Fasting During Workouts for Improved Performance

This is another seemingly unbelievable benefit to intermittent fasting: improved physical performance with exercise while fasting. Last week, I ran 2 full miles while 12+ hours into a fast. I outperformed my last fasted run by double and with a faster pace. In the prior month, I had been running after breaking the fast and I was unable to run more than 1/4 mile without walking.

What I’m noticing with working out while fasting: I have more energy, strength, endurance, with less muscle soreness and fatigue afterwards! I can perform more reps with less fatigue and when I run up a flight of steps, I now feel like I’m just getting warmed up instead of feeling myself slowing down near the top.

Another unexpected side effect: I look forward to working out! In fact, going too many days between work outs makes me want to work out more! 

Apparently there are several physiological factors that support improved endurance and strength when exercising while fasting. One of which is the production of more human growth hormone, which supports my experience of improved physical performance while fasting.  I can see the benefits of fasting now compared to non-fasted training. I’ve more than quadrupled my running distance in one week with just 2 sessions. (Currently, my running has been limited by my time availability and not by my endurance: cardiovascular nor muscular.)

Again, even though I’ve read the research, I would not have believed these results had I not lived them myself. I would encourage you to check with your physician prior to attempting this.

May we each find pathways to greater health today and the coming year. Go forth and be healthy!

Namaste
P.S. After writing this post, I did a non-fasted run at the same pace as my last 2-mile fasted run. Had to start walking after 0.8 miles and “walked it off” for another 1/2 mile. Decided on this day that I’d be sure to do most running while fasting vs not! There was such a difference both in how I felt and performed …

A Life Altering Choice

footprintThe journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
-Lao Tzu

Sometimes as we move through life we make choices that at the time seem relatively inconsequential. The choice seems right so we go with it. Enough said. Well, maybe.

In reflecting on the changes I’ve made in my life over the last year, it is amazing to me to see how one choice lead to many other choices that have substantially changed the course of my life in many ways. Fortunately, these changes have been very positive for me. I’ve pushed my physical body further than I thought I could, I’ve lost weight and I’ve met people I would not have met otherwise!

The desire to run and following through with that desire has brought so many gems into my life. You see, when I first started running, I ran alone after work. Then as the days moved into the fall, the days grew shorter. After daylight savings ended in October, there was zero “light” in the sky at night when I ran. No longer comfortable with running alone, I joined MeetUp and found an amazing and supportive group of runners.  Within a week I was running with them (well, we were meeting at places and running). It was especially funny to me then, as I had watched them run at night through my neighborhood for years and wondered how they knew one another. Now I knew!

After joining the running group, I was encouraged to run races that I had not even dreamt of at that point. Harbor Lights Half-Marathon and the Turkey Trot 10K in the same week. Rugged Maniac 5K, The upcoming Marine Corp Marathon and the Armed Services YMCA Mud Run. I was reminded that it was not about my pace and, instead, it was about my ability to complete the race. “You’re running more today that you did on the couch last week,” was another encouraging statement that I often heard when I felt my training distances were “not enough.”

Just a year ago, I joked with my physical therapy clients that I could only complete a marathon if I could see it in my mind first. I used this analogy to help them to see the value of visualization in meeting their own goals. Little did I know that I would be running half-marathons and training for a full marathon a year later. Oh, and I would have thought anyone crazy who would have suggested that I would be completing something like the Rugged Maniac, too. Climbing walls & cargo nets, mud, running, jumping?! “You must be insane!” is what I would have thought!

By training for and running in races, I’ve changed my physical body. I’ve lost weight and in its place I’ve gained strength. In addition to running more, I’ve also been cross training in the gym. This helps to reduce my injury risks and to keep me from burning out on running as my sole form of activity. By doing the Rugged Maniac race, I’ve learned that my upper body strength needs some more focus. Now I have 3 months to prepare for another mud run, so I’m now doing push ups, dips and pull ups. I’m now excited by these challenges, instead of being afraid of them, as I would have felt just last year.

The most amazing part of running, however, has been the people that I have met and befriended along the way. Joining the running MeetUp group lead me to joining a local singles group. This is something I would not have done without encouragement from those I met running. Before meeting some of them in person, I had believed that the singles group was more of a “meat market” rather than a group of singles who gathered together to have fun with others. After several months of going to singles group MeetUps, I’m now more comfortable in a crowds. In fact, I now test as an extrovert instead of an introvert on the Myers-Briggs test. To me, this is absolutely amazing! 

So in looking back on it the decision to start running has been a very positive, life and personality altering new beginning for me!

Finding My Tribe talks further about some of these changes.

Namaste.

Shedding My Skin: Pushing the Envelope

 

May we exist like the lotus at ease in muddy water.
-Buddha

As a child, I knew I would one day go to college. Academics were very important to my parents. A’s and B’s were expected and exalted. Physical activities, like competitive sports, well, not so much.

In fact, I learned to fear what I could do with my body. Climbing trees was forbidden. I became afraid of heights. Falling was discouraged. I became afraid of falling. Getting dirty meant getting in trouble. I learned to stay clean and my pet peeves became wet socks or having sand in between my toes with shoes on. So for me, academics became my focus; my safety from my fears and pet peeves, and sports, well, not so much.

It is also important for me to mention here that it really hurt for me to run. For me, running meant my lungs burned like fire. They would start to burn within just a few minutes of running 90% of the time. It also felt like I was breathing through a straw. For me, running was not fun. So while I did run for P.E. classes and some one mile races, it was often quite painful and it did not lend me to want to run and play sports. It was not until Physical Therapy school (in my late, late 20’s) that I was finally diagnosed with exercise induced asthma and running became less painful (at least for my lungs).

So why, in the year that I turned 39 did I start to run and push myself? Running became my place to be free. It helped me to shed the pounds (the skin) of who I was. Running became my moving meditation to mentally release my troubles and to focus on me, my body, and my thoughts. For someone who 98% of the time focused on the needs of others, it was time for me to learn to focus on myself. When running I was not a mother, a physical therapist or partner. While running I was free to be me. I gave myself the gift of being able to focus on whatever I wanted. And sometimes it was so freeing to focus on no-thing.

This past weekend I was awesomely amazed as to what I could do with my body. This weekend, I pushed my envelope and challenged myself. I broke through many of my fears, don’ts and “hate to do’s.” I challenged my fears (I had many). And I got to see how far I have come in this process called life, as I was able to see how much of my skin I have shed in the last year.

Even while favoring a hip flexor injury, I was able to complete most of the 25 obstacles in a Rugged Maniac 5K. In doing so, I was able to “put to bed” some of my greatest physical fears! I climbed ropes and scaled walls (it was not always gracefully). I crawled under barbed wire in muddy water. I crawled through narrow tunnels (did I mention I get claustrophobic?). I got stuck in mud to my knees and laughed as I fell in slow motion. The muddy clay was so thick on my feet and hands that it looked like I had boots and gloves on. I jumped over fires (ok, they weren’t big fires, but I could feel the heat as I hurdled over the burning wood!). There were tiny pebbles, mud, and debris in my wet shoes and socks for 2 hours. Instead of freaking out, I freaking LOVED IT! I felt alive like I had not felt for a very, very long time. In fact towards the end of the race I even lied down in the mud to remove any traces of cleanliness.

The best part?! The absolute best part was that I LOVED IT! It was so much fun that half-way through the race I actually found myself thinking that I’m DEFINITELY going to be doing this again NEXT YEAR!

See you at the races!

Namaste.

On Finding My Tribe

(Author’s note: As I prepare to publish this, “Lean of Me” is playing. How fitting!)

It was a fateful weekend that brought the eight of us together. Initially it seemed like an innocent gathering of souls. The initial seeds were planted when all came together under one roof to celebrate Thanksgiving on 11.27.2014. Little did we know how much this “chance” encounter would change our lives forever.

Yes, forever is a big word here, especially since that was merely 5 months ago. Yet it is fitting. Allow me to explain.

In giving thanks, we came together and found each other and ourselves. Many of us felt broken; failed marriages, loneliness, and relationships checkered our pasts. I personally felt like I was adrift on the sea alone, paddling for somewhere safe to land. Having been separated for 3 months from my spouse of 15 years (and partner of nearly 20 years), my life was a bit topsy-turvy.

We gathered around the dinner table where the jokes and laughter almost immediately ensued. There was an immediate chemistry that would later be forged around the backyard fire pit. We told jokes, shared camping stories and showed YouTube videos of the comedian Steve Byrne, which smelted it all together.

Thursday night was such a great time that we crafted plans the next morning for another gathering. Night two was even more epic. The nights blur together, so it’s hard to tell what was different on night 2 from night 1. However, somewhere in there we added “Cards Against Humanity” into the mix. Another night of gathering, bonding and forging our connections through humor that pushed social boundaries.

Night three sealed the deal. We named our tribe Crotch a Lots or CAL (because we talked about our crotches, a lot). On this same night we “renamed” each other. Similar to the “Hashers,” we had no say in what our names were. As most of us were runners, we were familiar with the Hash Town Runners (later, we would helped others to find their running abilities).

On that third epic night a private facebook page was created. We posted jokes, we shared pictures and the friendships were now further set and would continue to grow.

Since that fateful and “Epic” Three-Day Thanksgiving Weekend, the synergy of our group has only expanded; as have our numbers. As our group has grown, we have added other like-minded individuals who can “hang” with our boundary-pushing humor. (just for reference, “The Shocker” is our gansta-style hand symbol). Being supportive of the group as individuals and as a whole is also an important trait we look for in new members.

teamCAL2

In my tribe, we have supported each other in a broad range of ways that I’ve never experienced with a group outside of my blood relatives. We can count on one another for support, whether we are moving, packing, painting, paying the tip (yes, just the tip), needing help with relationships, drinking, being sober, need shoulders to cry on, celebrating birthdays and holidays, partying in general, getting out of our shells, laughing, climbing walls & getting unstuck from the mud (literally and figuratively), celebrating accomplishments, meeting fitness goals, giving one another props or recognizing our accomplishments, running, “geeking out,” and most importantly: giving each other space to be ourselves without judgment. It is also important to mention that one of the strongest undercurrents of our group is that the glue that seems to hold us together is our heavily sexually slanted humor.

Words just cannot describe how awesome it is to be part of such an amazing group of individuals. We support one another in ways I have never experienced. I am so grateful to be part of this experience with each of you. Thank you, I am forever grateful for the support you have given me at this delicate time in my life!

We are Team CAL and we are EPIC!

Namaste

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