Those of us with desk jobs know that spending all day in a chair isn’t the healthiest way to spend your day. For me, starting my first job after graduating from university made the Freshman 15 look like, well, freshmen.
While travelling, I was turned on to a new breakfast food: Greek yogourt. I’d never eaten it on its own before, but I don’t like the super-sweet taste of regular, fruity yogourt (not to mention that it’s typically loaded with added or artificial sugars). Greek yogourt has a tangy taste, which you can sweeten by adding a few drops of honey. Toss in some museli and berries, and it’s heavenly.
I don’t know much about the stuff, other than it can be a bit higher in fat than regular yogourt. It also appears to be less processed, and there’s no added or artificial sugars. I found “Balkan-style” yogourt at my local grocery store last night. The ingredients are: skim milk, cream, skim milk powder and active bacterial culture. This particular brand has 150 calories, 10 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein in a 175-gram portion.
Compare that to 175 grams of my regular yogourt: 175 calories, 6 grams of fat and 7 grams of protein. And the list of ingredients is a lot longer: skim milk, cream, sugar, concentrated skim milk, fructose, milk and whey protein concentrate, corn starch, gelatin, modified corn starch, active bacterial cultures, natural and artificial flavour, locust bean gum, natural colour, malic acid and caramel colour.
Once, after a run I felt particularly proud of, I searched online for a tool that could tell me how far I’d run. I found this: Gmaps Pedometer, a website that calculates the distance of any route.
First, enter an address or location in the “Jump to” space, up top. Then, click “Start recording” and double-click on your starting point.
Double-click on spots along your route until you’ve reached your finishing point. The total distance will show up on the left. And if you’re a runner or a cyclist, you can turn on the calorie counter, type in your weight and find out approximately how many calories you’ll burn along your route.
No matter where you are in the world, you can calculate distance with this nifty website, since it’s synced in with Google Maps. So, when I’m visiting my parents out of town, I no longer have any excuses for missing out on running!
One thing that can motivate me even when I don’t feel like exercising is a rockin’ playlist. In fact, when I’m listening to music, I tend to move faster and work out longer. And it turns out that there’s science behind that: Studies have shown that listening to music during exercise can improve results and distract from fatigue. The key is choosing songs with the right tempo, according to Costas Karageorghis, an associate professor of sport psychology at Brunel University in England, whose research was profiled in the New York Times.
The most motivating songs have a tempo between 120 and 140 beats-per-minute, or B.P.M. Check out the ultimate walking playlist on Chatelaine Walks — it suggests songs for every pace, from strolling to speed-walking. And here are some of my favourites, found on the website Dj BPM Studio:
Warming-up: 90 BPM
Cream “White Room”
Ramones “Judy Is A Punk”
Going for a stroll: 115 BPM
Bangles “Manic Monday”
The Four Seasons “Sherry”
Neil Young “Helpless”
Brisk speed: 130 BPM
Cyndi Lauper “I Drove All Night”
B-52s “Love Shack”
Elvis Presley “Return To Sender”
Full-on power walk: 145 BPM
Queen “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”
The Beatles “Love Me Do”
The Cure “Boys Don’t Cry”
From speed-walk to sprint: 155 BPM
The Police “Roxanne”
Elton John “Bad Side of the Moon”
Queen “Don’t Stop Me Now”
With yesterday’s warmer weather in Toronto, I suddenly felt motivated to go for a run. (Even I was surprised.) By the time I’d convinced my brother to join me, the temperature had dropped — along with the sun — so I had to think about staying warm. I’ve never been a regular runner, and I don’t own a lot of running “gear.” Usually I just throw on an old T-shirt and a pair of shorts. When it’s colder outside, I don’t know what to wear — my ski jacket is too bulky and hot, but a hoodie isn’t warm enough. Last night, through some innovative layering, I managed to create the perfect between-seasons running outfit.
As my base layer, I wore a long-sleeve Lululemon tech shirt I’ve had for a while. The closest I could find on their website is the Refresh Tech, which wicks away sweat and is seamless, like the one I have. And it has the thumbholes, my favourite part:
Layered on top of that, I wore a lightweight jersey zip-up with a high collar (to keep my neck warm), like this one from Mountain Equipment Co-op:
And finally, I wore a zip-up hoodie — easy to remove, in case I started to overheat. On my bottom half, I wore Reebok athletic pants, very much like these Core Running Pants:
Of course, if it had been raining (or snowing, like it is now in Toronto), I would have had to add a waterproof layer on top. But if it had been a few degrees chillier, I could’ve easily worn the hood on my sweatshirt or brought along a toque and mittens.