Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Workout Gear- Love it or hate it

I have noticed that when it comes to clothing I exercise in, I either LOVE it or despise (and often end up returning) it. Workout clothing should enhance, not hinder, one's performance. To me this is a simple request. Yet, few products/ brands have actually fulfilled this wish.

I am a rather well-endowed girl. With this said, every female who works out at a high intensity has undoubtedly encountered the trials and tribulations of the dreaded sports bra. Chose the cute thin-strapped bra? Well, unless you are an A cup or doing gentle yoga, this WILL NOT hold the girls in their proper positions. Let's say you know that the thin, cute, colorful bra won't hold everything but instead go for an inexpensive brand. You then find- quickly I might add- that to get any real support, you'd better pile two or three on top of each other. How functional is that, I ask?

And then there are the "special joys" of us larger-chested women. I experienced the fun of strap chafing when training for my last big race. This did not enhance my performance or contribute to my comfort. I happened upon, thanks to an episode of The Oprah Winfrey show. This sports bra is NOT a tiny, cute, sexy item. But let me tell you, it does what it says and stands up to abuse. Perfect! I love when I find workout wear that actually helps me perform better. I literally don't run when I am not wearing my Enell bra. The last thing I want is to hep gravity move the girls South!

In regards to outerwear, I cannot rave enough about how much I enjoy running in CW-X running tights. I had problems with my IT Band that just would not resolve. I ended up trying these tights as a last resort. Some types have extra IT band support; other types in this line have extra knee support, quad, hamstring, etc. Within three weeks, I felt like I had an IT band transplant! They are pricey, but I have had excellent service ordering the tights through They have a great return policy!!!!! Great people and great service. I run in these exclusively now. I went for a run in my yoga/ pilates pants and noticed a definite difference- the CW-X tights help with stabilizing the muscles, allowing them to put more effort into the actual work. Take a peek at The engineering alone put into these pants is amazing. They are like NASA workout gear!

The last component of any workout wardrobe is shoes. Shoes are the most important item a runner or intense fitness enthusiast can own. Wrong shoes= injury. I see many weekend warriors running in shoes that simply are not meant to be a running shoe. They would be better off in my opinion to run barefoot than to run in a walking type shoe without proper support. If you are going to be doing any type of running (short or long distance) or are tackling a new fitness activity, be sure to get a proper shoe fitting. There are many running specific stores that can analyze your stride and recommend shoes that help, not hurt, your performance. I love Road Runner Sports- they are very helpful and also have an excellent return policy. Spend money on shoes. Your body will thank you when you are 76 and still running!

Workout clothes should DO something for you. Sure a cute top is great, but let's be real, functional is the real goal. Of course, a girl would like a clothing item that is both functional and fashionable- these items are just hard to find! And that is why I keep shopping! :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

From Fat to Fit

For a year or so, I was fat. There, I said it. My husband and I were newly married and LOVED going out to eat and then, out to eat some more. I discovered things like Alfredo sauce and handmade tortillas. We both gained weight, but I put on a larger percentage of weight than my husband.

After gaining about 12-15 pounds, not feeling well, not looking how I wanted to look and getting sick frequently, my husband and I both made a commitment to regain our health. I wanted to be sure that as I approached my new life that I kept everything Up, In and Tight! 

When I was not as disciplined as I am now, I made an attempt to gain willpower through external reminders. I cut out some magazine pictures of women with healthy, toned bodies and stuck them on the fridge. My husband was (shocker!) OK with this. It gave me a visual reminder of my goal, however what needed to be changed was deeper. Simply put, I needed to decrease the amount and change the type of foods I ate.

We started running. These first few runs were short and peppered with huffing and puffing. Slowly, running became easier. Over the years, I went from an occasional runner to a marathoner-in-training. I now look forward to running; heck, I even get a bit cranky when I can't stretch my legs. I added circuit training, swimming, bicycling and yoga to my workout schedule.

Of course, no description of my transformation would be complete with out a discussion of diet. Simply put, I changed what I ate, how I ate and where I shopped for food. I stopped eating meat (other than fish) and processed foods, I became aware of proper portion sizes. I even purchased a food scale as to measure exactly how much I was eating. Also, I did the bulk of my shopping at Trader Joe's; I still do :) TJ's was/is great as it allowed us to get healthy while not breaking the bank. It became so much easier to avoid foods with preservatives and chemicals.

The message I hope that comes through is simply to START regaining your health today. Don't feel as if you are a failure if you aren't able to go from eating junk food and not exercising to a fit, toned, I-only-eat-organic everything in a matter of a week. I sure didn't. It took me a while and am still learning what works to keep me on track.

Start by doing one or two health-positive actions now. Drink more water. Take a 20 minute walk on your lunch break. Buy whole grain or sprouted grain bread instead of white bread. Easy-peasy? That is how these first small changes need to be in order to be successful in the long run. 

What small changes can you make to keep UpInAndTight?


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's all about diet, diet and more diet.

Today I was really feeling bad about my chocolate indulgence. You see, I ate one of those delicious Hazelnut milk chocolate bars that are (conveniently) placed at the Trader Joe's checkout stand last night. And by ate, I mean consumed the entire thing. All 600 or so calories!

Well, this morning my intention was to run at least 7 miles to ensure that all the calories from last nights oops were burned off. It didn't exactly happen that way- errands, to do's, phone calls and just life in general got in the way. I was lucky to get in a 3 miler with my husband at 7pm!

I really got thinking about how if one really intends to keep everything Up, In and Tight, the focus MUST, first and foremost, be on diet. If you eat a huge meal, or overindulge in chocolate, you simply cannot depend on exercise to undo what you ate. Life gets in the way of even the best laid out plans.

I highly recommend using one of the many BMR (basal metabolic rate) calculators online- just Google it, I like this one: Find out how many calories you need to simply exist. Then use a fancy-schmancy calculator that uses the Harris-Benedict equation ( to figure out how many calories you need when your level of activity is included.

It's really quite a shocking thing to see in numbers how LITTLE calories we need to simply maintain weight. Myself, I require about 1890 calories a day (factoring in exercise 6 times a week). If I want to lose a few pounds, I drop my intake down to around 1400-1500 calories a day. Please note, the American Dietetic Association recommends that women NEVER reduce caloric intake to below 1200 calories a day.

I find that I need to keep a log of my calories in order to stay on track. My husband wrote a program that I use on my smartphone called It will be released soon for general use. I know that when I see I only have 400 cals left for dinner, I cannot have that handful of chips if I want to keep my shape.

Tomorrow is another day! Another day to keep on the straight and narrow with my diet and exercise intentions. Here's to keeping everything Up, In and Tight!

***See your physician for first before embarking on a diet, especially if you have any medical issues (Diabetes, heart disease, renal or liver problems, etc).

Friday, August 13, 2010

So you want to keep it Up, In and Tight?


After years of being involved in running, fitness, healthy eating, etc., I decided to start up a blog. The title of this blog is literally what I said one day in response to a question. "Why do you work out so much?" "Well, I have to keep everything Up, In and Tight!". And so began a mantra of sorts that women of all ages and health/fitness backgrounds can relate to.

A little about me:
- I am a California girl (no copyright infringement intended Beach Boys!) who grew up riding horses and enjoying the sunshine.

- I am a Pescetarian. I eat fish from sustainable sources (Monterey Bay Aquarium's sustainable fish list: Otherwise I am a vegetarian. I generally believe in eating whole, unprocessed foods.

- I am an avid runner. I have run half marathons and am in training for a full marathon this Spring. Triathlon will be next Summer's adventure.

- I love to explore new sports and fitness activities. I love input and feedback about new fun activities, so please, if you find a sport/ activity you enjoy, post away!!

- I lost fair amount of weight through diet tracking (it's ALL about the CALORIES!) and exercise. I love to help others with tips that have worked for me. There will be a "Tips" section on this blog, so please share yours!

- I have learned to LOVE food. By love I mean savor, appreciate and enjoy food. I try not to eat things that contain ingredients NASA must have engineered.

So, there. This is a work-in-progress and will hopefully become a place where all can share, vent and support in a quest to keep our bodies Up, In and Tight!