Hi!

My name is Gabby.  

I lost half my body weight through exercise and eating right.

 I'm here to motivate you, inspire you, and make you laugh on your journey to a healthier and happier lifestyle.

TO RUN...OR NOT TO RUN

TO RUN...OR NOT TO RUN

Warning: Adult language

Please do not read any further if you are offended by adult language.

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photo credit: pixabay.com

photo credit: pixabay.com

A lot of people want to run about as much as they want to get punched in the face.

I for one used to be one of those people. I used to look at running as an evil activity that placed dead last on my fun meter. Probably mostly because my fitness level wasn't up to par... and I needed a stand-by medic and oxygen tank to make it out alive. Well, the very first overpowering factor in all that madness was that I didn't build up to a run. I'd go out and just start booking and I would immediately feel impending death upon me. There's nothing like respiratory failure and exploding fiery pain shooting through your muscles to make you swear off running forever...yet again.

“I go running when I have to. When the ice cream truck is doing sixty.”
— This quote by Wendy Liebman pretty much sums up my fatty days.

Years ago, my brother Charles ( I call him Cha) tried introducing me to running. God bless him for his efforts. He tried. He tried so very hard. He wrote me down a program to work up to and would constantly tell me I could do it and that it all starts with just one step. I didn't wanna hear it then. I didn't do jack about working toward anything. I'd do nothing until he'd take me out to the track again. And since I wasn't working on my fitness in between 'field trips', I paid big time. He'd make me run a sprint and the only thing I heard, other than my heart beating and my heavy breathing, was him yelling "PUT YOUR HANDS ABOVE YOUR HEAD! OH MY GOD, ARE YOU OKAY????" Lol.

I was a lost cause. I didn't try.  But my bro kept trying to help me. And I love him for it. Cha also tried to help my hubs Jay. Same thing. Jay wasn't into being a runner then. So the only time he ran was when my bro took him. And let me say, Jay came dangerously close to visiting heart attack country. One time, his heart rate was close to 200 and he was down on one knee clutching his chest and gasping for breath. It was hardcore. No shit.

But as we all know, other people's wishes and desires for us doesn't do much for us unless we ourselves want it to happen. So all the effort my bro put into Jay and I didn't take us anywhere because we refused to let it. And since we didn't do squat in between track visits, we thought we were going to drop dead every time we ran.

So here's a tip. Start slow.

Start by walking. Then move on to a speed walk. Get comfortable with it and build up your strength and endurance. Then and only then start running.

What are the Benefits of Running?

Running gets a bad rap from some people (mostly from people who DON'T run). The controversy that pops up from time to time claims running is very hard on the joints and bones and can cause injuries. Well everybody is entitled to their opinion....including me ;D

Can you get injured by running? Uh, ya...but you can get injured by changing your damn sheets or vacuuming too but everyone wants you to still do that, right? And my heart isn't gonna get any stronger no matter how much I run the sweeper.

I'm not going to deny that running is a high impact sport. It absolutely is. But so is football, basketball, hockey, boxing, etc. And I don't see anyone saying you shouldn't be a part of those sports...or pay billions of dollars each year to celebrate them.

High impact sports and exercises are not BAD for you. They are simply harder on your body. And on the other side of the coin, they also can provide greater health and fitness benefits because of the oomph it takes to engage in them. The harder your body has to work to do something, the more energy and calories your body expends to fuel that activity. The harder your muscles work, the more they will build up, tone, and strengthen.

Running is no exception. It demands a lot from your body. Each foot strike while running hits the ground carrying with it 3-4 times your body weight. That's a lot of poundage for anyone, let alone someone who is very overweight. In addition, it takes 200 muscles to take one step. And your heart is working crazy hard while you are running.

When we run, our hearts create enough pressure to squirt blood 30 feet!

I don't wanna know how the hell someone figured that out or think about the poor bastard that was the test subject, but it's a running fact nonetheless. This constant barrage on your muscles, bones, heart, and lungs is the exact reason you should start small and build up to a tolerance and fitness level BEFORE you jump into running. BUT, this constant barrage on your muscles, bones, heart, and lungs is also the exact reason that you gain crazy amazing health benefits. Running decreases risk of stroke, heart disease, hypertension, osteoporosis and breast cancer among many other ailments and diseases. Other benefits include the building of lean muscle mass and bone density, a stronger heart and lungs, and an increase in both stamina and endurance.

It is also proven that runners AGE MORE SLOWLY because of the natural human growth hormones that are released during running.

Running increases metabolism as well as energy levels and is excellent for not only weight loss but maintaining a healthy weight. And we can't forget or neglect to mention the Runner's High. Runner's High is not a myth. And anyone who runs can attest to that. You can start out before your run feeling sluggish and unmotivated and afterwards you are excited and energized and ready to take on the world. It's amazing...and it keeps me coming back for more.

Runner's High happens as a result of a long, continuous run with a moderate-high intensity that involves labored breathing. This taxing of the body releases endorphins (endogenous morphine). Endorphins resemble opiates and they flood our system with a feeling of intense well-being and euphoria.

Exercise isn't the only way to experience endorphins. Endorphins are also released into the body during times of extreme excitement or pain, when we eat extremely spicy foods, when we are in love, and when we have orgasms. Uh..ya...need I say more?

So how do you start running, you ask?

Well, start with walking. That's easy enough, right? Then walk a little faster. It's all about building up to your goal. I found a program on http://www.active.com/ that lets you build up to a 30 minute run. Running for 30 minutes is in fact no easy task but keep in mind this is a seven week program. I followed the program and it worked well for me. However, I should add that I was in pretty good shape when I started it. It let's you slowly build up but if you need more time then just simply stick with each phase for longer than a week.

SEVEN WEEK RUNNING PROGRAM

WEEK 1: RUN 2 MIN, WALK 3 MIN. REPEAT 6x

WEEK 2: RUN 3 MIN, WALK 3 MIN. REPEAT 5x

WEEK 3: RUN 5 MIN, WALK 2 MIN. REPEAT 4x

WEEK 4: RUN 7 MIN, WALK 3 MIN. REPEAT 3x

WEEK 5: RUN 8 MIN, WALK 2 MIN. REPEAT 2x

WEEK 6: RUN 9 MIN, WALK 1 MIN. REPEAT 3x

WEEK 7: RUN 30 MINUTES

MY RUNNING TIPS FOR YOU:

1. ALWAYS STRETCH!

But DO NOT stretch cold muscles!

Walk at a good pace for 5-7 minutes BEFORE stretching. And remember, stretching should NOT hurt. Do not over stretch. You will be causing injury instead of preventing it.

2. WEAR PROPER SHOES

You need running shoes. Buy your shoes in the afternoon. That is when feet are the largest. And possibly buy a half size bigger to accommodate the constant movement and pounding of the feet. If you are a consistent runner, you should replace your shoes every 4-6 months.

3. BE FUELED UP AND HYDRATED

Eat a protein and complex carb loaded meal approximately 2 hours before your run. Don't make it a 5 course meal but make it substantial enough to provide the energy you need. Maybe something along the lines of a chicken salad sandwich, a yogurt, and an apple. 

Make sure you have been drinking water all day and you are hydrated. Believe me, you don't want to make the mistake of showing up thirsty then after running for 10 minutes, you chug a bottle of water. When you hit the pavement again you will be sloshing around and feel sick as hell. While you are running, sip here and there. Save the chugging for afterwards.

{ If you hate water, there are many more ways to hydrate! Check out my article, SICK OF DRINKING WATER? Some Healthy Alternatives! }

4. BE SAFE

Don't run at night by yourself and always know your surroundings. Even if you're running in broad daylight, case out prospective running trails BEFORE you're ready to run. It's best to know your surroundings and have a lay of the land.

Run with a partner. Even if your pace or fitness levels are unmatched, it's always good to know you got someone around. I'm sure you can find someone who would be up for it. Or maybe hit up a track where a friend could walk and you could run. Even if you are going at different speeds and not next to each other, you'd both have each other in view at all times and you'd both be improving your fitness...together.

5. WEIGHT TRAIN

If you are going to run consistently (or basically do any kind of exercise), you should weight train to strengthen your muscles. Weak muscles are just asking to be injured. Running puts your body to the test and any weak link will be found and exploited. Trust me.

{ For lots more info on how to start weight training, including workout videos by yours truly, check out my article, WEIGHT TRAINING 101: For The Ladies }

6. DON'T MAKE EXCUSES

It's so easy to talk ourselves out of exercising. No time. No babysitter. No energy. The list goes on and on. Bottom line is you have to dig deep. Focus on the reasons you want to, not on the reasons you shouldn't. One of my biggest obstacles is that I have two little girls. I don't have anyone to watch them if I want to go running on a trail or around my neighborhood. So I improvise. I take them to a track where I can plop them down in the middle of it and I can keep an eye on them. Many parks and high schools have a set up like this. Ask around. I set up blankets and pack snacks and they bring toys. Hey, you gotta do what ya gotta do. Whatever it takes.

Here's my munchkins, Gia and Jossy, on their picnic blankets with their snacks.

Here's my munchkins, Gia and Jossy, on their picnic blankets with their snacks.

{ Read my award winning article about How My Daughters Saved Me }

Most of my friends have kids too. And guess what? When they come to the track with me, they bring their munchkins too. All the kids blow bubbles, eat snacks, and run around like maniacs while the mommies get their sweat on. They actually have a lot of fun and us moms can leave feeling great that not only did we get in our workout... but so did our kids. But kids don't look at running around as a workout, do they? Nope, they just think it's fun.

I just finished my run! My girls are always sad when it's time to go home. They love coming to the track because they know they get to have a picnic and run around like lunatics.

I just finished my run! My girls are always sad when it's time to go home. They love coming to the track because they know they get to have a picnic and run around like lunatics.

Kids get a kick out of the smallest of things. The girls had put in a solid hour of playing, picnicking, and running and had a great time! Be creative and you can get your kids on board with just about anything. Getting fit when you have small children isn't impossible. You just have to think outside the box a tiny bit and include them in a fun way.

My little rockstars.

My little rockstars.

WALKING vs. RUNNING

     As beneficial as running is...so is walking. In fact, in terms of calories burned, if you're talking distance-wise, walking and running burns the same amount of calories. Let me clarify.

If I walk a mile and you run a mile, we will burn the same amount of calories. HOWEVER, here is where it gets a little more complicated and where the differences reside. Distance-wise, the calorie burn is the same but time-wise running burns more calories. I know, stay with me here. If I walk for 30 minutes and you run for 30 minutes. You are burning more calories than me. Actually, you are burning twice the amount of calories than me.

We both exercised for the same amount of time but because running is a higher impact and because it requires more energy from the body, it burns twice the calories. And remember if I walk for 30 minutes and you run for 30 minutes, you are covering A LOT more distance. The distance is much, much different.

It really just comes down to common sense. The harder your body has to work, the more calories you burn. Period.

Walking is an excellent alternative for people who can't run. Many people suffer from arthritis and heart conditions as well as many other ailments that forbid high impact exercising. Walking is the low impact these people require yet it still provides numerous health benefits. Walking holds almost all of the same health benefits as running does albeit on a smaller scale.

For those who are physically able to run but don't have the interest to, perhaps you might work up to interval training by pairing up walking and running.

Burst training (also called interval training or HIIT) has been proven time and time again to hold incredible benefits and it has actually been shown to be the MOST EFFECTIVE way to improve fitness and cardiovascular health. Burst training burns up fat more quickly and more effectively than any other exercise training.

{For more information on how to melt your fat off of your body read my article, "BURST TRAINING: The Fastest Way To Burn Fat" }

Interval training is when you alternate intense movements with easy movements. So you would pair walking with perhaps running sprints. Or walk 3 laps, then run one. You could taylor it to your own style or needs. Using walking and running in conjunction and as part of interval training is actually more powerful than just walking or just running.

But here's the deal.... I don't care if you walk or run or do both. Just DO SOMETHING!

Honestly, we ALL have taken for granted our health at one time or another. And some of us have our whole lives. My father was crippled at the age of 35 and wheelchair bound for the rest of his life, which ended at the age of 49. He had progressive MS and it was a constant struggle for him to deal with the loss of his body, piece by piece. The legs were the first to go. I was 13 when he lost the use of his legs and I learned early in my life that time on this earth is fleeting and health is never guaranteed. My dad missed the simple joy of walking, feeling the ground beneath his feet.  He'd say it all the time. And every time he woke up out of a dream, he mourned the loss of his legs all over again.

My reason for this somber insert to my article is not to make you feel bad or sad or out of sorts but to remind you that you mustn't waste a moment of your life. You never know when life will take a turn and put you smack up against a shit storm. Use what you have. If you have legs, move them. If you have arms, move them. Don't wait until you get sick to wish you could have done something to prevent it or regret not making more use of your body before it was taken from you. Even with unpreventable ailments and illnesses, they are better dealt with mentally AND physically if you are otherwise healthy, fit, and strong.

It has taken me a very long time to truly embrace the fact that I'm not promised anything and I am the only one who can make the most of my life. And I'm gonna do my damnedest by being as healthy as I can and give myself the best shot at living longer and living better.

     So whether you want to walk or run or swim or whatever... 

JUST FRIGGIN MOVE!

That is what your body was designed to do. Give it what it wants, what it needs. If you don't have any money, well...it doesn't cost a thing to walk or run. And if you think you don't have any time, yes you do.

WE MAKE TIME FOR WHAT WE WANT TO DO.

That is the bottom line. There is ALWAYS a way to be more healthy. And believe me, sooner or later...you're gonna find that out the hard way. I've seen it. I've lived it. Take this time now and fight for your future. It's a matter of life and death.

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“ Health is the soul that animates all the enjoyments of life, which fade and are tasteless without it.”
— Lucius Annaeus Seneca

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*The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content in this article is for general information purposes only. I am not a doctor, nor am I a dietitian. Talk to your physician before making any changes in your diet or exercise regimen. The information found in this article is from various sources which include, but are not limited to, the sites listed above. I encourage you to do your own research and talk with your physician before making any changes in diet or exercise. What has worked for me may not work for you. This information in this article or on this website should never replace or serve as medical advice.

NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON OR HAVE ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEB SITE.

 

 

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