Blog Archives August, 2011

Struggle

I got one of those “inspirational” emails from a friend today.  You know the kind…the ones you are usually too busy to open. The email that arrives in your inbox right at the same time your boss emails you two new projects (with deadlines due in three days);  your best friend sends you a text telling you she has to cancel your trip to Cabo (because her mother-in-law is coming to town that same weekend); and your hairstylist leaves a voicemail telling you not to worry (that the orange will eventually come out of your hair and she will graciously give you 20% off the next time you come in for color correction!). Aggghhhh…it’s been one of those days and you REALLY don’t have time for another message.

 

Well, stop and read this slowly: I believe in gifts from the universe. Five minutes before I read the email I was on my way to pick up Benadryl for my poor little Basset Parker (who kept me up all night) and in the most sleep-deprived manner I kept asking myself why I had to struggle so much over the past few years. I closed my business, lost my savings, dealt with stress fracture #12, and my family unit crumbled. Basically, I started with a clean slate in all areas of my life at the age of 36.

 

I got home and decided to check my email while I contemplated how I was going to hide the medication in Parker’s food.  It was then that I received an unsolicited email from Victoria that was delivered in perfect timing:

 

“For those days when we wonder why we have to struggle…..

 

A man found the cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared; he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then, it seemed to halt in making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go on.

 

The man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly emerged easily, but it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

 

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand, able to support the body, which would contract in time.

 

Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

 

What the man—in  his kindness and haste—did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were nature’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

 

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If nature allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been.

 

 

And we could never fly…

 

boom”

 

 

Easily put…there is beauty in struggle and strength in vulnerability.  Enjoy your run!

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Filed Under: Milena Glusac | Comments (0)  

Staggering Statistics about Sugary Drinks

As Vita Girl, I know how important it is to drink sports nutrition drinks to replace nutrients lost when working out and going about your day. But I am always shocked at the amount of sugar hiding in so-called sports drinks. Something else that shocked me? According to a report by MSNBC.com, approximately half of Americans drink a sugar-sweetened beverage on any given day. What’s more, teenagers and young men consume way more than recommended limits for maintaining good health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention interviewed 17,000 Americans about their diets and found that one in 20 drinks the equivalent of over four cans of soda each day. And teenage boys drink the most soda, sports drinks and other sugary liquids. The average male in the study consumed 175 calories per day from drinks containing added sugar, while the average female consumed 94 calories from drinks containing added sugar.

These statistics are staggering when you consider that the American Heart Association recommends getting no more than 450 calories per week from beverages sweetened with sugar. That’s less than three cans of soda! Many schools have stopped selling soda and artificial juices to lower consumption, as sugar-sweetened drinks have been linked to weight gain, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The results from the study offer yet another reason to consumer low sugar sports drinks (hello Vitalyte!) when reaching for something other than water.

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Vita Girl Says: Get Running!

Vita Girl here, and today I am going to state my case for why you should start running.

1. It’s easy! Before you scoff, just think about it: running doesn’t require much more than a pair of running shoes—and maybe a muscle cramp relief drink. While it may be hard to master yoga poses or get into the groove in Zumba class, everyone knows how to run!

2. Running may not require learning a new skill or purchasing any new equipment, but it is hard. Running burns tons of calories while giving your heart a workout.

3. Running gets a bad rap for being hard on your joints, but running helps reduce body weight, which is a risk factor for osteoarthritis (the most common type of arthritis). In addition to weight loss, running strengthens the ligaments around your joints and also boosts your cartilage by increasing oxygen flow and flushing out toxins.

4. I don’t know about you, but I always feel less stressed after I run. Running has been proven to help combat depression. Try it and feel your stress melt away.

5. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of many kinds of cancer, and runners also increase protection against stroke, heart disease and diabetes. Running has been shown to raise good cholesterol, lower blood pressure and boost immunity.

6. A surprising study conducted by a team at the Stanford University School of Medicine looked at 538 runners and 423 healthy non-runners from 1984-2005. The subjects (all over the age of 50) were asked to measure simple tasks, like opening a milk carton, each year. The disability levels were significantly lower in the group of runners—and the researchers concluded that regular exercise could reduce disability and the risk of death by lowering inflammation, improving response to vaccination, improving thinking, learning and memory functions and increasing cardio fitness and bone mass. Need I say more?

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I Tried It: Hybrid Yoga

I love the zen feeling I get after yoga class, when I am walking home while downing an electrolyte replacement drink. Even though my body is sore from contorting itself into different yoga positions and harnessing my energy to remain in tree pose (for a full five minutes!), I still don’t feel like I am getting the same workout that I do after a calorie-melting run. Enter: hybrid classes, which fuse yoga with calorie-burning intensity. I tried a few different variations so here’s my take:

Yoga for Athletes: A Vita Girl favorite! These postures are created for the sports-minded.

Figure 4: Hello yoga, meet ballet. The mat poses work abs and arms, while ballet-inspired moves tackle the lower body.

Core Fusion Yoga: A mash-up of yoga, Pilates and the Lotte Berk method.

The verdict? I highly recommend any of these hybrid classes. So check out which one your gym is offering and be sure to bring your healthy hydration drink to class with you!

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Coconut Water: Friend or Foe?

Coconut water- Friend or Foe?If you have stepped into a health food store in the last couple of years, or a regular grocery store in the last few months, you have undoubtedly been bombarded by coconut water displays. It seems that there is a new coconut water brand popping up every day.

If you believe the media hype, coconut water is the best electrolyte replacement drink in the market, boasting “15 times the electrolytes of sports drinks.”

So is coconut water really that great of an electrolyte replacement? An answer to that very same question was recently pursued by ConsumerLab.com and the answer isn’t exactly what the makers of all those brands were hoping for. In fact, that report by ConsumerLab.com was the catalyst for a pending lawsuit against Vita Coco, the biggest coconut water brand on the market.

The lawsuit cites the study, which found “at least some” Vita Coco flavors had significantly less sodium and magnesium than advertised. Hmmm.

The other question not specifically answered by the ConsumerLab.com study concerns the nutritional benefit of coconut water. The sporting community has gone to great lengths to understand the delicate balance of electrolytes necessary for optimal hydration. Coconut water may have 15 times the potassium of other sports drinks, but without a proper ratio of sodium—which acts as a transport mechanism for other electrolytes—all you have is a really expensive bottle of potassium.

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