Friday, January 6, 2017

01/06/2017 164.5 and falling, 16 miles for the week

Today gives me three runs for the week for the first time in awhile.  Add in a cross training session yesterday and I am happy to head into the weekend with a good base of fitness so far.  This morning the scale was kind enough to show 164.5 and I am down 4 lbs. since Tuesday.  This isn't difficult when you cut out the eating festival I had been entertaining on a daily basis.  It is nice to start feeling healthy again.  My body always feels physically better when the nutrition is paired with the running.

Today, it was cold outside, but once you get past the first 20 feet or so and you are dressed appropriately, it's fine.  I ran 5 miles and it was a little tiring coming off 3 days of running and strength work, but it was nice to feel that type of tired again.  I ended up running 5 miles in 41:36, which is about an 8:18/mile pace.  That is a little faster pace than my recent runs so it's welcomed.  This weekend will be off mostly unless I squeeze something in, maybe a little bodyweight stuff one night.

Featured Post: @ZingBars Review

The generous people behind Zing Bars recently sent me a half dozen for me to review.  I personally ate a few and I gave a couple to runners I know to get their opinions as well.  Right away when I received the bars, I was impressed by what I read on the package.  The company was created, and is owned/operated by registered dietician nutritionists.  The package also goes on to say that the bars are a balance of high quality whey protein, slow-burn carbs, healthy fats, and dietary fiber.  One look at the nutritional information quickly affirms this.  

Six different flavors were sent to me.  I personally tried four of them.  I tried the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, Lemon Cashew Crunch, and the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip.  I passed along the Dark Chocolate Mocha as well as the Dark Chocolate Mint.  I did want to try the mint, but my friend squeezed it from me.  Oh well, I guess I have a good reason to buy them!

I really enjoyed all four of the bars I tried.  The overall theme I got from the bars was that they really
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bar Info
taste natural.  A lot of the time, when you have a bar with a decent amount of protein, in this case 9-15 grams, the taste suffers.  Usually, it is a direct result of the sugar level going down.  The best way to describe this lack of taste is that they seem manufactured.  While you may say, duh, to this statement, I don't want my food to taste that way.  These Zing Bars do not taste that way to me.  I find that they taste like if I had gotten them as a bar made by someone or if I had done them myself.  

My favorite
Of the four bars I tried myself, I clearly enjoyed the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter the most.  It is a bar flavor that is done by a lot of companies, but not this well.  I can honestly say, it's my favorite tasting bar, period.  I have a fondness for peanut butter, so I am biased.  My least favorite of the four, although I still enjoyed it, was the Lemon Cashew Crunch.  I enjoyed the texture, but it was a little more lemon and a little less cashew than I hoped for.  I did like it, but probably would choose a few other kinds to buy myself.

The two bars I gave away got some great reviews as well.  Both the Dark Chocolate Mocha and the Dark Chocolate Mint were enjoyed and my one friend that tried the mint bar said nearly the same things I am saying.  His summation was, "Mint is a flavor that is often very chemical tasting when used in protein shakes, bars, or powders.  This bar wasn't like that.  It really tasted like mint."

Soft Cookie Type
There are 12 different flavors of bars to choose from and three different categories.  Chocolate covered, Soft Cookie, and Nut Butter & Fruit are the three categories.  Each group has several choices.  Of the bars I didn't try yet, I am intrigued by the Almond Blueberry.  I love both of those ingredients, so a purchase is coming up.  

In general, the bars are great.  I highly recommend them.  They aren't terribly expensive, but they are better for you and taste good.  I like having a good bar after working out or running.  The last thing I want to grab to eat is a bar that is good for me but tastes horrible.  It isn't worth it.  These Zing Bars combine flavor and strong ingredients.

I was not compensated for my review.  I was sent 6 bars to try and to provide my honest feedback.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

01/05/2017 Today's HIIT workout

After running the past two days, I decided to do some cross training today and workout the whole body.  I did a tight little 25 minute HIIT workout that has all of my body twitching nicely.  As I have detailed before, there is virtually no resting during a HIIT workout.  You move from one body area to the next, effectively resting one section while another gets blasted.  Besides the time saved, the major gain is that your heart rate stays up because you are constantly working and maintaining a workout threshold throughout the entire time.  Instead of working a muscle group and then letting your heart rate drop while you rest waiting for your next set of reps, you simply move on and your heart rate stays up.  

Here is the group of exercises I did.  I did three sets of the rotation and again, no real significant rest between exercises and only 15-20 seconds between sets to get a drink.

Push ups--15
Box jumps--15
Farmer's walk--2 min.
Warrior ropes--50
12 lb. med ball slam--10
Lunge & twists w/med ball--20
Russian twists w/med ball--20
Air squats--20

I never do the same workout twice in a row, but I am going to save this one and repeat it in a month or two and see where I am at.  I have not done consistent strength work in a long time; I'm going to try to start.

166? Nutrition these days...

My fridge at work these days.
Somehow, the scale read 166 again. I lost my 2 lb. a day streak after only one day.  :) 

As I am trying to get everything on track and have a 2017 running year to remember, I am implementing a healthy eating plan as well.  It isn't rocket science, but I have some basics that help me and could help you.  Here are the main parts to my nutritionally sound self.

1.  More water, lots more water.  Generally, I suck at making sure I drink enough water.  It's important for your body obviously, but it also helps make you feel a little more full if you keep taking it in.  A bonus is having to walk to the restroom every 5 minutes.

2.  Unlimited fruits and veggies.  I really eat a lot of F and V when I am doing it right.  However, you need to be smart.  Grapes for instance are super high in sugar and aren't as beneficial as a banana.  Also, I eat carrots, but again stick to a serving or so a day, because of the sugar.  Vary the colors as well.  Whites, greens, reds, etc.

3.  F sugar.  I stay away from garbage sugar 100%.  I eat no sugar at all, unless it is in a fruit, or part of something like milk, etc.  All white carbs are gone, that is part of the garbage sugar category.  Whole wheat bread, sweet potatoes, maybe a little brown rice, oatmeal.  Those are it.

4.  Protein, come over here.  I eat a lot of proteins.  Meats, beans, peanut butter, eggs, fish.  As an athlete, the proteins are super important for recovery.

5.  Trying to avoid sneaky calories too.  Sauces, dressings, condiments, etc.  Most add calories.  I stick with lesser amounts or none, or zero calorie choices like mustard.  

Like I said above, I'm not reinventing the wheel here, but some of this stuff is easy.  Finding some go to things you enjoy that are healthy works well.  I like hard boiled eggs.  Peanut butter is my favorite food, plus it's healthy in a correct serving size.  Go to the stuff you like, avoid the other stuff.  Choking down plain cottage cheese because it's healthy but makes you gag? It makes no sense.  I gotta go eat a couple clementines, good luck

A great movie, check out, Diamond to the Rough, with @byrnes22

This is a trailer for the documentary movie, "Diamond to the Rough."  It stars former MLB player, Eric Byrnes.  If you are a baseball fan like I am, you know how Eric Byrnes always played full tilt.  He never held back and was fun to watch.  Diamond to the Rough is a look at his transition from baseball to new outlets for his energy, notably the Western States 100.

Diamond To The Rough from Hustle Media on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

01/04/2017 Shedding weight like a maniac :)

I hopped on the scale again this morning and will try to do so every day to track my disappearing fat.  I was pleasantly surprised to see 166 lbs.  I dropped 2 pounds in one day!  I'm sure it will continue to be this easy, right?  My luck I will be on 166 for the next 2 weeks.  However, the ball is rolling in the right direction so it's all good.

Today, I just finished up a 6 miler in exactly 50 minutes.  The first 3 miles were around 8:30/mile and the 4th and 5th were about 7:50/mile pace, with mile six taking around 8:25.  This is par for the course for fat me. I look forward to dropping these times soon.  I have my eyes set on a race in late March, I just need to get the family logistics figured out before committing.  

I am itching to race again.  I cannot believe it has been since June that I raced. I don't count the NYC marathon as it's more of a participation thing for me.  Yikes, I need to get fit and race.

Fair Lawn, 1st Day 5K Race Results, Never End the Fight

Below is a race report from Justin at Team Never End the Fight.  This was to be my second race with the team, as well as my second time running 1stDay5K in Fair Lawn.  Alas, I was lucky enough for Santa to bring me the stomach bug a couple days after Christmas.  Consequently, I was in no shape to run.  The weather was beautiful though and the team had a great event.  Here's the write up.

Waking up this morning certainly didn't feel too tough after having a mellow New Years Eve with my parents, good friend Kyle and my cousins and aunt and uncle.  I was feeling ready and all I wanted to do was beat my time from last year, 21:51, little did I know I would do much better than that!

First, my Mom, Dad, my cousins William, Owen and Gabrielle, and my aunt Paula arrived at 10:00 to check in.  We ran into one of our good friends, Paul Semendinger, who was planning on running by himself but had his Team Never End The Fight shirt on so we had him join us!  After getting our bib numbers, we started walking back to the cars to drop our bags off, but the weather had jumped quickly to 45 degrees with a slight breeze perfect weather for a race, s​​o we quickly took off our sweats.  I went for a warm up jog by myself, focusing on my own running trying to remember the course as much as possible.

We got to the start and I was feeling ready and there was a good turnout of runners for the time of year.  There were 472 finishers.  Once the race went off, I felt great!  However, my dopey cousin Owen, who usually is a nine minute miler, was running right along side of me for roughly a third of the mile, he did run his fastest mile on that split but I'm sure he was feeling that first mile around the two mile mark.  I ran my first mile at 6:35, I wasn't too disappointed at myself, I was searching for 6:40 but I trusted my training and continued to push and move up.  I finished with a time of 20:13, my best time ever since I created Never End The Fight!

That was definitely one of my highlights of my day, but the biggest highlight was having eight other friends and family members to run and support Never End The Fight and NAMI!  This race tied the highest number of runners we have ever had (1stDay 5K 2016).  I was also super proud that many team members either set personal records or course personal records on the day!

Team Results:

Justin: 20:13, 30th overall, 5th/12 age group 
Paul: 22:57, 72nd overall, 11th/33 age group
William: 23:10, 77th overall, 5th/9 age group (course personal record)
Steve: 29:09, 240th overall, 23rd/33 age group
Owen: 31:24, 284th overall, 12th/22 age group
Gabrielle: 33:03, 310th overall, 8th/12 age group (PERSONAL RECORD)
Paula: 33:03, 311th overall, 20th/43 age group (FIRST RACE)
Jim & Nash: 33:31, 318th overall, 24th/32 age group, Nash second dog!
Jere: 40:38, 417th overall, 26th/28 age group (PERSONAL RECORD)


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

01/03/2017 Happy New Year! 168.5 isn't a Triathlon distance....

Well, 2016 was here for a bit and now it's gone.  I'm not going to do a misty-eyed recap of the year and talk about all the shoulda, coulda, woulda stuff.  I will leave it at, "I want to do better."  That being said, I hit the scale this morning and was greeted by an F-d up number.

I have not weighed 168.5 lbs. in at least 3 years, maybe more.  I tipped the scales knowing it wasn't going to be pretty.  It is time to close my mouth, step away from the snacks, and get back to my desired running weight. Here I come 145!  Let's see how long it takes to get there.

I just finished up a nice 5 miler with Justin and feel good, even though we needed to search for my phone that bounced out of my pocket during the run. On such a gross day, it was nice to have a training partner to ensure getting out the door.  Found and still working, my phone is wrapped in some paper towels because it is raining continuously outside.  I have some work ahead of me physically.  The good thing though, mentally I am ready for it.  

Over the course of the coming months, I will be sharing about my nutrition, training, and some new things here on the blog.  Here are some things to look for in the coming days and weeks on The Daily Fitness Journal:

1. My goals for 2017
2. Optic Nerve Review & Sunglasses giveaway
3. Zing Bar Review
4. An interview with a prominent running book author
5. First Day 5K race report