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Summer Slumpin’

Ahh Summer. Slower, unstructured days, kids home, relaxing times. All good.keep-calm-and-relax-it-s-summer

Or not. Give me some structure and give it to me now.

My life is all about my kids. Literally. Despite my busy lifestyle and multiple career paths, my #1 job is to keep them fed, healthy and safe. During the school year, my days are completely structured with a schedule of maintaining my marketing business, training clients and keeping  the household afloat with quiet, focused time abound.

I have calculated that since the summer began (and we all know it began well before school ended), I have had exactly 17 minutes and 43 seconds to myself (ok, so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration). Not gonna lie, I have shed a few “I’m gonna lose my mind” tears. I am a mom that truly adores her children; yet I have found myself not being able to focus with a clear mind for more than 5 seconds (I refer to it as “mom ADD”) or have any “me” time. The struggle is real.

The luxury of healthy meal planning is out the window (mostly because the kids eat me out of house and home 12 hours a day) since we are at sport practices/games 6-7 nights of the week –  so dinner is typically at 4:30 or 8:00 pm and although in the category of healthy, it’s something quick and easily digestible. No time for mama to truly feed (or eat) a proper meal.  I find myself grabbing and picking all day – just to sustain enough energy to plow through.

Although I am (somehow) able to maintain regular workouts, I feel out of sorts and exhausted trying to add some normalcy to my days.

Sound familiar?

So, you ask…”What’s the solution?”

Let it go…Let it gooooo…Summer is the exact right time to loosen up your schedule. To enjoy the moment. To realize time is precious and the future is promising. Instead of fighting it, try to embrace it.

Some tips on how to make the most out of the unstructured-ness:

  1. Continue to fuel your body with as much healthy food as possible. Even if it’s grab-n-go try to choose unprocessed, organic and non-GMO. Tried to avoid eating out more than 2x’s per week.
  2. Keep physical. Kids home and can’t get to a class? Try the free 7-Minute Workout on iTunes or load the Nike Trainer app and get it done in your home. Aim for 3 really challenging workouts/week.
  3. Carve out YOU time….away from the kids. Away from noise. Designate your evenings to reading a book in a quiet space. Get up early to have an hour of quiet time with you and your coffee.
  4. Enjoy a cocktail (or two). Preferably during a night out with friends while wearing a swanky summer outfit. Try to keep it to something lighter like wine or spritzers. Not so much on the margaritas or Jack and coke.
  5. Hide from your kids. Just for a bit. In an office, in the basement, in your attic. Whatever works. Notice how they will find a game to play or a show to watch (I have them do 30 minutes in a summer workbook every day) and get some work done or cross off some to-dos. When we check things off our list, it makes us feel accomplished and less stressed.
  6. Drink a full pint of water first thing in the morning. It flushes out your system, hydrates you from the summer heat and gives you more energy for the day ahead.
  7. Sleep in. It’s ok. Everything will be waiting for you.
  8. Eat ice cream. Sundays are for Sundaes. That once a week indulgence is so worth it.
  9. Take a day trip. When we escape from the mundane, we become refreshed.
  10. Play music. It changes everything.
  11. Look forward. Planning things to look forward to in the future keeps us happy and optimistic.

And off I go to practice what I preach…

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Nod To Mod

The summer is a time for relaxing, adventure and a bit of excess. Once again, the rhetoric of “after the summer, I will get back into gear” echoes from the mouths of many.low acid

Often, when you are in “excess mode” you think “what’s one more?” (dessert, drink, hamburger)…can it really hurt me? But when do you know enough is enough?

When your body starts talking to you…it’s time to listen.

Our bodies have a natural pH balance (the measure of acidity). In simplicity, it’s the way our body regulates the imbalance of things we ingest to keep our bodies in harmony. Your pH can be measured in your stomach acid, urine, saliva and your blood.

Generally, our normal body pH is 7.0. A pH below 7.0 is acidic.  Anything below a pH of seven is considered “acidic”, and anything above seven is “alkaline” or base. However, it is not the same in all parts of the body. Every body part has its own pH levels and its normal functioning depends upon maintaining normal pH.

Blood pH
The pH measurement of blood is found in the range of 7.36 to 7.42.

Urine pH
The pH level of urine may range from 4.5 to 5.0-6.0.

Stomach pH
Your stomach secretes hydrochloric acid therefore the pH of your stomach varies, from 1-2 up to 4-5. When you eat, the stomach releases proteases and hydrochloric acid to aid in digestion. The proteases break down proteins and work best in an acidic environment or low pH, so after a high-protein meal, your stomach pH may drop to as low as 1 or 2. Buffers quickly raise the pH back to 3 or 4. After the meal has been digested, your stomach pH returns to a resting level of about 4 or 5.

Sometimes, when we overindulge, we can cause our bodies to try to work harder to maintain the acidic balance in our stomach. An overly acidic stomach pH can occur from an acid forming diet (alcohol, processed foods, high fats, etc), emotional stress, toxic overload, and/or immune reactions or any process that deprives the cells of oxygen and other nutrients.  The body will try to compensate for acidic pH by using alkaline minerals.  If the diet does not contain enough minerals to compensate there can be a buildup of acids in the cells.

Acidic pH levels in your stomach can start to have an adverse affect on your body and cause things such as bloating, heartburn, irregular bowels, weak nails, etc. These are signs that you may not be feeding your body well.

I can attest first hand to this scenario. After a summer diet high in excess food, alcohol and advil (to counteract the two prior items), I started to feel very sick with severe stomach aches and heartburn. After an endoscopy, it was determined I gave myself an ulcer. Go figure. The girl who is known for living and breathing good health. I fell into the trap of excess…assuming a little “more” couldn’t hurt me since I was so conscientious in every other aspect of my diet/life.

Once again, a nod to my father and the premise he has always preached…”Everything in moderation.” Even if you over-index in one or two aspects of your diet, it can have detrimental affects on your well-being. In my case, too many summer cocktails and too many Advil to counteract the morning after. Ok, and maybe a little excess stress stirred into the mix. Your body is a miraculous mechanism that will give incredible insight to any imbalances. It’s important to listen to the message.

It’s ok to indulge but know when enough is too much.

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Bringin’ Back Your Mojo

It’s so easy to get into a routine and feel like you’ve hit a plateau. Your body is not changing, you aren’t as energized as you used to be and you just go through the motions to get in a workout.

What’s it going to take to inspire you again? You need to re-ignite your mojo. Two solutions:

Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

If you find yourself doing the same exercises week after week, in the same sequence, your body is going to adjust. Monday cardio, Tuesday Tabata, rest Wednesday, Thursday Tabata, comfort-zoneFriday cardio. There is a lot of comfortable anticipation and you may have stopped pushing yourself hard in each workout. It is critical to get out of your comfort zone. Change it up.

Instead of running on a treadmill for 30 minutes – change it to intervals. 5 minutes at 6mph, then 2 minute sprints at 7.6mph and repeat. Keep that going for 30 minutes, increasing your speed a little more each set. You will be much less bored and your body will be shocked into having to react to a new movement.

During your HIIT class, contract your abs the whole time and set yourself a goal of jumping the highest in the class…measure it – seek it out. Push yourself.

Keeps your muscles and body guessing…and readjusting…and changing.

Find The New

I was in my normal weekly routine (with a few summer schedule quirks) and scheduled to teach Tabata outside at my pool club and no one showed (tough summer vacation schedules!). Instead, the tennis director offered me a one hour private session. Holy kicked-my-ass. I was so rejuvenated, pumped up and excited I could not contain myself. I had a perma-grin the remainder of the day. I was so energized from the change, I came home and ran another 40 minutes outside (which I also never do) – from pure exhilaration of something new and challenging my body in new ways.

Find something new to get you excited. Try rock climbing – go for a hike – try a new class – something to remind you how much fun it is to challenge your body.  Change your playlist. Set yourself a new goal – “I will run 3 miles in 26 minutes.” Find a partner in crime and run on the beach – or try kick boxing.  There are so many clubs, gyms, boutique studios that offer free or reduced trial classes. Take one week and try them all: Barre, Trampoline, HIIT, Yoga, SLT… call it your exercise renewal.

You will be exhilarated by the change and it will trickle down into future workouts.

Finding the new will give you that extra spring in your step and change in your body.

 

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