Back on the Block

Hey there RYPEness…
…it has been a long time!

You know how all of a sudden it seems that “life” just gets in the way of what you are supposed to be doing? How you allow yourself to get derailed because it seems that you are being overloaded with too much “life”. Well, I am hear to tell ya…you ain’t alone. There’s comfort in company, isn’t there?
So, if I could share some things that I’ve learned from my little “life” experiences, I would say this:

  • God never dishes out more than we can handle. Ever.
  • Your test is your testimony…for somebody, somewhere…regardless of if you realize it or not.
  • Challenges make us reassess and dig deep to keep it moving.
  • “That which does not kill us makes us stronger” is a very true statement, because we always come out wiser.

Remembering those little jewels doesn’t necessarily make the blows softer, but it does make getting up, brushing off your knees, and moving forward a requirement. Na wada mean?

“Life” got a little rough for me these last months. My dad’s health was failing, I was under-employed, my bills were stacked, then I got a good paying job but it was kind of demanding – immediately, and my dad’s health continued to spiral, and then my brother’s sister died, and then a friend of mine was killed, and then my daddy died.

OMG.

Man…I am supposed to be training a team of dynamic sistahs for Tri Latta, sharing my healthy well-being advice with whomever would listen, and “Inspiring Women To TRI“; but now I don’t want to even get out of bed…let alone swim, bike or run.

Or so I thought.

Upon returning to Charlotte on a Sunday (my parents are in Cincinnati, so I was there for over two weeks), I couldn’t imagine racing that following Saturday. I hadn’t been in a pool to do a workout in months. I hadn’t ridden my bike in weeks. I hadn’t gone for a run in I don’t know how long. How was I possibly going to do a triathlon, sprint distance or otherwise?

So Tuesday I went for a run, first in like…ever. It was a solo run which was good. I was with my thoughts and prayers, and actually – unbeknownst to me at the time – beginning a healing process for my soul. The run was hard…as hell, but I got through it. So my plan was to just go out there and Tri Latta best way I could.

Friday I head to packet pick up, and while standing there at the participants meeting I received a text message informing me that a good friend of mine had just passed away.

WTF.

That was a moment….to say the least. Do I race? Do I bow out gracefully? Uh…yeah…NO! I kept repeating to myself, ‘you led these awesome ladies to this moment, how dare you consider a bow out now?!

Race.

And racing ended up being the most therapeutic thing I have ever done. The swim was difficult, but I gotta say…for a chick who had not been on a bike in a while, I kinda killed the ride. I mean, definitely wayyyyyy better than I expected. The run, well lets just say I had the inspiration I needed to keep it moving by having a Team RYPEr in front of me who I was chasing in my head, and a work colleague behind me who I refused to let catch me!!! HA! But when I crossed that finish line, a wave of emotion just came over me…just like when I crossed the finish line of my first triathlon ever…which happened to be Tri Latta…11 years ago. Crazy right? After I got myself together, I looked around and began to take it all in. How DOPE AND OFF THE CHAIN the amazing ladies of RYPE looked out there in our DOPE AND OFF THE CHAIN RYPE gear. How much love RYPE was being shown. How proud we were as a team to be the only example in that race that Black women DO Tri! And that we were able to display that to a plethora of little brown faces who happened to be volunteers on the race course (way to go Queen City Dolphins)! It was the most satisfying and purposeful “get cha self up and brush it off” moment I’d ever experienced.

So, all that to say this: It is true what they say…exercise IS a great way to relieve stress, anxiety and depression. You will feel the physical relief once those endorphins are released. Your mind is clearer and you physically feel stronger.

But on top of that, know that there is no feeling like the high you get when you are walking the path that has God intended. “Life” can get tough, but you can never allow it to stop you from crossing the finish line.

The RYPE Train is on the track and moving. Next stop…Tri Ballantyne.

Team RYPE

Team RYPE

 

 

 

The Proper Fit

Hey there RYPEness!

This weather is finally starting to break…time to move that fitness routine OUTDOORS! If you live in a city like mine, road races for just about every charity you can think of are happening just about every weekend. From 5k’s to 10k’s to runs that cover you in colored paint or have free beer at the finish line (my personal favorites). Training for and participating in these events is a fun way to get in shape, meet cool people and get free t-shirts!

BUT!…before we start any of this, we should first make sure we are wearing the right running shoe. RYPE just had a Team Night at TrySports and one of their shoe experts gave us the 411 on getting the right shoe!

So, how do you know if you are wearing the right running shoe? Well….I have one question to ask:

Were you fitted in your running shoe by a representative at a specialty run store? Not Dicks. Not the Nike Store. Not Footlocker. A SPECIALTY RUNNING STORE!

What do I mean by fitted? Did this person ask you a lot of questions, like:

  • how much running are you doing?
  • do you have any pains right now?
  • have you ever been injured?
  • are you training for something?

Did this person ask you to remove your shoes and pull out a trusty Brannock Device to measure your feet? Didn’t know that thing had a name did ya? Did they take a look at your arches? Did they actually put you on a treadmill or ask you to run outside so they could  watch how you run? Do you think that all of these things are necessary to get some shoes to run in? ABSOLUTELY!!! When you run, you put about 500 pounds of pressure on your feet…yes, YOUR LITTLE FEET! Don’t you think that ensuring they are properly “housed” and supported is a good idea?

So what does this little fitting reveal to a run shoe specialist? It will show if you are among 70% of folks who over-pronate when they run. This means that as you run and your weight transfers to one foot, your ankles roll inward. This in turn causes unnecessary stress on your big toe and can lead to various injuries.

Getting a running shoe that has arch support will prevent that ankle from rolling inward. Brooks Adrenaline, Mizuno Wave Inspire,  or Asics Gel-Kayano are great support/stability shoe options.

You might also find that you supinate or under-pronate. This means that as you run, your ankles don’t roll in at all and you are actually putting most of the pressure on the outsides of your feet and smaller toes. This can also lead to injury.

Getting a neutral shoe with a lot of cushion can prevent this from happening. Brooks Glycerin, Mizuno Wave Rider, or Asics Gel-Nimbus are good options.

Ideally we want a neutral running gait, meaning that our foot is not rolling overly inward or outward when we run. Since the majority of us have one of the aforementioned issues, it will require that we get the right shoe to help correct this…thus preventing some of these common running injuries:

  1. Plantar Fasciitis
    Plantar fasciitis, small tears or inflammation of the tendons and ligaments that run from your heel to your toes, is usually the top foot complaint among runners. The pain, which typically feels like a dull ache or bruise along your arch or on the bottom of your heel, is usually worse first thing in the morning. Runners with very high or very low arches are vulnerable because both foot types cause the plantar fascia to be stretched away from the heel bone. Other causes are extreme pronation (foot rolls inward excessively) or supination (foot rolls outward excessively) and increasing your mileage too quickly. Long periods of standing, especially on hard floors without supportive footwear, may exacerbate the problem.
  2. Shinsplints
    “Shinsplints” refers to medial tibial stress syndrome, an achy pain that results when small tears occur in the muscles around your tibia (shin bone). This makes up about 15 percent of running injuries. Shinsplints are common among new runners and those returning after an extended layoff. They’re a sign that you’ve done too much, too quickly OR you are wearing the wrong shoe.
  3. Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)
    The iliotibial (IT) band lies along the outside of the thigh from the hip to the knee. When you run, your knee flexes and extends, which causes the IT band to rub on the side of the femur. This can cause irritation if you take up your mileage too quickly, especially if you’re doing a lot of track work or downhill running. ITBS makes up 12 percent of all running injuries. Runners who develop ITBS may overpronate, have a leg-length discrepancy, or suffer from weak hip abductor and gluteal muscles.

 

In the words of Sweet BrownAINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!

So there you have it! There really is a method to the specialty run store madness. And believe it or not, there is a reason why you should go ahead and spend the extra money to go to one of these stores to get fitted and purchase a pair of shoes. I can guarantee that the extra $30-$40 you spend on shoes is a lot less than the money you will spend in doctor co-pays to fix the resulting issues.

Think about it….

Happy Running RYPEness!!

 

 

 

 

Save the Ta-tas!

Hey there RYPEness!

How are you…and your ta-tas doing? Why am I asking about your ta-tas? Well…because I care, and you should too!!

We are doing our best to take care of our bodies by leading healthy lifestyles and eating right. All of us *wink wink* are ensuring that we are getting at least 30 minutes of exercise in daily and eating clean meals. Right? RIGHT! But are you making sure that your ta-tas are good too? Did you know that wearing a good sports bra that fits properly is just as important as making sure you are wearing the right running shoe, or that your bike is the correct size for you? Did you know that failing to wear a supportive and properly fitting sports bra during exercise can lead to permanent breast damage whether you’ve experienced pain or not, and even if your breasts are very small?

Yup.

Let’s think about running. When we go for a jog, as we run our legs are moving and our arms move back and forth. There is control to that movement since our legs and arms contain bone and muscle that we move at will. Howeva….’ya girls’ are made up of mostly fatty tissue and mammary glands. There is no muscle there that can be controlled. There are no bones that can provide a structure of sorts. So those mama-jamas are free to bounce around willy-nilly!

OUCH!

The primary support structure for the breasts are ligaments called Cooper’s Ligaments. These are connective tissues in the breast that help maintain structural integrity. Secondary support for the breasts comes from the skin. To understand the damage that can occur to these two elements if not properly supported, try this easy demonstration. Take a rubber band and cut it so its just one long strip, then measure it. Tie a weight to the end and begin swinging the rubber band around for a period of time. Measure the rubber band again. By golly it’s longer!

Now…apply that same concept to your love bumps. Not a pretty picture, right?

boobs

Yeah, we gotta tie those breastisis down darling! Because once we stretch those ligaments and skin, there is no un-stretching. Your only option to reposition them off of your belly is surgery…that’s not cool. And don’t think that just because you happened to be not as well endowed as some of us larger boobed females that you are not prone to this same stretch and hang, because you are.

So prevention is key! It’s a must to find the right bra that stops the stretch. And to stop the stretch, we have to stop the movement. AND!!…just because you are wearing a bra that smashes your breast to the point of looking like a 12 year old boy does not necessarily mean that there will be no movement! When we are exercising there are three directions of breast movement:

  1. Up and down
  2. Side to side
  3. In and out

We gotta stop all that. There are two basic ways that sports bras reduce breast movement during exercise: compression and encapsulation. Most of us are used to the compression bras, which are good at reducing up and down movement, but not so good at side to side. Encapsulation bras mimic our daily bras in that they have cups that “encapsulate” the breast. Finding a bra that does a good job of compressing AND encapsulating the breast is our best bet. Also, we want to ensure that our bras are made from good wicking material, thus pulling moisture away from the skin, to prevent painful and ugly chaffing.

So…it’s time to take a trip to a good fitness apparel retailer, like say TrySports…shameless plug…and get properly fitted for a good bra. The Adidas Supernova Racer Bra has been highly reviewed as a great high impact bra. Moving Comfort does a great job with sports bra as well. This is a company that was started by two women runners, so they understand the needs of women and have a variety of options that will meet your needs. Try Juno, Maia or Fiona….their top sellers.

Ladies…let’s save our ta-tas!! Take the time to go get the RIGHT bra. Sorry…during your workouts is no time to be showing off the cleavage, save that stuff for the club. Tie those girls down, fully. There should be no breast tissue oozing out from any part of the bra, they should be wholly contained! Then…let’s go have some fun taking care of our bodies!

Swim, bike run…RYPE!

 

 

 

RYPEness….START YOUR ENGINES!!!!!!

Yesterday morning during our swim clinic, an interesting conversation ensued about skipping breakfast. Our clinics begin at 6AM…that’s pretty dang-gone early. Anyone who knows me, knows that for me to get somewhere by 6AM is definitely a stretch. But to try to get some breakfast in me first? Mannnnnnn, listen. That’s a task!! However, I realized a while ago that not getting any calories in my belly before a morning workout was definitely a no-no.

So what’s a procrastinating, snooze-button-hitter to do? All of the fitness and nutrition articles state that you should get a healthy breakfast in you 1-2 hours before your workout. Meaning…I’m supposed to get my tail up and fix myself a meal at 4AM??

Yeah.  

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Right.

And although I recognize that as valued advice (it is wise to give your body time to digest your food and get those nutrients into your system) I knew I had to figure out a different plan.

But first…why IS breakfast so important? Well, per FitDay.com, there are a few good reasons why you should partake:

  • It revs up your metabolism. Eating breakfast is a great way to get your metabolism working well for the day. When your body receives food in the morning, it tells your brain that you’re going to need to start working to digest it. This wakes up the system and warms up the metabolism so it’s ready to work throughout the day.

BAM! It starts the metabolism so its ready to WORK! And since you are heading to your WORKout, then this is a good thing! Be it a swim workout, a run, weight training or yoga, you are sabotaging yourself by not starting your engine first. Eating something to start that metabolism is just like allowing your car to warm up a bit before you blast the heat, throw it in drive and floor the accelerator. It’s a way to be kind to your engine…allowing it to go further and do more…for YOU! 

  • It keeps you from binging. Not eating breakfast in the morning may save you calories for the time being, but it sets you up for failure throughout the rest of the day. This is because after not feeding your body for several hours overnight, a lack of food in the morning will leave you grumpy and hungry very early in the day.

So…you show up for that workout, empty stomach and all, muddle your way through that swim, drag yourself out of the pool, sluggishly get dressed for work, and when that box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts is the first thing you see in the break room, your diet for the day is ka-put! Because by this time you are starving, and you are willing to grab the first thing you see.

  • It keeps you in a good mood. Feeding yourself in the morning will keep your spirits up throughout the day for a number of reasons. First and foremost, since your body won’t think that it’s starving after a nutritious meal in the morning, it’s easier to get in a good mood and stay that way. It also provides plenty of needed energy to help you get through the regular tasks of your day, which can help keep your mood bright and optimistic.

Ain’t nothing worse than a grumpy Shelly. Enough said.

So…..now that we have the ‘why’, you need to know the ‘how’, right? It’s easy. Drinking a glass of orange juice and eating a banana can give you a quick 150 calories. It’s not a lot, but its something. Keep Greek yogurt in the fridge, the Chobani Flips are DEE-LISH! There is even one variety with dark chocolate chips and almonds. ImageWHAT! One of those packs about 250 calories. On your lazy Sunday afternoon, make some homemade granola, pre-package servings in ziplock bags and put them in your car. Easy eat-on-the-go engine starter.

Remember….warm engines run better. So regardless of how early that workout is, make sure you eat a little sumthin’ sumthin’ before you get started. It’s the RYPE thing to do!

 

 

 

 

Drills, Drills, Drills!

Hey there RYPEness!!!

How many of us can relate to this picture? swimYesterday I had to send out a tweet about how cool it is to watch new swimmers start to “get it”. Remember: good swimming equals efficient swimming and efficient swimming comes from drills that reinforce that efficiency. Kind of sounds like physics equation, doesn’t it? Anyway, I thought that some of you out there in triathlon land -and beyond- might want to know which drills we are currently working on that are getting these awesome ladies to their “AH HA!” moments. Incorporating these into the beginning of your workouts is a really good idea….always.

Kick On Side drill. Why? This drill promotes good balance in the water. Serious swimmers use kicking on side during warm-ups and during the active rest portion of difficult swim training sets. If your kick is currently weak, use flippers and then slowly wean your way off of them as you get stronger. To know what your body position should feel like, stand up and raise either your right or left arm, and you want to raise it like you are really reaching to the sky in an effort to try to stretch your body out. Keep the opposite arm straight down and stuck to your hip/thigh. Pretend that hand is in your pocket and therefore cannot move. Position your head so that it appears you are trying to smell your armpit. No, seriously. When you need to breath, your head is going to rotate on a swivel so that now you are trying to listen to your armpit. No, seriously. Smell the armpit, listen to the armpit. Smell the armpit, listen to the armpit. Without seeing you can now actually visualize the head movement, cant you? AH HA!

Now….check out this video of good form while executing Kick On Side: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mjZsk8L0M0

Shark Fin drill. Why? This drill ALSO promotes good balance in the water. This balance thing is a repeat offender with the topic of swimming…balance is KEY! We in the triathlon swimming world tend to call that side kick position when you are listening to your armpit the “sweet spot”. It is perfect balance in the water AND you can breath. So to start the Shark Fin drill, begin in the same position as you would for the side-kick drill. Lift your elbow on the arm closest to the surface of the water up toward the sky…creating a ‘shark fin’. You do this by dragging your hand up the side of your body until it reaches your armpit (never thought our armpits would get so much love, did you?) or until you’ve made a shark fin. Once there, simply slide the hand back down your body to where it started.

Now…check out this video of good form while executing Shark Fin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwQ3l5YyloQ

Fingertip Drag drill. Why? Fingertip Drag is one of the oldest swimming drills in the books. It’s survived the test of time because it’s not only simple to explain but also incredibly effective. Fingertip Drag can help you practice a high-elbow recovery, and can help you achieve a relaxed hand during the recovery. The drill requires that your body be balanced, and that you use full body rotation in order to complete the drill correctly. That’s a lot going on for one drill, but it’s super effective!! We accomplish this drill by keeping your fingertips in contact with the water, and keeping the hands close to the body, and it causes you to then maintain a high-elbow recovery. Remember our previous drill? See how these build on each other to develop a highly efficient stroke? AH HA!  In order to SKIM the surface and not simply JAM your hand forward with a sloppy splash, you need to keep your fingers relaxed and under control. After your hand passes the shoulder, extend it forward and focus on staying long while the other hand is recovering. You will always want to keep your head down, and your body balanced.

Now…check out this video of good form while executing Fingertip Drag: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XITzpum5lxA

And there you have it. Three relatively easy but extremely effective drills that will develop you into an efficient, thus good, swimmer!

In no time you will be executing your swims with ease, just like this guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pt2jxlkNpw

Hyped 2b RYPE!!!

These are a few of my favorite things!

Hey there RYPEness! We are gearing up and ready to go for triathlon training season. Exciting times, right? Everyone is hopping back in the pool, dusting off those bikes and lacing up those shoes in preparation for early spring races. So I thought this would be a good time to talk about a few of my favorite things and why I like them.

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Aqua Sphere Kayenne Swim Goggles

When it comes to swimming, there is nothing more important than snug fitting, no leaky goggles. I mean, my swim cap can snap off, I have done a half ironman distance swim with no wetsuit….but if I have leaky goggles, that’s a jacked up situation! Aqua Sphere Kayenne goggles are my favs!

I personally like the blue tinted option…doesn’t affect me when swimming indoors and provides enough tint to ward off the sun glare when doing open water swims. The wider band around the sides creates a good suction, so they don’t leak. I still haven’t figured out how to avoid the “raccoon look” after a swim though.

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Nike Slides

Next on my list…a good pair of slides. Ease of wear is a no-brainer. But why slides over flip flops? Well, if you are wanting to pack light, and make it easy to keep it moving, even when wearing those cycle socks…slides are key. That morning of your race, when you are trying to be as organized as possible it makes it easy to have your socks on (thus stretching them out a bit, therefore making them easier to slip back on once you come out of the water) and then just slide into your slides. You can easily put that tri-bag on your back and ride your bike from your car to the transition area, no problemo. Great post-race too once your feet are ready to come out of those closed in sneakers. These double as shower shoes, kick around the house shoes, grocery store shoes, take out the trash shoes, what-have-you. The functionality is the same sans socks too!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am big on moisturized skin…especially my lips. There is nothing worse than cracked lips…on me or anyone else! I have these inexpensive, super moisturizing lip balms ALL OVER THE PLACE! Next to my bed, in my car, several in my purse, and…of course…in the bento bag on my bike!

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Cococare Lip Balm Cocoa Butter

True story…I almost panicked  when doing Ironman Florida when I hit a bump and my CocoCare came flying out my bag and into the ditch. What the heck was I going to do? Thank GOD for the extra one I’d packed, otherwise that bike cut off may not have been made! HA! Seriously though, I have yet to find another lip balm that last as long or doesn’t feel greasy. I will admit, applying while riding at 17 miles per hour can be kind of tricky…but I had to figure out a way to master it. LOL!!

HAPPY TRAINING!!

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Stumpy Creek International Distance Triathlon

Did You Know…

…that improper breathing technique during swimming can cause scissor kicks, poor body position, cross-overs and lop sided strokes? Yep, sure can. Its human nature that, if we are unsure of our next breath, we panic. So becoming comfortable in the motion of breathing while swimming is key to “relaxing” in your stroke. And a relaxed stroke tends to be more efficient. And efficient swimming is what endurance swimmers – TRIATHLETES – are made of!! 😉 That’s why RYPE decided that the first swim clinic HAD to focus on understanding how to breath.

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Executing breathing drills during the first RYPE swim clinc

Wednesday morning we had a super fun, yet very anti-climatic first swim clinic. Our clinic focused solely on breathing techniques. Essential, as described above. There was definitely no swimming, very little movement from one side of the pool to the next, and a ton of time standing still while bobbing our heads up and down. Simply getting “easy” with that feeling. Making it very easy to relax your body in the water.

And ya know what the hardest part of that breathing thing is? Learning to exhale completely. So check out this great article on exhaling, how to do it and why its so incredibly important:

http://www.swimsmooth.com/exhalation.html

Then make sure you incorporate breathing technique drills into your swim workouts. Watch your stroke and ease with the swimming improve!

Go ahead and exhale RYPEness!!

Hop On the RYPE “Train”

Hey there RYPEness!

Yep….I’m geeked…I’m excited….I’m happy…all that! Training is about to start for the Spring Team and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it!

ImageThe game plan for 2014 is set, and for me its just like Christmas morning to get the ball rolling! We had our Spring Team Kick Off this past Sunday…after it being rescheduled twice due to inclement weather. Inclement weather in Charlotte? Yeah, who would have thunk it? And for the two snow storms that we’ve had to come on the exact days that our Kick Off was scheduled makes me think I should have been playing the lottery!

First up on our plate is Tri Latta on June 14th. This is particularly special for me. You see…Tri Latta was my very first triathlon. For RYPE to have the opportunity to train a group of amazing women for a race that signifies the day I fell in love with this multi-sport gives me goose bumps. For some ladies it will be their first triathlon. For some who have done a couple, it will be there first experience with an open water swim. Either way, I am looking forward to seeing each of them cross the finish line, and – fingers crossed – get that same sense of overwhelming accomplishment that I did when I first crossed that exact same finish line.

Next Wednesday is our first swim. Since I know that most women are most apprehensive about the swim, I decided that before we start any triathlon specific training, we would have four clinics that focus solely on swimming….breaking it down to the bare elementary of sport. Regardless of swim ability, revisiting the basic techniques makes you a better swimmer. Period. So that’s what we are going to do! Also…I gotta tell you: I have an amazing team of swim coaches too. And I got them because they just WANTED to help, and they are equally as excited as I am!! It’s like a Divine charge all coming together!!!

*doing the ‘happy dance’ now*

I know I usually provide a blog full of helpful tips or a great recipe…but today I just wanted to write about being excited! I think more people should actually…because when I see or hear or read about someone’s excitement, it just makes me excited! And if everyone was in an excited mood, wouldn’t this be an amazing world to live in?

Imagine that.

So I’m excited y’all! I am excited to see RYPE’s plan being set into motion. I am excited about the group of awesome women that I get to work with. I am excited about witnessing their faces when they cross the finish line. I am excited about seeing that “ah ha!” moment when that one who couldn’t figure out her breathing technique get’s it. I am excited that, as a training ride, we are going to participate in the Tour de Cure; helping the American Diabetes Association find a cure for a disease that severely effects the African American community. I am excited that we have some really cool team nights planned. I am excited that the other day I had a young lady offer to be a run coach…literally she came up to me and said “I want to help with RYPE!” I am excited that we are doing the race that started this whole love affair for me. I am excited that the women training are excited! I’m excited that RYPE is inspiring women to TRI!!!!

EXCITING!

I am really looking forward to blogging about this season. I can tell this is a going to be a crazy fun group!!! Therefore, I’m excited about upcoming blog posts too! Whew…I just cannot seem to contain this excitement!

I see you smiling!

So all aboard this RYPE ‘train’…this is about to be an exciting season!

ImageHyped 2b RYPE!!

Eating To HEART Yourself

Hey there RYPEness,

Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of women? I read a statistic that said 1 in 4 women will die from heart disease. That fact sounds S-C-A-R-Y! That means, when I stand in my close circle of friends, one of us will die from heart disease…unacceptable. So I am starting a crusade with them…and YOU…to make sure that doesn’t happen. There are definitely some things that you can’t help as it pertains to your risk: family history being the main one. But I believe that this spike in the percentage of women dying from heart disease is directly related to our inability to take our healthy well-being seriously. As mothers, wives, girlfriends, office managers, CEO’s….whatever….it is our nature to want to take care of everyone and everything else FIRST. And as loving and giving and sweet as that sounds, you cannot continue to be “all that” to the peeps in your life if you are now suffering from heart disease related complications.

This month is American Heart Month. Why not use this as your start date to begin taking your healthy well-being more seriously? There are five things that you can do to prevent heart disease, and not one is even remotely difficult to do:

  1. NO SMOKING TOBACCO!! I mean, aside from it killing you on so many levels, its really not cute. And it makes your breath stink.
  2. Exercise for 30 minutes at least 5 days a week. So you are telling me that you can’t make it a priority to set aside 30 minutes to dedicate to yourself and your health? I think you can! And you should…little Johnny and cute Jane will definitely understand!
  3. Eat a heart healthy diet. There are foods out here that promote healthy hearts. Salmon, oatmeal, almonds, RED WINE. HA!  There are so many ways to make sure you are getting these foods into your diet, and they are easy and not time consuming.
  4. Maintain a healthy weight. If you implement steps 1-3, this is a no brainer. Know what I’m sayin?
  5. Get regular health screenings. I think that African American women are doing a better job of getting annual check ups. So we need to keep this upward trend going, because early detection of any issue is always best.

It’s just that simple y’all.

My soror who is not only beautiful, but a SURVIVOR!

My soror who is not only beautiful, but a SURVIVOR!

One of my dear friends is a heart disease survivor (and an ambassador for the American Heart Association), so this topic is something that is near and dear to my heart. Heart disease cannot be taken lightly, and neither can the statistics regarding women and the disease. So tomorrow, start your morning with a heart-healthy meal (we know breakfast is our most important meal!). To help you out, here is a really quick and simple recipe that will leave your heart smiling and your belly full: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/scrumptious-scramble-recipe.html

HEART yourselves ladies! It’s too critical not to.

Inspiring women to TRI…..

Strong Arm’n

Hey there RYPEness,

I am not sure where you might be when you are reading this, but not unless you live somewhere like California, or Hawaii, this winter has been the pits! Definitely not motivating me to be outside doing any sort of running or riding…and definitely not making me want to get in anybody’s pool! BLEH! So I wanted to give you a few things that you can do that will make you triathlon strong once the season rolls around. NOW….I am by no means saying that you can ix-nay your swimming, biking and running completely! We have to find a way to get in a few swim/bike/run workouts here and there, but we can replace some of them with much needed strength training. I did some research on upper body strength workouts for triathletes and found some really good ones.

Muscles are good….and sexy. 🙂  Its pretty self explanatory why having good upper body strength benefits us in swimming. I am sure we have all read how having good core strength helps us in with our runs. And now you know that having stronger biceps and triceps will decrease the amount of metabolic stress on your arms as you ride. You know this because I just told you. WHOOT!!! WHOOT!!!

So, here are two good workouts (each containing 4 strength exercises) I found on the Experience L!fe website. Love this site because it’s dedicated empowering people to become their best, healthiest selves (sounds sooooo RYPE, right?). And I really loved these workouts because they weren’t something that would require me to be in the gym for ump-teen hours on forty-five-one-hundred machines. They are short, sweet and to the point. And not only will they have you triathlon strong, but definitely bikini ready.

#WINNING!

 

Workout A

1) Speed Pushups

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  •  Assume the standard pushup position: hands slightly wider than shoulder width, balls of feet on the floor, body in a straight line from your heels to the crown of your head.
  • Without letting your hips or head sag toward the floor, bend your arms, pull your shoulder blades together, and lower your body, keeping your elbows at about a 45-degree angle to your torso.
  • When your chest is a few inches from the floor, quickly push yourself back up to the starting position.

Easier version: Perform the exercise with your hands on an elevated surface like a bench or countertop: the higher the surface, the easier the move.

Harder version: Perform the exercise with your feet elevated.

Why it’s good for triathletes: Improves upper-body pushing power; useful for the swim start and steep climbing on the bike.

Sets and Reps

  • Week One: two sets of as many reps as possible in 20 seconds
  • Week Two: three sets of as many reps as possible in 20 seconds
  • Weeks Three and Four: three sets of as many reps as possible in 30 seconds
  • Weeks Five and Six: two sets of as many reps as possible in 20 seconds; slow down these weeks and focus on perfect form.

2) Chin-Ups

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  • Take an underhand, shoulder-width grip on a chin-up bar with your palms facing toward you.
  • Lift your feet from the floor and allow your arms to straighten fully.
  • Pull your shoulder blades down and back, bend your arms, and pull yourself up until your chin is slightly above the bar.
  • Lower yourself slowly back to the starting position.

Easier version: Perform the same exercise using an assisted chin-up machine, or have a partner give you a boost as you perform the move.

Harder version: If you can bang out 12 to 15 reps of body-weight chin-ups with no problem, try the same exercise while squeezing a dumbbell between your legs.

Why it’s good for triathletes: Develops the upper-back musculature necessary for a strong swimming stroke and for maintaining good posture throughout the run.

Sets and Reps

  • Week One: two sets of 12 reps
  • Week Two: two sets of 15 reps
  • Weeks Three and Four: three sets of 12 to 15 reps
  • Weeks Five and Six: one or two sets of 10 reps

Can’t do a Chin-Up? No Problem! See ELmag.com/pullup.

3) Alternating Dynamic Lunges

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  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, then step your left foot forward about a stride-and-a-half, allowing the heel of your right foot to lift an inch or two off the floor.
  • Keeping your back straight and your eyes looking ahead, slowly bend both legs until your right knee lightly touches the floor.
  • Reverse the movement, stepping your left foot back, and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the opposite side. That’s one rep.

Easier Version: Lower your back knee only halfway down to the floor on each rep before coming back up.

Harder Version: Hold dumbbells at your sides.

Why it’s good for triathletes: Keeps the hip flexors limber and develops the glutes, helping to prevent lower-back pain and injury that can sometimes result from too much time in the saddle.

Sets and Reps

  • Week One: three sets of 12 reps
  • Week Two: three sets of 15 reps
  • Weeks Three and Four: three sets of 12 to 15 reps
  • Weeks Five and Six: two sets of 12 reps

4) Stability-Ball Speed “Olympic Diver” Crunches

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  • Sit on a stability ball, walk your feet forward, and lie back on the ball until your torso is parallel to the floor.
  • Extend your arms overhead, interlace your fingers, and squeeze your upper arms close to your ears.
  • Keeping your arms in this position, blow out forcefully, contract your abdominal muscles, and squeeze the bottom of your rib cage toward your pelvis.
  • Return to horizontal position.

Easier Version: Perform the movement sitting toward the front of the ball so the ball supports your back, and your hands are higher than your knees in the starting position.

Harder Version: Hold a light dumbbell in your hands.

Why it’s good for triathletes: Unlike conventional crunches, this stricter version keeps your spine long as you work the core, which translates into better form on the run and a more streamlined shape in the water.

Sets and Reps

  • Week One: two sets of as many as possible in 20 seconds
  • Week Two: two sets of as many as possible in 30 seconds
  • Weeks Three and Four: three sets of as many as possible in 30 seconds
  • Weeks Five and Six: two sets of 12 to 15 reps, focusing on form

Workout B

1) Stability-Ball Dumbbell Overhead Presses 

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  • Sit upright on a stability ball, holding two moderately heavy dumbbells at shoulder height, palms roughly parallel.
  • Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, smoothly press the dumbbells upward until your arms are fully extended overhead and your upper arms are close to your ears.
  • Slowly reverse the movement and repeat for the appropriate reps.

Easier Version/Harder Version: Adjust the weight accordingly.

Why it’s good for triathletes: Improves shoulder stability and strength — both invaluable during the swim and bike stages.

Sets and Reps

  • Week One: two sets of 12 reps
  • Week Two: two sets of 15 reps
  • Weeks Three and Four: three sets of 15 reps
  • Weeks Five and Six: two sets of 12 reps

2) Seated Cable Rows 

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  • Attach a parallel-grip handle to the low pulley cable at a seated row station and set the pin at a moderately heavy weight.
  • Sit on the seat, place your feet against the platform, and take hold of the handles.
  • Sit up straight, arching your lower back and lifting your chest slightly.
  • Without allowing your head to push forward, bend your arms and strongly retract your shoulder blades, pulling the handle back until it nearly touches your abdomen.
  • Slowly extend your arms and return to the starting position.

Easier Version/Harder Version: Adjust the resistance accordingly.

Why it’s good for triathletes: Protects against “swimmer’s shoulder” and other issues caused by overuse of the shoulder joint.

Sets and Reps

  • Week One: two sets of 12 reps
  • Week Two: two sets of 15 reps
  • Weeks Three and Four: three sets of 15 reps
  • Weeks Five and Six: two sets of 12 reps

3) Dumbbell Front Squats

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  • Holding two moderately heavy dumbbells, stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width and your toes pointed slightly outward.
  • Lift the dumbbells to shoulder height and rest them on the fronts of your shoulders throughout the movement.
  • Keeping your feet flat on the floor, your eyes looking ahead and your lower back in its natural arch, slowly squat down until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor.
  • With your weight on your heels, return to standing, keeping your chest up throughout the exercise.

Easier Version: Use body weight only, and, if necessary, only squat halfway down.

Harder Version: Use heavier dumbbells and squat as deeply as you can while keeping your lower back in its natural arch.

Why it’s good for triathletes: Builds strength in the lower body — especially useful for sprinting and climbing during the bike and the run.

Sets and Reps

  • Week One: two sets of 12 reps
  • Week Two: two sets of 15 reps
  • Weeks Three and Four: three sets of 15 reps
  • Weeks Five and Six: two sets of 12 reps

4) Knee-Ups

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  • Take an overhand, shoulder-width grip on a chin-up bar, palms facing away from you, allowing your legs to hang straight down toward the floor.
  • Keeping your feet together, lift your knees as high as possible.
  • Pause for a moment in the contracted position, slowly lower your knees back to the starting position, and repeat for the appropriate number of reps.

Easier Version: Perform the same movement using a pair of slings, which attach to a chin-up bar and loop around your upper arms so you don’t have to grip the bar. Then lift your knees just halfway up.

Harder Version: Perform the same movement with your legs straight, touching your toes to the bar.

Why it’s good for triathletes: Improves hip mobility, hip-flexor strength and core stability, for better strength and more efficient positioning during the run.

Sets and Reps

  • Week One: two sets of 12 reps
  • Week Two: two sets of 15 reps
  • Weeks Three and Four: three sets of 15 reps
  • Weeks Five and Six: two sets of 12 reps

 

Remember….TRI-ing is Sexy!!! So let’s get it!!!

Hyped to be RYPE!!!