Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hometown Pride

I had a totally different post planned for today, but in light of the excitement in my hometown last night, I thought I'd do a little reminiscing. Plus, I'm slightly homesick.

For those of you who only know me as a Florida girl, I actually grew up on the Southside of Chicago. Even though I don't live there any longer, and have no immediate plans to ever move back, I will always be a Chicago girl. I miss the food and the city on occasion, and of course, always missing my family and friends. Last night, I get hit with homesickness, hard. Why? Because of this:


The Chicago Blackhawks are the 2013 Stanley Cup Champions! Two Stanley Cup championships in 4 years, which is amazing considering that the last time the Blackhawks won the Stanley cup before 2010 was in 1961. 

I grew up in a Chicago sports house, and while I am not the biggest sports fan, I do really enjoy hockey. My dad and my brother are avid hockey fans and this text I got from my brother (I hope he doesn't get mad at me for sharing it) shows it all:


That being said, I was really excited last night after an intense game (and series), but that celebration was not as fun by myself. Because I live in an area with a lot of East Coasters, I don't have too many Blackhawks fan. Seeing pictures of friends and family celebrating, seeing the streets of Chicago packed, and knowing that the Stanley Cup parade will be soon really made me miss home. I would love to make it home for the parade, but because of work commitments, I can't. Instead, I'll just rep my Chicago Blackhawks gear around Florida and celebrate from afar!


Congratulations on both sides for such a great series, but I am so proud of my boys. They deserve it!


Who watched the game last night? Any other Blackhawks fans?


Monday, June 24, 2013

A Week of Awesome Running

Thank you to everyone who gave me their input on Thursday's post! Seriously, you guys are the greatest :D

After that horrible incident with vomit on the road during my long run two Thursday's ago, this past week was an awesome week for running. I didn't quite hit my 20-mile goal for the week, but I did hit 18 and I'm okay with that. I did 4 days of running in a row and ended up taking an extra rest day, but it was worth it for this beauty:


Last week's running was just one of those weeks where I felt amazing during every run and it reminded me of why I love to run. The sunrises, the sound of my feet hitting the pavement, and the fact that I WANTED to get up every morning and run was a combination of good that I haven't felt in such a long time. I'm happy to say, that even after three days off from running, that good feeling has carried over into this week so far. My run this morning was beautiful, and I'm sad I only did 3 miles, but I have another workout tonight, so I wanted to take it relatively easy. I'm going to have a weird running schedule this week, but I'm going to try and get in as many miles as my schedule allows because I definitely believe in this quote:



When was the last time you were reminded about why you run?

Happy Monday! 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

One Hundredth Post and a Training Question

First of all, it is my ONE HUNDREDTH post!!!!! Thank you so much to everyone who reads my rambles and sticks around! You guys are amazing!


Yesterday, while I was doing my warm-up before my weights class started, I was thinking about the training schedule I've been using for the last couple weeks. I've been running Monday thru Thursday, cross-training Friday, speed work on Saturday, and rest day on Sunday. Monday and Wednesday I do two-a-days, where I run in the morning, go about my day, and then do a 30-minute warm-up, usually on the elliptical, before my hour-long weights class. I'm seriously debating taking Fridays off in addition to Sundays, because I'm not sure whether or not to consider my evening workouts as cross-training. What do you guys think? I'm not feeling overly tired or anything of that sort, but I definitely do not want to overtrain and pull myself out of races in September and October. I would love your opinion, even if it's this:


Thank you again so much for all of your input and encouragement on my post from Tuesday. It is so good to know that I am not alone. Somehow, though, my plug-in screwed up and deleted comments from that post only, so I am so disappointed. They are backed up onto the IntenseDebate website for the plug-in I use, I'm just waiting on an e-mail to figure out how to re-upload them back onto my blog! If the comments are acting weird on this post, too, I'm so sorry! I'm trying to figure them out. I also didn't realize that you guys had to use captcha before, so I hopefully removed that, too! Still learning :D

Back to the topic of discouragement. Yesterday in my weights class, we did a workout that the trainers called a "22-minute workout." For 22 minutes, we did 12 push-ups and 16 jump squats during 1-minute intervals. The faster that we finished, the longer we had to rest. I was able to do 5 rounds of "normal" push-ups before switching to "girl" push-ups because I wanted to make it through the circuit. I was so incredibly thankful for running during this workout because my strong legs definitely carried me through this workout. I was able to make up for some lost time by doing the squats quickly when I did the push-ups slowly. I kept in mind everything that you guys had written about dealing with discouragement, and I was so proud of myself when I finished that workout. I did not verbally complain, nor did I compare myself ONE TIME to others. I just smiled (when I could) and went on with the workout, but I was so thankful when it was over. One of the guys who also takes the class consistently with me said "I don't think many people could finish that workout, we are awesome."


It felt great to finish such a tough workout and to be recognized as a class for it! Hard work truly does pay off! We then did a little arm/back workouts, finished with abs, then stretched. Now, I'm hoping to use these legs to power me through a long run today and then, hopefully, enjoy a much deserved rest day tomorrow.

What do you think about running and cross training in the same day? How many rest days do you take a week? 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dealing With Discouragement

Last night at my weights class, I was feeling a little discouraged. I didn't show it, but I was definitely feeling a little down on myself when we were doing upper body workouts. Between sets, I was trying to figure out what the root of my issue was, and I pinpointed it: comparison. I was comparing my abilities to the two other people in the class, two other people who have been strength training for a much longer period of time than I had. When I was struggling to bench just the bar, they were making their bench press look easy. As I was comparing myself to these other people, I thought of this quote: 


Why was I comparing myself to these other people when I should have been proud of myself that I was in the class and haven't missed a class the last four weeks? I spent the rest of the class coming up with a positive for every negative thought I had about my abilities throughout that class period. I am proud that:

1. I have already added weight to what I can lift from 4 weeks ago


2. The trainer had to stop me during my "burn-out" on the leg press because I was going for a while and he wanted to move onto the next circuit because everyone else had finished their burn-outs.

3. I am trying.

4. I feel good about myself when I leave the class because I know that I am pushing my limits.

5. No one else is judging me because I can't lift a ton of weight, because no one else cares. 


I left the class feeling much better about myself, and I really began to understand that comparison is our enemy. I am a runner, I can run, and I can do so many things as an athlete that I never thought that I could and that is something that I should be proud of. I am getting stronger, as an athlete and a young woman, and that should be enough. The only person that I should want to be better than today is the person who I was yesterday. 


How do you deal with discouragement? What is one thing you have done that you never thought you could?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Pirates, Muscovies, and Humidity: Weekend Recap

I took it much easier this weekend in terms of running after the road vomit incident, but I still had a really busy weekend!

My weekends always start on Thursday (even during the school year) and as you all know, I started out my weekend with a long run. I went to the beach after my run and lounged around before going to Sam's Club to get new tires. Apparently, you're supposed to do this thing called "rotating your tires" every other oil change, but my dad who usually nags me about doing things for my car (because I admittedly know nothing about cars) and a friend had to tell me to go get my tires checked out because my car was making a "buzzing" noise. I went to the tire place and sure enough, my back tires were "chopped" (he showed me them and they looked crazy) and I needed new ones. Woo! Luckily, the guy working on my car didn't reprimand me ;) He also was kind enough to write down when I need to come back and get them rotated. This interaction might have happened:


I went out on Thursday and it was pretty uneventful, but I did meet a guy who went to HS with one of the players on the Blackhawks. I also met a man who told me that I am so beautiful and the name Rachel doesn't even do me justice. Not sure what that meant, but I just went with it. Thinking back on it now, I'm thinking he probably wanted me to be a stripper and wanted to give me a "pretty" name. Thanks, I'll keep Rachel.

Friday consisted of lunch out, the beach, and a house party. Pretty uneventful.

Saturday, I started out the day volunteering at a beach clean-up and then I went to Pirate Fest with Christina. I had overslept on Saturday and didn't have any breakfast, so by the time we got to Pirate Fest, I was STARVING! Christina and I inhaled our lunch and then our adventures started. First, we met this man and his parrot:


Then, we wandered and interacted with some booths, checking out the pirate booty and different foods. I bought some amazing spices to make some dips, and we saw some pretty amazing costumes. It was definitely a fun time! I came home and took the longest nap of my life before we went out again to celebrate Christina being a winner. She had won a $25 gift card to a local bar, so we went to enjoy it and caught the end of the Hawks game. Needless to say, I was the only Hawks fan in the bar and definitely needed those beers after a tough loss in OT. Don't worry boys, we'll get them tonight.

Yesterday, I did a short speed workout on the treadmill before heading to my friend's baseball game. It was a morning game and it was definitely a beautiful morning until about 11:30 when it got ridiculously hot and humid. After the game, I met up with a friend and we went to go see Man of Steel. I have only seen 3 superhero movies in my life (not a lie and including Man of Steel) because I'm not a superhero fan, and I have to say after that movie, I am still NOT a superhero fan. I didn't really like the movie. I thought it was slow and it was too sci-fy for me. I came home and took a nap and relaxed so that I could be prepared for this morning's run.

This morning's run was an incredibly humid run, but I managed to finish a little over 4 miles and I felt good. Even though the humidity is slowing me down significantly, I am somehow becoming really consistent with negative splits. I have, however, found a new motivator for sprints. It's these guys:


Muscovies. Muscovies are just big, mean, ugly ducks. They will chase you and quack at you if you get too close to them. Imagine my horror when I saw our neighborhood muscovies chilling on BOTH sides of the sidewalk and in the street. I wasn't sure what to do, so I chose the side that had the less aggressive muscovies and sprinted my heart out for half a mile so that they wouldn't chase me. Success. I enjoyed the rest of my run and avoided their hangout, but I have definitely found that sprinting outside in this FL humidity is possible, just find some muscovies. I felt amazing after I finished, but somehow was covered in grass seed. I also dripped sweat all over the sidewalk.....sorry neighbors.

If you need some grass seed, hit me up. I've got enough for a little corner of lawn.

Now, I'm off to work and getting prepared for my total body weights class tonight and the Blackhawks game! Have a great day!

How was your weekend? What was your workout today?

Friday, June 14, 2013

New Running Badge of Honor: Vomit on the Road

I have been very inconsistent with my running mileage the last couple weeks (maybe even months), so since I missed my long run last week due to Tropical Storm Andrea, I was determined to do a long run yesterday. When I woke up, I was hungry, so I ate a chocolate coconut Luna bar. I don't usually eat before my runs, or if I do it's a scoop of peanut butter, but yesterday morning I was really hungry, so I figured I would try a protein bar to hold me over until I finished my run.

I drove to the spot where I do my long runs (my neighborhood is too small), and by the time I got there at 630 am, it was already 80* outside. I got started and my legs were really heavy. I was definitely feeling the 4 days in a row that I had run, and my time showed it.

That's a full 2 minutes slower than my regular, long-run pace

I always start out with a giant hill so that I can practice running it on fresh legs and then finish with it when my legs are tired, but I crawled to the top. My legs shook out about mile 3 and I started feeling good as I was making my way back to my car. I had been drinking water along the way, but at mile 4 I started coughing, because I'm still battling my chest infection, and it happened: I vomited on the side of the road, right in front of a business. I looked around and then kept going. I'm guessing it was a combination of the heat, the protein bar, and the coughing fit, but it was not pretty. It was also the first time that I vomited on the side of the road during a run, so I earned me a new badge of honor.

Once I got back to my car, this is all that I felt like doing:


I was spent. I was sore. I had bad breath. But, I was happy that I finished it. Even though it was a terrible run, you have to push through the bad to get to the good. I'm 98% positive that this was the worst run of my life, so I'm giving my legs a break today and trying to decide if I am going to do an entire rest day or only do upper body strength. My legs definitely deserve a medal for getting me through that tough run.

What do you do when you have a tough run? Have you ever thrown-up during a workout?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

MyOatmeal.com Review: PB Lean

As promised in my healthy oatmeal review, of my custom blend I have a review of MyOatmeal.com's dehydrated peanut butter, PB Lean. I'm sure many of you are familiar with dehydrated Peanut Butter, and some of you might even use PB 2 peanut butter, but this was my first time ever using anything of the sort. PB Lean has 85% less calories from fat than regular peanut butter (courtesy of Anthony at MyOatmeal.com). The picture of PB Lean on MyOatmeal.com's website looks like the picture below, so when the description said you receive 1.5 lbs of PB Lean when you purchase it, I greatly underestimated how much peanut butter I would be getting:

Picture of product from website

This is actually what I received:

The bag is huge

I did a little price comparison, because I thought that PB 2 was fairly expensive when I saw it out in the store, and MyOatmeal.com's PB Lean is a much better price for the amount you get (in my opinion). PB 2 sells for about $4 or $5 (on average, based on my research on the Internet) for a 6.5 oz jar (That's not even half a pound of peanut butter). A 1.5 lb (24 oz) bag of PB Lean sells for about $14 dollars. You're saving a couple bucks by buying in "bulk" from MyOatmeal.com. You'll get about 57 servings (per the website) of PB Lean from this size bag. 

This is what the inside of your bag looks like when you open it up:

Filled almost to the brim, I was afraid I'd spill it all over (in a good way)! 

I followed the directions and added 2 tbsps of dehydrated powder to a little bowl and then added 1 1/4 tbsps of water to the powder and stirred it up. 



It did not take long for the peanut butter powder to turn into peanut butter, and I found the consistency to be very similar to peanut butter that you'd buy in a jar. I taste-tested the peanut butter before I added it to my Greek yogurt because I was nervous of it being horrible tasting since I've never tried dehydrated peanut butter before. It was not horrible tasting at all! It definitely is not as sweet or salty as peanut butter that is not dehydrated, but those companies add extra salt and sugar to their products. I definitely enjoyed the taste of it. If possible, it tasted more natural to me than regular peanut butter.

The first morning, I mixed it into my morning yogurt parfait and enjoyed! 


I put 1 tbsp of PB Lean mixed with 1/2 tbsp of coconut milk onto my banana before my weights class, and it spread SO easily, just like regular peanut butter!


I also tried it in a smoothie. This way definitely helped with the cleaning process of my blender, as in there was no peanut butter stuck to the side like there usually is, but I added the powder directly to the ingredients and it didn't quite achieve the peanut butter taste I was going for! I also think that might be because I only added one tablespoon of powder, so I will have to try this again.



I also baked with them! This was my first time winging a baking recipe, so here is what I came up with!

PB Banana Oatmeal Drop Cookies

2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
6 tbsp PB Lean
1/4 cup Vanilla Coconut Milk
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 ripe bananas, mashed
Chocolate chips (optional)

Mash banana and add to the oats. Add baking soda, PB Lean, and coconut milk. Mix everything together. Once everything is mixed, add in chocolate chips and mix together. Use an ice cream scoop (or spoon) to scoop out batter and drop onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350*. Enjoy! 

I didn't add any sugar, but the bananas add just a hint of sweetness. The cookies will be dense, and unattractive, but taste pretty good! This recipe made 16 cookies. 


If you're like me, you worry about weird ingredients being in these "low-calorie" options. I'm happy to say that there are no weird ingredients and no names that I could not pronounce. There are only 3 ingredients on the label, and all are easy to pronounce or you can figure out where they come from. You will see "Maltodextrin" on the label, but Anthony has informed me that maltodextrin is the powder on the system that all flavors are sprayed on and is not used to sweeten their products.

I'm still planning on experimenting with the PB Lean, but I have to say that I am impressed with my first experience with dehydrated peanut butter. I also am incredibly impressed with MyOatmeal.com and I will be ordering from them again after all of my oatmeal is gone!


Have you ever tried dehydrated peanut butter?


Disclaimer: While I received these products by using a coupon code I received from MyOatmeal.com, I was not compensated for this post and all opinions expressed are my own.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What's In my Gym Bag

Today, Ari from The Pace of It All is hosting a linkup called "What's in my Gym Bag." I decided to join up :D



There's not really too many exciting items in my gym bag, but here are a few of them:

Gym shoes



The gray Adidas shoes are my shoes that got retired JUST before my half marathon, but I use them for the elliptical or rowing machine when I'm at the actual gym. The Saucony ProGrid's are my current running shoes :D


Armpocket Arm Band



This little armband gets better and better each time I use it. It has memory foam that conforms to your arm and I think it gets more comfortable each time! I'm guessing that's because it's molding to my arm. I haven't gotten any irritation from it either after running outside in the FL humidity each morning. P.S. Don't forget to use the code "RUN13" to get free shipping! 


Towel



I have to have a full body towel because we all know that I sweat like a fat man in a sauna (Does anyone else ever use that expression?).


Hygienic Products


I'm sparing you a picture of those because they include little bottles of shampoo/conditioner and some lady products, which I figured would be TMI for the male readers, but are definitely important to have on hand at all times!


                                        Headphones




This is self explanatory, but these are the headphones that came with my iPhone and I'm in the market for some different ones, so please share your favorites!

Knee Brace


I've dislocated my right knee twice, and I usually wear this on long runs, but I've been running without it lately and have been feeling pretty good (knock on wood).



Large plastic bag?



I got this at check-in for the Disney Princess Half and I threw it into my gym bag. I've never used it, but I figured that I can keep it in case I ever have to change out of my terribly sweaty clothes/wet clothes into dry clothes and need some place to store them.

Some random cords


I guess at one point I figured that this would be a great place for storage (maybe in one of my million moves) and I've just been too lazy to remove them. That laziness kind of contradicts the purpose of a gym bag, right?

Sand and Dirt


I run outside and I live at the beach, what else would you expect? P.S Wasn't that a really great picture?

What's the most random item in your gym bag?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Weekend I Almost Impulsively Got a Tattoo

This weekend, I helped out Island Dolphin Care with their booth for the 5th Annual Surfers for Autism in Cocoa Beach. I had planned on meeting them early on Saturday morning, but Joe sent me a text saying to come up early and meet them at the hotel to hang out. When I got this text message, I knew it was going to be a great weekend with some of my favorite people:


My Island Dolphin Care family has a way of making me feel like the most special person in the world every time I talk to them or see them. 

I met up with them at their hotel and had a couple margaritas before we called it a night. I crashed in Joe's room because there was an extra bed, but I did NOT sleep well at all. When my alarm went off at 5:45 am to go for a run before the event, I did not want to get up, but hoped to see some sea turtle mommas that were late getting off of the beach. I had no such luck, but I did get to see this beautiful sunrise:


This was an amazing way to start out my morning. I did a 4 mile run on the beach, saw some turtle nests (But no turtles), and did a 2-mile beach clean-up (because that's what I do) before 7:30. We then brought our stuff down to the beach to set up the booth, and all of the ladies left the men to do that while we went in search for breakfast. After breakfast, we spent the rest of the day interacting with families, passing on information about Island Dolphin Care, and getting sunburnt. The families who came up to our tent had the opportunity to paint our dolphin (which was white when we began) as a way to express themselves:


I loved watching the kids paint and get excited about our dolphins! It definitely reinforces the idea that Island Dolphin Care is where I need to be when I graduate with my Master's next spring. 

Here are some pictures from Island Dolphin Care's Instagram account. I definitely suggest that you follow them if you want your heart to explode from adorableness. 



There are more pictures on their Instagram account, but since they have children in them that I do not know, I do not feel comfortable posting those photos on my blog! 

If you are not familiar with Surfers for Autism, here is a description of their program from their website:



The event went on in Cocoa Beach on Saturday from 8 - 4 pm, and there were at least 500 people there. An amazing part of this program is that all sponsors (on the beach) provide freebies, including lunch! One thing that was interesting to me was that the food that was available was not allergen free, gluten free, or from whole food products. I have met many families who adopt a less processed, whole foods diet after receiving an Autism diagnosis, so it was interesting, and confusing, to see that there were very little, if any options for these families. The booth also ran out of food relatively early, so many sponsors did not have a chance to eat. Overall though, it was a really fun experience and a great beach day.

On Sunday, a tattoo shop was holding a "flash tattoo" event to benefit Surfers for Autism. A "flash tattoo" event is when a shop offers tattoos from a pre-designed palette for an amazing price and all proceeds go to the charity. The price for these tattoos were $30 and all proceeds went to SFA. Here was the palette to choose from: 


See that sea turtle above the pink ribbon on the bottom? It has a puzzle piece for Autism in the carapace and I flip-flopped for two days (Saturday and Sunday) between getting it and not. I actually got in my car at one point to drive to the shop, but I chickened out. I think I got caught up in the price and the charity aspect of it and did not have a chance to really think about it. I decided not to get the tattoo, but it combines two of my passions and if I decide I want it later down the road, I can get it, right? I called the tattoo parlor and they said that they were incredibly busy for the event, so I think a lot of parents got tattoos representing their support of this organization and their incredible love for their child! 

I had a great weekend, and I definitely think I was born to work with special populations. If you would like to learn more about Surfers for Autism, please visit surfersforautism.org

How did you spend your weekend? Do you have any tattoos? 

Monday, June 10, 2013

MyOatmeal.com: Dirty Banana Review

I had the opportunity to try another healthy oatmeal blend for Undercover Diva: A Sitcom, so I'm writing another oatmeal review for you guys!

In my review of my custom blend, I mentioned that I also received a house blend of oatmeal as well. The reason for this was that Anthony (MyOatmeal.com's Founder) saw that I had chosen cookie dough as my oatmeal blend and he said that it wasn't his favorite flavor, so he would send me my custom blend AND a house blend so that I could get a real taste (see what I did there?) of MyOatmeal.com. I received the Dirty Banana blend as my house blend sample. Dirty Banana consisted of dried bananas, cranberries, Smash blend oats, Banana bread flavor, Butter Rum flavor, Brown Sugar, and Stevia.


You can't tell from here, but the bag was smaller (height wise) than my custom blend. From their website, however, it looks like this blend is usually sold in 2.5 lb bags, so mine was just a sample size for review for the blog! Don't think that Anthony and the others over at MyOatmeal.com skimped on the oatmeal, though. The bag was filled almost to the resealable zipper of the bag. I was pleasantly surprised, especially since bags of chips and other items that come in bags always have a TON of air inside the package. There was very little room for air in this bag.


I first tried the Dirty Banana blend as regular oatmeal. The cooking process of this oatmeal blend was much more labor intensive than I am used to (in the microwave), but it was worth every bite. The first thing I noticed was that this blend was much more flavorful than the blend that I had created. I was afraid that I wouldn't like the dried banana chips or cranberries, but I thought they tasted great and heated up nicely. The banana flavor was very prominent, but it was not overpowering. If you love putting bananas in your oatmeal in the morning, I strongly recommend this blend.

Left: After sitting in heated water for 5 minutes Right: Finished product

I didn't top my oatmeal with anything (which is strange for me) the first time I ate it, but honestly, I don't think I needed anything. It was that good. I tried it as overnight oats, as well, and I mixed the Dirty Banana blend with PB Lean (review coming soon) and coconut milk. It was amazing! I was afraid the banana chips and dried cranberries wouldn't receive the right texture through overnight oats, but I was proven wrong (again). The texture was great, and the little hint of peanut butter from the PB Lean was perfect because I love the combination of peanut butter and bananas.

Left: Dirty Banana Blend and PB Lean before mixing Top Right: Mix with coconut milk before refrigeration Bottom Right: After refrigeration in the morning

I definitely recommend purchasing a house blend from MyOatmeal.com if you cannot decide what you want on your own. There are multiple house blends on the website, so pick what suits you!

Remember also, MyOatmeal.com is donating 1 lb of oatmeal to the victims of the OK Tornadoes for every pound sold, so if that's not a great reason to buy, I don't know what is!

Disclaimer: While I received these products using a discount code I received from MyOatmeal.com, I received no compensation for this post and all opinions expressed are my own. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Guest Post: Staying Physically Active While Undergoing Cancer Treatments

I have another guest post for you guys today! Melanie contacted me about writing a guest post based on the research she has done about exercise during cancer treatments (or any other chronic/terminal illness). Since I have little experience with this topic, I jumped on the opportunity!  I wanted to share this on Sunday, June 2, which Melanie informed me was National Cancer Survival Day, but Sunday is a slow day around the blog, and I wanted to make sure that this post reached a larger audience because I think it can be beneficial to a number of us, even if we are not personally fighting cancer. Here is what Melanie has provided for us today!

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Activities that Fight Cancer-Related Fatigue


Fatigue is a common complaint of cancer patients. Cancer symptoms are bad enough, but aggressive treatments can wipe you out physically and emotionally. The latest studies suggest exercise as a way to fight fatigue.

It may seem counterintuitive, but researchers say that exercise reduces fatigue. You may think a workout will wear you out when you already feel extremely tired. However, studies show that exercise increases energy levels, especially in sedentary people. It also helps you sleep better, so you get more rest too.

What are your best exercise choices? That depends on factors like your cancer type, treatment method and recovery stage. Your fitness level, overall health and personal preferences also play a role in determining a workout. Most experts agree that aerobic activities provide the most benefits.

Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program. Some exercises are better than others for your situation. Ask your doctor, physical therapist or personal trainer for recommendations. They are likely to suggest the following activities.

Walking

If you are in treatment for a serious or advanced cancer, light exercise can build up your strength. According to WebMD Medical Reference, walking is one of the best exercises because anyone can do it, a little at a time. Walking is a relatively simple activity that can be done virtually anywhere. It may seem as if you aren’t doing much to consider it as exercise, but even a short walk to the end of your driveway is a good start.

The benefits of walking are well documented: better muscle strength, stamina and endurance; stronger bones and less bone loss; and reduced fatigue from chemotherapy and other treatments. Whether you are fighting operable breast cancer, advanced mesothelioma or another disease, walking is simply good for you.

Water Aerobics

For a moderate form of exercise, give water aerobics a try. This activity can improve your weight, strength, flexibility and circulation as well as your heart, bone and joint health. Due to the fact that you feel 90% lighter in the water, water aerobics are considered as a low-impact exercise. Underwater training provides a cushion for comfort and a measure of resistance to build your strength. As a result, there is less placed on the joints, which makes this an ideal exercise activity for those with joint complications.

Running

Running is a more vigorous activity that can improve your overall fitness. It is one of the most popular forms of aerobic exercise. Because it requires a lot of energy and continual movement, fitness experts recommend it for those in the late recovery stages.  


According to the American Cancer Society, aerobics are often prescribed for cancer-related fatigue. During chemotherapy and radiation therapy, nearly 70 percent of cancer patients have fatigue. It makes your body and brain feel tired, and rest will not improve it. Exercise changes your body composition and chemistry so you can fight the tiredness.  


If you can manage it, try to exercise 30 minutes on five days a week. This is the recommended level of physical activity for cancer patients and other adults. You can break down workouts into ten or fifteen-minute sessions if necessary. Never take on more than you can handle, however, and stop exercising if you experience pain or breathing problems. As always, remember that the healing process is exactly what it is, a process. Take everything gradually and adjust accordingly in your fight against cancer.

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Melanie is currently a Master's student with a passion that stems from her grandmother's cancer diagnosis. She often highlights the great benefits of alternative nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments on those diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness.  To read more from Melanie, visit her blog for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In her spare time, you can find Melanie trying new vegan recipes, on her yoga mat, or spending time with her family.



If you are interested in writing a guest post for the readers of Undercover Diva: A Sitcom, please contact me at any of the options listed under the "Contact Me" tab. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A (Stereotypical Healthy Living Blogger's) Dream Come True

I now have my own frozen yogurt machine.

(Cue angels singing)


I have had my eye on the Yonanas! machine for months now, but somehow lost all of my coupons to Bed, Bath, and Beyond as well as my gift cards. I was really disappointed about that, but figured I would save up/save more coupons and go buy it myself. My mom knew that I wanted it, so she sent me all of her Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons in the hopes that I could use at least one of them to buy my Yonanas! machine. Then, she surprised me.

My mom called me Monday on my way to the gym (Note to everyone out there: When you have a chest infection, 2 workouts in one day is a HORRIBLE idea and you might die. Take it from me). She sounded really serious and said "There's something I've been wanting to tell you," so I did what any normal daughter would do and I panicked in my head. But then she said "Since you've done so well in grad school this year, your dad and I decided that we would buy you a Yonanas! machine, so go to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and pick it up." This was my reaction:

Get it? Because J Biebs and I are twins

But really, I did this while trying not to drive off the road:


Because I was essentially dying after my weights class (aka we did sprints and with a chest infection, that's not fun), I just wanted to go home and eat dinner and sleep. So, I stopped by BBB on my way home from work on Tuesday and picked up my beautiful present. You have to let the fruit freeze for at least 24 hours, so unfortunately, I couldn't use it until last night. It was a well deserved treat after my weights class.

I made my frozen yogurt out of 1 banana, 1/2 cup of frozen mango, and 1 cup of frozen strawberries. And I topped it with chocolate chips. Your fruit has to be frozen for 24 hours, but needs to thaw for at least 5 minutes before you put it in the machine. I noticed a difference with how frozen/thawed my fruit was and I definitely needed to let it thaw longer. But, it made an entire low-calorie bowl of froyo!

Yes, my froyo is in a Little Mermaid bowl.

This is an invitation for everyone to come to my house and have some froyo. I won't charge you by the ounce, but you can bring whatever fruit and toppings that you want and we can have a slumber party and braid each others hair and eat tons of froyo ;) 

Happy Thursday!



P.S. Ari, from The Pace of it All, is looking to host a one-time link up called "What's in My Gym bag" next Wednesday, if you're interested. I plan on participating, so it would be awesome if you guys did too! And if you haven't read Ari's blog before, head on over and check her out. She's super sweet.