Embracing nature

To organic or to not organic? That is the question. What do you do? Do you go out of your way to buy organic, or do you just grab whichever is more convenient? This can go multiple ways, but today we’re going to try to focus on two product types: deodorant and sunscreen. Two essentials…

Embracing nature was originally published on Self Evolve

To organic or to not organic? That is the question. What do you do? Do you go out of your way to buy organic, or do you just grab whichever is more convenient? This can go multiple ways, but today we’re going to try to focus on two product types: deodorant and sunscreen. Two essentials while working out, especially while working out outside (i.e. running or attending my weekly strength and conditioning class).

For natural deodorant, what does that look like? Ideally, at the very least, deodorant without aluminum. Why not aluminum? While aluminum is used for things like cans of soda, it is not ideal on our skin. First of all, you may have an allergy to aluminum. A good amount of people break out in a rash when using antiperspirants. Also, aluminum may cause other issues outside of just a rash, i.e. it can interfere with your hormones. Aluminum isn’t the only thing to avoid, triclosan could be a stronger endocrine disruptor than propylene glycol, so try to avoid it as well.

The tricky part about going natural is finding a deodorant that stands up to sweat sessions, i.e. that super humid run or when you’re doing planks at the gym. The deodorant that I use and find effective is Arrow Protect Natural Deodorant by Birchbox. It smells good and stands up to my tough workouts. Which one do you use?

As for sunscreen, it’s important to read the ingredients on the bottle as well. Many sunscreens claim to be natural, but are they? Ingredients to avoid for SPF include chemicals such as oxybenzone, octinoxate  and homosalate. There are other chemicals to watch out for. Ideally, you want to reach for the organic option that uses mineral filters rather than chemical filters.

Mineral sunscreens are made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, usually in the form of nanoparticles. There is good evidence that little if any zinc or titanium particles penetrate the skin to reach living tissues. Thus, mineral sunscreens tend to rate better than chemical sunscreens. What sunscreen do you use? Do you read the ingredients before buying sunscreen or just grab the most convenient sunscreen at the store? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks!

Embracing nature was originally published on Self Evolve

Track Your Fitness

If you’re like me, you like to track how many steps you take in a day. If you run like me, you also like to know how far and what your pace is while running. Cherry on the top? I also want to know what my heart-rate is in order to make sure I’m not…

Track Your Fitness was originally published on Self Evolve

If you’re like me, you like to track how many steps you take in a day. If you run like me, you also like to know how far and what your pace is while running. Cherry on the top? I also want to know what my heart-rate is in order to make sure I’m not…

Track Your Fitness was originally published on Self Evolve

Carb loading and running

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “Eat a mountain of pasta the night before a race!” Even to this day, I have people ask me if I’m going to eat pasta before the big race I’m training for. I’m here to break apart this old, nauseating thought that we somehow need pasta to run…

Carb loading and running was originally published on Self Evolve

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “Eat a mountain of pasta the night before a race!” Even to this day, I have people ask me if I’m going to eat pasta before the big race I’m training for. I’m here to break apart this old, nauseating thought that we somehow need pasta to run far.

Carbohydrate loading can help you. What is carbo loading? It’s a strategy involving changes to training and nutrition that can maximize muscle glycogen (carbohydrate) stores prior to endurance competition. Athletes believe that by loading the muscles with glycogen, they can prevent hitting the “wall” and hopefully allow them to run at their desired pace for longer. It has the potential to improve performance by 2-3%, if done properly. The issue is, a plate of pasta isn’t carbo-loading. Follow these simple steps to properly carbo-load:

  1. Don’t skip the carb depletion phase. 7 days prior to the event do a long or strenuous workout which will deplete your body of glucose. For the next 3 days maintain a lower carb diet of 35 to 50% of total calories. For the final 2 days prior to the race switch to 75% of calories from carbohydrates, while dramatically decreasing overall work volume (the other 25% is largely protein).
  2. Avoid simple carbs! Don’t eat junk food, and avoid sugar. Ideal carbo-loading foods: potatoes, fruits, vegetables, whole grains. If you have trouble with high fiber/runners trots, look for options like sourdough bread with honey or sweet potatoes.
  3. Don’t carbo load for short distance races. 5K or 10K? Too short! Carbo loading is only needed if you’ll be running OVER 90 minutes. I would even argue that it’s not necessary for a half-marathon but should be done for a full.
  4. Don’t load for too long, only do it for about 2 days prior to the race. The rest of the time before the race? Not loading! Don’t load up for a week, that is just un-necessary.
  5. Don’t freak out over the weight gain. Carbs make you retain water, which is needed for race day! Don’t even worry about that number on the scale, unless you’re ignoring step #2 and eating cookies.
  6. Don’t skip your last load due to nerves. You want that race morning fuel! You must give your muscles that last boost of glucose to help prevent energy lulls, mood swings, and fatigue. Aim to 1-3 grams of high quality carbs, low fat and low fiber – oatmeal with banana or yogurt with fruit if you can stomach it.
  7. Don’t eat that pasta dinner! One large meal of carbs is NOT carbo-loading and for many people it has the opposite effect of what they desire.

Of course, at the end of the day, everyone is different. You have to find what works best for you. Personally, I haven’t carbo-loaded before. But, I have also never ran a full marathon before. I usually eat before every race though. On the morning of a half marathon I eat fruit, drink lots of water, and drink some coffee. The week leading up to the half? I just focus on eating healthy: lots of veggies, fruits, healthy proteins and fats. Now that I’m training for the full marathon, I will be sure to pay more attention to what I’m putting into my body.

Food is fuel. And fuel is energy. Do you carbo-load? What do you eat before running? Or do you run on an empty stomach? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Carb loading and running was originally published on Self Evolve

How to taper

Are you training for a half or full marathon? If so, is it your first? Have you heard of tapering? Do you know what taper means? If not, continue reading as this can and will change your life! #welcometothetaper I’m currently training for my first full marathon, but I’ve ran two half-marathons. The first one…

How to taper was originally published on Self Evolve

Are you training for a half or full marathon? If so, is it your first? Have you heard of tapering? Do you know what taper means? If not, continue reading as this can and will change your life! #welcometothetaper I’m currently training for my first full marathon, but I’ve ran two half-marathons. The first one…

How to taper was originally published on Self Evolve

Avoiding Raccoon Eyes

Do you ever get to the gym and forget that you have on a full face of makeup? Or did you purposefully do your makeup to look good for that cute guy at the gym only to leave the gym with raccoon eyes? I’m here today to talk about the options you have in the…

Avoiding Raccoon Eyes was originally published on Self Evolve

Do you ever get to the gym and forget that you have on a full face of makeup? Or did you purposefully do your makeup to look good for that cute guy at the gym only to leave the gym with raccoon eyes? I’m here today to talk about the options you have in the ever-expanding makeup world that will help you avoid running out of the gym looking hideous.

While we’re aware of waterproof mascara, there are mascaras that are meant to be worn while working out. For example, the Eyeko Sport Waterproof Mascara holds up pretty well. If you’re looking for something more affordable, L’oreal and Maybelline make a sport mascara as well.

Outside of mascara, there’s a relatively new brand called Sweat Cosmetics that is meant for use while working out and sweating. It’s available through Sephora. I use the Illuminator when I work out and I like it since it also has SPF 25 which is handy when working out, especially during the summer months. I keep the makeup in my workout bag since it’s super easy to apply with the twist brush that’s included.

Even if you don’t use these brands, be sure to avoid oil-based makeup as that is the type that will trap in sweat and clog your pores as you’re working out. No matter what you use, be sure to wash all your makeup off every night to prevent breakouts and to keep good hygiene.

What do you do for makeup while working out? Do you wash your face before working out? Or after? Is the cute guy at the gym noticing your makeup or raccoon eyes? Comment below with what has or hasn’t worked for you.

Avoiding Raccoon Eyes was originally published on Self Evolve

How to breathe while running

Many beginner runners struggle with the proper way to breathe while running. Or they don’t even think about it. With the proper breathing technique, you can ideally be running on air, avoiding injury and running more efficiently. What is the proper breathing technique while running? Ideally, you want to breathe rhythmically. You want to relate your breathing…

How to breathe while running was originally published on Self Evolve

Many beginner runners struggle with the proper way to breathe while running. Or they don’t even think about it. With the proper breathing technique, you can ideally be running on air, avoiding injury and running more efficiently. What is the proper breathing technique while running? Ideally, you want to breathe rhythmically. You want to relate your breathing…

How to breathe while running was originally published on Self Evolve

Exercising Sick

Should you workout when sick with a cold? What if it’s the flu? It really depends on how you feel. It also depends on when you got sick. Day 1 versus day 3 are two different times and should be approached differently. The best way to prevent illness in the first place is to stay…

Exercising Sick was originally published on Self Evolve

Should you workout when sick with a cold? What if it’s the flu? It really depends on how you feel. It also depends on when you got sick. Day 1 versus day 3 are two different times and should be approached differently. The best way to prevent illness in the first place is to stay…

Exercising Sick was originally published on Self Evolve