Tag Archives: black womens health

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

 

 

 

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!!

Aside

Hey there RYPEness! Old Man Winter has a grip on us, doesn’t he? Man…and he ain’t letting up either. These desperate times call for desperate measures when it comes to staying on your workout schedule. I was combing the internet trying … Continue reading

Proper preparation prevents….

…showing up at the gym ready to get your “spin” on and realizing you forgot to pack your shoes.

ImageYep, that’s pretty much how my morning went. I had my day all planned out, starting with a nice 50 minute spin class followed by some good weight training, then off to some meetings, and finally some fun playing laser tag with my 13 year old mentee.

So why am I putting this on my blog? Well, because I want you to avoid derailing your fitness goals by always being prepared.  Your gym bag should be your “ready-set-go” bag. Just like we ensure that our “essentials” are always in our purse, we should approach our gym bag the same manner. To avoid the epic fail that I experienced this morning, I suggest you keep these key things in your bag at all times:

  1. Workout clothes. You never know what your day may throw at you! So make sure that you always have some quality workout threads (including socks!) that are ready to rock and roll whenever you are.
  2. Gym shoes. I know, these things are not cheap. But its a good idea (I am living proof) that having an extra pair of shoes in your bag prevents missed workouts due to being rushed or simple oversight. These shoes don’t necessarily have to be your best or favorite pair. They are there to serve the purpose of back up when our brains have that occasional fart.
  3. Workout log. Its important to keep track of your progress, if for no other reason than to see your victories! Everyone is motivated when they see themselves improving. So keep a little diary with you at all times to record your success. #motivation
  4. Water bottle. There is nothing more annoying then being thirsty and having to go locate the water fountain. So make sure you always have a spare water bottle to fill and tote around as you move through your workout. We all know that water intake is very important!

If you have just these 4 things, the chances of you experience my Saturday morning fail diminish to nearly zero. So learn from my mistakes, and lets stay on that healthy living bandwagon!

Hyped to be RYPE!!!

 

Competition can be your friend!

Hey there RYPEness,

Some months back I talked about hydration and how drinking plenty of water is essential to your healthy well-being. Whether you want shinier hair, younger skin, a healthier body (or all three!), pure, clear water is the world’s best beauty elixir. According to WebMD, here are six good reasons to drink water:

1. Drinking Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids. Your body is composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature.

2. Water Can Help Control Calories. For years, dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. While water doesn’t have any magical effect on weight loss, substituting it for higher calorie beverages can certainly help.

3. Water Helps Energize Muscles. Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue.

4. Water Helps Keep Skin Looking Good. Your skin contains plenty of water, and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss.  

5. Water Helps Your Kidneys. Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine.

6. Water Helps Maintain Normal Bowel Function. Adequate hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation.

Want the details, check out the full article here: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/6-reasons-to-drink-water

But honestly, I think we all know that we NEED to drink more water. This issue is actually doing the dang-gone thang! So check it out…one of my good friends is an avid user of the app GroupMe. She decided that she would set up a group of her friends, allow everyone to set their own goal of daily water intake, and check in periodically throughout the day on where you are with your water intake. Now…I may be just a tad more competitive than some, but I believe that everyone has a little competitive beast residing within. Those little alerts I get that simply say “60”, indicating that someone has consumed 60 ounces of water at that point, serves as a reminder for me to go drink a glass…or two. It has been really cool to watch how everyone in the group has ramped up, if for no other reason than to stay competitive with the group. And at the end of the day, you have had a little fun…maybe edged out your competition, but most importantly….you got a good, heavy dose of that wonderful clear goodness that our bodies REQUIRE.

So try it! Have fun with it! And then watch how the health benefits of a little friendly competition translate into beautifulness inside and out!!

Yo….I’m at 45 ounces. What say you?

Inspire11

Aside

Hey there RYPEness! So now that everyone is gung-ho and full-swing into their fitness resolutions, lets talk about trying to stay injury free (as to not derail any of our momentum!) Over the years we have seen a significant increase in … Continue reading