heart rate - If you have a Fitbit like me, this is easy to monitor but in itself, it is not a good clue. I'll get back to that later.
That goes for most of these signs. In themselves they do not mean you are indeed over-training. They can be signs of other things. Like depression.

The popular signs of depression are:
  1. Excessive fatigue
  2. You are easily irritated 
  3. Your sleep is disrupted with you sleeping more....or less
  4. Your eating is disrupted and you may lose your appetite or turn to carbs for support
  5. You feel achy 
  6. You lose interest in things....kinda like losing motivation
  7. You may get harder on yourself
  8. You have problems concentrating
  9. Things may get messier around you and you don't care
  10. You feel numb
There is quite an overlap between those two lists, isn't there?

So how do you know what is going on and how to properly interpret what your body is telling you?

This can be tough especially if you do suffer from depression and turn to running and cross training to help keep your depression under control. You see, you don't need to experience all the signs for either over-training or depression to be present. Just some of them. And the one that seems most grounded on actual metrics, resting heart rate, does vary especially for women along with their menstrual cycle.

But you can still look at the trends and try to discern what is going on. Perhaps give yourself a rest day or two and see if you are feeling better...or worse. If you feel refreshed, then over-training was probably your issue. If you aren't bouncing back, perhaps it is leaning more towards depression but this isn't 100%. Nothing in life is guaranteed but I strongly suggest if you are feeling in the rut and a couple of rest days isn't helping, check in with your doctor. They are in the best position to guide you and help you. And on that note, I am a strong proponent of annual physicals and monitoring your blood panel. 

5.01.2018

April 2018 Training Report

Another month has gone by. Can you believe it?! And in just another month it will be summer break! Well, summer break for darling daughter. Not so much for me. I think we need to start a movement that we all deserve breaks like the breaks kids get from school! If only.....

But let's talk goals. My 2018 goals are 1,170 miles and 70 new workouts. I can't say I am on par with both goals but I do feel I am making good progress on the mileage but let's see what the stats say.

In April I ran 123 miles - my largest month this year with the second largest being 100 miles in March. The third largest is 85 miles in January. Let's not talk about February. February is always brutal!

Ironically, with running 23 miles more in April than March, I worked out 1 less hour and that is probably why I feel my cross training has slacked. I am at 21 new workouts for the year, which means I only added 3 new workouts to my 70 new workouts goal. As much as I want to achieve my goals, I feel this is one I don't want to get too wrapped up in because right now, running is bringing more joy. Like the "old days" so I am okay if cross training slips a bit while I run happy. However, I see the value in cross training and refuse to let it totally slip to the wayside. At this point in life, I need to cross train and I do find joy in a good weight training session....or a fun hula hooping session....or MMA....that MMA makes me work extremely hard and has a great happy factor to it. So yes, I am going to cross train but may not need to do so many new workouts to keep working out fun.

What I am finding fun is running outside more again. I learned to download my Fitbit GPS runs and upload them to Strava so I can see how I am doing on segments I have created, look at my relative effort, and really delve into stats that make me want to run some more and gather more stats. I started the Premium free trial for Strava and think it has enough value to go ahead and pay for it...at least for a year. I really do love stats! And I want to see my progress on "Monster Hill".

I am also digging Fitbit challenges. A friend invited me to a weekday challenge to really up our steps and hey, maybe I do like the friendly competition to keep the steps coming along. I like that! Friendly encouragement.

So...watch out May! Here I come! I know my schedule is crazy busy with end of school, Confirmation for darling daughter, horse show for darling daughter, and more but I am ready to lace up and go!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for tools and friends that encourage me to keep on moving.

Daily Bible Verse: So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. ~ 1 Corinthians 9:26

4.30.2018

Stepping up the Steps

How many steps do you take each day?

When I first got my Fitbit ages ago I stuck to the predetermined 10,000 step goal. I didn't think much of it and many days I surpassed it as I was deep into marathon training. But as time went on I realized, I did not always hit the 10,000 goal and me being an overachiever in so many ways, I changed my goal to 12,500. This happened maybe 6 or more months ago. I really don't know when or why I picked that number except it was greater than 10,000 and I felt I should be able to do it....especially when training hard.

But life changes, things change...and my steps suffered. I will get back to that in a minute but want to focus on 10,000 steps.

Why 10,000 steps? 

Well, most sedentary people hit maybe 3,000 steps a day. My research revealed a number as low as 1,000 but I want to say 3,000. We do not want to be sedentary. 10,000 steps is about 5 miles based on the average stride of people. Reaching this goal also means you have most likely nailed your at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day healthy heart goal.

Personally, I see the connection as when I was deep in my rut I was not nailing 10,000 steps a day. In fact, I went too many days in the 5,000 to 7,000 range and I was feeling the negative impact of that. I was feeling blah, moody, and just not me. My energy levels were plummeting making working out harder - a vicious cycle. My food choices also suffered. In the past few weeks I have said enough is enough and refocused on getting those steps in, getting those running miles logged, and I am already reaping the benefits. I am feeling more like me and much happier. And eating better. Ironically less mindless snacking and more wholesome eating --- like homemade cream of broccoli soup! Yes, you can make it healthy and good for you. It is easier than you think!

For me, 10,000 is still not a good enough goal and I think it is time to challenge myself from 12,500 to 14,000 steps a day. This would be about 6.6 miles a day and that seems like a healthy challenge for me as it will push me to keep moving even after my daily run - which now ranges between 3.6 to 5 miles most days.

I have set a move reminder on my Fitbit mainly for those in the office days to remind me to move around and not just stand in place entering data. This is set for 6 days a week but not Sundays. Sundays will be my rest day. A day that less steps is okay but I honestly believe it is important to have a down day at least once a week. God thinks so too! I love that He suggests a day of rest. A day to do no work. I try my best to honor that day. That too is easier said then done when you have a household to manage and a full-time job but I do the best I can.

But back to steps....

Today was a great day. Today I am at 23,554 steps so far and won't log too many more as I am already settling in for the night. Today I ran 8.4 miles and did 12 rounds of MMA plus moved about cleaning house and more. I am excited to see what tomorrow and the rest of the week will bring as today I had a lucky break - working from home makes it easier to move and log more miles!

Do you have a step goal? What is it?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for active and productive days.

Daily Bible Verse: They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. ~ 1 Timothy 6:18-19

4.27.2018

Hula Hooping for Fitness

I recently purchased myself a weighted hula hoop as a reward for another 100 days added to my running streak. It came with a workout video and to be honest, I had no interest in the video. I thought I would just hula hoop alongside darling daughter. Her riding instructor suggested it as an exercise to help loosen her up, etc. to enhance her riding.

However, one day I thought, I will just put in this video and see what it is like. I decided not to be biased and assume the workouts would not be any good. It had some really easy stuff to it but some of those really easy moves were great for stretching my ever tight hamstrings and my tense shoulders. In fact, it is my shoulders that burn out first when I do the hula hooping routines. Go figure!

After 26 minutes of hula hooping, stretching, and do upper body moves today I felt I had a pretty good workout even if it wasn't as intense as many more of my workouts.

My 5 mile run today burned about 483 calories with an average heart rate of 158. My 26 minutes of hula hooping and more burned 128 calories with an average heart rate of 111. So obviously, hula hooping isn't a big calorie burner for me but does it have any health benefits?

Yes!

First, hula hooping keeps my heart rate in the fat burn zone. That in itself does indeed have benefits and trust me y'all, it is better than sitting on a couch. You can even increase the benefits by increasing the work efforts with a weighted hula hoop. Mine is 3 pounds can be changed from an easy to medium to hard configuration. Right now it is on easy but I think I am ready to move it up the spectrum since the actual hooping part is easy for me. The arm workout won't be impacted much by the change in configuration as it is more of a range of motion, keeping arms raised, mobility thing for me.

Second, hula hooping is a good low intensity all around exercise. After miles of hitting the pavement, or the treadmill, it may be good to switch things up. When you hula hoop you will definitely work your core muscles - abs and back - as well as your hips, thighs, glutes, thighs, and obviously arms. How you position your legs can change how you work your body and one thing I like is trying to hoop in a squat position to totally engage my quads and lower body more.

Third, hula hooping can help loosen you up. Think about the rotational movements of hooping and how those will improve flexibility along your spine. This is the primary reason why darling daughter's trainer recommended hooping. To loosen her up! To help her separate upper body movements from lower body movements. Teaching yourself to move one half of the body one way and the other half another way....or not at all! I wonder if this will help with my pesky left hip that tends to be tight.

Fourth, hula hooping can aid in your coordination. The biggest way is by trying to hoop in your not dominant direction. Yes, you will have a way that feels more natural. Now go backwards. I naturally hoop counter clockwise. Changing foot position and more while hooping helps coordination but go wild, hoop the other direction! Hooping clockwise takes a lot of focus for me. I cannot do as many tricks but I am getting better at it.

Last but not least, hula hooping is fun! So many of us can take life way too seriously, including our workouts. We need to be able to chill and have fun and when you can have fun and burn calories, that is a win-win. Plus moms, it is a great way to play with your kiddo's and engage them in the fit life too.

Daily Gratitude: I am so glad I invested in a hula hoop and would love to get the 5 pounder too!

Daily Bible Verse: For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. ~ 1 Timothy 4:8