Quickie Workout #40

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.

Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (mollie@ptmollie.com).

Warming up is very important, especially in colder temperatures.  Do not skip this step!  At the other end of the workout, remember to spend 5 minutes stretching out.  Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds.  Do not bounce.

Warm up- 2 min- walking up and down steps, 1 min- place hands on bum and running in place with heels touching hands, 1 min- run in place with high knees
40 reps- Jumping jacks/star jumps
40 reps- Lunges (each leg)
40 sec- Wall sit
40 reps- Push/press up against wall, counter or on the ground
40 reps- Leg lifts
40 reps- Crab dip (for triceps) (women can do this too!)
40 sec- Side plank (each side)
40 sec- Mountain climbers
40 reps- Step out squats - stand with feet together, take a step out to the right and squat.  Return to center.  Repeat on left side.

What Can We Do For You?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

PTMollie.com been up for a year now with over 50,000 views.  THANK YOU for making our first year amazing.

As 2013 builds up momentum, we'd like to know what you would like to see here.  More workouts? More reviews? More articles about fitness and health?

Please take a moment to fill out this survey so we can provide you with the news and info you need to live a healthy and happy life.

You can also comment below or send me an email mollie@ptmollie.com

Running The Wrong Way (Soon the right?)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Over the summer, I was approached by Nick from The Running School in Chiswick to have my running posture and style analyzed.  Running has never been my forte.  I was always the slowest person on the soccer team and never did well on the Presidential Fitness Test mile.

The school is just outside the Stamford Brook tube stop, making it very convenient to get to if a) you are not running 1/2 hour late because you completely forgot about your appointment or 2) the District line isn't experiencing major delays.  Lucky for me, Nick and his team were very friendly on the phone* every time I phoned to update them where I was (and to find out where I should be. You'd think after a year and a half in London, I would know my way around).

Since I literally ran to the The Running School from a Tube station that was farther away, I didn't need to warm up.  I was sweating.  Nick popped me on a treadmill and videotaped me running from the side and back at different speeds and inclines.  He then took my video over to the computer and had a look at my posture, gait, and general running form.  This is the Biomechanical Analysis and Movement Screen that all new clients receive.

Turns out I run nothing like Jessica Ennis.  Here is a video from the Olympics.  If you go to 22:30 you can see Jessica run.  Note how her heels move in a circle.  That is the ideal way to run.  My heels make a sausage shape.  Guess I will never beat Jessica in a race.

Nick told me I need to engage my hamstrings and glutes more to get that circular motion.  I also need to take a shorter stride.  This surprised me because I always thought to compensate for my short legs, I needed to reach in front farther.  Nick explained that my heels are really acting as a brake.  The force of striking my heel stops my body and it quite jarring.  I then need to exert more energy to start again.  My arms also are wasting energy by crossing my mid-line.  This I was bummed to hear because I had consciously been avoiding this (so I thought).

In my brief session, I learned what I was doing that hindered my run (lazy bum, long stride, crazy arms).  Nick then gave me some pointers to think about (bring heel up higher, shorter steps, keep elbows by sides rather than pumping out).  Every time I run, I keep these in mind.  I am sure even if I mastered this tips, Nick and his team could continue to tweak my style to improve my speed and energy expenditure.

The Running School offer lessons for recreation runners, triathletes, athletes (sport-specific and elite runners), kids, and those who would like to walk.  The studio has treadmills for running forwards and backwards, floor mats for plyometric work with Dynamic Moving Skills, and other essential training equipment (weight machines, medicine balls) to improve your athletic prowess.

The staff was extremely friendly and the other clients were really enjoying their lessons.  If you have decided 2013 is the year to beat your PB, I recommend calling up a Running School location near you and signing up.

*Please be on time for your appointment.  I am sure if you are habitually a half hour late you won't get as much out of your lessons.

Quickie Workout #39

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.

Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (mollie@ptmollie.com).

Warming up is very important, especially in colder temperatures.  Do not skip this step!  At the other end of the workout, remember to spend 5 minutes stretching out.

Warm up- 1 min walk in place, 1 min squats, 1 min jumping jacks/star jumps
1 min- Jumping lunges- Stand in a forward lunge position. Lunge by dropping back knee almost to the ground, then jump up and switch position of feet.
1 min- Hold a bottle of water or can of soup in each hand.  Stand with arms up out to side (forming a letter T). Hold arms there!
1 min-  Wall sit
1 min-  Push/press up on knees or toes
1 min-  Forearm plank (to make more challenging hop feet out and back to center)
1 min-  Boat pose
1 min-  Bicycle crunch
1 min-  Sit on knees.  Raise bum about an inch above bum.  Rotate hips in small circle for 30 sec then change direction. You should feel this in your thighs.
1 min- Squat by bringing bum down to touch a chair but do not sit down. This helps you develop a full range of motion.
1 min-  Stand in doorway and press hands against each side of frame. Hold it there.
1 min-  Bent over row with water or cans in your hands

Tubby's Tummy

Monday, January 14, 2013

A longtime ago (about 2.5 years) in a magical place called Rochester, New York, a fair maiden married her British prince behind a golf course.  She lifted weights 3x per week, taught indoor cycling 2x per week,  gave up alcohol for the most part, and kept a close eye on her diet.  The result was a fantastic slender toned shape and one confident bride.

Before that, many many moons ago, that same girl had her heart broken (by a different guy).  This caused a mild depression that left the girl without an appetite.  She slimmed down to a size 6 without even trying and had to spend $200 to buy clothes that fit.

At both times in her life, the compliments about her new figure were genuine and made her very happy.

Fast forward to today and what do you have?  An old married lady in the upper range of her natural weight fluctuation (normally 130-135 pounds but ideally would like to be 125).  But she is unhappy because she knows she can transform her body (well, hopes as her metabolism may be changing).

What body part frustrates her most?

Her belly.  Buddha.  Tummy.

My friend Becca also would change her stomach if she could while another friend, Christine, would like her arms to be more toned.  Sam also wishes her stomach was toned and her core strong.  While Sophie dreams of toned thighs and bum that haven't bulked up. I know every person has one part of their body they would like to change.  And I am sure if I had a naturally slim waist (like my mom.  Why didn't I get that gene?) there would be something else I could fixate on.

Over the last year, I have been experiencing IBS symptoms- first with dairy and then gluten.  In the past, my stomach would normally be flat in the morning when I woke up before I ate anything.  But with these intestinal problems, that hasn't happened in a while as I have experimented with different foods.  I feel like I have determined the food triggers and am doing my best to eliminate them.  So why hasn't my stomach returned to normal?

I think I put extra pressure on myself to look a certain way because I am a fitness instructor and personal trainer.  Many trainers on Twitter say you shouldn't trust a trainer that doesn't have a 6 pack.  (Do you expect your fitness instructors to have a perfect body?  Or do you find this intimidating?)

Lately stress-eating has been my vice.  Every time I sit at my desk, I reach for my lunch bag.  To put a fight up against my stomach's expansion, I want to tell you my waist size and % body fat periodically.  The book Willpower provides several examples of how accountability and public sharing of info help people to stick to goals.  I have found this to be very true with my Virtual Training Group too.  I thought I would step up the public sharing as my motivator. It also demonstrates that fitness instructors are human and have body image struggles too.   Then again, maybe this is the wrong approach.  Maybe I am fixating on nothing.


Another reason I am concerned (aside from vanity) is my hip to waist ratio.  A high ratio is an indicator of potential health problems such as diabetes and heart problems as you get older.  

Other strategies to battle the bulge (aside from sharing my details below): getting more sleep, one more lifting session/week, carrying healthier snacks (nuts, fruit) instead of Kit Kats & Go Crackers, avoiding fizzy drinks, and increasing my cardio.  Do you have any other suggestions on how to keep my waistline in check?

With that said, here are my stats (to be updated, so keep checking back):

Date         Weight (lbs)          % Body Fat         Waist (inches)         Hip-to-Waist Ratio
14.1.13        132.6                   27.2                      30.5                            0.77
20.1.13        131.4                   25.6                      31.0
28.1.13        130.6                   25.6                      30.0                    (end of Week 1 of VTG)    
4.2.13          131.6                   26.3                      30.0                    (birthday weekend)
11.2.13        129.4                   26.5                      30.25
26.2.13        128.4                   25.8                      30.5
17.3.13        131.4                   26.1                      30.5
8.4.13          131.1                  27.6                       31.0

New Year's Resolutions

Sunday, January 13, 2013

I shared the following resolutions with Wego Health, as I was recently nominated for their Health activist award.  To increase my accountability, I thought I would post them here for all to see. With your help, I know I can achieve these.

1.  Raise $2000 for Rod's Racing, which funds adoption costs for orphans with Down syndrome.  To do this, I am completing 4 races in 4 countries (2 half-marathons, a sprint tri, and a 5K).  If you would like to support my efforts, please give generously.

2.  More sleep- either with an earlier bedtime 3 nights a week or cutting back on part-time work (which is tough as we could use the money this year).

Photo courtesy of WholeLiving.com

3.  Be able to do an unassisted headstand and headstand. 

4.  Yoga once a month. Luckily, a local gym is offering Yoga For Runners classes on a monthly basis.  I feel amazing when I leave, calm and limber.  If you haven't tried yoga yet, you really should.  There are many styles so try a few to find a perfect match.

5.  Volunteer another 60 hours to Sportmakers campaign.

6.  Hold 3 sessions of my Virtual Training Group (an 8 week online program which offers accountability and support to achieve SMART goals).

If you need help sorting out resolutions, follow the SMART goals guidelines.  You can also email me (mollie@ptmollie.com) if you get stuck and I will the best I can to help you.

lululemon Chelsea Run Club

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Thursday nights are now reserved for my long runs. The lululemon Chelsea showroom debuted their 12 week complimentary run club on 10 January.  Leaving promptly at 6pm and guided by Karen Weir, the group took a scenic route over to Battersea Park.  The cold was shocking at first, but I quickly removed layers after we reached the south bank.  It was quiet in the park except for the group's chatter and a few dog tags jingling.  Several global lululemon shop managers were in London for training and joined us on the run.  The pace was about a 10 minute mile, which was great for me as I am out of practice.  (It also was a wake up call that I need to be hitting the pavement in prep for my upcoming Paris Half Marathon.  Need a PB!)

Karin did a great job offering options for distance and session structure.  We ended up running steady for just under 30 minutes (5K) and then re-grouped.  Some people opted to head back to the shop while others did another lap.  In total, I ran 5.5 miles in 51:18.  Sounds like some sessions will involve speed work and different routes, depending on the group's ability and preferences.

It was a really fun run (great views along the Thames), provided me with a sense of achievement (boy did my legs feel tired the next morning when I was indoor cycling!), and I made some new friends.  I plan on committing to the group for the next 12 weeks.  Will I see you there?

Banana Cupcakes

Friday, January 11, 2013

As part of my fundraising efforts for Rod's Racing, I am going to be baking up a storm on the weekend. This weekend I am making Banana Cupcakes.  (Photo coming soon!)  I will add a frosting/icing of some sort and garnish with dried banana chip.

Banana Cupcakes from allrecipes.co.uk

Prep: 20 mins | Cook: 20 mins
Serves: 24

225g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
110g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 bananas (mashed up)
55ml milk, or buttermilk
2 eggs
115g caster sugar

(I suggest optional stir-in: walnuts, chocolate chips, or raisins)

1. Preheat oven to 190 C / Gas 5.
2. Sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together.
3. Put the butter and vanilla in a separate bowl and beat together until it's creamy.
4. Gradually add sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time beating each time.
5. Add a bit of milk at a time, then a bit of dry mixture, then a bit of banana to the cream mixture - beat well each time and keep doing this until you only have one bowl of mixture!

6. Stir in optional ingredients if you want to mix it up a bit.
7. Fill cupcake tray or cases 1/2 full as they rise quite well, bake for about 20mins. Leave to cool in tray for 5 - 10 mins, I put mine in silicon cases and if you pull them out too early they're a bit wobbly! Taste good with peanut butter cream.

Product Review: Hoo-rag

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

One of the benefits of blogging in the health and fitness field is that I am able to test out new products and let my readers know the ins and outs.  Today I featuring Hoo-rag (mine is the Sunflower Power print although I am very tempted to create a PT Mollie version as they are customizable).

It is a soft seamless bandana that can be worn several ways (which I had a lot of fun modelling- see below).  It is 18" long and has a diameter of 10" (that is 45 cm x 25.5 cm for people who don't use inches).  Priced at $14.95 I would say it is an essential for travel and adventure.

The Hoo-rag can be worn as headband, blindfold on flights, scarf, face mask, or ponytail holder.  Even dogs can wear them.

I like to use mine in the kitchen to keep my hair out of the food but not in an abrasive ponytail holder.  But then I end up looking like a nun.

But normally, I wear is to keep my bangs (aka fringe) out of my face.

Of course you can get a little silly too.  But if you are travelling, it might be handy to have  Hoo-rag to cover your head in places of worship or protect your head from the sun.

Or if you were unexpectedly caught in cold weather, you could keep the wind and snow off of your face.

Perhaps you are out for a run in the cold weather and need to keep the air going into your lungs warm (for example asthmatics need to do this or people who ride horses on dusty trails might like to wear one).  In warmer seasons you could wet the rag while on a hike and keep it around your neck for cooling effects.

All in all, Hoo-rag is fantastic.  Being light weight and soft with dozens of pattern options there is definitely one for you.

Let me know if you would like one with the PT Mollie logo on it.  If there are enough requests, I will add it to my shop.

Hoo-rag did not pay me for this review. They graciously sent me this product and all opinions are honest and my own. If you have a product you would like me to review, please contact me mollie@ptmollie.com.

Race Bling and Vision Boards

Sunday, January 6, 2013

This holiday, my husband and I stayed in the UK and visited his family in Bristol for 5 days.  This is the first Christmas in I-don't-know-how-many that travel was short and easy.  Last year, we went to USA for Christmas and then back to Bristol for New Years.  The year before we were in USA at my parents after a 3 week road trip and about to move to London on New Years Eve (NYE).  The year before that we were living in the USA but in UK for Christmas and hosted a NYE party the day we got back.

Long story short, it was absolutely amazing and thrilling to have a few days to relax, tidy up around the house, and sleep in.   There were a few little projects I worked on, such as tidying my 'floor-drobe' and clearing out (small) boxes I haven't opened since we arrived.  One of the big things I wanted to do was to make our rental flat more like home.  With rentals, it is frowned upon to put holes in the wall to hang a picture or two.  We have been in the same place since we arrived and have extended our lease once again.  I want holes in my walls.  I want to hang up the art that is 'us' and make this place have a little more personality.

I have Tweeted this image before, but my trophy wall is inside my wardrobe door.  I hang up races bibs (with times on the back) and have 2 small vision boards I created when we moved to the UK.  Currently, I am accumulating more photos for new boards, as some of the wishes have come true (make £100 in your spare time, travel to Spain and Greece, and purchases a road bike).

To create your own vision board, take some old magazines and cut out the photos that you like.  Make a collage with them and hang someplace to help you realize your dreams.  You might not know why you like a photo or you might be looking for something specific (for example, a kitchen appliance, breed of dog, or new running shoes)  Here is an article from Oprah.com that goes into a little more depth. 

For a while now, I am have been researching ways (mostly on Etsy) to display the medals (aka race bling) my husband and I won at various races.  They were use on a old door hinge leading into our living room.  Every now and again we would bump them and hear a clatter.

Who knew there was an obsession in the running community with bling?  I had no idea.  (Although, if I completed a marathon or Ironman, I don't think I would ever take the bling off)  I wanted my display to be cool, hip, and reflect multi-disciplines.  Since my husband's medal was going on too, it couldn't be too girly.  Then I needed to figure out where it would go.  Yes, i was ready to make holes but were my brick walls ready?

Sunday morning, I ran 2 miles to the B&Q to look for a mop and coat rack (to battle leaving used sporting clothes on the floor for one more session).  And I was pleasantly surprised to find excellent bling rack options too for under a fiver.

So here is our bling.  It is handing in the entryway as you walk into the flat.  It is good inspiration for me to keep track with the training I need to do this year.

I will let you know each time a new medal is added to the collection, as my fundraising quest this year has at least four races on the calendar.

Where do you display your bling?  Do you have your bibs or race shirts displayed too? Send me a photo and I will post it here.  mollie@ptmollie.com

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