• Chia Surge Gel Beats the New York Marathon

    Ten years ago I ran the New York Marathon.  Because I was in the elite field, my own personal water bottles were placed on a special table at every 5k mark of the race.  There were 20 bottles on the table.  Each bottle belonging to an athlete.  It was customary the day before the race to gather in the elite athlete hospitality suite for a version of World Class Athletes Arts and Crafts 101.  The coordinator of the marathon would bring into the suite a huge plastic box filled with markers, colored tape, ribbons, pipe cleaners and all the other goods you would find in a kindergarten classroom.

    The top marathoners in the world when then gather around and decorate their water bottles.  Not only was it a fun break from the media tension and pre-race nerves, but it served afunctional purpose by making it easier for each runner to identify their uniquely designed bottle the following day when they would be blazing by the water table at 5:35-5:45 mile pace.  I don’t know what each person put in their bottle...some electrolyte solution perhaps or even the old standby that legendary marathoner Grete Waitz used, defizzed Coke.  I knew I would need more calories than sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium mixed with sugar could offer.  Don’t get me wrong, my body would desperately need the firing power of the electrolytes but what would get me through the 26.2 would be fuel.  So I wrapped several chewable candies in tinfoil and taped them to the side of my bottle that was draped in bows and blue and black tape (to match the colors of my racing attire of course).

    Everyone wondered what in the heck was in the tiny packages.  At each five kilometer mark, I would down my drink and then unwrap my candy and chomp away as I whizzed through the five boroughs.  I wound up finishing 9th overall.  Not so bad.  This time I avoided an IV, unlike the year before.  My little concoction worked quite well.  Everyone wondered why I didn’t just take one of the gels offered along the course.  My stomach would not let me.  The hard to digest, prepackaged gut killers did not like me and vice versa.

    It wasn’t until a few months ago when the CEO of Vitalyte tossed me one of those oh-so-recognizable gel packs.  “Oh no I said.  We aren’t friends, gel and I.”  “This is different,” he said.  “Try it on your next run and let me know.”  Reluctantly I tucked the pink gel pack in my shorts the next morning and headed out for a run.  “I promised him I would try it,” I reluctantly told myself, as my stomach braced itself for the onslaught.  First of all I noticed the taste of the Chia Surge Gel was different than any other gel product I had tried.  It was lighter.  Well the real test would be my stomach.  I continued running and to my surprise and delight, I felt great.  No gurgling or sloshing or nausea.  In fact I felt really good.  I had more energy.  “I think this Chia Surge has got it going on,” I said to myself.  When Evan asked me the next day how I liked it, I told him how surprised I was.  I mean we all knew that chia seeds were the superfood of the century and had amazing nutritional benefit.  But that paired with the other amazing ingredients in Chia Surge Endurance Gel!  Wow, all I could say was, “Where was this ten years ago?”  So now my energy levels are awesome on my runs.  I take a Chia Surge half way through a 5-6 mile run and on a longer run that is between 10-12 miles, I take one at mile 3 and one at mile 7.  Who would’ve known how a little chia could go such a long way.

  • 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!

  • The Advantages of Group Training

    By Jenna Novotny, Brand Ambassador

    It seems like common knowledge that training, typically for any athletic endeavor, is easier and more effective in groups. I mean, that’s why so many triathlon clubs, running clubs, cycling clubs, masters swimming groups and the like now exist and continue to pop up, right? But I recently realized that I wasn’t the only person who claimed and believed, “I train better solo.” Up until about three months ago I was a “solo trainer” and I had a whole list of reasons of why I thought ditching the pack was more effective for me.

    - I’m limited on time so I fit workouts in when I can, which means they are usually spur of the moment. - I don’t want to have to plan my day that far out in advance. Do I want to do a 50 mile bike ride at 7am a week from Wednesday? I don’t know!!?? - I hate wasting the time commuting to the group meeting point. - I don’t like talking while I work out. - What if people are slower than me and bring down my pace rather than up.

    And I’m sure on some level (OK I’ll admit it on a definite level) I was intimidated. I was especially nervous joining in on group rides due to my lack of experience on the road. Until recently, most of my bike training was on a trainer and the HUGE herds of seemingly professional bikers on HWY 101 scared the $@#% out of me! I just knew I was going to fall or crash, cut someone off, or make a fool of myself. Fortunately, a friend wouldn’t give up on me and bugged me until I joined him on group track session.

    After some speed work that left me feeling like a snail, I realized my limited solo training was lacking in more areas than one. Before I delve into my solo training shortcomings, let me say that I officially joined that training team, Breakaway Training, and now train with them about four days a week. I have become such good friends with many of the athletes in this group that we often end up hanging out outside of training. In addition to meeting some great new friends with common interests, I highly recommend getting over the group fear and joining a training team because:

    - No matter how many Bostons, Tours, or Konas you’ve run or won you will never know EVERYTHING about your sport. Hearing the mistakes or successes other athletes have made will help you make fewer mistakes and discover great training secrets earlier. - You can discover new products and tools and learn which ones on the market are best. Which GPS watch should you buy? Best running shoes? Ask around in your group. - Training with a group of fellow athletes can be close to having a doctor, therapist, and coach video-tapping you all in one. They get to know your pace and progress and can provide positive reinforcement—or on some days can tell that you’re dragging and check in with you, asking “Hey you’re looking a little drained, what’s going on?” - You can discover new routes. I have found so many great new running and biking routes from joining others in my training group. - SAVE MONEY! Now that I am in the running group, when I pick an out of town race I usually have someone else doing the same race. Can you say “travel buddy?” Carpool to the event + share a hotel room = spending less money! - No one likes being alone on race day! I hate those early morning races when you don’t have a race buddy to help ease any pre-race nerves. And what’s even better than having someone with you before the race…having someone there at the finish line with you!

    Oh and in case you were wondering, I have had a few close calls on my first bike rides on the road that I’m sure drew some attention, but I haven’t eaten pavement yet!


  • Staying Germ-Free at the Gym

    Vita Girl here! Today I want to address a workout tip that you might not think about: avoiding germs at the gym. I know everyone’s sweaty and avoiding germs might seem like a lost cause, but a few simple antimicrobial tools can keep you from catching a cold or another illness while working out. Follow my health advice below and your workout will be (almost) germ-free.

    1. Invest in your own gym equipment. I know, that’s why you belong to a gym, right? Well, I splurged on my own yoga mat and medicine ball and have never been happier. Many newer yoga mats even boast antimicrobial technology so one quick swipe with a damp paper towel and you are good to go!

    2. That goes for a gym towel, too. You gym may provide towels, but think about how many sweaty people are reaching for them! You can find towels with antimicrobial technology to cut down on surface bacteria as well.

    3. How many times have you gone straight from the gym to meet a friend for coffee or run an errand? I admit that this happens to me frequently, which is why I always make sure to wear workout clothing with odor-eliminating and antimicrobial technology.

    4. You wouldn’t walk around a public restroom barefoot would you? Well, the same goes for the gym. Wear flip flips when walking around the showers and locker room. I even go one step further by wearing in-studio footwear during yoga and Pilates. Bonus: they help me from slipping in Downward Dog.

  • 30 Days of Awesome - Day 2

    Sometimes awesome hurts!!

    I have always done my very best to stay in shape. I don't necessarily follow a strict work out routine but lean more towards the Matthew McConaughey philosophy of simply finding a way to work up a sweat every day. Part of the fun of living an active life is finding new ways to do that, so when I was offered a free class at LA Boxing's new club in Denver I jumped at the chance, and wow am I paying for it today.

    La Boxing boasts that each class can burn up to 1000 calories through a combination of bag work, punching, kicking, heavy ab work and stretching. I can't comment on the number of calories I burned but I would have to say that I lost at least 6 pounds of water weight, two of which came from me crying like a baby after the class (just kidding).

    We all have fitness goals, or we all should anyway. LA Boxing is a great class for people looking to take those goals to the next level. The high intensity class is fun, challenging and most importantly not boring. Check them out online to sign up for their free class and let me know what you think.

    By the way, this is not some shameless plug for another company. Part of my 30 Days is to hopefully inspire as many people as I can to get outside, or in a gym and enjoy the rest of summer by being active and having fun.

    For those of you not wanting to post on a blog please feel free to catch me on Facebook.

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