Sunday, May 29, 2011

doing crunches or working out on ab machines to lose belly fat .... does it actually work ?

The short answer is NO ! This is one of the top fitness myths around. Although crunches and ab work-outs may help with over all strength and toning of your midsection they won't give you the six pack you are looking for, and they definitely don't target your belly fat.  You can't pick and choose where to burn fat.  You can target where you strength train, however you can't target fat loss.

So, how do you achieve those rock hard carved abs ? Diet, cardio, and strength training work-outs all combined. To get the carved abs you crave you must be focused on losing body fat. You can be thin and still have a higher body fat percentage and be struggling with attaining those abs. Also to attain this goal, you may need to STOP ( yes, I said STOP)  looking at the numbers on the scale and focus in on inches and body fat percentages.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Post Marathon Injury Blues ???

I ran my best Marathon (so far), and even beat my own PR by 20 minutes. So why am I so moody and irritable? This seems to be question I keep having to ask myself this past week.  Unlike the other 2 Marathons this one was so much easier mentally, I never hit that dreaded wall. Instead, I spent the whole 4:28.18 thinking of how much fun I was having and how I was staying on task. I spent a lot of time thinking about some potential life changes on the horizon and when I was not thinking of that, I was thinking about Steve & Luke. This was my first Marathon Steve could not attend and be there cheering for me. As hard as it was he kept sending me texts through-out the Marathon and it was great. It was like having him right next to me the entire Marathon. I could not wait to see Luke who was waiting for me at the finish with my Aunt. Physically I felt amazing as well, until after the finish. Somewhere between mile 24 & 25 I rolled my ankle. Amazingly ( or maybe just adrenaline) I did not realized I was injured. I finished and finished strong ! However, after they laid the finishers medal around my neck it hit. I went to walk and my ankle was NOT ok. I took some IB Profen and thought it was over-use and the pain would subside. By Monday morning (after I made the 5 hour drive home with Luke to Indiana) I realized I was injured. I went to the doctor who told me I had either a complete or partial tear in my tendon. I was scheduled for an MRI. I had thought about not going at first, but I figured I better see what the deal was. So Tuesday I went for the MRI. The good news is it was only a partial tear, the bad news 4-6 weeks to heal....
These factors bring me to where I am today... anxious to run again. All I want to do is resume my training so I can be ready to kick butt in Chicago in October. I want to set another PR.
 As a fitness instructor, I tell my students to let their bodies heal and  rest is as important as training. However, I am struggling with my own advice. Not training is causing me to panic, yes it is an early panic, but a form of panic none the less.  My other battle is with food this week. Sticking to my fitness competition diet has seemed to be near impossible. I am certain a large portion of this lack of self control is in part to the fact that I am upset that I can't train.  I find myself being concerned with the fact that may gain weight or body fat back. Yet, I find myself stumbling into food blunders.
I guess no matter how much knowledge you have, you still have the same concerns when it comes to losing ground in training. It took my good friend Courtney reminding me to get back on track and offer some alternatives to running to help me remember I could still stay in shape and keep making progress.  So a HUGE thank-you to Courtney for helping me break-out of my slump. So tomorrow, it is back to business for me. No more slacking, no more games, no more feeling sorry for myself, and most importantly no more worries. As for tonight, maybe a cupcake ? :-)
From the Left : Nicki Caylor, Walt Novosel, Jerry Novosel, and Katie Novosel
Pittsburgh Marathon 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

Why I Run Marathons ...

My Personal Motivation for 26.2
Mile 1 - consistency - slow and steady wins the race. I love the hard work I put into training and the feeling of success as I cross the finish line.
Mile 2 - second chances. We all need them and deserve them. In life we all have things that didn't go the way we intended. For me it was my health. This is my way of controlling that factor and make the best of it. For me it is rising above heart disease, moving forward, and starting a new chapter.
Mile 3 - Walt - you inspire me to be more and do more. Most importantly you have taught me that a positive attitude can bring you a long way in life. I continue to strive to be patient and to be positive .
Mile 4 - For my Fab 4. You know who you are and I love you !!!!
Mile 5 -loyalty - sometimes things suck but you need to stick them out to get to the good stuff.
Mile 6 - Kim, Sarah, and Cady this is the sixth year we have been neighbors and friends. I love all of you like my own family ! I could not ask for better friends.
Kim, you always know the exact advice I need even if I don't want to hear it.  Plus, your one hell of a "bike husband". 
Sarah, you always know what direction to point me in and help me realize my full potential. Plus you make the best  cupcakes ! Both of you stand behind me even when you don't like my choices.  I could not have asked for better friends. You are two of the most amazing  women I know !!!
Cady , you are the sweetest most joyful girl I know, you are such a great friend to Luke and I love you. You are amazing
Mile 7- Happiness , I am so glad I have I found you.  I have learned to appreciate what I have and look less at what I don't.  I have a beautiful family, an amazing husband and son who inspire me every day.
Mile 8- fear , there is no reason to live life in constant fear. You only fail when you have not tried at all.
Mile 9 - life hurts sometimes pushing through the pain emotional, physical, mental takes courage. When it hurts dig deeper you will find more strength.
Mile 10- Luke . I can't believe my baby is 10 !!!! I remember every moment of your birth. You are my mini me. I love you like nobody could ever love you and I want to make you proud.
Mile 11 - The Caylor Family. Its been 11 years since Steve and I said I do.
Tammy,  you have always been kind and patient. God knows dealing with me takes patience. Just ask your brother. Lol :-) honestly I love you as a sister not a sister-in-law. Thanks for being there and being supportive.  For getting me to the hospital while I was in labor and being the very best labor coach anyone could ask for. For being an amazing Aunt to Luke and one of the best friends I could ask for.
 Kay and Sten - thanks for being the very best in-laws anyone could have. I know I don't call you Mom and Dad but I do love you as parents. Thank-you for being the most amazing Grandparents to Luke. He loves you more than anything. You amaze me with generosity and kindness.
 Kay, I am not sure if you are aware of just how strong you are. You are the rock of this family and always take care of all of us. From your kids, to their spouses, to your grand kids, to your own parents. You give far more than you take. I strive each day to be more like you. You amaze me.
Sten you are one if the wisest people I know and love knowing your always just a phone call away.
So to the Caylors'- This mile is for you
Mile 12 - Grandpa Bernie - you have always believed in me and encouraged me to do great things. You remind me that I am a good person .
Mile 13- Jessica , thanks for turning me into a  running machine and showing me I could do it. You are a great friend and I hope our friendship grows over the years. I love you and appreciate you more than you will ever know.
Mile 14- Alesha, I met you when I was 14 and you have left an imprint on my heart. You are one of the most supportive friend I have and I love you like a sister.  You always make me smile and you have the biggest heart. I love you and hope we can start getting together more. I promise some day I'll figure it all out.

I wore this Uniform with great pride

Mile 15- My Country, not a day goes by that I don't think about how my service to you was cut short. sometimes it entices anger, other times it is sadness. Being in the United States Army is something I always wanted to do. I wanted something to be proud of and to make a difference. I am learning that although I may not have been able to do that in the military maybe I can inspire others and make a difference in other ways.
Mile 16 - anger I have lots of it. Here's to living with less anger, ridding the negative and turning it positive. Onward and Upward !
Mile 17 - for all the times I have doubted myself, my abilities, or strength. This mile here shows how strong I am, what I can endure, and how I can make it through.
Mile 18- My boot camp girls  (editing) at James O'Connor Martial Arts & Fitness   - I bumped someone else to give you this mile :-) You inspire me each day in class and I love each of you . If I named of each of you separately this would be too long. Each one of you knows who you are and you know you inspire me. I love our classes, runs, and work-outs.
Mile 19 - Susie, Marian, and Hank - you have all been there for me when I needed you.
Susie from the time I was little and you taught me gimme, gimme, got, got and Best Buddies I have always looked up to you. You are fantastic big sister and I love you.
 Marian - you have always taken care if me. From changing my diapers as a baby, to taking care of my rear end on my wedding day again, and saving my butt yet again when it came to medical care after my heart attack in the Army. You were there to cheer me on every mile of my first marathon and I love you like crazy.
 Hankster - your the best big brother a girl could have (when your not dropping river rocks on my face). You have always made me feel loved and cared about. Thank-you for being you and always making me laugh. Also, I have watched you plug along through some pretty horrible years recently. You never complain you just keep going and going. Your dedication and motivation is inspiring. I love you big brother.
Mile 20- Mom you have always supported me in my crazy adventures and been my friend. You never give up and put up a big fight. This mile is for you, you are a strong woman that has been through hell and back. You always start each day with a smile and a prayer. I hope with age I will learn your grace and dignity. You are a truly amazing and beautiful woman on the inside and out.
Mile 21 - I waited for years to turn 21 so I could drink beer. They will hand me one when I cross the finish and all I will really want is a cupcake. How is that for irony ?
Mile 22 - determination - this mile is for not giving up on yourself ever. If there is something you want go for it and make it happen.
Mile 23 - Luke because you are my baby and I love you so much, this mile is for you again. Your love is the greatest gift I have ever known. I love your passion, zest and ambition for life and all of God's creatures. You are an amazing kid with a heart of gold. Don't ever change. I love you !
Mile 24 - Dad you left this world when I was 24. I love you and your are my inspiration. As I hit this last wall of pain I know it can't compare to the pain you endured while fighting to survive. You did not quit and neither will I. I love you Dad, and not a day goes by that I don't think of you. You are my hero.
Mile 25 - Diana you died one month before I turned 25. I miss you being the first to call me and wish me a happy birthday . If I could change anything I would have been there for you more.  I know I can't take it back the pain you endured, but I hope you left this earth knowing how much you were truly loved. Especially by me big sis.
Mile 26 - to Steve , you have always stood by my side no matter what. Our vows of for better or worse you live them by example. There have been times I put you through absolute hell and you never stopped loving me or being there for me. You have always helped me work through the bad. When I need you, you are there. You are always my number one cheerleader and I know I can count on you. I love you forever baby. So as I go through the pain of the last mile I know it's nothing compared to what you have endured for me.
The last .2 miles I will sprint my butt off because I CAN !!!!!!!

Many people may have not been listed but all my friends, family, and supporters please know I love each and everyone of you. I want to be sure to Thank my Ohio and PA family. You are all in my hearts each and everyday. Uncle Syl each of your hugs remind me of my Dad. They are warm and make me feel so loved. You and aunt Ginny always make us feel so welcomed and loved. Your jokes and laughter warm my soul.  Aunt Debbie, your smile is contagious and I love visits with you and Uncle Jerry. Your positive attitudes and love shine through everything you do.  Aunt Rosie and Uncle John your hard work and dedication to your family is an inspiration and something my Dad always talked about and admired. As an adult I see this now. I hope I can have your strength as I grow.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Looking For Your Fitness Mojo ?

Are you struggling with your New Year's Resolution to get in shape, stay in shape, or become healthier ? Most of us are or have quit by this point and  feel  it is too late to return ... However, it is never too late. Start fresh today! You don't need to start working towards a goal on a specific date or time of the year.

Most fitness plans fail due to setting lofty goals that are hard to achieve and that are too restrictive. We don't see immediate results, we get frustrated, and ultimately quit.  So here are my suggestions for success in your fitness journey.

  •  Set attainable short term goals. Remember slow and steady wins the race. For example, if you are not a runner and you go out and try to run a mile as fast you can, you will more than likely struggle. Start out slow, try jogging 1/2 a mile or more if you can handle it. Once you are exhausted, walk at a fast pace until you finish. Build up from here. Personally, 2 years ago when I decided I wanted to run again, I did not just sign up for a marathon and just go. I started with a mile and ran 3-4 days a week for 2 weeks, then I added a quarter of a mile the third week. By the end of the month I was comfortably running 2 miles. Then I started to add more miles as my body became accustom to my new fitness plan. By the end of the second month I was comfortably running 5 miles. Determine your goal, start small, and build bigger.  At James O'Connor Martial Arts and Fitness our program grows with you ! Our staff can help you set attainable goals and reach them.

  •  Make your new plan part of your lifestyle. Change can be hard even when it is a positive change.  Remember 21 days to a habit. Once you have made it into a habit, things will become easier and not such a struggle. Also, use a program that is not going to deprive you.   If you are struggling in following a diet, give yourself a weekly splurge. Knowing you have that freebie meal at the end of the week may be enough to help you stay on track throughout the week. If you do happen to get off track, don't beat yourself up. Start again the following meal or day. What matters is what you are doing 95% of the time. At James O'Connor our team will make you feel welcome and help you stay on track.

  •  Reward yourself ! When you have set a goal for yourself and have attained it, acknowledge the accomplishment.  Remembering your success can help you stay on track in the future. Buy yourself a new work-out outfit, new shoes, bike etc. Whatever it is that you are wanting for fitness take this opportunity to reward yourself. Big or small does not matter as long as it is something you want and that will remind you of your success in attaining your goal.   Here at Team O'Connor  we work with a rewards system for our team.

  •  Keep track of your progress. Either use an online program such as (free online tool & community), an excel spread sheet, or notebook. Log your measurements and weight. (However doing this more often than every 2 weeks can cause you to become discouraged.) Don't get hung up on minor setbacks, they happen. Move forward and think of ways to improve moving forward. You can't change the past, but you definitely can change the future. Remember measurements are as important if not more important than the number on the scale. Don't fixate. If you struggle with wanting to weigh yourself put your scale away in a spot you won't see it on a daily basis and only pull it out for your check-in day. Personally, I recommend either once a month or every 2 weeks. Set a date and measure and weigh first thing in the morning before eating. At James O'Connor Martial Arts and Fitness we will help you track your progress each and every step of the way. We offer weigh-in's every 2 weeks.

  • Find a Fitness Buddy or Group. Having a support system that will help you stay on track is crucial. Even if your fitness levels or goals are different. Having someone to hold you accountable for your progress and attendance can be crucial. If you have a group or buddy you meet with on a regular basis you are more likely to continue working out and staying on track. Good intentions can fall flat sometimes even though we had the best of intentions when we  started.  We all fall off the "wagon" and sometimes we even get run over. When this happens we need to get up even if we struggle. Having a support system there to help you can be imperative to your success. At Team O'Connor our teaching staff and team members will help you stay focused, motivated, and on track.

  • Vary your program. Change up your routine every few weeks to prevent boredom and rev your metabolism.  Our Program changes up routines, work-outs, and intensity on a regular basis. We offer Martial Arts, Zumba, Yoga, Functional Fitness, Run Club, and Personal Training. Check out for our full schedule and special events.

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