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Posts tagged ‘2012’

For the New Year’s Resolutions, Try This On For Size

Welcome to the second post for the monthly column “Just Leap.” Written by our guest author Amy Christensen from Expand Outdoors, each post focuses on stepping out of your comfort zone and pushing your boundaries. Please feel free to share your stories with us below or leave comments for Amy. Above all, go out, be fearless and Just Leap! The end of the year is filled with the collective energy for change. It’s a time of amplified expectation—the holidays, family relations, goals and resolutions for the coming year. And to be honest, our expectations can often fall short. Not because we’ve done anything wrong, but because we want to do SO MUCH. We imagine all the things we haven’t yet done, the things we want to do, the person we want to be, and we cram all these things into a few weeks out of the year that are already filled up with parties, obligations, traditions and changes in our normal routines. It’s no wonder we’re exhausted and frazzled by the time we get back to our “normal” selves the week after New Year’s. And then we take a look at our list of goals and resolutions for 2013 and wonder, “How in the world am I going to make all this happen?” I love resolutions at this time of year. I adore setting new goals and I get super-energized when I create an intention for how I want to live the next 12 months. (I’m a total geek about this stuff, actually.) But after the first few days of stoke, I start to feel a little overwhelmed. Then I’ll get discouraged because it’s taking too long, darn it! (And this is on January 5th!). This year, as the topic of resolutions & goal-setting nears, I am tempted to ignore the energy and boycott making any kinds of New Year’s resolutions. But I had a better idea. One that feels doable, exciting and puts a new spin on the years goals. The Magic Ratio There has been a lot of research over the past ten years around interpersonal interactions, our life experiences and the effects positive and negative comments can have on our lives, moods and motivation. Scientists seem to agree that the ratio of five positives to one negative can help us in a variety of areas on our lives, from intimate relationships to workplace interactions. And I’m betting that it helps in goal-setting, learning new skills (ahem surfing), and creating change. It’s about focusing on the positive things that are going on and not lingering or belaboring the negative. (How many times have we obsessed over a mistake, or a missed workout?) The one in the 5:1 is important, too, as it helps us stay grounded and avoid the “pollyanna” effect, which reportedly happens at around a 9:1 ratio, but I think it’s safe to say that we’re all pretty good about getting in that self-criticism. What we often miss is paying attention to what we’re doing well. What’s working in our lives, and the choices we make on a daily basis that allow us to do what we love. We tend to take these things for granted and dismiss them as a given. So with this in mind, I started thinking about goals for 2013, keeping in mind what I’ve accomplished in 2012, and what’s working that I want to continue. Why not celebrate what’s working with a “continuance goal”? (That’s totally a professional term, by the way.) New Year Celebrations So here’s my proposal: For every new goal or resolution you set for 2013, recognize three to five things you’re already doing today that you want to continue—and make those official goals, too. These are things that you’re already doing. Things that you’re proud of, that you love, and that you’re good at. Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean it doesn’t count! These things can be anything like complimenting your kids every day (I bet you already do this!), maintaining your current workout routine, or calling up your best friend every week. Whatever they are, they matter. They make a difference. And I believe that when we pay attention and recognize all the really amazing things we do every day, we have more energy, more compassion and more patience for ourselves when we slip up. When things take more time to change or when things get hard. I know that when I recognize the positive things I’m doing, and compliment others on their accomplishments, I feel so much better, I have more energy and in general, feel good. So maybe this year, instead of focusing on all the things we want to change, perhaps it's a good time to focus on our strengths. And from there, we’ll have more energy to make the small, deliberate shifts over the next 12 months toward new changes. ------ Amy Christensen is owner and life coach at Expand Outdoors. To keep you motivated through the holidays, sign up for ONE Step at a Time, a new (completely free) 30-day email series designed to offer daily motivations and inspirations straight to your inbox. You can also subscribe here for the Expand Outdoors newsletter, including updates, blog articles, news and upcoming special offers.
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Stuff Your Stocking!

Pinterest and Holidays go together like peas and carrots, trails and running, or dance music and a good workout.  Have you seen our boards recently? For the holiday we created a new one titled "Santa's Sleigh" and anytime you re-pin any of the product to your own "Stocking Stuffer" board you will be entered  to win a $100 gift card. On Christmas Eve we will randomly pick one of you as the winner and then it's up to you to fill your stocking with real Title Nine goodies! Happy Pinning! And don't forget to check your pins for a message from us to see if you've won!

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*Have those messages entered by 11/24! After that date we are in full Holiday mode!*
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Kicking Butt at Crossfit and Loving Every Minute

Photo credit: Thomas Campitelli

I started Crossfit exactly one month before my 29th birthday in August 2010. I was living in North Lake Tahoe and had been hearing about Crossfit from a number of friends, including one friend who was able to finally quit smoking and who totally transformed himself all in a couple of months. His results were inspiring, and I had also heard you got to jump around on things, swing on other things, and get upside down. I was so in! Those first couple of days I wasn't sure I'd be able to make that five minute stroll home because I was so frickin' sore.

I’ve always been active in a variety of different types of exercise, including cycling, triathlons (I can barely swim and I hate to run) Tae Bo, P90X, and more, but none were able to garner my short attention span for long. Crossfit has complemented my A.D.D. perfectly because there are literally hundreds of skills, movements, and lifts not just to learn but also to get the technique right. There's little time for boredom with Crossfit and I always have a list of things I want to accomplish; some of it is improving technique, some of it is doing a skill for the first time, and somewhere on that list is to run more, too. Basically, there is ALWAYS something that I will pretty much suck at doing, so there is always something to improve and whatever it is, I will hammer it until I get it, get better at it, and then own it. That first month I started, it was double unders, clearing the jump rope twice in one jump. I couldn't do those things to save my life, but after every workout I'd go out into the parking lot and keep trying. This process included thousands of failed attempts, and so, so many painful leg lashings. The first time getting consecutive double unders was like a rite of passage (you know, because people call it a cult). High fives abound! Soon instead of 4 or 7 DUs it was 34 and when I broke 50 I pretty much threw a party. That, in the CF world, means proudly writing my name up on the board, “Michelle M: Double Unders: 52”. Oh the glory! The support from everyone has always been and continues to be incredible and never ceases to amaze me. Only four months after I started CF, I moved to Oakland. I missed the trainers, I missed the friendships, and I didn't think there was any gym that would be able fill those shoes. And then I found Crossfit Oakland. I was surprised to find the same high quality trainers and high quality people with whom to surround myself and I remember on my first visit I watched (from afar) the two strongest women in the gym back squatting, thinking, “damn, they are strong” and subsequently, “I could never do that.” Fast forward to now, and I am proud to call them my friends and I am back squatting not only with them, but also at almost the same level! In March 2011, with much hesitation, I signed up for my first Crossfit competition, The Crossfit Open. At one point, I went through a bout of “my muscles are getting too big” thoughts but that lasted about a minute. I decided I loved seeing and testing what my body was capable of doing, what my muscles allowed me to do much more than anything else. Individuals from different gyms submitted their scores online and then can see the rankings at the end of each week. By doing these competitions I learned, or remembered, rather, that I can be crazy competitive, and that I pee A LOT before any competition. While I absolutely believe that this is all about improving the person I was yesterday, to find someone else who's at a similar skill level as me can offer some unique opportunities to challenge myself and push past what I previously thought I could not do. It's just another element that makes going to the gym fun. I'm competitive, I want to beat the girl next to me. Always. But when she beats me, I turn around and don't hesitate to congratulate her, because she pushed me, and that was the goal. Since that first Open, I've competed in a couple other competitions, with a couple more on the horizon. The last one was the Nor Cal Regionals team competition. Regionals were a great experience for me. They did a great job of exposing my weaknesses (pull-ups, for the love of God, pull-ups!), but I found I can do well under pressure and I got a PR along the way (140# snatch). It was a 3 day roller coaster of highs, lows, and wtf’s...I love to hate that anxious panic attack in the minutes leading up to the 3-2-1 GO! The best moment is that split second after “GO!”, right when all that nervous energy gets transformed into kinetic energy; which I'm pretty sure is, like, a law of physics or something.

Crossfit has transformed me in ways I couldn’t imagine. For starters, I'm no longer afraid to walk over to the “men's side” of the gym. It's also not unusual if I'm picking up a heavier weight than the dude doing his bicep curls, and start doing some dumbbell thrusters if I need a quick workout. That in itself has been a mini transformation for me. And recently I tried rock climbing for the first time outdoors in Kings Canyon National Forest. I had the opportunity to do a multi-pitch climb and was shocked that my arms weren't shaking – at least not from lack of strength. Being able to trust and use my legs and pull my body up with my arms was an amazing application of the functional fitness I train for inside the gym. In short, I’ve found what works for me. Any gym where the clientele applauds a 31 year old woman walking on her hands down the length of the gym is my kind of gym. Literally, no weird looks, just an actual round of applause for a little handstand walking. How cool is that? I just want to play, challenge myself, and stay healthy in the process and I get to do that every day. If you or someone you know has an inspiring story to share about achieving goals, overcoming obstacles or stepping outside the comfort zone, send them our way. That's how we found Michelle! Any and all ideas are read by a real T9er and will be responded to: timeout@titlenine.com (Our greatest thanks to Thomas Camptelli for the fab photo!)  
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Comfort Food Gets a Healthy Makeover

We spotted this article on Runner's World this morning as our little toes and fingers were freezing off and talk of soups, casseroles and hearty meals had us counting the clock for lunch. However, in gearing up for the holiday's we're doing our best to stay true to our fitness goals and maintain the hard earned shape we gained over the summer. Enter, this article! You know we love our cream and a good bar of chocolate, but there is no harm in implementing a few of the tips below to keep you feeling fresh after that big bowl of homemade chili. Enjoy! Oh baby, it’s cold outside. When the weather outside is less than forgiving—like it is where I live in Pittsburgh—comfort foods sound great. But some of these foods pack a pretty hefty calorie punch, which can make your next run feel more like a waddle. Here’s how you can still eat your favorite winter foods in an enlightened way. Chili  Make a chili with 95% lean ground meat, or a mix of lean ground meat and ground turkey breast. Add some beans, canned tomatoes and spices for flavor. Soups and stews Stew meat is extremely lean. Add veggies (fresh, frozen or canned) for a comforting meal that tastes great. When making chicken noodle soup, think more broth and veggies and less noodles. Try using a whole grain—like barley—instead of noodles for a nice chew. Hot cereal  This is one of my personal favorites. Instead of buying the presweetened varieties, buy plain oatmeal and add a protein source (skim milk, soy milk, hemp milk, almond milk or protein powder), a sweetener (preserves, maple syrup, honey, brown sugar), fruit (fresh, frozen or dried) and spice (ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, even a dash of cayenne). Mac and cheese  Play with a mac and cheese recipe too much and you may get a very unsatisfactory dish, but you can swap a few ingredients for a lower calorie treat. Try using evaporated skimmed milk instead of whole milk or cream. You can also use less cheese if you use a variety with a stronger flavor like Gruyere or Fontina. Chicken pot pie  Mark Bittman offers a great recipe for this true comfort food, which is typically full of fat in other recipes. Check it out here. Other substitutes
  • If a recipe calls for two cups of pasta, use one and add more vegetables.
  • Replace one cup of sugar with 2/3 cup and add extra sweetness through vanilla, sweet spices and fruit.
  • Cut fat from baked goods by replacing fat or oil recommendations with Greek yogurt, canned pumpkin or applesauce.
  • Add thickness to soup by adding pureed beans or split peas. It’ll make your soup creamier, more filling and add fiber and protein.
Think about improving your nutrition by adding instead of omitting. Add more vegetables to vegetable soup or throw in a few canned pumpkin cubes (keep in freezer and use as needed), throw some shredded cabbage into a salad and add dried fruit to a stew or chili (dried plums in a beef stew and tart cherries in chili are excellent). Look for more tips on making your calories work for you in my new book The Active Calorie Diet. Enjoy and stay warm. -Leslie Have a question for Leslie? E-mail her. (Please write "Ask the Sports Dietitian" in the subject line.) NOTE: Due to the volume of mail, we regret that Leslie cannot answer every e-mail. And for more guidance on fueling and diet, check out Leslie's Sports Nutrition for Coaches.
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